30 January 2009

Theatre Production at the College Seminary

The Seminarians of Cardinal Glennon College


An Evening of Theatre

Four One-Act Plays, including mystery, drama and comedy

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Philadelphia

The Tell Tale Heart

The Rising of the Moon

      When:    Friday, February 20th, 7pm

         Saturday, February 21st, 7pm

        Sunday, February 22nd, 3pm


Where:    Kenrick-Glennon Seminary Auditorium

        5200 Glennon Dr.

        St. Louis, MO, 63119


       Tickets:  $7.00/ Adult ticket

                                  $5.00/ Senior or Child (12 and under) ticket


To order tickets in advance, or for any other question, please contact

Patrick Fletcher at (314)792-6406 or by emailing pfletcher@kenrick.edu

Slowing Down the Annulment Mill?

In a post sure to please reader and commenter "marriedforlife", this post contains an interview transcript from an Australian radio program concerning the recent comments from the Holy Father to the Roman Rota, and an AP story on those comments underneath.

The AP article is the main story, but I just love this Australian radio interview because of some hand-wringing of the "expert" guest, who seems a little afraid of "reactionary" Archbishop Burke.
The interview:

AM - Vatican sharpens message on marriage annulments

AM - Friday, 30 January , 2009 08:24:00
Reporter: Nick Lucchinelli

PETER CAVE: The Vatican has sent a strong message about what it sees as the concerning trend of Catholics citing psychology as a reason to annul a marriage.

Pope Benedict XVI is concerned about what he calls the "almost automatic declarations of annulment under the pretext of no matter what psychological immaturity or weakness."

An annulled marriage means the church considers that it never existed and for Catholics who remarry it's critically important - they can be denied Communion without one.

Nick Lucchinelli has been discussing the issue with the Catholic social commentator and former priest, Paul Collins.

PAUL COLLINS: About 30 to 40 years ago they started, with the increasing incidence of divorce, the Church started to develop these psychological grounds; that is a person was too immature to make a lifelong commitment and so if a marriage breaks up, a Catholic can apply for an annulment on the grounds of what is called lack of due discretion.

Essentially this means that the person was simply unable because of immaturity to make a lifelong commitment. The way the process works, it can take 18 months or more, is that friends and family are consulted as to the level of maturity of the person at the time of the marriage.

NICK LUCCHINELLI: And based on these latest comments by Pope Benedict XVI, it would seem he thinks that this is a bit of a fig leaf to allow Catholics to avoid the responsibilities that they have when they enter into a marriage.

PAUL COLLINS: Well that's been his opinion for quite a long time. When he was a Cardinal working in the Vatican he certainly gave expression to that point of view and in the latter part of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, there are a number of public statements which really were basically pressurising the American bishops to back off this grounds for the granting of a marriage annulment.

NICK LUCCHINELLI: The basis upon which people enter into a marriage under the Catholic Church is pretty black and white isn't it? That it is a valid contract entered into between two willing parties and ratified by divine sanction; that's the official church law, is it not?

PAUL COLLINS: Yes, that's quite correct. That is exactly what the Church says but there are, people can say that they are doing that but the question is whether at the time they are sufficiently mature to be able to make that level of serious commitment. And what this provision does is try to provide them with some type of pastoral grounds if their marriage breaks down irretrievably so that they can continue to practice as Catholics and to have their, if they were to enter into another marriage, to have that celebrated in the Church.

NICK LUCCHINELLI: And is there a broader political play going on here within the Church?

PAUL COLLINS: Well there could be. I mean I was a little surprised as to why this would suddenly be announced at the present moment and the only connection that I can make is that just recently Pope Benedict XVI has appointed an extremely, a hyper-conservative I would say, a reactionary American Archbishop, Archbishop Raymond Burke.

The former Archbishop of St Louis has been appointed to what is essentially the Vatican's Appeals Court. It is called the Signatura. Burke is a Canon lawyer, an extremely conservative one, and I suspect that there may be some influence coming from Burke and from others like him within the Vatican if you like pressuring Pope Benedict to do something about this.

And probably the signal is largely to the American bishops rather than to anyone else. And of course Benedict agrees with them so I don't think he would need a great deal of persuading.


