Category Archives: SSPX

Mass Unplugged

Image result for Traditional Mass

Dear Catholics, it becomes more apparent every day that we are living in a very artificial and “adapting” world, with most of this adapting unfortunately based on materialistic and Modernistic principles.  While the use of today’s conveniences is often not sinful and sometimes even required for our age, it may threaten to diminish a sense of the supernatural in us.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass directly contrasts the modern world in that it is a timeless atmosphere, with everything surrounding the sacrifice coming from God.  As we better understand this eternal, supernatural character of the Mass, we will better appreciate the great and wonderful Mystery that surrounds the Sacrifice and everything involved with it.  Fr. Jordie Stephens, SSPX, explains in his April 2017 letter to Third Order members:

Dear Postulants and Professed members,

In my younger days I remember pop and rock bands doing sessions before a live audience that were called ‘unplugged’. Amplifiers were abandoned, synthesizers were softened, and a more relaxed atmosphere prevailed. Among other things, it was an opportunity for groups to convince their fans that behind the hundreds of electrical cords and dials there did in fact lurk real people with real musical skills.

The artificial and synthetic surrounds us, from our phones to our freezers. It is becoming increasingly novel to breathe un-air-conditioned air, to eat food from the garden instead of the packet, to see pictures without pixels and hear music without microphones. But both in body and soul we ourselves are far from synthetic: we are God-made, not man-made. We are designed by a mind dwelling not in time, but eternity. There is thus always a certain refreshment and invigoration when we encounter objects similarly God-made.

What has this got to do with Holy Mass? Well, if ever it were necessary to get away from the artificial and part with the plastic, to get ‘unplugged’ from the synthetic, it is certainly at Holy Mass.

To approach the tabernacle is to come into the presence of God in a unique way, since both His divine and human nature meet us. Now God dwells not in time but eternity. He is above, beyond and behind time. He is thus no more bound and conditioned by it than was Tolkien by the time scale and history of his Middle Earth. God lives in the perfect ‘all-at-once’ world of eternity, whereas we live in the imperfect ‘one-thing-after-another’ world where everything is still ‘on the way’ to its goal.

To enter a Catholic church, and especially to step into the Catholic sanctuary, is to approach at close quarters this timeless and eternal world of God. Everything in it and approaching should therefore taste of the timeless. Until the 1960’s, every traditional Catholic church and its liturgy savoured of this timeless and eternal atmosphere.

Just think of the timelessness of church objects. Flowers and floral designs; beeswax candles; marble, stone and wood; gold and silver; flowing robes; plant-based linen for altar cloths; sermons on timeless topics; timeless and ancient Latin. All these are ‘unplugged’ from any specific time or culture and are meant to help transport us into eternity.

This not to deny that all these natural objects are touched up and refined artificially. The flowers are arranged artificially, the stone, marble and wood are carved and cut elaborately and sometimes exquisitely. But these artistic modifications enhance and elevate the merely natural, redeeming it. True art always imitates nature, ensuring that the human touch should follow the contours and colours indicated by nature herself. Although nature is not the good God, she is a good guide.

Before electricity, the church and sanctuary were also quite literally ‘unplugged’. Until the 20th century Mass (excluding Midnight Masses of course) was celebrated only in the morning. Without electric lights to compensate one can imagine the semi-darkness that pervaded Mass for twenty centuries. This may be seen in the many artistic depictions of Mass, full of shadows and subtle plays of light. The morning sun is weak much of the year, even without taking into account any overcast days. One can thus understand how the two candles stipulated for Low Mass was more than just for decorative and symbolic purposes. They helped the priest to see.

Is there not a tendency sometimes to overuse electric lights in our churches? Granted, flipping a switch is easier than lighting a host of candles, which is both time-consuming and messy. We moderns want efficiency, and instantaneous light without labour is one more welcome time-saver. We are also compulsive consumers, with switchflipping and packet-scrunching a significant part of our day. We like turning things ‘on’. It makes us feel in control.

Our ancestors, however, saw a candle-lit church as mysterious and wonderful. We moderns are perhaps more likely to see the semi-darkness as somehow deficient, as needing ‘fixing’. So we turn on all the lights to remove all shadow. It is a symptom. We are far less mystical. We are accustomed to snow-white bathrooms and perhaps hypnotized by the sterile and lifeless light emitted by LED’s.

But Holy Mass is precisely a place of mystery. Banishing all shadow and obscurity is just what the New Mass and all its paraphernalia is about. Latin was removed precisely for its ‘obscurity’. The blaring lights of modern English were better, apparently. The revolutionaries applied this principle to every aspect of the liturgy as well as the church itself. As we know, all this removing of obscurity resulted paradoxically in the total obscurity and even eclipse of the Faith itself. This desire to see and understand everything at Mass is a novelty, unknown to Catholics who went before us. To conceal is to reveal. Less is more.

The availability of electric light coincided with the availability of the missal for the faithful at the end of the 1800’s. To read demands light, and naturally artificial light comes to the rescue. But our ancestors came to Mass often bringing nothing but themselves. Even after printing was invented in the 1400’s, a missal would have been useless for most, since only the minority could read. Many of us, however, feel uncomfortable and perhaps even guilty coming to Mass missal-less. We should not be. Yes, it may help us or our children concentrate and not fidget. As I have noted before, Mass is not primarily an instruction but a sacrifice. Neither Latin nor English can clarify the infinite mystery of Mass. Just like those standing at Calvary, the essential thing to know is that ‘My God is suffering and dying for me, a sinner’. We should often remind ourselves that the vast majority of Catholics attending Mass throughout history were armed with little more than this.

Attending Mass or making a visit is to enter an ‘unplugged’ world, the threshold of God’s timeless eternity. As much as possible let us leave the latest fashions and technologies at the door. Our clothes and gestures should likewise be affected by this breaking free of time. A buzzing mobile phone or a t-shirt with an offensive logo are inappropriate in church not just because of the irreverence: rather, they simply have nothing of the timeless.

This sacred space and sacred time into which we step is designedly opaque and shadowy, from its Latin to its lighting. It all ignites our sense of wonder and humility in the presence of eternal realities far, far beyond us and our particular time. May we love and treasure this sacred semi-darkness and dimmed divinity. It is eminently dignum et justum est, ‘meet and just’, that in God’s presence we are unplugged from the profane and plugged into the perpetual.

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Fr Jordie Stephens

Spiritual Director of the Third Order of SSPX for Australia

 

~ Steven C.

