More on that SSPX meeting

More on that SSPX meeting

I’m getting more details on the meeting of the SSPX scheduled for tomorrow. Leaders of the Society of St. Pius X are meeting in Flavigny, France, tomorrow, and a followup meeting is scheduled for February 7-8. More than 20 groups are invited.

They are supposedly very close to a deal with Rome but Bishop Williamson is “resisting” the deal because he say it doesn’t go far enough. Apparently, the deal would “annul the excommunications,” state the legitimacy of the Pian rite, allow Tridentine Masses in privatu for the whole Church (in other words, the universal Indult), and legitimizing Lefebvrist chapels. There would be either one or four geographic apostolic administrations.

I don’t know yet what the basis is for Williamson’s objection, but a quick guess would be that he wants a complete repudiation of Vatican II first. It isn’t going to happen. But issues of practicality mean little to those of the more radical bent.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
24 comments
  • This happened in South America, where the traditional movement then split, part staying out (because they would have anyway), half coming in (because no longer any reason to say out). 

    It created a situation where one has the choice of which mass to attend and traditionals are no longer baited and abused.  I would love that to happen here and I think it would be good for the church.

    I don’t know that we will ever be able to get past the evils of the last 40 years, including the sexual abuses and homosexuality of clergy, until it’s acceptable to be honest about basic catholic ideas and beliefs again.

  • I’m not buying it. Wait and see, I guess.

    It should be interesting to see how the SSPX flock reacts if there is a formal reconciliation. Will the vehement nitpicking continue when the Pope exercises his authentic Magisterium? Will the anti-semitic virus be magically defeated? Will the animus toward the reformed rite, the local Bishop, and his authority subside?

    Prayers needed, for sure.

  • Will the animus toward the Tridentine Mass by most Bishops subside? Will Bishops in America stop their disobediance of the Vatican and implement Ecclesia Dei?

    Will traditionalists who suport what the Roman Catholic Church taught before 1965 be treated as graciously as those who profess religions other than Roman Catholicism?

    SSPX insiders are claiming that the four Bishops in the SSPX are “of the same mind.”

    The Bishop from Campos, Brazil may be playing a behind the scenes role here.

  • You’re missing the point, Tom. If this is what people are saying it is, they won’t have to seek permission from local bishops for the Tridentine Mass.

    On the other hand, you can’t legislate people’s attitude, so whether bishops end their animus toward it or whether Traditionalists will be treated graciously is still up to individuals.

  • “I don’t know yet what the basis is for Williamson’s objection, but a quick guess would be that he wants a complete repudiation of Vatican II first”

    Most trads take Vatican II as a Ecumenical Council, expressing no new doctrines …. in a way there’s never really anything substantial to repudiate in the first place.

    Perhaps Williamson and Fellay will simply ignore Vatican II documents the same way, for example, Cardinal Mahoney ignores liturgical and moral teaching documents.

  • Jason, not across the board.  That’s the point. 

    There will be a minority for which reconciliation with the post-VII church will be impossible because they will insist on the repudiation of VII.  Again, this will be a minority even if it does contain somebody high profile.

    But there will be many for which a reconciliation will be a big relief & the reconciliation of the Tridentine mass and traditional catholic behavior with the post-VII church will make coming back possible for them.  They have suffered like many of us have suffered, often even more.  For them and for us, it will be a good thing if it occurs.

  • I honestly think, Tom, that it will be much different than Humanae Vitae if it occurs.  There are huge numbers of people who would really love the Tridentine, including the young.  They would be protesting nothing.  Remember that this is really not about politics and power, but about worship and appreciation and the basic household *stuff* of being catholic as a lifestyle and an act.

  • Jason, not across the board.  That’s the point.

    I hope you’re right. But this is also something I wonder about Eastern Orthodox Christians. It’s one thing for a group of Bishops to reconcile. But will their flock view it as a betrayal? Only time will tell.

    I think of, for example, the common vilification of “Conciliar Rome”. The Holy See isn’t going to change. It’s certainly willing to work with people, to help them with spiritual needs (eg, access to the Tridentine Liturgy), but the Holy See will be the Holy See. Still committed to the Second Vatican Council, still committed to ecumenism, still committed to the relationship between the Church and the modern world, still committed to theological renewal.

    Perhaps the Holy See will tolerate the animus for a while, for pastoral reasons. But eventually, the SSPX and its flock cannot continue to undermine the mind of the Church, the Church today, as she exists, not yesterday or tommorow.

    I don’t know that a group of people so hostile to the Church, to the point where they align themselves with a schismatic community, are just gonna lay down and trust Fellay and company…

  • No, perhaps you don’t understand.  The people aren’t sheep captured by a man like Williamson.  Not all trads vilify Rome—far from it.  Many more progressives vilify Rome, if truth be told.  The SSPX movement can break like it did in Campos, part remaining out, part returning.

  • OK, will they implement whatever the Pope decides, in the way of Apostolic Administrations, universal indults, or regularization or whatever????

    No, Tom, you’re still not getting it. There’s nothing for bishops to implement. This is why they will go with an apostolic administration, because it won’t be under a bishop’s say-so. The administration will report directly to the Pope.

  • If Rome were to turn around and say that 1) the Tridentine Mass was never obrogated, and 2) the Lefebvrists were/are never in schism to begin with; it would mean that we’ve all been lied to for the past 30+ years, and by none other than every Pope since Paul VI.

    We could never again believe anything we hear coming out from the Vatican! Could we?

  • For Eric: have there actually been rulings about an obrogation of _Quo Primum_?  I thought Rome had steadily dodged the question. 

