What does the SSPX think about permanent deacons? Not much

In the combox for another post, media maven and blogger Deacon Keith Fournier left the comment below.  I posted on this issue back at my old place, Beliefnet, two years ago, but it’s worth a reminder:

Dear Deacon Greg:

I pray for healing with the SSPX and welcome the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of christian unity. However, my brother deacon, as you know, they do not have room in their ecclesiology for you and me.

Here is an excerpt where they assign all married men ordained to the Order of Deacon to the state of having excommunicated ourselves:


“These deacons, of course, are in good faith.2 They do not know that by an imprescriptible law, they have incurred the penalty of major excommunication, from which they cannot be delivered until they either abandon their wives, or agree to be reduced to the lay state. Moreover, they live in the lay state, in a state of ambiguity which allows clerics to cast off the outward sign of their consecration the very day they have solemnly put it on. The new priests have taught the new deacons that it is normal to lay away in the closet, as a symbol too embarrassing to be worn, the sacred garment that separates its wearer from the world. Yet the Councils of Agde (France), in 506 AD, and of Constantinople (Quinisext), in 692 AD, voted a decree of excommunication (which seems never to have been abrogated), against clerics in major orders who fail to wear clerical garb. This rule has been so universally recognized that even Pope Paul VI felt it necessary to remind them of this obligation.”

“The Catholic bishops, moreover, are practicing a deliberate deception in the rite of ordination they use for married clerics, for they follow the solemn ceremony reserved to clerics who bind themselves to celibacy.”

More at the link where they even refuse to send materials to permanent deacons:



  1. Deacon Greg,

    Walk me through this one if I get something wrong.

    For SSPX to come back, they must accept that which they rejected. They must also accept developments that occurred during their time of separation. That would include not only permanent deacons, but also the validity of the ordinations of former protestant clergy.

    What remains puzzling to me is that celibacy is a discipline, and their rejection of a married clergy is a repudiation of sacred Tradition, and Sacred Scripture, where Paul’s requirements for bishop include having only been married once, and his household being at peace.

    In bringing them back into the fold, would it be possible to establish the sort of prelatures that have been established for high-church Anglicans?

  2. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    I’m not competent to judge the nuances of their particular situation. My understanding, from what I’ve read, is that something similar to what was achieved with the Anglicans might be possible. However, I can’t see that happening unless the SSPX acknowledges, somehow, the legitimacy and validity of married clergy (and not just in the Latin Rite, but in the East, as well.)

    Dcn. G.

  3. Seems like that group has a lot of issues. I don’t have a problem with them living in their own little time-warp. As long as I don’t have to be there, too.

  4. I won’t be surprised if unity with PX doesn’t come very slowly, parish by parish- sort of like the Anglican Ordinate-I just can’t see the entire group conceeding to ‘tolerating’ married deacons (and being a pary of a church that has married priests in the Eastern rite)— it would be like all the varied Orthodox Churches being in unity with the Catholic Church- bit by bit perhaps, but not in one fell swoop

  5. Parepidemos says:

    We need to stop pretending that the SSPX are interested in dialogue when they are totally, completely and utterly convinced that they are more Catholic than the pope.

    I believe that it is time to officially declare what has been the reality for some time: the SSPX are schismatic. Once that is done, let them go their own way.

  6. friscoeddie says:

    What’s with the Vatican meeting again with these people in the next week? The Vatican seems capable of saying ‘good-by’ and good riddance to the progressives but these SSPX hard liners get re-invited when they spit at the Vatican enablers.

  7. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Actually, friscoeddie, the Vatican likes to give second and third and fourth and fifth chances.

    Case in point? Father Roy Bourgeois.

    Dcn. G.

  8. A lot of issues indeed. Amen Melody.

    While advertised by apologists as simply grounded conservative Catholics who separated because of wacco- liberal abuses after VCII ( add your culture war propaganda here) , when you actually look at this group and read what it publishes at it website it becomes clear that this more then simply a latin mass club.