The growth of the Church in Mongolia

IMG_0338

Mongolia, one of the smallest countries in the world is beginning to thrive in Catholic tradition.   The Society has just established a parish on June 11th, that four years ago, was comprised of three souls.  Where two or three are gathered for Christ’s name and the sake of the True Faith, there Christ is in their midst, blessing their fruits and making them prosperous, as is evident with the growth of the Church in Mongolia.  Here is the Society’s detailed article which can be found here.

~Damsel of the Faith

1,300 baptized Catholics, about forty missionaries, one native priest: the Catholic Church has been present in Mongolia since 1991, and is spreading little by little in spite of the restrictive politics. A sign of hope: a parish was just established on June 11, 2017, thanks to the apostolate of a priest who only four years ago was saying Mass for a community of only three faithful…

Mongolia is one of the least populated countries in the world. A land of deserts, steppes, and mountains, Mongolia is three times the size of France, with a population of under three million people. It is also a country that has experienced major social upheavals, especially since 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union.

When their independence was declared, only 27% of the Mongols were living in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Today, almost half the population lives in Ulaanbaatar, and about 40,000 more people move there every year.

Christians, all confessions included, represent only a little over 2% of the population: most of the inhabitants follow the practices of Tibetan Buddhism, with a mixture of shamanic beliefs.

The Catholic Church in Mongolia suffered greatly at the hands of the Communist dictatorship. When the regime collapsed in 1991, official statistics indicated that there were simply no Catholics in the country. In 1992, the Fathers of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary came from the Philippines and changed that state of affairs.

But the Church’s situation is anything but simple, since like any other religious organization, she has to renew her registration every year, a process that is always long and unpredictable…

One of the most restrictive conditions that applies to all foreign organizations present in Mongolia —including the Catholic Church— is the obligation of including a minimum percentage of Mongolian employees in their staff. The Catholic Church remains an exception, for unlike almost all other religious organizations that have the status of non-governmental organizations and 95% of whose staff must be native employees, it obtained permission for a minimum of 75%.

In this very restrictive context, a new parish was just established on June 11, on the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity. The Church of Divine Mercy in Erdenet, about 150 miles the north of Ulaanbaatar, was blessed by the Apostolic Prefect, Bishop Wenceslao Padilla. It is one of three new parishes to be created for the 25th anniversary of the Catholic presence in Mongolia.

The community of the Divine Mercy parish was born in 2013, when a Congolese missionary, Fr. Prosper Mbumba, of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, began saying Mass for…only three baptized Catholics then living in the city!

The goal was to accompany these persons in their faith, and not “leave them like sheep without a shepherd,” declared the priest, who at the time was in charge of a preschool for disadvantaged children, run by his Congregation since 2002.

“At that time,” Fr. Prosper Mbumba told Fides, “once a month I celebrated Mass for three Catholics. I remember that once I was accompanied by a few confreres and so we priests outnumbered the faithful in the congregation. In 2013 on Christmas Eve I celebrated Mass with two people and the next day, Christmas Day, there were three.”

“Gradually,” he continued, “the community began to grow, because the three lay faithful started bringing friends, relations and neighbors. Since 2015 the community has been gathering every Sunday and we had the idea of requesting institutional recognition. In 2016, the Holy Year of Mercy, the local government granted legal status – which is necessary – for this Catholic community. This is why our community decided to take as its name  and holy patron Divine Mercy.

Fr. Prosper Mbumba is now the first parish priest, and on the occasion of that celebration, a new member, an adult, was baptized and received the sacrament of the Eucharist.

The parish has already celebrated six baptisms and a marriage, and many young people and adults are attending catechism classes. “The Catholic Church in Mongolia, with its 1,300 baptized Catholics and a native priest, looks forward to the future with confidence,” Fr. Mbumba concluded.

May these Catholics one day discover the true Mass and all the treasures of Tradition!

SSPX Marriages and the Society’s relations with Rome

8c559-fellay-ready

http://sspx.org/en/interview-bishop-fellay-april-2017

In Bishop Bernard Fellays’s latest interview, he gives us some insight into the Pope’s recognition of SSPX Marriages, as well as a general overview of the current Society relations with Rome. As always, a must read. The transcript follows.

~Damsel of the Faith

SSPX USA: Your Excellency, thank you very much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to meet with us. If you don’t mind, we have a few questions that have been in the news recently that we hoped you might shed some light on.

Bishop Fellay: With pleasure.

The State of Marriages in the SSPX

SSPX USA: The latest news from Rome, first of all, regarding the Society concerns provisions for our marriages. What does that mean for the Society and how will it affect us practically?

Bishop Fellay: It’s a broad question. May I recall the background a bit? The background is that, for years, a kind of jurisprudence has been established by the official Church, by Rome, which claims that our marriages would be invalid. Of course, we have enough elements in Canon Law to prove that is not the case. But nevertheless, people who want to break – if I may say so — their marriage have an easy door with this stipulation.

And so for years I’ve tried to see with Rome what can be done to block this unjust, unreal situation. Finally, after different ideas throughout the years – it’s almost 10 years that I have been discussing this – and it’s certainly an initiative of the Holy Father – came the idea of telling the bishops: why not recognize this situation as Catholic and hence give the delegation? That’s really the background.

Now, as with many documents, you have to read between the lines. I think the aim is in the second paragraph which says to the bishops: the priests of the Society, though the Church labels them as irregular, are capable of receiving the delegation necessary to bless or to receive the consent of the marriage. So I think, it has to be read as a new step towards the Society, in fact; not at all a step of trying to get the Society” in the pockets”; how do you say? No, on the contrary, to recognize that what we do is Catholic and telling the bishops: “You can give the delegation even to these priests.”

And what is very interesting also: it is stated that they speak about our marriages. And they say in that case, even if diocesan priests would be delegated for receiving the consent, nevertheless the Mass itself would be celebrated by a priest of the Society. So the fact that there is a clear statement that the priest will celebrate the Mass from the Society is once again a new step in the right direction, saying that these priests not only can but will say the Mass. And obviously in the right manner, so without any irregularity.

So you have somewhere a certain contradiction in the text. It is obvious. It has to be understood in such a way that, first, Rome wants to state that we, in their eyes, are not yet completely in canonical order. So they want to make that statement. But despite that: “Treat them normally as if there would be no disorder.” That’s the interesting thing.

