Rorate Caeli

Notice: leaks, leakers, and standing one's ground

[May 9, 11 PM GMT] On July 5, 2007, we posted a relevant notice here in Rorate: at the time, the enemies of the motu proprio were still attempting a late move of shock and awe, and broke the embargo. We stood firm against it, such methods have no place where Catholicism is involved. 

One can almost always find the right side in a dispute by seeing who acts in good faith, and the wrong side by who acts in bad faith. That has usually been a matter that has led to the despair of conservative forces in politics: because those who are truly conservative are unwilling to do everything to win, and because their revolutionary adversaries accept the use of any weapons, and are willing to use them, the struggle is most unequal. 

That is to say that it is quite surprising when, in a disagreement between Traditional-minded Catholics, one side maintains a serene spirit, while the other makes use of... revolutionary methods. Such was the case today, as at least one person with access to internal letters of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) released two of them, dated from about one month ago, in unsanitary and hellish places which a Catholic should never be called to visit: one, sent by one bishop including the apparent agreement of other two, uninterested in what has usually been called a "practical agreement"; the other, sent in response by the General Council of the SSPX one week later, explaining the reasons for pursuing the current course. 

Five years ago, we refused as a matter of principle to publish a leak, and we were glad at the time that many good online friends did the same. We refuse today based on the same principle to publish leaks of letters sent and received in confidence - it is a repulsive kind of conduct that simply has no place in civilized affairs, much less in those between Christians. 

We wish to state only the following: first, it is clear that the General Council of Society and the Holy Father are being moved in all this by faith in Divine Providence alone. The careful prudence, the charity of all the process, the strong inspiration in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition are very endearing - and, if the leakers wanted to sow fear and division, what transpires from the exchange is serene steadiness from those who are in charge of the affair.

Second, the current situation is not the same as it was one month ago. We hope those acting in revolutionary fashion do not insist: faith in God and good faith were what always moved Archbishop Lefebvre; faith in God and good faith, not leaks, are the matter of which heroes and saints are made.


So, who leaked the letters? We know, by the date of creation (April 19) of the PDF file of the letter sent by Bp. Fellay on April 14, that it was someone who had access to the physical letter on the days leading up to April 19. Therefore, someone had this letter since that date but, instead of leaking it then, leaked it only three weeks later - the delay marks this as an obviously desperate move in response to a changed set of circumstances.

Who was responsible for it? Also someone who did not move carefully in deleting simple traces. This person registered in a forum we never link to, but that we will mention here for documentation purposes: CathInfo. He used the name "FSPX" and leaked from Britain the texts of the two letters (the PDF file of the first, created on April 5, two days before it was sent - at that time, then, just a draft; the PDF file of the image of the second one), as well as a DOC file with an English translation of the first letter.

A friend sent us this link almost immediately after the documents were posted, and one of Rorate's contributors immediately downloaded all of them for future reference.

Then, some hours later, something curious happened: some poster on the fourth page of that same CathInfo forum thread said, "Father, you left traces", or words to that effect; afterwards, the moderator said, "how would you know?". Then this entire discussion disappeared - at this moment, we knew that there was something with the DOC file.

A new download of the DOC file revealed a slightly modified document: its Document Properties were empty (the only other difference is that the little dash, between "Letter of the Three Bishops" and "English Translation" in the filename was moved to the middle). The original file contains "Fr. X" (the actual surname of a priest in the UK District, which we will leave unmentioned at this moment) as author in the Document Properties, and "Monsieur le Supérieur Général," as title in the Document Properties (a clear sign that it was automatically created by the word processor, by using the registered owner of the software as author and the first words as title - which makes sense, since he used the French original to make his translation).

In sum: Letter of the Three Bishops- English Translation.doc Author: "Fr. X" (54k)
 Letter of the Three Bishops - English Translation.doc Author: [Empty] (29k)

We know then that the translation was created in a word processing software owned by "Fr. X", that it came from someone who had access to it, and also that it was sent from the United Kingdom. Since he chose to make the private documents public, we are quite sure that whoever composed the public translation document ("Fr. X" or someone who used "Fr. X"'s computer) does not mind having this information mentioned here.


May 10 Note: we did not plan to mention these leaks of private internal letters. We did not think any serious source would publish them. We have had our hand forced to mention these leaks because French blog Riposte Catholique could not resist posting it almost 20 hours later as if it were a scoop: audience numbers are not that important, Messieurs... When we are authorized to publish them, or one of them, or when circumstances seem to indicate that such an authorization exists at least implicitly, we will. Otherwise, you will not find this kind of material here - elsewhere, but not here: that was not the way we worked in 2007, and it is not the way we work in 2012.


  1. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Rorate Caeli, I am so glad that you have this kind of integrity. God bless you for your strength and decency.

  2. detective work worthy of Poirot himself!

