Secretariat v. CDF

Secretariat v. CDF

John Allen reports what some people were speculating: that the dust-up regarding the Legionaries of Christ is part of a battle between the two most powerful dicasteries in the Vatican: the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The LC claim that the “Holy See” called them to to tell them that there was no canonical process underway. Did the call come out of the blue or did someone at the LC initiate it? I find it hard to believe that the “Holy See” just felt like calling them. And who is the “Holy See”? Was it Pope Benedict? Cardinal Sodano of the Secretariat? Msgr. Scicluna of the CDF? Jay Dunlap, spokesman for the LC in the US, sent out a press release to everyone and anyone saying: “We believe the Holy See is speaking with a unified voice on this issue.” Really? How so? It doesn’t seem like it. After all, if it were we’d either be seeing an official statement from the Vatican press office or a high-ranking official speaking on the record. Instead, we have this assurance being relayed through the LC, a Vatican press office spokesman replying to a reporter’s question an ambiguous statement, and a “no comment” from the CDF.

But what about this supposed turf war at the Vatican?

In fact, however, the communication came from the Secretariat of State, the department that handles papal diplomacy and acts as a coordinator for the work of other Vatican agencies. It came in the form of a fax, which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status. Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is a longtime supporter of Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ.

What this means is that the statement did not come from the Vatican agency that ultimately has responsibility for deciding Maciel’s fate. Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have refused to make any comment on the recent news reports, but a senior Vatican official told NCR May 25 that the congregation has made “no statement” on the Maciel case, even to the Secretariat of State.

The official stressed this does not mean that there eventually will be a canonical case against Maciel, merely that the agency charged with making that decision has not yet communicated its intentions. Given the preeminence of the Secretariat of State within the Vatican, at a minimum these recent developments suggest there are grave doubts within the Holy See about proceeding.

Allen makes a good point about the wording of Fr. Benedettini’s statement, that a canonical process “is not foreseen,” does not rule out the possibility and that the Vatican often says “it is not foreseen” about things that eventually happen.

Allen also points out that there is a close relationship between Sodano and the Legion and apparently that is where the communication to the LC originated. What does all this mean? It means that there is a lot of controversy in Rome over this issue, that this isn’t simply being swept under the rug, but that it is causing turmoil.

It doesn’t mean that there definitely will be a canonical process or that an investigation will take place. It doesn’t even mean that there is any truth to the allegations against Maciel. In fact, that’s almost becoming a secondary consideration here, after the remarkable manueverings among all parties here.

If the Legion wanted to put a stopper on all this, the way they and their Vatican allies have been handling this has guaranteed that they won’t. It’s only drawn more attention to it.

  • Um, maybe “once a monsignor, always a monsignor”? Maybe they just meant “priests”, i.e., any ordained fellow without papal honors or higher ecclesial rank . . .
    Or do you think the “Dallas policy” was just so much sound and fury, signifying nothing? Hmmm . . .

  • Not to change the subject, but I’ve just learned from email that that other Springfield (MA) mess is going to be aired on 60 Minutes at 8 tonight.

  • Oh, if only those ruffians had just telephoned the bishop, he would have surely straightened all of this out. Ha.

  • We are sometimes criticized for concluding that: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” it is – in fact – a duck.

    This was a duck all right – as many of us suspected all along.

    Now it appears as if the diocese is ‘ducking’ its responsibility and the Dallas Norms.

    But then our ecclesiastical hierarchs have been adept at ducking their responsibilities for many years already. So, has anything really changed?


  • cs, very simple answer:  There is a difference between the priesthood of the ordained (the ministerial priesthood) and the priesthood of the non-ordained.  Where have you been??

    Domenico, that was not vigilante justice.  It was self-defense—he tried to rape them.  Unsolicited sexual contact is a crime in itself.  He deserves a thrashing and he got one—big deal.  He only had himself to blame.

  • Rod’s right.  If those boys would have just called the bishop, calmly, and without telling anyone else, the bishop would have removed him from office and laicized him.

    Oops, the Dallas policy only applies to those caught doing something on the 5th Tuesday of any given month after a month in which there were not less than 13 days of preciptation and only to those ordained after 2002 and have had at least 35 years of priestly service. 

  • The so-called “Dallas Charter” was the USCCB’s way of holding the media at arm’s length and giving themselves a chance to breathe.  It was also their means of proving to insurance companies that they were “serious” about curbing the abuse problem.  It came at a time when there was a feeding frenzy going on. 

    Unfortunately, their wholesale abandonment of priests has had an unintended consequence:  people rightly now ask whether this zero-tolerance policy applies to the hierarchs as well as to “mere” priests.  This thread alone proves that the laity is clamoring for an end to the psych and media games that the bishops have been playing.