Certainly, you can have different ways to look at this text; you can have a positive or a pessimistic way. But, looking at the Holy Father, looking at how Pope Francis deals with us, for a certain time, it is very clear that it is a benevolent step against us; not a trap, not a bad, hidden trick, or catch. No: it is a will that we are treated correctly at all levels.
SSPX USA: Your Excellency, you spoke of possible contradictions in the text or even different ways of reading between the lines. Some of the faithful who attend Society Masses have perhaps read a different interpretation, expecting to now accept priests from the diocese to receive their vows. And some of them seem uncomfortable with the idea of a diocesan priest, for instance, coming to a SSPX chapel to receive their vows. What would you say to those who expect or think this provision of Rome is simply another obstacle for the faithful to get married by priests of the Society?

Bishop Fellay: I think when we go into the practical situation, it is difficult to see beforehand. We will try to deal with the bishops; we will try to get the best out of the text. We already have examples right now of bishops, especially in Argentina, which is the country of the Pope, where the bishop has simply given the delegation to our priests. Period. And we expect that that will be the general situation. So, the correct interpretation of the text.

This does not exclude a situation where, let’s say, a bishop will be stubborn and so on and will insist on imposing a priest. Then we will have to look into the concrete situation. Definitely, as it is a marriage of our faithful, they have a say. And that’s why I read in this way the text which speaks of “in an impossibility of Plan A, go to Plan B”, which is give directly the delegation to the priests of the Society.

So, if there are cases where we feel uncomfortable, we have to say it. And it’s even in the text. Probably we will have here and there some difficulties, but they are not without a solution.

SSPX USA: Since the document mentions the possibility of local ordinaries giving delegation directly to the Society, and you’ve mentioned possible examples that exist already, how will the priests of the Society go about trying to obtain that delegation? Is it up to individual priests, local priors, District Superiors, the General House? Is there any light you can shed on how, practically, that will play out?

Bishop Fellay: We will indicate to the different Districts the path, the way of handling that case. You may have different situations. In general, as I say, we will try not to handle this case-by-case, but to get to general policies with the bishops. And this would mean that there would be a contact with the Superior of the District.

SSPX USA: Speaking of general policies, in the document that was released from the General House, there was an indication that guidelines would be drawn up for the whole Society. Is it premature to comment on those guidelines or have discussions already occurred regarding those?

Bishop Fellay: I think it’s too early. We have also to see how this text from Rome will be received locally. And we don’t yet have all the answers. But you can easily imagine that, with such a text, most of the bishops don’t bother as it is an opening towards us. And they will just grant it.
SSPX USA: How would we deal with the question of marriage in places where, for instance, the bishops do not want to collaborate? Is there a risk of having certain countries or dioceses where bishops grant delegation and others don’t?

Bishop Fellay: Strictly speaking, we could expect that. It’s possible, let’s say, that bishops would go against the disposition of the Pope. We know that. And I don’t fear that because we come back to the present situation, foreseen by Canon Law, which says that, if there is a grave difficulty, or in Latin, grave incommodum, the two future spouses can proceed. And they must have, for that situation, witnesses, and if a priest is available, the priest.
SSPX USA: So in the event a local bishop would be opposed, is there some recourse to Rome to protect us or is that not in the case?

Bishop Fellay: I would say it’s not necessary, but we probably will look into the question. And we may speak with Rome about it: would it be just to establish in such cases another policy, if I may say? When I spoke to the Pope about the present situation of bishops refusing, he said: “But I can give it!”It was really interesting. Let’s say, as an ultimate recourse, we know that, on the side of the Pope, there is a readiness.
SSPX USA: This may seem like a practical question in light of the recent document, but where will these marriages from here on be registered? Will they simply be in the priories and chapels of the Society or in the local diocesan parishes or somewhere else?

Bishop Fellay: If we follow the indication of the text itself, I think that the correct interpretation is that we continue our registration and we send the notification to the diocese.
SSPX USA: Also, from the perspective of those who wish to be married, do you anticipate a kind of “test” for the spouses we have prepared for marriage? Would it not be strange for a priest who had no role in the training of the spouses to witness their vows and even have no idea whether they are properly prepared?

Bishop Fellay: Once again, I think the text foresees that we prepare, we make the tests, and the local priest is only there for the ceremony, like putting the stamp on a reality which is all ours.

A Step Forward With Rome

SSPX USA: You answered this a bit earlier, but perhaps you could expound on it. You seem to interpret this either as a step towards regularization or at least of good will from Rome rather than interpreting these gestures as a kind of trap to keep us from doing the work that we’ve already been doing. Can you comment any further on that dichotomy?

Bishop Fellay: Yes, no problem. I think that this is not the first step which goes in that direction. I said that I’ve been discussing about this question for 10 years already. I speak about other problems which would request an intervention of Rome, of the highest authority; Catholic acts which we establish and that would be recognized by Rome. And I see that this is happening at diverse levels. The more we go, the more intense this is the common practice.

Which means that, even though there are certain claims about us being irregular, more and more we are treated as if things would be just normal. In recent years, everybody has heard about the power of hearing confessions worldwide, everywhere. And being not only valid, but licit; that is, everybody can, without trouble of conscience, come to the priests of the Society. That’s an example.

Another example is ordinations. Last year, I received a letter from Rome telling me: “You can freely ordain your priests without the permission of the local ordinary.” So if I can freely ordain, that means that the ordination is recognized by the Church, not just as valid but in order. If I can freely do it, it’s clear that this is just already recognized and accepted. So this is one more step in this acceptance that we are “normal Catholics” despite this underlying sense that we are still not completely in order. More and more, this is going on and it’s not the first step. Frankly, I don’t see there any will to interfere or take over, but simply the recognition that what we do is Catholic.
SSPX USA: To switch topics a little bit, though I suppose it’s indirectly related, there’s a little more than a year until the next General Chapter of the Society. Can you say anything about what preparations are underway and what that means for the Society; or is it perhaps too early?

Bishop Fellay: No, I don’t think it’s too early. We can really talk about it. This Chapter is the one which will happen, provided everything goes forward or is still the way they are now. In any case, even if we are recognized before, it would imply a General Chapter according to our internal policies. So if it happens before, or at that time, in any case, it is the occasion for us to look into our faithfulness to our statutes, how accurate we accomplish them, what the failures are, what are the points are that need improvement, what the new questions are, and new problems. I guess that, with this new possible recognition by Rome, this will, when it happens, raise quite a number of new questions, of new situations. We certainly already reflect on them now, but we’ll have to put them into guidelines or policies for the whole Society. In any case, I think it will be an important Chapter and we are preparing, definitely. One year is not too long before to prepare it.