    Anyway, lifting the sanctions may not imply that the Lefebvrists weren’t in schism, or that Lefebvre himself didn’t commit a schismatic act; B16 probably won’t do something that renders the judgment against Lefebvre in _Ecclesia Dei Adflicta_ nonsense.

    For Tom Coolberth: bishops who don’t allow a T-Mass are not really being disobedient, as _Ecclesia Dei_ merely exhorted them to allow the old form.

    If Williamson stays out, it will be interesting to watch the Lefebvrist congregations and SSPX clergy choose between him and whichever bishop becomes the Apostolic Administrator for the Americas.  (Bishop Rifan, maybe?)

    A puzzling question in all this is the position of the FSSP, the ICR, and other traditionalist-oriented religious or apostolic communities.  Will any of those communities want to be transferred and work as part of the new structure?

  • RC:

    The very Lefebvre schism and the establishment of the indult Ecclesia Dei clearly presuppose the existence of such an obrogation.

    Not only that, but Paul VI made it clear, as much as any man can, that he was so obrogating the rite. There are some good sedevacantist resources that are actually good at establishing this.

    (Not that I support Sedevancantism in any way, shape, or form!)

  • To allow the old rite is not to admit that the Lefebvrists were right.

    To lift the excommunications is not to absolve the Lefebvrists from schism.

    A Catholic may judge an ecumenical council to have been a monumental folly (pastorally speaking) and remain a Catholic in good standing.

    The really interesting question here is what happens when an SSPX priest in LA under the jurisdiction of an SSPX bishop in Brazil in communion with Rome openly contradicts what Cardinal Mahony is teaching or highlights his disobedience to the Vatican or urges people to avoid abusive liturgical celebrations in the archdiocese for the health of their souls.

  • I would echo RC here—I’m intrigued as to what this possible reconciliation would mean for the traditionalist Catholic communities that are in full communion with Rome (FSSP and ICKSP).  Unless it is somehow mandated that they be absorbed into this new structure, my guess is that those orders/fraternities will not want to change their position.  The FSSP and ICKSP often administer entire parishes, and the SSPX will only be celebrating masses in privatu in “chapels”, and I would think it might a long time before those bishops who want the Tridentine rite in their dioceses would feel comfortable giving parishes to the SSPX.

  • For whatever its worth, here’s an SSPX priest’s comments:

    http://angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5505

    SSPX Priest sets record straight, dispels recent rumors

    Angelqueen.org
    February 1, 2006

    Angelqueen.org received the following correspondence from a well placed Society priest who has had very recent (within the last few days), direct and personal contact with Fr. Schmidberger. He asked that his name be witheld for obvious reasons.

    1) Fr. Schmidberger’s conferences have been widely reported on and widely misquoted:

    a) It is wrongly reported that he condemned the Traditio website in one of his conferences. He categorically denies this, although he certainly does not approve of the site’s recent posts on the Society and its Superiors. Fr. Schmidberger says that he did not even know the name of the Traditio site at the time he gave the conference in which he supposedly condemned it.

    b) It is wrongly reported that there was a meeting between Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Fellay on December 7th, at which the two prelates discussed the “turning over” of the Society to Rome. Also, it is wrongly reported that, at this meeting, the Cardinal was given a list of all SSPX priests, their names and locations. A meeting took place in November, but it was in no way such a meeting as has been described. Nothing happened on December 7th. No list of SSPX priests has been given to Rome. A list was given of the various COUNTRIES the SSPX works in, with the NUMBER of priests assigned in each. That is all.

    2) The “summit” meeting of the religious orders associated with the Society has nothing to do with a definitive “deal” which is “in the works.” The meeting of the General Council is nothing out of the ordinary: they meet regularly to advise the Superior General, as is their duty and right according to the Statutes. If anyone wonders why there are so many meetings coming up, let them remember that we have a General Chapter coming up in July. This is a significant event in the life of the Society, happening only once every 12 years, and it requires a great deal of consultation and preparation.

    As a final note, let all the people who are so concerned about the Society’s imminent “betrayal” spend their time praying for its Superiors rather than in forming judgments which they have no basis to form and posting equally baseless messages to internet fora.

    God Bless.
    In Christo,
    Fr. (name withheld)

  • “To allow the old rite is not to admit that the Lefebvrists were right.”

    This is not what I’m saying at all.

  • An apostolic administration is preferable to a personal prelature; a jurisdiction can be changed or revised more easily as the changing circumstances permit. To separate adherents of tradition from the Church at large would be of limited benefit in the long run (as much as it would suit the present generation just fine). The long-term solution is to restore the sacred to the liturgy of the West, which means reconnecting the normative workship of the West with its heritage.

    This, as opposed to keeping it in a gilded cage.

  • Michigan :

    “I honestly think, Tom, that it will be much different than Humanae Vitae if it occurs.  There are huge numbers of people who would really love the Tridentine, including the young….”

    I know … I’m one of ‘em   wink

    “They would be protesting nothing.”

    I’m talking about how Fellay and Williamson from the SSPX would handle the Vatican II docs …. just supposing that they’d handle it in the same way Mahoney handles documents against liturgical dancing, the same way the Jesuits handle documents against homosexual marriage and the same way American Cardinals/Bishops handle the ordination of homosexuals.

    -Tom-

  • I pray everyday for the return of the SSPX to the Church, which means that they stop their infantile rebellion and submit to lawful Church authority.  They also must submit their hearts and minds to the living tradition of the Church which, properly understood, means that all councils of the Church must be seen and taught in continuity with all of the previous Magisterium. 

    If some SSPX’ers don’t want to go with the rest of them and rejoin the bosom of Mother Church, then there’s not much more we can do for them.

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