Pope decries pessimism about marriage

By NICOLE WINFIELD – 22 hours ago

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI decried what he called a spreading pessimism about marriage, saying Thursday it is not the impossible undertaking many make it out to be.

Benedict was addressing the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal that decides marriage annulments, the process by which the church effectively declares that a marriage never took place.

Circumstances for granting annulments include refusal by a husband or a wife to have children or the "psychological incapability" of one of the spouses to contract a valid marriage.

The pope says that granting too many annulments on the grounds of "psychological incapacity" risks giving people the pessimistic impression that marriage is almost impossible.

He said the judges and lawyers of the Rota should follow guidelines that say there must be a "specific mental anomaly" that seriously impairs the use of reason either when vows are exchanged or during the marriage.

The Vatican's concern largely is directed at the United States, where the annulment approach has been more common among Catholics and where annulments are considered to often be granted too easily.

According to Vatican statistics, the Holy See estimated that about 70 percent of all annulment requests worldwide came from the United States in 2002. In that year, of the 56,000 requests worldwide, 46,000 were granted...

Archbishop Burke Calls It Like He Sees It

This article came out Wednesday, and I missed it, being in Chicago until late yesterday.

Great piece from LifesiteNews.com:

Exclusive Interview: Leading Vatican Prelate Says Document of US Bishops Partly to Blame for Election of “Most Pro-Abortion President”

Also says Bishops’ Catholic News Service needs to be given "some new direction"

By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, January 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A document of the US Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama.

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louis Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told LifeSiteNews.com that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said.

Apology Letter of Bishop Williamson

I have to say, he should have apologized, of course. But this is a wonderful and humble apology. Let the reconciliation continue.

From Rorate Caeli:

To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

Your Eminence

Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.

For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:

"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.

Sincerely yours in Christ

+Richard Williamson

Written to Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on January 28, 2009.

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?

Feast of St. Francis de Sales

The great Doctor of Charity's feast is celebrated today.  Remember that there will be a Solemn High Mass this evening at 6:30pm at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.  Because he is a principal patron of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful who assist at Mass are able to obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

The setting for tonight's Mass will be Louis Vierne's Misse Solenelle in C-sharp Minor for organ and choir.

From The Liturgical Year:

Peaceful conqueror of souls!  Pontiff beloved of God and man!  we venerate thee as the perfect imitator of the sweetness and gentleness of Jesus.  Having learnt of him to be meek and humble of heart, thou didst, according to His promise, possess the land. Nothing could resist thee.  Heretics, however obstinate; sinners, however hardened; tepid souls, however sluggish; all yielded to the powerful charm of thy word and example...

Pray for us to Our Lord, that our charity may be ardent like thine; that the desire of perfection may be ever active within us; that we may gain that introduction to a devout Life which thou hast so admirably taught; that we may have that love of our neighbour, without which we cannot hope to love God; that we may be zealous for the salvation of souls; that we may be patient and forgive injuries, in order that we may love one another, not only in word and in tongue, but as thy great model says, in deed and in truth.

More Sheep Coming Back to the Fold?

From Rorate Caeli comes further news that the Traditional Anglican Communion, some 400,000 members strong, may be reconciled to Rome by this Easter, with the group being formed as a personal prelature.  Only Opus Dei has this form now, although it is mentioned as a possible solution for the SSPX as well.

From the full story:

More Papal moves towards unity
A Personal Prelature for the Traditional Anglican Communion?

The Catholic Australian weekly The Record publishes this week this most relevant report: the Traditional Anglican Communion could be received as a Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church before the end of the year.

28 January 2009

Prayer Request

If you could please remember my niece in prayer tomorrow, I would greatly appreciate it. She will be undergoing fairly delicate surgery for about 8 hours beginning at 7am.

Thank you!



My niece came through surgery and was even able to open her eyes for a few moments shortly after being placed in the ICU.  The doctors said all went well with her surgery and are hopeful that her stay in the ICU will be shorter than originally expected.

Thank you for all the prayers for her today.  I know that they helped both my niece and the medical staff who took care of her.  The recovery period for her surgery will last another 4-6 weeks and will include bed rest, so if you could continue to send prayers her way, she and the rest of my family would appreciate it!

