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Vatican 2.5 Goes Kerplop Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 11 March 2011

I was tempted to begin this column by saying that Traditionalist hearts began to beat a little faster last fall when formal talks with Rome began, talks that might lead to a rapprochement between the Society of St. Pius X and the Catholic Church. But I really do not believe their hearts beat any faster at the prospect of communion with Rome. They are dug in and will likely never come back, short of Vatican II being totally repudiated and their leader, Bernard Fellay, being elected Pope Marcel I.

The talks have broken down, as almost anyone could have predicted. 

The Society was begun in anger and suspicion, some of it justifiable, no question about that. It was born at the dawn of the crazy 1970s when the wheels seemed to be coming off everything, the Church included.

Vatican II had happened and was almost immediately hijacked and perverted by the progressives. The liturgy was uprooted and in some cases even debased. Priests and nuns started disregarding their vows and even began canoodling with each other. Some French seminarians in Rome went to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and asked what they should do.

He directed them to an acceptable Swiss seminary and then founded his own, along with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X for the seminarians who studied with him. He even received official sanction for all of this. But that did not last long. Within a few years, approval was withdrawn, as were Lefebvre’s faculties, meaning he could no longer perform the sacraments, including ordinations. All of this, he ignored.

In 1988, at the age of 81, without Vatican approval, he ordained four bishops so that his work could go on after he died. For this, he and the four were formally excommunicated. John Paul II said these acts constituted acts of schism. Three years later, Lefebvre died without being reconciled with the Church. 


         Fellay of SSPX: “ . . . making the Catholic faith understood in Rome
”? 

You might say obstinacy and arrogance were born in the bone of the Society. Or even that they are the twin charismata of the Society.

The heart of their complaint is that the Church has been taken over by Modernists and has become little more than Protestantism. No little thing that. The documents of Vatican II are the cause of much of their consternation. They reject most if not all of the Council. They certainly reject the teaching on ecumenism and also on religious freedom. Lefebvre himself worked on the religious freedom document and was one of a tiny handful of more than 2,000 bishops to vote against it.

The Vatican has maintained contact with the Society, including at the papal level. Paul VI met with Lefebvre, as did John Paul II. And Benedict XVI met with his successor, Fellay, in 2005. A few years later the Vatican lifted the excommunications of the four bishops, including Fellay, as a way to lay the groundwork for talks that should lead them back to the Church.

Those formal talks began last fall. You can see from Fellay’s comments that the talks were doomed from the beginning. A few weeks ago, on the Society’s own website, Fellay says, “We hope to tell Rome what the Church has always taught and thereby to show the contradictions between this centuries-old teaching and what has been done in the Church since the Council. This was the only goal that we are pursuing.” He goes on to say, “It is a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome and trying, why not, to make it understood even more throughout the Church.”

Did Fellay really think he would set the Church straight about what the Church really teaches? And that at long last the dreaded Vatican II would be renegotiated and even done away with? Or that the Bishops of the schismatic Society would at long last be seen by the Church as they see themselves, that is, as the only authentic Magisterial teachers of the Catholic faith?

In 1996, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska issued excommunications of anyone in his diocese belonging to certain groups that he said were totally incompatible with the Catholic Faith. Along with Planned Parenthood, the Freemasons, and Catholics for a Free Choice, Bruskewitz fingered the Society St. of Pius X. I asked a wise and grizzled traditionalist in New York about this and he said with rising indignation, “Because they’re Protestants!” There are, in fact, thousands of traditional Catholics who quite properly avoid and even shun the Society of St. Pius X.

Did Traditionalist hearts beat faster at the prospect of formal talks with Rome? No. Not by a long shot. The leaders – and maybe most of the lay followers – of the Society of St. Pius X are dug in and quite happy to be so. They rejoice in their rebel chapels and are satisfied with their illicit sacraments. Most of all they are happy, perhaps even giddy, in their disobedience. Their hearts did not beat faster at the prospect of communion with Rome because, like the dissenters who emerged after the Council, they believe it is Rome who is not in communion with them. These guys are not coming back any time soon. If ever.


Austin Ruse
is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.
The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.

