Rorate Caeli

Di Noia to CNS: "Possible to have theological disagreements and be in communion" - "Can't read Vatican II texts from the viewpoint of liberals who were in the Council"

From an interview granted to the Catholic News Service of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (CNS) today:

Vatican II: Fathers and experts (periti) in the aula
Archbishop Di Noia [new Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei] told Catholic News Service June 26 the Vatican needed to help people who have strong objections to the council see "that these disagreements don't have to be dividing or keep us from the same Communion table."

"It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the see of Peter," he said.

"Part of what we're saying is that when you read the documents (of Vatican II), you can't read them from the point of view of some liberal bishops who may have been participants (at the council), you have to read them at face value," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS. "Given that the Holy Spirit is guiding the church, the documents cannot be in discontinuity with tradition."

The doctrinal office said the archbishop's experience as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments since 2009 "will facilitate the development of certain desired liturgical provisions" in the celebration of the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

Archbishop Di Noia, who said his reassignment from the worship congregation after only three years had left him "flabbergasted," will be replaced in that job by Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, the Vatican announced.

The doctrinal congregation also emphasized that Archbishop Di Noia enjoys "broad respect" in the Jewish community, which "will help in addressing some issues that have arisen in the area of Catholic-Jewish relations as the journey toward reconciliation of the traditionalist communities has progressed."

In addition to the highly publicized position of Bishop Richard Williamson, a traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust, public statements by Bishop Fellay, the society's superior general, leave in doubt whether the society as a whole accepts the entirety of "Nostra Aetate," the Vatican II document stating that the Jewish people cannot be blamed for the death of Jesus Christ.

"Ecclesia Dei" oversees the pastoral care of Catholics who have a special devotion to the older Latin liturgy. Pope Benedict placed the commission under the doctrinal congregation in 2009 to better address the doctrinal issues emerging from talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X.

U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada remains president of the commission and Msgr. Guido Pozzo continues as the commission's secretary.

The archbishop's appointment is significant as it dedicates additional expertise and manpower to the questions still under consideration by the Society of St. Pius X.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told journalists that the new position is a sign of "the importance and delicate nature of the kind of difficulties" with which the commission is dealing and should not be seen as an indication of how things are proceeding with the society.

Questions under examination when talks began in 2009 included the concept of tradition; the post-Vatican II Roman Missal; the interpretation of Vatican II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal tradition; the themes of the unity of the church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism; the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions; and religious freedom.

At a high-level meeting at the Vatican June 13, Vatican officials presented Bishop Fellay with a draft document proposing a personal prelature as the most appropriate instrument for any future canonical recognition of the society, in the event doctrinal differences are resolved. Vatican officials also gave Bishop Fellay their evaluation of the society's latest statement on those doctrinal differences.

Following the meeting, the society said that unresolved "doctrinal difficulties" with Vatican II and the church's subsequent liturgical reform could lead to a "new phase of discussions" over possible reconciliation with Rome.

The talks have focused on the wording of a "doctrinal preamble" outlining what the Vatican has said are "some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity" to the formal teaching of the church.

In a June 25 letter to SSPX bishops and priests published on the Internet, the society's secretary general, Father Christian Thouvenot, wrote that Bishop Fellay considered the Vatican's latest version of the preamble to be "clearly unacceptable."

Archbishop Di Noia said his task will be to help resolve the impasse over the terms of an agreement.

"The theological dialogue has gone on for three years but now (the pope) is hoping to find the language or the modality for a reconciliation," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS. "We're at the stage of finessing, to help them find a formula which respects their own theological integrity."

"It seems to everyone that (a reconciliation) is close, but now it needs a kind of push," he said.

When Archbishop Di Noia was undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation, he was involved with the pope's establishment in 2009 of the personal ordinariates, special structures for former Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage.

"It's possible that (Pope Benedict) had that experience in view" when selecting him for his latest job, the archbishop said.

Blessed John Paul II named then-Father Di Noia to the No. 3 spot at the doctrinal congregation in 2002, when it was headed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The archbishop has worked extensively with Pope Benedict, especially as a member of the International Theological Commission when the current pope was its president.


  1. Francis5:05 PM

    So, if I understand him correctly, DiNoia is saying that the Vatican II documents are pastoral and not binding on the faithful. Except for their reiteration of de-fide dogma. A position traditional Catholics have had for the last forty-five years.

  2. To me it is clear from this that Collegiality has, for all intents and purposes, stripped Pope Benedict XVI of his authority in the SSPX matter and given it to a cohort of Curial bishops.

    Things were fine in the Popes mind a month ago, for recognition, but Cardinal Levada, et al, have made up their own "magisterium" and usurped power.

  3. Alsaticus5:16 PM

    It may be so as I wrote in another post a last chance appointment in order to save the reconciliation process seriously damaged by the Levada CDF after the plenaria of May.

    Abp di Noia is a theologian basically and knows well the CDF. He may have received a mission to rescue what is presently sinking the recently changed Preamble which is clearly unacceptable for the SSPX as it has been written officially and was already clear during this dreadful June 13.

    The awful choice of Bp Roche could be a "diplomatic" trick to alleviate the hurricane coming with a reconciliation with the Society : you know the tune "I sign with Fellay but I give you a super-litnik at CDW" ?

    I hope however Abp di Noia will be more efficient in saving the Preamble than he has been during his very short tenure at CDW in reforming anything in the Ordinary Form or giving strong guidelines as his predecessor then Abp now cardinal Ranjith did.
    Let us pray because time is running : the general Chapter is convened for the July 7.


  4. Exactly, Francis. What so many of us have claimed all along. We can never be bound to what is contradictory to the Faith and/or previously condemned.

  5. There will be no recognition of the Society.

    The gap between the Holy Fathers authority and the power grabbing liberals in the Curia will effectively prevent this.

    I just pray to our Lady that supplied jurisdiction works for Society sacraments for that is all that many of us have.

  6. Bob F.5:34 PM

    +DiNoia's comments about liberal bishops and the Council reminds me a lot of the divide between originalists and progressives in the constitutional realm.

    Originalists actually point to the text, progressives point to a "living and breathing document."

  7. SidneyJude5:34 PM

    CJ, I join you in your prayers. For the record, I lived in San Francisco for 20 years and was there while Cardinal Levada was archbishop. I can tell you firsthand that he is NOT a friend of Tradition. Let us pray, pray, pray!

  8. I'm not quite so sure why everyone is taking such a positive view, this is the same nonsense that people on the Vatican side of negotiations have been saying for years. 'Vatican 2 can't contradict anything etc... It's guided by the holy spirit' this view was decisively rejected by Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX for decades. This does not bode well for the SSPX's common sense view that the council contradicted significant amounts of pre conciliar teaching.

  9. Francis5:50 PM

    "Originalists actually point to the text, progressives point to a "living and breathing document."

    Exactly Bob F! The lefties also point to the twentieth century invention of "precedent" as well when interpreting the text of the U.S. Constitution or the Vatican II documents.

  10. Not My Real Name5:53 PM

    It isn't the Society who fights against Catholic theology. To disagree on theological issues is not the same as denial of them. The Society fights against those who deny Catholic Doctrine, Dogma and Teaching and new principles which are not at all in line with Catholicism, such as the collegiality usurping the pope's Authority. Big difference. Huge difference.

    So Abp. Di Noia has it in reverse. And I'm not sure so he even has that right. After almost 2000 years, how much is there that has not yet been defined and is open to dispute? What is there to to disagree about? Be Catholic or be quiet.

  11. Well, for a society that seems to fight the problems of Vatican II, it certainly seems that there are many partisans of collegiality within the SSPX. Actually, all their recent internal problems seem to be caused by some of their members who are as pro-collegiality in all senses as the most radical liberals...


