Rorate Caeli

Relevant: After the Talks (SSPX - Rome)
Schmidberger speaks to Die Welt

For various reasons, we very rarely post long excerpts or full transcripts of articles published in large media outlets. In this case, we are forced to open an exception: the interviewer, a journalist in German daily Die Welt, is slightly more aware of what he is speaking about than the average mainstream journalist, and Father Franz Schmidberger, former Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) and its current Superior for the German District, provides very specific answers. Let us hope all involved realize when the time has come to "go up to Jerusalem" (cf. Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday).

Translation by reader IM, adapted.


"God will not let us fail"

The traditionalist SSPX does not want to reconcile with the Pope at any price

The process of reconciliation between the Vatican and the SSPX enters a crucial phase. Three years ago, it emerged with the lifting of the excommunication of its four bishops in the headlines because one of them, British Bishop Williamson had denied the Holocaust. Now, it may be soon decided whether the attempt of the Pope to bring the ultra-conservative Catholics in the boat are successful, or whether there will be a definitive expulsion of the rebels of the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church. Her Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, said in America that the latest proposal of Rome is unacceptable [Rorate note: this was not what Fellay said, but an outright deception planted by malicious Italian Vaticanists, as we said on the same day the sermon was publihed.] For Father Franz Schmidberger, the District Superior of the SSPX in Germany, matters do not sound so definitive. Paul Badde spoke with him.

Die Welt: In Rome there are increasing signs that a full reconciliation with the SSPX may at last take place, and that they should soon have its own personal prelature, which is not unlike the status of Opus Dei. It is also mentioned, however, that negotiations between the Vatican and the SSPX have failed. Can you clarify it?

Father Franz Schmidberger: On September 14, 2011, Cardinal Levada presented Bishop Fellay, our Superior General, with a "doctrinal preamble", whose acceptance is the condition for a canonical recognition of the SSPX. We consulted extensively on the text and came to the conclusion that it was not acceptable. Finally, I myself, on December 1, brought the response of the Superior General to Rome, and, at a Roman request, he delivered a clarification of that response. Now we wait with great anticipation the response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Die Welt: The Pope said that he would not have agreed to the lifting of the excommunications of your four bishops if he had been aware of the statements of Bp. Williamson. What will happen with Bp. Williamson after the reconciliation?

Fr. Schmidberger: I am not a prophet, but I do believe that during the discussions about a canonical structure for the Fraternity, which will certainly not be held in only one session, the participants will also talk about Bp. Williamson. Certainly, it may expect from him that he will obey the Superior General’s instructions.

Die Welt: It is said about Archbishop Lefebvre, the founder of the Fraternity, that he “adhered to eternal Rome with all his heart”. Would he by now not already have reconciled himself with this Pope who stretches out his hand so much?

Fr. Schmidberger: Things are not that easy. During the visitation of our work by Cardinal Gagnon in 1987, Archbishop Lefebvre wrote the Cardinal a letter and proposed a canonical structure for the Fraternity. At the same time, he made it very clear that current ecumenism under the symbol of religious relativism, religious liberty, the fruit of which is today’s secularism, and collegiality, that paralyses completely the life of the church, are unacceptable for us. Alas, even today there are still differences when it comes to this with the reigning Pope.

Die Welt: What reasonable arguments does the Fraternity in fact still have against religious liberty, the enforcement of which is key for world peace today?

Fr. Schmidberger: Religious liberty is not, in the first place, a matter of practice, but a matter of doctrine. The condemnation of religious liberty by the popes never implied the will to force others to accept the Catholic religion, but it implied that a state, in which the majority of the population is Catholic, should acknowledge that the Catholic religion is the religion revealed by God. At the same time, it can very well to tolerate other religions and confessions and even lay those tolerances down in civil laws.

Obviously, in today’s pluralistic times, such a tolerance would have to find broad application. At the other hand error never has a (natural) right. When, however, it comes to man being capable of recognising God by the light of reason and of being aware of the true religion, then this is also true for statesmen; and it is exactly this that the Popes, up to Pius XII, maintained by condemning religious liberty. Everything else is, in the end, agnosticism.

Die Welt: The latest Popes have all committed themselves to ecumenism, even to a consolidation of the confessions, according to the word of Christ, which says: “that all may be one”, as Jesus prayed (John 17, 21). What would you bring forth against that?

Fr. Schmidberger: Every Sunday the faithful sing: “I believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church;" the prayer of Christ does not refer to the fact that they first have to become one. Indeed, in the course of history, groups have broken away from the Church time and time again; for example the Greeks in the 11th century, and Luther with his followers in the 16th century. For every sincere Christian this is a pain and so we pray daily for the return of those who are separated from the Church to the parental home.

Die Welt: Until today every sect has presumptuously declared that it was right – and it showed a good portion of arrogance towards the majority. Archbishop Lefebvre was different. He suffered a lot from the impending division and the state of emergency of the unresolved status of the Fraternity. Has the Fraternity meanwhile gotten accustomed to the state of emergency – or is the awareness of the
danger of a permanent separation still seen as a distress?

Fr. Schmidberger: A case of emergency is a case of emergency, it is abnormal and aspires towards normalisation. How are we, however, to get to a settlement with meetings in Assisi that implicitly (not explicitly!) claim that all religions are paths to salvation? We certainly suffer from the current situation; but we suffer infinitely more from this religious indifferentism that leads uncountable numbers of souls to their perdition.

Die Welt: The Pope staked his reputation (and the unity of the entire Church) three years ago for the reconciliation with the Fraternity. What does the Fraternity offer for the reconciliation with the Church?

Fr. Schmidberger: When it is canonically recognised, the Fraternity will bring a large religious potential and great religious strength into the interior of the Church. I see few ecclesiastical communities that have taken up the cause of complete unity between dogmatic theology, spirituality and liturgy, and that live by it. We bring a great treasure, for, from the very beginning, we have celebrated solely the ancient, magnificent liturgy with its charism of faith and sanctity.

Furthermore, the Fraternity will be a great support for the Pope in conquering the latent schism that is present everywhere in Europe due to centrifugal forces; see Austria, for example. Only recently an Archbishop in Germany told me that also here they expect the breaking away of large communities.

Die Welt: That was not my question, however. I reminded you of what the Pope had risked for the reconciliation, and I would like to know again what you would be willing to sacrifice.

Fr. Schmidberger: We give up our relative freedom that we have used so far for the worldwide expansion of our work and we put it into the hands of the Pope. For the rest, this is not about some diplomatic agreement, but about the welfare of the Church and the salvation of souls. The problem in the Church is not the Fraternity, but the Modernist theologians and the advancing collapse of the life of the Church since the Council.

Die Welt: Now, even the Anglicans find a home in the Catholic Church. What then has prevented you from feeling home in the Church during the last decades?

Fr. Schmidberger: In fact, the same tendencies that made the Anglicans flee to the Catholic Church have, since the Second Vatican Council, spread within the Catholic Church and led to a devastating loss of faith, to a downfall of morals and to havoc in the liturgy. If you would only think for a moment of the Carnival Masses that enter the churches everywhere these days. You see, I here have the address of the Pope to the representatives of the Central Committee of German Catholics of September 24th 2011. In this address he says: “the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective.” Through the Council it is not the spirit of the Church that has entered the world; it is the other way around: the spirit of the world has invaded the church.

Die Welt: I do not tell you something new when I point to the small portion in the middle (or at the edge) of the Fraternity that will not participate in a reconciliation with the Pope. Are you prepared to let the reconciliation fail for this portion, or are you prepared to separate yourself from those?

