Rorate Caeli

How to welcome Calvinists, Lutherans, Orthodox, Anglicans - and the SSPX

Farel, Calvin, Beza, Knox - Reformation Wall, in Geneva
Swiss Dominican Charles Morerod took part as a Vatican representative in the doctrinal talks with the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), in 2009-2011, and was named afterwards Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg. Bishop Morerod signed a document recently on the use of churches and chapels of the Diocese "by other religions, confessions, or religious groups, as well as by the Society of Saint Pius X" (January 20, 2013 - available here, in French).

The document includes the following:

2. Use by other Christian churches or ecclesial communities

2.1 Based on the indications of the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, of March 25, 1993, (n. 137), permission for placing churches and chapels at the disposal of communities of other Christian confessions may be granted for reasons of pastoral need.

If the aforementioned pastoral need presents itself, Catholic churches and chapels can only be placed at the disposal of Catholic-Christian [Old Catholic], Evangelical-Reformed, Lutheran, Orthodox, and Anglican communities.

3. Use by members of the Society of Saint Pius X

3.1 The excommunication declared regarding the bishops of the Society on June 30, 1988, was lifted by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops, of January 21, 2009.

3.2 In his letter "concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre", of March 10, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI wrote to the bishops: "The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church" [suspensio a divinis].

3.3 Due to the aforementioned reasons, it is forbidden to the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X to use the Catholic churches and chapels for all priestly service, in particular for the dispensation of the sacraments.

4. Use by non-Christian religious communities

4.1 Requests by communities belonging to non-Christian religions for the use of a church or a chapel shall receive a negative response.


  1. Pardon me.

    This is freaking unbelievable.

    Complete disorientation.

  2. Peter1:32 AM

    I'd like to offer this encouragement from St. Athanasius to those who assist at SSPX Masses. The letter below was written to those Catholics who suffered under the Arians, seeing ecclesiastical authority and church buildings overtaken by these heretics.

    "May God console you! ... What saddens you ... is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises -- but you have the apostolic faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the faith? The true faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle -- the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the faith?

    "True, the premises are good when the apostolic faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way ...

    "You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the faith which has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and if an execrable jealously has tried to shake it in a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis.

    "No one, ever, will prevail against your faith, beloved brothers, and we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.

    "Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church but in reality they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray.

    "Even if Catholics faithful to tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.

    (Coll. Selecta SS. Eccl. Patrum. Caillu and Guillou, Vol. 32, pp 411-412)."

  3. So heretics and schismatics can use the Church but the SSPX cant it would be funny if it wasnt so sad....

  4. Anonymous1:37 AM

    The new Bishop Geneva is the ex-rector of the Angelicum, at Rome.

    While the faculty there would certainly distance itself from Phariseeism (swallowing camels and straining gnats: allows Protestants, who do not share our faith, but forbidding the SSPX), they are as much agents as victims of the diorientation which arises from the false interpretation of the nature and magisterium of the late Council.

    A false image which has created a social-pyscological necessity of acting in an inchoerent manner, as the Bishop of Geneva has just done...

  5. Seraph1:46 AM

    This is a sin against the first commandment that the bishop is advocating and allowing.

    It is sacrilege to allow false worship from false religions to take place on altars and churches consecrated to God.

  6. Makes perfect sense. The good bishop is merely explaining that our differences with Protestants and the Orthodox are merely disciplinary and not doctrinal, as they are, for example, with the SSPX.

    Whew. Now I feel a lot better.

  7. Maronite Catholic2:00 AM

    I think I am going to be sick.

  8. oreoman2:13 AM

    ONCE again a bishop has made himself a Pope! The church of VAC II has many little popes.

  9. Scott2:14 AM

    Yes! Let the liturgical dancing begin!

  10. As an Orthodox Christian I have to admit this does seem rather odd. I'm not a big fan of the SSPX (I used to be connected back in the day... mea culpa mea culpa), but this defies logic to my mind. Why indeed allow people who are overt heretics (we would agree on this point) to use your altars while saying no to a group that is at worst schismatic? The policy here strikes me as incoherent and lacking in a sound rational.