  12. you have to read them at face value,"

    Ah, but that's precisely the problem your Excellency. The documents are written ambiguously enough that you can reach almost any conclusion you want when you read them at face value. We've all been subjected to the progressive interpretation. Are they wrong? Is their interpretation illegitimate? Then why doesn't the Holy See every do anything about it? Why doesn't she make a definitive ruling one way or the other on the disputed issues? Why are people like Hans Kung and Richard McBrien in good canonical standing when they are manifestly not in full communion with the Holy Father?

  13. Johannes de Silentio6:27 PM

    I had never thought of that Bob F. A fine comparison. And all the originalists on the Supreme Court are Catholic, whereas the progressives are, well, not so much.

    I know most news stories and developments, such as Mueller's appointment to two CDF-related dicasteries, make it highly likely that Mueller replaces Levada, but why doesn't the Di Noia appointment augur in favor of Burke?

  14. Set aside the machinations that resulted in this sudden double move in the Curia and consider what the good archbishop (and he is a good archbishop) says.

    We get the good:

    "It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the see of Peter," he said.

    "Part of what we're saying is that when you read the documents (of Vatican II), you can't read them from the point of view of some liberal bishops who may have been participants (at the council), you have to read them at face value," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS. "Given that the Holy Spirit is guiding the church, the documents cannot be in discontinuity with tradition."

    But we also get the bad:

    The doctrinal office said the archbishop's experience as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments since 2009 "will facilitate the development of certain desired liturgical provisions" in the celebration of the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

    In other words, we're back to the Pope's expressed hope of "enriching" the old mass with some N.O. inspired changes, mainly new prefaces and recent saints on the old calendar.

    I think almost all of us agree with P.K.T.P. and the folks at FIUV (see the recent position paper posted last week by Rorate) - even if this might be a good idea in theory (and I am very dubious about it), it's a horrible time to try it. Traddies concede that the Roman Rite has been and can be revised from time to time, albeit very slowly and very slightly, but no one trusts Rome to get it right at this time.

    One hopes the Pope will read the FIUV paper and think better of this. Otherwise, if this is some kind of symbolic sop to the theological left, the least we can hope for is this: That in announcing any new changes to the traditional missal, the Pope concedes that these new changes are optional, and not required for celebration of the Extraordinary Form in accordance with Summorum Pontificum, so long as they say the new (2007) Good Friday Prayer. That's not the most felicitous solution, since we all hate the idea of more optional options. But if we can opt out of actually using them, that might make it . . . well, an easier pill to swallow. And after all, a future, more traditional Pope, could always remove them later.

  15. SteveRom6:31 PM

    Di Noia has been brought in to sort out the problems left by Levada and Pozzi with respect to the Society. Pozzi did not have the authority to take Levada to task, Di Noia has been given a specific task - he is the Pope's loyal servant.

  16. I do think it's clear, by the way, from ++Di Noia's comments, that the Ope still wants a deal, and he is willing to go some real distance to get it. He's willing to continue modifying the formula.

    And we also know that Bishop Fellay has gone too far down this road to give up easily. If possible - if on terms he can sell to most (or better, all) of the capitularies - he wants a deal, too. Not at any price. But a deal, if it's one he can live with.

    That's why I think a deal will still happen. But it's clear that the price may be higher than Bishop Fellay hoped it would be. And I don't mean just in terms of the nature of the canonical structure or the wording of the doctrinal preamble.

  17. P.K.T.P.6:34 PM

    This statement seems to be positive in the single sense that it suggests that the Holy Father might recognise them unconditionally, and end this fissiparous infighting.


  18. P.K.T.P.6:45 PM


    Di Noia is staking out territory here. The Holy See will definitely not admit what the S.S.P.X wants it to admit; to wit, that Vatican II contradicts previous tradition. Di Noia is making this clear. But he's also saying that outright disagreement with Vatican II, however erroneous from Rome's point of view, does not place one outside the Church. This looks to me very much like the 'Feeneyite' solution reached last year: the Society can continue in its views and be recognised as Catholic, even though the Holy See will not use her authority to impose those views on all faithful. Of course, this 'solution' does not prevent the Holy See from making authoritative interpreations of Vatican II documents in the future. I think that Di Noia is trying to find a way around this impasse hatched by Levada and company, a position the liberals in the curia dumped on the Pope.

    Again, a papal recognition of the Society but without an immediate canonical solution would seem to be the way out of this. The Pope wants at least to put in motion the process of a complete regularisation. He needs to get something positive out of this. Remember, he started this process, and it will not look good for him if it ends as it did in 1988. Thank you, this time, for your insightful contribution.


  19. Hilltop6:51 PM

    Two Sentances, one paragraph, two leanings:
    "Part of what we're saying is that when you read the documents (of Vatican II), you can't read them from the point of view of some liberal bishops who may have been participants (at the council), you have to read them at face value," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS.

    This would seem to give cause for optimism to those who hope for Rome-Econe rapprochement. It allows the documents to stand as ink on page and not as the hopes needs and desires of the Vat II "fathers". Such a positon should allow ample room for the FSSPX critiques of "The Council".

    "Given that the Holy Spirit is guiding the church, the documents cannot be in discontinuity with tradition."
    So where does +DiNoia stand?

  20. P.K.T.P.6:53 PM


    I agree with you that there remains real hope for a deal, but I cannot see, in current circumstances, how it will include the doctrinal preamble. Fellay is getting ready to explain to Chapter why he finds it to be "[totally unacceptable]".

    I am praying for what I had proposed in the first place: a two-step process (three-step, if you include the canonical structure). Step one is for the Pope to admit that Society members, however much in error they *might* be, are not heretics or schismatics and are therefore Catholic clerics. He should add to this publicly what the P.C.E.D. has admitted for ten years now in private letters: their Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation.

    The Pope would add that faithful should avoid the Society until Step Two has been completed. Step Two will be either an agreement on a doctrinal preamble or an agreement on the doctrinal difficulties themselves, probably the latter. If the latter, the process could take several years.

    (Step 3 would then be the canonical structure.)

    This is a sensible plan in current circumstances. We should not presume that the Pope will 'somehow' prevail in all of this, owing to his brilliance or even divine assistance. Were that the case, he would have prevailed in 1988. But I don't think that he will simply let this go. Not a chance.


  21. NIANTIC7:06 PM

    Thank you Pope Paul Vl for agreeing to and implementing the changes in all matters of Liturgy and Church governance. And above all too for making the Pope a mere figure head whose authority has been deluded and given to underlings. Yes, thank you for this utter mess you allowed to be created. From a Monarchy you made the Church to be a political free for all. Now the Vicar of Christ is reduced to begging,pleading and being quiet. We should weep.

  22. P.K.T.P.7:08 PM

    The Pope, assisted by ++Di Noia, could use +Fellay's April letter to find that, while it is 'seriously deficient', it is adequate to find that the Society is Catholic, with various canonical effects. The next step, then, is to continue discussions in order to reach regularisation.


  23. P.K.T.P.7:49 PM

    It is interesting that Di Noia has no predecessor: he does not replace a previous V.-P. of the P.C.E.D., for there was none. Hence the Pope has created a new position to put him in the forefront. Pozzo is only the Secretary and was not promoted from that position. Levada, the President, is also Prefect of the C.D.F., and Ladaria Ferrer is the Secretary of the C.D.F. This puts Di Noia in as the main point man for these negotiations.


  24. Hello Mr. Perkins,

    I agree with you that there remains real hope for a deal, but I cannot see, in current circumstances, how it will include the doctrinal preamble. Fellay is getting ready to explain to Chapter why he finds it to be "[totally unacceptable]".

    Certainly not in its current form, it would seem.