Fr. Schmidberger: If the Roman authorities do not require something from the Fraternity for their canonical recognition that is against the traditional teaching and the praxis of the Church, then there will be no major difficulties concerning a regularization. If, however, Rome would require that we accept the whole of Vatican II unconditionally, then I do not see a possibility for reconciliation.

Die Welt: On the assumption of reconciliation: how would you want to distinguish yourself from other groups that have also committed themselves to Tradition? After a successful reconciliation, what will be and remain specifically your own thing, that others do not have?

Fr. Schmidberger: Our special charism is the formation of priests and the care for priests. Besides that, we in the Fraternity have specialized in the preaching of the Spiritual Exercises, the running of schools, and also simply the care of parishes, which is in a sorry state nowadays. Just think of the Sacrament of Penance that, for example, here in Stuttgart, is no longer granted in the parishes, with a few heroic exceptions. With that, the consciousness of sin and the need for salvation are fading away, as are prayer, the recption of the Sacraments, and the spirit of sacrifice.

Die Welt: There are voices that say that the labor of the Pope for this reconciliation is but a mere pilot for ecumenism as a whole. Do you share this idea, or do you fear it?

Fr. Schmidberger: If what I see is correct, then this can only apply to the Orthodox, but not at all to the different groups of Protestants. For, concerning the former, it is about the acknowledgement of the jurisdictional primacy of the Pope; concerning the latter, there exists besides that a substantial deviance from the Catholic Deposit of Faith, as well as from the teaching and practice of the Sacraments. We did not incur guilt by either one of those ways, even if, based on arguments of the faith, we had to resist certain directives – like the acceptance of the new liturgy.

Die Welt: No Pope has been as considerate to you as much as Benedict XVI. He will soon be 85 years old. Do you ever fear that time might work against you?

Fr. Schmidberger: It is true that the reigning Pope shows us some favor, and I hope that we will find a solution during his pontificate. On the other hand, the situation in the Church is assuming ever more dramatic shapes every day; the Pope himself speaks of the loss of faith in large regions. Would this not be related to certain statements of the Council and the post-conciliar reforms? On some prelates a light seems to dawn here and the longer the crisis acts, the brighter this light will be. And in that sense, time works in favor of us as well.

Die Welt: What gives us most hope that the danger of a new schism between Rome and the Fraternity might be abolished by Easter already?

Fr. Schmidberger: The Fraternity has seen many crises and has emerged from all of them more strengthened than weakened. Above that, together with all its members and houses, it consecrated and gave itself to the Mother of God on December 8, 1984. I hardly believe that God will let a work of His Mother slip away.


  1. "Above that, it has, together with all its members and houses, consecrated and given itself to the Mother of God on December 8, 1984. I hardly believe that God will let a work of His Mother slip away."

    Best lines of the whole interview.


  2. Tramtrist1:29 AM

    "If, however, Rome would require that we accept the whole of Vatican II unconditionally, then I do not see a possibility for reconciliation."

    While I like to be optimistic lines like this lead me to believe they still have large bridges to cross...

    Is VII supposed to just not apply to SSPX only as TERMS for their being allowed full communion?

    Perhaps there is a 3rd way but I do not understand it.. someone enlighten me :)

  3. Ferraiuolo1:36 AM

    Storming heaven with roses is the way!

  4. Let me pose you a different question, dear reader. Do YOU accept Vatican II unconditionally in every single one of its words? Yes, of course one can declare it is a valid Council, it is an Ecumenical Council - and the SSPX certainly seems to think so, and how could it not, considering that their founder was a Father at the Council?

    For instance, do you accept "unconditionally" something like, "it remains each man's duty to retain an understanding of the whole human person in which the values of intellect, will, conscience and fraternity are preeminent." (Gaudium et Spes, 60).

    What about, "The relations, however, between socialization and the autonomy and development of the person can be understood in different ways according to various regions and the evolution of peoples"? (GS, 75)

    Do they not sound like some poorly written pseudo-academic delusional texts, with very little, if any, substance? So I may certainly accept fully the validity of the Council while expressing, at the very least, my amusement with some of its definitions and concerns. One can accept it unconditionally as an event, while not accepting unconditionally every single word in its documents, if only because so many of them are so vacuous and insipid...

  5. Aphrahat2:04 AM

    Didn't we just have a quote from B16 (albeit prior to his election as pope) stating that VII was a pastoral rather than doctrinal council. In that case how could it be understood to be binding on the faithful?

    In my opinion, I think the whole Church would benefit from consigning VII to the dustbin of history. A council the Church didn't need, called during the worst possible time (the swinging 60's) and despite the best intentions of many involved, the fruits it has yielded have by and large been rotten.

  6. Steve2:06 AM

    My favorite quote from the Council:

    The religion of the God who became man has met the religion (for such it is) of man who makes himself God. And what happened? Was there a clash, a battle, a condemnation? There could have been, but there was none. -PPVI, 12/07/1965

  7. Tramtrist2:29 AM


    Does anyone really believe it is possible to just consign a Council to the dustbin?

    I'm not asking tongue in cheek here. Is it really practical for B16 to simply declare (or slowly over time insinuate) that VII was a mistake?

    I'm curious if there is any precedent even close to that situation.

    I pray the SSPX will be brought back. I wonder what actual, practical, and clear issues are holding them back right now.

  8. "I pray the SSPX will be brought back. I wonder what actual, practical, and clear issues are holding them back right now."

    Probably no small part that is holding them back is the current head of the CDF.
    And that is obviously not the Societys fault.

  9. Well said, NC. Fr. Schmidberger's qualification of "unconditionally" is very carefully worded. A rapprochement sounds quite possible.

  10. Brian3:24 AM


    You quoted Fr. Schmidberger's statement: “If, however, Rome would require that we accept the whole of Vatican II unconditionally, then I do not see a possibility for reconciliation.”

    Then you asked, "Is VII supposed to just not apply to SSPX only as TERMS for their being allowed full communion?"

    The discussions between the SSPX and Rome tend to be approached in polarized terms: On the one hand, Vatican II is criticized for being arrogant in their audacity to correct the Pope and disobedient to the point of being Protestant-like. On the other hand, Vatican II is criticized for compromising with the world to the point of quasi-heretical modernism and indifferentism.

    Without commenting on the accuracy of those characterizations, this kind of polarization generates a stalemate in which it is difficult to find a path forward. In short, the polarization generates lots of heat, but not much light.

    There is another way to frame the issue which, it seems to me, has the potential to bring more light, less heat, and a clearer pathway forward.

    This more mutually respectful approach was beautifully captured in a February 9 exchange between His Excellency Thomas E. Gullickson and New Catholic (

    His Excellency cautioned against laying the blame for the dramatic decline in priestly and religious vocations exclusively on the Council of Vatican II and noted that during ”the last years of the pontificate of Pius XII. It would seem that the Holy Father was in anguish over the state of the Church after WW II.”

    In a response, which was a model of respectful disagreement, New Catholic made the following statement, which provides a potentially more respectful and productive way to frame the discussions between the SSPX and Rome. New Catholic wrote:

    Yes, the Church was filled with grave problems on the eve of the Council, as she had been, for instance, at the end of the Leo XIII pontificate. Though the circumstances were very different, one can wonder which approach was in theory more realistic, based on the problems of the Church, Saint Pius X's or Bl. John XXIII's. If the circumstances of the time were extremely grave, and we know they were, should not we be even more critical of the inexplicable institutional "optimism" that marked the years leading to the Council?

