Clarification on Schismatic Group

I’ve had a very useful clarification from a reader in my combox. I would like all readers to know that Bishop Williamson and the other members of Society of St Pius X are not schismatic.

They have been consecrated as bishops without permission from the Pope, and their consecration went on in direct defiance of the Pope’s directives. They continue to promote their own priests and parishes separate to the recognized hierarchy of the Catholic Church, but I must repeat that they are not schismatic.

It is true that Archbishop Lefebrve undertook an illicit Episcopal consecration and therefore performed a schismatic act. It is for this reason that the Bishops consecrated by him have been suspended and excommunicated. However, just because a person does a schismatic act, and their group continues in schismatic acts, does not mean that they are schismatic. Why some people find this difficult to understand is beyond me.

At the time Pope John Paul wrote:

In itself this act [of consecrating those four bishops] was one of disobedience to the Roman pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the Church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience—which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy—constitutes a schismatic act [Code of Canon Law, 751]. In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Bishops last June 17, Archbishop Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law [Cf. Code of Canon Law, 1382].

Later in the same apostolic letter, the pope speaks directly to those Catholics who are part of the SSPX or who are tempted to become part of it. Notice the grave urgency of his exhortation:

In the present circumstances I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfill the grave duty of remaining united to the vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offense against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law [Cf. Code of Canon Law, 1364].

However, we should make it clear that the group is not, I repeat, NOT schismatic. Do not be deceived by appearances. Just because a group breaks away from the authority of the pope, consecrates its own bishops, ordains its own priests and disobeys the pope it should not be regarded as schismatic. Again, let us repeat this is not schism.

Tomorrow I will be clarifying the situation regarding the confusion over the colors black and white. There is a current opinion out there that black is black and white is white. Check my post tomorrow in which I will be correcting this error.

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  • Fr. N

    They are protestants in Catholic clothing, choosing, as did the first group of protestants, what meets with their approval, and rejecting the rest.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah…this topic is really confusing. So, if one commits a schismatic act continuously he is not necessarily schismatic…Can I can also say that one who commits adultery is not an adulterer? How can one act out what he is not? This dichotomy reeks with Modernism, I think…Then another question – When the pope wrote in Ecclesia Dei: “In the present circumstances I wish…to make an appeal…to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfil the grave duty of remaining united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church, and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to THE schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law”? Is it not THAT MOVEMENT by Archbishop Lefevbre that is referred to by the term “THE (I note it’s not an A) SCHISM” in this statement?

  • Anonymous

    I’m confused as well. How can a group “continue in schismatic acts” and not be schismatic? If the group is committing “schismatic acts” but is not “schismatic,” perhaps we should call their acts something else? Divisive? Disobedient? I don’t know… I realize that the SSPX is canonically in a different status than Anglicans, but the logic utilized in this post sounds like an argument that an Anglican would make (i.e., it’s possible to be Catholic without being in full communion with the Pope and, in fact, when Papal authority is being challenged). To me, this kind of logic could lead to a whole host of problems. I can see recognizing the apostolic succession of SSPX Bishops (in the same way that Rome recognizes that character in Orthodox Bishops), but it seems possible to have apostolic succession and still be schismatic. Father Longenecker, do you consider the Eastern Orthodox a schismatic group? How are you defining schism? After reading this post, I referenced a theological dictionary that defined it most basically as “a rejection of communion with the authorities of a Church.” This sounds exactly like the actions of the SSPX.


  • I don’t want to assume anything but I think that Fr. Dwight was being sarcastic. They are in schism just like the Orthodox. This doesn’t invalidate any of the sacraments, it just means that as a movement they are not in communion with Rome. Schism is by definition a break in communion. They have broken communion and are thus in schism. If Bishop Williamson continues spouting the heresy and foolishness that he has been for so long then this schism will continue. While I pray for their reunion with Rome, frankly unless they stop with the fundamentalist banter (an yes they are Catholic fundamentalists, which I think should be considered a heresy) I have no desire for them to return to communion with Rome.

  • Anna

    All I have to say is that I am glad that no one was around when I finished reading this. I don’t think that I could have explained my filling the room with laughter.

  • As Humpty Dumpty explained to Alice, words are merely our servants, and we can make them mean whatever we want them to mean.”When I use a word,” the SSPX member said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”Of course they’re not in schism, silly, because that would mean that they’re not Catholics, and as everybody knows, they’re the only real Catholics left.

  • Jennifer

    You had me going there for a minute, Father. Good one. I’m beginning to wonder what you’ve got in store for April 1.

  • Anonymouses,There is a difference between the individual acts of the Fraternity’s members and its own acts. Yes, the four bishops are in schism, but the Fraternity is not organizationally in schism. Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos has repeatedly and unequivicably stated this and reaffirmed the right of the faithful to hear Mass at FSSPX chapels under certain (and rather broad and permissable) conditions.

  • Father,I hope you don’t mind but since this is the current thread dealing with the SSPX I thought I would respond to this anonymous comment ( about St. Athanasius here.While it’s been a while since I read my Church History by Laux (or Schaff or the Penguin series) but I don’t remember Athanasius ever being out of communion with the Pope and I especially don’t remember him sending a letter to that affect. If you can point to a source for your assertion than it can be addressed but until then I accuse you of impugning a great Saint of the Church.St. Athanasius was rightful Patriarch of Alexandria and did not require permission to install bishops, etc. Since he was never out of communion with the Pope and properly exercised his patriarchal authority none of his actions were schismatic or irregular. Last time I checked, Williamson isn’t Patriarch of squat, nor is he an ordinary with a regular or legitimate jurisdiction. He may be validly but illicitly ordained a bishop, but he’s not any Catholic’s bishop. St. Athanasius and the SSPX have nothing in common and to conflate the two is insulting to St. Athanasius and all Catholics.James GSorry for the long link but Blogger won’t allow me to imbed it.

  • pavegs – “This doesn’t invalidate any of the sacraments,”Jurisdiction is required for certain sacraments to be valid, such as confession and marriage. SSPX does not have jurisdiction.

  • Anonymous


  • Cardinal Castrillon is a fine man and a worthy bishop, but he is not the Roman Pontiff and his opinions do not have the force of law in the Catholic Church. In fact, since John Paul II promulgated Ecclesia Dei Adflicta in 1988, nothing further has been said about the SSPX schism which does have the force of law; therefore, the pronouncement of John Paul II on this matter, quoted by Father Longenecker in his post, is still normative: the SSPX is in schism and no Catholic should support or encourage them. Anyone who argues otherwise is simply following the lead of Humpty Dumpty, as illustrated above. This fight is not, and never has been, about the Tridentine Mass; this is about who has authority in the Catholic Church to name bishops and govern the liturgy. And here’s a clue: it’s not Marcel Lefebvre. The SSPX schism is also a fight about the truth of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and here’s another clue: the reservations of a group of French monarchists aside, either the Second Vatican Council is the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Church or it is not. And if it is, then everything it teaches on faith and morals binds the conscience of all Catholics, including French monarchists who prefer the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. A Catholic who rejects, say, Dignitatis Humanae (Vatican II on religious freedom) or Unitatis Redentigratio (Vatican II on Christian unity) has by that fact placed himself outside of communion with the Catholic Church. And we have a word for that condition too: schism.

  • Anonymous

    “Do not be deceived by appearances. Just because a group breaks away from the authority of the pope, consecrates its own bishops, ordains its own priests and disobeys the pope it should not be regarded as schismatic. Again, let us repeat this is not schism.”Whaaaaaaaaaat!Aren’t they self-excommunicated? This was the common belief.What about Luther? What about Calvin, Bucer, Zwingli, Knox, Huss, Savonarola, Valera, Vermigli, etc. ???? Are they not schismatics and therefore excommunicated??? I really don’t understand. I will wait for tomorrow respond.