    But then again we tend to take a different tack on the topic of non-Orthodox using our altars.

    We just say "no."

  11. The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain. This is nothing

  12. Irene2:37 AM

    The Orthodox would never ask to use a Roman Catholic Church.

  13. Truth Seeker3:02 AM

    I'm willing to bet that "Catholic-Christian" in this context refers to the more conservative groups within the Old Catholic movement, called "Christ Catholics" in Switzerland (if I'm not mistaken).

    I say "more conservative" because some have taken to ordaining women.

    Of course, I may be mistaken about the above.

    Contrary to what Irene has said, I can give several examples of Roman Catholic churches used by Orthodox, either regularly or on occasions. This happens in the Middle East all the time.

  14. This is the essence of Protestantism, isn't it? Anything goes unless it's integrally Catholic.

  15. Irene,

    Actually several Orthodox groups have and do. For a time, the Orthodox community at the University of Chicago used the Catholic chapel there for Vespers and, occasionally, the Divine Liturgy. The Liturgy was served on a Catholic altar. Also, for a time, several groups of Old Believers (breakaways from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th C.) used the chapel at a Benedictine Monastery in Oregon. The Benedictine monk who tended to their needs was actually given an Old Rite Orthodox funeral and is now buried at one of the Old Believer cemeteries.

    These things do happen. It's a larger world than most assume.

  16. John,

    Funny, that doesn't seem to apply to the numerous non-Chalcedonian groups that have, and continue, to use Orthodox churches (particularly in the Antiochian Diocese) for their services. Until they got the money together for their own church, a large segment of Ethiopian Christians used the chapel at St. Nicholas Antiochian Church in Grand Rapids. There are other groups that use Antiochian churches as well.

    Also, I might as well mention here that both the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Orthodox Church in America (with permission of the local hierarch) Commune non-Chalcedonians; there are Antiochian parishes in the U.S. that commune Muslims; and there are Russian Orthodox parishes in Europe that have (and some continue, apparently) communed Anglicans and Old Catholics.

    But an Eastern Catholic (Uniate)? Heaven forbid!

    So try again.

  17. Matthew Rose3:17 AM

    Remember, the only people now outside the Church are those pesky traditionalists.

    Don't YOU forget that!

  18. Just... irrational.

  19. always good to know who your friends are ....


  20. Peter , Thank you for the passage from St. Athanasius, Very uplifting and reassuringof our SSPX affiliations. Wounderfully Eloquent. Larry Schmidt

  21. Barbara5:30 AM

    Thank you Peter for those consoling words from St. Athanasius - it is happening in the Church today. So little resistance to blatant heresies both in and outside of the Church. People - even too many so called well-educated or professional - as Catholics - have been well and truly brainwashed in the post- VAT II Church. In my family (not immediate) they think I am a "borderline Catholic verging on schism" because I attend the TLM. I have no personal affliation with the FSSPX but I am labelled "lefebvrian" And there is no good talking to them - they actually do not want to listen - they have all the pat and parrot like responses ready about why the New Mass is better than the Old Rite, all the while manifesting a total ignorance of what HOLY MASS really is. Their prejudice is immense.

    It is a monumental tragedy... so many souls. But for the grace of God go I ....why did I get so blessed? What happy, bittersweet suffering!

    Tradition will win - the modernist rot, puerile ideas on ecumenism as this article suggest and perverted theological thinking don't have a chance - they cannot endure.

    The battle continues - and it may continue for some time to come - but we all know WHO and WHAT will win. I'm pretty sure that even the modenists deep-down know it - they know they have NOTHING, NULLA, NADA- it is so. Why they persist is the mystery.

  22. The SSPX wants Rome to agree with their doctrinal arguments and reject the post VII liturgical changes. Presumably it does not believe Rome should relax its internal discipline. To hear traditionalists complain about this is a little like Ayn Rand complaining about her publishers making too much money off of her.