    The Council pereti and Bishops explicitly rejected Pope St. Pius X's approach as being too dogmatic, rigid, and negativistic, and proposed an approach to the modern world and other religions that was more flexible, positive, subjective and conciliatory.

    The SSPX favors the approach of Pius X. In a matter that might best be framed as a prudential "pastoral" judgment, the SSPX stands by the more Traditional approach to heresy, false religions, and the world expressed by the Council of Trent and Pope Pius X. As such they are faithful Catholics and should not be forced to unconditionally accept the approach expressed in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

  11. No, but we could just ignore it and forget about it, as has happened with most other councils.

    The tragedy of Vatican II for me is not so much ecumenism or whatever, more what the Council destroyed. Even if Vatican II were to be torn up tomorrow morning the catastrophic damage it inaugurated is irreparable. I feel very, very angry about it.

    It's no exaggeration to say that Vatican II destroyed millions of lives worldwide. It was the religious equivalent of the Nazi holocaust (actually it was much worse: "Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul".)

    Catholic bishops are still apologizing for the crusades, never mind the abuse scandals. How much more are we owed an apology for the last 50 years of doctrinal and liturgy terrorism?

  12. Gratias7:09 AM

    This interview gives hope that SSPX might take the plunge while Benedict XVI is still with us.

  13. >"What reasonable arguments does the Fraternity in fact still have against religious liberty, the enforcement of which is key for world peace today?"

    What a bizarre statement.

  14. The diocesan bishops and their respective curiae act against their own priests of 'Traditionalist' leaning, their attitude towards SSPX would be ten times worse. That is not to mention the attitude of the lay controllers of the parishes. As opposed to the Vatican II issue dilemma, the above is a crucial aspect. A local 'Traditional' orientated parish, has been referred to in derogatory terms by the clergy and movers in an adjacent parish.

  15. I sincerely hope reconciliation happens and soon. The Church needs the SSPX more than ever.

  16. Grumpy12:56 PM


    While this may be an unprecedented situation, I think it's fair to state that any non-infallible aspect of an ecumenical council can, in theory, ultimately, be consigned to the trashcan.

    And in the case of Second Vatican, just about everything novel - all of which are non-infallible - should be nullified.

  17. Brian1:06 PM


    In my post above I wrote:

    On the one hand, Vatican II is criticized for being arrogant in their audacity to correct the Pope and disobedient to the point of being Protestant-like.

    But meant to say:

    On the one hand, the SSPX is criticized for being arrogant in their audacity to correct the Pope and disobedient to the point of being Protestant-like.

  18. Alsaticus1:33 PM

    to CMI
    ">"What reasonable arguments does the Fraternity in fact still have against religious liberty, the enforcement of which is key for world peace today?"

    What a bizarre statement."

    No there is nothing "bizarre" in that statement ; it's the Society position which is in fact "bizarre".

    It has been a long time that the Church is agreeing with religious freedom. Apart from the City of Vatican, there is nowhere a country where we have an exclusive Christian confessional state.
    Even Franco Concordate of 1953 is preserving religious freedom.

    Who can ever think of the USA as a Catholic state with F.B.I. arresting Protestants and sending them to Gitmo ?

    Can you provide a single example of political party endorsing the Syllabus of 1864 ?
    Vatican II is just making a basic pragmatical statement : the exclusive Catholic state, contrary to what Bl. Pius IX thought, is in no way necessary to evangelize. It is nothing but an option - as written in Dignitatis Humanae. A big fuss was made about a false question without any real impact on Church life.
    For ex. Catholics in the USA have been growing considerably without a Catholic state to back them. The various concordates never stopped secularization everywhere including in Italy.

    The real n°1 problem of Vatican II is not D.H. but Nostra aetate n°2 in particular :

    " The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. "

    This is highly questionable and bear many negative consequences upon evangelization.
    This little paragraph is behind the worse interfaith "theologies", it unnerving apostolic effort, generating Assisi I/II and III/IV, weakening any specific Catholic institution.

    The lack of clarity also of Dei Verbum upon Tradition and the Magisterium is opening ways for neo-modernists, though it can be kept under control.
    The poison of these 2 sentences of Nostra aetate is much harder to fight.

  19. The Maronite order was founded upon a refusal to accept the Third Council of Constantinople. They remained suspicious of official Rome, though loyal to the See of Peter, for centuries, and never went into formal schism. Henri Daniel-Rops, in The Church in the Dark Ages, writes:

    “At the very moment when the Sixth Oecumenical Council was liquidating Monothelitism, groups of the faithful in the Taurus area refused to accept its decisions. Did they have some secret sympathies with the condemned theses? This has been maintained, but there is no proof of it. More probably they were misinformed on the exact wording of the canons. It was an exceedingly noble feeling of absolute loyalty to the decisions of some of the Councils which prompted them to adopt an attitude of suspicious refusal in this case. On the banks of the Orontes, on the plains of Apamea and Cyr, a monastic community was founded around the tomb of a great fifth-century anchorite, St. Maro. It was the monks of this community who, at the height of the theological conflicts, constituted the loftiest bastion of the faith. Fervent Chalcedonians, they refused to rally to positions which they considered heretical, and they formed themselves into an independent patriarchate, simultaneously hostile to the Monophysite Jacobites and suspicious of the official Church. They courageously resisted all the pressures brought to bear upon them. When the Moslem invasion forced them to leave the fertile plains they preferred to abandon all rather than submit or come to terms with the infidels. Taking refuge in the mountains of the Lebanon they became, under the leadership of their patriarch, the defenders of a Christian stronghold which neither the centuries nor the wave of force was to overcome: like Abraham of old, the Maronites had found the means of preserving their faith in a new land. Later on, at the time of the Greek schism, they refused to be associated with the errors of Cerularius and remained faithful to the great principle: ‘Ubi Petrus, ibi Christus.’ In the eleventh century the passage of the Crusaders across their territory resulted in welding the bonds of loyalty which have bound them to Rome until the present day.”

    Now, it cannot be said that Archbishop Lefebvre was "misinformed" as to the texts of the Vatican II documents, but as we have seen, in the case of this Council the texts themselves are often so ambiguous that it's impossible to know for certain what they mean. The point is that an "attitude of suspicious refusal" is excusable when a Council (to say nothing of a merely pastoral Council) is justifiably suspected of heretical tendencies, and such an attitude need not impede an eventual reconciliation. There is no indication, at least in this text, that the Maronites were ever forced to make an act of submission to the Third Council of Constantinople.

  20. Phil_NL1:46 PM

    Even on the best days, we still seem to have made little to no progress on the key issue: will the SSPX allow the pope to be pope, that is, submit to the Holy Father's judgement what is compatible with tradition?

    The issue is not, at least not in its essence, if VII has to be unconditionally accepted by the SSPX (as NC shows, that is far too vague a term). The issue is whether the SSPX wants to belong to a Church that also allows, and recognizes as valid, different interpretations of VII (and many other things besides, such as the NO)in the same Church.

    And that seems to be the perrennial sticking point: the SSPX would want to see Rome repudiate much, and since that is unlikely to be on offer, would want to impose limits on how VII is interpreted. Limits that do not bind the society - after all, the Feeneyists didn't have to recant either, and it's also clear that Rome won't repudiate the sources the SSPX bases itself on, so there cannot be a meaningful reduction in what the Society believes. Yet there can be a meaningful reduction of what is possible on the other end of the spectrum, espcially given VIIs ambiguity. So the SSPX can seek limits there. Yet it's the Holy Father's prerogative, and only his, to set those.

