FSSP German Superior compromises on Tradition in interview

A blessed feast of St. Joseph the Worker!  http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/may-1-feast-st-joseph-worker


Last week, Fr. Bernhard Gerstle, German District Superior of the Fraternity of St. Peter, gave an interview to the German Bishops’ official website.  This interview made headlines on several traditional websites for statements made concerning the SSPX, conciliar texts, and Tradition in general.  In short, the authors of this blog do affirm that good Catholics faithful to Eternal Rome are right to be scandalized by this interview, which made several compromises on Tradition.  However, we furthermore believe that this interview simply revealed further the erroneous positions held by the Ecclesia Dei Orders concerning Vatican II and the New mass.

The timing of this interview is quite coincidental since the author of this post was actually about to write an article concerning the Ecclesia Dei Orders and traditional Catholics’ attendance at Motu Proprio Masses.  That article will be posted later this week. In the meantime, I will elaborate on a few principles and apply them to this interview.

Admittedly, it is very difficult to address this issue because the Ecclesia Dei Orders are faithful in many respects.  These religious and their faithful are often among the most conservative Catholics in the “mainstream” Catholic structures and do possess a genuine love for the Traditional Mass and practices.  Also, there are many traditional Catholics who vehemently oppose any criticism regarding these Orders for the sake of “unity”.  The SSPX and like-minded Catholics are consequently upbraided for trying to divide for vain purposes.

I would answer by stating that in almost all ways, the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei Orders are very much united.  Insofar as the latter upholds Sacred Tradition, there is no division.  However, for the sake of the Faith, the SSPX is required to recognize that there are some grave errors in the Vatican II documents themselves.  All Catholics are objectively bound to oppose these errors as well to remain Catholic.  Certainly unity is praiseworthy, but true doctrine must come first!  To recognize unity before the Truth is to fall into a common modern error.  We see in our universities, for example, the urge to recognize all lifestyles and cultures, even if we might personally feel uneasy about them. Nonsense! This violates the basic Law of Non-Contradiction. Certainly we are obliged out of Charity to acknowledge the good of these Orders, but we must disagree with their position on the Vatican II documents.

Bp. Bernard Fellay: “First of all, all the Ecclesia Dei members understand that if we would not have had bishops, they would not exist. Directly or indirectly, they depend on the Society’s life. That is very, very clear. And now the fruits of their apostolates are totally subjected to the good will of the local bishops. They drastically limit any solid desire to establish traditional Catholic life by limiting the possibilities of the apostolate in that direction. They are obliged to mix with the novelties of Vatican II, the world, and the Novus Ordo. This is the great difference between the Society and Ecclesia Dei groups.”

We have elaborated on the errors of Vatican II in a previous post(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/errors-of-vatican-ii/).  Some claim that the FSSP does not officially recognize all of Vatican II.  The blanket acceptance of this Council has actually always been the official position of these Orders.  Just observe, for example, their full acceptance of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the stated “preference” for the Traditional Mass because it better suits their charisma(not necessarily because it is THE Roman Rite of the Church).  One of the most essential missions of the FSSP is to study the Vatican II documents in order that they might all be better understood faithfully by Catholics.

FSSP Superior General Fr. John Berg: “With regard to the documents with passages that are unclear within the Second Vatican Council, there should be no cause for scandal. They simply need to be read in light of the full teaching Tradition of the Church. Of course, ultimately, these two cannot contradict. This is the work that needs to be done.”

Pope Francis: “By way of the celebration of the sacred Mysteries according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and the orientations of the Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as by passing on the apostolic faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, may they contribute, in fidelity to the living Tradition of the Church, to a better comprehension and implementation of the Second Vatican Council.”

Let us now examine a couple of points Fr. Gerstle makes, as taken from the excellent above-linked article by Maike Hickson:

Father Gerstle insists that for the FSSP, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law is the standard.


Canon 844, §4 allows the administration of penance, anointing of the sick, and even holy communion to non-Catholics who manifest “Catholic faith” (vs. principle 7) in these sacraments.This used to be considered a mortal sin and was gravely forbidden (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 731, §21) because it implicitly denies the dogma, “Outside the Church, no salvation” (principle 2).