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Comments (40)Add Comment
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written by Jeremy Robles, March 11, 2011
Well actually next Pope Marcel would be Marcel III
:-D
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written by Bill, March 11, 2011
Well done, Mr. Ruse. If it were not for the SSPX there would be no Summorum Pontificum and probably no hermeneutic of continuity. I have not been in a NO parish in over twenty-five years, having gone to a NO monastery with altar rails, etc. for ten and to an FSSP chapel for fifteen. The Novus Ordo church is a banal, low church waste of time which is very dangerous to peoples' souls as anyone who has observed the last fifty years will attest. It is rife with aberrosexuality and dissent.
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written by Quaecumque Vera, March 11, 2011
I personally have been helped a lot by the publishing arm of SSPX, Angelus Press. I bought and read a lot of books by Thomas Aquinas and other authors who discussed his thought-- really classic resources that ground the faith. Bishop Fulton Sheen is carried a lot as well. I recently took a course at our local seminary where the most awful things were said about SSPX. At no point was their central challenge discussed--did Vatican II break with tradition ? Just yesterday the column here was in praise of Pope Benedict and I think he is a remarkable figure for our time. But he stresses a truth filled love. Isn't the question about SSPX whether they have something truthful to add?
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written by Titus, March 11, 2011
Well, it's undoubtedly the case that Mr. Ruse's comments apply to some. And while I haven't personally been perusing SSPX websites to see if Bishop Felay is responsible for the statements Mr. Ruse attributes to him, I don't have any basis for denying their veracity.

But it seems the article might paint with somewhat of a broad brush. Certainly it would be most charitable to assume that there are at least some traditionalists who would appreciate normalization of the Society? And more certainly, there definitely are large numbers of traditionally minded Catholics who do not frequent SSPX chapels who would appreciate the bolstering of traditional practices that such a normalization would bring. See, e.g., Zuhlsdorf, Father.

Of course, the whole affair is largely people talking past one another. Traditionalists and others, including "Bill," above, rightly point to the absurdities of local practices (and sometimes even papal liturgies under prior papal MCs). But neither the Council nor the Roman Missal call for banalities and scandal. Likewise, everyone (on both sides) wants to foam at the mouth about what the Council said. But for the sake of all the saints, what is it that the Council even said? The documents are penned in such loose prose, and filled with so many non-doctrinal observations, that they can be subjected to a maddeningly wide variety of interpretations on many points. If folks on both sides weren't so sore over having their ox gored, a place could be found for most of the theological assertions the SSPX wants to make with only slight moderation. But where Mr. Ruse's thesis is undoubtedly most correct is in this: the habit of obstinacy has likely been practiced for too long to be abandoned now.
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written by Lauri, March 11, 2011
I know little about SSPX, save the scandalous behaviour of its founder and the leaders and members words and actions that keep SSPX in schism from the Church. I think the question of whether Vatican II broke with tradition has already been answered by the Church, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. And that answer is "No, except..." I suppose one could interpret the ongoing hostility and obstinacy emanating from SSPX as faithful witness. I see it more as pride, arrogance, and anything but truth-filled love.
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written by Grump, March 11, 2011
Is this not just another example of challenging papal infallibility, put in doctrinal form by the First Vatican Council in 1870, on matters of teaching and morals? If so, there seems to be nothing new in this. Has not the Church always been "plagued," if that's the right word, by dissent from within and without?
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., March 11, 2011
Pardon me, Lauri, but is it possible that when you spoke of "scandalous behavior" you were confusing Abp Lefebvre with Marcel Maciel? Another mattter: Bishop Bruskewitz's excommunication of members of SSPX did not make sense, since those who attend SSPX Masses are not members of SSPX, and,moreover, Cardinal Ratzinger specifically stated that the faithful were permitted to attend SSPX liturgies. As for Trads not wanting a reconciliation, I don't doubt that there are many like Mr. Ruse's grizzled friend, but I know many others who earnestly pray for that reconciliation. You will not find any Trads, pro-SSPX or anti, who defend, as Rooger Cardinal Mahony did recently, the reception of the Eucharist by pro-aborts on the grounds that 1) Our Lord gave the Eucharist to Judas, and 2) the public will symnapthize with the punishsed pro-abort over the Church! Would we hear such insidious nonsense from Bernard Fellay?
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written by Quaecumque Vera, March 11, 2011
Maybe I should just leave it at what I asked earlier but I will try something more. Lauri says that the question about Vatican II breaking with tradition was answered "No,except.." but it is precisely in the trail off that SSPX enters the dialogue. Indeed a good deal of their witness has been to question the Church's capitulation to modernity, which interestingly is where Pope Benedict draws the most fire. In Austin Ruse's article and in the comments motives are attributed to the traditionalists--they are giddy in their disobedience. I don't think this is true at all. I think they sincerely believe the Church took a wrong turn and they are grieved deeply by it. SSPX has to answer for its own conduct of course but to lump them in with Planned Parenthood is to stop thinking. I just don't know how a group that takes Tradition, takes the saints and the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church like Aquinas, and asks have we moved away from these foundations of the faith can be all wrong and deserving of derision.
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written by Lauri, March 11, 2011
I believe that schism is scandalous, as are continued disobedience to one's bishop, such as ordaining priests when you have no authority to do so. And the "No, except..." leaves a faithful Catholic the ability to remain in communion with Christ's Church. As I said above, it is the continued obstinance and the apparent absence of humility and meekness that continue to call into question the motives and credibility of the SSPX. That is what lays them open to what some call "derision" but what I call admonition and correction.
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written by Bill, March 11, 2011
I am thrilled to be reading these comments! Thank all of you.
The SSPX has the weight of historical documents on its side.
See the Syllabus of Errors,Lamentabili and Pascendi. All that Popes Pius IX and SAINT Pius X warned of as errors are common practice in the Church today. Bp. Fellay wrote a classic study called From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy. Romano Amerio, Msgr Gherardini and Msgr Pozzo argue it is the INTERPRETATION of the teachings of the Council rather that the Council itself as the source of the confusion.The Church is attempting to blend the Progressive branch and the Traditional branch to create an orthodox branch (small "o" so as not to confuse with the Orthodox) and it is not working.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 11, 2011
Mr. Coleman,