    The garbage they published on the jews and holocaust alone ( not just the one rouge bishop) has zero place in our church or our world in my opinion. Do you accept Nostra Aetate or not? And if you and want to continue to publish that Jews are perfidious in the name of the Church then these clowns should be subject to the same condemnation as any other theologian who presents hearsay as the truth.

    They can also keep the “restore the french monarchy”and establish official catholic states gibberish.

    It is great that BXVI extends an olive branch but at some point they have to accept Catholic Church teaching ( including married deacons) to be in the Church. If they want to play church outside of Rome and take their cafeteria tray and only accept teaching from pre-1960 food line that is of course their right ( see Dignitatis Humanae) but is not the Universal Church led by Pope Benedict.

    For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, these folks have for at least 30 years gotten a far greater pass for directly and regularly contradicting and disobeying the pope and the decisions made in council by the bishops and bishop of Rome then anyone else. My question is ‘pourquoi?’


  9. I think that perhaps the focus is not so much on being celibate or not, but in regards to continency. I haven’t followed it closely, but recall that Ed Peters has referred to the obligation of being continent in canon 277 and that in his opinion the canon does not make an exception for married deacons. Various books on the history of celibacy in the priesthood seem to emphasize that when married men were accepted for ordination, they were from that point continent. St. Ambrose’s commentary on Scripture refers to while bishops could have children, they could not beget children once they were ordained. While celibacy can rightly be called a discipline of the Church, continency on the other hand seems a bit more firm of a tradition until the restoration of the permanent diaconite. It seems that traditionally even in the Eastern Church, at least some period of continency prior to the divine liturgy was required.

    While I can see the possibility of a Personal Ordinariate being established for the Extraordinary Form, I don’t see it being specific to the Society of St. Pius X. It would be to provide a Personal Ordinary for all that follow the more traditional form of the liturgies, but have the possibility that entire parishes could join as a group. It would not be that different then the Personal Ordinariates being established per Anglicanorum Coetibus.

  10. friscoeddie says:

    Case in point? Father Roy Bourgeois.

    Dcn. G.

    Yeah right.. Bourgeois is being excommunicated.. they are being un excommunicated and welcomed back . he for attending a women’s ordination.. they are welcomed back for calling a slue of Popes and all married deacons including you and a bag of other stuff illegitimate and insisting on it.

  11. Why doesn’t anybody ever ask me what I think of THEM?

  12. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    But the point is: they gave Bourgeois many many many many opportunities to recant his position. Stretching across years. Only when he finally refused, and declared he had no intention of changing his mind, was he shown the door.

    And he’s just one priest. Here, they’re dealing with thousands of misguided souls. The Church tries to be patient, like a shepherd, in coaxing the wanderers back into the fold. When there seems to be an opportunity for reconciliation, she pursues that, until it becomes fruitless — and that could still be the outcome with the SSPX.

    Dcn. G.

  13. naturgesetz says:

    Furthermore, friscoeddie and deacongreg,

    I suppose the door will always be open to Fr. Bourgeois to return if he recants, just as it will be for the SSPX.

  14. Fiergenholt says:

    Re: naturgesetz: #13

    Yup: I agree. They could come back but like any reconciliation, forgiveness is not possible without true sorrow. The story of the Prodigal Son is pertinent here. Our hero in the gospel of Luke did everything but crawl on his belly to get back into that family — and his father reconciled with him completely.

    I really do not see either Fr. Bourgeois or the SSPX adopting that sort of abject humility. You will not see Fr. Roy crawl on his belly nor see the SSPX throw in their Tridentine robes and rubrics.

    I may be wrong — and I pray I am — but I really do not see it.

  15. Decon Greg is spot on with the way the Catholic Church treats those who are out of sync with Catholic teaching and in grave error. Americans want to see decisions made and once made, to move on to other issues. The Church for anyone who cares to evaluate, seems to have endless patience because it knows that Jesus does not abandon souls easily to Satan. The theif on the cross is the hope many have for our salvation.

    The issue of excommunication should only be considered when the offender is having a major impact on the souls of others because of their grave error and after there has been a number of attempts to get them back in line. Most of us would like to see greater speed when issues such as abortion and this ongoing holocaust continues to kill more each day in the same way we would have liked to see more action during the nazi holocaust.

