29 January 2009

Juridical Solution Soon for SSPX?

This article is written by Brian Mershon for the Remnant.  It contains some speculation, but reasonably so.  It is worth a close read, and gives a lot of hope.  Excerpts below.

January 28, 2009, Rome, Italy—In his first interview subsequent to the Society of St. Pius X’s (SSPX) official statement to the good news, Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay said that he believed in the infallibility of the Church and that he was “confident” that the Society would “reach a true solution” in its doctrinal discussions with the Holy See.

In fact, Vatican sources have indicated that the full regularization may occur as early as February 2, 2009, the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady and Candlemas, which, if true, would be quite a Christmas present to the Church and especially traditionalist Catholics worldwide!


France’s Seminaries to be Over One-Third Traditionalist

In fact, specific resistance is most prevalent in the dying churches of France with their bishops and priests. Upon final regularization, Monsignor Barreiro said, “More than one-third of all seminarians in France will be in traditionalist seminaries.” This would include the SSPX, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), the Institute of Good Shepherd and the Institute of Christ the King (ICR) as well as some other lesser known traditionalist priestly groups.

“I expect that some structure like a universal Apostolic Administration may be the only solution,” Monsignor Barreiro said, while cautioning that he did not have direct access to the specific details.

Several articles this week on the SSPX excommunication annulments contained comments from bishops and George Weigel in a New York Times interview noting that they expected that the Society bishops would need to explicitly adhere in some fashion to the Second Vatican Council. However, Monsignor Barreiro opined that the SSPX’s official request for the lifting of the sanctions would be sufficient as it demonstrates explicit recognition of the authority of the Holy Father and the magisterium of the Church.


Vatican II and All the Councils

“They won’t be asked to accept the Council,” Monsignor Barreiro said. “There is nothing dogmatic regarding faith and morals in the Council documents,” he emphasized. “Many have elevated the Council as if it were a superdogma, when in truth, it was not dogmatic at all.”

In the SSPX’s official request to the Holy See asking for the lifting of the excommunications, Bishop Bernard Fellay wrote the following: “We are ready to write the Creed with our own blood, sign the anti-Modernist oath, the Profession of Faith of Pope Pius IV, we accept and make our own all the Councils up to the First Vatican Council. Yet we can but confess reservations concerning the Second Vatican Council, which intended to a Council “different from the others.” (Addressed by Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI)

The perspective of Monsignor Barreiro and Bishop Fellay can certainly be read to be consistent with then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1988 Address to the Bishops of Chile:

Certainly, there is mentality of narrow views that isolate Vatican II and which has provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II.

The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously was considered most holy – the form in which the liturgy was handed down – suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the Faith – for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. – nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation.

In Pope Benedict’s “Letter to Bishops” accompanying the July 7, 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, while positively affirming that the Traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated, the Pope wrote the following, which, upon reflection, was an important but overlooked part of the document. Part of this text corresponds very strikingly with the 1988 Chile Bishops document aforementioned:

We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.


Vatican Will Not Demand SSPX Swallow the Council

In other words, there will be no demand for the SSPX leadership to accept the “Decree on Social Communication” as an infallible, dogmatic document.

And despite the ruminations of certain bishops, cardinals, priests, Cardinal Kasper and even George Weigel, neither will they be asked to accept the Decree on Ecumenism, the Declaration of Religious Liberty, Nostra Aetate or even Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum as dogmatic declarations that can stand alone without reading them in light of Tradition.

The Pope made this clear in his December 22, 2005 address. The “hermeneutic of continuity” can not allow the Second Vatican Council to be interpreted any other way other than “in light of Tradition.” And certainly, traditionalists should not overemphasize the degree of binding authority that marks the Council documents. If there is error or imprecision then there can and must be correction. And we now have a pope who is as much as ordering that correction. On what grounds can traditional Catholics object to that? Theological speculation on disputed and unclear points in a spirit of charity and without polemics and rancor will aid future generations in their understanding of Catholic truth.

Let us pray that the SSPX theologians, priests and bishops, as well as the Institute of Good Shepherd, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and Institute of Christ the King, exercise considerable influence in this arena. And if there are points in the Council that cannot be interpreted in light of Tradition then, obviously, they will be exposed and excised. Again, on what grounds could a traditional Catholic possibly object to that?