  • Anonymous

    2:17 Anonymous: the good father is being sarcastic. To very good effect. Most people outside of the SSPX have already figured out that if you run what is, in effect, a parallel church which operates independently of the local ordinary and without permission from Rome, you are in schism.

  • Anonymous

    I though there was a difference between being in schism and carrying out a schismatic act. A schismatic act is an act that could lead to or promote schism. A schism is exactly that, a schism. The Honolulu six decree seems to indicate that attending services for the sake of the Mass and other sacraments administered by SSPX (not out of defiance to the Church) are not schismatic acts. A letter relating to ecumenical dialogue concerning SSPX “The situation of the members of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid. ” — Letter from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity Cardinal Edward Cassidy, President (3 May,1994)I am no expert but the above seems to suggest that the Vatican does not consider SSPX to be in schism.Did Pope John Paul II? I do not know. I know of no statement from JPII that declares the SSPX to be schismatic. I can see how the ordination of the Bishops in defiance of Papal authority would warrant censure and punishment. I can see how the ordinations could be viewed as schismatic acts. However, a person needs to be in schism. Carrying out a “schismatic act” is not sufficient grounds for declaring a person (or organisation) to be in schism or a schismatic. If it were, a number of Bishops in the Church would be in the same boat a SSPX would they not? Further, there are movements associated with SSPX that are self declared in schism. JPII never has declared (as far a I know) that SSPX are in schism. You can infer meanings all you like but has he ever said it? I’m happy to be corrected here, as I find this whole business quite confusing but I do not think this is as cut and dried as is presented. Benfan

  • Fr. Newman,So is anyone who hears Mass on a basis regular or irregular at an SSPX chapel an ‘adherent of the schism?’ in your opinion?Just curious.

  • “The Vatican” doesn’t think anything. The law of the Church and the policy of the Holy See are given by one man and one man only: the Sovereign Pontiff. John Paul II didn’t just “think” that the SSPX is in schism; he taught it in an act of papal legislation. Every else to the contrary is just hot air. Given that Benedict XVI has issued no decrees on the subject, he has not modified in any way what was given by John Paul II.Go and read the full text of Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, and then you’ll know what the Catholic Church holds about the SSPX and the moral obligation of Catholics to avoid it.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the document Fr ,I have read it. Nowhere does it state that the SSPX is schismatic. I understand why the Pope may want to discourage association to a group that may fall into schism. I would agree that the reader in inclined to assume due to the wording that the SSPX is in schism. However, the bald fact is that the Pope does not in this document identify SSPX as schismatic. I would happily agree that the wording allows you to read into the document this assumption. However, the Pope refuses to make a simple clear statement that any Pope would not hesitate to make if it were true namely “The SSPX is in schism”. Why? Because the SSPX has never been declared to be in schism. A few Bishops were excommunicated for a schismatic act – illicit ordination. I’m happy to be corrected and I’m not affiliated with SSPX I simply wish to seek the truth in this matter.Benfan

  • Not one bishop or priest of the SSPX is acknowledged by the Bishop of Rome or any Bishop anywhere in the world who is in communion with the Bishop of Rome as being in hierarchical communion with the Catholic Church or as having licit faculties for the exercise of their ministry. If that is not a plain and simple description of schism to anyone reading these words, then please give my best to your pal Humpty.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone, Please disregard every word coming from Father Newman. He does not accept the authority of Rome to determine what Her own documents mean. If Father had really paid attention he would know that the Ecclesia Dei commission was formed in order to INTERPRET and APPLY Ecclesia Dei afflicta and was granted the proper authority to speak on behalf of the Holy Father on those matters pertaining to the Missal of 1962 and the Society of St. Pius X. They are either in schism or they are not. Also, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is either President of Eccliesia Dei or he is not. The truth of the matter is that the schismmatic nature of the SSPX is only an OPINION of Fr. Newman’s that is not only misguided but disobedient. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is the President of Ecclesia Dei and has competency to interpret Ecclesia Dei afflicta in a binding manner. Fr. Newman has a problem submitting himself to Roman Authority it appears. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos who is in more of a position that Fr. Newman to know who is in schism and who isnt, says they are NOT in schism. Do you seriously think that Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI would let Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (who has stood beside them at altars and balconies and at meetings for years) go spouting off nonsense about the SSPX not being in schism if they really were? Get a dose of reality.Also, why does it matter to Fr. Newman if the SSPX is in schism or not? He has no problem with the heretical Lutherans and Anglicans being in schism (and heresy), otherwise he would not support them in their schismatic behavior.

  • Anonymous

    No rational reply has yet been made to my earlier posting about St Athanasius, least of all by that fool, Jay Scott Newman.It is amazing how alleged pious catholics will seek to justify breaches of the 8th commandment by an appeal to either Ultramontanism or Americanism.

  • Anonymous 11:50, Your dealings are dangerous, your words half truths. You hurl insults, you speak yet your words are empty. Please turn from this present evil.Ecclesia Dei Adflicta signed by Pope John Paul II in no uncertain terms marks SSPX schism:”In the present circumstances I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfil the grave duty of remaining united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church, and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.(8)”As far as Fr. Newman’s interest in this matter, this very letter calls him to answer your remarks—if his pastoral duties were not enough. “Moreover, I should like to remind theologians and other experts in the ecclesiastical sciences that they should feel themselves called upon to answer in the present circumstances.”Ecclesia Dei Adflicta is a short and simple document regarding this schism, and it leaves few lines to read between in regards to SSPX as noted above. Click on my name and it should take you to this Vatican document.

  • Anonymous

    In fact, were I a priest in Newman’s or Longenecker’s shoes, my conscience would prevent me from saying mass before I had confessed the false witness I had borne against my neighbour. However, that’s just me.Perhaps despite having not the least theological or canonical basis for their position (except for legal/canonical positivism), the guilt of mortal sin will not be imputed to them for some reason unknown (and indeed, unfathomable) to me.

  • 1. Yes, I am a fool–a fool for Christ.2. “Schism” according to the Code of Canon Law “is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” (Canon 751) That is the condition of every bishop and priest in the SSPX.3. “The following are irregular for receiving orders: 2, a person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism” (Canon 1041)4. “The following are irregular for the exercise of the orders received:2, a person who has committed a delict mentioned in canon 1041, n.2 if the delict if public” (Canon 1044)5. “Ignorance of the irregularities and impediments does not exempt from them.” (Canon 1045)6. In sum, every cleric in the SSPX is in schism, and every act of divine worship they celebrate is illicit.7. In fine, yes I regularly consort with Anglicans and Lutherans, and one purpose of that activity is to help them find their way home to the Bishop of Rome. To date I have received a total of six former Protestant ministers into full communion with the Catholic Church. Naturally, that’s small beer compared to the number of schismatics in the SSPX, but I’m just getting started.

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Newman,Please show me the legal document that clearly makes the judgment and charge that the SSPX are in schism. It is a serious matter if they are. A clear legal judgement would have to be made. Where is it? Either you have the authority to interpret and pass judgment in these issues or Ecclesia Dei does. At the moment you are making judgments that the correct authority contradicts. The Bishops were not charged with an act of schism. They were charged with a schismatic act. There is a difference between an act of schism and a schismatic act. You may very well hold the opinion that they are in schism. However, to state such an opinion as fact when no such ruling has been made is wrong is it not?Benfan

  • Anonymous

    Blarg, the dealings of the SSPX and their present situation are putting the souls of many in danger. They should turn away from the present evil they are in. They should submit to the Vicar of Christ.