  16. It is tragic. Statements like this one by the SSPX indicates a loss of faith in the promise of Christ to protect His Church and to remain with her.

    I have to wonder though. If they are so sure the Magisterium has fallen into error with Vatican II, how can they claim to know the Magisterium did not fall into error at some point before Vatican II?

  17. Problem is there is no single authority in the SSPX to make such statements. Not all in the society would hold exactly that viewpoint – which points to the core problem of being separated to any extent – it has the effect protestantism had. It splinters things.

    Who has the authority to make a definitive ruling? Rome does. Can a previous council bind the current pope? Rome and history says no. The ones mentioned are not even ecumenical councils!

    The statement makes some interesting points, but I think he misunderstands many fundamental aspects of holy orders.

    Bottom line: This isn’t “what the SSPX says” – it’s what one theologian says. Would you take what a single regularized Roman Catholic theologian says? Not in a vacuum.

    (Though some should be put into a vacuum – but I digress).

  18. Terry Howard says:

    Some time ago, I accessed the SSPX website Deacon Greg mentions, checked the deacon box, and received a query asking what kind of a deacon I was. I explained that I am a single, celebate permanent deacon. The SSPX sent me the materials.

    I guess they do make some exceptions with regard to some permanent deacons.

    Dcn. Terry

  19. Does anyone know if the Fraternity of St. Peter shares the same view as the SSPX concerning pemanent deacons?

  20. Donal Mahoney says:

    Reunited with Rome, the SSPX, I imagine, would celebrate only the Tridentine Mass while giving lip service to the authenticity of the Novus Ordo.

    In the Tridentine Mass, there is no need for permanent deacons, other than to take up the collection, perhaps. Ordained ushers can do that as well as lay ushers.

    For many older Roman Catholics, permanent deacons, for all of their good work, are still neither fish nor fowl, having one foot in the clerical world and the other in the lay world.

    For many, permanent deacons are like altar girls, not fully accepted but not disparaged either.

    Permanent deacons will be taken seriously by all, I suspect, when the permanent diaconate, like the transitional diaconate, is a final step before ordination to the priesthood.

    I have no strong feelings either way as to whether this should ever happen since I still have trouble adjusting to the Novus Ordo Mass, depending on the quality of the priest celebrating the Mass.

    Permanent deacons need to unite, I think, nationally with a website and magazine or newsletter of their own and they need to use both to establish their identity with the laity.

    Define who you are and what you do and start from scratch. Do not assume that the uncatechized masses who show up on Sunday understand who and what you are.

    Convince all of us that you would still be necessary even if there were no shortage of priests.

  21. Deacon Norb says:

    re Donal #20

    The first permanently ordained deacons were ordained for my diocese in 1972; the first one assigned to a parish in my town was ordained in 1974; another local guy was ordained in 1975; I was ordained in 1978 and two more were added in 1979.

    Over the almost 40 years we have had them locally, our rural county has had some 15 men serving in this ministry: one is now an invalid; three others are on “senior status” (Emeritus if you will); three more are “active” including myself; the other eight have since been called home by the Risen Lord Jesus.

    We have another man being ordained to this ministry on September 17.

    Locally, the diaconate is very accepted; maybe 60% of the infant baptisms are presided over by permanently ordained deacons; somewhere between 1/3 and 40% of the weddings have permanent ordained deacons acting as the Church’s official witness. Two “senior status” deacons are key to our pastoral outreach to our eight nursing homes. I could go on . . . and on . . . and on.

    I really think all this “acceptance” issue is one of genuine and long-term exposure and experience. The same is true for priests. I know several who 25-30 years ago had very hard-core anti-deacon biases but who today have had a 100% change of heart.

    But it also is a localized phenomena. Maybe your area of the world has simply not had as much experience as we have had.

  22. The Latin mass does have a place for deacons, most of all in the high masses. The deacon reads the gospel, participates in the liturgy and can distribute communion. In my parish our pastor has already expressed that he will allow the permanent deacon to take his place in these liturgical actions in the Latin mass. Of course my parish is a Catholic one in good standing and not part of SSPX. I don’t know if the article sited above is the official position of the SSPX, but it does reflect the thinking and attitude of most of their members I guess.