    Right now, in the Archdiocese of Boston, if someone phones in and says that Father So-and-so did something to them in 1984 at St. Anywhere’s Parish, AND IF Father So-and-so was, in fact, assigned to St. Anywhere’s Parish in 1984, that is deemed to be a “credible” allegation.  The priest is immediately telephoned and told to vacate the rectory IMMEDIATELY.  He is put on “administrative leave,” and while he is paid his princely salary, he is forbidden to exercise priestly ministry.  He is not allowed to be on church premises (i.e. no lunch with fellow priests—even at another rectory), and he is not even allowed back into his own rectory under cover of darkness to retrieve personal possessions.

    Mind you, this is all BEFORE any investigation takes place.

    The priest then waits for adjudication of his case.  And waits.  And waits . . .

    But bishops (and, in this case, monsignori who have a curial office) are apparently not governed by the same norms.

    Now, what was all that noise about priestly morale being low?

  • I think vigilante justice does fit here- and I don’t have a problem with it. If the boys gave the Msgr a sound blow and then fled that would have been self defense. Instead they beat and kicked him into ICU.  Sometimes vigilante justice is the only justice. Deterrent- I hope so.

  • michigancatholic, of course *I* know that, I was framing the question in order to be ironic.

  • Re: Fr. Jim Clark’s point, think about how much better off we’d all be today—priests and laity alike—if the bishops had just acted like normal Christian men and dealt swiftly and surely with sexual cretins and malefactors in the priesthood. Just done the commonsense thing. I am struck by the fact that those punks who beat the crap out of Msgr. Costa have, on balance, healthier moral instincts than does the membership of the USCCB.

  • Obviously, there are good points and bad points to whichever way you do it.  As it stands now, given the way our tort law sees things, all properties are at risk if the bishop is found liable for something that he or one of his predecessors did.

  • Dom: These people are saying that they gave money and land to the Church, but they retained authority over how it should be used. Thatment_id>
    2005-05-26 11:53:22
    2005-05-26 15:53:22
    Again, I’m not defending trusteeism. I’m just saying that the instinct to wrest control from the mitred mongoloids and their incompetent management team is an understandable one.

    I quit tithing to the parish and the diocese some time ago. We give charitably to other good works. I want not a single sou of my own money to go to these people.

  • Funny and sad- the situation you describe in the Anglican churches happen in ours too, just not so blatantly.
    I agree with your point that it wouldn’t happen in ours IF the bishops retained control and IF we had stronger leadership from our bishops.  The fact is, for the most part, we don’t.  So we have parishes that have effectively left communion with the Holy See even though they are nominally Roman Catholic.
    But how do we get around the tort law problem of parishes being on the financial hook for episcopal/diocesan damage awards?

  • They want to own their own church buildings, fine!  But don’t go looking to the (arch)diocese and the (arch)bishop to supply priests.  I’m sure there are quite a few who have left the priesthood who’d be more than happy for the gig.  The arrangement we call trusteeism caused countless problems in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not the least of which was the creation of the first American schism, what we call the Polish National Catholic Church, under Fr./Bishop Hudor, which started in Scranton. BTW, my best friend is pastor now at the parish where Hudor was pastor at the time of his break.

  • If I were mayor, I’d give those boys the keys to the City and throw a parade for them.

    If they were my sons, I’d hug them and say, “Sons, I’m proud of you, you should stop smoking but you protected yourselves, showed great restraint and did your part in combatting evil.”

  • Let’s no go overboard. They committed felony assault. Their self-defense against an old pervert ended after they punched him. The two of them kicking him in the head when he was on the ground was itself evil.

  • The Bishops, when faced with multimillion dollar lawsuits are the ones who claim that they are merely “stewards” of the patrimony of the Church. However, when they meet resistence to their “realignment”(selling off churches),they claim complete autonomy. This is the double talking, double dealing, diabolical deadbeats that are in charge. Crisis, what crisis? 

  • The confusion for the public here is more to the fault of the murky reporting of facts.  The only ones who seem to have gotten it straight are the ones who simply reported what the LCs said originally:  that they were notified.  The various news hounds then questioned the Vat press office and fixated on them as the official office of the communique when they were just the ones to back up the official notice.  And, frankly, with no official head of the CDF as yet in place, it would only cause more question if someone from that office other than the Cardinal….or the former head who now just happens to be busy with a lot of other things… were to speak out at this time.  So, the coordinator for Vatican offices communicated for the Holy See.  Now, I doubt if we’ll be seeing some angry response by the pope to his Secretary of State for acting so, since he was quite acquainted with all of the facts of the situation for years now himself.  If only reporting would simply follow the stated facts instead of trying to just keep curiosity going, there wouldn’t be so much muddied waters and more already formed wrong opinion on the matter.  And just who else has more right to know where the situation actually stands than the very order accused and involved – esp. when there have been months of speculation and a need for something concrete to give the public in defense?

  • “For a preview of where this would lead, all one has to do is look at the Anglican church. You have . . . parishes . . . kicking out their pastors . . . .”

    Actually, I understand from my Episcopalian friends that the ECUSA’s canons don’t permit a parish to fire their pastor without cause, and the bishop has to agree on the validity of the cause alleged.  (Curates are another matter.)