    And the fact the SSPX still has loads of problems with that doesn't come across as them trusting the successor of Peter. Alas.

  21. Religious liberty does not mean that error has rights but only that it is tolerated in the hope that eventually those in error will come to acknowledge the Truth. The problem is those in error are now proclaimed to be "paths toward salvation." This, along with other propositions emanating from the liberal left, like universal salvation and the efficacy of false religions, makes the Church into a caricature of Herself. It is these propositions that traditional groups like the FSSPX are fighting against, not the Pope.

  22. Ivan K4:17 PM

    The 'enforcement' of religious liberty in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other muslim states would be the 'key to maintaining world peace'? Perhaps the jurnalist believes that 'world peace' will be maintained as long as Catholic countries continue to degrade the Church and build mosques. How can religious liberty be the key to world peace in a world in which there is religious liberty only in Christian countries? Even Muslim countries with a reputation for secularism don't permit conversion from Islam to Christianity. Catholics in love with religious liberty appear to live in some parallel universe.

  23. I must say that this is one of the most balanced, clear and hopeful interviews I have ever read regarding this issue. I continue to earnestly pray for the resolution of this situation for the good of the whole Church. I am 45 years old and have known nothing other than this terrible crisis in which we find ourselves. I was angry about it for many, many years. I felt deprived of a normal Catholic childhood. I am still angry about the loss of faith among my siblings who never had a chance to begin with. I used to wonder when the chastisement was going to come but I think I've been living in it most of my life.

  24. Fr. Schmidberger: "The Fraternity has seen many crises and has emerged from all of them more strengthened than weakened... together with all its members and houses, consecrated and given itself to the Mother of God on December 8, 1984. I hardly believe that God will let a work of His Mother slip away."


    Between my fingers
    Flow blue beads
    Praying for all
    Not wants but needs.

    Desiring good
    For all that trespass
    Against our souls
    Bank beads of blue glass

    Against our being
    We stiffen and rail
    Rapids of beads
    Bleed anger pale.

    And though we're wounded
    Misjudged and wronged
    The river of blue
    Is her Immaculate song.

  25. Melchior Cano5:47 PM

    Religious liberty does not mean that error has rights but only that it is tolerated in the hope that eventually those in error will come to acknowledge the Truth.

    PEH, you are attempting to redefine religious liberty. This exact debate was what took place between Cardinal Bea (arguing for religious liberty) and Cardinal Ottaviani (arguing for religious toleration). This is the exact distinction Fr. Schmidberger makes: Toleration, yes, of course, the Church has always advocated that as the prudential course in certain situations, and certainly in our time. Religious liberty; that is, the granting that false religions have a "right" to exist; no, that is unacceptable for a Catholic.

    I think we have to be careful not to redefine terms, especially when something so serious is at stake.

    My hope is that Rome will declare the SSPX to be in formal schism (which they are). The SSPX will NEVER submit to Rome, and they never had any internion of doing so

    Roman Catholic,

    I can't quite comprehend this. On the one hand you object that the Society does not submit to Rome and accept their competency; on the other hand, when those with competent authority to make these decisions decide that it is not a case of schism (either formal or material), you insist you know better.

    As to the latter part of your comment, that "they never had any intention of doing so," I ask you on what grounds you say it?

    Are you privy to Abp. Lefebvre's personal diary? Has Bishop Fellay consulted you to tell you it's all a ruse? Your comment smacks of rash judgment, and does little to contribute to reasoned discussion and debate.

  26. It has been a long time that the Church is agreeing with religious freedom. Apart from the City of Vatican, there is nowhere a country where we have an exclusive Christian confessional state.
    Even Franco Concordate of 1953 is preserving religious freedom.

    You are failing to make a distinction which I find is commonplace among those who do not understand the Society, and the pre-conciliar magisterium's position on religious liberty. You are confusing the toleration of error, (a civil religious freedom) with the dogmatic principle of the Church's perennial magisterium and social thought.

    The society's position is not that non-catholic religions must be coerced by the state to become Catholic. It is rather that theologically there is only one Church which is true, and that is the religion the state should confess. That is another world away from religious coercion.

    The example you site is "religious tolerance", which is a very old principle, and evinced in medieval Europe with the papal defense of Jewish communities. Civil tolerance and the concept of a positive "right" in the Catholic tradition are worlds apart.

    So when the SSPX say they oppose religious liberty, they say they oppose the doctrine that man has an inherent right to choose a false religion. They do not oppose the civil tolerance of the state to non-Catholic groups which is not founded on the concept of a "right" but on the concept of civil prudence. This is the same state of affairs as Catholic monarchies in the 19th century which confessed the true religion, but tolerated the error of protestant groups within.

  27. I haven't read through all the comments so forgive me if someone has said this already.

    One of the most interesting in my opinion in this interview is:

    "Die Welt: On the assumption of reconciliation: how would you want to distinguish yourself from other groups that have also committed themselves to Tradition? After a successful reconciliation, what will be and remain specifically your own thing, that others do not have?"

    Once the SSPX becomes regularized, what will, in fact, distinguish it from the FSSP? After all, the FSSP came from the SSPX.

  28. I haven't redefined anything. Religious freedom means that man is free to practice whatever religion he chooses; religious tolerance mans the state allows the practice of those religions. Again I say error has no rights and in doctrinal terms there is only one true religion.

  29. Melchior Cano8:58 PM

    Religious liberty does not mean that error has rights but only that it is tolerated in the hope that eventually those in error will come to acknowledge the Truth.

    My dear PEH,

    In the above quote you clearly attempt to give a qualification of religious liberty as not meaning that error has rights. To claim that religious liberty is only a question of toleration is, in fact, to redefine it.

  30. P.K.T.P.10:24 PM


    Note first that the interviewing journalist, like so many others before him, tries to push the dangerous personal prelature structure on the Society, a jurisdiction which would be fatal for the S.S.P.X. One need only consult Canons 294 to 297 to see why. The structure also lacks the flexibility to apply to the Society, which includes affiliates whose members are not clerics (whereas the p.p. is only for clerics). Why do these journalists keep this up?

    Notice that Fr. S. does not, at first, respond to this pushy assertion. Later in the interview, he makes it clear that the terms of any juridical structure have yet to be decided.

    What has Bishop Fellay said on this same subject? In September, it was revealed by Rome that the dangerous p.p. structure had been proposed but only as an initial idea to be discussed. Quite recently, and on this very blog, Bishop Fellay was reported saying that the structure proposed initially has been replaced with one that satisfies all the Society's canonical concerns and needs. Since the first proposal was for a p.p., and since, according to Bishop Fellay, this has been replaced with another structure, it follows logically that the p.p. mentioned here by the Die Welt reporter is OFF THE TABLE. So why does he continue to push push push for it? The answer is simple: the p.p. requires, under Canon 297, that the local bishop approve any apostolates of the prelature which are exercised in his see. Liberals in the media hope to 'prepare' everyone psychologically for an unworkable structure. They are trying to affect the canonical outcome in their usual way: by non-stop repetition of what they want.

    I suggest to Fr. Schmidberger that, in future, he should put down assertions of a personal prelature directly and forcefully. Such a constant campaign for one could spread confusion and worry among traditionalists. What would work? An international personal ordinariate would work, as would a personal (arch)diocese or personal apostolic administration. The Campos precedent blazes the canonical path, not the ignorance or malice of journalists from Die Welt.