  • Anonymous

    Benfan,You are very very correct!Fr. Newman has no authority to determine who is or is not in schism unless he is told so by Rome. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has authority on this matter and Fr. Newman MUST accept that authority or we could call him on violating Canon 751 because he is refusing communion with Cardinal Castrillion Hoyos by rejecting his authority which is derived from the Holy Father himself.

  • Anonymous

    Newman evaded the issue of canonical positivism.Perhaps he needs to do a degree in common law, or jurisprudence – he would then be more likely to appreciate what legal positivism is, and thus stop indulging in it.Schism is not what the arbitrary will of the pope makes it. The church has already decided that neither Lefebvre or anyone else attached to the SSPX is schismatic – otherwise one is left with the obviously untenable and bankrupt option of saying that St Athanasius, who was far “worse” as regards his ignoring the strictures of canon law in an emergency situation, than Lefebvre in a period of crisis nowhere near as bad as today’s, was schismatic.

  • carolina catholic

    Even if the SSPX are in schism, and even if their Masses are illicit, they are still VALID Masses. And Msgr Perl, Secretary of the PCED, has made it clear that the faithful may fulfill their Sunday obligation by assisting at an SSPX Mass, providing that the reason they do so is for the “sake of devotion” to the traditional Mass.I have been to SSPX Masses before, mainly because there are no regular Tridentine Masses available where I live. I go without any fear whatsoever to the state of my soul. Frankly, most of the Novus Ordo Masses that I’ve been to have been illicit Masses. Typically the liturgical abuses – each of which render the Mass illicit – are horrific. Even at Masses where the priest attempts to be pious, rarely are the dictates of the second Vatican council taken to heart: giving the Latin language and Gregorian Chant “pride of place” in the liturgy, for example. Given the choice between illicit Masses, I will opt for the one that has the weight of 1500 years of tradition behind it and that is more theologically accurate.Fr. Newman: you seem to be concerned for the souls of those who assist at SSPX Masses. But what exactly have you done to provide those that do with an option? If you really wanted the faithful to stop assisting at SSPX Masses out of a devotion to the old Mass, you would step up to the plate and offer the old Mass yourself.

  • Friends, let me put this as simply as I can: those who play with schism are endangering their immortal souls, and there is no justification for this.If a diocesan priest wants to leave his diocese to join, say, the Benedictines or the Dominicans, then (after the appropriate discernment process), his bishop must let him go.If, on the other hand, a diocesan priest wants to leave his diocese to join the SSPX, then his bishop is canonically and morally obliged to do everything in his power to prevent it, including the use of sanctions that start with suspension of the priest’s faculties and end with his excommunication. Joining the SSPX, in other words, places any priest outside the Catholic Church.Moreover, if the priest in question does join the SSPX (thereby committing the ecclesial crime of schism), he will have to submit to re-ordination if his ordination to the priesthood was administered from the liturgical books of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This is because the SSPX holds the validity of such ordinations to be at least doubtful. (This, by the way, is one of the reasons the once Catholic apologist Gerry Matatics has spun off into the lunatic fringe of sede vacantism.) Not put to find a point on it: attempting to re-ordain a man who has been ordained is sacrilege pure and simple.Finally, if Benedict XVI called the Third Vatican Council this afternoon, the bishops of the SSPX would not be seated as Fathers of the Council. This is because they are not bishops of the Catholic Church. They may validly possess the episcopal character, but so does the Patriarch of Constantinople. And he’s in schism too.This is what I mean by a Humpty Dumpty view of reality: If it is not self-evident that the bishops and priests of the SSPX are in schism, then right reason has simply been abandoned, and no wrangling with words will make it otherwise.Schism is a grave sin against the unity of the Church which the Savior wills for us, and there is no justification for aiding schism, abetting schism, winking at schism, playing with schism, pretending that schism isn’t schism, or trying to rationalize schism by pointing to things in the Church we don’t like. So, Anonymous, I assume you’re rising to the defense of the SSPX because you think what they’re doing is defensible. It is not, and nothing could ever make it to be so. And that’s not my opinion; it’s the constant teaching of the Catholic Church, applied quite pointedly and specifically to the SSPX by Pope John Paul II. And it is a simple fact of law and history that the judgment of John Paul II given in 1988 has not ever been modified in the least degree, whether by him or his successor. Until and unless the Sovereign Pontiff by an authoritative act changes the canonical situation of the bishops and priests of the SSPX, they are and will continue to be separated from communion with the Catholic Church. And that step could be taken by him only when the bishops and priests in question submit to his authority and accept the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, something they have shown no signs of doing. Quite the contrary. Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, the bishops of the SSPX have made it increasingly clear that the reason for their schism is not and never was about the shape of the sacred liturgy. It’s about the Council, particularly the teaching in Dignitatis Humanae and Unitatis Redentigratio.

  • Anonymous

    Father, How many times do we have to repeat this to you.You. Do. Not. Have. Authority. To. Say. Who. Is. In. Schism.You can point to this and that all you want but even if someone may or may not show the “signs” of schism it does not matter unless it is legally defined as such by the Hierarchy.Those who have competence….a competence which you lack. Repeat. You lack any competence to decide who is in schism….legally, which is what matters in the Mind of the Church. Those who have competence in this matter state that they are not in schism. This is something you MUST submit yourself to. If you do not, Fr. Humpty, you are placing yourself outside Holy Mother Church due to your obstinate refusal to acknowledge the rightful authority of Rome, embodied in the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, to interpret the legal documents pertaining to its competency.No matter how much you rant and rave it will not change the fact. As a body, and for the individuals who frequent these chapels, and for the priests who staff these chapels they are not in a state of schism in any legal sense. It does not matter if they do not physically submit themselves to their local Ordinary because Rome has declared that they are not in legally defined schism. I also second carolina catholic’s plea to you. If you were truly concerned about the salvation of souls then why have you refused to do anything to offer an alternative to attending a SSPX chapel? I suggest you either learn the 1962 Missal, ask either Fr. Bart or Fr. Longenecker to learn the Missal, or write to the Administrator of the Diocese and have him petition the Fraternity of St. Peter or Institute of Christ the King for a priest to be staffed at your parish to provide the 1962 Missal for those souls who you care so much for. Stop reasoning the 1962 Mass away because in doing so you are placing yourself out of communion with the Fathers of Vatican II and the Supreme Pontiff.

  • Dear Humpty Dumpty,May the LORD of mercies put you back together again.Have a blessed Passiontide and Paschal Triduum.

  • Anonymous

    Ladies and gentlemen, As you can see, it is most evident that Father is incapable of defending his position solely because it is a false one. He cannot refute that the Ecclesia Dei Commission has authority that he lacks. The SSPX is not in schism because Rome says it is so and that is all that matters. Also, none of this should matter to Fr. Newman as he does not really believe in schism because he believes that a baptist can somehow be “more in ‘communion'” with Holy Mother Church than some catholics. That is something we can all ponder on because somehow I think that all of those who were outside the Ark drowned didnt they? Maybe we should re-write scripture to adhere to Fr. Newman’s ecclesiolgy of inclusiveness.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, guys…so, I think that settles that. The SSPX is not in schism because Cardinal Castrillon of the Ecclesia Dei said so. We should accept the informal statement of the cardinal as the real state of affairs because ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE what he says reflects the mind of the Supreme Pontiff….Yes, indeed, that why we are also to believe that the Holy Father is revising the list of mortal sins. An archbishop from the Apostolic Penitentiary just declared such list in an interview. He too speaks for the Holy Father ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE because he belongs to the pontifical tribunal for the internal forum….So, for all of you out there, especially Fr. Newman, repent! Accept these informal declarations! And from now on, reject the solemn decrees of an ecumenical council!…To everyone and all, a grace-filled Holy Week.