  • The various news hounds then questioned the Vat press office and fixated on them as the official office of the communique when they were just the ones to back up the official notice.

    That’s precisely the point: There was no “official notice.” There still hasn’t been.

    And I’m not sure who you mean by the “coordinator for Vatican offices.” If you mean Fr. Benedettini, he is a spokesman for the press office, not the Vatican spokesman.

    If only reporting would simply follow the stated facts…

    Again, that’s the point. There are no “stated facts.”

  • If you can get hold of this book, which is one of the best reads in Church history imaginable, get “Dagger John: The Unquiet Life and Times of Archbishop John Hughes of New York,” by Fr Russell Shaw, the biography of the builder of St Patrick’s Cathedral (Paulist Press, 1977). It recounts (among many other things) the trusteeism controversy.

    One vignette tells of how the trustees of old St Patrick’s Cathedral, dissatisfied with their new Bishop, John Dubois, in 1829, appointed as Sunday School superintentent a Fr Levins, whom the Bishop had suspended, and then told the Bishop that they couldn’t be responsible for his (the Bishop’s) salary or maintenance.

    “Well, gentlemen,” the bishop replied, “you may vote the salary or not, just as seems good to you. I do not need much. I can live in the basement or the garret. But whether I come up from the basement or down from the garret, I will still be your bishop.” 

    Trusteeism was a terrible affliction (John Hughes finally, dramatically, publicly murdered it; it’s a story well worth reading and, as the masterful Fr Shaw tells it, worth chuckling over. It’s a great book, not to be missed).  But it ultimately died, and the Church in our country rose on a strong foundation, because a firm relationship of mutual respect developed between the Faithful and pastors who were great men, men of integrity, worthy of respect and… respectful of their people.

    They had a hard row to hoe. They were forever dealing not just with trusteeism, but with troubled priests who were here because they’d courted trouble in Europe and fled, and did the same here. Time and again one reads of their struggles to instill discipline in their clergy. But they set to it and persevered, and we inherited the fruits of their labor.

  • Thatoin them and accuse falsely.  Don’t people reason any longer with the facts?  Is no one willing to say that the facts then show that a man was placed in a virtual prison for some 3-4 years unjustly?  Now, I’m pretty simple minded.  Maybe I just don’t have the imagination others seem to have about this case, but does it occur to anyone that a great injustice may have been done to the man?  If there is more evidence with some substance, then bring it on.

  • “…even with the corrupted group of 9 original accusers along with the others they even asked to join them and accuse falsely.”

    Wow—game, set, match. What is the point if we know they’re corrupt. How many of them have you interviewed, Chris? What are the new charges?

    I’ve interviewed four extensively. These are good men, who were trapped in a group that had Church approval, no mechanism for real discernment, and a closed methodology squelching any discomfort. All will out soon, I am confident.

  • Wow girls who are working w/ RC and living with the Consecrated are told that if they arrive at the airport early enough to get an earlier flight they are to LIE and say they were supposed to be booked on the earlier flight and try to get the airline to change. This is just one of 1000s of examples. That is the way I have seen RC operate and it bespeaks problems and a lack of integrity.

  • I don’t think you can call it evil when the Msgr was guilty of a crime that should be a capital offense.  Just a little Old Testament justice is all.  Perverts used to get life imprisonment or at least monastery imprisonment for the rest of their miserable lives. Now they get to go on “ministering”.  Sadly I have not heard that the Msgr is facing charges for solicitation, etc.

  • Justice should be meted out by the appropriate authority, not by anyone on the street. This is why we have a justice system and don’t just let the victims’ relatives hunt down the perps.

    It’s one thing to have justified anger, but let’s tone down the combox chest-pumping a little bit, shall we? It’s not becoming of any of us.

  • And also, there’s a general Rough Justice sense when this sort of thing happens to someone soliciting public sex that criminal prosecution for the initial offense would just be piling on, “he suffered enough,” etc.

  • Mary, I’ve never mentioned a thing about RC now have I?  That’s what I mean about projecting all kinds of things on others with no basis.  I have never defended the movement, as you toss out there.  I have only spoken to the facts of the case against Fr. Maciel….period.  I haven’t made them up…I haven’t added on to them.  I’ve only given bases for reasonable doubt about the accusations against the man….scientific proof, recanting by an original accuser, statements by others asked to lie, etc.  You want to obfuscate, then I’m not interested in your presumptions. 

    Chris K, who is going to look dumb?