  3. Thank you Rorate Caeli! May God bless you!

  4. James I. McAuley2:41 PM

    New Catholic,

    Thank you. As an attorney, I have learned that negotiations can be difficult, and delicacy and prudence require confidentiality. The subjective motive and circumstances vary in every situation, and, from what I have read of this situation, I would agree that discretion here is the better part of valor.

  5. My respect for your integrity.

  6. It is always good to see integrity in others. I would like say though "revolutionary" is not the word to use. Something like "dastardly underhanded," "a filthy busy-body." Perhaps even "criminal."

    Was this slithery person who released this info privy to it in the first place? Was the SSPX hacked? IMO, this person had no moral standing to do what he/she did in the first place.


  7. The Divine Judge's beggar3:03 PM

    "veni Sancte Spiritus". . .The manner in which Rorate Caeli has made this cautionary, prudential announcement is the sign that this gathering of souls for the exchange of intellectual thoughts is governed by the profound awareness of the Divine Master's words.

    Our Divine Judge echos His caution to all again from His Throne:

    "A good man out of a good treasure bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of an evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.


    For by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."(Matt.12:35-37)

    With the Gift of Fear, we cautiously continue to express Truth . . .knowing that the father of lies - wishes to spread his hisses to the most honorable souls. For all souls, we pray with Our Crucified, Omniscient King: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

  8. P.K.T.P.3:10 PM

    According to the source here, the situation has changed since these two letters were leaked yesterday, but we are not being told how it has changed. I've noticed that, whereas support for an arrangement has now been registered by Society district superiors in Benelux, Asia and the U.S.A., and by Bishop Fellay's two assistants and by his predecessor, Fr. Schmidberger, there has been an ominous silence from Bishops Tissier de Mallerais and de Galarreta. Given their stature, this is unusual. Remember that, in the past, Bishop Fellay insisted that attempts by some to divide the four bishops would never be accepted. The simplest way to diffuse the effect of this leak would be for Tissier and de Galarreta to state their positions publicly, or at least to distance themselves from the Letter of mid-April.

    Whatever may be the case, we should pray for unity in the S.S.P.X.


  9. Patrick, audience numbers are actually a good motivation, or at least one we would understand as a human weakness, for Summorum Pontificum Observatus's breathtaking attitude. Otherwise, they are trying to guide events: since they are clearly (outspokenly) for one outcome, and the leakers for another, one of these sides is severely mistaken, and both acted outrageously.

  10. Most reprehensible on the part of the leakers. It is so,so sad that current efforts to undermine the agreement seem to be coming from the inside, rather than the outside.

    In a broader context: What, exactly, do the internal opponents want? The position seems to be that we need to wait for "Rome to convert," and that this is going to happen by means of some kind of miraculous, divine intervention.

    But guess what? In the entire history of the Church and its numerous crises, THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED. God gives us the opportunity to put our shoulder to the plow and contribute to the resolution of the problems. Never, in the history of the Church, have good men withdrawn from the battle and simply, passively, waited for a miracle.

    It hasn't happened before, and it's not going to happen now. Please put aside all the "Private Prophecy" books, stop waiting for "The Holy Pope and the Great Prince" or "The Three Days of Darkness." and join the rest of us in getting to work.

  11. A. M. D. G.3:20 PM

    ...Was this slithery person who released this info privy to it in the first place? Was the SSPX hacked? IMO, this person had no moral standing to do what he/she did in the first place...

    Could it be that they just don't agree?

  12. NIANTIC3:21 PM

    To New Catholic,
    Thank you for your integrity. Satan and his henchmen will do anything to prevent an agreement and hence the leaking of these documents. For us it is good and prudent to continue to pray that God's Will be done and to trust the He will guide Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay accordingly.Good will triumph over evil. Oremus!

  13. Marsaili3:22 PM

    P.K.T.P., you mention the "ominous" silence of Bishops Tissier de Mallerais, and de Galerreta, but you may be mistaking ominous silence for prudence. You mention also that the simplest way to diffuse the effect of this leak would be for Tissier and de Galerreta to state their postions publically, or distance themselves from the letter. Well, this may be what the opponents to reconciliation want - to have all of the bishops state their positions publically so that everyone can debate the merits of their positions, which would not be a simple affair at all.

  14. Thank you, Rorate, for not showing this correspondence. I skimmed it on the Fisheaters forum when I though it was bogus, but I am not going to read it now.

    Perhaps God permitted this to shake Tissier de Mallerais and de Galarreta out of their silences. As bishops, they have a certain responsibility at the present time, and I don't feel like they are meeting it. They should at least be publicly exhorting the faithful to prayer.

    I suppose, though, in a sense Fellay is their superior, just as Schmidberger was their superior before him. I'm not certain, but I believe that is the way the SSPX is set up internally.


  15. RogerThat3:26 PM

    All I can say is: that was low, low, very low.