27 January 2009

Statement of SSPX General Superior Bishop Fellay Regarding the Bishop Williamson Interview

This English translation of this statement of Bishop Fellay comes from the Remnant:

We attained knowledge of an interview that Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our society, gave to Swedish television. In this interview, he expresses himself on questions of history, especially to the murder of Jews by the Nazis. It is obvious that a bishop can speak only on questions of Faith and Morals with religious authority. Our society claims no authority at all over historic or other secular questions.

The mission of the priestly society is the distribution and restoration of authentic Catholic teaching and how it is laid down in dogmas. For that we are well known worldwide, accepted and appreciated.

We see with great concern how the infringement of this order adds heavy damage by a member of our religious fraternity. We apologize to the Holy Father and all persons of good will for the annoyance evoked through it.

At the same time we must be clear that these remarks in no manner represent the views of our fraternity. Therefore I prohibit Bishop Williamson until further notice from speaking in public on political or historic questions.

The proposed accusations against our fraternity serve obviously to discredit our mission. We will not allow that, but rather continue to announce the Catholic teaching and to administer the sacraments in their venerable form.

Menzingen, the 27th of January 2009

+Bishop Bernard Fellay
General Superior

An Interesting Question--

I am all for architectural preservation. In fact, as a traditional Catholic, it is sort of a requirement. But while some buildings are clearly worth preserving, others are...well, not so clearly deserving.

There is a protest planned for February 15, 2009 outside the San Luis apartment building on Lindell, across from the Cathedral. The Archdiocese, the owner of this property, has plans to tear down the building to provide additional parking for Rosati-Kain High School. Local architecture buffs are trying to get the Archdiocese to change its plan.

I don't find this building beautiful, to say the least. Modern architecture of the style of the San Luis doesn't move me. Tearing down the Cathedral to provide parking for the San Luis would be unthinkable. But I can't get excited about the opposite proposition.

One man's eyesore is another man's art. What do readers think of this issue?

Demographic Winter: "Schools will be turned into nursing homes. Playgrounds will become graveyards."

In light of my recent post on the contraception regime, I though I would run this great post I saw today at Patrick Madrid's blog:

Global aging, combined with plummeting birth rates, is a catastrophically dangerous menace that a only a few people seem to be waking up to. You may not be familiar with terms like “global aging” and “demographic winter,” but you will be soon.

I've been giving public lectures on the problem of global aging for the past 7 years or so, and my audiences are always shocked and dumbfounded as I explain how the West's ever expanding population of old people (due, thank God, to the ever-improving capabilities of bio-medical science), while a good thing in itself, will soon become a prime target for the forced-euthanasia crowd as the decline in birth rates among women of child-bearing age throughout the West (as well as major non-Western countries like Japan and Russia) forces an ever-shrinking number of younger, working citizens to shoulder the economic burden of paying for the retirement benefits consumed by the ever-expanding population of retired, old folks.

This is a lethal combination that will, I am certain, begin playing itself out with horrifying consequences in the next 10, 15, 20 years. Perhaps sooner. It's hard to predict. What I do know for sure, though, is that the West has marinating for decades now in the bloody serum of legal abortion, and it breathes the toxic atmosphere of ubiquitous pornography and contraception. What would have been unthinkable to Americans a mere 50 years ago (gay marriage, a billion-dollar abortion industry, the rise of euthanasia, etc.) has become commonplace andincreasingly unremarkable in this generation.

Where are we headed?

I've been saying for years now what is being reported yet again in this article. What is now known as the “right to die movement” is steadily morphing into what will soon become the “oblicagtion to die movement.”

The politics of “young versus old” is rising, slowly but surely, and we will live to see its pernicious effects. Soon enough we will begin to see how the demographic winter results in an intergenerational struggle. The younger people, who have lived their entire lives learning from the media and our culture as a whole that other people are only useful or valuable insofar as they do one or more of a few things: give sexual pleasure, provide entertainment, make money, or produce some kind of product or service.