The Current State of the SSPX

SSPX USA: Perhaps speaking even more generally, can you say how and where is the Society growing most around the world? Are there places in particular that perhaps strike you as unique or particularly impressive?

Bishop Fellay: What I see, in general, is a more or less constant growth, not too spectacular. Here and then, a group would just join us as a group, but that is really rare. It’s more or less individuals who come, who join, one family here or there. But this is universal in all the countries where we are settled; in all six continents you find that. Some places know greater or more intense growth: countries like the United States and some places in Africa have that, yes. But there are variations from one country to the other. So I cannot say for sure that for 10 years you really have one which is increasing more than another. The whole Society is still growing and I say, the more we grow, the more we have a problem of not having enough priests to cope with all the needs.
SSPX USA: Speaking of priests, what is the trend of priests coming from either dioceses or religious congregations, perhaps showing interest in the Society? Has it increased or decreased since Pope Francis? Maybe you can speak to their motives and why they choose the Society out of a number of options.

Bishop Fellay: Yes, it seems to me that there’s not much change before and after the election of Pope Francis. I think it is deeper trend than just one person being in charge. There are priests, indeed, who approach us. They approach us to become a member but many of them don’t necessarily want to become a member. But they want to be friends, they want to learn from us: the sacred liturgy, on one hand, but more the doctrine.

Once I was in front of a group of priest friends in Italy—it was about two years ago—and I asked them, about 30 priests: What do you expect from us? And I was almost certain that they would say, “Well, teach us how to say the Mass.” That was not the answer. The answer is: the doctrine. That’s what they expect. And it’s deeper, of course: without doctrine, which explains the Mass, the Mass may be beautiful and so on, but what makes it solid is the doctrine which is expressed, which is coming out of the Mass. And if you have a good and solid knowledge of this theology, it makes the liturgy even more necessary, I may say.

And that’s what you see a little bit everywhere. I see priests who approach us, but not just for the Mass: for much more! They want to learn Tradition. Many of them, when they discover the Mass, are frustrated. They feel cheated. And they say: “These are treasurers, our treasures, and they were hidden from us!” But they don’t remember that level of frustration; they really enjoy Tradition deeply and they want to live it.

Response to the Current Crises

SSPX USA: Your Excellency, speaking of another more universal question, Amoris Laetitia has generated a tremendous amount of confusion and controversy since it was released last year. On the one hand, one could say it’s encouraging to see some wake up to the crisis in the Church; on the the other hand, the pastoral results of that document are really devastating. There are even some who claim the Society has been too soft in their critique of Amoris Laetitia. What are your thoughts about this document and the controversy it’s engendered?

Bishop Fellay: At the time, I wrote to Pope Francis, and we prepared a text to wake up the cardinals, a letter from our three bishops. But, I will not say “unfortunately”–that would not be the right word—but four cardinals took the initiative just before we were about to send the letter. That’s why there was not much noise about it because it was already done. So our letter just remains in a drawer.

In fact, we are certainly doing all that we can with those who raise their voice. I think it is important that people notice that we are no longer the only ones who complain, who denounce, who attack poor situations which are harming souls. It could be one of the reasons why, here and there, I would not talk immediately, letting their voice appear and not mixing mine with theirs. Because usually when we do that, they are disqualified because this tendency of disqualifying us in the modern Church is still very present. And so, letting their voice be heard, for the whole Church, is probably better. And everybody anyway knows what we think and what our positions are. It has not changed and everybody knows that.

So while, and as long as there are voices in the Church who talk in the right direction, to say that one day or another, I would have spoken more softly, does not change anything in the big picture, in the big fight which is still there. That’s very, very clear. And it absolutely does not mean that we would, by politics, in order not to jeopardize a possible agreement—which is not the correct word—or canonical recognition, lower our voice is simply not true. If someone would be careful and look at all I write and say, they would say that I just continue. We are still the same.

And I insist in Rome to say we are like this and we are not going to change. We may be a little bit less controversial in attacking the persons. But our reason would not be just a personal gain. What we look for is the most efficient way to have a benefice for the whole Church. Sometimes you gain more by giving a simple argument than by barking it. You have to look at the cases. We are still in a fight, we know that, and it’s definitely not over. It’s not just for the pleasure of fighting, but we belong to the militant Church.
SSPX USA: Perhaps in conclusion, a simpler question: you’re here in St. Mary’s, KS, for confirmations. St. Mary’s is obviously the Society’s biggest parish and school in America. What are your impressions or thoughts you might share on St. Mary’s?

Bishop Fellay: I admire the work of Divine Providence in this place which was sanctified just before us by the Jesuits. It was the scholasticate of the Jesuits. In the church, which is no longer there, which was burnt, we know that over 1,000 priests have been ordained. We know it’s not only a very holy place, but a very priestly place. And as the first scope of the Society is the priesthood, it’s a good reminder.

And I may say certainly we are harvesting. We are trying to sow the seed but we are more harvesting from the work of previous good workers in the field of the Lord. We certainly admire and thank God for these beautiful fruits of the traditional attitude, which was everywhere before.

 

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

http://www.onepeterfive.com/fssp-superior-distinguishes-fraternity-from-sspx-eschews-traditionalist-label/

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.

SSPX.ORG:

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:

http://archives.sspx.org/superior_generals_news/reflections_on_25th_anniversary_of_1988_consecrations.htm

https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2007-0715-fr-berg.htm

http://cfnews.org/page88/files/59c958e25cf166a089be9c8c4846898d-159.html

FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

https://akacatholic.com/fraternity-of-st-peter-a-conciliar-attitude-on-display/

 

 

 

Bp. Fellay’s declaration against Rome’s commemoration of the Protestant Revolt

In lieu of the article prepared for today, we made the decision to post instead this freshly released declaration from Bp. Bernard Fellay regarding this 500th Anniversary of Luther’s rebellion.  It is stunning and evil to consider that these Church authorities would dare celebrate the actions of an excommunicated priest that would consequently fracture Christendom to this day.  However, we must realize that Modernist Rome is only carrying out the principles established at Vatican II, statements influenced by Freemasonry present in the texts themselves.  God bless our good priests and bishops who fight these grave errors despite endless persecutions!

