SSPX say they will not accept Vatican 2; plus an update 14/9/11 from Rome.

From Vatican Insider

Before a key meeting in Rome, the leader of the traditionalists stressed that he was not prepared to make any compromises and also revealed some interesting behind the scenes happenings…

by Alessandro Speciale
Vatican city

Bernard Fellay

“If their aim is still to force us to accept the second Vatican Council, the discussions have been clear enough in showing that we have no intention of  doing any such thing.”

These were the decisive but prudent words of Bernard Fellay, who was adamant he would not agree to any compromise with the Vatican. On the 15 August, Fellay spoke openly about the talks between the Lefebvrians and the Holy See during the “summer University” of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Monsignor Lefebvre.

The transcription of the public interview with the Lefebvrian superior, held by the Society’s press agent, the Abbot Alain Lorans, was published a few days ago, on the eve of the meeting in Rome between Fellay and Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which should encapsulate two years of “doctrinal talks” between Rome and the traditionalists.

The Lefebvrian superior’s judgement on the discussions was anything but friendly: “They are not beneficial right now because there is a clash of mentalities… In any case, we are certainly not in agreement. If there is one thing we agree on, that is that we do not agree on anything.”

Monsignor Fellay, one of the Society’s four bishops, ordained against Rome’s will by Monsignor Lefebvre and whose excommunication was removed by Benedict XVI in 2009, called for “extreme prudence” in terms of their relationship with the Vatican, especially in view of next week’s meeting, of which he said he did not know what to expect. 

The removal of Fellay’s excommunication, which also meant Monsignor Richard Williamson, an English bishop undergoing trial in Germany for denying the existence of gas chambre and the dimensions of the Holocaust, did not improve the Brotherhood’s position. The Society is not recognised by Rome and its ordinations, which have carried on over the years despite the ban imposed by bishops and the Vatican, are considered “illegal” by the Church.

“If the Society of St. Pius X i sto be recognised, the Vatican Secretary of State said in December 2009, they absolutely must recognise the Council and the teachings of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI himself.”

“People must not believe everything they hear,” the traditionalist superior told his followers. For example the rumours going round about Cardinal Levada making a “pro position” to the Brotherhood to allow it to entre into communion with the Holy See once again: “On what conditions?” Fellay asked himself, “the way I see it, there must be certain conditions.”

He went on to say that “there are those who say that up until now, they (the Vatican, editor’s note) have always tried to shove the Council down our throats. I don’t know. All I am saying is: We are moving on. We have our principles, above all faith… Without faith God can never like you, so our decisioni s made. Faith comes first, no matter what, it even comes before recognition by the Church. We need to be strong.”

During the long interview, “Fellay also revealed numerous behind the scenes facts relating to the difficult but ongoing relations between the Vatican and the Brotherhood in recent years. A figure which stood out was Colombian cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, formerly president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, in charge of improving relations with the traditionalists. Even after his retirement, when the former Holy Office took the Commission under its wing as was requested by Benedict XVI, the cardinal seems to have stayed in close contact with Fellay, keeping him up to date with what was going on in the Vatican.

Fellay also explained how the arrival of Pope Ratzinger on the papal throne “set something off” in the Vatican, changing the winds in favour of the traditionalists and opening the way for their potential reintegration: “However, thinking about it and as far as the person himself is concerned, the mood has certainly changed. Even in the Vatican, his arrival gave courage to those who, calling themselves conservatives, were forced to hide.”

Still, with the revocation of excommunications and the Williamson case in 2009, relations “became more tense”: in June that year, Fellay claims he tried desperately to meet with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, but in vain. The traditionalist superior was “diverted” to the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, cardinal Levada.

Lefebvre’s successor, underlined more than once the divisions that esiste inside the Vatican Curia and warned that any news arriving from Rome should be taken with a pinch of salt. Fellay used the example of  an Augustinian monk  who was excommunicated and espelle from Rome having “converted” to “Monsignor Lefebvre’s society.”

The traditionalist superior claimed he went to Rome with the monk’s excommunication letter, signed by the Vatican Congregation for the clergy and that he showed it to Monsignor Guido Pozzo, current Secretary of Ecclesia Dei and head of the Vatican “negotiating” team engaged in talks with the Brotherhood.

“This is how the letter should be treated,” Pozzo allegedly said to Fellay before tearing it to pieces before him. The secretary of Ecclesia Dei is supposed to have added: “You should tell your priests and your flock, that not everything that comes from Rome comes directly from the Pope.”

