Vatican issues ultimatum to SSPX

From Reuters:

The Vatican on Friday told an ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic splinter group they must accept non-negotiable doctrinal principles within a month or risk a painful break with Rome that would have “incalculable” consequences.

The ultimatum was issued after a two-hour meeting between Swiss-born Bishop Bernard Fellay, leader of the dissident Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and U.S. Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department.

Levada told Fellay the group’s response after years of negotiations was still insufficient to overcome doctrinal problems at the root of the split with Rome.

The SSPX, which rejects reforms made at the historic 1962 Second Vatican Council, defied Rome in 1988 by illegally consecrating four bishops, triggering their excommunication by the late Pope John Paul.

In a gesture of reconciliation, Pope Benedict lifted those bans in 2009 and promoted the use of the traditional Latin Mass favored by the SSPX.

But Benedict has refused to grant SSPX bishops the right to reject some of the Council’s teachings, such as its historic reconciliation with Judaism and other faiths.

A Vatican statement warned of a possible “Church rupture that would have painful and incalculable consequences” and demanded that the SSPX clarify its position if it wanted to rejoin the Church and heal the rift.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the group had been given a month to respond.

He indicated this was the last chance for the traditionalists to come back on board, saying the process had already been a very long one.

“I don’t know what else can be done,” Lombardi said.

And there’s this, from CNS:

In a formal communique published after the meeting, the Vatican said it wanted to “avoid an ecclesial rupture with painful and incalculable consequences,” so Bishop Fellay and leaders of the society were asked to further clarify their response to a “doctrinal preamble” the Vatican asked them to study last September.

The text of the preamble was not made public, but the Vatican had said it “states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the church, including the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

Bishop Fellay delivered the society’s official response in January, the Vatican said, and it was “placed under the examination of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and successively under the judgment of the Holy Father.”

“In compliance with the decision of Pope Benedict XVI,” the communique said, Bishop Fellay was given a letter signed by Cardinal Levada explaining that “the position he had expressed is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems that are at the basis of the fracture between the Holy See and the society.”

Father Lombardi said Cardinal Levada told Bishop Fellay the society had a month to clarify its position in order to heal “the existing fracture.”

“A further clarification from the society is expected by mid-April,” said Father Lombardi. The society has been given “more time for reflection to see if some further step can be made.”

The Vatican spokesman would not give examples of the points on which the Society of St. Pius X and the Vatican still differ since the original preamble was never published. He said the additional month given to the society shows “the case is not closed,” although the letter to Bishop Fellay makes clear that the consequence of “a non-acceptance of that which was foreseen in the preamble” would be “a rupture, something very serious for the church.”


  1. I’m not sure I would call this an ultimatum. But I do see it as a none too thinly veiled warning that Rome has given as much ground as they are going to. And further that time and patience in the Holy See are running out. The ball is now very firmly in Bp. Fellay’s court. He needs to decide if the SSPX is going to persist in setting itself up in judgment over the Pope and rest of the Catholic Church or alternatively submit and accept what by all accounts was a very generous offer for reintegration into the Roman Church. It is no secret the Benedict XVI shares some of the concerns raised over the years by the Lefebvrists, especially as regards the rampant excesses and abuses that were so common in the wake Vatican II. (And in some places remain so to this day.)

    The problem is that while piously professing loyalty to Rome, the SSPX has set itself up as virtually a rival church in all but name (they even grant annulments). That is something Rome cannot tolerate. I think we are approaching a “come to Jesus” moment for them.

  2. Fr. Deacon Daniel says:

    Amen and well said, Ad Orientem. It is time for them to either accept or reject Rome’s offer, just as the TAC has done. This endless dance between Rome and the SSPX cannot continue ad infinitum.

  3. They couldn’t have a Pope more sympathetic to their plight than B16. If they can’t make amends with the Church with him in charge, then it’s game over them.

    Any guesses as to what the “incalculable consequences” might be?

  4. I think this statement by the Vatican isn’t quite an “ultimatum” that is a ratcheting up stakes of the negotiations. It is a simple statement of fact on the part of the Catholic Church. If the SSPX can’t regularize their situation with all that has gone on in negotiations with them and the Catholic hierarchy, it will simply be made clear that their ongoing fiction that they are Catholic is exactly that–a fiction. They can no longer enter the Catholic Church en masse. Their holding of the Catholic and Apostolic faith is so compromised by their obstinacy that they can no longer be considered a Catholic entity. They are in persistent schism–even heresy–and the only way for them to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church is individually. To be honest, it is long overdue.

  5. Just an educated guess, but Rome would have a pretty good case if they want to declare the SSPX to be in formal schism. That would probably mean excommunication for their bishops and priests and an interdict at the least for their lay followers.

  6. pagansister says:

    Maybe the SSPX could just start their own church, have a new leader etc. rename themselves and not worry about Rome. Many churches have started by leaving Rome—perhaps this one will do the same.

  7. Can’t the Holy See just make them a personal prelature? They could operate independently that way. This group is not anywhere near as free-wheeling and anti-papal as some, like the Jesuits for example.

  8. Kevin
    What a slur about the Jesuits, who have contributed so much to our Catholic history and tradition.

  9. naturgesetz says:

    The problem is the theological issues referred to in the article. We haven’t been told precisely what they are, but they seem to consider themselves more Catholic than the Pope and competent to sit in judgement on the Church.

  10. That’s pretty much what they were offered. But the SSPX is demanding that Rome allow them to continue to challenge the validity of the Second Vatican Council. That is of course a non starter.

  11. HMS,
    To borrow an old cliche, “that was then and this is now.” Kevin was speaking in the present tense wile your rejoinder was in the past. Both your comments are accurate. The Jesuits were one of the greatest of religious orders. But in recent decades they have become a hot bed of liberalism and even outright heresy. Sad but true all the same.

  12. I think they are challenging the notion that Vatican II represented any kind of departure from prior teaching since it was only a pastoral and not a dogmatic council. The pope knows that some of the documents are in fact ambiguous, which is why he has called for the “hermeneutic of continuity” versus the hermeneutic of rupture, which is what we have been saddled with for the last 50 years. I continue to think that a better overall solution is a third Vatican council.

  13. “But Benedict has refused to grant SSPX bishops the right to reject some of the Council’s teachings, such as its historic reconciliation with Judaism and other faiths.”

    The virulence of SSPX may be seen in this rejection of a reconciliation with Judaism, and the historical timing is key in the analysis. The Council in 1962 was a mere 17 years after WWII ended and the World learned the extent of the Nazi murder of Jews. It was also a time before the malignant historical revisionism by post-Holocaust Jews who would deny the recognition by every major Jewish leader during and after the war of Pope Pius XII’s salvific leadership in protecting Jews.

    It is a virulence by SSPX that will eternally redound to their shame and disgrace that they could not see, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, “A royal fellowship of death,” as 7 million Christians died in those camps alongside the Jews. SSPX evidently didn’t grasp that 80% of Catholic clergy in the Eastern European countries were wiped out, in no small measure because of the Church’s attempts to speak and act on behalf of the Jews.