Please provide a citation for this:

"Cardinal Ratzinger specifically stated that the faithful were permitted to attend SSPX liturgies."
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written by Louise, March 11, 2011
Recently, I received a publication in the mail. As I read the lead article, I thought, "Thank you, Lord. At last someone is saying what we have all been yearning to hear." Then I thought, "Maybe I'd better find out who is publishing this." When I discovered that it was the SSPX, I was bitterly disappointed because, like Lauri, I want no part of schism.

However, if we didn't have the very faithful parish of which I have spoken often here, I would be hard pressed not to seek out an SSPX church and hope for the best.
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written by Warren, March 11, 2011
Simply put - the SSPX is not Rome. Bishop Fellay is not the Pope. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave His authority to govern the Church to Saint Peter and his successors, not Archbishop Lefebvre. The criticisms targeting liturgical abuse, not just those coming from the SSPX, are viable in so far as they do not miss the necessary distinction between the Mass itself and its celebration. The Pauline Mass is valid; the problem has to do with the way that too many wayward priests choose to celebrate it. Abusus non tollit usum.

The hard words are these: because they are defined by their disobedience and protest, the Lefebvrites more resemble protestants than Catholics. The SSPX may look Catholic by virtue of their vestments and liturgies, as did the Anglicans when they split from Rome. Other than that, the heart of the SSPX is far from the Church founded by Jesus on the Apostles. The SSPX, by failing to muster even simple obedience to Rome, are more like our eastern brethren.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 11, 2011
One of the recurring comments above is that some, perhaps myself included, would not applaud a reconciliation of the Society to the Catholic Church. I suspect that progressives would bemoan that, but not faithful Catholics.

All it would take, however, is for the Society to accept all the teachings of the Church including Vatican II, something they are not willing to do.
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written by Jason, March 11, 2011
I don't believe that the SSPX is in formal schism, despite it being claimed by so many bloggers.

Also, as far as "Vatican 2.5" going "kerplop," it seems to me that, based on the empty pews, empty seminaries, empty convents (except for the traditional ones), rise of cafeteria Catholicism, staggering diminishment of the faith in all of Christendom, and on and on, Vatican II also went "kerplop," in a big way.

The modernists are still driving the bus (into a ditch). Their day in the sun will soon be over.