    Deacons do have national magazines and organizations. Their role varies somewhat according to each diocese, but there are general norms for the diaconate accepted by the United States Council of Bishops.

    Deacons today do a lot more than just “altar serving”. They preside over weddings, baptisms, funerals, blessings. They administer parishes, do ministry for the poor, visit hospitals, prisons, council Catholics, teach, organize many tasks and activities.

    Giving up sexual relations with the deacon’s wife would probably be a great dampening for the program, but if it were ordained am sure there would be many willing to accept the sacrifice.

  23. I realize how awful the last paragraph sounded in my comment above. Meaning was, if the deacon were asked to give up sexual relations with his wife for the sake of the ministry, I am sure many would accept it as a sacrifice. Of course it would be a stumbling block for many others.

  24. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    If the deacon were asked to give up sexual relations with his wife for the sake of the ministry, I am sure many would accept it as a sacrifice. Of course it would be a stumbling block for many others.

    I dunno ’bout that. You’d be surprised how many men are enthusiastic about the diaconate, until they learn that if their wife dies, they can’t remarry. For many, that’s a deal-killer.

  25. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    I sort of disagree with the comments that this group has a problem with married clergy East or West. Their problem strikes me as much, much deeper–it is a problem with authority.
    As much as their statements seem to trash the married permanent diaconate, their statements, looked at as their view of Church authority, seems to cut even deeper and more strongly trash and disparage the Holy Spirit guided authority of the pope, bishops, and Church councils.
    Married clergy just seems to be one major whipping post they have decided to flog.
    In handling groups like this Rome takes the long view and wisely uses patience–there have been plenty of groups that have gone too far temporarliy but have later returned to the Church and become assets to the Church. Locally, I am thinking of Father Leonard Feeney’s groups many of whom are now loyal orthodox Benedictines.

  26. Donal Mahoney says:

    My original comments were not to disparage deacons but simply to say that I don’t know that the Catholic laity understand their role as fully as they might if the deacons themselves used a magazine, website or e-newsletter to educate the public overtime.

    In the September issue of The Catholic Response, Father Peter Stravinskas, a most orthodox priest, deals with the current followers of Father Leonard Feeney in the first entry in his Q & A section. That material is not available online but in print only. He makes the point that although some of the Feeney followers are Benedictines (Still River, MA), others are independent (Richmond, NH). He also makes the point that the Feeney position of “no salvation outside the church” is orthodox but was misapplied at times by Father Feeney.

    For anyone interested in catching up on the independent Feeney followers, most notably The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, these sites might be helpful:



    It would be interesting to know how this Latin Rite group would view the incorporation of Permanent Deacons in the Tridentine Mass. I did not think there was such a role but in one of the comments above, a local priest apparently has carved out such a role in his parish.

    Perhaps there is a reader of this blog who also follows the independent followers of Father Feeney and will check in with a comment on this matter.

  27. Deacon John M. Bresnahan:

    Ah, do I have memories of Leonard Feeney! Years ago, when I was much younger, two nuns came to the door of my family home selling a book. Somehow I found the $5.00 to buy it. When they left, I opened the book and saw the words, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I knew that they were members of an order founded by Leonard Feeney who had been excommunicated for his interpretation of “Outside the church there is no salvation.” (Looking back, I wonder how I knew that – It must have been my good Catholic parochial school education.)

    Well, I ran down the street trying to find them and get my money back, but they had vanished.

    So, deacon, where are these nuns (now Benedictines) living now? I think I might write them a letter and get my refund, now that they are reconciled with the Church.

  28. Donal Mahoney says:

    Father Feeney was not “excommunicated” for preaching “no salvation outside the church.” He was “excommunicated” for not ceasing to preach after told to do so by his ordinary. The ordinary never said Feeney was wrong in his contention. Father Stravinskas clarifies this in the September issue of The Catholic Response but sadly his response is in print only and not online. The nuns who sold you the book are not Benedictines. They belong, probably, to the Richmond, NH, independent group. As far as Father Stravinskas points out, there has been no Church denial of the teaching of “no salvation outside the Church,” simply a reprimand of Feeney for going to far in preaching it. I know that is hard to swallow in this ecumenical age but that apparently is how it is unless I read Father Stravinskas’s comments incorrectly.