    SSPX’s posture in this regard does not see how centuries of pogroms, tragically too often by Catholics, helped to cultivate an anti-semitism in many that simmered like a volcanic caldera. They missed the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    If SSPX is to be Catholic, they are not free to dissent from the Magisterium, including the three pillars of Tradition: Fathers, Doctors, Councils. If they can’t live with this simple reality after 50 years, then Rome needs to declare the scism and move on. As Rabbi Gamaliel said of Peter and John: If their movement is not of God, it will come to nothing.

    We have only to see the 20,000-23,000 different Christian denominations in the wake of the Reformation to see the truth of where SSPX is headed if they don’t submit in humble obedience.

  14. The SSPX has a lot of baggage which makes their reconciliation more difficult than one might imagine. They have been separated from Rome for so long that they are quite used to being on their own and many of their members have developed a mentality where they are right and everyone else is wrong. In some cases this is quite extreme. At least one of the bishops is known to be a hardliner who is rumored to be sympathetic to sede vecantism. In addition he has expressed public sympathy with right wing extremists and doubts about the Holocaust.

    Officially the SSPX doesn’t take a position on the subject but unofficially anti-semitism is fairly widespread in its ranks. And then there is the fact that they are administering sacraments that Rome considers invalid, like confessions, marriages and also granting annulments. Historically the longer a schism exists the harder it is to heal it. This one is now on its fourth Pope.

  15. I can’t help but wonder if the pope realizes that full reconciliation is unlikely, but perhaps there are individuals who, upon the realization of a formal schism, might return to Rome on their own. In this case, there might be the possibility of an “ordinariate”, similar to the Anglican’s, for those who can accept the pope’s offer.

  16. Painting with a awfully broad brush?

    The Jesuits are a very orthodox religious order.

  17. When the Pope fist made his overture, I read and was sickened by the anti- semitic filth and trash on the SSPX website that they purported to be true catholic doctrine. The SSPX was shamed into removing the links at the time.

    The SSPX is exhibit one that the ‘cafeteria catholic’ line circles the buffet table on not only the left but also on the right side too.

  18. Vincentius says:

    The problem which is well known on both sides (Rome and the SSPX) is the rapture of the conciliar Church from Tradition: the “newness” of everything — the Mass, the CIC, the Catechism, and many others too numerous to mention, but more importantly, as frequently mentioned, the “non-negotiable” doctrinal issues. What issues? That the Church now teaches that Judaism is not in the scope of the Messias, Our Lord Jesus Christ, as already come, but that the Jews are still awaiting His “coming”? How to compromise on that? Or that there is an agreement between the Lutheran confession (or “faith”) on the economy of salvation: that Luther may have been right about salvation “by faith alone.”

    The rift is not about the Immemorial Mass, but in the Novus Ordo Missae, of which there are now hundreds of ways of celebrating it, and the object of celebration is the congregation, forgetting that the Mass is a Sacrifice which Christ offers Himself as expiatory Victim to His Father. I have been to Novus Ordo Masses where the priest and the congregation say parts of the Eucharistic prayers, as though the congregation were concelebrants. Where s the Church going with her modus operandi.

    Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live. And so are we saved.

    What is to become of the raison d’etre of the Church has been thrown by the wayside: The supreme law is the salvation of souls (expressed in the principle, Lex suprema salus animarum est). The Church is now more concerned about Social Justice (what is that which saves souls?), and other mundane temporal matters.

    The SSPX cannot grant annulments (please cite) or decrees of nullity in marriage because they have no faculties to witness marriages. So that is a foolish presumption.

    I don’t speak for the SSPX. I don’t go to confession to their priests because of their lack of faculties, which can be remedied by bringing them into the fold in full communion. This is what we pray for and not the “non-negotiable” doctrines, which the Vatican Council proposed to be a pastoral council and not a doctrinal one. Yet, it is all about doctrine, ain’t it?

  19. While it is true that the SSPX has problems (Annulments and what not) – many in the Traditionalist camp look at the inaction of Rome towards the liberals in the Church who remain “in good standing” and wonder why Rome wants to come down hard on the SSPX. Alas one must realize that inaction of a Pope is not protected by the doctrine of infallibility!
    Our Lord taught us to look at the fruits. “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt7:16). When I look at the fruits of the Novus Ordo – I see widespread denial of the Real Presence, poor English translations, objective disrespect for the Eucharist (EG: overuse of the laity in distribution of Communion and Communion in the hand as the most oftenly manner of recieving), and a massive departure of the faithful from the Catholic faith. There was no mandate in the documents of Vatican 2 for the formulation of a New Rite of Mass or for exclusive use of the venacular. Indeed the formulation of the New Rite of Paul the VI occured in a manner unknown in Catholic History (by liturgical committee with Protestant advisors). These are the Fruits of the Novus Ordo.
    The fruits of the SSPX have led to a wider availability of the Traditional Mass. Does anyone really think Rome would have allowed the Motus Proprio if it had not been for the steady resistance of groups like the SSPX? Many I have known have avoided these problems by attending the Eastern Catholic rites. These rites – though fully Catholic – do not suffer with the problems found in the Novus Ordo rite, and allow for individuals to worship the Trinity unencumbered by the present difficulties in the West. (I have come to believe that when the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart finally does occur – it will likely be through the Eastern Catholic rites. I mean I do not see Russia converting to the West). In the meantime we pray . . . which is the best thing to do in the present situation.

  20. Vincentius says:

    What is not only ironic but also laughable is that those in the hierarchy don’t think the Pope is in charge. They don’t obey him. Look to Ireland, and in your own backyard. Take Summorum Pontificum which gives every priest the right to say the Latin Mass without permission from his bishop. But what does the bishop do? He says “no, you can’t.”

    If we made a survey of all the parishes in the States (as well as other places), do we find the Third Edition of the Ordinary Form of the Mass implemented? (How long did it take to prepare it’s implementation? Years!) Don’t hold your breath. Another disobedience. I thought that to be in disobedience to the Supreme Pontiff is to be out of communion with him (Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia — where the pope is, there’s the Church). So what does that make of these prelates and clergy in disobedience? They are in schism! At least materially. Either a Catholic is in full communion with the Church and her members or he is not. The cup must be full. If, as they say, the SSPX pays lip service to the pope, so do the pope’s own men. And the pope’s own men are more in trouble because they are leading the faithful astray with false teachings and false hopes. And at this point I have to ask, who is heterodox, the SSPX or those who administer the teachings and doctrine of Our Lord in the wrong way? The pope cannot put orthodox priests who uphold the Tradition of the Church in formal schism. If he does, he must first look in his own household.

    I am not even going to argue the despicable practice of Communion in the hand and Communion in both Species. Take a hard look at the line of those heading towards to EMHC. How many of these truly believe in the Real Presence. It’s dismaying. Why? Because the Holy Eucharist is never preached from the pulpit, as contraception, artificial birth control, abortion, sin, Heaven, and Hell are never ever preached. And now the USCCB is up in arms against the WH because it is encroaching on Catholic beliefs. Isn’t that hypocritical? Is this Church founded by Christ where we enter to be saved? Has anyone in this forum ever been to a traditional parish (FSSP, ICK, etc.) attended Mass and listened to the sermon? It is like entering an altogether different atmosphere, where there is silence so people can pray privately, and above all, reverence. Nothing like the swap meet atmosphere in the novus ordo Church. Chatter, chatter, chatter, even during Mass. There is no smorgasbord of dishes to chose from. Everything is palatable. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    What is needed is to restore all things in Christ, the restoration that has been lost to or taken away by the hijackers.