    And it looks like you didn’t quite get that either.  I said that with all the activity by the Vatican, IF they are conducting some ongoing investigation while making a statement that there is no canonical process seen even in the future, that they must be pretty stupid and will look dumb.  Guess you didn’t read me correctly there either.  I could fill pages of comments with anecdotal stories with criticisms from persons involved with just about every order that has ever existed with the same twists against unreasonable measures as seen by such folks.  Most of these people did not have a vocation to such a life and became happily married.  I remember a friend who decided to leave the novitiate of a local order….was then hurriedly taken to a separate out building, given her things and nothing was ever mentioned to the other girls; no allowances for goodbyes, etc.  They could never look up at one another when meeting in hallways, etc.  Today considered silly, or immature or just unreasonable.  Yet this same order did a complete turn around and is today very open and liberal.  And they are now a dying group with no vocations except importing a few from Viet Nam and joining with other mother houses to make their numbers appear to still be reasonable.  There are stories by very independent personality types who could not take being mistakenly accused of something they did not do and being humiliated before the others and left to run independent businesses…never had real vocation…while the other men withstanding the same situations are today happy priests.  So, again, please don’t accuse me of being a member of this or that since I never spoke to that subject.

    And Dom,  I was only quoting the above Allen article when I spoke to:
    which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status

    He mentioned the official status.  It apparently wasn’t just something on letterhead.  I’m no expert on the workings of the governing rules of the Vatican offices, but I wouldn’t exactly compare that territory with our defense dept., etc.  And Sodano may, as I said before, have been asked to execute the activity while the head of the CDF is not yet in place since he is said to coordinate activities.  I don’t think these facts are unreasonable to consider.  Allen was the one who apparently connected some form of officialdom to the seal of the Vatican.  I don’t know for certain, but neither do I think that others here know for certain.

  • “And it looks like you didn particular case against Fr. Maciel.  Those facts back up what LCs’ current statement said originally.  The reportage was what developed the murkiness.  Place the blame where it belongs.  I don’t reply to demands to people who appear to relish in accusations rather than admitting first to evidence.  No one has replied to my original question of dismay that, with the facts of the investigations so far, people have not put forth the possibility (probability) that a man has had his reputation ruined by false accusations.  She could not logically put things together so she screams “satisfy me”.  So, if you are so convinced that now I too am part of some conspiracy within good willed RCs, go find the evidence.  I’m beginning to understand just how someone who is constantly asked to prove some negative gets to feeling.  I have been honest.  Read my replies.  Mary seems to think that there cannot exist someone who may be quite objectively looking at the evidence and coming to a conclusion without either personal animus or affection.  Hopefully if I am ever unjustly accused I’ll be fortunate enough to have a jury made up of such objectivity.  What a paranoid bunch!

  • When you give something away, you give something away.  Therefore, be forewarned and keep your wits about you before you give things away.  You might want to consider where the money will ultimately go…..basic advice.

  • CS, it sure the heck didn’t sound like it.

    Mary, one pop in the nose doesn’t fit the circumstances.  A priest who grabs a kid by the genitals deserves to be curb-kicked til the kid stops panicking.  He’d ought to be thankful they stopped when they did. 

    Sorry, Father, but the sheer number of criminal priestly abuse cases in Boston have caused this situation.  Did you see the statistics?  The risk is simply too high to support someone who is accused—sorry, no insurance company will cover a risk like that.  If they don’t clean up the priesthood, you guys are going to be preaching out of tents because it’s all you’ll have left after the lawyers get done with you.


  • Chris, I have not screamed anything, believe me you haven’t heard me scream. I have reserved judgment on Fr. Maciel and am happy that an investigation is being done.  Hopefully the truth will come out and he will be exonerated or action will be taken to ensure justice.  If this is what you have learned from RC, attack, counterattack, shift blame, deny everything, admit nothing then you have been a very apt pupil.  It is your refusal to admit that an investigation should take place and you unwillingness to believe that there is any reason for an investigation that have made me believe you are a member of RC or have as family member involved.  Since you refuse to state that either yes, you are a member or a family member is a involved I question your objectivity.

  • If this is what you have learned from RC, attack, counterattack, shift blame, deny everything, admit nothing then you have been a very apt pupil.

    You continue to live in the la la land of no basis in fact followed illogically with false accusations. (the operative word here, Mary, was “false” – get it…2 follows 1, etc.).  BTW, a very long and tedious investigation (3-4 years…didn’t make an impression?) has taken place with virtual imprisonment of the accused.  Remember that itsy bitsy little fact along with its findings and evidence?  So then, Mary, you personally know for a fact that an investigation is still currently being done as well.  Better notify the LCs.  What connections you must have yourself!

  • Imprisonment of the accused?? Are you serious? A man who has jetted around the world and lived like a king (who certainly doesn’t follow the statutes of his own congregation) is imprisoned? WHERE?

    If there is a self-imposed exile due to the embarrassment is has caused (or scandal) then that is his own doing. He eats well, is waited on hand and foot, is living in enormous comfort, and has only to wiggle his finger and Card. Sodano will obfuscate as necessary. Give me a break!

  • Since I live in the Cleveland Diocese—home of the Bishop Pilla Please Resign blog so you know we have a problem here—this question of who owns the churches is becoming personally relevant.

    I and my family have been through the process of changing parishes when our former parish became so liberal we could no longer in good conscience attend Mass.  The process that was so destructive at that parish began with a “survey” and a program for groups that met in homes—modeled, I presume, on the concept of home churches.