    As for the apparent paradox, it's entirely consistent to be more generous to external groups than to disobedient internal groups.

  23. The difference between Protestants and SSPX is that..... the former is more likely to be invincible ignorance than the later.

  24. Federline8:28 AM

    Sing to us, o Long-Skirts, that we may more keenly feel with our minds and see with our hearts the sad pass to which we have come!

  25. Part 1 of 2

    The Society and Traditionalists as a whole may not be desirable to many Churchmen.

    However, on February 7, 2013 A.D., the following folks will be ushered into St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, California.

    The Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese's news release Web page posted the following information yesterday (Friday):

    St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo (California):

    “Ecumenism and Engagement with World Religions”

    From: Archdiocese of Los Angeles

    "St. John’s Seminary presents the second in a series of four lectures in this Year of Faith commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

    "These lectures will examine the impact of Vatican II and its implications for the deepening of faith.

    "On Thursday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m., a panel discussion entitled “Ecumenism and Engagement with World Religions” will be chaired by the Rt. Rev. Alexei R. Smith, with the panel to include Rabbi Michael Lotker, Mr. Shakeel Syed, and Bp. Maryann Swenson.

    "The panelists will reflect on how the Catholic Church and world are different today because of the declarations of Vatican II on Ecumenism and on Judaism and other world religions."

    "Bp. Maryann Swenson" is priestess/"Bishop" Mary Ann Swenson of the United Methodist Church.

    "Bishop" Mary Ann Swenson supports homosexual marriage.

    The following is from an online transcription of the PBS show Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, November 26, 1999, which featured "Bishop' Swenson:

    "In 1996, Bishop Swenson, along with 14 other bishops, officially dissented from the church's position against ordination of homosexuals, and she supported ceremonies for same-sex unions in a church within her own jurisdiction."


  26. Excellent news. A bishop who actually listens too and obeys Peter.

    Shame the SSPX cannot drop their practical-sedevacantism and submit.

  27. It appears that it might be easier to bring back the Protestants compared to the SSPX! I am not surprised with the Vatican attitude.

    Remember Anglicanorum coetibus? And now the Lutherans want in!

    The Protestants are separated but hardly willinglt disobedient nowadays with the typical Protestant in the pew willing to accept a form of Papal spiritual leadership and ministry. The SSPX is schismatic, separated and disobedient.

  28. For some, things become more and more complicated and difficult - “What’s happening now ?”

    For me, it’s simple, needing little intelligence and less learning. Which is the more likely Catholic : Mahony (a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church I remind you, amazingly still in good standing) or Lefebvre an “excommunicated” Archbishop ?

    Once you get your head round that, all is clear, at least, I hope it is.

  29. In regards to the FSSPX it is odd,

    Bishop Moreod does not seem to be allowing what other Bishops and priests in the Church are.

    FSSPX priests are permitted to offer Mass in the Vatican, the Basilica in Washington DC, and many other parishes.

    This is well documented.

    I even know personally of an FSSPX priest that was permitted to offer Mass at a local parish.

    Very confusing.

    The mixed signals continue.

    We need universal clarification on this matter.

  30. Truth Seeker3:04 PM

    Gabriel, can you please give specifics of Antiochian Orthodox priests giving Communion to Muslims, including date (approximately) and place? I cannot imagine any Orthodox priest knowingly doing so.

    As far as OCA and Antiochian priests giving the Eucharist to non-Chalcedonians, this applies only where there is no priest for these people and they ask of their own accord. When they establish their own parish nearby, this permission is withdrawn.

    The Roman Catholic Church allowed this before Vatican 2 as well when it would not be likely to cause scandal.

  31. NIANTIC3:19 PM

    These modernists are oh so predictable and childish to the extreme.