  31. P.K.T.P.10:40 PM

    NOTE THE SECOND (Oh, I'm just using pompous tags to wake up fellow bloggers)

    My second note is that a discerning reader can discover something interesting: the S.S.P.X has apparently 'moved' (compromised) in the negotiations. Let us return to Bishop Fellay's initial assertion. He said that there would be no agreement to accept a juridical structure until all doctrinal issues had been settled.

    Fr. Schmidberger waffles on whether he refers to Rome's 'recognition' of the Society or its 'regularisation'. He uses both terms and at least, in his usage, one might think that they were interchangeable. But they do not mean the same thing at all. Rome could recognise the Society tomorrow by finding that the suppression of 1976 was unjust or illegal. However, that would leave the S.S.P.X in the same position the F.S.S.P. and others enjoy today: this would require that local bishops approve Society apostolates. The bishops would then gleefully refuse to do so.

    So, assuming that Rome does recognise the Society, it would then be necessary to offer it an international and personal diocese or its equivalent, or an international ordinariate, or an international apostolic delegature directly under the Pope (essentially, anything but a personal prelature would fit the bill). Would Bishop Fellay accept this wihtout first having solved all doctrinal issues? He would now apparently do so even before resolving the 'principles and criteria' of the interpretation of such doctrines. Even assuming that they reach an agreement on such priniciples and criteria, this does not amount to an agreement on the doctrines themselves.

    Rome will likely use the 'Feeneyite' solution, also favoured in the past by the Anglican Communion: not every doctrine is essential and we can tolerate some alternative non-essential doctrines. Very clever. However, this will not satisfy Bishops Tissier or Williamson on matters of such importance as relgious liberty, collegiality, œcumenism and the New Mass. As Bishop W. would no doubt put it: one plus one equals two and always and everywhere only two, all other options being srictly heretical.

    A problem. Question: Will Bishop Fellay accept mere tolerance of the Society's positions in order to get the international personal non-prelature?


  32. Personal Prelatures are NOT only for clerics, and any one who can read--Canon Law--can see this for himself. It's ridiculous that the 90,000 "members" of the only Personal Prelature would not "really" be a part of it if this were the case.

    Whether SSPX should become a Personal Prelature is another matter.

    Let's not pretend our opinions are the last word in this matter.

  33. P.K.T.P.11:05 PM

    Mike, you are completely mistaken. Opus Dei, which the lay members belong to, is not a personal prelature but an association of Christ's faithful only affiliated to the prelature. The clerics who serve it, however, are members of the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross. Moreover, the members of Opus Dei remain subjects of the local bishops; they are not subjects of the prelature. This has canonical and Sacramental consequences which point quite precisely to the reason here that a p.p. cannot work for the S.S.P.X. The purpose of Opus Dei is not, in its essentials, Sacramental. Its purpose is to advance 'The Work' devised by Escriva. In stark contrast, what is needed here is a particular church in which the lay supporters are subjects of a personal bishop.

    Canon law provides the recourse for this in Canon 372, Section 2, and the Apostolic Administration of St. John-Mary Vianney is the first and so-far only result of this: it is the precedent (just as Opus Dei is so far the only p.p.). The new Anglican structures might also work. There are two of them so far, with one or two more in the works.

    Furthermore, under Canon 297, a personal prelalte needs the permission of the local bishop to establish an apostolate in his see. That is a fortiori why this would not work here. Opus Dei can exist everywhere but its priests can only found chapels and administer the Sacraments where they are given leave so to do because the Prelature of the Holy Cross may *not* exist everywhere. That is precisely why The Work has been hampered in most American dioceses.

    No, this is not about personal opinion. Its about canonical facts.


  34. You are overthinking the interviewer's question here, P.K.T.P.

  35. John L11:44 PM

    Alsaticus writes:

    'Vatican II is just making a basic pragmatical statement : the exclusive Catholic state, contrary to what Bl. Pius IX thought, is in no way necessary to evangelize.'

    If this were the case, the SSPX would have no problem with the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae; this has been clearly stated in the past by both Abp. Lefebvre and Bp. Fellay. Both these prelates have stated that they are not opposed to the toleration of false religions by the state in current circumstances.

    What they oppose in Dignitatis Humanae is the presentation of religious freedom as a natural human right. This idea a) means that the Catholic Church has been monstrously unjust for most of her history, through denying this natural right, b) means that a huge number of magisterial teachings, including some infallible ones (Quanta Cura) are false, c) in theory is very difficult to distinguish from an endorsement of religious relativism, and in practice invariably leads to it.

    I submit that these objections to the idea that religious freedom is a natural human right are good ones, and that since on the face of it Dignitatis Humanae endorses this idea, the objections of the SSPX to that document are justified. The understanding of Vatican II that Alsaticus offers - as a pragmatic endorsement of religious toleration - is in fact what the SSPX would like Rome to teach. I believe that an official interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae in this sense would make the document quite acceptable to the SSPX.

  36. "Can. 296 Lay people can dedicate themselves to the apostolic work of a personal prelature by way of agreements made with the prelature. The manner of this organic cooperation and the principal obligations and rights associated with it, are to be duly defined in the statutes."

    Perhaps not "completely".

    Organic--meaning, "part of".

    By the way, for words matter--and today is the anniversary of its founding--it's the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.

    "Its purpose is to advance 'The Work' devised by Escriva."

    Well, that includes making the Sacrifice of the Mass the CENTER of your day.

    But we digress. This isn't about Opus Dei.

    I agree with you that SSPX needs more "protection" from bishops who hate Tradition.

    However, in my experience Opus Dei carries out its mission--traditional catechesis--freely wherever it is.

    No TLM's on a large scale; no balloon Masses either.

    Weekly Confession is encouraged.

    How wobbly!

  37. P.K.T.P.1:30 AM

    Mike writes:

    Organic--meaning, "part of".

    Yes, but look what it modifies: "co-operation". This is not at all like being a subject. In the case of Baptisms and marriages, and confirmations, and even funerals, permission must be given [in the traditional form] by the local bishop. Check the canons. Totally unworkable.

    The Society is also affiliated with monks and friars and nuns who are not clerics under the 1983 Code. Not workable.

    Yes, Opus Dei can carry out its catechesis, but the Prelature of the Holy Cross can only offer Mass or administer Sacraments where the local bishop is agreeable: Canon 297.

    Not workable at all.

    As for Opus Dei's Masses, it is well known that those among its priests who tried to offer the 1962 Mass were persecuted and prevented by its superiors. I did hear of one recent T.L.M. offered by an Opus Dei priest but that is very rare. They have orders from police headquarters: say only the New Mass, but say it reverently (and yet their founder had an exception...). They know that, should they become a means for offering the T.L.M., they will be even further restricted. Only a few American diocese permit the Prelature to operate in their sees. That is a fact.

    From a purely juridical point of view, the new Anglican ordinariates are far more valuable to the T.L.M. than is Opus Dei. Their priests can offer the T.L.M. whenever they want, and their superiors generally favour it. The new ordinariates could also, at least in law, invite the F.S.S.P. to operate freely throughout the U.S.A. and England and Wales, since they exist throughout those territories (and Australia is likely to be added).

    However, this will not happen. You see, it's all about real estate and sacred places. The local Roman ordinaries have most of the property and most of the power. That's why others don't cross them. The F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. dare not cross the local bishops and nor dare the new Anglican ordinariates. Where will they worship except where the local bishops invite them?

    This is why a personal prelature will not fit the bill. Thank God the S.S.P.X has its own real estate; and thank God Bishop Fellay, that good man, got the p.p. structure off the table.