  16. Bob F.3:26 PM

    Keep it classy, NC!

  17. P.K.T.P.3:33 PM


    Some time ago, I recall having seen on-line a comment by Bishop Fellay that someone from the Society in England, someone who is close to Bishop Williamson, had been leaking stories. I believe that it may have been at the time Bishop Fellay was considering oonfiding in the other bishops in the matter of the Doctrinal Preamble. Bishop Fellay, as I recall, was wondering if Bishop Williamson was leaking information through one of his ardent supporters in the Society, someone based in England. I cannot help but wonder if the leaker here is the same person.

    What should have alerted everyone in regard to the leaked documents is that neither of the copies I was sent by e-mail, at least, had dates affixed to them. At least the copies I received were likely meant to suggest that this exchange of letters had taken place only a few days ago.

    I think that it's fair to say, given his public comments elsewhere, that Bishop Williamson disfavours a practical arrangement. But should he be the only Society bishop to oppose it, he will likely only take a few hardliners with him. So the question now, more than ever, is this: where do the other two Society bishops stand?


  18. GCC Catholic3:34 PM

    The wolves prowl about; pray for the Holy Father and for SSPX.


    Mais priez mes enfants Dieu vous exaucera en peu de temps; Mon Fils se laisse toucher.

    (But pray my children, God will answer you very soon; My Son lets his Heart be touched)

    - Our Lady at Pontmain, France, 1871

  19. I will pray for the unity of the Church and hope that includes the bishops.

  20. Socorro3:56 PM


    Deceiving or misleading is also very difficult unless you do it secretly.

  21. Silence's defendant4:01 PM

    P.K.T.P. said: "there has been an ominous silence from Bishops Tissier de Mallerais and de Galarreta." Your perspective is perhaps not in union with the Omniscient's vision.

    "Silence is the language of Humility." "Silence is the language of the Eternal Unity of Charity."

    When the Word Incarnate instructs His pristinely docile, humble servants to speak, they will follow the Immaculate Heart's counsel at Cana: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye."

    "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is prudence." May all tremble before the Throne of the Lamb before opening their thoughts to others thereby protecting themselves from the hisses of the father of lies - the master of disguise.

  22. We wish to state only the following: first, it is clear that the General Council of Society and the Holy Father are being moved in all this by faith in Divine Providence alone.


    Though I dislike leakers, and the press in general, what I find curious--if indeed the leaker is trying to derail negotiations--is that they would leak +Fellay's reply, which I believe brilliantly outlines why now is the time for a personal prelature.

  23. Zak, you're right about the bishops' role in the Society. They have no authority in the SSPX by reason of their office. The Superior General is their Superior. At one time, for example, Fr. Schmidberger was the Superior of the four bishops, and even of Archbishop Lefebvre himself!

    Archbishop Lefebvre, in his wisdom, deliberately arranged things in this way to avoid giving the appearance of the bishops claiming any kind of jurisdiction. Such a claim would, formally, be schismatic, and he wished to avoid this.

    Bishop Fellay is the superior in virtue of his election as superior, not because of his episcopacy.

  24. P.K.T.P.4:37 PM

    Silence's Defendant:

    I'm not sure if you are kidding here or not. When it comes to eternal truth, our Lord asks us to shout the truth from the rooftops.

    Bishop Fellay has obviously called for his officials to register their support for his initiative. At least five of them have done so. In the past, he said emphatically that all four bishops would resist being divided by anyone in the curia. Naturally, therefore, people are wondering where two of these bishops stand, as the other, Williamson, has made his position obvious.

    I pray for a just and true solution but not any solution, and certainly not one which divides the Society in twain.


  25. Laus Deo4:51 PM

    I suppose in the case of 'Fr. X' it could be said 'like father, like son' except the father in question was open about his beliefs whilst his son is 'closet' about them or confides them to a limited circle.

  26. I think at the end this leak will benefice the Fraternity more than perjudicate it.

    Think only what will the people say if there is at the end only discipline and obedience to the counsil and no partition as everybody hope?

  27. Interesting that the two superiors general to follow Abp. Lefebvre--Fr. Schmidberger (1982-1994) and Bp. Fellay (1994-2006, 2006-present)--both appear to favor accepting a non-offending offer from Rome.

  28. P.K.T.P.5:11 PM

    Dear bloggers:

    As these problems (at the very least, with this division between Williamson & Fellay) continue, I crave the moderators' indulgence and wish to reflect a bit here on a best course. I begin by noting that the poster using the tag 'Uncle Clairborne' holds a position remarkably like the one I advanced on this blog at least two or more years ago and until the last few months. He could almost be me but able to post by way of a time machine.

    Recently, my perspective on things has changed somewhat. This perspective is grounded in a great deal of experience analysing the numbers of Latin Masses worldwide but also in much reflection on the positions of the various parties. As regards the numbers, I once whined incessantly that the nasty liberal bishops have obstructed the Latin Mass. This is certainly true: some of them have done so and many of these continue in their course. But a neutral consideration of the numbers makes me realise that this is not the main problem with the provisions in favour of that Mass.