  • blarg

    This dialog has become less about what is right and wrong than a peeing contest. Even if Fr. Newman was right, and from the arguments here I think he is, anonymous you would still turn from it because it came from Fr. Newman. We are in Lent, why the uncharitable speech?

  • I can no longer separate the sarcasm and parody from the ad homs and vitriol.The people who are adamant that the sspx is in formal schism aren’t helping their cause because they sound like a pack of mad dogs. At the same time the people who are defending the sspx are making this more about Fr. Newman than (and here you need to use your best bp. williamson voice, throw in the hand gestures because it helps) the “reality” of the crisis in the Church (at least in the United States). Vilifying Fr Newman serves no useful purpose because he’s not actually the villain, the villains are slightly above his pay grade.Meanwhile playing “your bishops are goofier than our bishops” is a game we simply can not win. Three words: Roger Cardinal Mahoney. Faithful Catholics face the choice of risking their immortal souls by “playing with schism” or throwing the dice and playing the numbers with their own children by sending them to the PSR. Point a loaded shotgun or a flamethrower at your head, whoo-hoo! Not an easy choice for anyone to make.

  • Why all this huffing and puffing and expenditure of words? I already said in my original post, “SSPX is not in schism. I repeat. It is not in schism.”It has consecrated its own bishops and priests in direct disobedience to the Pope, but it is not, I repeat, not in schism.Are we clear on this? They have their own illicit masses, consider Catholic ordinations invalid, stay outside the bounds of Catholic hierarchy and jurisdiction, but I repeat, and must make it clear: SSPX is not in schism. Tomorrow we will be discussing whether Michael Jackson is insane or not, and I will show that it is everybody else who is Wacko.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry for length but I have been holding my tongue as long as I could stand it………. I have to waste a few more words on this one.I do not mean to be curt and I do not mean to offend but ……… On Athanasius–This came from a Tan bookBelonging to my children and also available online. a less happy note, we have the equally famous (though disputed) signature of Pope Liberius on a weak Christological statement, known in history as “the fall of Liberius.” Though historians are not unanimous, it is widely agreed that, under duress, Pope Liberius signed an Arian or semi-Arian formula— which he later retracted—and that at one point he signed a condemnation or excommunication of St. Athanasius. This temporary lapse on the part of Pope Liberius is referred to by St. Jerome, by St. Athanasius himself, St. Hilary and by the famous 5thcentury historian Sozomen. Cardinal Newman treats of the fall of Liberius in his The Arians of the Fourth Century. Rev. Alban Butler in his classic Lives of the Saints wrote that Pope Liberius “yielded to the snare laid for him, to the great scandal of the Church. He subscribed the condemnation of St. Athanasius and a confession or creed which had been framed by the Arians at Sirmium. . . .” The document which Pope Liberius signed while in exile was likely that of the first formula of Sirmium. The formula was not heretical, but it was defective and weak because it omitted the term homo-ousios. The case of Pope Liberius passed scrutiny at Vatican Council I (1869-1870), which defined papal infallibility. Liberius, strong defender of Athanasius and of the doctrine of the Council of Nicaea, but weakened by the rigors of exile and apparently hoping to return to Rome, had signed a defective formula. Athanasius mentions the fact in his history of the Arians (Apologia contra Arianos). Pope Liberius’ weakness was both preceded and followed by firmness in upholding the true Catholic teaching. The fall of Liberius was a temporary lapse, of which he soon repented, and Liberius is now Saint Liberius. In these times St. Jerome could express his feelings with the sad exaggeration: “The whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arian.” But the symbol of opposition to Arianism, its powerful antagonist, could not be subdued. When Constantius wanted to end the story by killing him, St. Athanasius escaped into the desert. So while yes —SOME historians believe Athanasius was briefly excommunicated by a Pope –it was recanted–what has this got to do with SSPX??? I do not think that SSPX is battling anything akin to Arianism. Lefebvre was not excommunicated by a Pope that was under threat. He was willfully acting in defiance of the Holy See. They have been doing so for years and it has absolutely nothing to do with Arianism or St. Athanasius. Want to talk about rewriting history to suit ones cause………… protestant of whoever did this one. Ok I meant that one to be a little curt………….Now am tring to be nice……..Really….really nice.This being said I do attend the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass when available but I fall in behind Father Newman on the whole SSPX issue. As matter of fact my early resistance to the Traditional Latin Mass stemmed from the association of the TLM and SSPX. So maybe the traditionalist should note the fact that if they want to gain popular support for the TLM and get a weekly Latin Masses in an ordinary parish they should stop touting and defending the acts of SSPX. They kind of make you sound crazy by association since most people have only heard of some of the more “crazy” members of the movement. So may I suggest you just not talk about SSPX and if you could bring yourselves to see their more than obvious faults it would do more to serve your cause than just about anything else. The facts of the matter are Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was excommunicated—I am pretty sure of that one and Cardinal Castrillon said–SSPX members should be welcomed back “with open arms when they seek reconciliation” just not “formally in schism”. All this means is that the Holy Father still has hope for their OBEDIENCE- (in my humble interpretation). Being literal here — I do believe that if you need reconciliation with the Catholic Church — you have seriously sinned and by doing so excommunicated yourself no formality needed. Excommunication is a lack personal unity with the Church.And to take this a step further “a schism” is a break in the unity of the church so while the “schism” may lack formality or formal legality, how can you say that SSPX is in “union” with the Church??? So be it a formal schism or an informal schism—-it exists. Call it what you like. Here is question for a Canon Lawyer does a schism require a formal declaration?? The sacraments are valid at the SSPX Chapels, just like at an Orthodox Church, but by your attending you MAY very well be cutting yourself off from the Church by willfully attending these Masses. My take on this is…………… you are condoning/ thus justifying their bad behavior and in doing so it makes it more likely that you too will start to perform the same or similar sins that will cause your need to reconcile with the Church. So it is a slippery slope you are on.—-Just my very simple take on why you should not support SSPX. So Father Newman and Father Longenecker are morally obligated and justified in tiring to point out these possible errors of both the attendees and the Religious involved. Now it very well be that Lefebvre (all things are possible) will at some point be vindicated for tiring to save the Liturgy of the Church but until then………….maybe we should all try to work within the Church to bring about the changes that need to be made and support the good Priests that are doing their best to bring about the reform of the Liturgy. It maybe slow and not always what and how you envision it. But for the most part at St. Mary’s and Prince of Peace– both in the Greenville area –I only see positive change and I am very grateful to be able attend these parishes often. Maybe some others need to count their blessings and stop ranting like children. Back to the fun and the jest in which this post was intended…………………. Ithink…….Is this what happens when we are all lacking sugar, caffeine, carbonated beverages and warm blooded protein?????????Today is the Feast of St Joseph…………………Do we get the day off Father?????????Father Newman- I look forward to seeing your backside for Easter……………Are we going to see Father Longenecker’s too?? —–covered of course ———with a wonderful vestment fitting for the most holy of occasions. Pax

  • RC

    We need to make distinctions. The position of the SSPX bishops, priests, and supporting laity are not all the same.The SSPX bishops have committed further schismatic acts since their consecration: e.g., granting annulments (i.e., usurping the jurisdiction of the legitimate bishops) and consecrating Bp. Rangel (God bless him for all the good work he’s doing since his reconcilation.) But that doesn’t necessarily imply that the Society as a whole is in schism. Individual SSPX clergy or affiliated laity may be in schism, e.g., due to sedevacantist opinions. Still, Rome seems to be accepting the SSPX’s profession of communion with the Pope at face value. Lay people who attend Masses of SSPX priests are not all necessarily in schism: the Honolulu case seems to have demonstrated that. (Rome overturned Bp. Ferrario’s attempt to declare excommunication against some lay people who invited an SSPX priest to serve their privately-run chapel. He should have sanctioned them, if at all, under lesser charges.)All in all, the situation is somewhat murky, which seems to be the way Roman diplomacy likes it!