Referring to another example, fellay spoke of  a case of “ecumenical informing,” in which he was the central figure: after some Lefebvrian bishops, who were still excommunicated, were forbidden to celebrate the eucharist in the Lourdes sanctuary, the traditionalist superior contacted Cardinal Castrillon, still president of Ecclesia Dei, to “condemn” the fact that some Anglican bishops had been allowed to celebrate mass.

“I am not calling them bishops because they are all laymen, they are not real priests, let alone bishops,” Fellay added with disdain.

Update: Wednesday 14th September 2011

(CNS)

The Vatican has given the traditionalist Society of St Pius X a formal “doctrinal preamble” listing several principles they must agree with in order to move toward full reconciliation with the Church.

US Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the statement to Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the society, during a meeting at the Vatican that lasted more than two hours.

Although the Vatican did not give the society a deadline, leaders are expected to study and sign the preamble “within a few months”, according to Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

The cardinal and bishop also discussed possible “elements of a canonical solution” for the society after “the eventual and hoped-for reconciliation”, according to a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.

Fr Lombardi said: “Today the most likely solution would be a personal prelature,” which is a Church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives. It is led by a prelate, who is appointed by the Pope; currently the Church’s only personal prelature is Opus Dei.

The document given to Bishop Fellay to sign “states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the Church, said a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.

At the same time, the statement said, the preamble leaves room for “legitimate discussion” about “individual expressions or formulations present in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the successive magisterium” of the popes who came after the council.

Fr Lombardi would not respond to questions about specific Church teachings and developments listed in the preamble, but said Church tradition has always held there are varying degrees of Church teaching; some require an absolute assent while others are open to interpretation.

The talks were launched in late 2009 in an effort by Pope Benedict XVI to repair a 21-year break with the society. The Pope said that full communion for the group’s members would depend on “true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the pope and of the Second Vatican Council”.

The Vatican statement did not mention any of the specific areas where Bishop Fellay’s group has said the Catholic Church and the popes since the Second Vatican Council had broken with true Catholic tradition. They object to the reform of the Mass, to much of the Church’s work in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and to the council’s stand on religious freedom.

Bishop Fellay had said his society went into the talks aiming to show the contradictions between the Church’s traditional teachings and its practices since Vatican II. That is “the only goal that we are pursuing,” he had said, adding that the dialogue with the Vatican is not a search for compromise but “a question of faith”.

In addition to the society’s rejection of many Vatican II teachings, members also objected to the beatification of Pope John Paul II and, particularly, to Pope Benedict’s convocation of another interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi.

Pope Benedict cleared the way for reconciliation talks with the Society of St Pius X in early 2009 when he lifted the excommunications of Bishop Fellay and three other society bishops ordained against papal orders in 1988. The Vatican said the dialogue was designed to restore “full communion” with members of the society, which was founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The Vatican said the talks were to focus on the concept of tradition, liturgical reform, interpretation of Vatican II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal tradition, Church unity, ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom.

The Vatican and the society appointed a commission to discuss the issues and members met eight times between October 2009 and April 2011, the Vatican said.

The meetings “reached the aim of clarifying the respective positions” of the two sides, it said.

COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X

VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2011 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy See Press Office released the following communique concerning the postion of the Society of St. Pius X:

“On 14 September at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation and president of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the congregation, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the pontifical commission, met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accompanied by Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, respectively first and second assistant general to the society.

“Following the appeal of 15 December 2008, addressed by the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father decided to remove the excommunication against the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre. At the same time, he approved the opening of discussions with the society in order to clarify doctrinal problems and to heal the existing rift.

“In order to put the Holy Father’s instructions into effect, a joint study commission was set up, composed of experts from the Society of St. Pius X and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who met in Rome on eight occasions between October 2009 and April 2011. Their discussions, which aimed to identify and study the essential doctrinal difficulties in the controversial issues, had the result of clarifying the positions of the two sides and their respective motivations.

“While bearing in mind the concerns and demands presented by the Society of St. Pius X about protecting the integrity of the Catholic faith against Vatican Council II’s ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ with Tradition (a theme addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains that the fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See is the acceptance of the text of the Doctrinal Preamble, which was handed over during a meeting on 14 September 2011. The Preamble defines certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and later Magisterium.

“At the same meeting, certain suggestions were made for a canonical solution to the position of the Society of St. Pius X, with a view to achieving the desired reconciliation”.