History will vindicate Abp Lefebvre and the SSPX.
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written by Achilles, March 11, 2011
Quamque- I appreciate your comments and obvious intelligence. I too love the anti-modernist Popes and Tradition, the Fathers, the Doctors and I abhor the ideology of the ‘cafeteria Catholic.” But in referring to not ‘thinking’ is it not clear that the Lefebvre debacle has had devastating consequences? His sincerity was not in question, neither was his understanding of tradition. It is his obedience and the obedience of SSPX that is disturbing. What lies at the root? Pride. We should leave the Freudian psychology to the world and all remind ourselves that our duty to Mother Church is the Truth in Love. The first greatest tragedy is that the good man did not reconcile to Mother Church, at least to the best of our knowledge. Whether the dissent is giddy or custom, or willful or accidental, the outcome is the same. When we put ourselves above the Truth we have taken the wrong path. Has the Spirit of Vatican II done great damage to Mother Church? Undoubtedly, Satan has infiltrated the Church. Who is responsible for repairing the damage? SSPX? Bishop Fellay? Christ told us “the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church!” Our duty is surely to become Saints the best we can and to each of us in our proper station to do our appropriate part. I doubt dissent is truly a proper part of anyone’s duty to Mother Church except in the most obvious cases and would indicate to me a lack of Faith precipitated by pride. Ought we not to look to the chair of Peter?
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written by Bill, March 11, 2011
Mr. Ruse: If you have not done so you might want to go to the Remnant Newspaper (on line) dated October 20, 2010 which features an interview with Bp. Fellay and the subject of the relationship of the SSPX with the Vatican. Fellay describes the relationship as one of "contradictions" caused by the private relationship which must be masked because of the "politics" of how things appear publicly (e.g. the anti-semitism alleged against Bp Williamson overshadows the SSPX). It is a fascinating read. The SSPX is more "legitimate" than one might think.
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written by Quaecumque Vera, March 11, 2011
Achilles: You cover a lot of territory but let me try to sort through some of it. I said that considering Planned Parenthood and SSPX in the same breath is to stop thinking. Mr. Ruse's work and writing continually testify to the evil of abortion. SSPX cannot be equated with this barbarism. You say that Satan has undoubtedly infiltrated the Church but if that is so, and I think it is, then why pound on SSPX for pointing that out? Why not accept the help they might bring? The problem with dissent is what to do when the Church turns away from Tradition which as some of the other commenters point out it really has--hence the name of the society (Pope Pius X). To call them Lefrevrists is already to dismiss them. They do not depend on the late Archbishop but on the Church documents from the Chair of Peter he said were not being honoured. As far as devastating consequences as a result of SSPX I am not sure what these are ( their courage has maintained a place for the Latin Mass ) but surely they pale in comparison to the devastation wrought by the documents of Vatican II, say Gaudium et Spes. This will be sorted out in God's time. I doubt I will be alive for Vatican 3 but I think SSPX will be then be looked on as having been faithful--the clever theologians of Vatican 2 offer mush compared to the enduring wisdom of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
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written by Achilles, March 11, 2011
Bill, do we really give ourselves that much credit to decide the legitimacy of SSPX? Which means we have decided that Mother Church is less legitimate by logical association? Is it not an exercise in sophistry to use Church Documents to justify our support of a dissenting group? What of the hermeneutic of continuity? If we find SSPX in error can we not still concur completely with the great and true Church Documents? Of course we can. You have to do some hair splitting and sophistic acrobats to use the Vatican II Counsel’s documents as examples of a break with Church teaching. Read them, they are sound, though verbose, and in the wrong minds can be contorted to intend a break with tradition, but in fact they do not! The Vatican II Documents are more important than the Remnant. Unification is not a compromise it can only be done in the Truth with love in accordance with the Logos.
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written by Dylan, March 11, 2011
It appears to me that the clear problem with SSPX is its obstinate refusal to submit to the Holy See. The tell-tale mark of a person truly seeking to do the will of God is to submit to your legitimate superior, even if you think they're wrong! SSPX has not shown this attitude.

And it is no good saying that the Holy See is not the legitimate superior of the SSPX.
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written by Achilles, March 11, 2011
Dear Quaecumque Vera, I am sorry I muddied the waters. You and I have much common ground, especially where St. Thomas is concerned. What would you suggest for a poorly catechized lay Catholic with an unmitigated love for the Trinity, Mother Church, Mother Mary, The Fathers, The Doctors, the Saints and fellow man, to choose between SSPX and the Holy See? Is that really a choice? If you are right and Lafebvre and SSPX are vindicated, a lot of us are in a lot of trouble. As it is, a lot of us are in a lot of trouble already. I opt for obedience. Please pray for us all! Your brother in Christ, Achilles
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written by Michael PS, March 12, 2011
As Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out many years ago, once we give in to the fallacy of trying to define "the Faithful" by their tenets, schisms are inevitable.

For Catholics, the rule is simple: "The faithful, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. No doubt, in the long run this means the people who are so orthodox that Rome has seen no reason to excommunicate them, so that unity and orthodoxy still react upon one another... there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other."

Montanists and Donatists, Quietists and Jansenists all fell into this error of setting up some external criterion as a test of orthodoxy; whether that test is tradition, or the inner voice, or Scriptura Sola makes little difference, the result will always be the same.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 12, 2011
I just want to point out that Mr. Coleman's assertion that Ratzinger said it is alright for the lay faithful to attend Pius X liturgies must be false. I have asked him for a citation which he has not provided because none exists.