We must continue praying, as the Bishop implores, for the Pope and Bishops to not delay any further and consecrate Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  This is the answer that God has given mankind to emerge from these terrible, endless conflicts afflicting the world and the Church.  Let us hasten the great restoration of Christendom!

~ Steven C.

http://fsspx.news/en/content/29364

Luther’s private judgment denies the need for supernatural authority and makes unity in the Truth impossible.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther rebelled against the Church, taking a good third of Europe along with him. It was probably the most significant loss that the Catholic Church has had to suffer during her entire history, after the Eastern Schism of 1054. He thus deprived millions of souls of the necessary means of salvation, separating them not just from one religious organization among others, but actually from the one Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, denying its supernatural reality and the necessity of it for salvation. He completely distorted the Faith, rejecting its fundamental dogmas, which are the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the priesthood, the papacy, grace, and justification.

At the foundation of his thinking, which even today is that of Protestantism as a whole, is private judgment. This principle amounts to denying the need for a supernatural, infallible authority that can impose itself on particular judgments and decide debates between those whom she is commissioned to guide along the path to Heaven. This principle, which is claimed explicitly, quite simply renders the act of supernatural faith impossible, since the latter is based on the submission of the intellect and the will to the Truth revealed by God and taught authoritatively by the Church.

Private judgment, set up as a principle, not only cuts off access to the supernatural faith which is the way of salvation (“He that believeth not shall be condemned,” Mk 16:16), but also makes unity in the Truth impossible. He thus established in principle for Protestants the impossibility of eternal salvation and of unity in the Truth. And in fact the number of Protestant sects has not stopped increasing since the 16th century.

In the face of such a distressing spectacle, who would not understand the maternal efforts made by the true Church of Christ to look for the lost sheep? Who would not welcome the many apostolic attempts to liberate so many souls locked up in that fallacious principle that forbids them access to eternal salvation? This concern for their return to the unity of the true Faith and of the true Church runs through the centuries. It is not at all new; consider the prayer recited on Good Friday:

Let us pray for heretics and schismatics, that our Lord God may deliver them from all errors and may deign to bring them back to our Holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Almighty and ever-living God, who savest all and dost not wish that any one should perish, look at the souls deceived by the diabolical fraud, so that the hearts of those who err, having set aside all heretical perversity, might repent and return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This traditional language leaves no room for the confusion that is so widespread today in the name of a false ecumenism. The warnings of the Congregation of the Sacred Office in 1949, following several papal documents, the most important of which is certainly the Encyclical by Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928), these fair warnings seem now to be a dead letter. Nevertheless, the dangers of this ecumenical irenicism, which was denounced by Pius XII in Humani Generis (1950), are immense and extremely serious, because it discourages conversions to Catholicism. What Protestant, seeing the “riches” and the “venerable traditions” of Luther’s Reform being praised, would feel the need to convert? Besides, the very word “conversion” is currently banished from the official Catholic vocabulary when it is a question of other Christian denominations.

Furthermore this new attitude, made up of praises for Protestantism and apologies for Catholicism, causes the loss of faith in countless Catholics—this is an observable fact. Every survey inquiring about the faith of Catholics shows the ravages resulting from this frightening alignment with Protestantism. How many Catholics are affected in the 21st century by what the Church condemned, until the Council, by the name of indifferentism? A fatal error that claims that the whole world is saved, whatever one’s religion may be. An error diametrically opposed to the teaching of Our Lord Himself and of the whole Church after Him. Nevertheless, if someone denounces this error against the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Faith, he is immediately branded as a fanatic or a dangerous extremist.

The new liturgy, too, was invented in the name of this new ecumenism. It has so many parallels with the Protestant Lord’s Supper that several Protestant theologians, for example, Max Thurian in Taizé, have been able to state that it is possible for their co-religionists to use the new Catholic missal. And during this time the children of the Catholic Church found themselves deprived of the most beautiful treasures of divine worship and of grace. Thank God, Benedict XVI courageously declared that the many-centuries-old liturgy had never been abolished, but—for more than 40 years, throughout the world—the postconciliar liturgical reform drove millions of the faithful from the churches, because they no longer found what they expected of the Catholic Church.

How can anyone be surprised, then, that this ecumenism, which is supposed to promote the unity of Christians, makes but little progress?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, from the Council on, denounced this new way of dealing with the Protestants that took shelter under the name of ecumenism. In fact, this very elastic term expresses a general manner of seeing and doing that was introduced into the Church at the time of Vatican II. We are talking about an ostentatious benevolence toward all human beings, a determination to no longer condemn error, a search all over the map for “what unites us” rather than what separates us…. And what ought to have been only the first step in a journey toward unity, within the framework of a captatio benevolentiae [a rhetorical gesture to win good will], rapidly turned into a pursuit for its own sake that became an end in itself; an unending quest for an undefined truth. It then strayed from its objective purpose: the return to the Church of those who have lost unity with her. Thus the meaning of the word ecumenism was changed, the concept of unity was modified, and the means of arriving at it were falsified.

In the past, the Church knew that she is the only true Church and proclaimed it loud and strong, but this traditional clarity has been replaced by a new, uncertain doctrine—a mixture of apologetic self-denigration and post-modern relativism (for example, “we do not possess the whole truth”), which currently leads a majority of Catholics to reject the statement that there is only one way of salvation, and that we have it from Jesus Christ Himself that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but through me” (Jn 14:6).

The dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation” has been changed surreptitiously by confused ideas, to the point of altering the statement that the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are identical. Cardinal Walter Kasper, then-President of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, saw the new definition of the Church (subsistit in; “subsists in”) as the thing that quite simply made possible the ecumenism that has been promoted since the Council. Coming from a figure like that, this is a fitting admission that should be taken seriously!

That, in a few words, is why we cannot celebrate joyfully the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Quite the contrary, we lament this cruel division. Following Our Lord, we pray and work so that the lost sheep might find again the path that will lead them safely to salvation, the path of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

We pray also that this illusory irenicism will soon be abandoned and that in its place a true movement of conversion may be reborn, like the one that existed before the Council, particularly in English-speaking countries.

Finally, during this centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima, we pray also that the requests of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary may be heard. She promised the conversion of Russia, when the Supreme Pontiff will be so kind as to consecrate this country explicitly to her Immaculate Heart. Let us redouble our prayers and sacrifices, so that the promise of the Mother of God may become a reality, without delay.