    Now at our new parish, the “survey” for “time, talent, and treasure” was announced last Sunday by a woman, from the pulpit, immdiately after the homily, and the horrors we have been through once came screaming back at me.  I am looking at alternatives in preparation for the inevitable flight if this goes as it did before.  There are not many choices.

    Our Latin Mass community, if you want to call it that, consists of about 30 people who attend the two Latin Masses held each month at an inner city church.  Obviously this is not an option.  I’ve been talking to my husband about the Byzantine Rite.  He is not receptive.  I spoke with my daughter about it, and she took one look at the picture of the church’s iconostasis and concluded they worship false gods.  Nothing I said to try to explain what she was looking at had any impact.

    There is the SSPX chapel.

    My husband gets annoyed when I contribute to our parish because he has been seeing the drift for some time.  I’ve been making excuses, until last Sunday’s survey announcement.  I can no longer ignore the obvious.

    What does a Catholic do in this situation? 

  • qsk, you also need to review the facts of the 3-4 year original investigation with the group of 9 originals (then minus the one who recanted) and the others who made statements that they were asked to accuse falsely by this group.  During all of this time….for years, Fr. Maciel was placed in a virtual prison.  Let’s not continue to make up things.  Just follow the time line.  Please read Allen’s latest report (today’s Word from Rome) laying out in chronological order the official communique, the press office’s back up, the inaccurate spin by the Regain folks, the general accuracy of the statements made by the LCs with proper authorization, and the refuting of your accusation that C. Sodano said anything that wasn’t true.

  • John Allen said nothing of the sort. He said that the anonymous memo that the Legion was touted “From the Vatican” was actually from their long-time benefactor, Sodanos’ office. The Legion responded with a statement so ridiculously naive, that one should be stupified: “what difference does it make which office?”

    Dom pointed out (as did Allen) that the SofS has nothing to do with the CDF, and in fact has never been in the loop about the investigation—so why would the memo originate there? When, in the history of CDF, have they EVER spoken through the press office or the SofS? Never. It doesn’t add up—signature or no signature.

    What does add up is the essence of recruiting to the summer programs, the candidacy programs, the camps, the retreats, and the school enrollment decisions for the fall. The move smacks of covering up to save their [temporary] skins.

    I am at total peace, knowing all is on track and trusting in the integrity of Benedict. Our conversation is moot, since those in charge are doing what they are supposed to—finally. Soon we will all know the outcome.

  • YOU ATTEND THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AT THE SSPX CHAPEL !  We in Poughkeepsie NY, have been “co-existing” with the Novus Ordo at our little church. It has been a nightmare. Oil and water do not mix ! We had the honor of having a well known priest who is the editor of a well known traditional magazine as our priest. Our “shepherd”, Edward Cardinal Egan, lifted this holy priest’s faculties. His crime, I assume is that he is a Roman Catholic priest.
    The church seems to be set up the same as politics: if you are liberal, you can find a liberal parish, if conservative you’ll find a conservative one. You can have clown masses, magic masses, polka masses etc. The only thing you cannot have is the traditional Roman Catholic Mass without “restrictions” said by a traditional Roman Catholic priest. You have access to just such a Mass and priest at the SSPX chapel—GO THERE !

  • I’m reminded of a bunch of little ol’ ladies peering out from behind their curtains at a house with some kind of activity going on inside.

    C’mon let’s all just wait and see. Far as I know, the LC and RC are faithful followers of the Magisterium and do a lot of good work. Why the panting rage? Whether Maciel is innocent—and he well may be—or guilty, some folks may have a lot of gossip to answer for.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • The matter of schism is also a concern when considering visiting an Orthodox church.  But what is a better choice schism or heresy?  I really don’t know how to abide either one.

  • Attending liturgy with a group in formal schism, whose members have been excommunicated (SSPX), is certainly worse than attending mass at your own canonical parish, even if there are liturgical abuses.  The Byzantine Rite parish is also a much better option – they are not an Orthodox church: they are in communion with Rome and are fully Catholic.

  • Is one kind of sin better than another?

    Actually yes.  Venial sin is better than mortal sin.  Also the Church has singled out some sins as being worse.  See CCC 1867 where you will find “sins that cry to heaven.”

    On whether schism or heresy are worse, though, I haven’t found an authoritative source that addresses it yet.

  • Carrie,

    My family and I have had our share of Masses such as you describe.  My solution (and it was the only thing I could come up with), was to sit in the back of the church and simply walk out during the homily.  I would stand outside the church building and pray a Rosary.  Then I would go back in at the Offertory.

    The other thing we have done as a family is to go to Mass in a foreign language.  Doesn’t matter which one, just make it one you can’t understand.  You would be surprized at how inoffensive those homilies can be if you have no idea what the priest is talking about.  Of course, half the time I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about when it’s in English, but that’s another story…..

  • Interesting solutions, Monica2.  Ones I had never thought of.