Canon 1055, §1 no longer defines marriage by its primary end, the procreation of children, but mentions this only after a secondary end, the good of the spouses. And this latter, as we can see in the light of annulments now given, has become the essence of marriage [vs. principles 5 & 6]: the partners give each other their whole selves (and not just “the exclusive and perpetual right over the body of the partner as regards the acts capable in themselves of generating offspring,” 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1081, §2) for their self-fulfillment in wedlock (canon 1057, §2).

There is considered to be no marriage where one spouse cannot provide the other this help (canon 1095, 20 and 30, canon 1098, etc., cf. canon 1063, 40). Whence today’s annulments’ fiasco: in the United States, for example, there were 338 annulments granted in 1968; there were 59,030 in 1992.

Canon 336 codifies the collegiality of Vatican II. The “college of bishops,” a 20th century invention, is now made a permanent subject, together with the pope, of supreme and full power over the Universal Church. A bishop, moreover, participates in this universal jurisdiction by the mere fact of his consecration (cf. canon 375, §2).*

*This becomes all the more disconcerting when one considers the recognition now given by the Vatican to the Orthodox bishops. Cf., Pope Paul VI:

It is on the heads of the Churches, of their hierarchy, that the obligation rests to guide the Churches along the way that leads to full communion again. They ought to do this by recognizing and respecting each other as pastors of the flock of Christ entrusted to them…”

Quoted at Balamand, by the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, Final Statement §18 cf., §14; Ut Unum Sint §§50-63

These are but the most grave deficiencies; other defective points include the following:

  • mixed marriages (canons 1125, 1127),
  • diminution in censures (excommunication of freemasons, etc.),
  • the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas is no longer strictly enjoined in seminaries (canons 251ff), and
  • general absolutions are more readily available (canons 961-963, etc.).

In passing, it is interesting to note that for Pope John Paul II the 1983 Code of Canon Law had less weight than a conciliar constitution.

“This notion I do not like at all to hear. We are not traditionalists, but simply Catholic.”

This is not entirely incorrect.  As Catholic Truth Scotland Patricia McKeever notes: “…we should not need labels such as “traditionalist” because ALL Catholics should be adhering to both Tradition and Scripture. In the current crisis, these labels have sprung up to distinguish those who go along with the revolutionary changes in the Church post-Vatican II, and those who do not.”

However, I do think Fr. Gerstle’s reasoning for making such a statement is probably more spurious.  Catholic Truth blogger “Athanasius” observes:  “The real reason why Father Gerstle doesn’t like to use the word Traditional is that he would then be forced to admit that there is a serious problem in the Church since Vatican II that strongly resembles the Modernist crisis predicted by the pre-conciliar Popes, particularly St. Pius X. He wants a foot in each camp, Tradition without the persecution, heaven without the Cross, which is what he gets with his present stance. The only problem with his position is that it is not honest, and I think his conscience troubles him about that. Hence the reason why he doesn’t want to distinguish between Traditional and Modernist liberal Catholics. Everyone knows that the divide exists, just look at the devastation in the Church since the latter usurped the positions of influence in Rome and elsewhere.

So what is the real reason why Fr. Gerstle dislikes the use of the word Traditional? It has to be conscience. I simply do not believe that he is genuinely convinced that all Catholics today fundamentally believe and practice the same ancient faith that came down unsullied for almost two thousand years to the fateful Vatican II. He’s too educated a man to believe such nonsense.”

Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”

The Ottaviani Intervention: “It is evident that the Novus Ordo has no intention of presenting the faith as taught by the Council of Trent, to which, nonetheless, the Catholic conscience is bound forever. With the promulgation fo the Novus Ordo, the loyal Catholic is thus faced with a most tragic alternative.”

The Traditional Rite is the only true form of the Roman Rite.  The New mass is not a licit rite and objectively cannot be attended by Catholics, except for passive reasons: http://sspx.org/en/faq-page/what-is-wrong-with-the-novus-ordo-missae-faq5

The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements. 