    What few of us wish to admit is the fact that the Traditional Latin Mass is not popular in the Church. The reason is not any fault in that Mass, and it is certainly not any great quality in the New Mass, which has been a real faith-killer. But the common view today among those who still attend Mass is that no one in his right mind would want to assist at Masses 'in a dead language that nobody understands'. Forget whether or not this argument is sound. It is not sound. But it is widespread and extremely popular. The fact is that the per centage of faithful who attend Latin Masses today is under one-third of one per cent in Western countries, about one-tenth of one per cent in Latin America, and too small to calculate everywhere else.

    Note that the S.S.P.X has had freedom to say Mass wherever its priests wish to go. How much support do its 550 or so priests have? In Latin America, where 46% of faithful live, they have a noticeable presence only in Argentina, and then mainly near Bergoglio's liberal Buenos Aires. On the every-Sunday basis, they have not even one Mass for all of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay or even Venezuela; and they offer about two every-Sunday Masses for all of Colombia and only a handfull in Brazil. In Mexico, they offer Mass on that basis in only five dioceses, and on a lesser basis in a few others.

    In the U.S.A., the Society Masses are outnumbered by a ratio of 3:1 by diocesan Latin Masses every Sunday and yet, between these two sources there are still 20 U.S. sees having no every-Sunday T.L.M. at all, even though we do have them in the three least-populous dioceses (all in Alaska).

    In most of the world (Asia and Africa, for example), there is hardly one T.L.M. per continent. It's almost that bad (we have them approved by bishops in one see each in Nigeria, Benin, Gabon and South Africa, four of the fifty-four countries in Africa; in Asia, it's even worse). What all these negotiations are really all about is future prospects for a moderate growth. I firmly believe that, given real freedom, we could have one T.L.M. per diocese throughout the world, even if this would mean, for a long time, one priest, like a monk, saying a Mass with only one server in many dioceses in underdeveloped countries.

    To be continued . . . . P.K.T.P.

  29. Anonymous5:11 PM

    I think a reprinting of the St. Don Bosco's prophecy concerning the Church is appropriate now. It would be an interesting contrast.

  30. NewCatholic: most excellent reply, analysis and implementation of gentleman principles imbued with "sensus Catholicus"!

    Thanks for holding firm in your own arena, which can often be difficult and tempting to break protocol in order to be the first with the newest and most sensational scoop!

  31. P.K.T.P.5:27 PM

    P.K.T.P., Part II


    We still cannot say much about the Doctrinal Preamble because the text has not been published anywhere and nor have the various amendments to it. What we do know is that it sets forth "principles and criteria" for interpretation of Vatican II (and perhaps other) doctrines. We also know that it suggests a canonical solution and that the Pope has warned that unforunate consequences could follow if its terms are not accepted.

    The worry many of us have about the Preamble, even if we prefer not to express it--what gnaws at us in our sleep--is the concern that the 'principles and criteria' will have unfortunate implications when applied to doctrine way off at some future date. Everyone finally agrees to the principles and a canonical arrangement is made. Years pass by in relative serenity and then, just when life seems happy and free, someone from the curia, with the Pope's approval, condemns a certain doctrinal direction taken at large by traditionalists. That is the fear.

    The only way to alleviate this fear is to change the orientation of the curialists. But since many of them are implacable liberals, the only way to change their views is to change their persons: we watch as conservative popes gradually replace liberal curialists with conservatives. That is the idea.

    I'm not sure if this change is sure yet, however. Benedict XVI, by all honest assessment of the facts, is a liturgical conservative--even a traditionalist--but a doctrinal liberal, and some of the men whom he has been appointing as bishops are wild liberals, like Severino Clasen in Brazil, for instance. This Pope even seems unable to impose discipline in extreme violations of doctrie and morals when committed by his own priests. Hence the case of Raymond Gravel in Canada and the recent cases in Austria and in Washington, U.S.A. I need not repeat the details.

    So the problem may be that, while attachment to cherished liberal ideals is waning, it still remains dominant. Dare the S.S.P.X yoke itself to these principles and criteria when those charged with the task of applying them have a dubious theological cast?

    To be continued . . . . P.K.T.P.

