17 April 2012

Tornielli Reports: SSPX Gives Positive Response to Rome, Reconciliation Nigh [UPDATE: Vatican Radio Release and Commentary]

I post this as an update, rather than an original post, because the source is the same and the combox discussion can continue.  Rorate posts this update:
of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"

The text of the response of His Excellency Bp. Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, requested during the meeting in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of March 16, 2012, was delivered on April 17, 2012. This text will be examined by the Dicastery and submitted afterwards to the judgment of the Holy Father.

 Father Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office, offers his comments:

"Today's news means that yesterday Bp. Fellay's response, that had been requested by Cardinal Levada at the last meeting, was delivered to the Congregation, to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Now, this response, it is a reponse that, according to the words of those who could see it, is a very different response from the previous one, and this is encouraging, we proceed forward. But, naturally, we also find in the response the addition of some details or integrations to the text of the doctrinal preamble that had been proposed by the Congregation for a doctrinal agreement, and this response will be discussed, it will be examined first by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in one of its meetings of the next few weeks and, afterwards, it will also naturally be examined directly by the Pope. It can be said that steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging, but there are still developments that will be made, and examined, and decisions that should be taken in the next few weeks. I think the wait will not be long because there is the desire to reach a conclusion in these discussions, in these contacts."
Original post follows:

I post this for the simple fact that the news, if true, is stupendous, and heralds the resolution of a tragedy more than 23 years in endurance. Rorate has the story, as usual. 

The canonical regularization of the Society is entirely a good thing, for all parties. This is not the moment to dredge up the wounds or to play the blame game. Nor is it wise to make bold predictions of a future that is in God's hands.

It is enough, more than enough, to be grateful to God. 

SSPX supporters, there is no need to worry that Bishop Fellay suddenly gave away the Sudetenland. He has been leading his group very well through a tough minefield. It is OK to be grateful to the Holy Father. He is not your enemy. Though much can be chalked up to the demands of justice in the SSPX's position, it is still a plain fact that the Pope has exhibited courage, mercy, and charity.

SSPX critics, don't make the mistake of thinking that this means that the SSPX was necessarily wrong in any question of doctrine. The consecrations of 1988 were not authorized, but that incident's books were closed when the excommunications were lifted earlier in this pontificate. No, in many areas the Society was exactly right. And if they did not go about some things the way you'd prefer, they were steadfast--and right-- about the Mass, the traditional sacramental forms, and the doctrines handed down from time immemorial. We don't know what better or worse fate would have followed a decision not to consecrate the four bishops in 1988, but there is much to be grateful to the Society for preserving what not many else were interested in preserving.

Humility is called for on both sides. It is the basis of true charity. 

So, a little long winded, but the gist of my post is this: thank Our Lord and His Mother, God bless the Pope and the Society, and may the whole Church benefit.


Fr. Andrew said...

Amen. Amen. Alleluia.

St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.

Anonymous said...

Very good post Timman. "it is Ok to be grateful to the Holy Father, he is not your enemy" ... I would think you might be hard pressed to find anyone true to the Society to think that. He is dearly loved.

And the world awaits this new springtime of Faith.


Elizabeth said...

Great post. I appreciate you mentioning that this is not yet official. Unfortunately, some other blogs have inferred that it's DONE.

You bring up many good points for consideration by those who will freak out, if this rumor does indeed pan out, on both sides of the issue.

Very charitable post. I pray this really happens! God bless richly our Papa and Bishop Fellay.

Hootiecootie said...

Thank you for posting. Well stated.

Cruise the Groove. said...

Does anyone know if we may now go to an SSPX priest for valid confessions?

StGuyFawkes said...


Good post and good summary. Charity and (to use an abused word) "tolerance" in the sense of bearing in charity our differences with others should guide us.

One of the questions of some years ago was whether Bishop Fellay and his brother bishops would sign something regarding The Church's view of "our older brothers in the Faith." If all goes well between Rome and Econe (gee, they almost rhyme) then His Holiness will have to deal with the predicable fragging coming from liberal Catholics, The New York Times and the ADL.

Till then, prayers for a consummated agreement.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tim. I hope this does come to completion. If so, the SSPX will show its true colors, and will also have to confront some skeletons in the closets. Those in the SSPX who have more sedevacantist positions or are sedevacantists "hiding out" at society chapels will have to be addressed. On the other hand, this would be very good for the SSPX because it is an opportunity to show that they are Catholic like everyone else, whereas now (to me) they appear "modernist" in their rejection of obedience (despite their very hard circumstances.)

God bless the Pope. He has been present in all of this struggle from the 70's on, and so it the man to do the job.


thetimman said...