    The difficulty in making a unilateral recognition of the licitness of the Society's sacraments, however, is twofold. In the first place, it's one of the Holy Father's real means of leverage that he would be sacrificing. In the second place, if he were seen to be making another unreciprocated concession to the Society, he might well be faced with open rebellion, particularly from some European conferences. (Such a rebellion may well be inevitable, but it can't be one that he relishes bringing on.)

    I can't rule out, however, that if pushed to it, the Pope might do exactly as you propose as a way of cutting the Gordian knot, and moving on to the next stage. Di Noia's comments here today would seem to suggest that such "Feeneyite" solution might be on the table.

    This could work to Fellay's advantage, if it makes him appear to be gaining tangible things from Rome while standing firm - enough to persuade those on the fence, if not the hardliners. But I still expect further efforts by Di Noia (and therefore, the Pope) and Fellay to see if they can't give an agreement on some minimal doctrinal formula another try first.

  25. My take is this: Levada leaves at the end of June. DiNoia takes Levada's place. The Holy Father gives the SSPX permission to hear confessions etc., and the prelature or what ever is developed in a few months time. I have no spies in the Vatican but nothing else makes sense. The Holy Father has not put up with all these troubles just so others spoil a very honorable project. The Holy Spirit is with Benedict not with his detractors.

  26. Alsaticus9:08 PM

    P.K.T.P. said...

    It is interesting that Di Noia has no predecessor: he does not replace a previous V.-P. of the P.C.E.D., for there was none. Hence the Pope has created a new position to put him in the forefront. Pozzo is only the Secretary and was not promoted from that position. Levada, the President, is also Prefect of the C.D.F., and Ladaria Ferrer is the Secretary of the C.D.F. This puts Di Noia in as the main point man for these negotiations.


    Just a reminder : Msgr Perl was shortly vice-president of P.C.E.D. before the change of its status and incorporation into CDF in 2009.

    I agree on your conclusion : I feel the appointment of Abp di Noia, a theologian, is first and foremost a "mayday" (S.O.S.) signal sent by pope Benedict XVI in order to save the pearl of his pontificate, the reconciliation with SSPX.
    After the Levadian-Koch-GermChurch et alii torpedo of June 13, he is in charge to find a positive issue on the Preamble mess.

    I still believe Bp Fellay and the leadership of the Society are open to find a solution too to supersede the obstacles, the more serious being within the Curia and with some episcopates.
    But time is running ... Chapter is opening July 7.
    Let us pray indeed that Abp di Noia could become the wizzard of Oz.


  27. PKTP, again this is no different from what has been said for years now, so even if thats true, there's no need to get excited. It certainly doesnt help the SSPX and the doctrinal preamble seems to reflect his view, a view thats always been unacceptable to the SSPX.

  28. Benedict XVI has made an extremely clever move by appointing Abp. de Noia to handle the SSPX negotiations, one that shows how much he wants the deal to go through.

    If the earlier proposed drafts of the Doctrinal Preamble that appeared on the internet were the real thing, someone as intelligent and smooth as de Noia should have no difficulty tweaking the text so that Bp. Fellay could sign it without looking like he sold out.

    My guess is that Abp. de Noia is busily combing through Abp. Lefebvre's more conciliatory statements, in hopes of finding the right language to translate what is in fact a doctrinal compromise into the reassuring terminology of "SSPX-ese."

    Yesterday, I thought the opera was over, and that the "Fat Lady" had gone back to her dressing room for good.

    Today, de Noia's got her back in the wings, and rehearsing her scales...

  29. Evagrius12:26 AM


    The more interesting example, I think, is the Union of Brest, quotes from which were posted here a few months ago...

  30. P.K.T.P.12:33 AM


    What on earth are you blathering about? It doesn't matter that this position has been known for years: timing is everything in diplomacy. The Pope has flown in this man to fix the problem, obviously, and the appointee is signalling a direction. The direction is to recognise the Society but then continue with doc talks until enough is concluded to finish with a regularisation, not only a canonical form but some form of doctrinal agreement, even if only on "principles and criteria".

    Yesterday, Fellay rejected the Pope's supposed 'evaluations' (rendered, no doubt, by the curial Cardinals from the Feria Quarta meeting). Today, one day later, Di Noia is appointed to a position which did not exist, as the P.C.E.D. did not have a V.-P. Am I excited? What would you Americans say? 'Yep. You bet.'

    The Pope obviously wants to save this situation. It would not serve him well if Fellay hardened his position, went into the Chapter meeting, and then got crucified anyway. Notice how de Galarreta has kept quiet? He is biding his time. Tissier could propose a leadership change, to de Galarreta, a man respected widely in the Society (he is not a hothead and he lead the doctrinal talks for the Society), but a very firm and unbending man.

    I honestly don't know if the Pope will sign a recognition this Thursday, the Eve of SS. Peter and Paul. But time is running out. The Pope is also no spring chicken and, assuming that Fellay survives the Chapter meeting, the negotiations to follow could take months or years. Something must be decided NOW or all the effort taken by the Pope could end in failure, as it did in 1988.

    Oh, and please don't tell me that the word 'ouster' does not appear on the Society Chapter agenda or is not possible in Society law. A bishop needs a reasonable consensus of support from the rank and file, or his governance becomes impossible.


  31. P.K.T.P.12:41 AM


    You overinterpret me. I do not suggest that Rome will recognise all Society faculties but only what she has previously admitted in numerous private letters for the past ten year: their Masses do fulfil the Sunday and holyday obligation.

    Rome will not admit (or formally deny) faculties for them on some grounds of necessity. Hence their confessions and marriages would continue to have uncertain validity, and other Sacraments would continue to have uncertain liceity, except in danger of death.

    So I'm really suggesting only a single step in regard to the Mass itself. Rome holds that their Masses are valid but perhaps illicit (no declaration one way or th'other).


  32. P.K.T.P.12:43 AM


    I had forgotten that Perl was briefly V.-P. but, as you note, my point stands, for there was no V.-P. from 2009 to the present, so this is, in effect, the creation of a new post in interpose Di Noia. That is what is significant here. Perhaps J.M.J. thinks that it's only a coincidence. Who knows?


  33. Only the Mother of God (Source of the Divine Grace) can definitely prove me wrong now. "HABEMUS PAPAM!!" would be heard once more in the Sistine Chapel, before the SSPX returns into "full-communion" with Rome. Then again, I'm only a prophet, by baptismal character. In God's time, this will all come to pass. For the sake of His sorrowful passion and for the salvation of souls, let us join our Mother Mary begging God to grant us this undeserving favor that we may fulfill the Apostle's mandate in 2 Thes. 2:15.

  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  35. This --

    PKTP, I see you still haven't sorted out your pride issues.

    -- is unhelpful, irrelevant, and frankly unwelcome here. No more of that please -- from anyone. Address issues, ideas, and arguments, not the person of the one offering the ideas and arguments regarding the issue.

  36. @ Cruise the Groove, who said, "I just pray to our Lady that supplied jurisdiction works for Society sacraments for that is all that many of us have."

    A question for you: is it worth wondering whether supplied jurisdiction works for the SSPX or whether it does not?

    If it does work great - but if it doesn't work...ahhhh...that's quite a risk to take. That's not a risk I'm willing to take myself.

    If it were me, I'd find a recognized parish (Diocesan or FSSP) start going there. Even Fr Bob who likes the youth guitar Mass on Sunday mornings can absolve validly (as long as he has jurisdiction and follows proper matter and form).