  29. Donal:

    Thank you for the clarification and correction. Guess my early Catholic education was not as good as I thought. (Although I do think, from what I have read about him, that he was dangerously close to heresy. But, then again, I was not a member of the “Holy Office” back then.)

    The event I was narrating occurred MANY years ago when these nuns were, indeed, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    I was joking about the refund. (I’m no Conan O’Brien.)

  30. There is no salvation outside the Church, but the question is who belongs to the Church and also how does the Church relate to the rest of humanity. You could also ask who does Jesus mean by Church? Catholics, Orthodox, SSPX, Disobedient Priests (like in Vienna), Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Latter Day Saints and all the other Christians of our fragmented family? And then there is the question of those not Christian, starting with the Old Testament people of Israel and our relationship with them now, with Muslims and with all other people that may be looking for God in the world outside of our Tradition. Is the Church exclusive to the Western Catholic Tradition in all its rites and the Eastern Orthodox or does it include “other sheep”? I am a conservative Catholic and believe that you have to have Christ for your salvation, but I can’t limit God’s will or Jesus Christ’s mercy to those I deem included. Only God knows who will be saved or not and He will let his Son be the Judge of that. Sorry for deviating from the main subject about deacons and the SSPX.

  31. These sorts of SSPX members’ “fighting words” always seem to show up at about the same time it looks like the Vatican and SSPX are approaching agreement.

    I begin to think that non-SSPX and SSPX Catholics alike should just ignore any written materials about the controversy while talks are going on. Any reaction by us, especially online, is just feeding the instigator trolls, or a sop for the diehard separatists.

  32. “High Mass, is, when used not merely as a description, the full ceremonial form of the Tridentine Mass, celebrated by a priest with a deacon and a subdeacon,[1] requiring most of the parts of the Mass to be sung, and the use of incense.


    The link includes a great picture of a deacon in the High Mass liturgy.

    Above a brief description of the role of deacons and sub-deacons in the Tridentine Mass. Of course before Vatica II deacons and subdeacons were seminarians on their way to preisthood. But if we move further back in time deacons were an integral part of the liturgy. On the matter or married deacons, there there is ample room for discussion, but the fact is that today the Holy Father has allowed married men to be deacons.

  33. Are the hands of the Deacon consecrated?

  34. Donal Mahoney says:

    jcd, It’s interesting that you should ask if the hands of the deacon are consecrated. Since almost everyone know receives the Eucharist in the hand, why do we still consecrate the fingers of priests, never mind deacons? Perhaps I’m missing something here.

  35. The point of canon law as raised by Daniel T is deserving of more attention than it has received on this thread. The SSPX are a troublesome lot, but their question of the prudence or even liceity of married clerics’ retaining conjugal rights is open to serious doubt on multiple grounds of law and perhaps even apostolic tradition. It can’t be swept out of sight simply because it’s awkward, inconvenient, and unwelcome.

  36. Deacon Norb says:

    Rudy #32

    “Of course before Vatica II deacons and subdeacons were seminarians on their way to preisthood.” (and I’m not correcting your typos!)

    Maybe, maybe not. You are correct in saying that these two roles were steps toward priesthood BUT I am old enough to remember the Pre-Vatican/Tridentine Pontifical High Masses and often the “roles” of the deacon and sub-deacon were actually performed not by seminarians but by ordained priests –admittedly the younger ones — the logic being that all priests had been sub-deacons and deacons before they were ordained as priests.

  37. Fiergenholt says:

    Romulus #35

    That whole issue of diaconal contience created a firestorm out on the blogs maybe 6-8 months ago. The bottom line is that it currently is “under advisement” but I really do not expect any actual solution for a few years. That’s how slow the Vatican acts, especially on controversial issues like this in the public forum.

    Another reason for this type of attitude is the difference between Roman Common Law and English Common Law. That also has been discussed in some detail in previous editions of Dcn Greg’s blogs.

