Tag Archives: SSPX

The first Ordinations at the new St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary

Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, ordained 9 American Priests and 6 Deacons, on the morning of July 7th, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  This was the first priestly ordination at the now completed St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Dillwyn, VA. The following is a print summary of Bishop Fellay’s sermon, as of now. Pictures are to follow. What a glorious day for the Church and the Society, more fruits of the Society’s labor of love – new priests to save souls and aid in the restoration of the Church. The new Seminary, built to literally represent a fortress, will house, God willing, many more generations of future Priests to come.  The divine graces poured forth upon these men give them the supernatural power to save souls from hell and lead them to heaven. Congratulations to the newly ordained and may God reward them for their fidelity to His Church!

~Damsel of the Faith

The Man of God 

For the first time, these grounds see the tremendous happiness from Almighty God and Holy Mother Church for this harvest of deacons and priests. Who are they, these men? Holy Scripture says that a priest is a Man of God. He is not of this earth. At his ordination, the priest receives something real in his soul. They are human beings, with a body and soul, with virtues and defects. What they receive today will help them, and it also changes them. Philosophically we say that when an accident is added it modifies their substance. It is like this with the man who is made a priest, but it also changes his character. The sacrament of ordination goes deep into his soul, so deep that it cannot be erased – not by age, or death, or sin. The soul is forever changed.

This Man of God is chosen by God. He is a prophet because it is his role to speak in the name of someone else. God has chosen these men to be his mouthpiece to the world. They are to remind creatures of God and God’s interests; these things are always to come first. God is their end and their fulfillment, His Ten Commandments, and His only begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Deacons

“God is talking to us creatures,” His Excellency continued. This Word has been entrusted to the Deacon. He receives the Gospel in the ordination ceremony. Each time the priest reads the Gospel at Mass, he kisses it. We might not understand the importance of communicating the Gospel, but the devil does. He makes it hard to spread the Gospel through fear of the might of the world. We must resist the devil. He is real. Holy Mother Church strengthens the ones who give us this Word. This is a fight to the death against the devil and all those who follow him. The fight is above human strength, but Our Lord gives the Holy Ghost to men so they can fight.
Our Lord told St. Peter that he is to testify that Our Lord is Almighty God – he is to give witness. The Apostles were shaken by this, but our Lord said ‘Do not fear! I will give you the Holy Ghost.’ The Church has always been in this spiritual fight against the devil and all those who spread errors.
I say to the deacons, this word belongs to God and to the Church. Do not put yourself above the Church. Do not try to judge the Church. Remain a child of the Church. It is true that a lot of prelates and cardinals have not been faithful. But the Church is the Mystical Body. It is one body incorporated into Our Lord Jesus Christ. Not one grace can happen without the immediate intervention of Our Lord. Priests and deacons are just his instruments.

The Priests

In the Holy Eucharist, our Lord gave a means to multiply Himself. There is only one Jesus, one Body, one Soul. And in each host, He is completely, fully there. He multiplies Himself through the real presence. But He hides Himself. For our Lord Jesus Christ, His species is the priest, though the man that is the priest is still present. Our Lord is the priest and the victim. There is only one priest, Jesus. Only Jesus absolves in confession. At Mass, the priest opens his mouth and says, ‘This is My body,’ and it is Jesus speaking. These words do not belong to the man; they belong to Jesus.
The only one who has the might in His words and to produce what He says is God. In Genesis, how did God create? By speaking. By His might He makes what He says a reality.
This might is given to the priest when he gives the sacraments.
When the priest speaks, the whole, infinite holiness of God comes through. The priest’s hands are consecrated – they are dedicated to give blessings. It is beyond understanding what kind of treasures God has deposited to His priests. The priest himself is an incomprehensible sign of God’s love. St. John Vianney said that if we understood what a priest is, we would die of love.
A priest is a mediator, a key, one that reunites God and man after they have been separated by sin. The priest repairs the damage caused by sin. When God chooses a priest, He chooses a victim. It is hard to understand. Our human nature does not like it. But a vocation is a call to be a sacrifice.
Every Mass is a sacred sign of an invisible sacrifice. In a Mass, our Lord Himself perpetuates the sacrifice of Calvary. This sacrifice is consummated with the Communion of the priest. The priest is obliged daily to make this sacrifice. In each sacrifice, we priests offer ourselves. Each priest should say, ‘I am immolated with the sacrifice on the Cross. I am dead with Jesus.’ That is the priest that will cleanse sin from the world. To be a priest is something serious. Modern men want to get rid of sin; they have no sense of sin. They want to get rid of mortification and death. But Our Lady said souls will go to hell because no one makes sacrifices for them. A sacrifice hurts.
Charity, which is love, is difficult to really understand. It is gentle and kind and good, yes. Those God loves the most – look at what He requests of them. Who does God love more than the Blessed Virgin Mary? And we know what God had planned for her.