  38. In regard to the Work and the TLM, I would say your facts might be correct--I have no way of verifying them, and I suspect, neither do you--however, the Church is a large vineyard, and the Work chose, in 1970, obedience to the Vicar of Christ. Others chose differently, in a 1000 different directions. The SSPX, I believe, chose the right direction--Tradition--but the wrong means--disobedience. However, I don't want to argue this; I admit it's not something I've studied in depth. I couldn't disobey the express wishes of Christ's Vicar on earth; but, clearly, SSPX has borne good fruit. God will provide a way for them.

    I do wish the SSPX well, and hope they get what they need to be fully recognized as fellow laborers in God's Church.

  39. P.K.T.P.11:49 AM


    Now you've changed the subject, for reasons unknown. So now you wish to discuss not the juridical structure but the matter of obedience. You should know that the Holy Catholic Church has always rejected (at least in principle) any adherence of absolute obedience. So many today demand and expect this. They are wrong. Notions of absolute obedience arose after the time of Trent, and they are a departure from the standard set in the High Middle Ages, the Ages of Faith.

    It is, rather, a Protestant idea that we can owe absolute obedience to any earthly power. The notion of the divine right of kings as an absolute is pure Protestant thought, from the seventeenth century, in particular Our Bossuet disproved their false claims, and he was a Bishop! Absolute authority is foreign to a true thinking with the Church.

    In Pastor Æternus, Vatican I (the better Vatican Council), the Pope's authority is explained as universai, immediate, supreme and plenary--plenary, but *not* absolute. Plenary authority is explained as that which is needed by the Pope to fulfil his divine mission, which is, above all, to advance and protect Holy Church and to save souls. The Pope does not have the absolute power of an Eastern potentate or a Protestant king.

    After the Council, many old fools from among our priesthood used the excuse of 'obedience' to violate their own consciences and implement what they knew in their bones was wrong. This was and is inexcusable. We are called by Christ the King to follow an *informed* conscience--and one formed in the Faith--and to obey the Pope within the scope of his authority.

    As the 1986 Commission of Cardinals found unanimously (including Cardinal Ratzinger, who was one of them), Pope Paul VI lacked the competence to abolish or seriously reform the ancient Latin Mass because it was a treasure gifted to the Church by God the Holy Ghost through Sacred Tradition. Even the Pope is not above the dove.

    We owe the Pope respect and we owe him that obedience which is proper to his office. But, as St. Thomas asserted, he cannot violate his own laws licitly, and an ordinance of positive law, including one of the Canon Law, cannot qualify as true law if it violate a principle of natural justice.

    Unfortunately, we Catholics and not the Protestants, are duty-bound to use the brains God gave us. We cannot hide behind an excuse of absolute obedience; our obedience must be fitting and just.

    Our Lord told us that we can judge the tree by the fruit, at least in terms of what is culpable for us. So those who thought they discerned a devastation following the Council were right to resist an abuse of power on the part of Paul VI, for they resisted only out of love for the Mystical Bride of Christ and not to advance a personal agenda. If the resisters are materially mistaken, they are not culpable because they acted in accordance to a conscience formed in the Faith, and they resisted minimally, not daring to claim the establishment of an alternate church. They recognised the Pope and even the liberal bishops, and obeyed them to the extent possible to them.

    If only the liberals in the Church had done the same! Instead, while the Pope recognises them as legitimate, they abort and contracept and deny all the Church's essential teachings, from the Virgin Birth to the Resurrection to transubstantiation to the propitiatory nature of the Mass. I submit that it is their disobedience which violates the plenary (not absolute) authority of the last four popes! It is they who need to confess for an immoral disobedience!


  40. P.K.T.P.12:08 PM

    I am puzzled by Alaticus's bizarre analysis. The confessional state is not an option; it is mandatory when it is possible. D.H. does not deny this; rather, it posits that the limit of legal intervention in such a state is the "common good", whereas Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of 1864 refer to "public order" as the limit.

    We see so many wild statements about the confessional state. A Catholic state by no means would arrest Protestants just for being Protestant. The fact that *other* principles were violated in the past is quite beside the point. The confessional Catholic state must respect all the Catholic ethical principles regarding the freedom of religion of non-Catholics.

    So this is not about arresting people for being Protestant; it is not about the thumbscrews of the Spanish Inquisition. It does mean that, in a Catholic State, the authorities could use reasonable and minimal force to dissuade heretics from trying to convert Catholics, as a conversion to heresy endangers one's eternal soul, an object far more valuable than the physical body.

    In a Catholic State, the authorities in, say, Brazil, could deny visas to American Pentecostal ministers come to convert the people to heresy. They could deport them and fine locals who try such false proselytism. Protesants and others would be free to worship in common but not openly; that is, they could not put a sign on the door saying 'Presbyterian church', but it could be such a church for all intents and purposes.

    There could be limits on even these measures. A limit regarding public order would apply even when the Catholic majority deemed it to be disorderly to restrict the activities of non-Catholics. So one must also take into account the conditions of our own time.

    We are now beginning to see the effect of having a state in which there are no limits. We have images of Christ (and worse: I will not say it), horribly abused in public blasphemy. Similar threats to the Muslims have already resulted in open violence. In a Catholic state, all these attacks on our Lord and His Holy and Immaculate Mother could be forcefully prevented by the State; and the State, ironically, could even protect non-Catholic religion from abuse on the grounds of maintaining public order.

    The important thing here is to deny the Freemasonic ideal of a completely free and confessionless state, in which people have an equal right to embrace truth or error. There can never be a natural right to embrace error.

    In a Catholic state, laws could simply outlaw sodomy and inverted marriage, abortion, divorce and artificial contraception, and all on relgious grounds alone. This is how it should be. We are beginning to see the effects of *not* having protection for the truth.


  41. Question: Will Bishop Fellay accept mere tolerance of the Society's positions in order to get the international personal non-prelature?

    PKTP, thank you for your always erudite comments!

    I agree that +Williamson wants Rome to bow yoke to pre-Vatican II thinking before rapprochement, but that's not going to happen.

    Better to get the antivirus (SSPX) in the body (Rome) to attack the virus (VII-ese) than leave it festering.

  42. This interview is clear. There is no need for us to continue to speculate about what structure SSPX will accept, or whether they might trade fifty years of 'not messing' with the TLM for their re-integration into the burning building. Nor is there any chance to get away with throwing up one's hands, now, over 'ambiguities' in Vatican II texts. In Father Gleize's response to Msgr. Ocariz, SSPX has named the unambiguous bad teaching in the texts clearly, and has named the papal and counciliar texts they contradict, has corraled the doctrinal dispute to the nature of the Church, to ecumenism, religious liberty, and collegiality (as they have done for years). Rome has said Vatican II is the new tradition, too bad, adhere to it or else. SSPX will not. Bishop Fellay is shaken by it, but firm. He has simply promised more rosary crusades. Fellay's sermon at Candlemas ought to have settled it, that is where the matter will stand until these last conciliar fanatics die off, or we get a flat out miracle. Those were the only two possibilities mentioned by Fellay. We really ought to believe him and begin the long process of preparing a new generation, first of all by understanding really well those four points of difference on which the world hangs (at DICI) and teaching them to the world--arming the faithful. The poor child's hunger depends on it. The enslaved woman's future depends on it. The underpaid miner's life depends on it. The terrorized unborn depend on it. Doctrine has legs. The false teaching of religious liberty, particularly, has enormous civic consequences.