30+ years of legalized abortion has hardened millions of younger Americans into seeing unborn children as “parasites” who should be eliminated because they are inconvenient and unwanted. 50 years of the mainstreaming of pornography (thanks, Heff!) have educated a wide swath of Americans to look at others as objects for pleasure. And the aggressive cult of scientism has successfully swayed many people to look at unpleasant realities such as aging, pain, and lonliness as intolerable conditions that must be eliminated at all costs.

So, barring some miracle, I believe that the next step in the evolution of the West's enmeshment in the culture of death — forced euthansia, cloning human beings for body parts, etc. — will begin to take shape when enough people who have no belief in God and no regard for the value of human life begin to realize what “demographic winter” means for them financially.

With that in mind, please consider the chilling points made in this LifeSite article.

26 January 2009

It's Some Crazy World We Live in...

...when all of the following headline stories relevant to life issues appear on one day:

Pelosi says birth control will help economy

Japanese workers urged: go home and multiply

Bad economy spurs egg and sperm sales

Obama Stimulus Plan to Pour Millions of Taxpayer Funds into Contraception, Abortion

Christian Europe dies, contracepted to death and overrun by non-Christian immigrant populations. Governments from France to Russia pay citizens to have babies. Yet the contraception regime continues to reign unchallenged.

Japan, another industrialized nation, sees its population decline and urges its citizens to have babies. Yet the contraception regime continues to reign unchallenged.

The U.S. has a stable birth rate, and the vast majority of its immigrant population is Christian. Yet the current administration and congress want to promote abortions at home and abroad, fund coercive family size limitation policies, and fund the contraception regime that is destroying it, and all the other industrialized nations. The contraception regime continues to reign unchallenged.

Why? The official reasons are all scams: global warming is a fraud; the notion that key resources are scarce is a fraud; the notion that contraception and fewer children are better for the health of marriages is a fraud; the notion that women will be free from "male domination" by embracing sexual immorality is a fraud.

Lies. The official reasons are lies. And who is the father of lies?

So again, why is the contraception regime pushed on us?

25 January 2009

The Shepherd Pope

A reader of this blog drew this sketch to convey her feelings about the pastoral care of our beloved Holy Father.

Dominus conservet eum!

How Dare They Criticize the Chosen One?

Vatican official accuses Obama of 'arrogance'

A senior Vatican official on Saturday attacked US President Barack Obama for "arrogance" for overturning a ban on state funding for family-planning groups that carry out or facilitate abortions overseas.

It is "the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life," Archbishop Rino Fisichella was quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera daily.

Fisichella is president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, one of a number of so-called pontifical academies which are formed by or under the direction of the Holy See.

"What is important is to know how to listen... without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death," he added.

Obama signed the executive order cancelling the eight-year-old restrictions on Friday, the third full day of his presidency.

The so-called "global gag rule" cut off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counselling, referrals or post-abortion services.

"If this is one of the first acts of President Obama, with all due respect, it seems to me that the path towards disappointment will have been very short," Fisichella said.

"I do not believe that those who voted for him took into consideration ethical themes, which were astutely left aside during the election debate. The majority of the American population does not take the same position as the president and his team," he added.


24 January 2009

"So as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem": SSPX Excommunications Lifted--UPDATED

My thanks to Rorate Caeli for the English translation of the decree; the original Italian is below.  

The recent interview by Bp. Williamson has made this a situation sure to bring public grief to the Holy Father, but this action is good for the Church during this time of prayer for Christian unity. Pray for the Holy Father, the clergy and lay faithful attached to the SSPX, and for the Church universal.  The press will try to lay the charge of anti-semitism at the Pope's doorstep, and will especially try to smear traditional Catholics as well, not discerning groups or persons.  Yet even still, this measure is cause for rejoicing, and the answer to many prayers for many years.

Another interesting note-- and this is purely my own take, so any canonists, known or unknown, are free to weigh in here-- is that the language of the decree, wonderfully subtle, declares "from the present date" that the July 1, 1988 decree is "deprived of any juridical effect."  As Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Castro de Mayer were also declared excommunicated by the July 1, 1988 decree, it seems to follow that their censures are also without any juridical effect.  