  32. Veritas3:40 PM

    I think whar is at issue here is the canonical "irregularity" issue regarding the SSP X and NOT a doctrinal issue with regards to administring the sacraments in a Catholic Church. In fact any priest in the Roman Catholic Church who does not have proper faculties cannot and should not be administering the sacraments. Its plain and simple canon law. It does not reflect on the sanctity or not of the priest. Hence, if my Bishop -let us say right after ordination- did not give me faculties to hear confessions with the intention of giving me faclulties later, it would be wrong for me to sit in a confessional in my home parish ! If the local Bishop heard this, it would be proper for him to let his people know that I do not have faculties...even if I were a Jesuit, Dominican or from the SSP ! Please don't confuse canonico-disciplinary issues with other issues.

    So, while the decree assesses who can use the church or not, it is, in my opinion as a canonist, done in a very odd way. The issues could - and should - have been treated differently in two different documents.

    The uses of our churches for non Catholic Communities are regulated by a series of norms which are applied in the case of the Bishop of Lausanne. The issue of not allowing the church to be used my priesrs of the SSPX for administration of the sacraments is governemd by another set of norms. Having both in the same document is truly confusing to the average Catholic in the pew (whether traditionalist or not).

    Of course, the issue from a canonical perspective is very very complex and just a comment in the combox cannot exhaust a proper exposè on the issue.

  33. Andrew3:46 PM

    I am not a fan of the SSPX but I would like to know what heresies the SSPX holds. To my mind they hold no heresies. The rejection of Vatican II (which defined no new doctrine) surely does not make one a heretic. If the SSPX holds to the Faith before the Council (which they seem to do) then how can their be "doctrinal" issues? Very odd.

  34. Irene4:15 PM


    The fact that Orthodox used a Catholic Chapel at the University of Chicago is in itself bizarre as there are a plethora of Orthodox communities in Chicago. Why were they not attending a canonical Orthodox Church...? Unless they were not canonical...such as you mentioned with the Old Believers. But by in large my comment stands. Orthodox would not ask to use a Roman Catholic Church because they would have no reason to and should frankly know better than to even ask.

  35. JTLiuzza4:28 PM

    oreoman said...

    ONCE again a bishop has made himself a Pope! The church of VAC II has many little popes.

    Correct. That is the essence of protestantism, isn't it? Every man his own pope. So instead of being created in His likeness and image, you get to create Him in your likeness and image. He never teaches to you anything that makes you uncomfortable or challenges you. I'm ok, you're ok.

    Behold the fruits of the council.

  36. Federline +1

  37. Institutionalizing bigotry and prejudice. See how he had to contort his logic (as all liberals do) to arrive at his false conclusion.

    When people say to remain alert for the coming persecutions, it's ironic the persecution is coming from within the Church Herself. Interesting.

  38. Matt said:

    "it's ironic the persecution is coming from within the Church Herself"


    Good cap, bad cap
    Really nothing new
    One says "yes"
    And the other says "boo"

    Vernacular for most
    Latin, just a few
    But you can have your Bread
    And even eat It too.

    Bad caps rail
    Good caps hush
    Good caps snooze
    Bad caps rush

    Of course their precinct captain
    Knows his hired men
    Likes to act concerned
    But never will defend

    Won't correct abuses
    Like rainbows from a prism
    When accused together pray
    They're framed to look like schism

    Good cap, bad cap
    All around the town
    Bad cap beats you up
    While good cap holds you down.

  39. Part 2 of 2

    The Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese's news release Web page posted the following information yesterday:

    St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo (California):

    “Ecumenism and Engagement with World Religions”

    From: Archdiocese of Los Angeles

    "St. John’s Seminary presents the second in a series of four lectures in this Year of Faith commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

    "On Thursday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m., a panel discussion entitled “Ecumenism and Engagement with World Religions” will be chaired by the Rt. Rev. Alexei R. Smith, with the panel to include Rabbi Michael Lotker, Mr. Shakeel Syed, and Bp. Maryann Swenson.

    "The panelists will reflect on how the Catholic Church and world are different today because of the declarations of Vatican II on Ecumenism and on Judaism and other world religions."

    Rabbi Michael Lotker is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo, California, where the Catholic seminary in question is located.

    "Temple Ner Ami is a Reform congregation located in Camarillo, California, affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)," according to the Temple's Web site.