Anonymous said...

Did the infamous Unknown Canon Lawyer X write this?


thetimman said...



ordinary catholic said...

Timman, thanks for your research on this and laying out the quotes so judiciously--how enlightening. This is the first time I've read something that so definitively said Vatican II is pastoral, not dogmatic, and therefore not crucial to our understanding of the faith.

StGuyFawkes said...

Men and ladies,

Indeed the SSPX may not be required to sign the objectionable documents of Vatican II.

However that still won't solve the problem for Catholics, both traditionalist and of the novus ordo who take vigorous exception to this:

"Judaism is inimical to all nations in general, and in a special manner to Christian nations."

or this...

"Ever since Christ was lifted up on Mount Calvary, the world has been subjected to two truly opposite forces: the Jewish force and the Christian."

You can find this on SSPX website:


The SSPX have lunatic ideas that have no necessary connection to the Catholic Faith. Do we really want to let them keep telling Catholic women not to go to college? Or wear pantsuits?

Sure the SSPX still and always were Catholic. And we need to bring them in.

But we will have to confront their nostalgia for Vichy, their dislike of democracy, their preference for obscure economic theories and their denial of the holocaust SOONER OR LATER.

As of this date the Chief Rabbi of Israel has broken relations with the Vatican and the blogosphere is aglow with hatred for the "Panzer Pope".

I know it is easy to say "let the heathen rage" but that misses the point.

Anti-semitism and Holocaust denial are threats to the soul of mankind. TO make my point a little more precise, how the hell are we gonna call for an end to the "Abortion Holocaust" when there ain't no more holocaust thanks to these drifters?

The danger is real. We are going to have to confront their perverse views. When? and Where?

I'd like to open the discussion up to this question. If we aren't going to make them sign all the VII documents then WHAT WILL THEY SIGN?

We are going to have to make them sign something.

Unless of course you want to keep finding war criminals like Paul Touvier hiding out in their chapels.

We've got to do two things. We've got to bring them in. Then we are going to have to catechize them.

Go read that SSPX website. It says that none of us can live in Olivette or U-City because Jews live there.

Does anyone not think these beloved brothers in Christ are NOT going to cause a problem?

thetimman said...


I think you are way off on this, my friend. Why do they have to sign anything? Lefebvre signed the Vatican 2 documents. Is that enough?

These people are not excommunicated. All they lack is a juridical structure to allow them to exercise lawful jurisdiction for the seven sacraments, since few bishops left to themselves would grant it.

Lots of loony left bishops and faithful bring Catholicism into disrepute just the same.

If they counsel their members in matters of prudential judgement in ways we think are weird, that is up to them. Catholic unity is made up of adherence to the doctrines of the Church and obedience to lawful authority. The first prong is not in doubt with them, and the second has been forgiven by the Pope.

Will you hold them to a higher standard that the Holy Father will?

StGuyFawkes said...


You misread me.

My point is that the Holy Father will hold their feet to the fire in one way or another by making them sign something or attest personally. It's not that I hold them to a higher standard. I think the Pope will hold them to something Monsignor Barreiro is not aware of.

I wouldn't take this Remnant article too, too seriously. I noticed that Monsignor Barreiro is not attached to any Vatican Ufficio. He's just the on site guy for HLI.

Now I'll attest that the Vatican City State is small enough that almost anyone can tell you what anyone else is doing. But my hunch is that The Remnant article is purely wishful thinking.

Tim, you wrote, "These people are not excommunicated. All they lack is a juridical structure to allow them to exercise lawful jurisdiction for the seven sacraments, since few bishops left to themselves would grant it."

Did you not notice the phantasy arrangement hinted at in the Remmant article. They don't have to answer to any local bishop.


Why the heck do they get to live in some Trad-land theme park under no local ordinary. The whole point of ending the schism is to bring them into contact with us and bring us in contact with them for mutual benefit.

Personal prelature? I hope not. How much good to the average Catholic has been brought by OPUS DEI. Most people don't even know who they are.

I'm more radical. I say if you are going to end schism then END SCHISM. Make them work in regular parishes! Make them run soccer teams in the CYC. That will knock the Vichy barnicles off their boats. And it might just help our daughters stop with all the bling bling, and our wives stop with all the botox.