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written by Scott Quinn, March 12, 2011
Mr. Ruse,

Let me begin by pointing out that unChristian tone and language that you use in your denunciation of those who attend chapels of the SSPX. Resorting to personal attacks is the clearest evidence I know of that you have nothing else left in your quiver. Your knowledge of the position of the SSPX is weak at best. Have you gotten to know any of the SSPXers you so nastily calumny? How much reading on the topics being discussed have you actually done? It appears not much, I am afraid to say. I have attended St. Vincent de Paul here in Kansas City for many years and can assure you that no one rejoices in being ostracized by the very Church he defends and prays for. No one is happy to be "disobedient." Those are vulgar assertions. You are correct in asserting that we would never be reintegrated fully into the Church were Pope Benedict to restore the status of the SSPX (itself another topic which is not as simple as you make it out to seem--there is such a thing as Canon Law), but that is due to many reasons, including one inherent in the Church for a long time, namely, the attraction that parishes staffed by religious communities have on certain Catholics. Every city has its Jesuit parish as well as other parishes that are not staffed by priests of the diocese that attract people who otherwise should attend the church nearest their house.

The question of the licit nature of the sacraments is by no means as clear-cut as you appear to believe, and your claim that the SSPX is schismatic is so completely out of step with reality that I cannot but think you are leading people intentionally to hate the SSPX.

I would be happy to discuss this in more detail, but only in the spirit of mutual charity.
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written by Michael PS, March 13, 2011
Canon 751 defines schism as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”
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written by Uche, March 13, 2011
While I appreciate the concerns of the so called SSPX, I feel appalled at their behaviour. I may be inclined to traditional catholicism, I will never belong to SSPX. I once read an article where they were pouring invectives on the catholic church and the popes (I think post-council popes, even the present pope when he was still a cardinal). It was scandalous. Their attitude smacks of disobedience and rebellion. Some people were unhappy at the lumping of SSPX together with PPF by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, what else? "Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him. For rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbonness is as bad as worshipping idols" (1 Sam 15:22-23, Living Bible, Catholic edition). Protestantism developed as a result of disobedience and intolerance.
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written by Louise, March 13, 2011
The unique and very pleasant aspect of this site is that commenters comment with respect and welcomed restraint, allowing very little anger to seep into their words or between the lines, even when the issues are deeply felt and emotionally charged. I hope it will stay that way. (And please forgive a cranky old lady for making this observation.)

Now, I have a question. Recently I read that Pope Benedict has stated in his new book that he doesn't believe that the Church should evangelize the Jews. I understand that he makes it clear that those are his own thoughts and that he is not speaking ex cathedra. If he did state this, does it have any relevance to the topic under discussion, and is that a distinction that the general public (and many Catholics) will make? Maybe it has no relevance at all. Thoughts?
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written by Achilles, March 13, 2011
Mr. Ruse, your article has brought out the ire of SSPX in a few here. It speaks for itself. Read the Remnant article “Syllabus of the Errors of Vatican II” If one has a fair understanding of what St. Thomas explained about means being mistaken for ends, a little logic training, a clear idea of the truth about idolatry and a keen eye for intellectual arrogance masked as piety, it is clear that erroneous foundational assumptions drive the criticisms against Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, who is rightfully trying to elucidate errors that come from the world and satan’s infiltration of the Church.
Scott Quinn, it is as simple as humility and no simpler. What do you honestly suggest, that the Holy See submit to the authority of SSPX? The devil is in the details. “God is no respecter of persons.” You and your brethren are in my prayers, please pray for me. Achilles
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written by Scott Quinn, March 13, 2011
Louise makes a pertinent point with respect to Pope Benedict and his refusal to evangelize Jews, or anyone else for that matter. Louise, please brace yourself, for your status as an "old lady," cranky or not, will offer you no protection from those who whose blind, obsequious flatteries toward the Pope inflame their passions and arrogance as they embark on their crusade against those who dare point out that the emperor has no clothes. Their revolutionary mindset, masquerading as orthodoxy, will not tolerate such insubordination.

Uche, I cannot let your hit-and-run allegation against the SSPX go unquestioned. Where is this alleged article? You read it (allegedly), you "remember" it (supposedly), so please reproduce it in this forum. I will not hold my breath. The SSPX's excellent journal The Angelus has indeed published remarks critical of several popes, but any sensible Catholic would agree that these men have said and done foolish things. Jesus never promised good popes, only a Church that would not succumb to the devil's minions.