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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20 Responses to SSPX say they will not accept Vatican 2; plus an update 14/9/11 from Rome.

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    … well … 😦

    Ultimately, they’re just another bunch of Protestants.

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  2. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    JP,
    They are in my uninformed view simply fundamentalist Catholics, as the Saudi Wahabis are to Islam. But Catholics they are, even if they are found to be unacceptable.

    If you mean, by “Protestants”, that they are some kind of Lutheran breakaway movement, I can’t agree. But I suggest this only that you might expand on your comment.

    What I have said is mere opinion. I am aware that I know little of this. There is also a heavy and alienating dose of Church politics pervading the issue.

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  3. kathleen says:

    Interesting simile Mr Whippy, but wouldn’t you agree that Wahhabism is a whole lot more brutal and dangerous than the SSPX ?

    If to be a “Protestant” (as the name implies) means someone who “protests against” the voice of the Pope and the Magisterium, then indeed JabbaPapa’s definition is correct……. in my opinion that is.

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  4. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    I absolutely agree K, about the brutality of Wahhabism (“hh”, ta!). My point was that such a group is certainly Islamic, but unrepresentave and fundamentalist. And dangerous, as you say. Mr Bin Laden was of that ilk I believe.

    Yes by that definition of Protestant aabove you are absolutely correct, IMO. But they are not Protestants though they protest. They say they are Catholics and hold to Catholic principles. Well Ok some principles.

    I am the last person to support what I see as an unsavoury faction, allied to a political direction which I find abhorrent.

    Even then it seems they are Catholic. Put it this way, can you imagine that they would be accepted in the Protestant fold?

    Perhaps they are in no mans land.

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  5. Gertrude says:

    Well Whippy, church politics did not play a part in the original foundation of the Fraternity of St. Pius X – it was more about some of the excesses of V2 that became apparant in subsequent years. Lefebvre never questioned the validity of the new Mass, when validly celebrated, and did in fact issue a statement to that effect:

    “How often during these last ten years have I not had occasion to respond to questions concerning the weighty problems of the New Mass and the Pope. In answering them I have ever been careful to breathe with the spirit of the Church, conforming myself to her Faith as expressed in her theological principles, and to her pastoral prudence as expressed in moral theology and in the long experiences of her history.
    I think I can say that my own views have not changed over the years and that they are, happily, those of the great majority of priests and faithful attached to the indefectible Tradition of the Church.
    It should be clear that the few lines which follow are not an exhaustive study of these problems, The purpose, rather is to clarify our conclusions to such an extent that no one may be mistaken regarding the official position of the Society of St, Pius X.
    It must be understood immediately that we do not hold to the absurd idea that if the New Mass is valid, we are then free to assist at it. The Church has always forbidden the faithful to assist at the Masses of heretics and schismatics, even when they are valid. It is clear that no one can assist at sacrilegious Masses or at Masses which endanger our faith.
    Now, it is easy to show that the New Mass, as it was formulated by the officially authorised Conciliar Liturgical Commission considered together with the accompanying explanation of Mgr. Bugnini, manifests an inexplicable rapprochement with the theology and liturgy of the Protestants. The following fundamental dogmas of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are not clearly represented and are even contradicted:
    – the priest is the essential minister of the Rite;
    – in the Mass there is a true sacrifice, a sacrificial action;
    – the Victim or Host is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, present under the species of bread and wine, with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity;
    – this Sacrifice is a propitiatory one;
    – the Sacrifice and the Sacrament are effected by the words of the Consecration alone, and not also by those which either precede or follow them.
    It is sufficient to enumerate a few of the novelties in the New Mass to be convinced of the rapprochement with the Protestants;
    – the altar replaced by a table without an altar stone;
    – Mass celebrated facing the people, concelebrated, in a loud voice, and in the vernacular;
    – the Mass divided into two distinct parts: Liturgy of the Word, and Liturgy of the Eucharist;
    – the cheapening of the sacred vessels, the use of leavened bread, distribution of Holy Communion in the hand, and by the laity, and even by women;
    – the Blessed Sacrament hidden in corners;
    – the Epistle read by women;
    – Holy Communion brought to the sick by laity.
    All these innovations are authorised. One can fairly say without exaggeration that most of these Masses are sacrilegious acts which pervert the Faith by diminishing it. The de-sacralisation is such that these Masses risk the loss of their supernatural character, their mysterium fidei; they would then be no more than acts of natural religion. These New Masses are not only incapable of fulfilling our Sunday obligation, but are such that we must apply to them the canonical rules which the Church customarily applies to communicatio in sacris with Orthodox Churches and Protestant sects.
    Must one conclude further that all these Masses are invalid? As long as the essential conditions for validity are present (matter, form, intention, and a validly ordained priest), I do not see how one can affirm this.
    The prayers at the Offertory, the Canon, and the Priest’s Communion which surround the words of Consecration are necessary, not to the validity of the Sacrifice and the Sacrament, but rather to their integrity. When the imprisoned Cardinal Mindszenty, desiring to nourish himself with the Body and Blood of Our Lord, and to escape the gaze of his captors, pronounced solely the words of Consecration over a little bread and wine, he most certainly accomplished the Sacrifice and the Sacrament.
    It is clear, however, that fewer and fewer Masses are valid these days, as the faith of priests is destroyed and they possess no longer the intention to do what the Church does – an intention which the Church cannot change. The current formation of those who are called seminarians today does not prepare them to celebrate Mass validly. The propitiatory Sacrifice of the Mass is no longer considered the essential work of the priest. Nothing is sadder or more disappointing than to read the sermons or teachings of the Conciliar bishops on the subject of vocations, or on the occasion of a priestly ordination. They no longer know what a priest is.