  32. P.K.T.P.5:36 PM

    Part III

    Despite what I wrote in Part II, this Pope is offering an opportunity for Rome's recognition of the Society, and this opportunity may not come again for a long time. What is in the best interest of the Church in these trying times? Herein lies this problem for the Society: the Society is not sedevacantist; it recognises that Benedict XVI is the true Vicar of Christ. It even recognises that the local bishops are at least assumed to be the successors of the apostles (unless, in a certain case, this becomes impossible by way of exception). The local bishops and Pope, on the other hand, do not recognise the S.S.P.X as Catholic. Rome admits that Society members are Catholic faithful and even clerics, but she does not recognise in any way the legitimacy of the Society as an organisation--any type of organisation--of the faithful. In effect, then, the Society recognises the full authority of Pope who, in turn, does not recognise it. That puts the S.S.P.X onto the sidelines for most faithful, and it definitely limits its reach substantially. Frankly, most faithful would rather have tradition 'with' the Pope rather than tradtion 'without'. That makes it possible for the Pope to hobble the Society or at least to slow its growth to almost zero. This can be done simply by letting out the leash a bit on the approved Latin Masses.

    The Pope wants some sort of an arrangement before the Grim Reaper makes an appointment to see him. After all, he has been trying to solve this problem at least since 1980. That's a long time. The Society can help the Church but needs some recognition, for it is growing slowly now, and will grow even more slowly or not at all should the Pope get fed up and unleash the Latin Mass through, for example, a personal diocese for the F.S.S.P. and I.C.R., or by stipulating that each diocese must have one every Sunday.

    To be continued . . . . P.K.T.P.

  33. Silence's defendant5:40 PM

    To P.K.T.P.

    For the humbled servant, silence is obedient acquiescence to the Divine Will until the Holy Spirit bestows the words He commands to be spoken - A.M.D.G.

    There is no joke in this silence. The overt sign of a saint is their utilization of profound, prayerful, silent reflection prior to conveying any words. Let these two Apostolic Bishops receive the further fruits of your prayers, theirs and ours, prior to pronouncing anything - for their words will go on record before the Divine Judge with grave accountability for the rippling influence that these privileged servants have been given.

    "Veni Sancte Spiritus" - the time draws near when their words we will hear.

    "Let your understanding strengthen your patience. In serenity look forward to the joy that follows sadness." St. Peter Damian

  34. Thank you for showing other, less scrupulous websites the meaning of charity and integrity.

    Websites which are frequented by individuals who actually do promote political revolution and attempt to use the SSPX as a fig leaf.

    Praying that the bishops remember the Archbishop's exhortation to unity and that they deliver the Society safely through this period of trial.

  35. P.K.T.P.5:52 PM

    Part IV, S.S.P.X

    The current problem, as I see it, is that Benedict XVI wants to complete and seal an arrangement for the future while he still has time to do so. This is a problem because the Society fears being subjected to the liberal forces emanating from the misprinicples of the French Revolution, forces which still seem to predominate both in the Eternal City and in the local dioceses.

    Both the Pope and Bishop Fellay seek an arrangement which will be acceptable to the great majority in the S.S.P.X, and the Pope needs one that will not foment a rebellion on the Left. While the Pope would prefer to regularise all the Society clerics and to reform the hearts of the hardliners among them, should he not be able to convert those hearts, he would rather that the hardliners depart for the time being, after which they might realise their mistakes and come home one by one. Frankly, an unchanged Williamson agreeing to a deal would be worse for the Pope than would be a Williamson who departs for the time being.

    The same is true in the perspective of Bishop Fellay. Like it or not, and right or wrong, Bishop Williamson's views are an embarrassment to the Pope and to Bishop Fellay. They are probably hoping that W. and a small faction of hardliners will refuse any arrangement and just go away.

    What the Pope does not want, however, and what Bishop Fellay fears, is the departure of Bishops Tissier and de Galarreta, together with a large faction of the Society. I am not a Society man and so I cannot comment with any authority on how many Society supporters might depart if Tissier, for example, were to refuse an arrangement with the Pope. I have no idea, and I welcome assessments on that from others here. But I do suspect that a refusal by three bishops could be devastating to Society unity.

    P.K.T.P. to be continued . . . .

  36. P.K.T.P.5:56 PM

    Dear Silence's Defendant:

    I really do suspect that thousands of us have been praying ardently for all the Society bishops, and that, given their pastoral experience, they do not compose statements which are not the fruit of prayer. So my points stand: it would help the process if Tissier and Galarreta were to distance themselves from the leaked letter.


  37. P.K.T.P.6:19 PM

    Part V, P.K.T.P.

    In conclusion, what nobody wants is an outcome in which the Society bishops and perhaps even its priests are beset again with sanctions, perhaps even excommunications. Also, nobody wants a Society divided right down the middle, except for our common enemies, the liberals.

    The way out is for the Pope to be less ambitious. He naturally wants to end this disobedience entirely, but it may be that this has not been given to him to effect. The source of the conflict lies in doctrinal differences. Therefore, it might be better to respect God's time and forget our own.
    Benedict XVI can do much in the next weeks, and he can do much more from Heaven. If it takes years to end this divide, better to take the years and end the divide rather than to hurl penalties and perpetuate the problem.