Let me ask the SSPX haters this question: Why, if the SSPX were guilty of the terribly things you have alleged, would Pope Benedict agree to formal discussions with them? In criticizing the SSPX, you criticize by default Pope Benedict. Shame on you! Think about it. Here is a pope who has allowed a group of Catholics who are critical of a non-dogmatic Council to meet with Vatican-appointed experts to discuss the demerits of the Council. This is unique in the history of the Church. But, of course, so is the Second Vatican Council.

Regarding Mr. Ruse's challenge against Mr. Coleman's assertion that Cardinal Ratzinger did not condemn attendance at an SSPX chapel, please consult the following link:

http://www.sspx.org/images/Miscellaneous/ratzingerdecree_4june93_520x680.jpg

Mr. Ruse, I again urge you to read up on this issue before you condemn your fellow Catholics. I think you will find very much to be pleased with regarding the SSPX.

Achilles, your pagan moniker is almost laughable. You are quite incorrect that this issue is all about humility. I suppose there are a great number of humble Protestants and non-believers, but that is irrelevant to this discussion. Moreover, before any of you trots out the names of the last five popes in defense of your misguided position, allow me to see your five revolutionary popes and raise you (roughly, at least) 250 popes whose teachings clearly contradict what has been taught in the last 50 years. Specifically, I offer up as evidence Pope Pius XII, who denounced the very abuses that were inaugurated at and after the Second Vatican Council. How one reads anything by Pius XII and interprets continuity with this bastard Church is beyond me. How do any of you justify what St. Athanasius did in the early centuries of the Church's history? Or do you not regard him as a saint? Is he consigned to hell in your view? After all, he was not humble, refused to "submit," was stubborn as a mule and had the temerity (as you would define it) to stand up to the Pope. Of course, you probably condemn St. Paul for rebuking St. Peter. (By the way, that's exactly what each of you does when you do not follow Fr. Mike or Fr. Jim or Bishop Iwanteveryonetoloveme.) But I guess it's okay for you to do. I mean, after all, you do wear the cloak of respectability. Somewhere Thomas Cranmer is smiling and nodding his head in approval.

Finally, I will point out that the Vatican has for three decades at least processed through their tribunals petitions to laicize those in Holy Orders within the SSPX, allowed priests assigned to the Vatican to take a "leave of absence" to work with the SSPX (in effect joining the SSPX formally), and adjudicate cases involving the validity of marriages solemnized in chapels run by the SSPX. In other words, you all need to calm down with respect to your treatment of the SSPX. You're trying to be more Catholic than the Pope.

I guess.

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written by Bill, March 13, 2011
Louise, I have a very strong criticism of any pope who grants a book interview as he runs the risk of misspeaking. On Dec. 21, 2010 The CDF had to issue a clarification on the statement he made on condoms in the very same book! In 2002, the American bishops issued a statement which suggested that the Jewish people could achieve salvation by following their original Covenant. In 2009, the USCCB issued a recant of the 2002 document, stating that ALL persons can only achieve salvation through Jesus Christ. As to whether the Church should evangelize the Jews, it would seem to be an act of profound charity to me, but it isn't my call.
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written by Bill, March 14, 2011
Achille et al. At the First Vatican Council (circa 1870) the Traditional/orthodox members outnumbered the Modernists. At Vatican II, the Modernists/Progressives outnumbered the Traditionalists/orthodox and this resulted in the hermeneutic of rupture-all prior to the Council was stale and obsolete. The "crime/sin" of the SSPX is that they continue to practice the same Faith the Church practiced for the previous two thousand years. Vat. II was a PASTORAL Council. There were no dogmatic teachings. Instead of giving book interviews off the cuff, the pope should be making EX CATHEDRA STATEMENTS. THAT is his job!
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written by KCHawk, March 14, 2011
I am not an SSPX member but do attend a Latin Mass which, ironically enough, I was directed to an ICKSP Oratory by some SSPX members. (That may put to rest some of the assertions that all SSPX members are completely against the post-Vatican II Church). Now on to the debate at hand.

Leaving aside, for the moment, all of the debate about the status of the SSPX, (i.e. schismatic or irregular), in the Church and the validity of its sacraments it seems to me that they have some valid concerns.

The primary point in their favor seems to be that what passes for Catholic in most places is, if not outright heresy, then at least brings scandal. Priests ad libbing Masses, "Catholic" universities inviting openly heretical speakers and allowing the same groups on campus, etc... draw some fire from Rome and local authorities, but not near the attention that SSPX draws. Why does Rome, and many local Bishops, tread so carefully with the obvious heretics, (yes, I said heretics), while requiring SSPX to meet such exacting standards?