Also, the wording of the decree could be read in such a manner that the "declaration" is made from the current date, but that the absence of juridical effect of the July 1, 1988 decree is retroactive.  This is not the obvious reading from the English translation, though, so I don't want to push that idea too far.  Moreover, the official text-- in Italian-- must control.  That question of whether the excommunications were ever effective doesn't matter to most Catholics, but it sure matters to the SSPX's adherents, as you will quickly find out. But no matter.  I'll leave that issue to the partisans.

Praise God! Deo Gratias!  Long Live Pope Benedict!

Decree of the Congregation for Bishops

By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: "We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial animus. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much."

His Holiness Benedict XVI - paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of excommunication and faithful in the effort expressed by them in the aforementioned letter of not sparing any effort to deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters, so as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem posed in the origin - decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.

With this act, it is desires to consolidate the reciprocal relations of confidence and to intensify and grant stability to the relationship of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, wishes also to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to end the scandal of division.

It is hoped that this step be followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of Saint Pius X, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope with the proof of visible unity.

Based in the faculty expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the present Decree, I remit to Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of latae sententiae excommunication declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that date.

Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, January 21, 2009.

Card. Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

  • Con lettera del 15 dicembre 2008 indirizzata a Sua Em.za il Sig. Cardinale Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Presidente della Pontificia Commissione Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, anche a nome degli altri tre Vescovi consacrati il giorno 30 giugno 1988, sollecitava nuovamente la rimozione della scomunica latae sententiae formalmente dichiarata con Decreto del Prefetto di questa Congregazione per i Vescovi in data 1° luglio 1988. Nella menzionata lettera, Mons. Fellay afferma, tra l'altro: "Siamo sempre fermamente determinati nella volontà di rimanere cattolici e di mettere tutte le nostre forze al servizio della Chiesa di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, che è la Chiesa cattolica romana. Noi accettiamo i suoi insegnamenti con animo filiale. Noi crediamo fermamente al Primato di Pietro e alle sue prerogative, e per questo ci fa tanto soffrire l'attuale situazione".

    Sua Santità Benedetto XVI - paternamente sensibile al disagio spirituale manifestato dagli interessati a causa della sanzione di scomunica e fiducioso nell'impegno da loro espresso nella citata lettera di non risparmiare alcuno sforzo per approfondire nei necessari colloqui con le Autorità della Santa Sede le questioni ancora aperte, così da poter giungere presto a una piena e soddisfacente soluzione del problema posto in origine - ha deciso di riconsiderare la situazione canonica dei Vescovi Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson e Alfonso de Galarreta sorta con la loro consacrazione episcopale.

    Con questo atto si desidera consolidare le reciproche relazioni di fiducia e intensificare e dare stabilità ai rapporti della Fraternità San Pio X con questa Sede Apostolica. Questo dono di pace, al termine delle celebrazioni natalizie, vuol essere anche un segno per promuovere l'unità nella carità della Chiesa universale e arrivare a togliere lo scandalo della divisione.

    Si auspica che questo passo sia seguito dalla sollecita realizzazione della piena comunione con la Chiesa di tutta la Fraternità San Pio X, testimoniando così vera fedeltà e vero riconoscimento del Magistero e dell'autorità del Papa con la prova dell'unità visibile.

    In base alle facoltà espressamente concessemi dal Santo Padre Benedetto XVI, in virtù del presente Decreto, rimetto ai Vescovi Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson e Alfonso de Galarreta la censura di scomunica latae sententiaedichiarata da questa Congregazione il 1° luglio 1988, mentre dichiaro privo di effetti giuridici, a partire dall'odierna data, il Decreto a quel tempo emanato.

    Roma, dalla Congregazione per i Vescovi, 21 gennaio 2009.

    Card. Giovanni Battista Re

    Prefetto della Congregazione per i Vescovi

    The following is a statement from SSPX General Superior Bishop Bernard Fellay:

    The excommunication of the bishops consecrated by His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, on June 30, 1988, which had been declared by the Congregation for Bishops in a decree dated July 1, 1988, and which we had always contested, has been withdrawn by another decree mandated by Benedict XVI and issued by the same Congregation on January 21, 2009.