  37. Kansas3:27 AM

    I hope a lot of these people that write on this site and the owner of this website really appreciate what the SSPX is doing for God and the world. I have been attending the largest sspx parish of 3200 in St. Marys Kansas, know this is history in the making. Most of us humbly see God using the SSPX and our Lady to bring the Church back to the faith. It is a little annoying to see of this site that there are still people not going to the sspx because of canon law which does not apply here. We live in a state of neccesity, there are very few that know the faith, very few priest bishops,cardinals etc. that practices the true faith. Even the pope meets with false religion and gives the indications they can save thei souls in their religion too. All the clown masses are OK and a lot worse OK, all but the defenders of the faith. Bishop Fellay once said at a conference here in Kansas that once Rome solves the problem in the Church, the SSPX will no longer be a problem. I do think when this all ends with the consecration of Russia, the sspx will be truly looked at in history as Gods hand at work

  38. OutsideObserver4:03 AM

    "The theological dialogue has gone on for three years but now (the pope) is hoping to find the language or the modality for a reconciliation," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS. "We're at the stage of finessing, to help them find a formula which respects their own theological integrity."

    Reunion will be based, then, not on unity of faith but on the mutual adoption of language that is ambiguous enough to mask very real theological differences.

  39. P.K.T.P.7:56 AM


    I don't think that you realised my point. I agree with you that a quick solution on the Preamble is unlikely. However, Bishop Fellay's April submission may be deemed adequate for a recognition of the Society. If so, and if that could be made soon, Bishop Fellay would have something to offer the Society at the Chapter meeting, thereby saving his position for the time being. After that, more talks on the Premable would continue until regularisation was possible. These talks might take weeks or months or years. What is Archbishop Di Noia saying? He's saying that not all errror constitutes heresy, and non-heretical error does not put one out of the Church, even though one may be wrong to adhere to it. I see this as a 'way out' for the shorter term: I don't suggest that the S.S.P.X actually is in error (and I don't think so) but I speak here from Rome's point of view.

    You might attend to what both parties said on 13th June: there will be more talks on the Premable, a whole new round of talks, according to Fellay. He used the term 'phase'. However, after the Feria Quarta meeting, the Vatican communiqué noted that, despite continued discussion on the Preamble, the Pope may issue a document on the Society's status before such talks resolved anything. The Pope is always free to save the day and recognise that they are Catholic. This would at least mean that their Masses do fulfil the Su. obligation.

    Keep an open mind, J.M.J. There is an impasse on the "principles and criteria" of doctrinal interpretation, and the Pope is apparently not prepared to grant regularisation until that is solved. But he can extend a simple recognition in the mean time. Something needs to be done to move this process forward; otherwise, it's back to Square One.


  40. Alsaticus9:02 AM

    JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

    And if an agreement isn't signed soon, there won't be one. Bp Fellay has gone as far as he can, the Pope still seems to be pushing the boundaries and the society gets more restless day by day. If an appropriate deal isn't sorted by the general chapter, Bp Fellay risks deposition and exile. That, or the Society will tear itself to pieces, I predict a deal before the end of the summer or no deal at all.

    I agree with the sense of urgency you express above. You are also right that a failure would leave Bp Fellay's authority in tatters and there would be a risk of nightmarish scenarios as you draw two.

    Moreover the pope's authority would be in tatters too and his main policy to achieve reconciliation would be more questioned than it is now already.

    Both are in a dire need to come to a serious deal, a good Preamble or an alternative text (?), a reasonable canonical status.

    This would go beyond two human beings but to foster the common good of the Church and so to pay homage to Christ.


  41. We know already that we can seriously and objectively evaluate a pastoral council and still be in union with Rome. What is more essential to know is that when we are a Roman Catholic Confraternity can we continue to do this without being harrassed and stymied by the said "liberals" who happen perchance to be cardinals and bishops?

  42. GQ Rep10:45 AM

    "Francis said...
    So, if I understand him correctly, DiNoia is saying that the Vatican II documents are pastoral and not binding on the faithful. Except for their reiteration of de-fide dogma. A position traditional Catholics have had for the last forty-five years.

    26 June, 2012 17:05'

    Yes, more and more, this is becoming the interpretation of Vatican II....that it was nerely a "pastoral" Council which is not binding on anyone except for the re-emphasis of classical, traditional Catholic teachings. Magnificent.

    That Di Noia (who is not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact was persecuted by his USA Dominican province 25+ years ago for being orthodox at a time when the whole Church it seemed was throwing out tradition in favor of fabricated, improvisational John Paul II/Piero Marini circuses) would say this about Vatican II is awesome. The liberals, radicals, femminists and dissidents must be weeping floods of tears that their beloved standard and model for Vatican II (everything in light of the most liberal interpretation), is being trashed...even by the Pope.

  43. Consecrate Russia Now11:17 AM

    @ Kansas You are so correct. I too see all that is happening as coming together just as Heaven planned and with the aid of Catholics of true faith and prayer. Do people think our humble beseechings fall on deaf Ears? Do we not try to pray as taught through the ages, as to be most pleasing to the Almighty? I don't put my trust in churchmen but I do put my trust in the promises of God and His holy Mother.

    As to Canon Law, it does not apply here any more than the 7th Commandment would apply against a poor man regretfully being forced to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. We Catholics have been a starving Family determined to REMAIN Catholic out of fidelity towards our God Whom we love and have fear to offend.

    From the First Council of Nicea: "But let an inquiry be held to ascertain whether anyone has been expelled from the community because of pettiness or quarrelsomeness or any such ill nature on the part of the bishop."

    It is time for a pope to correct the grave injustices done to the Faithful. But if family continues to practice the Faith without hesitation at an SSPX or affiliate chapel. No matter what.

  44. Anonymous OutsideObserver said...
    "Reunion will be based, then, not on unity of faith but on the mutual adoption of language that is ambiguous enough to mask very real theological differences."

    But this is precisely how reunion has been achieved in the past with Eastern Christians! Latins and Greek Catholics have profoundly different theologies.

  45. PKTP, I address this to you in particular, since you seem to know more about these things than I do--but also anyone else:

    Could the Holy Father, as an overture, just lift the suspensions at this point?

  46. Far from blathering PKTP I am pointing out that if a doctrinal preamble takes the same line as Bp Di Nioa it would not be acceptable to the SSPX, neither Bp Fellay nor the hardliners could accept it. Bp Fellay will have to present something significant to the general Chapter, considering the divisions among the bishops, priests and laity I do not think anything else than a regularisation would suffice. Merely saying that the SSPX is catholic or not in schism or not heretical, which is what has been said for years will not cut it. Giving them faculties etc... Might but this would require the pope either to trample on canon law, as while the SSPX is still a pious union it is for the local bishop to give faculties or for him to accept that there is a state of necessity. That would cause even more grief than regularising the SSPX one would think.

    I am however happy that the pope is flexing his muscles to get this deal through, after all creating a whole new position is quite something. That I agree is good news.

  47. Kumquat1:00 PM

    Collegiality has always been the model of the Church for Eastern Christians (Catholic or not), because the Church is seen as communion and consensus.

    Catholics agree that the Pope has the last word, but he doesn't have the next-to-the-last word. Still less does he have the ONLY word.

    Indeed, what kind of father is he who will not hear the voices of his children, especially adult ones?

    Nevertheless, in any earthly organization, even the earthly part of the Church, the buck has to stop somewhere.

    1. Actually I'm afraid that for most of its history post schism and a significant part of it pre schism Constantinople dominated the eastern church forcing its liturgy and liturgical practices on other churchs by force if necessary and for all and intents purposes acting as an eastern pope. After the fall of the empire the patriarchs used the sultans on multiple occasions to crush local churchs that tried to breakaway. Collegiality was invented later on to justify the schism, whether it was dominated by the emperor, the patriarch or the sultan the eastern churches were always dominated by someone.
      In its modern form collegiality in the east has led to schism after schism and national churches which exist for the sole purpose of pride or independence from Constantinople. The pattern is always the same, a country gains independence, the church declares itself free from Constantinople, the latter excommunicates it but is in the end forced to recognise it. This has happened to the Greek, the Bulgarian and the Romanian church's to name but a few. It is not a pattern we want to follow and it most certainly is not of divine institution.