As for your remark, "Lots of loony left bishops and faithful bring Catholicism into disrepute just the same". All I can say is two wrongs don't make a right.

I don't subscribe to the big tent theory of Catholicism such that loonyness on the modernist side allows us to cozzen looniness on the "integriste /Jansenist" side.

Although that was exactly what Gerry Kleba says he argued when he stood before the Archbishop last year. He said the existance of the Latin Mass crowd made his deviance allowable. I don't buy that and neither do you.

TIm, we can't let these guys off the hook just so that they can go become the Charles Maurras and the anti-Dreyfusard wing of the Mel Gibson Catholic Church.

THey have to come in and join us. Not live in their own little world. Here, I have a perverse idea. Let's allow them to keep their ideas about monarchism and usury and the corporate state and we'll just call them a "social justice" parish.

Remember where that one got us.

Tim, the truth as found in St. Thomas and in Aristotle and as adumbrated by the judge who found against David Irving last year, is there for all of us. It is reachable by the mind and reason. To deny it is to sin.

The Holocaust is a fact. It is not an opinion. If they don't fix their fantasies the Pope will have to sooner or later.

Better now than later.

thetimman said...

A personal prelature or apostolic administration is hardly fantasy. The traditionalists at Campos received precisely such an arrangement. Opus Dei has it. The Military Ordinariate has a structure outside the normal one so that they are not subject to particular local ordinaries. All of these were mentioned as possible even before the motu proprio. Also, such a structure, though not by name, was clearly contemplated by the protocol signed by Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Lefebvre.

The point about not making them subject to local ordinaries is obvious, or should be. There aren't 10 Bishops who would not oppress them. How many bishops, for example, granted a traditional Mass under the ecclesia Dei indult?

As far as the benefit to the Church, having hundreds more traditional Catholic priests and parishes would be of incalculable benefit. I would not compare them to Opus Dei. Their purposes are entirely dissimilar, as OD doesn't have a parish-running type of charism.

"Integrist" is an easy term to apply but without much meaning. It is a high-sounding slur towards Catholic tradition; there is a link between sound doctrine and sound liturgy, and if that is integrist, then so is the Holy Father. I don't think the SSPX embraces any Janenistic doctrine.

These are Catholic parishes and Catholic priests who believe the Catholic faith entirely. It is not similar to the Cronan-type "progressives" who reject doctrine.

StGuyFawkes said...

THese are Catholic parishes and Catholic priests. Exactly. But the term "integriste" was coined by Charles Mauras and his Action Fracaise was "le berceau de de la droit" before the second War.

It means a politicized Catholicism and that was why Mauras was excommunicated.

SSPX has got to renounce their politics.

No they are not the St. Cronan's of the right because they are not heretics. But I do think they will become something less than Catholic. And if you want my proof. Ask any ordinary SSPX parishioner if the Novus Ordo Mass is valid. Not good but valid.

Scary the things you will here.

Schism is formal and schism is material. The Holy Father may end the formal schism. But one definition of material schism is refusing to take Mass with other Catholics.

Will they come to a Novus Ordo Mass?

Ask them.

StGuyFawkes said...


I have decided to apologize to any and all readers, and any and all followers of the SSPX, whom I have pissed off these last two days.

StGuyFawkes is sorry. It was the same enthusiasms for the Faith that led him to try and blow up the English Parliament during our recusancy years.

StGuyFawkes is hot tempered.

At end of day, Papists near and far, here is my final plea. Will Bishop Williamson and anyone at Queen of the Holy Rosary, once the Holy Father regularizes you, be a prayer partner to my little girl at her Novus Ordo Holy COmmunion?

Most of you will not, because you believe the Novus Ordo Mass is both invalid and Masonic.

If Bishop Hermann asks Bishop Williamson, or any of you, to take communion at the Cathedral will you take it with us?

Many of you will not. Because many of you think the Communion is both invalid and Masonic.

This is my point. My simple point. Many if not most of you will remain schismatic long after you are regularized. Because you will not recognize me as Catholic.

You want me to recognize you. But you don't want to recognize me.

That is schism.

My humble solution is that at the very least we must insist that Queen of the Holy Rosary play in the CYC, and attend our Fish Fries in Lent.

Otherwise I think The Holy Father should call the whole thing off.

Anonymous said...