    Therefore, I suggest the following plan:

    1. The Pope would refuse to regularise the Society but would recognise that its members are Catholic clerics who administer valid and licit Sacraments.

    2. However, given the intractability of Society members (perhaps because they happen to be right: no comment on that), the Pope would issue a stern monition that faithful should not support the Society in any way until regularisation has been achieved. From my knowledge of the situation on the ground I KNOW that this would be effective: very few would suddenly decamp to the S.S.P.X, esp. since Summorum Pontificum provides an alternative in most places now.

    3. The Pope would invite the Society to continue in 'dialogue' (whatever that is) for however much time it may take to solve the problems and define the Deposit more exactly, all to save souls and build up the Mystical Body.

    4. The Pope would create a universal structure, directly subject to him and completely independent of the local bishops, into which the F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. and other traditionalist societies would be incorporated. This structure could also incardinate its own secular priests. The T.L.M. would be the proper liturgy of this structure, even though its priests would be free to say the New Mass as well. The structure would be almost anything except a personal prelature. It might be a personal archdiocese existing everywhere.

    5. Ideally (this is an optional extra), the Pope would also command that each diocesan bishop ensure that, within his territory, there be at least one every-Su. T.L.M. Dioceses having under a certain number of subjects or serving priests could be exempt, as would prefectures and other missionary dioceses. In any case, the local bishop could fulfil the condition by enlisting the help of the new universal structure, if possible, or he might need to train a priest before an implementation date of, say, the First Sunday of Advent, 2015.

    In the end, there will be regularisation. But regularisation should not be sought if it would divide the Society in two. A divided Society would become the prey of the liberals. They would hinder it, infect it and decimate it.

    I want what's best for all of us. I apologise to everyone if I no longer hold to the more positive views of Uncle Clairborne. But keep in mind, everyone, that the main task is none of this anyway. The main task is to introduce the Mass of the Ages to generations who have never known it and see no reason to value it. They outnumber us internationally by at least a thousand to one. Ponder that fact.


  38. Here's an old nugget from a 2006 interview posted on this very site:

    Studying Abp Lefebvre's life, you will find whatever quotation you need to back up the centrist position of the reelected Superior general [Bp. Fellay], the radical anti-Roman stance adopted by Bp Williamson and the compromise option advocated by Fr. Aulagnier before his eviction from SSPX.

    No wonder talking this is all so redolent of proof-texting with Protestants! How many statements we've read from BOTH sides saying "As he said on [insert date and quote], our sainted Founder would never [insert your position here]."

  39. Francis6:40 PM

    While the Holy Father and the FSSPX are negotiating a deal to bring the SSPX back into "full communion", The Holy Father is still practicing his modernist and indifferentist ways.
    Here's a sample:
    "The Vatican II document Nostra Aetate provides “the basis and the guide for our efforts,” the Pope said. That document, he added, “not only took up a clear position against all forms anti-Semitism, but also laid the foundations for a new theological evaluation of the Church’s relationship with Judaism, expressing the confidence that an appreciation of the spiritual heritage that Jews and Christians share will lead to increasing understanding and esteem.”

  40. Uncle Claiborne:"At one time, for example, Fr. Schmidberger was the Superior of the four bishops, and even of Archbishop Lefebvre himself!"

    This is what is so perplexing about those who claim that the potential reconciliation would not have been the will of Lefebvre. Schmidberger(who is seemingly for it) was appointed Vicar General by Archbishop Lefebvre himself in 82. Would he not have a good idea of the will of the founder? Now of course this does not prove anything but his opinion is to be valued give his previous position in the Fraternity.

    Regarding the "Father like son" comment, it would surprise me not if that were Father X based on the counter propaganda posted to the UK site.

  41. @Pilgrim:
    It is interesting to look at the people who were near to Archbishop Lefebvre and their opinion on what he would have done:
    - Fr. Aulagnier (founding member, right hand man, superior of the French district 1976-1994): Publicly Pro-Agreement since 2000

    - Fr. Schmidberger (Hand-Picked Superior General): Pro-Agreement

    - Bishop Fellay: Pro-Agreement.

    Bishop Williamson was picked because he was one of the few longtime English-speaking members after the nine left. He was never especially close to Archbishop Lefebvre.

    The only one who was close to ABL and is anti-agreement is Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. Interestingly, in 1988 he was one of those who voted in favor of an agreement and has since reversed his opinion.

  42. Pilgrim said

    Understand, Archbishop Lefebvre wanted a reaconciliation that was just not one that was convenient. This is why he acted as he did. It behoves his successors to protect that which he defended - The Roman Catholic Faith recognisably handed down to us and not some diluted liberal version. He certainly distrusted Cardinal Ratzinger at the time because he knew rightly that the objective was to dismantle Tradition in the liturgy and therefore, The Faith. The Society would have eventually lost their independence and would have not been what they are today, for sure. The Holy Mass & The Faith in all its integrity are inextricably intertwined.