It seems to me the Church would be stronger by allowing SSPX in on SSPX terms, than it is by doing all the theological and intellectual gymnastics required to accept the Father Funguys and Notre Dame's of the world.

KCHawk
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written by Louise, March 14, 2011
Perhaps Bill et al. could explain what they would like to see happen that would resolve this dispute. What would bridge the chasm that separates the SSPX and the Church? (Saying that the SSPX IS the Church won't do for these purposes.) People just talk past each other and, when their arguments don't change minds, their frustration leads them to question motives and then to calling names (perhaps Mr. Achilles' mother (who, I'm sure, is a very nice lady is responsible for his name), and, when that happens, the chasm grows wider and Satan celebrates another victory, and speakers on both sides lose their ground.

It's not my intention to be Pollyanna PeaceMaker, here. It is a serious question. What, exactly, keeps us apart--briefly, in words of a syllable? What I see from both sides is a yearning for Truth, for someone with the intestinal fortitude to speak Truth and to demand Truth in a world of lies and cowardice and deceit.

Bill, I agree that Popes should not be speaking off the cuff, especially a Pope who speaks in long sentences as he reasons his way through to a conclusion, when the microphone demands sound bites. Maybe he shouldn't even be writing books that can do as much damage as good..



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written by Bill, March 14, 2011
Louise: There are priests and bishops in the Church who favor abortion, contraception, same sex "marriage", married priests, women priests, etc. Some of these actions are mortally sinful. Would you say the supporters of these acts are Traditional or Progressive? How many years must pass before the Traditional priests/bishops would accede to these actions becoming normative in the Church? The Answer: Never! The sinfulness of these actions would ALWAYS make them unacceptable. What is BXVI to do when he is facing the real possibility of schism from the Left? Move very slowly, speak of a hermeneutic of continuity, keep the lines of dialogue open and calmly wait for Providence to remove the Modernists through natural attrition. Their seminaries are closing, their numbers diminish, Pew states that 20 MILLION Catholics have left the Church in the U.S. in the last years, dioceses are filing bankruptcy. The Modernists are in their endgame and they refuse to concede. The Church goes on waiting for God to work His Will. (The Virgin at Fatima: "You have seen Hell where poor souls go who have no one to pray for them".)
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written by Achilles, angry pagan, March 14, 2011
Dear Bill,

I don’t know about anyone else here, but I have always been sympathetic to SSPX and to Archbishop Lefebvre. I do enjoy Angelus press. Also, I have not gotten the impression from anyone on here that they hate SSPX. I think it is a tragedy that the Archbishop was excommunicated. Though I at times can enjoy some Remnant articles, the myopia sometimes associated with fundamentalism creeps into some of their essays.
I agree with many of the criticisms they make about modernity and the heretical choices many in the Catholic Clergy have made. I abhor the Spirit of Vatican II and I lament the horrendous catechesis spreading like wildfire. My criticism, however, only extends as far as my limited understanding can go, and sadly that is not too far. I am not critical of our Holy Father, though I have heard criticisms from good sources about 2 of the last five Popes that do give me concern, but not enough concern to rebel against Mother Church. I don’t want history to vindicate me, I want God to. Even if history did vindicate the Archbishop and SSPX it would have no impact on what really matters, unity with God. The SSPX case is especially troubling because they do have some good points, but I have seen many examples of ‘digging in of heels’ and ‘contention’ that lie outside of Catholic conduct, especially where intellectual errors are concerned. Our pride blinds us, our contention blinds us. Are we to follow blindly? Of course not, we are to clean our lens with a cultivation of the Beatitudes and use the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit that proceed from that cultivation to act on our Faith. I think it ironic that some SSPX advocates use modern errors to advance their anti-modernist message. There is twisting of words, false attributions, Bulverism, and vitriol that betrays pride. I know it is hard for us to discern our station in a country that from the cradle to the grave tries to convince us we are all kings, and the lie is still difficult to perceive in spite of the holocaust of unborn kings. Complicate things though we might, the answer lies in humility. What about the “one thing needed”?
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written by Louise, March 14, 2011
Bill, you have stated the problem succinctly, and it is a horrendous problem. It is just as Belloc described it in Chapter 7 of "The Great Heresies." But my question is, How are the people of the SSPX to be reconciled with the Church? The goals and aspirations of the Traditionalists (among whom I count myself, although I have little opportunity to experience it) and the goals and aspirations of the SSPX appear to coincide in so many ways. What is the stumbling block over which tempers flare, motives are questioned, and name calling starts and how is it to be resolved?