  • B.

    Here is what Pope Benedict XVI had to say:I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.Obviously for Fr. Longenecker and Fr. Newman making “every effort” for those who have fallen into error because of tragic “omissions on the part of the Church” in the wake of Vatican II consists of ridiculing them and hurling insults and schism.I wonder, why we never hear surch words about Anglicans, Lutherans or Orthodox (the last being another fine example of the ommissions mentioned by Pope Benedict), despite the fact that they are (contrary to the SSPX) also heretics.

  • Anonymous

    Does the SSPX want unity? Let them submit to the Roman Pontiff at once.

  • Stephanos

    As an Eastern Catholic all of this is amusing to me. Simply put, the Roman custom is to accept legal definitions in order to determine legal sanctions. If Fr. Newman were to write to Cardinal Kasper about the SSPX he would reply that they are not under his jurisdiction. Hm, I wonder what that means? They are not a body that requires “ecumenical dialogue” such as the Orthodox who are both schismatic and heretics. Considering the SSPX lacks both of these traits, they fall under a separate jurisdiction. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has jurisdiction in this matter and the Congregation of the Holy Office has supported the judgment of the PCED in the “Honolulu Six” ruling. If you all are going to be the wonderful legalists we Eastern Catholics know and love….at least do it correctly.You continually call for the Society to accept Roman Authority but at the same moment you are refusing to accept the Authority of the very bodies who are involved with the SSPX and their most evident lack of formal schism.Sillyness pure and simple. Stop acting like children and accept the ruling of your Mother, the Church.Why don’t you all go dialogue with the Mohammedans considering that they just brutally murdered one of our Archbishops. Perhaps your most persuasive satire can turn their hearts from Satan.Or perhaps all of you “the SSPX is in schism because they fit my definition of schism” people are of the same mold as the “Islam is a religion of peace” crowd. Delusional.

  • Anonymous

    I too call for Fr. Newman to end his schism with Cardinal Castrillion. He rejects the authority of His Eminence and has removed himself from Holy Mother Church in doing so. Please pray for his conversion back to the Faith.

  • Brian Murshon

    I for one, thing Fr Longenecker and Fr Newman are both right. Really this is just silly word games. Perhaps our efforts would be better spent in prayers for true unity.

  • Anon 01:28 and 06:31: I responded to your calumny against St. Athanasius in the 10th comment on this thread so you are either blind or a liar.To all the Anonymous posters: It is easy to spout vituperations and insult priests when you hide behind the skirts of anonymity. Have the minerals to to sign your name or at least a pseudonym so we will know who is behind these vicious falsehoods.Benfan: I applaud you for being the only one with the stones to sign your name. I must confess that I do not understand your parsing of “schismatic acts” and “act of schism” or “being in schism.” A schismatic act is what puts someone in schism.James G

  • Brian, I think you misspelled your own last name.

  • Stephanos,Me is Western Catholic. What mean you say by following statement:”You continually call for the Society to accept Roman Authority but at the same moment you are refusing to accept the Authority of the very bodies who are involved with the SSPX and their most evident lack of formal schism.”What means these very bodies having Authority? Who do they be? Me would like to know thems titles and if they or not bow to Pope. If theys not be submit to Pope but at same time carries on with ordinations and such like things theys fits my definition of schismatical schismatics. They maybe also fits Pope’s definition of schismatical schismatics if Pope say not to go thems Masses. What be your definition of schismatical schismatics?

  • Anonymous

    “Anon 01:28 and 06:31: I responded to your calumny against St. Athanasius in the 10th comment on this thread so you are either blind or a liar.”F****** imbecile.St A. intruded bishops he had consecrated without papal mandate into already occupied sees, and sent a letter to Pope Liberius, in which he denied communion with that wretched pope. The church’s attitude is that A. was not schismatic. Intellectually bankrupt catholics of the 19c (and now the 21c) try to play all this down, as it is fatal to their case. Lefebvre has done less. You are mired in the pig-swill of subjectivism.I’m beginning to think that perhaps the remedy is an extermination campaign against ultramontanists, just another species of modernist, enemies of Christ that they are.

  • Brian M”u”rshon

    The “U” is for unity.

  • Brian M”e”rshon has been on retreat in Oklahoma at Clear Creek and out of cell phone range for over 24 hours. Don’t bother trying to stir the pot by dragging him into this, he won’t be back in the 21st century until Sunday night.

  • Anon 12:24: Bring it on SSPX boy. I will personally drag my flu-ridden body out of bed and beat you like a red-headed step-child. Someone lacking testicular fortitude to even identify himself when making threats won’t even be a challenge.Father Longenecker: Forgive the ungentlemanly response but it appears the SSPX has run out of intelligent arguments and must resort to insult and threats. I think a response such as St. Nicolas gave to Arius is in order for those of them who calumny the Saints and Holy Mother Church.James G

  • Anonymous

    “Anon 12:24: Bring it on SSPX boy.”Moronic half-wit.I’m not an “SSPX boy”.I’m a lawyer fully alive to the canonical ramifications of the situation who cannot tolerate your intellectual bankruptcy.I’m just guessing, but are you by some chance an effete little queen??

  • “I’m just guessing, but are you by some chance an effete little queen??” – Sorry to ruin your Saturday night plans but I’m spoken for. I guess I shouldn’t have offered to beat you since you appear to get-off on the idea.“I’m a lawyer fully alive to…” – It sure is easy to claim to be anything you like when you won’t even say who you are. I could anonymously claim to be the rightful Stuart king and who’s to say differently (except those of us intellectually bankrupt enough to know that the last Stuart died a Cardinal). Tell you what SSPX boy, you get your mom to bring another glass of chocolate milk down to you in the basement, I mean Fortress of Solitude and I’ll go to bed. That way we can end the flame war. Goodnight and God bless!

  • In case any sad people out there are still reading this thread…James nicely apologizes for the ungentlemanly response…Thank you.I was tempted to delete the more vitriolic comments on this thread, but thought I would let them stand because the people posting condemn themselves with their foul language, rage and total lack of humility, charity and sense proportion and sense of humor.

  • Brian Mershon is back from retreat. Whomever posted under my name committed the sin of calumny. The PCED has clearly ruled in this matter SINCE the Ecclesia Dei document and Cardina Castrillon’s statements are clear. Whom to believe? Fr. Newman, Fr. Longenecker OR the Church? Hmm… On another note, I highly recommend the Benedictine monastery at Clear Creek for retreats. These brothers and priests have more Godly things to do than to mislead their small fan clubs in their uncharitable blogs. Great retreat. The person who posted in my name–I forgive you, but that is a GUTLESS thing to do.

  • Mr. Mershon is correct. I suppose that the one who posted as Brian Murshon deliberately misspelled his name to make it clear that the post was a satire or a ruse, but since a cloak of anonymity is possible in the blogosphere, as it is not in almost any other public forum, it is essential that the names of others not be used even in jest.Over at Titus One Nine, Dr. Kendall Harmon has turned off comments at least through Holy Week because the level of hateful vitriol had turned his site into a toxic waste dump. This is the dark side of a very useful technology, and all of us would do well to be mindful of the spiritual danger hiding in the temptation to say anything which pops into our heads, starting with me. But this is most especially true of those who post anonymously.