I will provide just one example to challenge this ridiculous assertion.  Lumen Gentium 16: “In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”  This sentence is both heretical and blasphemous.  The Moslems do not worship the One, Triune God as we do.  Just read the language, if you dare, that the Koran ascribes to those who believe in the Holy Trinity.  Does Fr. Gerstle really believe that this statement of Vatican II does not contradict an earlier Church teaching?

But, in the meantime, Rome has already made here concordant clarifications which the Society of St. Pius X should now also recognize.

Abp. Pozzo, among many others actually in charge of the SSPX-Rome Discussions, are not insisting that the Society accept the erroneous Vatican II positions.

As Catholics, he says, “we appreciate tradition,” but without “completely blocking organic adaptations and changes.”

Louie Verrecchio comments: “I suppose he means such “organic changes” as those concerning the Church’s view of the Jews in our time who are pleased to reject Christ yet are now considered to be one with us in the Cross (NA 4), or the heretic communities that we now understand as being used by Christ as means of salvation (UR 3), or maybe the newly discovered right that man has to practice whatever religion he chooses both publicly and privately – a right that comes from man’s own dignity, no less (DH 2).

Then again, maybe Fr. Gerstle was referring to the “organic changes” that brought about the Novus Ordo Missae…”

Father Gerstle further distances himself from those smaller groups within the SSPX – whom he calls “hardliners” – who “reject the Second Vatican Council to a large extent, for example with regard to religious freedom or as to the decree on ecumenism.” Some of them, he says, also doubt the validity of the new liturgy.

I do not doubt that Fr. Gerstle might know a few SSPX priests personally, but I do not trust this analysis at all.  Just read his remarks on the number of priests who disagreed with the Econe Consecrations.  However, a few clarifications should be made.  The official SSPX(aka Catholic) position on Vatican II is that some of the documents are perfectly fine, some are ambiguous, and some are directly erroneous(such as on the aforementioned subjects of Religious Liberty and Ecumenism). I have attended SSPX Chapels since I was 5 years old and know personally at least a third of the priests in the U.S. District and many more residing in other countries.  I have never known any of these priests to not fully agree with this position.  I have also never seen any official SSPX publication disagree with this position.  This is true also for virtually all of our faithful, even those newer to Tradition.

The SSPX does not doubt, in itself, the validity of the Novus Ordo Missae, but holds that many of these masses may be invalid because of common additional abuses introduced into the rite.  If an individual SSPX priest would happen to disagree on these positions regarding Vatican II and the New mass, he is not allowed to proclaim them publicly.  If there is trouble in this regard, he is expelled from the Society.

For almost all of the Society’s history, there have been conciliar prelates who claimed that a large number of the Society’s priests did not agree with the Society’s positions.  This has been proven wrong time and time again.  One can only wonder if such statements are not made to simply scatter and divide the little remnant.

Let us above all pray for our traditional priests, that they remain firm!  Let us also resolve to always love and support our priests who have bravely opposed the Revolution and continue to do so to this day!

~ Steven C.

Sources used:




FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other






12 thoughts on “FSSP German Superior compromises on Tradition in interview

  1. jmj4tday

    You should cease with this obsession about the SSPX, since they are not a good group. Chicken would be the word that describes them. Fleeing the cross and forming “side chapels” is not the “traditional” thing to do, nor is this approved by God. There is no need for side-chapels. True Catholics must stay in their parish churches and push for tradition there, and not be bound by this scruple that defending Jesus is his House is a form of “compromise.”

    David Martin

    From: Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition To: jmj4today@att.net Sent: Monday, May 1, 2017 4:16 PM Subject: [New post] FSSP German Superior compromises on Tradition in interview #yiv4271516563 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4271516563 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4271516563 a.yiv4271516563primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4271516563 a.yiv4271516563primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4271516563 a.yiv4271516563primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4271516563 a.yiv4271516563primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4271516563 WordPress.com | Steven C. posted: “A blessed feast of St. Joseph the Worker!  http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/may-1-feast-st-joseph-workerhttp://www.onepeterfive.com/fssp-superior-distinguishes-fraternity-from-sspx-eschews-traditionalist-label/Last week, Fr. Bernhard Gerstle, Ger” | |


    1. Steven C. Post author


      This is by no means an obsession about the SSPX in particular. We stand for true Catholic Doctrine, unfettered by the novelties in Vatican II. We support the SSPX because they recognize these errors and the current situation in the Church. Many other priests have also come to the same conclusions.