  43. P.K.T.P.5:04 PM

    Mike, you have now changed the subject to the matter of obedience. We Catholics do not observe an unlimited obedience to an absolute authority. The Pope is not an Eastern potentate; nor is he a king under the seventeenth-century Protestant theory of the absolute rule of monarchs. Bishop Bossuet rejected and refused that.

    You will find the Catholic conception of proper obedience in Pastor Æternus, from Vatican I. The Pope's authority is universal, immediate, supreme and plenary--not absolute. Plenary authority means that which is adequate to fulfil his divine mission, to protect and advance Holy Church and to save souls. It is a positive power to do good.

    Our Lord taught us to judge a tree by its fruits. In doing so, we utilise a conscience formed in the Faith. This is not some Protestant free interpretation; it depends on the Deposit of Faith as transmitted to us in the Sacred Magisterium. So a true disobedience, in a Catholic sense, cannot mean a following of such a formed conscience in judging the fruits of the Council. If some traditionalists disobeyed Pope Paul VI, they did so out of love for the Church and without any intent to contradict her. This is called 'rightful disobedience', and it is the sort engaged in by the S.S.P.X, which disobeyed only to the extent thought to be necessary. This is why the Society did not establish a parallel hierarchy. It is why it recognises the authority of the Pope and the bishops.

    A wrongful disobedience is the sort manifested by liberals who imposed Communion in manu when it was stiil illegal in the early 1970s. It is the sort that refuses the rubrics of the New Mass in favour of doing whatever one pleases. It is the sort that refuses belief in transubstantiation, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the propitiatory nature of the Mass, the Immaculate Conception of our Lady, and so forth. It is the sort that departs from Holy Church on artificial contraception, abortion, sodomy, inverted marriage, fornication, divorce and euthanasia.

    Those who have been wrongfully disobedient, Mike, are the liberals. But no sanctions have been imposed on them. Where is the justice here? Sanctions are declared for those who adhere to the ancient Latin Mass but not on those who vote for abortion in legislatures?

    The 1986 Commission of Cardinals, Mike, found that an abolition of the ancient Mass was beyond the power of Pope Paul VI because the ancient Latin Mass was gifted to the Church by the Holy Ghost through constant tradition. The Pope is not above the dove. As St. Thomas taught, ordinances of positive law which violate norms of natural justice are not bad laws; no, rather, they fail to qualify as law at all. So the Society did not engage in any wrongful disobedience in resisting an abuse of power as attempted by Paul VI in "De Missali Romano" of 1971.


  44. P.K.T.P.5:07 PM

    Here is what Fr. Schmidberger says:

    "If the Roman authorities do not require something the traditional teaching and the praxis of the Church, then there will be no major difficulties concerning a regularization."

    In the next sentence, he mentions a reconciliation as the product of a recognition and a regularisation. Notice how he deftly negotiates these three terms.

    Clearly, Fr. Schmidberger, former superior-general, sees two separate processes. First, Rome might recognise the Society. This could occur were it determined that the Society's 1975 suppression was unjust and hence invalid. If Rome recognises that the Society's members are Catholic and that their belief in a state of necessity is reasonable, she may recognise the validity and liceity of all its Sacrmaents, perhaps under some condition, such as commitment to resolve the doctrinal difficulties sans polemics.

    Such a recognition would presumably entail a public recognition that the Society's Masses do indeed fulfil the Sunday and holyday obligation, perhaps joined to a solemn plea from the Pope not to support the Society prior to its regularisation.

    Clearly, a regularisation is different than a recognition of an existing situation. Were the Society to be recognised, it would have the same status as the F.S.S.P. and not be able to expand into new dioceses without the permission of the local bishops in each.

    Presumably, the regularisation in current law, aside from promotion from pious union to society of apostolic life, would mean that the Society would be asked to accept a personal non-prelature, a particular church (i.e. personal [arch]diocese) or ordinariate existing throughout the world. This could be an apostolic delegature directly subject to the Pope.

    Would the Society accept such a sructure prior to reaching an agreement on doctrine? All along, Bishop Fellay has said that he would not accept any juridical structure until all the essential doctrinal problems had been resolved. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais opined that this could not happen "for at least thirty years".

    Now Fr. Schmidberger is suggesting that "there will be no major difficulties" if Rome recognises the Society. At present, there is not even an agreement over the "principles and criteria" of interpretation of conciliar doctrines. So how can the S.S.P.X be remotely close to accepting a deal? Of course, if all of this is true, Rome has also 'moved' in negotiation, since she is now prepared to vacate the 1975 suppression.

    This all looks like an agreement to accept the Society's positions but perhaps only as options, as there is no exclusion of other potential theological positions. As Bishop Williamson would say, one plus one must always and everywhere equal two. Here, we admit that it equals two for Bishop Fellay but perhaps three for Cardinal Levada and, say, seventeen, for Hans Küng.

    The Society is apparently moderating its position. It is now prepared gto accept a canonical structure before all points of doctrinal disagreement have been resolved. We apparently have movement. The ball is in the Pope's court.


  45. For the record, I noted the following in an article from the Vatican Insider section in English of La Stampa:

    "The recent publications of confidential Vatican documents appear to be aimed at giving the impression that there is a conspiracy against a severely ill Pope, but how much awareness or lack of it there is within the papal household in relation to these rumours?"

    The article then goes on to discuss the leaked documents, etc. complete with denials of authenticity, etc., but no denial of the health issue.

    Does anyone know anything? As an Anglican Usage person, I recall hearing stories about the much more favorable document that was on Pope Paul VI's desk, unsigned, when he died, perhaps more like the Ordinariate strucure now finally coming into place, than the Pastoral Provision that Bl. John Paul II adopted. I trust the SSPX authorities will bear this kind of thing in mind.

  46. Melchior Cano,

    You insist on accusing me of redefining the term religious liberty. So be it, but when I said error has no rights I was speaking in doctrinal terms not legal terms. Yes, a person may practice whatever religion he/she wishes, or even no religion at all, but that does not mean he/she has that right in doctrinal terms for only the Catholic Church has the Truth which dispels all errors.

  47. Roman Catholic6:08 PM

    Melchoir Cano, you asked about the schism situation, so I'll refer you to Pope John Paul ll, who declared that the consecrations of the four in 1988 were a schismatic act. And I can provide canonical verification, and quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas as well on the subject of schism.

    Regarding the SSPX having no intention of reconciling, my belief in this stems from the fact that Rome will never denounce the Council, as the SSPX wants them to. The SSPX knows this. Therefore they will not reconcile. Not ever...unless they change their minds about the Council.

    I recently saw a comment on another blog which also well-describes the situation:

    "SSPX is not coming back to Rome. Their whole identity depends on them being separatist. If they come back they won't feel like they're anything special....and they have to feel special."

  48. Melchoir Cano, you asked about the schism situation, so I'll refer you to Pope John Paul ll, who declared that the consecrations of the four in 1988 were a schismatic act. And I can provide canonical verification, and quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas as well on the subject of schism.

    There is a problem with this analysis. Assuming that the Society was in schism (which I don't accept, but whatever), assuming it was the case, that was a result of consecrating bishops without a mandate. The excommunication, (again, assuming for the sake of argument was valid and in full force) was lifted, along with all of its effects. So if the SSPX was indeed schismatic, the Pope's act of lifting the excommunication also lifts all the penalties (which would include the alleged schism), so it is no longer relevant whether they were or were not schismatic, because the source of the "schism" has been forgiven and its effects made null. Moreover that only applied to the Bishops, not to the priests, thus even if it was so one could not call the Society schismatic, since the Bishops of the society do not enjoy hierarchy due to their consecration, but are so to confer Confirmation and ordain. The bishops do not constitute a parallel Church as Bishop Fellay has clarified many times.