  • powder keg

    Calumny:defamation: a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions…I dare say attributing prayers for unity to someone (whether true or not) doesn’t sound malicious…

  • Patrick

    To Anonymous who also claims to be a lawyer who gets the ramifications:You keep stating that the Ecclesia Dei Commission is charged with authoritatively interpreting Ecclesia Dei. They’re not. Legislative documents such as the motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei, are authoritatively interpreted by 1. The Holy Father and 2. The Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts (PCILT).So, what has the PCILT authoritatively decreed in regard to Lefevbre and the issue of schism? Well, I’m glad you asked. They said, in 1996: “The whole Lefebvrian movement is to be held schismatic.” So, no matter what Card Hoyos decides to say in a newspaper interview, the PCILT decree and the motu proprio remain in force when they state clearly that the SSPX is in schism.Maybe you should check how the laws actually work and which Vatican offices retain competant authority before spouting off next time. That way you won’t come off as so much of a pompous and laughably uninformed ass clown.

  • Patrick

    Mershon,It’s not a choice between “Fr. Newman, Fr. Longenecker and the Church”. The choice is between a motu proprio (and it’s authoritative interpretation by a Vatican Pontifical Council) or Card. Castrillon Hoyos in unofficial remarks to a reporter. Call me crazy, but I think I’ll take the motu proprio and proper Vatican office interpretation. Fr. Newman and Fr. Longenecker are on the side of official Church teaching. You appear to be on the side of ambiguous teaching as communicated by Cardinals to reporters.One wonders if your attitude would be the same if someone proposed ignoring the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in favor of “unofficial remarks” made by a Cardinal.I’m just saying…

  • Joseph

    These conversations about the SSPX and the traditionalist movement reveal so much vitriol, negativity, lack of charity, and general unhappiness that two things are abundantly clear: 1. We, on the blogosphere, will not definitively solve any of these issues. 2. A genuine friendship with Jesus Christ is missing from of the lives of many who have commented. I would ask you to consider this: If this were the picture of the Catholic Church most Protestants, non-Christians, and even lukewarm Catholics had, could we really expect them to want to be or to remain Catholic? The internet makes it possible that those who have no other experience with the Catholic Church may encounter her for the first time through very popular blogs like this one. We should thus behave in this forum in a such a way as to neither embarrass ourselves nor actively drive others away from the Faith. Also, the way many good and decent priests who seek to do the will of Christ and the Church are treated, especially by the defenders and apologists of the SSPX, on this blog and elsewhere, is really horrendous. Not only may we turn souls away by our attitudes and comments online, but I suspect we may also drive away vocations to the priesthood. What enthusiastic, healthy young man would want to mess with the nonsense, the names, and attacks that have been made against Fr Newman and others on this and other blogs?This Holy Week let us return to the LORD.

  • the way many good and decent priests who seek to do the will of Christ and the Church are treated, especially by the defenders and apologists of the SSPX, on this blog and elsewhere, is really horrendous. Is there any chance that anyone will ever acknowledge that this is a two way street? Shouting variations on “Die in a fire you schismatic bastards” hasn’t worked out too well these last few years now has it? There are more people sympathetic to, or adhering to, the SSPX (at least locally) than there were a decade ago… now that I think of it I’m one of them, 10 years ago I was shouting “DIAF” at Society sympathizers. People rarely seem to notice when their own side uses hateful words, or even worse they justify it because nothing makes a point like totally dehumanizing the opposition. I also don’t remember Our Lord saying anything like “When your enemy strikes you hunt him down and kick him”.Addressing what drives people into the open arms of the Society would do a great deal of good for everyone on all sides.

  • Anonymous

    In the Greenville SC area there is no cause at all for any Catholic to frequent an SSPX chapel. The Latin Mass is provided at Prince of Peace, and a formal and reverent form of the Novus Ordo is provided at St Mary’s.There can only therefore be two reasons for attending an SSPX chapel:1. The individual believes the Novus Ordo masses are defective or invalid. This clearly goes against Summorum Pontificum.2. The individual prefers the Latin Mass. This goes against the Vatican’s instruction that the faithful not support the SSPX.Either decision puts the individual in a disobedient and rebellious situation regarding the rightful authority, and therefore to attend an SSPX is, de facto, a schismatic act.

  • Joseph

    Steve, I absolutely agree that those who have been attached to the traditional Mass or are affiliated with the SSPX have been treated very poorly and unjustly during the past few decades by bishops, priests, and lay faithful. I intended, with my original post, to make clear that there is guilt on both sides. Nonetheless, I did wish to address the “defenders and apologists of the SSPX” specifically about the way I have witnessed them treat priests (and their staffs and lay collaborators) who are honestly striving to do the will of Christ and the Church, and who, in some cases, exhibit great pastoral solicitude towards those who are attached to the Extraordinary Form.

  • carolina catholic

    Anonymous (7:46):You must be joking! You clearly do not understand the desire of some, or possibly many, adherents of the Traditional Mass. It’s not just a matter of preference for the old rite, although that is a major part of it. But there is often a desire to live the spirituality that is inherent in the older forms of worship and that just plain do not exist in the new Mass and in the new calendar.Let me give an example. In most diocese in the US, the bishops have decided that Ascension Thursday actually falls on a Sunday. How is a faithful Catholic supposed to celebrate feasts in the Church when the Church herself can’t celebrate them properly.Let me give another example: ember days. These days, which were pretty much wiped out with the new calendar, are traditional days of fasting in the old calendar. A time for doing penance? You won’t find too much of that in any Novus Ordo parish.The Holy Father made use of the phrase “lex orandi, lex credendi” in his motu proprio. When someone lives in the traditional calendar and with the traditional Mass, they can find more meaningful spirituality than in the Novus Ordo calendar.You correctly say that Prince of Peace has the traditional Mass. What you slyly omit is the fact that Fr. Brovey only celebrates the old Mass once a month. What is someone supposed to do all those other weeks when he desires the spirituality of the old Mass? He must go out of town. The SSPX Mass in NC is the nearest option, although I’ve heard of some people driving as far as Atlanta as well.And you give far too much credit to St. Mary’s. OK, there’s certainly a sense of reverence about the Novus Ordo proceedings there, I’ll grant you that. But where’s the use of Latin that was called for in Vatican II? Where’s the use of Gregorian Chant that was called for in Vatican II? St. Mary’s might be better than most Novus Ordo parishes, but people who’ve actually seen a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated according to the rubrics as laid out by the concilar fathers know that the St. Mary’s Masses are not the be-all, end-all that some people make them out to be.Finally, you said “There can only therefore be two reasons for attending an SSPX chapel: 1. The individual believes the Novus Ordo masses are defective or invalid. This clearly goes against Summorum Pontificum. 2. The individual prefers the Latin Mass. This goes against the Vatican’s instruction that the faithful not support the SSPX.”First of all, your conclusions are complete non-sequitors and are also incorrect, especially the second. The Vatican, in fact, said that it is permissible for the faithful to assist at an SSPX Mass, provided that their reason for doing so is an adherence to the old Mass rather than to foment schism. Given that the Latin Mass situation in the upstate is woefully lacking, the SSPX is a completely viable option.Sorry, but you are wrong.