  21. Vincentius says:

    Jplacete, surely you jest! How is it that you have been out of touch? Been reading too many America and NCR rags?

  22. Vicentius, I think you may have lost many of us with your line about “…the despicable practice of Communion in the hand and Communion in both Species.” A line or two later, you assume that most people who attend Mass and receive Christ in the Eucharist (under one or both species) neither understand or believe in the Real Presence. In effect, you deem the eucharistic experience (the sacrament) that most practicing Catholics participate in regularly as meaningless, at best, or a sacrilege, at worst.

    I’m left to wonder if you really think you are that much holier than everyone around you. As for myself, I’m a sinner. When I stand in line this weekend to receive Christ in my hand — and more importantly, in my heart and my soul — I’ll pray the sinner’s prayer of thanks that God came to earth to heal those who are sick, rather than only those who think that they are well.

  23. Vicentius,
    When I receive Holy Communion in my hand, I feel a great responsibility for the Body of Christ, both under the appearance of bread and in the community of believers, the Church.

  24. Let’s see: Bishop Matthew Clark* is still the ordinary or Rochester, NY. Bishop Howard Hubbard** is still the ordinary of Albany, NY. Both men are walking scandals, and yet they are still in good standing with Rome. The same scenario could be multiplied a hundredfold since VII. There are hundreds(if not thousands) of priests and Bishops who actively destroy the faith of the people on a daily basis, cause scandal, etc. ad infinitum. The German Bishops consistenly act in a manner that is the antithesis of the Catholic faith as always practiced in both the East and West. And yet they are not threatened with an ultimatum. Instead, they are welcomed into the Vatican as brothers in the faith, though there words and actions would have scandalized most Catholics only a generation or two ago.

    And yet we are now witnessing the disgrace of seeing at least 1 million devout Catholics who believe, think and worship the way their ancestors did for over a millenia being on the precipice of their own Church because they, in conscience, do not see how the VII teachings of Religious Liberty and Ecumenism can be reconciled with the ancient Catholic faith-the faith that has been held universally until around 1965. Every Pope and Council prior to VII condemned ecumenism, and held that only the Catholic religion could be recognized by the state in a formal way because other religions are more or less false and did not have the natural right to exist in the same way as the true religion. This was the teaching of every Pope up until Pope Pius XII, and even John XXIII never disputed this teaching publically. Is it too much to ask for the Pope to clarify how the VII teaching on religious liberty is a legitimate development of doctrine, and not some form of corruption or an act of acquiescence to the spirit of the world?

    *For a partial review of Bishop Clark’s scandalous career, go to this webpage:

    **Just some of Howard Hubbard’s notorious dissent from the ancient Christian faith is documented here:

  25. That’s for sure; when is the last time a Pope issued an encyclical on the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7, that game-changing, world-changing, institution-changing, mind-changing teaching of the Lord?

  26. It does seem sometimes that every doctrinal deviation is tolerated except for sspx. For them it’s ‘no soup for you!’

  27. How do devout Catholics square SSPX disobedience to the directives of multiple pontiffs and the ordination of bishops outside the authority and approval of Bishop of Rome?

    The only church ‘tradition’ I know of to support such actions would be perhaps the scandalous multiple popes of the middle ages or the Protestant Reformation.

    The Holy Father has invited them to rejoin the Holy Catholic Church- but it seems they confuse that offer as proof that the Pontiff instead secretly desires to bring the Church into their separated sect- i.e. that he wishes to dismiss Dignitatis Humanae, Nostra Aetate and the rest of VCII in whole cloth, embrace past Church actions and policies such as the Inquisition, error has no rights etc. Keep waiting friends.

    The earlier comment is prescient – if the SSPX can’t close a deal with BXVI, they may be doomed to be a minor schismatic sect for a long time.

  28. The choice is not being made by the Vatican but by those who choose to separate themselves from the Church.

  29. Did i hear the Inquisition? That’s like bringing up the Nazis in an argument. The point is thar there are serious ambiguities in the council documents. Every serious student of the Church knows this and it’s not a good sign when we need a hermeneutic to understand documents that are only 50 years old. In any case it’s clear that no new doctrine was intended to announced at V2. Roncalli himself said so.

  30. A personal prelature, to my knowledge, has to operate in obedience to and in union with the Bishop of Rome, not independently of such.

    Deacon Greg- Someone needs to stand up to the too regular slander ( calumny) of the entire Society of Jesus at this blog. ( I know it is fashionable elsewhere but the Bench is not just any blog) I owe much of my formation and education as a person, a citizen and as a Catholic Christian to so many ( past and present) extraordinary men who have “s.j.” as a suffix to continue to allow this to go unchallenged.

    Over 19,000 Jesuits and I am sure one can find someone to criticize with specific FACTS ( which is fair) but honest compelling arguments do not require snide, broad-brush accusations of ‘liberalism’, ‘hotbed of heresy’, anti papal activity , etc about an entire order.

    As to the topic at hand, if the SSPX leadership had shown even a fraction of the obedience the Society of Jesus has shown when directed / corrected by the Pope , they would not be in schism today.

  31. I would prefer not to bring up the Inquisition but the SSPX feels differently…

  32. Ok HMS: Pop Quiz.
    Do you pick off every particle in your hand afterwards?
    Are your hands clean?

    Secondary point:
    Communion in the hand as practiced is (sorry to say) an imitation of a protestant practice.

    Point the Third:
    Surveys indicate that the majority ( number escapes me) do not believe in the Real Presence. I am, of course, assuming they achieve statisical significance in the survey.

  33. Nat,
    That is a gross over simplification of the issues at stake.

  34. Clarification:
    SSPX is not in schism (we’ll see what happens in May)

  35. Gerard,
    You have entered into a straw man fallacy.

    The point that the SSPX makes is that it is Dogma that the Mosaic Covenant is abrogated.

    The Shoah has nothing to do with the SSPX.

  36. Joe,

    Without even reading the link, I will ask the following: Have you ever looking past the typical ‘modern’ interpretation of the institution and looked it the events in their context and the role the Church played in taking over the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ in order to correct the abuses? Have you compared the numbers that were punished by the inquisition with at least a defender and process vs the persecutions in England?

    Have you even considered that St. Catherine of Siena was also called before the Inquisition?

    Next time you want to make an emotional appeal – please looking into the history a little more.

  37. Agree Tradical- the excommunication by JPII ( for ordination of bishops outside of the Bishop of Rome) was lifted by BXVI. But the point remains about obedience to the Pope.

  38. Jplacette says:

    I would humbly suggest that everyone read the texts produced by V2 in their entirety.
    Then look at the votes cast by the participating bishops.