The Sacred Heart

Today is the first Friday, the day of the Sacred Heart, which is a visible indication of God’s love. The Sacred Heart is opened by a lance to show us God’s love, and it is surrounded by thorns by our ingratitude. It is the same with the Immaculate Heart, which is crowned with roses and surrounded by thorns. The priest must be like these two hearts, and the fulfillment of this is his vocation.
In the world, there is hatred of God, a meanness of creatures who are against their God. The priest must win over the evil by goodness. The priest reminds us of the love of God. He is the ambassador of God. When this goodness shines, it will touch hearts to continue God’s work of saving souls.

The beautiful ceremonies of the Catholic Priesthood:

Bishop Fellay’s torch-lit procession with the faithful, the evening of the ordinations, to honor the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima:

 

 

Archbishop Lefebvre’s Romanitas

It is true that in this current crisis, the human side of Rome has never seemed more human than at present.  As a result, the possession of a true Roman spirit may be more difficult to fully obtain and understand. All of today’s prominent errors from Modernism to Sedevacantism only impede the development of this Romanitas.  This is an immense tragedy, for no Catholic can ever be fully sustained without it.

Bp. Tissier de Mallerais properly defines the term Romanitas and tells of how Archbishop Lefebvre instilled in his spiritual sons this genuine Catholic spirit.  Thanks be to God, the priests and bishops of Tradition continue to pass down Romanitas to the next generation of religious and faithful.       

 

Dyed-in-the- Wool Roman!(originally published in the February 2015 issue of The Angelus)

 

An interview with Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais

The Angelus: Your Excellency, how do you understand the term Romanitas?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: The word conveys the idea of Christian Rome while not excluding pagan Rome, which established the unity of the future Christendom through the Latin language and the organization of Imperial Rome; after all, the first Christian princes were Roman emperors. That’s why we don’t neglect pagan Rome or even pagan Latin authors in our studies. It is true that Providence willed that pagan Rome become Christian, and this is the transformation that we celebrate with the Feast of St. Peter on the 29th of June. It’s what Pope Leo I expressed in this beautiful passage in which he praises the conversion of Rome: “From a master of error, thou hast become a disciple of truth.”

The Angelus: You are suggesting first a pagan Rome and then…?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Then Rome became the Rome of the Popes. Once the emperors relocated to Byzantium, Rome became entirely the Rome of the Popes, together with the Papal States. It was Rome, through the popes, that was to illumine Christendom and organize it against its enemies.

The Angelus: What were the circumstances that led Marcel Lefebvre to discover Rome?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Young Marcel was sent to Rome by his father, Mr. Lefebvre, since his brother René was already attending the French Seminary, then under the direction of Father Le Floch, whom he held in high regard. His father obliged his son to go there: “You are going to Rome, no discussion. There’s no way you are going to stay in the diocese of Lille, where there are already liberal, modernist influences. At Rome you’ll be under the direction of Father Le Floch,” whom he saw as a director who would hand on the doctrine of the popes.

The Angelus: What did Romanitas mean for the young seminarian?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: For him it meant continuity of papal doctrine. So, for instance, during meals at the seminary, by order of Father Le Floch, the papal encyclicals on the important topics of Christian politics were read aloud. And Father Le Floch himself was to give lectures on the papal encyclicals of the last two centuries, beginning with those of the popes who condemned Freemasonry up to the French Revolution. The two popes Pius VI and Pius VII were its victims. Pius VI was to condemn the principles of the French Revolution. Pius VII was to cosign the Concordat with Napoleon so as to revive the Church in France. There was also the encyclical letter of Pius VII to the Bishop of Troyes lamenting that Louis XVIII recognized the Catholic religion, not as the religion of the kingdom, but only as that of the majority of the French. It was already the apostasy of a head of a Catholic State. Then came the great encyclicals of Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Pius XI, all of which, in an admirable continuity, condemned liberal errors in politics and taught the doctrine of the social and political kingship of Christ the King.