With her Divine Son, cum prole pia, may she deign to bless you during this Easter season and lead us all to eternal happiness.

Easter Sunday 2017
+ Bernard Fellay

Four years of Pope Francis’ Pontificate: SSPX Press Release

Pope

From DICI:

On the occasion of the anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, the mainstream press has dedicated several articles to a status report on his first four years on the throne of Saint Peter. Rather than quote these incidental commentaries, it seems to us more helpful to reprint certain analyses that have appeared in recent months. Coming from very different perspectives, their authors all agree on the fact that a deep division in the Church is setting in.

During the sermon that he gave in Poland on March 3, 2017 (see our article here), Bp. Bernard Fellay declared: “There are many contradictions, there is a battle between the bishops, among the cardinals, this is a new situation…. Rome is no longer united, but divided.” The Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X is only confirming what the Pope reportedly said on his own, according to the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel on December 27, 2016:

“According to his own agenda, Francis no longer has much time to change things in the Church, for he himself said that he thought that his pontificate would last only four to five years, and that deadline has almost arrived. The Pope’s critics, in the Vatican and outside the Vatican, must nevertheless be prepared for other surprises. In his inner circle, Francis allegedly said about himself:We must not rule out the possibility that I will go down in history as the one who divided the Catholic Church.’”

de facto schism

On January 20, 2017, the Italian Vatican-watcher Marco Tosatti commented on an article by the German journalist Guido Horst that had appeared in the Tagespost on January 10.

Guido Horst, columnist for the German Catholic newspaper Tagespost, does not mince words in a short article on the state of the Church after Amoris laetitia. “A de facto schism,” he writes. If memory serves us, this term was already used in the recent past by the Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Athanasius Schneider.

The fact that at the same time the newspaper run by the Secretariat of the Italian Episcopal Conference, L’Avvenire, dedicates an article to saying, on the contrary, that in reality everything is going well, and wonders, “who knows what it will take to put an end to a debate that seems absurd to more and more Catholics?”, is an indication of a division that is widening every day, instead of diminishing.

But let us read what Horst writes, in his article entitled: “A de facto schism”. He interprets the statements made by Cardinal Müller as a confirmation that “there will be no answer to these questions from Francis, in particular to the dubia of the four cardinals.”

But the answer has already come from Malta, Horst adds. When the two bishops from that island “instruct the pastors of the little insular State that each divorced-and-remarried person can decide for himself with God to receive Communion, this clearly means that each local church can do what it wants. The split is getting deeper. Florence against Rome, Poland against Argentina, Malta against Milan. This is what is called a de facto schism….”

The problem, Horst asserts, is that the Pope is mute. “The Pope is silent about the letter from the cardinals, and thus he indirectly refuses to make a clear statement about how the disputed paragraphs of Amoris laetitia should be read in the light of the statements of previous popes.” And of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we might add. Thus “Rome is no longer an authority that brings clarity, but rather a calm observer silently watching how and how soon the unity of the Church’s pastoral ministry falls to pieces.” And the individual priests who are ultimately subject to all the pressures “are left alone”.

These are harsh words, particularly because they come from someone who certainly cannot be categorized as an opponent or critic of the current pontificate (Guido Horst contributes to the Tagespost, a liberal Catholic newspaper, and to the official website of the German Bishops’ Conference – Editor’s note.) Likewise, the commentary by Björn Odendahl on the German bishops’ website, Katholisch.de, is certainly in favor of the Pope; in it he deplores, as a progressive, the Pope’s silence: “In a way,” he writes, “the conservatives are right: the Pope’s words are not clear enough. He ought to speak up and quickly put an end to these developments that are harming the Church.”

In our opinion it is not very likely that he will do so, thus allowing the Church to undergo a division on a central topic like the Eucharist and Jesus’ words on marriage, a division that is probably unprecedented in modern times.

We think that he will not do it, because what he said to Archbishop Bruno Fort in April 2016 (to be precise, on May 3, 2016, during a conference on Amoris laetitia in which he presented what follows as a “jest” by the Pope. – Editor’s note) seems to us very eloquent. During the Synod, the Pope allegedly confided to him: “If we speak explicitly about Communion for the divorced-and-remarried, you have no idea what a mess those guys will make for us. Well, then, let’s not talk about it directly; do it in such a way that the premises are there, and afterwards I will be the one to draw the conclusions.”

Abp Forte was Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the author of the controversial “interim report” that was disowned by the President of the Assembly, Cardinal Erdö, and to a large extent was not accepted by the working groups of the Synod. And Abp. Forte commented (on this attitude of the Pope): “Typical of a Jesuit.” He added that the Apostolic Exhortation “is not a new doctrine, but the merciful application of the perennial teaching.”

If the anecdote reported by Abp. Forte is true, and there is no reason to doubt it, we understand better the degree of confusion and ambiguity, as well as the diversity of interpretations, caused by the Apostolic Exhortation. In other words, a deliberate absence of clarity that is reminiscent of the secular polemics and accusations that have been aimed at the Society of Jesus for centuries. The product of a strategy implemented even before the proceedings of the 2014 Synod had commenced.

What does the “revolution” of Pope Francis consist of?

In the French weekly newspaper Valeurs Actuelles (January 7, 2017), Laurent Dandrieu wrote, in an article entitled “Francis, the pope who gives scandal”:

As unusual as it is, this quarrel at the highest levels (of the Church hierarchy) is no doubt not the last one of this pontificate: the leader of liberation theology, the Marxist version of the preferential option for the poor, who was sanctioned as such by John Paul II, Leonardo Boff has just declared that Pope Francis was “one of us” (meaning: in solidarity with liberation theology) and predicts other surprises from the Pope—particularly on the subject of married priests. Now the next Synod, in 2018, will deal with the theme of vocations. It is often maintained that a married priesthood would be the answer to the vocations crisis. But above all this is an issue brought up regularly by the adversaries of the Church, since priestly celibacy appears to them to be an intolerable sign of its refusal to bend the knee to the dictates of modernity. Which raises the question: Does the “revolution” of Pope Francis consist of bringing the Church back to its radical Gospel message, or of winning for the Church the favor of the secularized world? The judgment that history will pass on this pontificate will depend on the answer.

“Not to resist error is to approve of it.”