    The SSPX departed from the church. I suspect their movement will always remain just a very small blip on the radar. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the press.

  39. naturgesetz says:

    Tradical —

    I sincerely doubt that there is any such dogma. Would you please give the citation and actual words of the dogmatic definition?

  40. Tradical- disappointed you did not read the link. It lays out the position of the SSPX very well and gets to what I see as the heart of the issue as a non theologian Catholic. In this context the Inquisition article is about religious liberty.

    In essence they say VCII – The Bishops of the world and the Bishop of Rome in ecumenical council ( and I believe guided by the Holy Spirit – but I imagine they would disagree) improperly decreed Dignitatis Humanae because it was not in synch with earlier church understanding of religious liberty such as the 1860′s Syllabus of Errors and yes – the understanding and justification of Inquisition. I am not arguing they are wrong about the pre VCII understanding of religious liberty in the Church. For the SSPX- the ” true Church” continues to believe that Error has no rights, the ideal setting for religious liberty is state sanctioned catholic churches and Courtney Murray was rightly forbidden by the Vatican from even publishing anything deviating from that approach.

    They take the same approach on another “emotional issue” the relationship of the church with the Jews. Wish away Nostra Aetate and the SSPX returns us to a Pre-VCII Church where Jews are perfidious and they quote lengthly actions and documents over many years to support the “true” church position on the Jews. ( these documents were removed from SSPX links when the latest overture to BXVI started.) I, on the other hand, sadly cringed as I read and instead better understood why JPII insisted on a public apology in 2000 for sins done in the name of the Church.

    As for history Tradical, I know you do not mean to imply that the Inquisition was justified because the Brits were worse. Or that because even people later named saints were dragged into the process it was the proper approach to religious liberty.

  41. naturgesetz says:

    Perhaps if Abp. Levebvre hadn’t ordained bishops in direct defiance of the Pope, his doctrinal deviations would have been tolerated too.

  42. This comment displays a remarkable ignorance of the Eastern Catholic rites, both in their modern forms and in their historical origin.

  43. God save us! Doesn’t anyone watch the hand of satan anymore? The church recently put out its paper on the need for a one world economic power and a one world government (Cardinal Peter Turkin) now why would Catholics who have been fighting against the modernist heresy for the last fifty years fall into the trap set by Rome to come under the fold of the one world regligion. There are fools and sinners in both the novus ordo and the traditionalist, but those with pure hearts will see that a conversion is needed. The Church is for the saving of souls, never once while on earth did Our Lord, play politics, never once did he insist on soical justice, this is the devils play ground. We will always have injustice, we will always have the poor – our only aim on earth is to live as Christ lived and to set our sights on Heaven. We need the pure sacraments, the pure teaching of Holy Mother Church,
    we don’t need polotics an we dont need to woo false religions. Boy has satan done his job, how can us sinners be so ignorant to think the Jesuits have not been infiltrated, that Rome has not been infiltrated open your eyes and research – Research the illuminati, then we can all pray pray pray for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. By the way the consecration of Russia has not been done otherwise Russia would now be Catholic, is Our Holy Mother a liar?

  44. Kevin,
    “Devout Catholics”=married couples who follow Humanae Vitae to the letter(even when it’s very painful to do so), teenagers and youngsters who are taught correct catechesis from an early age, faithful who receive the sacrament of Penance before receiving the Holy Eucharist if they committed a mortal sin. In other words, they do what 90% of the Catholics “in good standing” do not do.

    Also, when you mention the Inquistion, are you referring to the Holy Office(now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), or the Spanish Inquistion? Since the latter was a local body that had no official connection with the Church of Rome, it is hardly germane to the argument of whether the traditional Catholic teaching on Church/State relations is a development or corruption of doctrine. If the current teaching is now true and the traditional teaching was false, then can you explain to me why I should listen to the Magisterium now, as it was in error for at least several hundred years, and therefore it does not have the authority that the Church claims it does.

  45. forget it

  46. I think Lorenzo hits the nail on the head as far as the Traditionalist camp goes. Namely if Dignitatis Humanae seemingly teaches the opposite of what was Authoritatively taught (Some might say “infallibly taught”) in the past – then the Church needs to explain how this can be. If I couldn’t believe them in the past -since they “got it wrong” – then why should I believe them now. It doesn’t suffice to say in essence “because I said so”.
    As a Catholic I want to understand the Catholic faith. I am bound to the Tradition of the Church. The Pope is equally bound to that same Tradition. It is difficult sometimes to understand the Tradition but certainly when competant theologians and men of good will point out – that a present teaching seems to be plainly in opposition to what the Church has previously taught, the Church has an obligation to explain the discrepancy. Common sense seems to dictate that both of the teachings cannot be correct. Thus should the V2 teaching be interpreted in light of the Traditional understanding. Or should the Traditional understanding be RE-interpreted under the Vatican 2 “teaching?” Or since Vatican 2 was a pastoral Council – perhaps it doesn’t teach anything in the Authoritative way that some seem to think. (Thus all of the problems exist only because people look at V2 as a Teaching council )They place more weight on it than it actually has etc . . .
    I do not really have the answers to these questions. But as a common man (non theologian) I ask what good is a teaching Authority if it cannot be trusted in every age? There must be some explanation that is reasonable as to why the present teaching seems opposite of the dogmatic teachings in the past. And faith must always be reasonable.

  47. naturgesetz says:

    “If the current teaching is now true and the traditional teaching was false …”

    I think that’s a false premise. The former teaching does not have to have been false for the current teaching to be true. There is development of doctrine. There can be clarifications. Terms can be understood differently.

    Furthermore, there is always the question of how definitively a doctrine was held and proclaimed. Was it defined or merely common opinion?

  48. naturgesetz says:

    “By the way the consecration of Russia has not been done otherwise Russia would now be Catholic, is Our Holy Mother a liar?”

    Precisely how long did she say it would be from the consecration of Russia to its becoming Catholic?

  49. Ray Walsh says:

    The Vatican’s next ultimatum should be to the Jesuits.

  50. >>I think that’s a false premise. The former teaching does not have to have been false for the current teaching to be true. There is development of doctrine. There can be clarifications. Terms can be understood differently<<

    Yes, but the problem is that there has never been an official explanation from the highest level of how the two teachings can be reconciled. Development of doctrine presupposes that a greater understanding will come from an already evident truth. There is no development between Quanta Cura and Dignatitis Humanae. Even the principal author of the latter, Fr. John Courtney Murray, admitted as much. Fr. Yves Congar and Fr. Hans Kueng, both periti at the Council, flat out stated the Church changed it's teaching, which wasn't a problem for them, as they both rejected the traditional teaching of the Church not only on this issue, but on several others.

    Frankly, the two teachings cannot be reconciled, and the SSPX and other Catholics have constantly asked Rome to explain how the two teachings can be both be true at the same time. Cardinal Ratzinger himself admitted to Welsh author Michael Davies that trying to reconcile the two teachings is very difficult, and that a Catholic had the right to hold the previous teaching until there was some sort of official clarification. Of course, the Cardinal(now the Pope) is on record as being in favor of the new teaching, and even called the VII document "Gaudiam et spes" a "counter syllabus".