The Angelus: Would it be correct to say that Archbishop Lefebvre would not have been the traditionalist bishop we knew had he not attended the French Seminary at Rome?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Quite right, even if the expression “traditionalist bishop” was not his language. He told us seminarians: “My life was completely changed by my stay at Rome. If I had not gone to the seminary at Rome, I would have become an ordinary diocesan priest without the heritage of St. Pius X that I received at Rome from Father Le Floch, Father Voegtli, Father Le Rohellec, Father Frey and Father Haegy.” These five teachers transmitted to him the spirit of St. Pius X. When he first arrived at Rome, the odor of sanctity, the virtues and the doctrine of St. Pius X were still in the air, for he had died just nine years before. Archbishop Lefebvre’s life was completely changed thanks to the grace of going to Rome.

The Angelus: Was this grace an illumination? a conviction? the idyllic vision of the Church in its essence?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: The Archbishop told us that during his schooldays he had been rather liberal. They thought that the separation of Church and State was a good thing—not in his family, though! Nonetheless, at school he had not learned the principles of the Catholic City. It was at Rome that he learned that the State ought to publicly profess the Catholic religion and defend it. So by going to the seminary, he underwent an intellectual conversion that he often spoke to us about. He would say: “I was very glad to be made aware that I was mistaken when I used to think that the separation of Church and State is a good thing. I was a liberal!” When we heard that from his own lips, we laughed and clapped. Though it was a bit troubling, for they say that “once a liberal, always a liberal”—maybe the Archbishop had kept some vestiges of liberalism. But we did not think so.

The Angelus: How did Archbishop Lefebvre intend to instill an attachment to Rome, this Roman spirit, in his seminarians?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Once the Society had been founded, first at Fribourg and then Ecône, the first thing he wanted to do was inaugurate a year of spirituality, which he had not received at Rome but later experienced in the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Orly. Among the planned curriculum was a special course entitled “The Acts of the Magisterium.” It entailed reflection and engagement in the battle against modern errors. The goal was to enlist the seminarians, so to speak, in the fray of the popes against liberalism and modernism.

But some of his colleagues did not really grasp the purpose of the course. For them, it was a matter of discussion, intellectual jousting and defeating of liberalism and modernism. But that was not the Archbishop’s idea. For him it was a matter of comprehending the spirit with which the popes had condemned error. Now, this spirit is the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. He always connected the intellectual combat against error with the supernatural combat at the level of grace, and therefore with Christ the King. It was for the reign of Christ the King that all of these popes had condemned modernism. So, it did not simply involve a course on modern errors, but a commentary on the very text of the encyclicals of the Roman popes on these magnificent subjects. For, despite some weakness in their politics, their doctrine was absolutely splendid and in perfect continuity with the Church’s constant teaching.

The Angelus: Rome is the see of the successor of St. Peter. When the supreme teaching authority pronounces something seriously as in these encyclicals…

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: In principle, it is the truth! Even if all these pontifical writings are not infallible, nevertheless the teaching of the pope was obeyed, received with piety and devotion, with obedience. But let us be careful! For Archbishop Lefebvre, Romanitas is not merely: “The Pope has spoken in an encyclical, and one must follow it and obey.” Romanitas is a tradition. A rupture would be the end of Romanitas. In that sense, the Second Vatican Council was the death of Romanitas. Thus the early death of two excellent Roman priests and theologians: Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, who had fought for years and years against the modernist theologians in the fifties in the American Ecclesiastical Review and had written his explosive manuscript diary of the four years of the Council; and Fr. Alain Berto, a classmate of the Archbishop at the French Seminary in Rome, who had been the secretary of the “Coetus” during the Council. Both of them could not bear the death of Romanitas.

The Angelus: The Society has a house at Albano, near Rome. How did this come about?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: The Archbishop bought the property at Albano, which was waiting for him and fell into his hands thanks to an unexpected donation. The evening of his first visit to Albano he was lamenting that he didn’t have enough money for the purchase. His chauffeur, Rémy Borgeat, said to him: “Monseigneur, go ahead and buy it! Write the check and St. Joseph will sign it.” And lo and behold! a benefactor invited him to dinner, and he had the million and a half he needed to buy the property.

The Angelus: What did he intend the Albano property to be used for?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: What did he want to do with it? He wanted the SSPX to have a presence in Rome, in the same way that the Congregation of the Holy Ghost did. He wanted to have a Roman year for all his priests. The priests, after their ordination, would come to Albano to soak up the Roman spirit. They would have classes about Rome, the Roman spirit, the archaeology and history of Rome. And they would visit the monuments, the churches, the relics, and the popes at Rome.