  • Patrick

    Carolina Catholic,You said: “The Vatican, in fact, said that it is permissible for the faithful to assist at an SSPX Mass, provided that their reason for doing so is an adherence to the old Mass rather than to foment schism. Given that the Latin Mass situation in the upstate is woefully lacking, the SSPX is a completely viable option.”I know of no such statement by the Vatican. If you have one please link to it. There is a letter from Msgr Perl to an individual, but unless you are that individual, that letter does not apply to you. What does apply to you is the motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei, which warns you against associating aith the schism of the SSPX.Also, the claims you make about “spirituality and devotion” being tied to the old Mass and not to the new Mass are just silly. My parish has all of that devotion and hasn’t had the old Mass since 1969. Perhaps shocking to you, it is not missed. We had 1 person request the EF Mass after Summorum Pontificum. One. Why? Because we have a vibrant ORTHODOX Catholic parish where Mass is said according to the rubrics and the music rivals most good Cathedrals. We’ve actually had 2 families recently join our parish moving AWAY from a TLM parish because they found reverence and beauty in the Mass. So, please drop the idea that the TLM is somehow more “meaningful spirituality”…that dog don’t hunt.

  • Anonymous

    Carolina Catholic has taken a lot of words to say, “I dissent from official church teaching and support a schism because I know best and want to do things my way.”

  • Anonymous

    In the spirit of Holy Week, I apolgise to James for insinuating that he could be homosexual.

  • Anonymous

    “St. Athanasius was rightful Patriarch of Alexandria and did not require permission to install bishops, etc. Since he was never out of communion with the Pope and properly exercised his patriarchal authority none of his actions were schismatic or irregular.”Nonsense. He intruded “uncanical” bishops into already occupied sees. Nothing could possibly be more irregular.

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, Athanasius in correspondence to Liberius, denied that they were in communion.

  • carolina catholic

    patrick:As a matter of fact, I was referring to the letter by Msgr Perl, but you are incorrect in your conclusions and I will explain why.Yes, Msgr Perl was writing a letter to an individual, but the purpose of the letter was not to grant a dispensation to the individual so that he might assist at an SSPX Mass, but rather to clarify the licitness of doing so. As such, the licitness cannot refer to that individual alone. Further, Msgr Perl, about a year after the initial letter, wrote another letter to Una Voce clarifying the intent of the first letter, as some but not all of the contents of the first letter had been made public. In this second letter Msgr Perl made clear his intention that the contents be made public and clarified in the public, not private, arena.Finally, in his letters Msgr Perl specifically referred to the question of sinfulness in assisting at an SSPX Mass; it was there that he made quite clear that it was NOT sinful to assist at such a Mass, provided that the reason for doing so was simply to pray the old Mass (rather than foster a schismatic mentality). Unless you have fallen into the heresy of relativism, you will realize that if assisting at such a Mass is not sinful for one person, it will neither be sinful for another person who has the same disposition.As for the notion of the spirituality of the Novus Ordo Mass being superior to that of the Tridentine Mass, you are entitled to your opinion, even though your opinion is not grounded in fact. If the Novus Ordo were spiritually superior, then we would not have seen a vast exodus of Catholics from the churches in the last 40 years. We would not have seen a severe decline in vocations. And we sure would not have seen an increase in guitars, drums, liturgical dancers, etc. in the Novus Ordo Mass. I’ll give you a link to a recent article that discusses this quite well: as for Anonymous 6:15 – You have taken very few words and have said nothing at all.

  • Patrick

    Carolina Catholic,You should probably read these 2 letters from Msgr. Perl where he reiterates the position that the Ecclesia Dei Commission cannot recommend attendance at an SSPX Mass., please note that no matter what Msgr. Perl has written, his communications cannot “overrule” the document Ecclesia Dei or the Clarification of Ecclesia Dei issued by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.The letter you referenced was to an individual with specific and unknown circumstances. It does not apply to you. As Msgr. Perl noted, “Unfortunately, as you will understand, we have no way of controlling what is done with our letters by their recipients. Our letter of 27 September 2002, which was evidently cited in The Remnant and on various websites, was intended as a private communication dealing with the specific circumstances of the person who wrote to us.” He makes it completely clear that his response was NOT applicable to all. You should re-read my earlier post. I made no assertion that the spirituality of the ordinary form Mass was superior to the extraordinary form.As for the rest of your post, you have fallen into the unfortunate standard “radtrad” move of naming every ill in the Church and that the blame is all due to the “novus ordo”. Nothing could be sillier.

  • carolina catholic

    patrick:Once again you have missed the point. Whether the PCED “recommends” or doesn’t the attendance at an SSPX is immaterial to the fact that it is not SINFUL. That is my point. If Msgr Perl indicates to one person that it is not sinful to assist at an SSPX Mass (provided he has the proper reasons), then it will not be sinful for anyone else either.Sure, given the fact that the SSPX is not canonically regularized with Holy Mother Church, the PCED obviously cannot recommend that people attend Mass there. But when so many priests and bishops refuse to grant the right (yes, whether you like it or not we now have the right) to the traditional Mass to the faithful, we must sometimes take extraordinary steps (pun intended). If priests like Fr. Newman or Fr. Longenecker get bent out of shape about it, why don’t they step up to the plate and offer the traditional Mass? They like to whine about people leaving the Novus Ordo Mass for the SSPX, but unless they take steps to offer the traditional Mass, they ought to just hush up about it.Yes, I cited some of the more flagrant abuses of the NO Mass. Nevertheless, the NO Mass, by its very nature, is focused more on the community than on God, which is where the focus should be.

  • Carolina Catholic, allow me to put on record my own feelings about the Mass of John XXIII: I am not opposed to the Extraordinary Form. I am glad that those who appreciate it now have more freedoms. I enjoy the Extraordinary Form when I have attended. I have been asked if I would learn the to say the extraordinary form and my reply is, “Yes, if the demand for the extraordinary form becomes so great that more priests are needed, I am happy to.However, the greatest need in this area at this time is for more priests to learn Spanish to minister to the thousands of Spanish speaking Catholics. If I am going to learn another language to minister God’s sacraments, I’ll be learning Spanish first to minister to those thousands rather than Latin to minister to the few who wish for the Extraordinary Form.In addition, as it is clear from this blog, while I do not oppose the Mass of John XXIII, I do oppose the SSPX schism.

  • carolina catholic

    Father: but don’t you see? The demand IS so great that priests are needed to offer the Mass of All Time. There is a single Tridentine Mass each month in the upstate of SC for a growing community of faithful that desire such a Mass. If there were a daily Tridentine Mass (at a convenient time), you can be sure that there would be a sizable congregation. Further, if priests were to make the old Mass available regularly, there would be more and more adherents to it before long: that’s how it is with the traditional Mass.Again, there is a single Tridentine Mass in the upstate each month. Since you brought up the subject of Spanish Novus Ordo Masses, I’ll mention that there are 10 such Sunday Masses each week throughout the upstate. That’s 40 times as many Spanish Masses as Tridentine Masses. Yet the Holy Father has indicated that the faithful now have a right to the Tridentine Mass – and that priests must observe and uphold that right. In addition, the Spanish Mass caters to a specific segment of the population; the Traditional Latin Mass caters to ALL of the faithful.One final point, and I’m sorry if this will offend your sensibilities. People talk of a priest shortage, and I suppose we have that in this country. But I can guarantee that if the traditional Mass were made available as the Holy Father has asked, in 10-15 years the priest shortage would be no more, because the traditional Mass allows men to hear God’s calling like the Novus Ordo never will.