    Catholics are well within their right to ask how we can reconcile the old teaching with the new one.

  51. Lot of food for thought here. As I understand it, one of the main, if not the main, disputes is over the nature of the Church as understood before and after VII. Before VII, the Catholic Church was defined as the Church of Christ. One was coextensive with the other. I believe Pius XII said this in Humani Generis. After VII, the Church of Christ was said to “subsist” in the Catholic Church, or not quite co-extensive, and in any case very vague and confusing. Cardinal Ottaviani fought this alteration strongly but to no avail.

    But then you had Paul VI stating in his 1968 Credo that the Catholic Church is the Church of Christ again, i.e., one and the same. So it is ambiguities like this which the Church I think should formally clarify.

  52. >>The Pope is equally bound to that same Tradition<<

    This is something that people seem to lose sight of. The Pope is not a despot who decides on a daily basis what we believe and what we don't. He himself is supposed to be the defender and guardian of the faith, not someone who makes arbitrary decisions on what tradition means today(which might change tomorrow, and then again the next day).

  53. >>, I know you do not mean to imply that the Inquisition was justified because the Brits were worse.<<

    Again, what does the Spanish Inquistion(and various opinions on how terrible or how justified it was) have to do with the present situation? The Spanish Inquistion was a local tribunal approved by the ecclestiacal and civil authorities of Spain. Whatever its excesses, they had nothing to do with the teaching authority of Rome.

  54. >>This comment displays a remarkable ignorance of the Eastern Catholic rites, both in their modern forms and in their historical origin<<

    Not really. What Michael is saying is that the Eastern rites are largely free of the liturgical abuses rampant in the west, and that one can worship there in peace if the local Roman diocesian liturgies are a circus. He wasn't commenting on how the Eastern rites developed(very different than liturgical development in the West), or what changes have been made to the Eastern liturgy, both in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

  55. pagansister says:

    My question is, why would anyone want the priest putting the host in their mouth? Are his hands clean? That is a serious question on my part. Of course, the priest is still picking up the host, thus handling it. However, if I was a participant in communion, I think I’d perfer my own hand to deliver the host to my mouth.

  56. About what?

  57. Tradical:
    This is a reply to your Pop Quiz in response to my heartfelt sharing of what receiving communion in my hands means to me.

    You wrote:
    “Communion in the hand as practiced is (sorry to say) an imitation of a protestant practice.”

    There is enough convincing evidence that early Christians received the Eucharist in the hand and quite reverently, I might add.

    As to the cleanliness of my hands, I would say that my tongue is probably less worthy, since it is the source of much uncharitable speech. In addition, there are probably just as many or even more germs in my mouth than on my hands – and, I would think that it is the same with you unless you gargled with Listerine before you received Holy Communion.

  58. Nat,

    Have a look at the Council of Florence.

    Then proceed to look at Mystici Corporis for the latest statement that the Mosaic Covenant was abrogated.

  59. HMS,

    If you want to have an explanation of how Holy Communion was received – google Archbishop Anthanasius Schneider.

    This discussion that he provides coincides perfectly with Michael Davies commentary in his earlier works.

    Also, you should look into the origin of Communion in the Hand as currently practiced in the Church since the 70′s. It entered the life of the Church as an abuse.

    Last point: The rule of the Church is Communion on the Tongue. Communion in the Hand is by Indult.

  60. A lack of obedience does not constitute the sin of schism.

    It is (literally) a simple point of canon law – the excommunication was a result of the law not a result of trial. Cardinal Ricci (I think) in Oct 1988 stated that the Consecration of Bishops without Pontificate Mandate is not in itself a schismatic act. He went on to express that he felt the schism occurred much earlier.

  61. Now here’s an interesting question Nat:
    Pre-Council: Was the ecumenism of ‘common journey’ accepted or ecumenism of return?

    In some cases the censured theses surfaced at the council from previously censured prelates. Of particular note would be Fr. Rahner and the ‘anonymous christian’ theses.

  62. naturgesetz says:

    This is not responsive to my request. It’s way too diffuse. Give me the actual quotes and the locations. I’m not going to spend hours looking up and reading through stuff to find the passages you already have at hand and perhaps not recognizing them if they don’t seem to me to say what you think they do.

  63. naturgesetz says:

    In 2002 Cardinal Kasper wrote in his Reflections on the Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue in section III, “The confession that in Jesus Christ the fullness of time appeared once and for all implies that concrete, firm and decisive affirmations are typical of Christian witness. The Christian message withstands every syncretism and relativisation, also every relativisation in the name of a wrongly understood dialogue. Dialogue means living in relation but does not mean relativism. ‘Tolle assertiones et christianismum tulisti,’ wrote Martin Luther against Erasmus whom he blamed for his scepticism.” And further, “Understood in this sense dialogue and mission are not opposites, they do not exclude each other. Through every dialogue I do not only intend to impart something to somebody else, I also intend to impart what is most important and dearest for myself to him. I even wish that the other one partakes in it.” Finally, in Section VI, “The ultimate goal of ecumenical dialogue is the same as the goal of the ecumenical movement itself: not only the spiritual but the visible unity of the Church.”

    Based on what he wrote in his 2008 Reflection Charting the road of the ecumenical movement, for example, “In taking a fresh look at Paul Wattson’s original intention, we note an important development in the understanding of the Week of Prayer. While Wattson maintained that the goal of unity was the return to the Catholic Church, Abbé Paul Couturier of Lyons (1881-1953) gave a new impetus to this Week in the 1930s, ecumenical in the true sense of the word. He changed the name ‘Church Unity Octave’ to ‘Universal Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’, thus furthering a unity of the Church that ‘Christ wills by the means he wills’,” I don’t think your question can be answered with a simple affirmation that it was one or the other.

    Beyond that, I’d say that if the more common expectation was for “return,” that doesn’t mean that the expected “return” in the manner people imagined it was precisely God’s plan.

  64. Here’s Paul VI on the “spirit of Vatican II” June 29, 1972: “We believed that after the Council would come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. But instead there has come a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness … And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil.” And again: “It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of satan has entered the temple of God.”

  65. Nat,
    My apologies. The simplest way is to read the Encyclical Mystici Corporis paragraph 29 & 30. Afterwards review the references, in particular number [36] reproduced below:

    “29. And first of all, by the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ. For, while our Divine Savior was preaching in a restricted area – He was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the House of Israel [30] – the Law and the Gospel were together in force; [31] but on the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees [32] fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, [33] establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race.[34] “To such an extent, then,” says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, “was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel, from the Synagogue to the Church, from the many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as Our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.” [35]

    30. On the Cross then the Old Law died, soon to be buried and to be a bearer of death, [36] in order to give way to the New Testament of which Christ had chosen the Apostles as qualified ministers; [37]

    36. Jerome and Augustine, Epist. CXII, 14 and CXVI, 16: Migne, P.L., XXII, 924 and 943; St. Thos., I-II, q. 103, a. 3, ad 2; a. 4; ad 1; Council of Flor. pro Jacob.: Mansi, XXXI, 1738.