    Many of these objections that Lefebvre had have been rectified in Universae Ecclesiae, and had Lefebvre lived perhaps he would have been more inclined to be perhaps a little less inflammatory than Fellay. This is pure conjecture on my part, but the post conciliar days where, it cannot be denied, a period of great upheaval in the Church, and its excesses went unchecked for too many years.

    In Universae Ecclesiae the Holy Father has instructed that the two forms are equally valid, and the recent changes to Holy Mass have started to take us back to our Catholic foundations. Even the most liberal of Catholics has probably been astonished by some of the excesses that have crept in in the intervening years (eg. Priests dressed as clowns etc).

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  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Thanks G

    I’m not sure if you yourself think that V2 was “excessive” or if this is a quote. If you think it was excessive, could you elaborate please? If not, excuse me.

    Lefebvre speaks in derogatory terms of ” a rapprochement with the Protestants” and “New Mass” novelties. And also of women, twice. Which seems to coincide with my point that JP is perhaps mistaken when he asserts that they are ” a bunch of Protestants”.

    As always, I could indeed be open to contradiction.

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  7. Gertrude says:

    I think (and this is a personal view) that the teachings of Vatican 2 have been widely misinterpreted. For example, the Council never decreed that the liturgy should be totally in the vernacular – the Credo, Gloria, Sanctus were to remain – as they always had been since Trent – in Latin. Without a doubt the liturgy was adapted in the light of some sort of Anglican ‘reunion’; that is, to make it more acceptable to Protestants (in the interests of ‘unity’). In that respect Archbishop Lefebvre was absolutely right. The ‘Peace’ was one of the intro’s of V2 that did not exist previously, and compares with Anglican norms. (Just one example).

    The one point I do find find a trifle confusing with Bernard Fellay, is that Archbishop Lefebvre stated:
    “..Consequently, the Society of St. Pius X, its priests, brothers, sisters, and oblates, cannot tolerate among its members those who refuse to pray for the Pope or affirm that the Novus Ordo Missae is per se invalid. Certainly, we suffer from this continual incoherence which consists in praising all the Liberal orientations of Vatican II and at the same time straining to mitigate its effects. But all of this must incite us to prayer and to the firm maintenance of Tradition rather than to the affirmation that the Pope is not the Pope.
    In conclusion, we must have that missionary spirit which is the true spirit of the Church. We must do everything to bring about the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the words of our Holy Patron, St. Pius X: Instaurare omnia in Christo. We must restore all things in Christ, and we must submit to all, as did Our Lord in His Passion for the salvation of souls and the triumph of Truth. “In hoc natus sum,” said Our Lord to Pilate, “ut testimonium perhibeam veritati.”
    “I was born to give witness to the Truth.”

    The present situation seems to be a gross deterioration of the Societies initial aspirations.

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  8. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    I am in awe of your detailed comment on this matter. I am out of my depth, not for the first time, nor the last.