    Sadly my pastor is almost always orthodox in his homilies and in his running of the parish.  I don’t know where this new lay involvement in “programs” is coming from, exactly.  Perhaps the laity have put too much pressure on him and he has decided to cave in.  It could be that he thinks the programs will go nowhere in our parish, and so rather than fight, he has decided to let them discover that for themselves.  Or perhaps he is getting flack from the bishop. 

    “Programs” are the bane of American Catholicism.  What we need is more orthodox ordinations, not a bunch of laity running around playing priest.

  • Seems to me that both heresy and schism aren’t just sins, but MORTAL sins, and so which one is worse is of minimal importance.

    Schism with full knowledge, however, is necessarily heresy of a kind. (Simply, it fails the creed test—specifically the ‘one’ and ‘apostolic’ Church part.)  See the Catholic Encylopedia entry:

    But as St. Jerome remarks, practically and historically, heresy and schism nearly always go hand in hand; schism leads almost invariably to denial of the papal primacy.

  • People who attend the SSPX chapels are not in schism, unless they have a schismatic mentality. Rome has spoken clearly on this issue.  Remember the Hawaii 7? the Bishop tried to get a group of 7 Traditionalists excommunicated for attending Mass at an SSPX chapel and Rome overturned it.

  • From what I understand, the Hawaii Six were not excommunicated because they only attended an unauthorized mass, which was not in an SSPX chapel and the lay persons were not SSPX.  Therefore, canonically, no schism.  Again, I’ve only heard about this after the fact, but that is what was explained to me.

    Rome is clear on the subject, though, you’re right: see Ecclesia Dei:
    Hence such disobedience – which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy – constitutes a schismatic act.


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

    etc etc.

    Formal adherence, of course, includes full knowledge, which SSPX has unfortunately been doing everything it can to cloud.  But there’s no pull in the punch of that Apostolic Letter.  Souls are being put at risk through persistent adherence to schism.

  • “Schism, therefore, is usually mixed, in which case, considered from a moral standpoint, its perversity is chiefly due to the heresy which forms part of it. In its other aspect and as being purely schism it is contrary to charity and obedience; to the former, because it severs the ties of fraternal charity, to the latter, because the schismatic rebels against the Divinely constituted hierarchy. However, not every disobedience is a schism; in order to possess this character it must include besides the transgression of the commands of superiors, denial of their Divine right to command.”
    This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Please re-read the last sentence. Now, will someone who claims the SSPX is schismatic please show me where Archbishop Leverbre ever stated that the Pope does not have a Divine right to command. Blind obedience is the reason the Church is in such a state (of emergency). D. Von Hildebrand states”Obedience presupposes orthodoxy.” In other words, if we are obedient to those who are disobedient, we sin against obedience by excess.

  • Persistent disobedience to a direct order falling peculiarly under papal authority, including the ordination of priests, is schismatic. Period.

    Insisting that the Novus Ordo is invalid is denial of the authority of the Magesterium.  The Tridentine Mass was established far past the apostolic age.  If anyone were to demand that it was invalid and therefore be rescinded and the older Masses kept in place, they would have been doing the same thing.

    In either case, the pope has the specific authority to excommunicate, suspend ordination priviledges, defrock, etc. and used such authority in the case of SSPX.  So it comes down to this: does one accept the divine authority residing in the See of Peter to shepherd the flock—or not?

  • “The thing I cannot seem to accept in so many of the comments in various blogs about this is the rather raw actual hatred for Fr. Maciel…”

    I have seen no “hatred” of Fr. Maciel. I have seen a group of adult Catholics who believe that 8 men (including one priest in active duty) and another 20 priests with apparently new information, should have their rights defended canonically. I see a group of people who, if the charges are indeed true (something the RC people aren’t equipped to deal with!!!), have lived a nightmare for years. And if this alleged pedarasty includes others in the Legion (which it almost certainly would), then we have an enormous lie being promulgated by years by the L of C propaganda machine.  I guess we will find out soon enough.

    “even with the corrupted group of 9 original accusers”

    Are you the canonical trial judge. Sure seems like an uncharitable thing to say.

    “along with the others they even asked to join them and accuse falsely.”

    According to one guy on his “death bed”? Wonder how this “retraction” was coerced?

    “Dond down the regulations concerning trustees, including that they would be completely subject to the bishop.


    2005-05-26 08:25:14
    2005-05-26 12:25:14

    2005-05-26 10:26:09
    2005-05-26 14:26:09
    Trusteeism isn’t really a heresy; it’s just a legal arrangement about how property is held under civil law.  It’s still in place here and there in the US, more among Eastern Catholics than in the Roman dioceses. 

    If the deeds to these properties were held by actual groups of trustees, they could make an effective case, but for now, these lawsuits are just a delaying tactic to prevent the Archdiocese from quickly throwing people out of occupied churches.

  • My Dear “Papist”,
    You are under the impression that the Pope is the head of the Church. He is not ! His authority is limited. The Head of the Church is Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Pope must be obedient to Our Lord, PERIOD. If he is not, everyone subject to him must resist him, as St. Paul resisted St.Peter. If, for example, he were to say “From this moment on it is my will that the matter of the Sacrament of Baptism will be Guinness Stout”, must he be obeyed?