The Angelus: So, then, the priests of the SSPX are not anti-pope or sedevacantist?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Far from it! It’s just the opposite. Archbishop Lefebvre had a great devotion toward the popes, even for Pius XI, who had condemned Action Française. Even for Paul VI, the pope of the New Mass, who suspended Archbishop Lefebvre, the Archbishop had a great respect.

The Angelus: What in fact became of Albano?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: The priests’ year only existed a few months. In 1976, a small group of priests, in which I did not have the good fortune to participate, spent six months and then were launched into the ministry. And finally the priests’ year did not last. In its place, we had a month at Rome. The theology seminarians would spend a whole month at Albano and each day would visit Rome.

The Angelus: There was also a seminary that was established there for a while, wasn’t there?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Oh, yes! I forgot! Between 1978 and 1982, under the direction of Father Bonneterre, there were two years of philosophy at Rome between the year of spirituality and theology at Ecône. For them, it was very rewarding.

The Angelus: Was the Roman month beneficial?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: I did it myself just before the pontificate of Benedict XVI, and I have very good memories of it. We lodged at Albano and we got up every morning, but not too early. (The Germans, more energetic, got up an hour before us.) We Frenchmen took things a little easier, and went by train to the Termini station, then went to visit the great Roman basilicas. We visited many practically unknown churches with Father Boivin for the French and Father Klaus Wodsack for the Germans. Obviously, we did not follow the same itineraries since we did not have the same interests. For Father Wodsack, the object was to show the influence of the Holy Roman emperors, and for Father Boivin, it was to show the role of the kings of France.

The Angelus: Did the seminarians derive any benefit?

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Yes, indeed. Now our young priests are able to lead our faithful in pilgrimage to Rome and hand on to them something of the Roman spirit—Romanitas.

 

~ Steven C.

 

 

For the 29th Anniversary of the Econe Consecrations

Image result for econe consecrations

Today marks 29 years since Abp. Lefebvre invested Frs. Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Alfonso de Galaretta, and Richard Williamson with the office of the episcopate.  This event has always been regarded as a great blessing by those who have truly held firm to Tradition and it will always be remembered as such.  I would even go so far to say that it is one of the greatest days in Church history.  As the Modernists gained almost complete control of the “official” Church structures, Holy Mass, the Sacraments, and Doctrine were diminished in favor of “ecumenism” and ambiguity.  By consecrating these bishops, the Archbishops guaranteed the continuation of Tradition and, subsequently, the Catholic Church itself.

As over a generation has passed since the Consecrations, it would be wise to remind ourselves why the Archbishop was obliged to consecrate these bishops.  Surely we must keep strong in this fight and instill in the younger generations the Truth so they may grow in Love for God and His Holy Church.

The Archbishop had attempted for several years to guide the SSPX into the status of an official Personal Prelature, if possible.  Discussions apparently proceeded fairly well, although there was no doubt of some animosity from Rome over the SSPX’s positions on Vatican II and the New mass.  As the official status drew nearer, the Archbishop began to uneasily observe negative signs from Rome, signs that would indicate a great risk of a trap if he went much further.  One particular area of concern is the fact that Rome was being evasive on the date that the Archbishop would consecrate a successor.  The Pope and many Bishops were also starting to take part in even graver actions, such as the Assisi gathering.  The Archbishop saw then what he was obliged to do: Consecrate bishops without the Papal mandate for the preservation of Catholic Tradition.

Why are bishops needed for the preservation of Tradition?  The answer is twofold.  The first and primary reason is for reliable traditional ordinations and confirmations.  At the time, there was no bishop in the world except for Abps. Lefebvre and de Castro Mayer that appeared open to ordaining priests that rejected the errors of Vatican II and the New mass.  Bishops should not just be open to doing this, they must ordain only these candidates for the priesthood.  The same is still probably true today.  Even a prelate like Cardinal Burke still endorses Vatican II and the New mass(if said more conservatively). This is not to diminish the good actions of anyone. However, distinctions must be made.