  • Patrick

    Carolina,It’s not the traditional latin Mass that people seek. It’s reverence and solemnity – two things that are present at Fr. Longenecker’s parish. That’s why people are not leaving his parish in search of the TLM. Their need for the sacrifice of the Mass is filled quite well by the current normative “Mass of the Ages.” My parish, for example, is very traditional and our pastor has had only 1 person request the extraordinary form.As far as vocations are concerned. There are many dioceses seeing significant increases in seminarians because 1. there are more reverent Masses being said and 2. bishops are actually seeking out vocations. I live in the Joliet diocese and here are our totals for seminarians:2006: 222007: 322008: 49 (anticipated)The archdiocese of St. Louis is expanding their seminary building and St. John Vianney seminary recently welcomed their largest incoming class since 1965. Vocations are growing under good bishops and it has nothing to do with the extraordinary form. Don’t get me wrong, the extraordinary form is a great thing for the Church and it should be embraced. But it’s not a magic bullet that will solve all the problems of the modern Church. There is simply no evidence that the extraordinary form of the Mass necessarily produces more vocations than the ordinary form.As for the spanish Masses, the US census bureau estimates the hispanic population in South Carolina in 2004 as 130,432 (an increase of 35% over 2000). So, you have a group of probably 150,000 Catholics that have pastoral needs vs. a tremendously smaller group with pastoral needs that can be met through the ordinary form of the Mass. Fr. Longenecker is right that the emphasis should be on meeting the needs of our hispanic brothers and sisters.

  • people are not leaving his parish in search of the TLM.I knew it! I’ve ceased to exist! I have achieved nirvana.That aside, the Hispanic population of SC is probably closer to 250k, the last I heard there are 30,000 residing in St. Mary’s parish alone. If 1000 attend Mass I’ll be shocked, for about a year I escaped the mind numbing English by hiding out at the Spanish Masses where I didn’t understand a word that was uttered. The church was always packed to overflowing, people were almost out to the street but that still couldn’t have been more than 600-650 people. If there are a quarter of a million Hispanic Catholics in SC they would outnumber the “Anglo” population of Catholics by almost 3 to 1… one might think therefore that Spanish language Masses would outnumber English Masses by the same ratio. One would be sorely mistaken, so apparently “need” isn’t an issue, or even a consideration.This isn’t a new problem either, we’ve had bilingual print advertising here for at least a decade and the Baptists have been poaching the Hispanic population for at least that long. Meanwhile “Ethnic Ministries” may finally be coming to grips with the possibility that there MAY be a few African-Americans in South Carolina.Not that it matters, but my “pastoral needs” can not be, and have not been, met through the New Rite. Nor am I a minority of one.

  • Patrick

    Steve,Sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope you find a Mass that fills your needs.But surely there cannot be very many Catholics who are not edified by the Masses at Fr. Longenecker’s parish? Are there that many leaving? It appears there are 4 parishes in SC that offer the extraordinary form. Are none of these conveniently located?

  • There are 3 legal trad Masses throughout the state of SC. One is about 40 minutes from me on the first Sunday of the month, another is about an hour and a half from me ALSO on the first Sunday of the month and the third is at least 4 hours away every Sunday.If your spirituality is conformed to the old rite, once a month might almost be worse than never… from a strictly pragmatic point of view.I really don’t know from edified. I don’t have a horse in that race but I’d put the Masses said at St. Mary’s up against any new rite Mass in the Country. The solemnity and reverence exhibited by the various ministers is unparalleled in my experience, the new rite doesn’t get any better than it is at St. Mary’s.

  • carolina catholic

    Steve: I’d have to disagree with you on St. Mary’s being the be-all, end-all of the Novus Ordo. I will readily acknowledge that the Masses there are much more reverent than at most NO parishes. The fact that they don’t use girls for altar boys is praiseworthy in and of itself. I also given them credit for maintaining a beautiful church and not renovating its beauty out of existence.However, where is the Gregorian chant that was called for in Vatican 2? Where is the Latin that was also called for in Vatican 2? Where are the altar rails and kneeling for Communion? The best NO Masses are the ones that incorporate these elements into the liturgy. I have seen such parishes and have heard of others. They are even more rare than St. Mary’s.

  • Anonymous

    Another thing which needs to be acknowledged in all of this is the wishes of the vast majority of St Mary’s parishioners. I go to St Mary’s and everyone I speak to who goes there is delighted with the liturgy, but ask them if they want more Latin and Gregorian Chant.’No thanks’ is the reply.I suppose the purists would say, ‘They don’t know what’s good for them. We’ll impose it whether they like it or not…’While the majority don’t make the rules in the Catholic Church, it is right for their wishes to be considered when deciding what to do.The fact of the matter is, the numbers of people requesting the old Mass are very few and far between, and quite frankly, if they are not satisfied with the Mass at St Mary’s then I suspect reverent liturgy is not the real issue.

  • carolina catholic

    Patrick: A couple of issues. First, it’s true that some diocese are experiencing an increase in vocations. I’m not familiar with the diocese of Joliet, but I do know that bishops Burke in St. Louis and Bruskewitz in Lincoln are strong proponents of the traditional Mass and of tradition in general. Not a surprise.Nevertheless, the Novus Ordo Mass – by its very nature – will not inspire the number of vocations that the Tridentine Mass will. The bottom line is that men (and especially young men) are just not that attracted to the Novus Ordo.During the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 1967, after seeing a demonstration of the proposed new Mass, Cardinal Heenan told the Synod: “At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel we would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children.”The premonition of His Eminence has come to pass. Men do not go to Mass in the numbers that they should.The primary place that one encounters Christ is in the Eucharist. I think we can all agree on that. When men are not going to Mass, they cannot have such an encounter. They cannot hear the call of God! And even Fr. Longenecker in a more recent post indicated that the Mass now is focused on the horizontal rather than the vertical. If we are focusing on each other, how can a young man – a potential priest! – focus on God?What makes the Novus Ordo so feminized? For one, the lack of structure. There are so many built-in options to the NO that there’s absolutely no regularity to it at all. Further, there is very little hierarchy. Everyone and their cousin thinks that it’s their right to be in the sanctuary, whether it’s to read from the pulpit or to be one of a horde of “Eucharistic Ministers.” To make matters even worse, many of those are women. Boys will be turned off by such a Mass that lacks a clear fatherly – pastorly – role model.Really, this issue also touches the issue of ministering to Hispanics. The Traditional Mass will attract Hispanic boys just like any other boys. When priests focus on a non-feminized Mass, the vocations will follow.

  • While the majority don’t make the rules in the Catholic Church, it is right for their wishes to be considered when deciding what to do.The majority wishes for the approval of contraception. For that matter the majority has already approved of it. But I think the real reason the argument fails is you’ll find the majority of people in any parish are “delighted” with whatever passes for liturgy.A lot of things can be done “reverently”, of course that’s not the issue. Dressing the new rite up in the trappings and ceremonies of the old only makes the fundamental differences more glaring (at least to me). There’s this video on youtube of the Red Army Chorus singing Sweet Home Alabama with the Leningrad Cowboys, it’s amusing after the initial “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen” reaction passes. It also brings the mixing of the two “forms” of the Roman Rite to mind.Really now, just think about it, everyone here is talking about making the new ritual look as much like the old as possible without actually doing it.

  • Patrick

    Steve,Everyone here is talking about the hermeneutic of continuity…that is carrying on the traditions of our Church including Mass in the vernacular with less repetition, and more vocal participation. You seem to believe that the two forms are totally separate and have no relation. Yet Pope Benedict says, “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.” I, for one, believe him.Carolina,I’m not sure where your evidence is for contention that the extraordinary form generates more vocations than the ordinary form. I mentioned that my diocese increased vocations drastically, yet until SP, we had no extraordinary form Masses. What we did have is a few priests along the lines of Fr. Longenecker, a solid bishop, and a dynamic vocations director.