On January 18, three bishops from Kazakhstan, Abp. Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Abp. Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop and Bishop emeritus of Karaganda, and Bp. Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, issued an appeal for prayer:

Considering that the admission of so-called “remarried” divorced persons to the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist without requiring them to live in continence is a danger to the faith and to the salvation of souls and furthermore constitutes an offense against God’s holy will; moreover, taking into consideration the fact that this pastoral practice can never be the expression of mercy, of the “via caritatis” [“way of charity”] or of the Church’s maternal way with regard to sinful souls, we issue with deep pastoral concern this urgent appeal for prayer that Pope Francis will revoke, clearly and unambiguously, the aforementioned pastoral guidelines that have already been adopted by some particular Churches. Such an act on the part of the visible Head of the Church would be a comfort for the pastors and for the faithful of the Church, according to the mandate that Christ, the supreme shepherd of souls, gave to the Apostle Peter, and through him to all his successors: “Strengthen your brethren!” (Luke 22:32).

May these words of a saintly pope and of Saint Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church, be for everyone in the Church today a source of light and reassurance:

“Not to resist error is to approve of it; not to defend the truth is to stifle it” (Saint Felix III, Pope, †492). “Holy Father, God chose you in the Church so that you might be an instrument for eradicating heresy, confounding falsehood, exalting the Truth, dispelling darkness and manifesting the light” (Saint Catherine of Sienna, †1380).

When Pope Honorius I (625-638) adopted an ambiguous attitude toward the spread of the new heresy of Monothelitism, Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent a bishop from Palestine to Rome, telling him: Travel to the Apostolic See, where the foundations of sacred doctrine are found, and do not stop praying until the Apostolic See condemns the new heresy. The condemnation then took place in 649 by Saint Martin I, pope and martyr.

(Sources: Tagespost/Stilum Curiae/Valeurs Actuelles – based on the French translation by benoitetmoi and the blog of J. Smits – DICI no. 351, dated March 17, 2017)

 

~ Steven C.

 

Recent SSPX-Rome purchase rumors are False

Image result for sspx logo rumor

http://www.dici.org/en/news/society-of-saint-pius-x-menzingen-in-rome/

Over the past several days, there have been an abundance of rumors disseminated regarding the purchase by the Society of St. Pius X of a large building complex in Rome.  According to the original article, “The Pope is said to have intervened directly to speed the whole process, via Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Bp. Bernard Fellay (Superior of the SSPX), Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and the Assistant General Father Alain Nély are said to have stayed from January 17-20 at the Casa Santa Marta. The Superior of the Sisters of the Society also attended the talks. Father Nély is the person in charge of finalizing the purchase of the complex”.  The signing of an official agreement with Rome is also seen to be imminent.

These rumors are false.  Virtually everything in the original report is totally false.

Predictably, this “news” spread feverishly across conservative Catholic news sites and the infamous, calumny-filled anti-SSPX message boards.  The Society was this time finally going to “sell out”, as has been prophesied for 17 years and for a shorter period during the 1980s.

For the sake of justice, we have posted below the official response of the Society to this latest slander.  Hopefully this post will reassure those who may have been concerned.  As one can infer from Bp. Fellay’s latest interview(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/bp-fellay-in-latest-interview-errors-are-killing-the-church/), as well as all of the Society’s official communication channels; the signing of a personal prelature is not to be considered until there are very clear, explicit indications from Rome that the Society remain exactly as they are.

Responses from DICI:

An Italian website announced: “A proposal issued directly by the Holy Father is supposed to appear before the end of the month to offer the Society of St. Pius X an official status in the Church.” The “information” was repeated the following day by an American website. And that same day, in a French online forum, one could read: “The rumor is being clarified.” The author of the message said that he had learned “through priests of the Society” that Bishop Fellay had traveled that week “to Rome with his two assistants for a very important meeting.” He might just as well have said that the Swiss bishop, who was in Menzingen (Switzerland) at the time, had the gift of bilocation !

A sedevacantist website, reprinting an article that had appeared on June 17 in Le Figaro Online, declared: “The doctrinal discussions between Rome and Écône are over. Betrayal [and accomplishment (?!)] by the authorities of the SSPX, who knew what they were doing and accept.” [Translator’s note: Careless grammar in original French article]. Whereas a Roman news agency, commenting on the same article, wrote on June 20 that “some voices in Rome do not hesitate to speak about a failure at the conclusion of the meetings between theologians” from the Vatican and Écône.

The two preceding paragraphs were published in DICI on June 25, 2011 ! We merely omitted the dates of the supposed “revelations” that the press served up as an “exclusive story” to its avid readers.

Today they are talking about the acquisition, in Rome, by the Society of a complex of buildings including a large chapel, with a view to an imminent agreement and a transfer of the General House, also very imminent, to the Eternal City. We respond to this “news” in the current issue of DICI, while keeping the conclusion of the 2011 editorial : “Rumors are the reflection of the good or bad humors of those who spread them.”

Fr. Alain Lorans

 

Society of Saint Pius X: Menzingen in Rome?

3-03-2017
Filed under From Tradition, News

In an article that appeared in the February 24 issue of Il Foglio and was reprinted by the news agency cath.ch on February 25, the Italian journalist Matteo Matzuzzi announced the imminent purchase by the Society of Saint Pius X of a building complex including a church in the neo-Gothic style, Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, in Rome. In his telling, this purchase is the sign of an agreement with the Holy See, which is not very far off either. He deduced from this that the General House will soon be transferred from Menzingen to Rome. Based on these “revelations”, Matteo Matzuzzi writes: “The Pope is said to have intervened directly to speed the whole process, via Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Bp. Bernard Fellay (Superior of the SSPX), Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and the Assistant General Father Alain Nély are said to have stayed from January 17-20 at the Casa Santa Marta. The Superior of the Sisters of the Society also attended the talks. Father Nély is the person in charge of finalizing the purchase of the complex.”

La Maison générale de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X.

It is true that the Society of Saint Pius X is Catholic, and therefore Roman, and that its founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, always wanted there to be a foundation in Rome. This is why one of its first houses was the one in Albano, not far from the Eternal City. It is also true that, in the relations that he had with the Roman authorities, Abp. Lefebvre—as a worthy son of the Rev. Fr. Henri Le Floch, C.S.Sp. (1862-1950), rector of the French Seminary in Rome—always proclaimed his romanità. This prompted him to write to Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, then envoy of Pope John Paul II, on November 21, 1987: “We willingly agree to be recognized by the Pope as we are and to have a headquarters in the Eternal City, to offer our collaboration toward the renewal of the Church; we never wanted to break with the Successor of Peter, or to consider the Holy See vacant, despite the trials that this has earned us.”