  66. Nat,

    This same Cardinal said:
    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.”
    [2]Adista, February 26, 2001: “La decisione del Vaticano II alla quale il papa si attiene, è assolutamente chiara: noi intendiamo l’ecumene oggi non più nel senso dell’ecumene del ritorno, secondo il quale gli altri devono ‘convertirsi’ e diventare ‘cattolici.’ Questo è stato espressamente abbandonato dal Vaticano II.”
    web link:

    Now looking at the teaching of the Church concerning salvation we have:
    Dogma: Outside the Church there is no salvation. Do not assume that I interpret this as the Feeneyites (sp) do. I interpret this as the Church has – the best reference I have come across it the letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing regarding this issues about Fr. Feeney et al. – Sorry I don’t have the reference now.

    To quote Pius XI in Mortalium Animos:
    13. You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity.

    Protestants, not withstanding the small chance that they may be in a State of Grace (see Mystici Corporis), are in grave danger of damnation.

    To stall their entry into the Church, as Cardinal Kasper did with the ‘Traditional Anglicans’ was a gross mis-service in his capacity in charge of the PC for Christian Unity.

    Suffice to say: There is only One Church of Christ and it is the Catholic Church.

  67. naturgesetz says:

    The Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing says, concerning the dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation,” that “this dogma is to be understood as the Church itself understands it.” And it goes on to explain about incorporation in the Church by implicit desire. I think it is fair to say that until this clarification was issued, many Catholics could have been excused for taking the doctrine to mean what Fr. Feeney thought it meant.

    With respect to ecumenism, to the extent that we go beyond the question of implicit desire for membership in the Church as satisfying the necessity of being in the Church, we certainly have no dogmatic statements that ecumenical activity must result immediately (that is, with no intermediate stages) in the return of separated Christians to full communion with the Bishop of Rome. There is no dogmatic statement that every in ecumenical encounter the Catholic participants should see it as their only legitimate activity to explicitly attempt to demonstrate to the non-Catholics what errors they hold and to convince them to adhere to the Catholic Church.

    Therefore, there is no departure from Catholic faith in an approach which attempts to foster the unity of Christians by seeking to understand more clearly each others beliefs and to see to what extent those beliefs are compatible.

    I’m not saying that I think everything Cardinal Kasper said and did was correct or wise. I quoted him as I did simply to point out that even he recognized that whatever methods and processes are used in ecumenical activity, the ultimate goal is to share our faith in order to lead to the unity of the Church as God wills it. IMO that can only mean under the Pope in the faith which is definitively taught by the Catholic Church. There was a clearer statement to this effect recently, but I can’t find it.

  68. naturgesetz says:

    Thanks for the citation, Tradical.

    First, I’ll note that Mystici Corporis is not itself dogmatic.

    Next, here are the actual passages from the Council of Florence, Session 11—4 February 1442 [Bull of union with the Copts] — as given on the EWTN website.

    “It [the Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning. Whoever, after the passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. It does not deny that from Christ’s passion until the promulgation of the gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation.”
    Notice that it doesn’t say that the “covenant” has come to an end, but merely that the “legal prescriptions” of the Old Testament “came to an end,” in the sense of no longer being sufficient or necessary for salvation. And of course, contemporary Jews do not follow large parts of those prescriptions. They practice circumcision; some keep kosher to a greater or lesser extent; and some observe the sabbath to a greater or lesser extent.

    “It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives ….”
    Here, of course, we must understand this in the light of the letter of the Holy Office to Cardinal Cushing.

    I see nothing in this decree (which does not claim to establish any new doctrine, and therefore is not strictly dogmatic) which prevents us from adopting Pope John Paul II’s position on Judaism. Jews who accept the faith expressed in the words, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one,” and have the implicit desire to belong to the Church are saved. This is, of course, an area of theology which is still in a process of development as we sort out the relationship between the unicity of Jesus as the way to salvation and the irrevocability of God’s promises to Israel.

  69. The post Vatican II Church is in schism with itself.
    The SSPX preaches and practices the religion I
    grew up with, not the Modernist Catholic Church
    with its lay ministers, altar girls, changed Mass,
    Protestant hymns, destroyed high altars
    and churches that resemble VFW meeting halls.
    It is obvious that Vatican II created a nuclear
    winter for the Church with its destruction of
    tradition. Read Michael Davies and Malachi
    Martin. SSPX holds to ancient Catholic
    traditions–they are the true Catholic Church,
    not the Modernist Hans Kung Church in Rome
    with its lay ministers, altar girls, communion
    in hand, and other travesties.

  70. Tradical
    You are applying an interpretation that while common among anti-Semites and the more radical elements of the so called Traditional Catholic movement is not at all supported by the context. Certainly the Mosaic dietary codes and the Old Testament prescriptions for ritual sacrifices and the like were abrogated. But God does not break His word. To say that the covenant is abrogated comes dangerously close to heresy. You are suggesting that either
    1. God was ignorant of the future when He made his promises to the Jews. Or…
    2. He was lying.

    It is also worth noting that this Encyclical is not an Ex Cathedra decree of doctrine.

  71. naturgesetz
    It appears our posts crossed.

  72. naturgesetz says:

    Ad Orientem —

    You certainly expressed the point well in your post.

  73. Joy
    Not to start an East West food fight, but I can assure you Russia is far more catholic than Rome or Italy. As for Modernism, we Orthodox heartily agree with your concerns about modernist heresy infecting Rome. We just think you’re about 900 years late in getting the memo.

  74. Actually I think naturgesetz pretty much hits the nail on the head. There is a powerful schismatic mindset in the SSPX. I seriously doubt they will ever submit.

  75. V2 was and is a departure from the One and True Faith (heresy) plain and simple. They started a new faith and it’s not Catholic. If the SSPX believes B16 to be the Pope then they are schismatic. Fatima was basically ignored or you could say Our Lady was ignored. If I’m wrong, then why are the churches not full each 1st Saturday? Anyone who believes Romes version of the 3rd secret has not studied the subject or simply wants to be ignorant. Apostasy in the Church and it comes from the top and you now have what you have. Virtually every revolution has really been a war against the Church. It took a while to fully infiltrate the ranks but here we are. When Our Lord returns will he find faith on earth…only a remnant. “Rome will lose the Faith” OUR LADY OF LASALETTE

  76. That pretty much sums up the attitude of the SSPX. They are the real church. All they need to do now is elect their own Pope to make it official.

  77. naturgesetz says:
  78. Simple answer- take it up with Pius XII.

    Complex answer (written in haste):
    Why is there a New Covenant?
    Why was there a Mosaic Covenant instead of just keeping the original Abrahamic Covenant?
    When the Jewish people broke the previous one God created a new one.

    Perhaps abrogration should be replaced with Superceded.

    Just for clarity:
    A. The Jewish religion is no longer the True Religion. Only the Catholic Church has a valid claim to that.

    B. The Old Covenant (aka Testament aka Law) is fulfilled in the Catholic Church.

    C. Those people of the Jewish religion who are invincibly ignorant may make an act of perfect charity and obtain the state of grace – thereby with there goodwill obtain a relationship with the Church. However, note well it is via the Church they are saved not their adherence to the Jewish religion.