    For once I will shut my loose gob, except to say that those strumming Anglicans should be glad of what has been done to appease/attract them. But then I have always felt that Anglicans have been given too much attention, especially on ‘Newsnight’ – but that’s English imperialism in Britain, perennial like the grass.

    But what is this above , that “the Pope is not the Pope”?

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  9. Gertrude says:

    In the early days of the Society there was much ill feeling toward Paul VI, I am fairly certain that his papacy was called into question by some who felt that he had ‘destroyed’ the church. Of course, that would have made them sede vacantists – and ultimately they followed Lefebvre. There are still some who privately if not publicly believe Pius V to be the last ‘legitimate’ pope – but that’s another story…

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  10. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Oh go on, tell all!

    But maybe you won’t.

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  11. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    I don’t know if anybody has been paying attention but it seems that the Vatican has pretty much thrown VII acceptance out the window as an stipulation for full communion. This is of course just the beginning for those of the traditionalist bent will pretty much see this as open season on the council and hence the beginning of the end for VII.

    Personally I think this is great news but I am sure many will be rather surprised.

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  12. JabbaPapa says:

    If to be a “Protestant” (as the name implies) means someone who “protests against” the voice of the Pope and the Magisterium, then indeed JabbaPapa’s definition is correct……. in my opinion that is.

    This is indeed how I intended that comment.

    Let’s move on to a reading of Lefebvre’s positions :

    —-

    Lefebvre : The following fundamental dogmas of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are not clearly represented and are even contradicted:
    – the priest is the essential minister of the Rite;

    This is clearly represented and not contradicted, except possibly in some extreme abuses in some remote areas.

    – in the Mass there is a true sacrifice, a sacrificial action;

    This is clearly represented and not contradicted, except, again, where there are abuses.

    – the Victim or Host is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, present under the species of bread and wine, with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity;

    This is clearly represented and not contradicted, except, again, where there are abuses.

    – this Sacrifice is a propitiatory one;

    This is one meaning among several of the Eucharistic sacrifice, and it is a heresy to claim only this single meaning, in its opposition to the other legitimate meanings being implicitly condemned as wrongful ones.

    – the Sacrifice and the Sacrament are effected by the words of the Consecration alone, and not also by those which either precede or follow them.

    This is clearly represented and not contradicted, quite apart from Lefebvre’s theological presentation being incorrect. The Sacrifice and the Sacrament are in fact effected by Jesus Christ, via the words and actions of the Eucharistic sacrifice as well as by the Sacrifice and Adoration of the Congregation in Unity with the Communion of the Saints, the living and the dead, and by the express Grace of God. This issue of interpretation and understanding specifically is provided by catechesis and Faith, not by the Eucharistic celebration itself (which nevertheless remains at the very central heart of this matter, and &c).

    It’s actually very close to being a heresy to claim that right words and right actions provide sanctification. In any case, it’s an extremely Protestant theological notion.

    The Church has instead taught, and since Antiquity not just since the Middle Ages, that the sacrifice is licit not through the words or actions of the priest, nor from the priest’s particular state of belief or orthodoxy, but via the Congregation and by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The priest is the servant of these, not their master.

    It is sufficient to enumerate a few of the novelties in the New Mass to be convinced of the rapprochement with the Protestants;
    – the altar replaced by a table without an altar stone;

    It’s simply wrongful to claim that the Altar is essential to the Mass. It is essential to any church where the Mass is to be regularly celebrated, but nowhere does Vatican II provide that any Altars should be swept away.

    This is, in other words, a false suggestion ; and based on some abuses in some particular church arrangements, rather than on any doctrinal teachings of the Council.

    Besides, given the Holy See’s recent clarifications that all churches must be arranged so that Tridentine Masses may be said there, even topically this is now a non-issue.

    – Mass celebrated facing the people, concelebrated, in a loud voice, and in the vernacular;

    There is actually no requirement whatsoever in Novus Ordo that Mass must be celebrated pro populo.

    The woird “concelebrated” alone is a bit meaningless. Is he referring to ecumenism ? If however he’s talking about the laity participating in the celebration, well, the Congregation (including necessarily the priest) celebrates the Mass, not the priest alone. If he is claiming otherwise, then he is in Error.

    The Order of the Mass recommends that those particular words be spoken softly. The priest may, exceptionally, speak them loudly — I have been given to understand that the purpose of doing so is educational, catechetic, evangelisational.