    IF the impediment actually exists, it is a juridical/disciplinary one and not a dogmatic/moral one. The nice thing about a juridical/disciplinary impediment is that a local ordinary can abrogate it by simply decreeing that this section of canon law does not apply in his territory.

  38. wineinthewater says:

    I have a friend who attends SSPX liturgies (only the clergy are really members of the society, lay people are not). My interactions with him and his parish and the writings I could find convinced me the that SSPX are essentially Protestants in Catholic clothes. They put their own private opinion above the teaching of the Church (even if it is their own private opinion about the teaching of the Church) and that is the essential quality of Protestantism. All you have to do is look at their ecclesial arc, it is very Protestant. It is filled with sub-schism, congregations breaking and forming new congregations, and people stopping there on a theological arc. I read one estimate that over half of the priests that the SSPX has ordained have left either for Rome or one of the SSPX schismatic groups (like the SSPV).

  39. johnplacette says:

    The SSPX tries to use Church Fathers and the Apostles as justification for their arguments.

    Let us take a step back in history, back, way back, back to the first apostles.

    Peter was married.

    Enough said.

  40. Wow what a diverse collection of opinions.

    1. Check out the identity of Ivan Gobry: A quick google and guess what he’s a professor in France at a Catholic University. So the SSPX picked up his article that was published in France and published it.

    From what I’ve read this issue isn’t on the agenda of the doctrinal discussions.

    2. Who’s outside the Church? Read Mystici Corporis (Pius XII) to find out, guaranteed you’ll be surprised but not delighted. Personally, this is my favorite Encyclical.

    3. Feeney got in trouble because of he denied one aspect of the dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” namely: Baptism of Desire.

  41. This thread is probably stale – but here we go …

    A question:
    What does ‘accept the council’ mean?

    I ask this because, as a person who attends Mass at an SSPX Chapel, I get told this a fair amount.

    I accept all that is clearly part of the Ordinary Magisterium, I have reservations about the novel parts of the council. In short I’m following Cardinal Felici’s (Secretary of V2) advice.

    That in a nutshell is what this ‘conflict’ with the SSPX is all about. Some would also say that this is the core of the crisis in the Church.

    Before someone calls me a heretic (again):
    1. The Second Vatican Council is not part of the Extra-Ordinary Magisterium (ie. It is not infallible by virtue of being an Ecumenical Council). How do I know this? Paul VI said so as well as Benedict XVI.

    2. This means that the Second Vatican Council is part of the Ordinary Magisterium – which can be both Infallible and Fallible – in the latter case it is called Authentic.

    3. How do you know what is infallible in the Ordinary Magisterium. Basically, if it is has a continuous teaching history in the Church (eg. no priestesses) its considered infallible. (I think there are degrees of assent …)

    Before someone says that the Second Vatican Council can’t be a rupture with the pre-Counciliar Magisterium read this quote and then say it with a straight face:

    “The decision of Vatican II to which the Pope [John Paul II] adheres is absolutely clear: Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.”

    Quoted in: remnant newspaper website

    Question: Which Pope last used the ‘ecumenism of return’ term.

    Answer: Pius XI – Encyclical Mortalium Animos

    If you don’t think that this is a legit quote because it comes from a Traditionalist publication … no problemo, Cardinal Kasper said this sort of thing a lot.

  42. “The Second Vatican Council is not part of the Extra-Ordinary Magisterium (ie. It is not infallible by virtue of being an Ecumenical Council). How do I know this? Paul VI said so as well as Benedict XVI.”

    So, this includes the Council of Trent.

  43. HMS,

    No – Paul VI said the following of the Second Vatican Council:

    ” There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification , the council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council , it avoided proclaiming in any extraordinary manner and dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility.” General Audience , December 1, 1966 published in L’Oservatore Romano 1/21/1966

    This is one of the things that makes the Second Vatican Council unique. Another element is that it did not condemn error.

    I do believe that the Second Vatican Council is the first Ecumenical Council that did not invoke ExtraOrdinary Infallibility.

    Trent and I believe all other Ecumenical Councils are treated as part of the ExtraOrdinary Magisterium. ie as such their decrees are infallible and irreformable.