    How many Catholics today understand that the Mass is primarily a sacrifice? Most, I’m sure would say(with our “separated brethern”)that it is the Lord’s Supper-and would reject any comparison to Calvary. Now, did I or anyone in the SSPX state the Novus Ordo is invalid ? What we (and I am not a member of SSPX)say along with Cardinal Ottaviani is that it is a “departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass.” It leads to error, and it should be a safeguard from error ! The “Tridentine Mass” does in fact, go back to the apostolic age- it has developed organically as circumstances have allowed. Before becoming Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger admitted this and the mistake that we(the Council) made in inventing a liturgy that did not develop organically. As we all know it was the brainstorm of a Freemason and a group of Protestant “observers” !
    Yours in Christ the King,
    Denis G.


  • If a pope were to say that the matter of the sacrament of baptism would be Guinness Stout that would be a violation of the basic understanding of the sacrament and invalidate it. Under the doctrine of papal infallibility, he cannot do so and thus your proposal denies that dogma.

    Similarly, if the ritual of the Mass as promulgated and approved by the Pope and ordinary Magisterium is in error, that would deny their infallibility.

    The first Vatican council affirmed that the pope and the whole body of bishops in union with him are infallible in matters of faith and morals. This applies.

    Evidently, Cardinal Ottaviani and the SSPX, on the other hand, are in fact infallible and thus to be believed over the last four popes. Who knew?

    The current form of the Mass of the Latin rite may not be perfect or even very good, but that’s a long way from saying that it is in error, which is just a way of avoiding saying that it is invalid.

    If the Eucharist is confected at the Mass, then the Mass is valid, even if the form of the could be improved. However, I’m sick and tired of people declaring that going back to the Tridentine version is the only possibility.

    What is more likely to happen is that neither the Tridentine nor the current Novus Ordo will be the Mass of the future, but that a new form that takes into account both the strengths and weakness of the previous forms (and there certainly are weaknesses in the Tridentine) will be brought forth, God willing.

  • Please read again what I wrote: “If, for example, he were to say “From this moment on it is my will that the matter of the Sacrament of Baptism will be Guinness Stout”, must he be obeyed?  MY WILL- In other words he would not be speaking ex cathadra as the Pope, but would be speaking as Joseph Ratzinger,private theologian. But of course how many would make that distinction.
    I also never said the Novus Ordo was “in error” I said it leads to error and it does.
    You say ” If the Eucharist is confected at the Mass, then the Mass is valid”, could not the Eucharist be confected at a Black Mass ? Would the Black Mass then be valid? It appears from what you have written that you believe the most important part of the Mass is receiving Holy Communion. Yes, it is important;however THE most important aspect of Mass is to offer to God the Father the Spotless Victim (and ourselves with Him). Maybe we should stop thinking of ourselves and our needs, even if it be a “valid Eucharist” and humble ourselves before our Creator and find out what He requires? 

  • Please read again what I wrote: thout a difference. A pope cannot teach something of his will apart from the protection of the Holy Spirit. By the doctrine of infallibility he would be prevented from teaching at all. He simply cannot teach error.

    I also never said the Novus Ordo was today. We must hold firm to Holy Tradition and reject ALL innovations.

    signing off for now/
    Yours in Christ the King.




  • Not so.  I recall a Pope(just canent_date>
    2005-06-03 16:58:37
    If BloodyPapist would look further(or perhaps he has) he would see the exact opposite of what he claims. If one goes to the highlighted “Norvus Ordo is invalid” that he has highlighted above,then click on “question 5″and if one where to read it, he would find the following:

    This does not necessarily follow from the above defects, as serious as they might be, for only three things are required for validity (presupposing a validly ordained priest), proper:



    and intention.

    However, the celebrant must intend to do what the Church does. The Novus Ordo Missae will no longer in and of itself guarantee that the celebrant has this intention. That will depend on his personal faith (generally unknown to those assisting, but more and more doubtful as the crisis in the Church is prolonged).

    Therefore, these Masses can be of doubtful validity, and more so with time.

    The words of consecration, especially of the wine, have been tampered with. Has the “substance of the sacrament” (cf., Pope Pius XII quoted in PRINCIPLE 5) been respected?  This is even more of a problem in Masses in the vernacular, where pro multis (for many) has been deliberately mistranslated as “for all”. While we should assume that despite this change the consecration is still valid, nevertheless this does add to the doubt.

    An aside to Mr.Bettinelli: You apparantly have fallen into the error of Papaltry. You give to the Pope what God does not. You state:
    It is a distinction without a difference. A pope cannot teach something of his will apart from the protection of the Holy Spirit. By the doctrine of infallibility he would be prevented from teaching at all. He simply cannot teach error.