I believe, with you, that the Modernists are in their endgame, and I believe, as you surely must, that God's will WILL be done in His time and in His way, through the people whom He has chosen in that time. In the meantime, we accept that we are living in this era of irresolution, because this is the era that He has chosen for us and that, in this era, we must do what we can to resolve the conflicts that we are presented with and in the way that He shows us, without rancor and suspicion. It can only be Satan's work that makes enemies of those who should be friends.

Again, I am not trying to be Pollyanna PeaceMaker. I have never been a Pollyanna of any kind in my life and I don't intend to start now. And I have always been just a little suspicious of peacemakers. Although God, in His infinite wisdom, chose this time for my husband and me, and we lived through some idyllic years raising our family, I think He could have at least warned us about what was coming. Then again, maybe He did.
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written by Bill, March 14, 2011
Louise: Are you familiar with the Arian heresy? It denied the divinity of Jesus and went on for hundreds of years. Priests, bishops and perhaps a pope succumbed to it, but it produced two outstanding results: St. Athanasius, and the Council of Nicea 325 A.D.) which produced the Nicene Creed.
Why did God not warn us? He did! The Blessed Mother told Lucia that the Third Secret of Fatima was to be released "no later than 1960.", and when it wasn't, I and others like me sensed danger and to this day it has not been fully released. It warns of "a diabolical disorientation" pervading the Church, "bishops will oppose bishops" in short, it prophesied what we have been living through for fifty years. It is a Divine punishment to a world which has turned from God. "Unless people pray and reform their lives..." I have never been in the SSPX although I have attended an FSSP chapel for years. The priests, before beginning a sermon, will sometimes say "we are assuming you are here because you wish to be saints". That is exactly why we are there. Remember, the Traditional Church, with Its teachings going back to Christ was standard fare for ALL Catholics until 1962 when Satan and his agents in the Church attempted very powerfully to take it away, leaving only a remnant of true believers. The major crime of the Novus Ordo church is they removed Truth from Catholics who desperately need and want it. The chaos we all witness is the result.
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written by Louise, March 14, 2011
Bill,

For all the talk about "active participation" in the N.O., I never felt as if had Had participated so actively at Mass as when I attended a Tridentine Mass. It was beautiful. We only had two at our parish, and they were both profound experiences. However, I can't imagine an FSSP parish being allowed in my diocese, at least not without tremendous resistance.

I'm sorry that I lost track and connected you to the SSPX. So, I'm still waiting for an answer to my questions. It doesn't look as if any are forthcoming, and that may be an answer in itself.

You may wonder why, being retired, we don't move to a place that is more compatible with our feelings. Well, there are 11 answers to that, all running around on four legs, in addition to the housing market etc. I am confident that, when God is ready for us to move, He will let us know and will provide the means, the buyer, the stamina, and the direction. We follow Mother Teresa's advice: Watch what happens.

Thank you for your posts. They were enlightening.


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written by Sinai, March 26, 2011
"You can see from Fellay’s comments that the talks were doomed from the beginning." - Austin Ruse
Really? The rest of us could not see that with such raptor-sharp vision as Mr. Ruse. Here are some vision-sharpening
thoughts:
Point 1: Vatican II (V2) and its main liturgical document on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium or SC) no where abrogate nor abolish the Tridentine liturgy, as has now been exhaustively proven by the Cardinal Stickler commission. Point 2: V2 and SC no where authorize replacement of the Trent liturgy with a new (Novus Ordo or NO) liturgy. Point 3: V2 and SC no where authorize retranslating key elements of the Mass and the act of transubstantiation as in the NO. Point 4: V2 and SC state that the norm of the liturgy is to always be in Latin, the vernacular to be the a-typical exception "for pastoral reasons". Point 5. V2 and SC state no where that the priest is to face the people (effectively creating a man-centered liturgy). Point 6. V2 and SC in fact decree that the music of the liturgy is to be Gregorian Chant and the instrument specifically (other than the human voice) the pipe organ.

Now, these are a few salient points just on the liturgy. I could just as easily dice every other "sacred constitution" of Vatican II between what they actually said, and what the new alien church has done to replace the true Church. A true liturgy in Spirit and in truth was established by JC at the upper room and that liturgy was formalized at Trent. The present liturgy is consummately defective and divergent from what the Church has always held and taught.
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written by Brian A Cook, May 20, 2011
There's still that matter of the SSPX's alleged links to right-wing extremism and antisemitism.

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