  44. Forgot to mention that there are a couple of conditions for an Ecumenical Council to be infallible.

    One it has to be convoked by the Pope and he has to ratify the documents/decrees.

    Before someone jumps over this, while the Second Vatican Council meets the two conditions listed, as mentioned in this case the Council Fathers deliberately sought to not invoke the power of infallibility.

  45. “Another element is that it did not condemn error.”

    I cannot, off hand, find the quote but I think that Pope John XXIII specifically stated that there would be no “anathamas” in the council.

  46. Yep, an “anathema” is used in condemning error. Basically it is the last couple of words. To paraphrase “if someone believes X, let him (her) be anathama”

    I believe it also means that they are excommunicated.

  47. Lionel Andrades says:

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire are not exceptions to the dogma.

    There can be no explicit, defacto, known cases of persons saved in invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire. So it is not an issue with respect to the dogma, unless, it is made an issue and made to appear as explicit and known.

    Here are the popes affirming the literal interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    POPE PIUS IX (Allocution December 9th, 1854)

    Pope Pius IX held the rigorist interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and also affirmed the possibility of non Catholics being saved in invincible ignorance, cases of which are unknown to us and so are not explicit exceptions to the dogma.

    Pope Pius IX was saying: (Defacto):’We must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge…’ and (Dejure): ‘we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord…’

    Defacto (explicitly) everyone needs to enter the Church for salvation (to avoid Hell) and de jure (in principle) and known only to God, there could be non Catholics saved in invincible ignorance etc, ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).


    (Defacto) 8. ‘… no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church – Quanto Conficamur, Pope Pius IX 1863

    (Dejure) 7. ‘… those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments…-Quanto Conficamur


    The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 issued during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII mentions ‘the dogma’, the ‘infallible statement’.

    Here is the ‘dogma’:

    (Defacto) ‘… it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

    ‘… none of those existing outside the Catholic Church… can have a share in life eternal… unless before death they are joined with Her… No one… can be saved, unless he (Defacto) remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) http://catholicism.org/category/outside-the-church-there-is-no-salvation

    (Dejure) ‘… when a person is involved in invincible ignorance God accepts also an implicit desire…’

    These things are clearly taught in that dogmatic letter which was issued by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1943, (AAS, Vol. 35, an. 1943, p. 193 ff.). For in this letter the Sovereign Pontiff clearly distinguishes between those who are actually incorporated into the Church as members,(Defacto) and those who are united to the Church only by desire (Dejure).- Letter of the Holy Office 1949 (Emphasis added).


    (Defacto) ‘The Church…is necessary for salvation… faith and baptism…for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church.’- Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II.

    (Dejure) ‘…those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God…’ -Lumen Gentium 16

    ‘Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church…’- Lumen Gentium 16

    If one uses the irrational defacto-defacto analysis of the above magisterial texts instead of the traditional dejure-defacto interpretation it would mean the popes contradicted themselves and that Vatican Council II contradicted an ex cathedra dogma. It would be a criticism of the infallibility of the popes ex cathedra. It would also be contrary to the Principle of Non Contradiction. It is heresy to claim that there are defacto exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    With the defacto-dejure analysis we see that the Magisterial texts affirm the centuries-old interpretation of the Church Fathers, the saints, the popes and Councils, including Vatican Council II. This was the traditional interpretation of Fr. Leonard Feeney of Boston. This is the teaching of Pope John Paul II’s Dominus Iesus (20) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church 845,846 and also during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI in Responses to Some questions regarding certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church (2007).-Lionel Andrades
    All the popes, Church Councils including Vatican Council II,like Fr.Leonard Feeney held the ‘rigorist interpretation’ of extra ecclesiam nulla salus : invincible ignorance (LG 16) is not an exception to the dogma

  48. Fiergenholt says:

    Ah Yes! Thank you.

    You have brought forth the words of “Pio No ! No!” from his grave. They need to be widely read by all.

    AND — I had totally forgotten that there was a close connection between Blessed Pius IX and Fr. Leonard Feeney. That also needs to be widely known.


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