  48. Benedict Carter1:30 PM

    PKTP's strange suggestion of a 'stepped' process whereby Rome publicly states that the SSPX clerics are Catholic yet insists the faithful stay away from their Masses, perhaps for several years, is yet another armchair hero positing a wholly unrealistic 'solution' to the problem the Society is faced with.

    It's nonsense, frankly.

    What is also nonsense is the Pope's lack of a decision: he does not need Di Noia, not does he need Levada or the others, to weigh in with their six pennyworth.

    He has all the authority and power to make a decision and order its enactment.

    If he chooses not to, then he does not deserve either the authority nor the power his position gives him. A voluntarily-emasculated Papacy is no Papacy at all.

  49. @knight of Malta, he could, after all there is little the pope can't do. However it would be of little practical effect as they would still lack 'official faculties' , I'm a believer in supplied jurisdiction and of course the state of necessity but he's unlikely to support that.

    Of course there is also the issue of how he would justify removing the suspensions, would he accept their canonical arguments or? He could do it as an act of 'mercy' of course but that might be pushing the boundaries of plausibility.

  50. @JMJ

    Good points; I'm not a canon lawyer, but sua sponte, despite any doctrinal agreement, I wonder if the Pope could issue a decree--even without the consent of SSPX--saying they have faculties until a formal regularization is reached?

  51. "He has all the authority and power to make a decision and order its enactment."

    In reality, yes.
    In practice it does not seem to work that way in this case.

  52. Cosmos3:11 PM

    Whether or not it is the way I would to it, there is something to be said for getting all your ducks in a row before acting. It makes it much harder for those who are trying to thwart your efforts from mischarachterizing them. The Pope is a wise and shrewd man.

    If this deal ultimately gets done it is a HUGE blow to the liberals since their most powerful and effective tactic against Traditionalists will always be avoiding confrontation and simply writing them off as inauthentic, rebelious, and anachronistic. In the world of 5-second attention spans, arguing with Traditionalists sends out the message that both sides are legitimate. My belief is that the regularization of the SPPX will result in a softening of "Conservatives" to the Tradition. I already see this happening. This is vital to the impact of the movement in the long-term.

  53. P.K.T.P.4:36 PM

    Benedict Carter:

    Instead of resorting to insults, why not attend to what the Holy See has actually said. At the time of the June Feria Quarta, they suggested that the Pope may proceed with some form of recognition while discussions continue on the text of the Preamble. They themselves made that distinction, saying that the Pope may take some action but that talks could continue on the Preamble afterwards, so that suggests steps, no?

    There have been constant references to the distinction between a recognition and a full regularisation. These have emanated from the S.S.P.X itself. The Pope needs to move this process forward but is not prepared to 'give away the farm' without achieving anything in return. Moreoever, the Pope may want to give a limited vitory to +Fellay as he faces his coming Chapter meeting. If Fellay is ousted, it would not be good for the Holy See, as a deal with Society hardliners would be harder to achieve.

    There is at least hope that a limited recognition will come at the end of this week (SS. Peter and Paul) and be published by 2nd July (anniversary of Ecclesia Dei Adflicta). I ask for people to continue praying for a solution. You are right that the Pope, in law, doesn't need Di Noia but, de facto, popes govern a huge bureaucracy, and governance is difficult if you ignore the factions and the administrators. Moreover, the Pope is committed to Vatican II himself and he needs at least the appearance of some submission from the S.S.P.X. A continuing negotiation would create more than a mere impression that he was not prepared to hand them everything they want for nothing in return.

    It all makes perfect sense: a recognition with misgivings and an admonition to stay away from the Society pending regularisation; then more discussion on doctrinal principles and criteria, this time handled by Di Noia, and then finally a resolution on the canonical structure. Three steps, actually.


  54. P.K.T.P.4:39 PM

    Cruise the Groove:

    It does not seem to work that way at all. The problem is collegiality and the huge bureaucracy, making governance too difficult for one man to oversee alone. If you suddenly 're-organise' the bureaucracy, the result is instant and serious chaos. If you don't simplify it, it controls the governor. The result is that the Pope's real powers become narrower and narrower over time. Occasionally, a brave leader will reverse the process, usually during a crisis.

    Politicians in the secular realm face the same problem. Our countries are mainly run by senior bureaucrats, not elected officials.


  55. P.K.T.P.4:44 PM

    Knight of Malta:

    In law, he can do it. He will not do it without at least the appearance of having extracted something in return. The Pope is trying to keep the Ship of Church together: he does not want a revolt on the Left. This cannot look like a giveaway. Also keep in mind that Benedict XVI is a theological liberal himself. He wants the S.S.P.X to be included but not at any price.

    I can see him going part way with a recognition, but to finish the process, the S.S.P.X will have to appear to yield something. So Step Two might not be achievable in this pontificate. Fellay also does not want a deal at any price, like the price of serious division in his own Society.


  56. P.K.T.P.4:47 PM

    Knight of Malta:

    Good point. Yes, he could provide them with temporary faculties pending a resolution of the talks on doctrinal principles. That is possible, and I've raised that before. It would be going a bit further than just recognising that their Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation, something which would follow from admitting that they are Catholic. He might grant temporary and provisional faculties. We shall see.


  57. P.K.T.P.4:57 PM


    Admitting that they are Catholic would come with admitting publicly and directly what the Holy See has admitted privately for ten years now: simply that their Masses do fulfil the Sunday obligation. Far from being a minor concession, this would be an enormous concession. In fact, even with a warning not to go to their Masses pending regularisation, it is more significant than any concession in the longer term. The longer term is what mainly concerns the S.S.P.X, not what happens on the ground tomorrow or next year.

    Given the statistics, the S.S.P.X can barely serve its existing apostolates at present. But a recognition of being Catholic and part of the Church would enable its contined growth. In addition, such a recognition would put pressure on local bishops to provide more T.L.M.s just to keep the Society, and its Sermons, at bay. So this would be huge. I'd venture to say that, in the longer term, it's the whole ball of wax.

    I agree with Knight of Malta that the Pope could go further and grant purely temporary and provisional faculties pending a full regularisation. This might be a way to keep the Society 'on the hook', so that they just don't go away, say thank you for the recognition, and then cut off all contact.

    What the Pope will not likely do is to give them full regularisation for nothing in return. Right now, Fellay is offering nothing in return and is preparing to tell his Chapter why. The Pope will want to keep this ball rolling somehow.


  58. P.K.T.P.5:06 PM


    Well put. I, for one, agree entirely on your analysis, esp. the bit about sound bytes.


  59. First - against what Rev. Cekada says - Archbishop Di Noia makes it clear that a doctrinal COMPROMISE is NOT required in order for communion to be recognized. "It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the see of Peter." I strongly suspect that this diverges from (or even contradicts) Cardinal Levada's approach, which probably implies (or even demands) greater agreement with the conciliar texts. So the first point is strongly in the Society's favor and probably represents a new disposition from the Holy See than that expressed over the last several months or years.

    The second point is also very important. We are debating the TEXT of Dignitatis Humanae, and NOT debating the THEOLOGY of John Courtney Murray or the textual INTERPRETATIONS (and applications) of his patrons, Cardinals Ritter, Bea, Konig, Suenens or whoever else. What the text SEEMS TO IMPLY doesn't matter: Only what the text ACTUALLY SAYS is germane. This is a point that I think is often overlooked by the Society, which has often and in various ways stated that it is more interested in the PRACTICAL APPLICATION of the texts than in the THEORETICAL MEANING. Although less so, this is also a problem with sedevacantists, like Rev. Cekada, who habitually substitute their inferences for what the texts actually state.