      We’re not here to pronounce a judgement on all Catholics. However, how can one stay in his parish church when they usually celebrate an illicit rite of mass and are often incredibly accepting of errors and sacrileges(e.g. communion in the hand)? Protesters will simply be thrown out and anathematized. Certainly we must love our diocesan parishes and hope that we might gain them back for truly Catholic usage soon.

      The SSPX is a canonically established order in the Church. All of the various “suspensions” done by Rome were done for political reasons and were not based off of true fault. One cannot be suspended for keeping the Faith! And how are they fleeing the Cross? I’m sure you are aware of how many persecutions they have undergone for keeping their position. Both authors of this blog recognize the need for Obedience, but not at the expense of rejecting Eternal Rome. This is the greatest form of Obedience,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. newenglandsun

    There is though a problem with the intepretations you offered on the two canons.
    1. Tradition has always been complex on the sacraments of the living. Since the only pre-conditions to the aforementioned sacraments was traditionally baptism, there is actually no bar to someone who manifests the Catholic faith to be refused those especially if they have also received confirmation from a valid priest (which can actually be Orthodox, not necessarily Catholic).
    2. Marriage serves a multitude of purposes. Not just the pro-creation of children though that is one of the purposes it serves. But if you say it is only for the pro-creation of children, then you would be stating St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary were not validly married…
    Your theology poses problems to the Tradition of the Church…sorry.


    1. Steven C. Post author

      1. I’m not sure what you mean here. A priest cannot offer these sacraments to those who aren’t Catholic, unless they show a sincere desire for conversion. “It is forbidden to administer the sacraments of the Church to heretics or schismatics, even though they err in good faith and ask for them, unless they have first renounced their errors and been reconciled with the Church.” Canon 1258 of the Code of Canon Law (1917)

      2. Pope Pius XI’s Casti Cannubi:
      Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy when he says: “The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: ‘I wish,’ he says, ‘young girls to marry.’ And, as if someone said to him, ‘Why?,’ he immediately adds: ‘To bear children, to be mothers of families’.” – Paragraph 11

      The second blessing of matrimony which We said was mentioned by St. Augustine, is the blessing of conjugal honor which consists in the mutual fidelity of the spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what belongs to one of the parties by reason of this contract sanctioned by divine law, may not be denied to him or permitted to any third person; nor may there be conceded to one of the parties anything which, being contrary to the rights and laws of God and entirely opposed to matrimonial faith, can never be conceded. – Paragraph 19

      Marriage does indeed serve a multitude of purposes. The primary purposes, however, is to conceive and raise children. The conjugal love between the spouses is a secondary purpose. The Holy Family was an exceptional case ordained by God, in which The Blessed Mother and Joseph were joined in a virginal marriage to take care of the Christ Child. That is part of the primary end of marriage, raising children.


      1. Steven C. Post author

        1. I think a better explanation is necessary. This is Canon 844:
        Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.

        §2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-

        Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

        §3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

        §4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

        §5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.

        This is Fr. Peter Scott’s, SSPX, responses:
        What is the infamous canon 844 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law?

        This is the canon of the 1983 Code of Canon Law which authorizes sacramental sharing with heretics and schismatics. It is the practical application of the new ecclesiology of Vatican II, particularly the decree On Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) and of the new definition of the Church as the People of God, that is without clear boundaries. The pope explains this in the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges which precedes the 1983 Code of Canon Law. It follows from the fact that the Church does not have clear boundaries, that there are varying degrees of communion with it. Consequently, this canon speaks of giving the sacraments to those who do not have full communion with the Catholic Church, as if it were possible for there to be an intermediary state. This is in direct opposition to the traditional teaching, according to which one is either in communion with the pope and the Catholic Church, or one is not at all in communion.