Sometimes, modernist bishops will ordain with such great abuses introduced (and with the already problematic rite of Pope Paul VI), that oftentimes we must question whether such ordinations are even valid.  The same holds true for confirmations.  Catholics have every rite to receive the true, Traditional sacraments under clergy who truly oppose error and have been ordained without question.  Archbishop Lefebvre certainly realized his duty to keep the Traditional Mass and Sacraments surviving:

“You well know, my dear brethren, that there can be no priests without bishops. When God calls me – no doubt this will be before long – from whom would these seminarians receive the Sacrament of Orders? From conciliar bishops, who, due to their doubtful intentions, confer doubtful sacraments? This is not possible. Who are the bishops who have truly kept Tradition and the Sacraments such as the Church has conferred them for twenty centuries until Vatican II? They are Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself. I cannot change that. That is how it is. Hence, many seminarians have entrusted themselves to us, they sensed that here was the continuity of the Church, the continuity of’ Tradition. And they came to our seminaries, despite all the difficulties that they have encountered, in order to receive a true ordination to the Priesthood, to say the true Sacrifice of Calvary, the true Sacrifice of the Mass, and to give you the true Sacraments, true doctrine, the true catechism. This is the goal of these seminaries.”

The secondary reason these consecrations were done was for the preaching of the Faith. Although having a bishop for this role is clearly not required, as any parish priest can preach the Faith, it certainly provides a greater influence for the spreading of the Faith. The Episcopacy is an institution of great influence and grace.  Even lukewarm Catholic faithful are often very eager “to hear what the Bishop said”.  The Bishop simply holds a position of great leadership and importance, one of greater authority than the priests. His preaching is essential for the spreading of the Faith.

“As for us, we just handed it down, through these dear priests here present and through all those who have chosen to resist this wave of apostasy in the Church, by keeping the Eternal Faith and giving it to the faithful. We are just carriers of this Good News, of this Gospel which Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to us, as well as of the means of sanctification: the Holy Mass, the true Holy Mass, the true Sacraments which truly give the spiritual life.”

I am pleased to provide below the declaration of the SSPX bishops for the 25th anniversary of the Consecrations.  Praise God, they recognize the nature of this crisis and declare their fidelity and love for the Church.  May they be forever rewarded for their phenomenal work and faithfulness.

 

Declaration of the SSPX’s bishops on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations (June 1988–June 2013)

 

1. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations, the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X would like to express solemnly their gratitude to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayerfor the heroic step they courageously took on June 30, 1988. Most especially they would like to express their filial gratitude towards their venerable founder who, after so many years spent serving the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to safeguard the Faith and the Catholic priesthood, did not hesitate to suffer the unjust accusation of disobedience.

2. In his letter addressed to us before the consecrations, he wrote:

I beseech you to remain attached to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of all churches, in the integral Catholic Faith, as expressed in the Professions of Faith, in the catechism of the Council of Trent, in conformity with that which you have been taught in the seminary. Remain faithful to the transmission of this Faith so that the reign of Our Lord may come.”

It is indeed this phrase which expresses the profound reason for the act which he was going to undertake “so that the reign of Our Lord might come,” adveniat regnum tuum!

3. Following Archbishop Lefebvre, we affirm that the cause of the grave errors which are in the process of demolishing the Church does not reside in a bad interpretation  of the conciliar texts—a “hermeneutic of rupture” which would be opposed to a “hermeneutic of reform in continuity”—but truly in the texts themselves, by virtue of the unheard of choice made by Vatican II. This choice is manifest in its documents and in its spirit; faced with “secular and profane humanism,” faced with the “religion (as indeed it is) of man who makes himself God,” the Church as unique custodian of Revelation “of God who became man” has wanted to make known its “new humanism” by saying to the modern world, “we too, we more than any other, have the cult of man.” (Paul VI, Closing Speech, December 7, 1965). But this coexistence of the cult of God and the cult of man is radically opposed to the Catholic Faith which teaches us to render the supreme cult and to give the primacy exclusively to the one true God and to only His Son, Jesus Christ, in whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity corporeally” (Col. 2:9).

4. We are truly obliged to observe that this Council without comparison, which wanted to be merely pastoral and not dogmatic, inaugurated a new type of magisterium, hitherto unheard of in the Church, without roots in Tradition; a magisterium resolved to reconcile Catholic doctrine with liberal ideas; a magisterium imbued with the modernist ideas of subjectivism, of immanentism and of perpetual evolution according to the false concept of a living tradition, vitiating the nature, the content, the role and the exercise of ecclesiastical magisterium.