    The third point is a statement of the Holy See's essential position, which will neither disown the texts nor accept any interpretation that implies a contradiction between the texts and tradition. Even if the human composers intended a contradiction, the Holy Spirit would not permit one to exist. Even if every single Council Father and Periti was of maliciously heretical intent, the Holy Spirit would have preserved their work from their errors, in a manner analogous to how the High Priest Caiaphas prophesied by virtue of his office, in spite of his deicidal intent (John 11:51). This is a point over which the Society seems to go back and forth. It seems to me that the Society WANTS to believe this, but when looking at the scandalous state of the Church unleashed by the Council cannot quite get itself to believe.

    This brings us back to the first point. Even if the Society insists (incorrectly, in my view and in the view of the Holy See) that the TEXTS contain errors, this doesn't necessarily prevent an accord from taking place and from communion being recognized. It merely means that the discussions must continue even after recognition has taken place. Dealing with an accusation of ERROR is entirely different from dealing with an accusation of HERESY. Because error does not come with automatic penalties, it is possible to have discussions while remaining and recognizing both parties remain in the Church. It remains a problem if the Society and the Holy See believe that one another holds erroneous doctrines, but not a problem that must prevent one another from recognizing the other as Catholic. This is where Francis' point is entirely correct: These texts do not demand assent.

  60. Our Lady's little child6:17 PM

    Comments on P.K.T.P.'s observation to "Cruise the Grove":

    1. "The problem is collegiality and the huge bureaucracy, making governance too difficult for one man to oversee alone." ABSOLUTELY ACCURATE - At this point in time, the Holy Father will experience in the depths of his soul the undeniable necessity for OMNISCIENT, Invisible (from our perspective), Incarnate Wisdom - the Head of the Catholic Church - to take charge.

    2. "If you don't simplify it, it controls the governor. The result is that the Pope's real powers become narrower and narrower over time." ABSOLUTELY ACCURATE - Divine Providence is going to MANDATE the Holy Father utilize the Divine Authority that has been given SOLELY to him, the utilization of which - OR - the withholding of it he is accountable for before the Divine Judge WHO has bestowed it to him - exclusively.

    3. "Occasionally, a brave leader will reverse the process, usually during a crisis." ABSOLUTELY ACCURATE - and all need to implore Mercy for this moment is rapidly approaching wherein Divine Providence will allow an increase of dramatic difficulties in order to force this action IF it is not willingly take under inspiration of the Holy Spirit's guidance in humble obedience to the Signified Will of the Holy Trinity. . .the Commandments of God, the Commandments of the Church and the duties of state.

    May Our Lady of Perpetual Help find her sons, the Sovereign Pontiff and H.E. Bishop Fellay before her throne in humble supplication that she would escort them to her Son's Apocalyptic Throne that He may reveal His Will before they must become accountable for grave events forced by their delays. His timing is precisely perfect. May they behold ALL that "the Lamb" desires.

  61. Indeed, Cruise The Groove, and it is Pope Benedict XVI himself as a conciliar periti and as a cardinal afterwards who supported collegiality. He has favoured episcopal horizontalism. He has a broad perspective on the papacy.

  62. Let us hope the Chapter of The SSPX takes place first as it will give Bishop Fellay a chance The Society deserves to explain himself clearly and it will give those who doubt his wisdom the opportunity to make themselves clear too. Rushing this end-phase would be both undignified and entirely inappropriate given the fraternal nature of The Society.

  63. Anonymous8:01 PM

    In response to something said by GQ Rep:
    Yes, it is true that Archbishop Di Noia is not a liberal. At the same time though, it is incorrect to say that he was "persecuted by his USA Dominican province 25+ years ago for being orthodox." His Dominican province was better than you make it out to be, and Archbishop Di Noia is a man that has the ability to be liked and respected by both conservatives and liberals.

  64. PKTP writes - "What is Archbishop Di Noia saying? He's saying that not all error constitutes heresy, and non-heretical error does not put one out of the Church, even though one may be wrong to adhere to it. I see this as a 'way out' for the shorter term: I don't suggest that the S.S.P.X actually is in error (and I don't think so) but I speak here from Rome's point of view."

    This is almost exactly right. Technically, non-heretical error can put one out of the Church if the competent authority decides to impose a ferendae sententiae excommunication. But this would be VERY unusual and would follow a process that has not been followed in the case of SSPX. Most importantly, this process would occur WITHIN the Church in a canonically regular context.

    In other words, those who would like to put the SSPX out for a doctrinal error would have to bring them back in to do it. Undo the horrific, irregular canonical mess of the 1970s, give the SSPX some status and standing in order to explain and defend itself, and THEN initiate a legitimate, above-board canonical proceeding. But once you give SSPX canonical standing, informal discussions must precede formal proceedings. This is what many, even high ranking SSPX-hating, Vatican II-lovers don't seem to understand in their over-protective defense of the Council. Fortunately, the Pope and Archbishop Di Noia do seem to understand it.

    If the Council is "Supreme Ordinary Magisterium," you can't run around pretending it enacted line-in-the-sand demands for assent.

  65. But PKTP such has already been admitted, not by the pope but by many others, alone I doubt its enough to satisfy the general chapter. Practically speaking it makes little difference unless they are also given faculties and frankly it would be little more than a PR stunt. Worse it would put the SSPX in the same boat ad the transalpine redemptorists something that I can assure would go down very badly. I hope I am wrong but I fear I am not.

    It is true the pope could grant them faculties but that would cause the problems I said above.

  66. P.K.T.P.8:16 PM

    I agree with most of what Carl wrote, but the principle of indefectability does not, in fact, prevent error in conciliar documents. Michael Davies comments on this in detail. On the other side, the fact that a document is non-infallible does not mean that it is fallible; it means that it *may* be fallible.

    Even if the Pope finds that the Society's "submission of mind and will to non-infallible authentic Church teachings" is inadequate, this does not make them heretics, only men adhering to non-heretic error. Carl is right to make this distinction.. Only heresy and apostasy and schism place one outside the Church. Adherence to non-heretical errors may be forbidden, but it does not put one outside communion.



  67. Brian2:40 AM

    All in all, recent events almost seems like a "tit for tat" arrangement: the Pope brings in Archbishop Di Noia, thereby helping Bishop Fellay with his SSPX problems; the SSPX dumps Bishop Willamson, thereby helping Pope Benedict XVI with his own political problems.

    It is interesting to observe how little blog attention is being paid to the significance of that second issue.

  68. Anonymous4:23 AM

    Brian, I agree. Which is why I do not think there will be any formal reunion- the Pope cannot risk open rebellion from the German bishops-corporate reunion will be too bright a line to cross but recognition in steps could happen and IMHO would be a much better, more organic way of reintegrating traditionalism into the mainstream life of the Church. The ordinary Catholic in the pew needs time to know their SSPX brothers and sisters. IMHO, the time is now or never but I am not hopeful. There is so much pride and self-righteousness on the one side and aversion and prejudice on the other.

  69. P.K.T.P.5:28 AM


    I can hardly understand your sentences. Please slow down and attend to grammar. What did I admit? If the Pope makes a dramatic recognition, no, this would not be a publicity stunt. On the contrary, such a recognition is the single most important part of this process, for, no matter how many negative pleas the Pope might attach to such an action, it would free the Latin Mass juridically--free it from the bishops. S.P. did that in theory but could not assure it in practice because the ageing liberal bishops have simply used threats against their priests to obstruct the motu proprio.

    Such an recognition by the Pope, together with the new negotiating partner, Abp. Di Noia, would likely keep Bishop Fellay safe for the remainder of his term and even beyond.