        This canon explains under what circumstances it is to be considered “licit” to receive the sacraments of Penance, the Blessed Eucharist and Extreme Unction from non-Catholic ministers, and under what circumstances it is to be considered “licit” for Catholic priests to administer these same sacraments “to other Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.” This is of course a sacrilegious betrayal of the unity of the one, true Church, outside of which there is no salvation. This is particularly the case for Penance, for sacramental absolution cannot traditionally be given to any person who refuses to embrace the Catholic Faith by becoming a member of the Catholic Church, and for the Blessed Eucharist, which symbolizes the very unity of the mystical body of Christ which these heretics and schismatics deny.

        Of course, there are no circumstances when this can be done, for the heretic or schismatic must first convert to the Catholic Church before receiving Confession and Communion. It is precisely this that the 1983 Code of Canon Law denies, saying that the sacraments can be given in any case..:

        …any time that that necessity demands it or true spiritual utility suggests it, and provided that the danger of error or indifferentism be avoided.

        Of course we know that necessity or utility can never justify such a betrayal of the unity of the Church, and that in such a case the danger of error or indifferentism could never be avoided. [Answered by Fr. Peter R. Scott]

        Has this canon 844 always been the policy of the Catholic Church?

        This canon 844 is a total and radical departure from Catholic law, and even from the Catholic Faith.

        According to the Church’s traditional law, any of the faithful who receive the sacraments from, and thus participate in the ceremonies of, non-Catholics, would automatically be suspect of heresy. (cf. canon 2316 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which gives the penalty for the communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics which is forbidden by canon 1258 of the same Code.)

        The corresponding canon from the traditional 1917 Code of Canon Law which governs the priests’ administration of sacraments to non-Catholics is canon 731 §2, which states:

        It is forbidden to administer the sacraments of the Church to heretics or schismatics, even though they err in good faith and ask for them, unless they have first renounced their errors and been reconciled with the Church.

        A more direct contradiction with Catholic Faith and law could barely be imagined, and yet it is to this extent that ecumenism led Pope John Paul II in 1983, and ever since. [Answered by Fr. Peter R. Scott]

        2. So we are agreed then?


  3. Mark Thomas

    “However, for the sake of the Faith, the SSPX is required to recognize that there are some grave errors in the Vatican II documents themselves. Abp. Pozzo, among many others actually in charge of the SSPX-Rome Discussions, are not insisting that the Society accept the erroneous Vatican II positions.”

    Hello, Steven C.

    The True Church teaches that Vatican II does not contain “grave errors.” God’s holy Magisterium promulgated the documents of Vatican II. How on earth can God’s Magisterium teach “grave errors”?

    To say that the True Church would allow the SSPX flexibility in regard to the acceptance of certain pastoral parts of Vatican II is one thing. But to declare that the True Church, via Her Vatican II documents, teaches “grave errors” is a different matter.

    The Church of Rome assures us that Vatican II documents do not promote “grave errors.”

    Steve C, as a Catholic, I am compelled to accept the Church of Rome’s teaching that Vatican II does not advance “grave errors” as the Church of Rome has kept the Catholic Religion immaculate.

    How can God’s Holy Catholic Church possibly teach “grave errors”?


    Mark Thomas


  4. Steven C. Post author

    We believe the Holy Ghost protected the Church from being a Dogmatic Council. Paul VI defined Vatican II as “pastoral in nature”. None of it is binding on Catholics, unless there is a restatement of something already infallibly defined.

    So then was Vatican II infallible in light of the Sacred Magisterium?

    Not by reason of the extraordinary magisterium, for it refused to define anything. Pope Paul VI himself, in an audience on January 12, 1966, said that it “had avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas affected by the mark of infallibility.” (cf. the declaration of the Theological Commission of March 6, 1964, and repeated by the Council’s General Secretary on November 16, 1964: “In view of conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so.” It never did.

    Nor by reason of the ordinary universal magisterium, because this is not a defining power, but one of passing on what was always believed. The “universality” in question is not just one of place (all bishops) but also of time (always).

    Nor even by reason of the simply authentic magisterium, because the object of all magisterium is the deposit of faith to be guarded sacredly and expounded faithfully (Vatican I, Denzinger 1836), and not to adopt as Catholic doctrine the “best expressed values of two centuries of ‘liberal culture,’” even if they are “purified” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Gesu, November 1984, p. 72; cf. Gaudium et Spes, §§11, 44).