Oh my Heaven! The Vatican II Revolution really is over!

Praise God!


thetimman said...

First, St. Guy, you don't need to apologize for what you honestly believe, held in charity, in support of the faith. Part of the problem today is that people can't disagree anymore without fear that the other one is personally offended. I am not, nor should anyone else be.

Second, I find it quite ironic, as a dyed-in-the-wool ICRSS guy, that I have become the local apologist for the SSPX. I don't know if they would welcome that or find it hilarious.

To the point, you must be aware that Lefebvre, the SSPX leadership, its publications, and the vast majority of its members believes the novus ordo is valid, assuming the proper matter, form and intention, like any other sacrament. They do believe it is objectively inferior to the traditional Mass; agree or disagree, this is an entirely different point.

So, they may not come to your daughter's first Communion at the n.o;, but they may. And they would certainly believe that she receives our Lord.

Most fish fries are not good, but I hate seafood. And in the parish where I grew up they have chef boy-ar-dee in a can spaghetti.

Now getting rid of that is a reform I support.

Latinmassgirl said...

St. Guy,

While I don't agree with what SOME SSPX leader's might spout about denying the Holocaust. I do think that has nothing to do with them being welcomed back to The Church. Also, they can tell women not to go to college or wear pants all they want, and I say that is countercultural and they have the women's best interest at heart.

Women who go to college, often think they must have a career out side of the home, abandoning their children for ten hours a day. This is very unhealthy for the children emotionally, and can also lead to divorce by unfaithfulness and emotional fatigue.

Wearing "pants" which are unfeminine leads to the very popular uniform of the day, blue jeans which are made to draw attention to women's curves, and are immodest in all styles, except maybe overalls.

If they should be "reigned in", then definitely the Novus Ordo priests who believe and preach that "social justice" which is just another name for communism trumps the life of the unborn children!

StGuyFawkes said...

To LatinMassGirl,

One would have to read all my posts to know this (and who would want to do something so tedious) but I do welcome the SSPX back into formal relations with Rome and indirectly myself.

I think The Holy Father has brought the Church a great blessing.

I also happen to think that schism brings certain problems of spirituality and that what you have in the SSPX are exceptionally good Catholics. But their political and social thinking is fossilized due to the particular circumstances of their revolt.

Archb. Lefebvre's A LETTER TO CONFUSED CATHOLICS talks about the French Revolution as if his view is credal.

I interviewed one of the leaders about fifteen years ago and asked was it possible to think the French Revolution was a good thing and still be a good Catholic. He told me "NO".

I asked, then what do you do with Hilaire Belloc.

He had no answer.

The strength of the traditionalist groups such as the Institute for Christ the King or Opus Mariae is that they have no particular commitment to a certain view of French History.

Archb. Lefebvre did. And I think we have to see that Orthodox Catholicism and particular views about what women wear, or how they should school are not necessarily connected.

I find veils at Mass, women in dresses, and stay at home moms three of the best things in the world. I just don't know how much a religious order or group should insist on it without becoming cultish.

When I go off on a rant about these things I am pointing to the fact that Catholicism creates a certain culture that is sharable by all who share the Faith.

If we have a Catholicism where some wear veils and some do not I really don't object. But if we have a Catholicism where those who don't are considered less Catholic I worry that we are inviting the kind of think you see among Jews where three or four different branchs insist on small details of instruction and dress.

I think that the most wholesome thing about ending the schism would be if more ordinary Catholics were exposed to the habits of the SSPX parishioners.

I think they could learn much from the rest of us too.

Blowing the smoke and embers away from all my bombast that's all I have to say. That and the fact that the Holocaust really did happen.

And it is no small matter to say it didn't.

Best Wishes.

Anonymous said...

"That and the fact that the Holocaust really did happen."
Brilliant arguement. How silly of these "deniers" to keep dwellling on things like logic, facts, logistics and documents. I mean, it just happened, it's so simple, and global warming is a fact, people just need to grow up.

StGuyFawkes said...

TO the anonymous writer who compared the factuality of the Holocaust to the factuality of global warming:

I've never met a global warming in person so I don't really know if there is one.

I have met victims of the Holocaust who shared their stories with me and seemed to have no other motive but company.

I take their stories as fact.

This is part of why I believe the Holocaust to be fact.