5. Henceforth the reign of Christ is no longer the preoccupation of the ecclesiastical authorities, despite the fact that Christ’s words, “all power is given to me on earth and in heaven,” (Mt 28:18) remain an absolute truth and an absolute reality. To deny them in action is tantamount to no longer recognizing in practice the divinity of Our Lord. Hence because of the Council, the sovereignty of Christ over human societies is simply ignored, and even combatted, and the Church is imbued with this liberal spirit which manifests itself especially in religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality and the New Mass.

6. Religious Liberty, as expressed by Dignitatis humanae and its practical application these last 50 years, logically leads to demanding God-made-Man to renounce His reign over man-who-makes-himself-God, which is equivalent to dissolving Christ. In the place of a conduct which is inspired by a solid faith in the real power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we see the Church being shamefully guided by human prudence and with such self-doubt that she asks nothing other from the State than that which the Masonic Lodges wish to concede to her: the common law in the midst of, and on the same level as, other religions which she no longer dares call false.

7. In the name of a ubiquitous ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and of a vain inter-religious dialogue (Nostra Aetate), the truth about the one true Church is silenced; also, as a large part of the clergy and the faithful no longer see in Our Lord and the Catholic Church the unique way of salvation, they have renounced to convert the adepts of false religions, leaving them rather in ignorance of the unique Truth. This ecumenism has thus literally killed the missionary spirit through seeking a false unity, too often reducing the mission of the Church to that of delivering a message of a purely terrestrial peace and of a humanitarian role of lessening want in the world, placing it thereby in the wake of international organizations.

8. The weakening of faith in Our Lord’s divinity favors a dissolution of the unity of authority in the Church, by introducing a collegial, egalitarian and democratic spirit, (see Lumen Gentium). Christ is no longer the head from which everything flows, in particular the exercise of authority. The Sovereign Pontiff who no longer exercises effectively the fullness of his authority, and the bishops who—contrary to the teaching of Vatican I—esteem that they can collegially and habitually share the fullness of the supreme power, commit themselves thereby, with the priests, to listen to and to follow “the people of God,” the new sovereign. This represents the destruction of authority and in consequence the ruin of Christian institutions: families, seminaries, religious institutes.

9. The New Mass, promulgated in 1969, diminishes the affirmation of the reign of Christ by the Cross (“regnavit a ligno Deus”). Indeed, the rite itself curtails and obscures the sacrificial and propitiatory nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Underpinning this new rite is the new and false theology of the paschal mystery. Both one and the other destroy Catholic spirituality as founded upon the sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary. This Mass is penetrated with an ecumenical and Protestant spirit, democratic and humanist, which empties out the sacrifice of the Cross. It illustrates the new concept of “the common priesthood of the baptized” which undermines the sacramental priesthood of the priest.

10. Fifty years on, the causes persist and still engender the same effects. Hence today the consecrations retain their full justification. It was love of the Church which guided Archbishop Lefebvre and which guides his sons. It is the same desire to “pass on the Catholic priesthood in all its doctrinal purity and its missionary charity” (Archbishop LefebvreSpiritual Journey) which animates the Society of St. Pius X at the service of the Church, when it asks with insistence for the Roman authorities to regain the treasure of doctrinal, moral and liturgical Tradition.

11. This love of the Church explains the rule that Archbishop Lefebvre always observed: to follow Providence in all circumstances, without ever allowing oneself to anticipate it. We mean to do the same: either when Rome returns to Tradition and to the Faith of all time—which would re-establish order in the Church; or when she explicitly acknowledges our right to profess integrally the Faith and to reject the errors which oppose it, with the right and the duty for us to oppose publicly the errors and the proponents of these errors, whoever they may be—which would allow the beginning of a re-establishing of order. Meanwhile, faced with this crisis which continues its ravages in the Church, we persevere in the defense of Catholic Tradition and our hope remains entire, as we know by the certitude of Faith that “the gates of hell will not prevail against her.” (Mt. 16:18)

12. We mean to follow well the injunction of our dear and venerable Father in the episcopacy: “Dear friends, be my consolation in Christ, remain strong in the Faith, faithful to the true sacrifice of the Mass, to the true and holy Priesthood of Our Lord, for the triumph and the glory of Jesus in heaven and on earth” (Letter to the Bishops). May the Holy Trinity, by the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grant us the grace of fidelity to the episcopacy which we have received and which we want to exercise for the honor of God, the triumph of the Church and the salvation of souls.

Econe, June 27, 2013, on the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Bishop Bernard Fellay
Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta

(source: DICI)

 

~ Steven C.

 

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

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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/