    Let us hope that Bishop Fellay is only drawn into a just accord that leaves The Society totally free in its mission of propagating The Roman Catholic Faith. If an eventual agreement were to lead to the deconstruction of The SSPX and its complete annihilation then nothing is served by a "reconciliation". It has to have cast-iron guarantees for the future of Sacred Tradition in the liturgy and in the doctrines of The Faith without the characteristic and exposed conciliar ambiguities. The very same ambiguities that could have brought about a swift conclusion to The Confraternity.

  43. The other Bishops of The Society do not need to say anything as we know what they stand for. They have said enough in the past already. They want a just accord not a convenient one that endangers the future existence and functioning of The Society. They will not agree to anything that compromises this.

  44. Hugh,

    Tradition does not live and die with the Society. They have made a key contribution to its preservation but it was in the service of the Church. The time has come to share Archbishop Lefebvre's gift with Church and join the workers "in the vineyard". Nothing impedes the growth of FSSP or Christ the King, and it will be no different for the Society. Tradition does not live and die with the Society, it is preserved by the promise of Christ to his Church.

  45. St. Helen, pray for us7:55 PM

    "I pray for a just and true solution but not any solution, and certainly not one which divides the Society in twain."

    Worthy words. Any arrangement that significantly splits the four bishops of the Society cannot be for the good of the church. We are not struggling with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers who know the destructiveness of division.

  46. P.K.T.P.8:15 PM

    Well, they won't post my Parts I, II, IV and V. This blog now has a one-track position. Deviate from it, and there is no longer any toleration. However, I want what's best for the Church, so I'll put this simply:

    Given all the circumstances, the best outcome is not regularisation of the S.S.P.X for the present but a recognition by Rome that its members are Catholic clerics who administer valid and licit Sacraments. This could be accompanied by a stern admonition that faithful should not support the S.S.P.X until all doctrinal matters have been resolved. Then the Pope could let out the leash and create a universal archdiocese for tradition.

    The only problem with my suggestion is that the Pope will not have it. He is adamant: there must be a full regularisation now. Period. Come hell or high water.

    The question now is only this: which way will Tissier and de Galarreta go? If they join Fellay, the Society will not be split down the middle and all will be well. As for Williamson, his departure and that of the hardliners will be welcomed by the others. Time will then tell who was right.

    If Tissier and de Galarreta refuse the deal and Fellay remains unmoved, this will not be a happy day of any us except the ageing archliberals. They will then buy the champagne which we were looking forward to.


  47. Josaphat Kuntsevych8:27 PM

    The Society of Saint Pius X as it has been hitherto known is dead. The status quo cannot hold and it is now time to separate the wheat from the tares no matter how many tares wear miters.

    This is good.

    The Society faithful to Rome, ever eternal yet ever visible, and to Benedict XVI as the reigning Successor of Peter will take its rightful place in the Church in communion with Peter.

    The other Society will be able to move from crypto-sedevacantism to an open declaration of a vacancy...and whither away like all branches separated from the living vine.

    God bless Benedict XVI! God bless Bernard Fellay!

  48. Nosurrender!8:32 PM

    What a load of sanctimonious claptrap! Some of the most notorious scandals would never have been exposed had it not been for people willing to blow the whistle leaking documents.

    Remember Watergate anyone?

    The important message from these letters is that three of the four Society bishops are opposed to a deal which would leave the SSPX at the mercy of Modernist Rome.

    I pray that Bishop Fellay will listen to their wise counsel before it is too late.

  49. There are presumptions made by many, regarding what is "good" for the Church. How can one truly mean the prayer "thy will be done" while placing conditions on it, and determining what the ends should look like if it is indeed God's will at work. Bishop Fellay, so faithfully ended his March 29th communique with, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven".

    How many people have poured out prayers for this cause? Should we dismiss those prayers as ineffective if they bring about a result that is not to our liking?

    Whatever the decision is, we should trust that God hasn't turned a deaf ear to the prayers of his children.

  50. Ted Maysfield9:32 PM

    Kight of Malta wrote: "Though I dislike leakers, and the press in general, what I find curious--if indeed the leaker is trying to derail negotiations--is that they would leak Bishop Fellay's reply, which I believe brilliantly outlines why now is the time for a personal prelature."

    I agree, Bp. Fellay makes several persuasive and eminently Catholic points in his rebuttal letter, which only a sedevacantist or a schismatic could reject.

  51. Tradical9:52 PM

    From what I'm sitting it would appear the following:
    1. Who ever leaked the letter did so with the intention of spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).
    2. The goal may or may not be achieved.
    3. +Fellay's position remains the same as noted last year: "If you take us as we are, we are ready."

    What is lacking is the response to +Fellay's letter by the three other Bishops.

    However, their response will become clear should the Pope and Bishop Fellay ignore the ploy be (as NC noted) maintaining serenity and conclude with an agreement regularizing the SSPX.