    We express our filial gratitude to the Holy Father for this gesture which, beyond the Priestly Society  of Saint Pius X, will benefit the whole Church. Our Society wishes to be always more able to help the pope to remedy the unprecedented crisis which presently shakes the Catholic world, and which Pope John Paul II had designated as a state of “silent apostasy.”

    Besides our gratitude towards the Holy Father and towards all those who helped him to make this courageous act, we are pleased that the decree of January 21 considers as necessary “talks” with the Holy See, talks which will enable the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to explain the fundamental doctrinal reasons which it believes to be at the origin of the present difficulties of the Church.

    In this new atmosphere, we have the firm hope to obtain soon the recognition of the rights of Catholic Tradition.


    Menzingen, January 24, 2009

    +Bernard Fellay

  • Feast of St. Timothy

    23 January 2009

    Radio Spot for the Mass of St. Francis de Sales at the Oratory January 29 at 6:30

    Link here.

    Remember, because St. Francis de Sales is a principal patron of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful who assist at Mass at the Oratory that day may obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

    Info and directions here.

    I Don't Get This

    The St. Louis Review today ran a typical CNS story trying to link poverty with racism.  Of course, we are told that blacks are disproportionally represented among the poor.  Fine, but there is no effort to prove that this is the result of racism.  We're just supposed to assume it.

    Hopefully, the new Review editor will cut the cord to CNS and rely upon his fine group of reporters to report the news, and the Archdiocese's fine theologians to provide theological commentary.  The link to the story is here, but you will need to enter your Review subscription number to read the entire article.

    Catholic Charities links poverty, racism 

    by Dennis Sadowski

    WASHINGTON (CNS) — As part of its continuing nationwide campaign to cut poverty in half by 2020, Catholic Charities USA is ramping up efforts to help people understand the ties between poverty and racism. 

    The Alexandria, Va.-based agency is utilizing the Internet, prayer and a study guide to help Catholics open meaningful discussions on how better to address the needs of the poor, especially in minority communities, and take action to reduce the incidence of poverty locally. 

    Precious Blood Father Clarence Williams, senior director of racial equality and diversity initiatives at Catholic Charities USA, said Catholics must begin to understand the depth of poverty and take significant steps to alleviate it across racial lines. 

    Big Doings Tomorrow

    On the Feast of St. Timothy, no less.

    The document lifting the SSPX excommunications will, according to the assorted Vatican-watching press, come down tomorrow.

    And perhaps a surprise.


    Tomorrow thus looks more promising than today, when the current power in Washington ordered U.S. taxpayers to pay to force abortion on the world's poor.  

    All of the Maturity You Expect from the Socialist Left

    It would be far too facile to point out all of the glaring double standards in the treatment of the party in power in comparison to their opponents. Here is a story about the Great One's first attempt to "reach across the aisle".

    Can you imagine if Bush said in response to Democrat complaints, "I won"? Where is the hope, the change, the "new tone", the bipartisanship?

    Four years can't pass quickly enough:

    President Obama listened to Republican gripes [SLC: Gripes?] about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.


    “We expressed our concerns about some of the spending that’s being proposed in the House bill,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said after meeting with Obama.

    “How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives?” Boehner asked. “How does that stimulate the economy?”


    SSPX General Superior to Swedish TV re: Williamson Interview

    (found via The Remnant; click image to enlarge)

    Vatican YouTube Channel Now Up and Running

    Link here, and at the right of the blog.

    Stealing an Election is Hard, Part 3

    From the AP comes a tiny bit of welcome news for representative government:

    Court rejects Franken bid to stop recount lawsuit

    By PATRICK CONDON Associated Press Writer 
    The Associated Press - Friday, January 23, 2009

    ST. PAUL, Minn.

    A three-judge panel has refused Democrat Al Franken's request to block a lawsuit over the Minnesota Senate recount outcome.

    Franken came out on top of Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes in the recount. But Coleman is contesting the result.

    The dismissal means the trial on Coleman's lawsuit starts Monday.

    Coleman argues that the recount process was flawed. He says votes were double-counted in some precincts and that more absentee ballots should be admitted.