    Don't be tricked by how the Vatican has reframed this issue. The real goal here is recognition, not regularisation. Regularisation is more than icing on the cake but it's not the cake. The Holy See must make it seem as though regularisation is the real goal because this Pope wants to keep the liberals from screeching and rebelling (never mind if we care, Matt, for he cares). So the Pope must make the recognition part look like a mere step in the process, but the truth is that it is the main goal here. Once Rome openly admits at law and publicly that their Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation, the Traditional movement will be fortified into the distant future because, then the bishops will have no ammunition to use to keep non-Society trads in line. In fact, under such conditions, the only way that a bishop will be able to keep the S.S.P.X at bay will be to provide Latin Masses by his own priests. So there is both a direct effect and an even more important indirect one.


  70. P.K.T.P.5:33 AM

    Brian makes a good point, and I'm surprised that there has not been more commentary on Williamson's removal from Chapter.

    According to the various Internet sources, Levada is set to go "by the end of June". (Mind you, the same sources said "by the end of December, 2011, and he's still there.) This would work if the Pope is planning on recognising the Society on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. Of course, the new Prefect could be even worse. I used to think that nobody could actually be worse than Levada (other than some ageing retired bishops, like Quinn of S.F. or De Roo of Victoria, or Daneels or Mahony). But then I saw the name of Müller being circulated. God help us if he should be appointed. Heaven forfend it!


  71. P.K.T.P.6:13 AM

    Carl, as far as I know, there is no provision in the 1983 Code for an imposed (ferendæ sententiæ) excommunication for doctrinal error. Please point to the canon. If you are referring to Canon 1371 No. 1, the competent authority, ironically, would need to define the authentic but non-infallible teaching (cf. C.I.C. 752), for, unless it be defined, the denying party cannot "obstinately reject" the teaching. So I think that this consideration is out, really. The irony is that it would force the Holy See to define a Vatican II innovation which requires submission of mind and intellect, and to explain what degree of such submission is mandatory, given the criteria of theological interpretation. The Society would be delighted at that prospect.


  72. JMJ, you are assuming too much based on one leaked document: the matter is, we do not know what exactly happened. For all we know (and the very first French Sedevacantist blog to mention it said so), the communities themselves could have given rise to the process by asking for clarifications before the ordinations. So, if you wish to mention this matter present your suppositions as such, not as facts.

  73. *I had accidentally posted this in another entry, but was meant for here.*

    Archbishop Di Noia tells us to read the text of VII at face value, because it was guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet it is the Magisterium that tells us how to interpret it. But now, possibly, we have Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller (An Archliberal modernist) as the new Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    So the question is, will the interpretation of VII be according to the Apostolic Tradition and the previous Councils and Dogmas, or will it be according to the "Spirit of the VII" Modernist (T)radition?

  74. John McFarland1:31 PM

    I see that everyone is prepared to talk about anything except the crucial facts: (1) there will be no regularization without a doctrinal settlement and (2) the doctrinal issue is at an impasse.

    Bishop Fellay has said that the Vatican now understands the Society's position. That can only mean that it recognizes the gap that yawns between the Society's traditional understanding of the Faith, and the Vatican's V2 understanding of the faith.

    That gap cannot be bridged. It can only be ignored in a no-strings regularization.

    But it now seems quite clear that the Pope is unwilling to give such a no-strings regularization, and that what the Society is prepared to say regarding doctrine is not acceptable to him.

    Msgr. Di Noia (and any other reinforcements that might be called up) cannot and will not be of any use. As I read his repetition of the "conservative" party line, I imagine in the background the sardonic chuckles of Rahner and the other makers of the V2 revolution.

    As regards Bishop Williamson, the leaked letter indicates that His Excellency has been behaving even more badly than was common knowledge, but that Bishop Fellay is still unwilling to dismiss him for fear of splitting the Society, and may still hope for a reconciliation. (This, by the way, reflects no inside information on my part.) For a long time, I myself was prepared to give +W the benefit of the doubt. But after the recent Eleison Comment in which he analogized the Society to the judaizing Galatians, he can no longer be taken seriously. Unless he repents and starts obeying, dealing with him can only be an exercise in damage control.

    Since there is no hope for regularization in the foreseeable future, the no-deal wing of the SSPX has nothing concrete to worry about; and so the chapter should be an occasion for patching things up. But given our fallen nature, let me solicit your prayers for that patching up.

  75. Also I am sure we can all agree it would be good to pray for all involved? Particularly Bp Fellay and Bp Williamson, the general chapter and the two religious communities, they are all in particular need of Gods grace.

  76. Cardinal Levada has goten his way and sunk the wishes of the Holy Father,

    As Romano Amerio said 'The repudiation of authority has gained much momentum'

    Cardinal Levada says non serviam.

  77. Many of us have prayed for a General Chapter before we proceed any further with this premature enterprise. Deo Gratias. The Church needs a Society whole and entire not one that has descended into division and uncertainty. The fraternal nature of The SSPX needs reaffirming. Whatever the decision it has to be with all the bishops on board not just the Superior General and his immediate supporters. In fact, there is far more in this process than meets the simple eye.
    As I have stated before, this is going to take much longer than people think - much longer! In the meantime, there is a very important mission to be fulfilled that The Society has been too long distracted from.

  78. And souls continue to be in grave danger because the Society has doubtful valid confessions.

    Cardinal Levada....I mean Pope Benedict XVI, could change this with a stroke of the pen.

  79. PKTP - I am indeed referring to 1371.1. You are wrong that definition is required in order to demonstrate the obstinate rejection of a Canon 752 teaching. That the doctrine is "declared" (non-definitively) is sufficient to determine acceptance or rejection of the doctrine. Put precisely, if a person takes an issue with the FORMULATION or WORDING, they are in the clear, but if they reject the doctrine itself as not merely poorly expressed but actually false or erroneous, they are potentially toast.

    Applied to the Society and Vatican II Religious Liberty, this means there's all the difference in the world between 1) claims that the language of rights is misleading and wrong and that the old language of tolerance is far more precise and accurate, and 2) the claims of "errors" in the Council. To insist that the Council was not merely negligent, ambiguous and horribly misleading, but actually taught erroneous doctrines would make oneself squarely subject to the penalties envisioned by 1371.1 (if a competent authority chooses to apply them). To add definitiveness (definition) to the doctrines of Vatican II would only move the offense from the latter category (Canon 752) to the former (canon 750.2), adding gravity, and inviting a more severe "just punishment" than might otherwise be given.

    Please do not interpret anything I've written as ADVOCATING punishing the Society or anyone within it. I think the Society (in toto) should be recognized, should continue its activity, and that the Holy See should continue discussions to resolve remaining problems. Given the rampant culture of tolerating error (and often even heresy!), I would regard the prosecution of anyone in the Society on the basis of canons 752 and 1371 as a gross miscarriage of justice, even more grotesque than the injustice perpetrated against the Society since the early to mid 70s.

  80. Souls are in danger because the true faith is still persecuted, the arguments for the validity of the societys confessions, weddings etc.. are watertight if people are open minded and recognise the crisis we are in.

    I am afraid I am beginning to think like others on here and elsewhere that there will be no agreement and I fear what this means for Bp Fellay and the pope. Both of them have risked a lot on this regularisation and now it appears that will be for nothing. The popes attempts to reconcile with tradition will undoubtedly be trumpeted as a failure, whilst Bp Fellay's silencing of those against a deal will become hard to justify. Perhaps this was inevitable and the critics of a deal were right all along, who knows? But in the end Our Ladys Immaculate Heart will triump, of that we can all be sure!

  81. Not that old red herring again Cruise the Groove.

  82. PKTP - I just saw your earlier comment. Notwithstanding our disagreement about whether a ferendae sententiae excommunication COULD be applied for rejecting Vatican II doctrines (i.e. canon 752 doctrines) as erroneous, let me say something I suspect you will agree with entirely. After all, our disagreement is theoretical: Neither of us thinks that anyone in the Society SHOULD be punished for denying an canon 752 doctrine.