    The proper understanding of infallibility as found in “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma(Ott) is THE POPE IS INFALLIBLE WHEN HE SPEAKS EX CATHEDRA. (DeFide)One of the conditions Ott mentions and you ridiculed above is :“That he speak as pastor and teacher of all the faithful with the full weight of his supreme authority; IF HE SPEAKS AS A PRIVATE THEOLOGIAN OR AS THE BISHOP OF HIS DIOCESE, HE IS NOT INFALLIBLE.”
    And as to the last part of his post “protected by the power of the Holy Spirit”, as with grace for the individual the church must COOPERATE with the Holy Ghost. The Pope and the Curia can oppose the Will of God. They are not some sort of robots without free will. Our Lord because of the hypostatic union has two wills. What you are propsing for the Pope is that his union with the Holy Ghost is MORE intimate than the hypostatic union ! Nonsense !
    Yours in Christ the King,
    Denis Giannelli
    ps I will, with a little time, document the “vague assertion” above

  • You fail to understand what I wrote. I did not say that the Pope can never be wrong. But when the Pope promulgates a rite of the Mass for the universal Church he is neither speaking as a private theologian or the bishop of his diocese, but is speaking as pastor and teacher of all the faithful.

    Of course, a pope can oppose the will of God. They are not impeccable, i.e. unable to sin.

    You are putting words in my mouth. I did not say the Pope’s will is the will of God or that he has a hypostatic union. Nice straw man you built there.

    I am saying only what the Church has consistently taught: The Pope, when speaking as as universal pastor, cannot teach contrary to the Will of God when he speaks on matters of faith and morals. This is not a radical or new teaching. I believe it is you who is misunderstanding Ott, whose book sits on my bookshelf too.

    As for your previous point, how is that the Tridentine Mass provides special protection that the Novus Ordo doesn’t in making sure that the priest’s intention is right? Intention is internal to the priest. It would seem that no outside element can guarantee an internal intention. A priest could say the words of consecration, whether in one form of the rite or another and not mean it.

    Again you make a distinction without a difference: You may that the Novus Ordo Mass is not “necessarily” invalid, but it’s likely that most of them aren’t. Same thing.

  • You fail to understand what I wrote. I did not say that the Pope can never be wrong

    This is what you wrote:
    It is a distinction without a difference. A pope cannot teach something of his will apart from the protection of the Holy Spirit. By the doctrine of infallibility he would be prevented from teaching at all. He simply cannot teach error.
    This in response to what I said:
    If, for example, he were to say “From this moment on it is my will that the matter of the Sacrament of Baptism will be Guinness Stout”, must he be obeyed? 
    And as for “special protection” there is none. You are quite right that intention is internal. However, in Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo XIII teaches “The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but in so far as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it. A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do (intendisse) what the Church does.”
    Call to mind the “words of institution” in the new mass(particularly the mistranslation of pro multis and the rearranging of mysterium fide). Can you not admit at least a doubt that the “requisite form” is being used?
    I must take my leave, but hope to continue this charming conversation.
    Yours in Christ the King,
    Denis Giannelli

  • I am telling you that a Pope cannot publicly teach, in his office as Pope, How horrible to assume such a thing, we were told.

    It turns out that it was not an assumption, according to the testimony of the youths who plead guilty. The two of them were 17 and 15.

    Gibson told police he and Boyle had cut through the park and stopped near a bench to smoke a cigarette and rest. An older man, later identified as Costa, walked up to them, started talking and eventually offered them $50 for sex acts, police said Gibson told them.

    Gibson allegedly said the man rubbed up against him and touched his leg, causing him to step back. When the man did the same thing again, Gibson punched him, knocking him to the ground. Gibson and Boyle then started kicking him in the head, reports said.

    Costa resigned as chancellor and pastor of two parishes, but remains a priest with faculties. Costa was sent to one of the places they send men with those proclivities to deal with “previous instances of inappropriate and risky behavior.” Risky to whom, I wonder? His health? The young men he propositioned? The diocese’s legal liability?

    With the fact that the young men perpetrated vigilante justice upon the man who evidently sexually assaulted them, both of them being minors, does that mean that the one-strike and your laicized policy doesn’t apply? He propositioned them for sex and made a physical sexual advance. That would seem to fall under the policy.

    If only more young men had been able to resist the advances of the sexual predators, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. I’m not recommending vigilante justice, but if predators knew there was a distinct risk involved… But then that’s why they went for the kind of boys they did, isn’t it? The ones without the strong father presence at home who tended to be weaker or more vulnerable.


    2005-05-25 13:04:11
    2005-05-25 17:04:11

    2005-05-25 15:59:17
    2005-05-25 19:59:17
    I just had an interesting thought.  I wonder what the folks referred to in your “communion service” post think about the “one strike and you’re laicized” policy?  Is this even possible, in their view, given that:
    “Everyone who has been baptized is a priest,” he said.  “The priesthood of the laiety is real.” ?

    If everyone in the laity is a priest, how can you laicize a priest?  I’d love to attend a VOTF meeting sometime and bring that one up.