Cruise the Groove, that question takes on a bit of history. Short answer, in my opinion, is that until there is an official announcement the situation should be considered as it was before. These sacraments would probably be invalid for most, but the SSPX has its own argument for supplied jurisdiction and validity based upon emergency.

It is a matter for one's spiritual director.

Stlcon, I get your gist, but I would disagree about the modernist analogy you draw. Remember, too, that the "true colors" of all Catholics, in and out of the SSPX, will show. We ought to welcome them with open arms as fellow Catholics would.

Thanks to all for your kind words and I agree that prayer is still greatly needed.

Anonymous said...

One thing that seems to be downplayed and even obscured in the Timman’s posts is that Pope Benedict thinks that the issues that have to be addressed now with SSPX are DOCTRINAL. Recall the Holy Father’s letter to the Bishops concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, 10 March 2009. To quote

There needs to be a distinction, then, between the disciplinary level, which deals with individuals as such, and the doctrinal level, at which ministry and institution are involved. In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.

In light of this situation, it is my intention henceforth to join the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" – the body which has been competent since 1988 for those communities and persons who, coming from the Society of Saint Pius X or from similar groups, wish to return to full communion with the Pope – to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This will make it clear that the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes.

Yes, let us hope and pray that an agreement is near and that SSPX will enter into full communion with the Church and will exercise ministry legitimately in the Church. But let us be clear about what the Holy Father has said: “the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature”

StGuyFawkes said...

To Anon 4/18/12 14.37

You are so right. Either the doctrinal matters have been clarified or we are right back to where we have started.

I suspect that "doctrinal problems" is shorthand for the status of the Vatican II council and religious liberty which is itself shorthand for Jews.

thetimman said...


I disagree. I think that topic can be a bit of a fixation.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Tim,

Fixation for whom. Certainly Abe Foxman and Bp. Williamson are fixed on the selfsame subject.

However, since the document is secret yet insufficient over matters of doctrine, what issues of doctrine do you think are in discussion if not religious liberty?

St. Guy

Catholic Mission said...

The Society of St.Pius X(SSPX) has criticized the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recent document on religious liberty.Here is the text of their review with brief comments.

Anonymous said...

another step closer.
thank God...and our Holy Pope.

Catholic Mission said...

Cardinal Luiz Ladaria, Bishop Charles Morerod O.P Oath of Fidelity: to dissent
Profession of Faith allows for dissent on ecclesiology and baptism

Cardinal Luiz Ladaria S.J the Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been the President of the International Theological Commission (ITC), Vatican. Bishop Charles Morerod O.P has been the Secretary of the ITC.

They have had published two papers which are available on the ITC website. In these two theological papers they have written that the Catholic Church no more teaches exclusive salvation. Since there can be those saved in invincible ignorance (LG 16) etc. So there are known exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

So when they made their Profession of Faith and took an Oath of Fidelty they recited the Nicene Constantinople Creed in which we pray ‘I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sin’. However they really meant that not every one on earth needs the baptism of water for salvation. There could be known people saved in invincible ignorance etc. So in actuality there is not one baptism of water for the forgiveness of sin. There are known exceptions in the present times.

There understanding of the Church is also different, even though in the Profession of Faith they said ‘ I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.’(1)

There understanding of Church is based on the false assumption that we know cases of non Catholics saved in invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire and so Vatican Council II (LG 16) and Pope Pius XII's Letter of the Holy Office 1949 have mentioned known exceptions to exclusive salvation in only the Catholic Church.(2)
There understanding of Church (ecclesiology) is that every one on earth with no exception does not need to enter the Church for salvation. The holy catholic and apostolic Church is not necessary for the salvation of all people with no exception.


Catholic Mission said...


The pope could correct the oversight if someone asks him if we really know personal cases of non Catholics saved in invincible ignorance and the baptsm of desire.

Catholic priests in Rome have corrected an ovesight of Pope Benedict XVI and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). An error, the priests themself could have made unknowingly.

The Catholic priests, most of whom offer the Novus Ordo Mass, confirm that we do not know a single case of somone saved in invincible ignorance, a good conscience etc (L G 16). This is y known only to God.

This error has been made by Pope Benedict XVI in Light of the World p.107 and Cardinal Luiz Ladaria Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the International Theological Commission (ITC),Vatican published papers, available on the ITC website.

It was based on this error that they assumed that Vatican Council II and Pope Pius XII contradicted the ancient teaching on exclusive salvation being there in only the Catholic Church.This error was also the basis for speculation on Limbo.

This same false assumption, of visible baptism of desire and personally known cases of non Catholics saved in invincible ignorance, is made by the Society of St.Pius X (SSPX) and on this basis they refute the liberal interpretation of Vatican Council II on ecumenism and inter religious dialogue.It is also the cause of confusion on the issue of religious liberty.