    Lefebvre forgets that originally, the Latin Rite *was* a Mass in the vernacular. There has been a very deep problem in the Church, since the 15th century at the latest, when the Latin of the Mass became completely incomprehensible to those not specifically studying the language. Prior to that, the Romance languages, at least (and Lefebvre was, after all, a Frenchman), remained close enough to the Latin sources that a priest could still manage to convey the meaning one way or another (at least, in those countries where Romance languages were spoken — it’s no surprise that Protestantism sprang out from non-Romance countries).

    In fact, there is no possibly valid theological objection against the Mass being provided in forms that are directly comprehensible to Congregations. This is blatantly obvious. Indeed, those Congregations that *do* have their Latin can in fact directly comprehend the verbal contents of the Old Latin Rite, as was part of the original intent of the Mass in that particular vernacular !!!

    The political purpose behind this insistence on Latin is to provide priests with an exaggerated interpretative powers, and the mundane benefits provided by such artificially exalted status, contrary to the teachings of all good Catholic doctrine.

    – the Mass divided into two distinct parts: Liturgy of the Word, and Liturgy of the Eucharist;

    The distinction also exists in the Tridentine Mass, even though it is not formally delineated in the Order of Mass — this is a false argument, attempting to create an opposition where none should exist.

    – the cheapening of the sacred vessels, the use of leavened bread, distribution of Holy Communion in the hand, and by the laity, and even by women;

    I haven’t the foggiest notion what he means by “cheapening of the sacred vessels”.

    The use of leavened bread is condemned by the Church, except in some cases of emergency. Using such bread regularly is an abuse, and has always been condemned as such. This is a non-argument.

    Distribution in the hand is not itself an abuse, but it does facilitate some actual abuses and sins that could be committed against the Host. This remains a topic of ongoing debate though, and Lefebvre’s position is defensible for this particular point.

    Distribution by extraordinary (lay) ministers is not an abuse — indeed in the original eucharistic forms, the priest likely broke bread into pieces which were distributed among and by the congregation. This is a liturgical question though, and I’m not much of a liturgical expert. But there is certainly no abuse.

    – the Blessed Sacrament hidden in corners;

    This is nitpicking, having nothing whatsoever to do with Vatican II.

    – the Epistle read by women;

    The Church has in the past ordained women as deacons. There is no fundamental theological nor doctrinal objection that women cannot perform ministerial functions, despite the existence of some ecclesial objections to it as evidenced here. Altar girls similarly. There _are_ some strong theological and doctrinal and ecclesial objections against women ***priests***, but that’s an entirely different question.

    – Holy Communion brought to the sick by laity.

    This is a question related to ordinary or extraordinary lay ministries, distribution of the Communion, and Communion in the hand. I myself have difficulty seeing anything wrong with the practice.

    All these innovations are authorised. One can fairly say without exaggeration that most of these Masses are sacrilegious acts which pervert the Faith by diminishing it.

    In fact, such a statement is a gross exaggeration, as well as constituting gross insults against the Clergy and the Mass and the Church.

    Quite apart from being, quite demonstrably, based on some false teachings — given that Lefebvre’s own justifications for his position can very quickly be seen to be generally erroneous ones. Lefebvre could have such opinions personally, and he could even teach them as being his opinions ; but what he was absolutely NOT permitted to do was to teach them as doctrines in opposition to those of the Church, because it constitutes heresy to do so.

    Describing perfectly legitimate Masses as “sacrilegious” is an apostasy.

    The de-sacralisation is such that these Masses risk the loss of their supernatural character, their mysterium fidei; they would then be no more than acts of natural religion.

    This is complete and utter nonsense, based on false teachings and bad theology.

    These New Masses are not only incapable of fulfilling our Sunday obligation

    This is a lie, and an act of clear rebellion and apostasy.

    but are such that we must apply to them the canonical rules which the Church customarily applies to communicatio in sacris with Orthodox Churches and Protestant sects.

    Lefebvre here is basically claiming a Papal Authority for himself, constituting schism.

    —-

    Lefebvre’s arguments, if you analyse them in any detail, are shown to be theologically extremely weak indeed.

    Realistically, they boil down to :

    1) Bad theology.

    2) Clinging on to the old 19th century Church where the priest was considered as lord and master ; and certainly better than any lay persons (Latin being the proof of such superiority).

    3) No women.

    4) er, that’s about it, apart from some gratuitous nitpicking.