From a very practical perspective, the Society of Saint Pius X has been trying for many years to acquire a chapel in Rome to replace the one that it owns, which is unfortunately too small. If this chapel, or rather this church, had adjoining buildings, it could provide lodgings for priests who are passing through. But there was never any discussion about relocating the General House.

For these doctrinal and practical reasons, there have been plans for a purchase in Rome, there are some now and there will be others, as long as a firm acquisition has not been finalized. On the other hand, to respond to the “revelations” in the press, there is no plan to purchase a building complex at Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, as Matteo Matzuzzi writes. Neither Bp. Fellay nor Bp. de Galarreta nor Fr. Nély stayed at the Casa Santa Marta; they were not even in Rome from January 17 to 20. Of course Fr. Nély must travel frequently in Italy, because he is serving as interim replacement of the District Superior, but from January 17 to 20 he was in Menzingen. Not having the gift of bilocation, and most importantly not being Econome General, he is not in charge of finalizing any plan to purchase property. As for the Superior General of the Sisters of the Society, she visited the community of nuns in Albano in February, where she took part in no real estate negotiations.

Moreover on February 27 the Vaticanist for La Stampa, Andrea Tornielli, who has information from the best Roman sources, wrote: “Various rumors have spread in recent days about the possibility that the Society may buy a building with an adjacent church, in order to transfer its headquarters to Rome, and they spoke about the complex of Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, not far from the Lateran.

“The complex is made up of a neo-Gothic church built in the early 20th century for the Brothers of Charity and a building that has already been used in the past as an elementary and secondary school, which now belongs to a religious order. It was said that Francis and the Ecclesia Dei Commission facilitated the purchase. In fact, this was not the case: The Ecclesia Dei Commission was in no way involved, nor was the Vicariate of Rome.” Duly noted!

 

Bp. Fellay in his latest interview:

(Sources: IlFoglio/cath.ch/Stampa – DICI no. 350 dated March 3, 2017)

The problem is, once again, this battle of ideas. Is a Church that for 40 years has imposed a way of thinking, this modernist way of thinking against which we fight, against which, or because of which we were even declared schismatic and everything else, outside of the Church; is this Church ready, yes or no, to let us continue on our path?

Archbishop Lefebvre used to speak of “letting us make the experiment of Tradition.” Are they going to let us, yes or no? Or are they waiting for us at a bend in the road, are they going to tell us tomorrow that we “have to fall into line?” To accept what we have been fighting against for forty years? That, we are not about to give up.

So it is all there, really; that is where the question lies. With these new, more open attitudes, when they tell us some things are not required criteria for being Catholic, there seems to be a path opening up. Now, is it just a door, or is it really a path? Is it a safe path? I mean, are we really going to be able to continue as we are? For us it is obvious that this is not the end.

Error remains error. So we remain today, just as before, just as convinced that there are errors that have been spread in the Church and that are killing the Church.

And of course, we understand that it takes time to purify and remove these errors, we understand. Men cannot be changed just like that; all sorts of bad habits have been acquired now; even just bringing back the holy liturgy. We understand very well that it cannot be done overnight. So if things take time, that is one thing, but is the intention even there? Is there any intention to leave this way of thinking that was imposed at the Council?

And we see, at least in the authorized voices, shall we say, the leading voices, that they are saying, “No, no. No, no, we shall continue along the same lines.” So we remain outlaws. Well, tolerated outlaws, and we might even say, in the most astonishing way, with Pope Francis we are more than tolerated, but we remain on the outskirts.

So are things going to stay as they are? Are things going to move ahead? Or tomorrow are we going to be swallowed up by this movement that, once again, is killing the Church? That is the question. And until we have a clear enough answer, we cannot move forward.”

Bp. Tissier de Mallerais(http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bishop-tissier-interview-la-porte-latine-14983):

Things are becoming clearer. During our pilgrimage to Rome in the year 2000, we were charmed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who urged John Paul II to recognize the Society unilaterally. Then Benedict XVI granted us two “preliminary requirements”: the recognition of the freedom of the traditional Mass and the lifting (more or less fortunate, for us and for him) of the 1988 excommunications. In 2010-2011, we had planned doctrinal discussions: in total disagreement! Our Superior General Bishop Fellay pursued the negotiations and caused some worry, until it became clear, in May and June 2012, that Benedict XVI still required as a condition, as he had said plainly at the start, that we accept the Council and the legitimacy of the reforms. It was a failure. But now there is very clearly a disposition on Pope Francis’ side to recognize us without these conditions. We say “Prudence! ” For things are moving and progress is still needed.

Archbishop Lefebvre never laid down as a condition for us to be recognized by Rome that Rome abandon the errors and the conciliar reforms. Even if he did say something like that to Andre Cagnon in 1990, he would never have done so, because that was never his line of conduct, his strategy with modernist Rome. He was strong in the Faith, he did not yield on his doctrinal position, but he knew how to be flexible, patient, and prudent in practice. To achieve his ends, his prudence told him to push the adversary, to harass him, make him step back, persuade him, but without blocking him with conditions that he still finds unacceptable. He did not refuse dialogue and was disposed to take advantage of every door opened by his interlocutor. It is in this sense that a certain opportunism, a certain “pragmatism” has been seen in him, and it is true: it is a small virtue annexed to the cardinal virtue of prudence. Sagacity, practical wisdom, is the neighbor of solertia, mentioned by Aristotle, St. Thomas (2-2, q. 48) and the Gaffiot, which is a skill in finding means to obtain one’s ends.

Archbishop Lefebvre requested with acumen “that we at least be tolerated”: “this would be a major advance,” he said. And “that we be recognized as we are,” that is, with our practice that follows from our doctrinal positions. Well, today we see in Rome a disposition to bear our existence and our theoretical and practical positions. I say “bear” because one tolerates evil!

Already, doctrinally, they no longer force us to admit “the whole Council” or religious liberty; some of the errors we denounce are on the point of being considered by our interlocutors as open for free discussion, or continued debate. This is progress. We discuss, but they have to admit that we are not changing and it is unlikely that we will change. And in practice, we ask these Romans: “Recognize our right to reconfirm the faithful conditionally,” and “Recognize the validity of our marriages!” You see, these are serious bones of contention. They will have to grant us these things. Otherwise, how could our recognition be livable?

It may take some time, but there is a God!

And an all-powerful Mediatrix!

~ Steven C.