    Rabbi Michael Lotker "is a second career rabbi having been ordained at age 55 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2003." according to rabbi Lotker's Web page.

    In 2003 A.D., the Rabbi's seminary condemned President Bush's ban on partial-birth abortion.

    At the following Web site,

    Rabbi Michael Lotker declared that his Temple Ner Amim is part of the Union for Reform Judaism:

    "We are a reformed congregation, which means that we are the most liberal form of Judaism,” Lotker said.

    Visit the following Web site

    to read what the Union for Reform Judaism teaches in regard to abortion.

    Here is an excerpt:


    "Q: What is the Reform perspective on abortion?

    "A: Reform Judaism understands the original position of the Talmud wherein is described the notion that an abortion should be performed only for the sake of the life of the mother, and even as late as the moment before the head of a baby emerges from the birth canal.

    "However, Reform goes beyond this narrowly defined period and gives sanction to its members (and all others for that matter) to elect to terminate a pregnancy when confronting other circumstances: as a result of rape or incest; when through genetic testing, it is determined that the child to be born will have a disease that will cause death or severe disability, and the parents believe that the impending birth will be an impossible situation for them; and other circumstances."

    Is Archbishop Gomez of the Los Angeles Archdiocese aware as to any of the above information?

    Several seminarians at St. John's are studying for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.


  40. Don M7:50 PM

    Same old thing over and over!
    The House IS DIVIDED!
    A good priest I know adds one more day a week for the TLM .That day being Saturday, and 3/4 of the Novus ordo Catholics now stay home or go somewhere else. I am quite sure that they will be more than happy to see the Holy Mass of the Saints pass away, not unlike many detractors on line.
    Catholics? That entry must be much larger in the dictionary than it was pre 1960
    Long Skirts ..Well said.
    Pray for our Holy Priests, that are being ground to the dust.

  41. "The panelists will reflect on how the Catholic Church and world are different today because of the declarations of Vatican II on Ecumenism and on Judaism and other world religions."

    The Church is in bad shape and one of the world's religions, Islam, will take over what used to be Catholic countries.

  42. St. Christopher1:52 AM

    It does not seem that the present Church will ever welcome the SSPX. This interpretation of the words of the Holy Father is willfully negligent, and obviously not consistent with the intent, and words, of Benedict. The Lutherans, of all people, followers of the great heretic, should never be given access to anyplace where the consecrated host resides. Lutheran leaders were wildly against any opening by the Catholic Church through which their members might join the Catholic Church. And, the Lutherans, and all non-Catholic Christinas, are, to this cleric, more valuable to the Church than the SSPX. This is completely crazy, and is indicative of the fear that many in Church leadership have of those with true faith. St. Christopher.

  43. Peter4:01 AM

    Andrew, the SSPX teaches no new doctrines. The trite Protestant charge is absurd, as the SSPX rejects the twin pillars of Protestantism, sola scriptura and sola fide. The SSPX simply holds to the teachings and traditions of the 1,900+ years before Vatican II. As for obedience, see the writings of Cardinal Bellarmine on this. Also google for this:

    Can Obedience Oblige Us to Disobey?

    And search for this:

    Gnostic Twaddle

  44. Gabriel said: " ... it's entirely consistent to be more generous to external groups than to disobedient internal groups."

    Why, pray tell, is it consistent?

  45. Truth Seeker10:38 AM

    I hardly see how this is "gnostic twaddle," when the Gnostics themselves claimed to have an "invisible it" (for lack of a better name) that the people of the main body--that is the Visible Church--did not.

    You've gotten it wrong, Peter.

  46. Benedict Carter12:00 PM

    The Church has gone absolutely insane.

  47. Anonymous12:12 AM


    For what its worth, there's a Greek Orthodox congregation in Flagstaff, Arizona that(canonical Orthodox, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) has been using the Catholic Church of the Nativity for quite some time now. Interestingly enough, it is also a satellite location for Phoenix-based Mater Misericordiae Mission(FSSP)


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