    Last point: is interesting.

  79. Hi Ad,
    This is a shift from simplication to generalization.

    There are definitely people who attend the Masses of the SSPX who believe the Popes to have erred seriously in word and deed. However, it is important to note that the true schismatics and sedevacantists are usually excised.

  80. Hi Nat , Ad,

    A thought occured to me.

    When I wrote “… Mosaic Covenant is abrogated”

    What exactly did you think I meant?

  81. Jplacette says:

    Please, I pray, read the documents. Read “Models of the Church” by Avery Cardinal Dulles. Read the documents of the church since Vatican II.

    Without Vatican II, there would be no Joint Declaration on Justification, no Anglican Ordinariate, no Permanent Diaconate, and no fall of communism, etc., etc.

    Please come into twenty first century!

  82. naturgesetz says:

    Superseded is no better than abrogated.

    Testament, Covenant, and Law are nor quite synonymous, IMO.

    “The Old Covenant is fulfilled in” Jesus Christ.

    True Christians are complete Jews.

    Jews are implicit Christians.

    The Church is still working through all this.

  83. Fiergenholt says:

    Ad. . .

    I agree that “HMS” consistently adds a sense of history to this BLOG and your reply about “that was then and this is now” has some merit.

    I would like to suggest that the Jesuits have not changed one iota: their charism of “thinking-outside-of-the-box” was just as strong throughout the main part of the twentieth century as it is now in the twenty-first. The problem is that the church they now minister within has closed in on itself.

    Just read the postings on this blog and you will see that the same folks who condemn the Jesuits are the same ones who consistently tend to the conservative side of any given current debate. Periodicals like American and NCReporter — and others who dare “think-outside-of-the-box” (maybe “dream” is a better word) do attract a fair amount of displeasure from those same folks who are quite self-assured in their neatly packaged and “boxed” theologies.

    Here’s a chore for you. Select a random parish — anywhere in the US. Then go and ask the pastoral staff which lay-persons are the silent but effective “movers-and-shakers” of the ministry of that parish. Then interview some of those folks. You might be surprised how many are graduates of Jesuit colleges. BTW: I did just that same exercise in my own parish and I — too — was surprised at the results.

  84. Deacon Norb says:


    FYI: Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J. is the Bishop of Youngstown Ohio. While I do not have the time to go into the Internet and check everyone’s credentials, I’d be willing to bet he is NOT the only US Bishop who is a Jesuit.

  85. >>there would be no Joint Declaration on Justification<<

    Why, from an Orthodox Catholic perspective, is this considered a good thing? The Joint Declaration on Justification basically says that Luther was right, and the Council of Trent was wrong. Another glaring contradiction that is in no way a legitimate development of doctrine(though, thankfully, the document has no real magisterial authority).

  86. Hi Nat,

    I’m sorry that you feel that way as now I have the responsibility to state that you are courting heresy.

    Jews being unbaptized are outside the Church. There is nothing to ‘work through’.

    To deny that there is a New Covenant sealed in the Blood of OLJC is heresy – no way around that one.

    As noted above, while it is possible for them to achieve a state of grace via a perfect act of Contrition if they have sinned mortally, (Baptism of Desire), ie state of justification, this does not make them members of the Catholic Church, as achieving this state of justification does not remove the obligation to seek the Sacrament of Baptism.

    In essence the Mosaic Covenant is oriented towards the coming of the Redeemer. After the death of OLJC a Jewish person’s good will, in a state of invincible – not because of his or her religion – is what disposes them to make a perfect act of Charity as noted in the letter to Archbishop Cushing.

    To state that the Church has been in error since the time of Paul is definitely error.

    In pondering Ad’s accusation of heresy: It is not God who ‘broke’ the Mosaic covenant but the other party – so to speak. I understand also from further reading on this topic to see if I was in error that: “The Prophets had knowledge of a new covenant to which the one concluded on Mount Sinai should give away. ”

    Final point: If a Jewish person has his or her invincible ignorance broken (ie they have culpable knowledge that Jesus is God etc), remain outside the Church and die in that state – they cannot be saved.

  87. That is a straw man fallacy.

    If that were the true attitude of the SSPX then they would’ve made the formal leap to sedevacantism and elected a Pope years ago.

  88. Fiergenholt says:


    “The Joint Declaration on Justification basically says that Luther was right, and the Council of Trent was wrong.”

    A few comments:

    –You know, I hate to say it but I really doubt if you ever read that “joint Declaration. . . “. If you had really read it and tried to understand it, you would realize that Luther is never mentioned by name. In fact, all of the references are based upon not only Sacred Scripture but also the ancient Fathers of the Church.

    –Trent was not really called to confront Luther or Lutheranism; nor was it called to confront the schism of the English Church. Both of those movements were well into their second generation by the start of Trent in 1546 and into their third generation by the time it ended in 1572 when all the “anathemas” were pronounced. Trent was deliberately intended to confront the events and theologies of the Swiss Reformation. Those were the far more frightening.

    You also need to understand that the relationship between the Lutherans and the Vatican are such that it would not surprise me that dissident Lutherans (and they have really exploded here in the US) might just petition Rome for admission under a similar protocol as the dissident Anglicans have received.

  89. Deacon Norb says:


    Lorenzo: I have to challenge your statement “Another glaring contradiction that is in no way a legitimate development of doctrine(though, thankfully, the document has no real magisterial authority)” on several fronts.

    –The consecrated Bishops of our church are the only real sources of “magisterial authority” and — unless I am gravely mistaken — you are not one of them.

    –In all cases, the “magisterial authority” of the bishops is further affirmed by the Pope himself. While I have seen no evidence that he has “signed-off” specifically on that Joint Declaration, he certainly behaves as if he is a big supporter of it and his staff at the Vatican take their cues from his interest here.

    In October 2007, a large pilgrimage from here in the US visited Rome. It was unique in many ways. Almost 60 pilgrims were divided: 40 were Lutheran and 20 were Roman Catholic and included in those 60 were bishops of BOTH churches. The entire contingent was given VIP seating at the Wednesday Papal Audience; the presence of the pilgrimage was announced at the proper times including the fact that it was mixed Lutheran/Catholic group; Pope Benedict in his remarks praised the two bishops involved in that pilgrimage for their initiative; and later Pope Benedict went out of his way to personally greet the Lutheran Bishop who was a part of that pilgrimage.