    Maybe you don't agree with the Society. Fine. Yet trying to argue the "schism" question is backtracking 3 years to what is no irrelevant and takes attention away from the very relevant and present question, what is the status of Vatican II, what must the Society accept for canonical recognition, and what canonical recognition are we talking about? Anything else distracts from the reality of what we're dealing with, and, like the media reports saying Fellay told Rome we will not obey (which is not what Fellay said) puts an unjust pejorative slant on the negotiations.

  49. "since she is now prepared to vacate the 1975 suppression."


    Forgive me if I have overlooked something, but how do you know this?

  50. @PKTP Sanctions are declared for those who adhere to the ancient Latin Mass but not on those who vote for abortion in legislatures?
    Pope Paul VI lacked the competence to abolish or seriously reform the ancient Latin Mass because it was a treasure gifted to the Church by God the Holy Ghost through Sacred Tradition. Even the Pope is not above the dove.

    Very true.

    So when Cardinal Vignot used strong-arm tactics to force Lefebvre to say a mass he found unconscionable (the praxis of which is meal over sacrifice--and that is a provable fact if you look at the offeratory), who is blameworthy: Rome or Econe?

  51. @Roman Catholic, The SSPX knows this. Therefore they will not reconcile. Not ever...unless they change their minds about the Council.

    I wouldn't be so pessimistic, my friend. SSPX believes the council is valid, just flawed, as does Msgr. Gherardini, who is an embedded Vatican Theologian. Opinions can vary vis-a-vis the teachings and doctrines of a fallible, pastoral, council.

    Of course, Fr. Feeney's excommunication was lifted even though he refused to believe the non-dogmatic doctrines of baptism by desire and baptism of blood.

    I admit that Vatican II teaches such doctrines as religious liberty. But that is not a dogma, and never will be, because Pope Pius IX declared, possibly infallibly, the opposite.

    Please erase from your mind that Vatican II is some super-dogma. Much of it can, and should, be ignored.

  52. JTLiuzza10:06 PM

    Roman Catholic said (or quoted someone else who said):

    "SSPX is not coming back to Rome. Their whole identity depends on them being separatist. If they come back they won't feel like they're anything special....and they have to feel special."

    I think those who ascribe such petty motives to the men of the Society grossly underestimate them.

  53. PKTP:

    I don't disagree with your statements about unjust laws being sans authority, etc. Nor do I disagree significantly with any of your other statements.

    The pretty much unprecedented crisis that hit the Church around 1970 (no doubt, brewing for decades)was--and is--a terrible trial permitted by God. Different groups, who wanted to remain Roman Catholic, reacted differently. I do not judge them. We should all heed the elder brother's lesson in Our Lord's parable of the Prodigal son. Let us make sure our hearts are in the right place.

    I think, honestly, that those who want to see this crisis over, the rupture healed, should be careful not to demand uniformity in areas that are open to prudential judgment.

    I deeply sympathize with the SSPX. I hope cooler heads prevail and they work with Vatican authorities for the good of the whole Church.

    It's not just about them. The whole Church needs a major infusion of Traditional catechesis and the TLM.

  54. P.K.T.P.1:35 AM

    Cruise the Groove:

    To answer your question, I know it by inference. Fr. S. is saying that Rome is considering a 'recognition' of the Society, followed by a regularisation. Look at his words. If there is first to be considered a recognition, this implies that the Society is already somehow legitimate, and that can only be the case if the 1975 suppression was unjust. If it was unjust (a violation of Moral Law), then the ordinanace of suppression in Canon Law must be null. If that's the case, then the Holy See can make a declaration to that effect.

    Of course, this does not mean that Rome will recognise the Society at all. It is only under consideration, so we shall see.


  55. P.K.T.P.1:38 AM

    Roman Catholic:

    At or near the time of the withdrawal of the excommunications, the Holy See said that, while the 1988 consecrations were a schismatic act, they were not one sufficient to complete a formal schism. I have frequently given a parallel here. If a woodsman were to deliver a single blow to a tree but this did not fell the tree, we could say that it was a destructive act but not one sufficient to kill the tree.

    As a result, there is no formal schism.


  56. "SSPX is not coming back to Rome. Their whole identity depends on them being separatist. If they come back they won't feel like they're anything special....and they have to feel special."

    What a fatuous statement! Pop psychology, anyone?

  57. Roman Catholic2:37 AM

    P.K.T.P. wrote: "There is no formal schism."

    Well, we shall see how the Holy See ultimately responds to this situation, after it is apparent that the SSPX will not reconcile.

  58. Well, we shall see how the Holy See ultimately responds to this situation, after it is apparent that the SSPX will not reconcile.

    True, we shall see -- IF what you expect does come to pass.

    Just remember that hardly anyone expected the Pope to remit the excommunications of the SSPX bishops. I don't think the SSPX is justified in its disobedience, but at the same time I don't think we can be so sure that the Holy See won't find a solution that entails the annulment of the suppression of the SSPX and erecting it as a recognised Catholic priestly fraternity. God specialises in doing what seems to us to be impossible.

  59. Roman Catholic said...

    "SSPX....they have to feel special."

    They don't have to "feel" special - they ARE special!

  60. Anonymous12:34 PM

    hWill a reconciliation or regularisation of thhe Society of St Pius X with the Holy See involve the former:

    1. Permitting its adherents to attend Traditional Latin Masses offered by diocesan priests? At present, its policy is AT LEAST to strongly discourage that, and in my District of the SSPX and probably elsewhere too, its official, publicly preached policy is that its faithful are to BOYCOTT non-SSPX TLM's, even if it means missing Sunday Mass altogether.

    Will the optimists out there suggest how this can be tolerated?

    2. Will the SSPX still be permitted to treat marriages between an SSPX faithful and a non-SSPX faithful as a "mixed marriage" as has certainly been the policy (at least under the former superior, and to my knowledge never rescinded) of the SSPX here in southern Africa?

    Just asking...

  61. I pray and hope that the Society is regularised yesterday.
    This is ridiculous!

    But if for some very odd reason they are not, I hope that their Mass's will continue to fulfill the Holyday obligation as they are the only TLM available to my family amongst a sea of abusively offered Ordinary Form Masses in this diocese.

  62. Ecclesia Militans2:33 PM


    I subscribe to your whole comment.

    Vivat Christus Rex!

  63. "that doesn't come across as them trusting the successor of Peter. Alas."

    You have got to be kidding me. Trust him in terms of eliminating ambiguity, in matters of infallible politics because, what, he handles matters so well? Yes, let's get ourselves situated right under some liberal Bishop's thumb so he can crush us. No thank you.

  64. Niantic4:18 PM

    Long Skirts said......
    Roman Catholic said....
    "SSPX......they have to feel special"
    They don't have to "feel" special- they ARE special!

    I attend a Diocesean TLM, no Novus Ordo's. But my heart and financial support goes to the SSPX. I pray God's Will be done.
    Thank you for your beautiful poems. They are an inspiration and a great gift.

  65. May I second Nantia's words concerning Long Skirt's poems.

    "Once There Was A Father" brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it, which is often.

    I read it rarely, because......


    Because it brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it, which is often.

  66. Worried8:37 AM

    What are we to make of Card. Richard's remarks over at Messa in Latino? Worrying?

  67. The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy:

  68. Tks for the link, Dolorosa!


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