    Last night, I responded to your other comments under the Bp. Fellay post. Part of my response was: “We also find at Vatican II several examples of compromise regarding false religions. One example: Lumen Gentium 16: “In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.” This sentence is both heretical and blasphemous. The Moslems do not worship the One, Triune God as we do. Have you seen the language that the Koran ascribes to those who believe in the Holy Trinity? How is that statement, for example, in keeping with the constant Tradition of the Church?”

    Abp. Pozzo has said that the parts of Vatican II that the SSPX opposes are non-doctrinal and are not binding on the Catholic conscience. They could then theoretically be recognized without having to accept them. http://www.onepeterfive.com/abp-pozzo-on-sspx-disputed-vatican-ii-documents-are-non-doctrinal/

    May God bless you.


    1. Mark Thomas


      There is a monumental difference between the Church of Rome’s determination as to the degrees of submission owed to parts of Vatican II and the notion that Vatican II teaches heresy.

      The Church of Rome, not Écône, possesses the God-given authority determine Vatican II’s orthodoxy. In turn, the Church of Rome has declared that Vatican II, the Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council, is 100 percent orthodox.

      I pray that His Holiness Pope Francis and Bishop Fellay, two wonderful men of God, establish ultimate peace (via regularization) between the Church of Rome and the SSPX.

      I have paid close attention to the SSPX since the 1970s. Although they have some negative elements within their midst, overall, I believe that the SSPX consists of fine, God-fearing, God-loving Catholics.

      However, anybody within the SSPX who declares that Vatican II teaches heresy and blaspheme is wrong. The True Church has declared that Vatican II is orthodox.

      Now, we know that throughout Church history, certain Ecumenical Councils, although orthodox, have failed to achieve the pastoral goals envisioned by Conciliar Fathers. But that differs radically from the claim that a Council, such as Vatican II, approved as orthodox by the Church’s Magisterium, teaches grave errors/heresy.

      The Magisterium assures us that Vatican II’s documents…pastoral…dogmatic…whatever…are orthodox. That is the teaching of the True Church. God has authorized Rome, not Écône, to declare whether Vatican II is orthodox. Rome has declared that Vatican II is orthodox.

      Steven, as a Catholic, God commands me to adhere to the Church’s of Rome’s teachings.


      Mark Thomas


      1. Steven C. Post author

        Apologies for the late response. I had to attend to a couple of final exams.

        Everyone in the SSPX holds this position. The SSPX doesn’t allow priests to publicly voice a contrary opinion, because such an opinion is wrong. Bp. Fellay stated this was the Society’s stance as well: http://sspx.org/en/node/2583 This is why a personal prelature has not been reached.

        The Church of Rome stated in their own way that Vatican II was not binding at all. By stating it was pastoral, it did not define any dogma. In this way, it was not even a council in the true sense of the word. It did not bind the extraordinary, ordinary, and even simply authentic Magisterium, as was stated above. This would not make it binding even if a Pope erroneously indicated thus. When faced with the contradictory non-infallible statements of Vatican II compared to the infallible statements Council of Trent, I must choose those that the Church has really pronounced under infallibility. The Pope himself isn’t exactly infallible on everything, of course. A couple of excerpts from SSPX and John Salza to illustrate my points:

        …”The opposite error is far more common and assumes that whatever the pope does or teaches is correct. This is perhaps understandable since, in normal times, this is in actuality what happens. But one must distinguish: history is replete with examples of popes who taught or did things which were not proper. As an example, Pope Liberius signed some form of a semi-Arian document, and Pope John XXII temporarily taught that the souls of the saved do not see God until after the Final Judgment. Some Renaissance popes led lives of dubious morality. In all these cases, though wrong, papal infallibility was not involved.

        The pope is infallible primarily in matters of faith and morals, and secondarily in matters of discipline (legislation for the Universal Church, canonizations, etc.) to the extent that these involve faith and morals (cf. principle 4), and then only when imposing for all time a definitive teaching. Indeed, if the pope had some form of personal infallibility with regard to his ordinary teaching, there would be no need for a definition of its limits.”