    NC, thank you for the moral lesson. It was well received and learned.

  52. Anonymous9:57 PM

    whither away?, indeed.


  53. P.K.T.P.10:11 PM

    Everyone here knows that I have expressed concerns, serious concerns, about any regularisation at this time. I prefer a recognition of Society faculties, with no regularisation until doctrinal agreement has been reached.

    However, I realise now that this is simply not in the cards. I might very well be correct in my assessment but it no longer matters. The Pope has thrown down the gauntlet in making this present offer. He cannot reverse his position without losing credibility. He is no fool and knows this. So he is adamant; he will not and diplomatically cannot bend.

    Fellay is also committed in the same way to the Doctrinal Preamble he's signed on behalf of the Society. For the same reasons, he cannot reverse himself.

    Williamson is out but few want him. The Pope doesn't want him and wouldn't have a convenient place to put him. Both the Pope and Fellay probably hope that he takes a small faction of extremists with him and leaves forever--or until they amend their ways from the heart.

    So now the pressure is all on Tissier and de Galarreta. If they go against Fellay, they could perhaps split the Society in two. Fellay will still take scores of priests with him--plus all the property. Divided in two like that, the strength of the Society will be shattered and Fellay's faction, weakened, will become a prey to the curial liberals. This would not be a good outcome for anyone, including these two bishops.

    If the two side with Fellay and Rome later cheats the Scoiety, just as she cheated the Institute of the Good Shepherd, the Sons of the Holy Redeemer, and the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Society will still be strong and united. It can resist depredations and threaten to return into disobedience. The Society needs her unity NOW, as long as the liberals are still powerful.

    In time, the liberals will lose their influence and the Society will become more and more secure.

    In conclusion, I'm forced to admit that Tissier and de Galarreta should accept the deal being offered and then fight like hell for the RIGHT juridical structure, which must not be a personal prelature: it must be better than that. Rome has said that this is negotiable, so let's go on to that negotiation. There is no other option.

    So what about my fears and the reason for preferring a recognition over a regularisation? Well, I don't see a way out of this: we must trust in God and our Lady and keep in mind that liberals' power is gradually waning. Really, the option which I prefer disappeared the instant Bishop Fellay signed an amended Doctrinal Preamble, provided, of course, that it is accepted. It is true that Bishop Fellay has done a risky thing and arguably the wrong thing, but it is not arguable that he has done it. That changes the situation.


  54. I guess no one will consider the idea that maybe the faithful deserve to know and maybe the priest in question knew what he was doing and why? I find it saddening that everyone wants to jump on this priest for doing what he did, why? What terrible crime has resulted? We now know that there is a disagreement within the society, I for one would rather know now rather than 6 months down the line when a rather worse situation emerges. All this talk of him being slithery and 'satans henchmen' is simply ridiculous, what will cause problems is the attitude of the three bishops not our knowledge of it. Regardless it is obvious that Bp Fellay will make an agreement come what may, so the question is not whether he will 'join Rome' but rather how many will follow him?

  55. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Let me see. If the leaker is a vaticanista then you go on and publish the leaked document, isn't it?

    If the leaker is not a vaticanista then you banish him/her.

  56. Anon, I know you believe that that is a good point, but it isn't.

    The problem is not with leaked documents themselves, this is the basis of much legitimate journalism, but the nature of the documents that are leaked: in this case, private correspondence; in 2007, documents that were already concluded and were under pontifical embargo.

    There is also the matter of knowing the origin of the documents: in the last paragraph, we do recognize the possibility of having the documents published here - that is what happens in such matters, i.e. private correspondence, when at least one of those involved expressly authorized its publication. So far, we have not received any notice, even indirectly, from any of the four parties concerned that they authorized its publication.

    Nonetheless, we do not pretend the documents do not exist; not only that, but, while international websites refused to mention Cathinfo, we were sure to mention that the documents were first posted there, as a matter of due acknowledgment (at no time did we condemn CathInfo for posting, because that forum's administrators did not post them, a guest did, and there is quite some latitude in the administrators's behavior regarding documents posted by others). That would also be the case regarding documents posted by others in our comments here, we know how moderation can be hard and pose problems. Riposte Catholique, on the other hand, has no such excuse.

    Best regards,


  57. It seems a bit ironic that, in 1554, there was a letter titled "Letter of the Three Bishops", which was written by Peter Paul Vergerius, 'an apostate of infamous character'. This letter was proposed to be "a letter of advice given by three bishops to the pope to help to strengthen the power of the papacy".

  58. Brian3:00 AM

    And so, the battlelines are drawn. It is sad to see this opportunity for unity and healing squandered once again.

    Times are said to be different from 1988, and yet the outcome will be remarkably similar.

  59. GrandmaMoses9:15 PM

    Whose uncle is claibourne anyway?


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