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  13. JabbaPapa says:

    Lefebvre’s own example — describing that when the imprisoned Cardinal Mindszenty, desiring to nourish himself with the Body and Blood of Our Lord, and to escape the gaze of his captors, pronounced solely the words of Consecration over a little bread and wine, he most certainly accomplished the Sacrifice and the Sacrament is in itself quite sufficient to destroy the entirety of Lefebvre’s objections against Novus Ordo.

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  14. JabbaPapa says:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/09/sspx-bp-fellay-interviewed-after-cdf-meeting-today/

    Interesting. Reading between the lines of this interview, it seems that the Pope is proposing one of the suggestions I made the other day as a solution — by stating the fact that many of the doctrines of Vatican II are actually fallible, and that discussion of these doctrines is perfectly OK within the Church anyway.

    It’s very interesting that Fellay’s tone is far more moderate than at any time that I’ve seen previously, which itself is a cause for some vague hope.

    Based on past performance though, my guess is still that they will screw this one up. Again…

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  15. Srdc says:

    JabbaPapa,

    Isn’t there a hierarchy of truths in Catholicism. Disagreement with the role of laity does not fall under teachings on faith and morals.

    Disagreement on the real presence for instance would be a bigger disagreement that that of views on altar girls.

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  16. JabbaPapa says:

    Isn’t there a hierarchy of truths in Catholicism.

    Yes and no ; though why do I get the feeling I’m preaching to the converted ? :p

    You are right, and that’s why I think most of SSPX’ arguments are quite marginal ones, that they would normally be allowed to put forward from a position of full Communion with the rest of us.

    Meanwhile, just made the first material step towards attending Traditional Mass as given by my parish priest on Sunday evenings in another church in the diocese, hehehe 🙂

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  17. straight talk says:

    It is time somebody on this blog spoke up for the SSPX.
    I found them to be honourable. I feel it is of the greatest significance that they, of all groups, have been made to seem faithless pariahs : the full implications of Church Doctrine used to be uncompromising towards other degrees and types of Christian & non-Christian belief (i.e. the Church commanded authority precisely insofar as it possessed full Revelation & Truth).
    As upholders of full tradition, the SSPX (as I see it) do not expect that watering down the Church’s explicit claims to revelation will achieve real gains. They do not pretend to go along with prevailing winds regarding the Brotherhood of man, the equal value of other religions, Humanism, Socialism, but also Capitalism and the rest of it. If the main Church was seen to believe what Catholic tradition always taught, war would ensue, because those claims to divine Authority, of infallibility, are simply irreconcilable politically in today’s world.
    Spiritually it is a different matter. If it came to a fight, it would, according to the SSPX, be a fight about the nature and quality of one love among others. The nourishment, focus, and love-maturity to be drawn from the discipline given us in catholic tradition- specifically the wisdom/doctrine contained in the liturgy of the Old Mass, is too precious to lose sight of. Whatever the overwhelming political pressures (I just presume this was the underlying, underlying motive for Vatican 2), the SSPX still put as their priority a supernatural dimension (another political faux pas- political, social & economic justice & peace is now seen as taking precedence over ‘the life of the soul’- even & especially within the church). They are teleologists, rather than pragmatists. For instance, they would preach chastity not condoms in Africa, in response to AIDS, and holiness as a means to overcome the quandary of impossible ideals. The modern church de jure does not do this.
    It is a war about the nature of reality- & modern thinking, shaped by 2 horrendous world wars, believes that peace is a higher good than truth: that it is better for people to become pacified and corrupted by endless ‘manufactured’ consumer desires, than to be consumed by the clash of religious desires. The more people are pacified by the satisfaction of immediate (if unheroic) desires the less they will go to war over ideals, or mobilize for a more highly individuated desire. Thus consumerism, pluralism, multiculturalism, relativism, anti-Imperialism, anti-national, anti-culture socialism (so-called) combine to make the stark, ascetic otherworldliness of the SSPX seem like a red rag to a bull.
    A major celebration of holiness in the traditional church- martyrdom- is now the sign to most that the church was ever given to unbending overprincipled unbalanced virtue. Absolutism is a sign of incipient madness! (I am reminded of this in the new mass, when I wait for mention of the martyrs and they do not come). Contentiously, the SSPX say that the new mass is, over time, a danger to one’s true catholic faith. Certainly those distinctive and difficult (but deeply numinous) aspects of the old mass, which remind us we are in exile from our true home, sit badly with the optimism of the this-is-all-there-is, ‘we are the Easter People’ new mass.
    Furthermore, the SSPX have given me a valuable long-distance perspective on the present- exactly what Chesterton rejoiced in when he found the Catholic Church, and realized that he was no longer just a prisoner of his own time, and now part of the ‘democracy of the dead’..