        “…McCall, of course, was simply reiterating what faithful Catholics have always maintained – as the Church goes, so goes the world. But not according to Fr. Harrison. In fact, Fr. Harrison says “If an ecumenical council had really ‘adopted’ such blatant heresy [the legal positivism of Vatican II has led to moral and doctrinal aberrations in our times], the gates of Hell would have prevailed against the Church.”

        Says who? If a council teaches heresy or error outside of her Extraordinary, or Ordinary and
        Universal Magisterium, the gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church. If Fr. Harrison’s contention were true, then the Church would have been finished at the Council of Florence (1438-1445) when that council made a doctrinal error on the matter of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which was corrected by Pope Pius XII in Sacramentum Ordinis (1947). No, Fr. Harrison, the gates of hell did not prevail against the Church in 1965. But they sure did prevail against the treasonous council of Vatican II, for the Church had already condemned the “blatant heresy” of religious liberty and ecumenism that the council Fathers nevertheless adopted in their nonbinding, “pastoral” documents.

        Fr. Harrison goes on to say, “And the Council’s Declaration Dignitatis Humanae nowhere
        teaches the erroneous doctrines that ‘people have a right to publicly practice false religions.” Space does not permit me to reveal the extent to which Fr. Harrison denies what Dignitatis Humanae actually says, so I invite the reader to read my previous debates with Fr. Harrison on this issue (available at http://www.johnsalza.com). In short, Dignitatis teaches that man has a natural right to worship God publicly (positive right) and also a right “not be hindered in his public teaching and witness” (negative right), even if he does not hold the Catholic Faith. This teaching is erroneous because man does not have a natural, God-given right to worship outside the Catholic Church, nor a right not to be hindered from doing so.

        Fr. Harrison has repeatedly confused the concepts of negative rights (of man) versus toleration (by the State), because he claims that while man does not have a positive right to false worship, he has a negative right to the same (a right not to be hindered in his false worship). The Church, however, teaches that man does not have a negative right to false worship. Rather, the State has the right and duty to tolerate his false worship if toleration would secure a greater good or prevent greater evil, but this prerogative of the State does not mean man has any such right to the toleration.”


  5. Mark Thomas

    Steven C, thank you for your reply. I am certain that you did well on your exams.

    Steven, God’s holy Magisterium teaches that the Second Sacred Vatican Ecumenical Council is the True Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council. The True Church teaches that Vatican II does not teach heresy.

    There are levels of assent associated with various Vatican II teachings.

    His Holiness Pope Francis (or perhaps a future Pope) may regularize the SSPX To arrive at at, the Roman Pontiff will determine the level of assent owed to this or that Vatican II teaching.

    The Church of Rome, not Écône, will determine the manner in which a Catholic is to receive this or that Vatican II teaching.

    Should the SSPX submit to the Church of Rome’s decision in that regard, then the Roman Pontiff can advance the process designed to regularize the SSPX. Should the SSPX refuse to submit in that regard to the Roman Pontiff’s God-given awesome authority, then the SSPX will not obtain regularization from Rome.

    The bottom line is that God has empowered the Church of Rome, not Écône, to pass judgment upon the Second Sacred Vatican Ecumenical Council.

    Steven, as a Catholic, I submit thankfully and with pleasure to the Church of Rome. Deo gratias, our awesome Heavenly Father has assured us that the Church of Rome has preserved the Catholic Religion immaculate.

    Steven, God has guaranteed that we can turn to the Church of Rome to receive the True Faith.

    Our awesome God has blessed us with His awesome Holy Church of Rome, which has preserved the Catholic Religion immaculate.

    From CCC, #834:

    “Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome “which presides in charity.”315

    (315 St. Ignatius Of Antioch, Ad Rom. 1,1:Apostolic Fathers,II/2,192; cf. LG 13.)

    “For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord.”316

    (316 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3,3,2:PG 7/1,849; Cf. Vatican Council I:DS 3057.)

    Indeed, “from the incarnate Word’s descent to us, all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior’s promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against her.”317

    (317 St. Maximus the Confessor, Opuscula theo.:PG 91:137-140.)

    Deo gratias!

    Steven, thank you for the opportunity to participate here.


    Mark Thomas



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