  90. Fiergenholt
    >>You know, I hate to say it but I really doubt if you ever read that “joint Declaration. . . “.<>–The consecrated Bishops of our church are the only real sources of “magisterial authority” and — unless I am gravely mistaken — you are not one of them. <>–Trent was not really called to confront Luther or Lutheranism; nor was it called to confront the schism of the English Church. Both of those movements were well into their second generation by the start of Trent in 1546 and into their third generation by the time it ended in 1572 when all the “anathemas” were pronounced. Trent was deliberately intended to confront the events and theologies of the Swiss Reformation. Those were the far more frightening.<>40 were Lutheran and 20 were Roman Catholic and included in those 60 were bishops of BOTH churches. The entire contingent was given VIP seating at the Wednesday Papal Audience; the presence of the pilgrimage was announced at the proper times including the fact that it was mixed Lutheran/Catholic group; Pope Benedict in his remarks praised the two bishops involved in that pilgrimage for their initiative; and later Pope Benedict went out of his way to personally greet the Lutheran Bishop who was a part of that pilgrimage<<

    The Lutheran "Bishops" have no more authority than I or any other laymen. Indeed, they are laymen, and do not have the sacerdotal character imprinted on their souls. If the Pope gave these men the impression that they do have this character and authority, than this is just another case of dereliction of duty. The Pope has also prayed with Lutheran and Anglican "priestesses". "What is truth?" said Pilate to the One who Truth itself.
    It's truly sad that people of all Christian confessions believe that "fellowship" is more important than the truth.

    No wonder groups like the SSPX are not welcome in modern Christendom. They are like the little boy in the story that states that the Emperor has no clothes. The only people not welcome in the modern Christian community are those who still dare to speak the politically incorrect truth.

  91. Pretty much all here who are supporters of the SSPX do not have a proper understanding of the Catholic faith. They may be sincere in their serious errors, but the most merciful thing that the Holy Father can do is to declare the SSPX schismatic if it rejects what the Holy See expects of them (and therefore reconciliation). It would be better to cut off a diseased branch, such as the SSPX, so that the whole tree does not suffer any further. And those who support the SSPX will have to choose between schismatics or the Catholic Church; I believe that many priests will then leave the SSPX. There are some good and holy priests in the SSPX, who just want to work for the salvation of souls, rather than maintain a schismatic attitude.
    Sadly, the paranoid people who stay with the SSPX will no doubt continue in their diatribe against the Catholic Church. Such is the behavoir of foolish pride.

  92. Hi Nat,
    “And it goes on to explain about incorporation in the Church by implicit desire. ”

    It does not talk about ‘incorporate in the Church’.

    The only way to be ‘ actually incorporated in the Church’ is by baptism.

  93. Hi Ray,

    Ok: What do I (as a supporter of the SSPX) not understand about the Catholic Faith? In which elements have I erred? Where have I fallen into heresy?

    Please be specific because there people here who are posting ideas that are NOT Catholic or are misinterpretations of Catholic Teaching that lead to heresy.

    I would like to see the contrast.

    I’ll give you a simple one: The Old Covenant was abrogated or as some would prefer superceded by the New Covenant.

    Before I get accused of heresy again: I went and checked a few resources, such as Mystici Corporis as well as my Concordance. In my Catholic concordance in the section titled “Old Covenant, abrogation thereof” these is a listing of about a dozen phrases in Scripture that the Church says demonstrate this Catholic belief.

    Sincerely looking forward to a reply … unless this thread is dead.

  94. Tradical, as a former adherent of the SSPX myself, I am familiar with the rhetoric. I could take the trouble of listing all of the errors of the SSPX, but in my experience, SSPX supporters don’t want to pay real attention to the reality, so I have no intention of debating the issues here. If you are really interested in knowing about this, rather than just wanting to prove it wrong, I would suggest going to the Tripod Agenda website, since it details the problems with the SSPX fairly well.

    I will mention, however, that the main positions of the SSPX, which follow in line with what Archbishop Lefebvre maintained, is more of a third positionist, or perhaps French Third Republic position, which is more of a political approach to religion, and in which the Church does not support, even though there may be aspects of the third positionist movement that can line up with Catholicism. I assume that the Holy Father is aware of this.

    It’s mainly due to the hardliner third positionists in the SSPX that will make reconciliation nearly impossible (from a human standpoint). However, all things are possible with God, and a miracle still can take place in which, God willing, the SSPX will accept that the current magisterium of the Church has legitimate authority, given by God, to rule over the entire Church.

  95. M. Ray says:
    Pretty much all here who are supporters of the SSPX do not have a proper understanding of the Catholic faith. <<

    I am not a supporter per se of the SSPX. I do not attend their Masses, and I do disagree with them on several peripheral issues. But they do have a major point about the incompatibility of the pre and post Vatican II positions on ecumenism and religious liberty. There isn't an honest scholar in the world who doesn't recognise this fact. Honest liberals, such as Yves Congar, admitted that the Church changed its teaching. So called "conservatives" feel that they need to bend the teachings of the Church into a pretzel in all order to make the two positions fit with each other.

    Frankly, M.Ray, you may be the person who doesn't clearly understand the nature of the Church, or the incompatibility with pre and post VII theology. In your post below, you equate the SSPX's position on religious liberty with french nationalistic politics. While there is no question that many adherents of the SSPX in France are heavily involved in far right politics(and this is one area where I vehemently disagree with the SSPX), that doesn't change the fact that the constant teaching of the pre VII Popes on this issue is different than what is held today. An explanation for this needs to be made by the Pope or a future council, otherwise the morass will continue, and it won't be the doing of the SSPX or other people who question the idea that the magisterium can change its position on an issue due to social changes in society.

    Or are you suggesting that Gregory XVI, Pius VIII, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, and Pius XII were french nationalists?

  96. Hi M. Ray,
    Your non-answer is quite judgmental of me. If I knew elements of what you said to be wrong, I would of course point it out, but without having those elements exposed – I am left to fend for myself.

    First, if Tripod, is your only reference (which I doubt) – I’m afraid that won’t help a lot. It appears to have not changed a whole lot since I first came across it. In short it is not representative of what the Church has said about the SSPX. Beyond that, what I have read is basically is imbibed with a number of fallacies.

    Of interest is one of the links I found on the Tripod cheat sheet. ‘Muslims worship the same God’. Which unfortunately only partly states Church teaching concerning the Muslims. This is something that isn’t supposed to happen according to Vatican II, but it does.

    Here’s the full story from a Catholic Catechism:
    12 Q. Who are infidels? A. Infidels are those who have not been baptized and do not believe in Jesus Christ, because they either believe in and worship false gods as idolaters do, or though admitting one true God, they do not believe in the Messiah, neither as already come in the Person of Jesus Christ, nor as to come; for instance, Mohammedans and the like.

    So, am I lacking in my understanding of the Catholic Faith in this regard, or do I happen to have a complete and full understanding?

    Looking at the earlier part of the thread, I was accused of nearing heresy. To quote ‘But God does not break His word. To say that the covenant is abrogated comes dangerously close to heresy.’

    It is interesting that when you read Exodus 19:3-6 your find the the following:
    “If therefore you will hear my voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be my peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is mine.”

    If you read in Jeremias 31: 31-32 you find:
    Behold the days shall come, says the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: 32 Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, says the Lord.

    In the first quote we find that the covenant was conditional, in the second we find that the Jews did not keep their end of the bargain and made the covenant void. By the way, as noted earlier, I found these references easily in my concordance under the headings: “Covenant of the Old Law, abrogration of the”

    These words agree perfectly with what Pius XII stated in Mystici Corporis.

    So again, I ask where is my understanding of the Catholic Faith deficient?

    Generalized statements are not very useful in these discussions because they only act as propaganda – a basic fallacy.

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