    Even if this was a canonical golden age and the Church was vigorously prosecuting punishing every delict being publicly committed by Catholics (please laugh uproariously at the suggestion), it would be wrong that the Holy See would demand acceptance of canon 752 doctrines as a PRECONDITION for canonical recognition of a party it supposes to be outside the Church. I don't even think it should be done with regard to canon 750.2 doctrines, which are of a categorically more authoritative nature. This would be an expression of a disordered intellect, inapproapriate partisanship and undue authoritarianism.

    This would be almost like the Council of Florence requiring the Armenians to declare their theoretical acceptance of the duties of the subdeacon in Roman ritual. Even if they thought the subdeacon was some kind of abomination to God and man, this should not have prevented their recognition so long as they agreed on the essentials. Our hypothetical "subdeacon dilemma" should be tabled for further discussion to take place AFTER recognition has taken place. This is a conversation for Catholics to have WITHIN the Church. And if after much discussion to no avail, the Armenians persisted in blasting the Pope and Bishops for adhering to the "errors of their subdiaconate ways" - and if it was the consistent policy of the Holy See to treat parties in such a way - then canonical proceedings might take place. But the idea that it is a "sine qua non" of initial canonical recognition is entirely gratuitous and utterly offensive.

    And yet as preposterous as it sounds, this seems to be PRECISELY the position of Cardinal Levada with regard to SSPX and Vatican II.

  83. John McFarland8:26 PM

    Dear Cruise,

    Since the idea of a no-strings settlement surfaced, my thinking has been: This is crazy. Can the Holy Father really be prepared to regularize on a no-strings basis a congregation of priests that stands firmly against everything that he has stood for during his entire adult life?

    Perhaps all that happened is that the Holy Father recognized its craziness. Or perhaps Cardinal Levada and/or others convinced him of its craziness. It would have been very easy to make, and very powerful.

    Or perhaps the Holy Father expected that he could get the SSPX to subscribe to a preamble that was sufficiently vague that both sides would be able to claim victory.

    If he thought that Bishop Fellay would accept regularization by equivocation, he was dead wrong.
    Bishop Fellay made his position quite clear on February 2 in Winona. If the Holy Father is serious about a no-strings regularization, the Society has no choice but to accept, subject to obtaining an acceptable canonical status for the SSPX, which he seemed to think was in the cards. If, on the other hand, there are strings, then there can be no acceptance.

    But there were strings, and so there will be no acceptance.

  84. John McFarland - Do you really have such a low opinion of the pope that you think his "entire adult life" is reducible to "standing for" abstruse statements on collegiality, ecumenism and religious liberty?

    Please read my last post, which attempts to show that Canon 752 doctrines - even the very best of them - should not be used as "strings" attached to the canonical recognition of a party which the Holy See supposes to be outside the Church. Every reasonable effort should be made to bring non-Catholics into the fold. Attaching "strings" in performing such a serious duty is to play a game that tempts the wrath of God.

    There is nothing "crazy" about tolerating dissent against a canon 752 doctrine. What's sheer madness is tolerating RAMPANT HERESY among university professors that receive paychecks from the Church while requiring the Society to affirm even the least authoritative, most recently pronounced doctrines. With all due respect, your position against the Society would almost but not quite be justified if you were calling for a renewal of the medieval inquisition. There has never been ANY DECLARATION of doctrinal error against the Society and yet you wish to use their supposed rejection of Vatican II as an excuse to "keep them out." If you want to attack their rejection of Vatican II, you need to let them in and recognize them first.

    Why should any of us be remotely concerned about an organization with no canonical standing in the Church rejecting one of our least authoritative doctrines? To be honest, I'm not even sure why we should be hot and bothered about an institution with canonical standing doing this! Are the problems in the Church and world so few and so minor?!?

    "It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the see of Peter."

  85. John McFarland11:47 PM

    Dear Carl,

    May I suggest that you read two relatively brief articles by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, SSPX, in the December 2009 and the January 2010 numbers of the Angelus magazine.

    The first is summarized in the following sentence:

    "No pope, no council -- not even an ecumenical council -- can shake off the yoke of the sacred deposit of divine revelation."

    The second is summarized in the following sentence:

    "[The Holy Father's account of magisterium and Tradition] holds together perfectly from one end to the other. But it ... gives an absolutely new definition to the magisterium and Tradition, in complete opposition to the teachings of the magisterium prior to the second Vatican Council."

    If these statements and the reasoning behind them are true, they blow to kingdom come the efforts of you and many another to low-key the issues at stake between the Vatican and the SSPX.

    If you think you have a refutation of them, please come back and tell us about it.

  86. When all is said and done, Pope Benedict XVI is a man of The Vatican Councils and everything this signifies. When you read all his writings that are available; look at all the pictorial evidence and note he says only the Novus Ordo Mass then we are entitled to admit that he is a liberal in the complete meaning of the term. Thus, he can include all facets of the post-conciliar paradigm together with a regularized and REGULATED traditional society provided they can accept the hermeneutic of continuity and his concept of "living tradition". Note too the formulae used in the Summorum Pontificum which in extensive degree encapsulates his approach. This is not a free gift to Traditionalists as it is thoughtfully interfaced with acceptance of NO liturgical praxis. Unless Traditionalists comprehend that our right to the Latin Mass of All Times is already guaranteed by prior papal decree then our cause is lost.

    This is not a criticism necessarily, rather a set of objective observations.
    This great intellect which is Joseph Alois Ratzinger cannot be understood any other way. To imagine he is a traditionalist in the orthodox sense or that he is gradually coming round to this mode of rationalising The Faith is to not only misconstrue but also to do this complex and fascinating character an injustice.

  87. John McFarland1:45 PM

    Dear Leon G,

    I find it difficult to describe someone who reads a pious historical relativism into the gospel as a "great intellect."

    The Holy Father is a diligent adept of the dominant intellectual currents of his young manhood. He made his ideological commitment years ago, and has stayed faithful to it. He does not seem to notice that what passes for the intelligentsia nowadays has no use for the intellectual fashions of the 1940s liberal Catholic Germany. Whatever the New Evangelization is, it is certainly not new.

    His intellectual odyssey is indeed fascinating, but largely in the sense that a war or a train wreck is fascinating.

  88. John McFarland - You are confusing sentences written by an individual in a magazine article for the doctrinal positions of the Society. Archbishop Lefebvre - please take that name in and compare it to your "authority" - had no hesitation in affirming the Second Vatican Council's description of the Magisterium as contained in Lumen Gentium 25. Moreover, Bishop Fellay has spoken positively about the need to interpret the Council by Tradition.

    As for your two statements by one "Fr. Gleize" (whoever that is), his first statement is UNDEBATABLY true and Vatican II's Dei Verbum says almost exactly the same thing. The second statement is unclear. Your brackets and elipsis makes me distrust that you are representing the context of the quote accurately. The key part of the quote is supplied BY YOU in BRACKETS. I'd need to see the context before passing judgment. As you have presented it, the quote is meaningless.

    Even if your bracketed rendition is accurate: What "account of magisterium and Tradition"? The one given in the 2005 curia speech? The one given in a 1966 article co-published with Karl Rahner. If the latter, I might find myself defending Fr. Gleize's statement quite vociferously. You have not adequately provided the context for Fr. Gleize's statement. If the former, I would disagree with it, but heartily defend a person's right to disagree with something said in a mere papal allocution, which is hardly the pinnacle of authoritativeness.

    I have not seen any OFFICIAL SSPX statement that indicates that Vatican II has contradicted previous doctrine in defining the Magisterium or Tradition. That would be difficult since the SSPX and the Holy See's own position is that Vatican II DIDN'T DEFINE ANYTHING.

    The OFFICIAL SSPX position is that Vatican II departed from previous doctrine in three areas: collegiality, religious liberty and ecumenism. You are struggling to read crypto-sedevacantism into places where it doesn't exist.


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

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


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

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

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

Thank you!