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  18. Gertrude says:

    Thank you for your comments. I actually agree with you, and I am sure most of the team on CP&S do too. We all pray for the Society of St. Pius X – that a way will be found to bring them back into full communion with Rome, something that is far more likely with our Holy Father than in earlier times. It behoves us all to remember the authority of Holy Church, and not just to grieve for what we have lost, but, in communion with Rome, regain it.

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  19. JabbaPapa says:

    straight talk makes a number of good points, but the presentation that he gives of SSPX and its teachings strikes me as being a little too one-sided.

    Not completely so, but partially nevertheless.

    they, of all groups, have been made to seem faithless pariahs

    This strikes me as being generally speaking inaccurate. SSPX has been specifically accused of rebellion ; not of abandoning the Faith. As for “pariah” status, I think that it solely concerns those groups who are associated with some quite nauseating far right wing politics, and are basically fascists. I have seen them with my own eyes at one of the SSPX churches in Paris. It’s true that some people have associated this sort of characterisation with the SSPX as a whole, which is completely slanderous and unfair. Generally speaking though, the traditionalists of SSPX are not seen as “faithless pariahs”.

    As upholders of full tradition, the SSPX (as I see it) do not expect that watering down the Church’s explicit claims to revelation will achieve real gains. They do not pretend to go along with prevailing winds regarding the Brotherhood of man, the equal value of other religions, Humanism, Socialism, but also Capitalism and the rest of it. If the main Church was seen to believe what Catholic tradition always taught, war would ensue, because those claims to divine Authority, of infallibility, are simply irreconcilable politically in today’s world.

    This is doctrinally questionable, though I would not question your right to hold such views, which are quite possible and even fairly legitimately so in Catholicism.

    I agree that the explicit claims to Revelation are vitally important.

    The “Brotherhood of man” is one thing, and pertains to some of the most ancient and traditional teachings of the Church regarding non-Christians ; the Catholic Church does not teach that all religions are of equal value, this is a misrepresentation taken from SSPX propaganda ; Humanism is a Catholic intellectual movement, that some atheists have extensively claimed to appropriate for themselves — remove the atheistic flotsam and jetsam that these people have attached to the word however, and Humanism is seen as being fundamentally Catholic in its very nature ; Socialism, Capitalism, and the rest of it, sure.

    Your notion that if the main Church was seen to believe what Catholic tradition always taught, war would ensue is a dubious speculation. Quite apart from the fact that SSPX presentations of what is and what isn’t a traditional teaching of the Church are often lacking in full accuracy. Many SSPX teachings centred on traditionalism are in fact derived from the post-Counter-Reformation Catholicism of 19th century especially.

    Spiritually it is a different matter. If it came to a fight, it would, according to the SSPX, be a fight about the nature and quality of one love among others. The nourishment, focus, and love-maturity to be drawn from the discipline given us in catholic tradition- specifically the wisdom/doctrine contained in the liturgy of the Old Mass, is too precious to lose sight of. Whatever the overwhelming political pressures (I just presume this was the underlying, underlying motive for Vatican 2), the SSPX still put as their priority a supernatural dimension (another political faux pas- political, social & economic justice & peace is now seen as taking precedence over ‘the life of the soul’- even & especially within the church).

    This is a difficult section to post comments on, as it seems to be an intermingled text demanding an intermingled response.

    I mean the wisdom/doctrine contained in the liturgy of the Old Mass is too precious to lose sight of certainly, but has the Church actually lost sight of that wisdom/doctrine ? I don’t think so, and the existence of some abuses here and there, as well as that dismally poor English translation of the Missal that was circulated, are insufficient to just vanish away that wisdom/doctrine.

    I do not think that there were any “overwhelming political pressures” at Vatican II ; I think that there was an urgent pastoral need, an overwhelming necessity, that the wisdom/doctrine needed to be presented in vernacular forms that lay Catholics can have a more immediate access to — understanding of the Latin Mass had been in a grievous state of decline since the 15th century, and the teaching of Latin was phased out as a requirement for even an ordinary good education before the First World War.

    The Latin Mass was beginning to have the aura of some sort of hieratic Mystery that only the initiated could fully understand — but it is absolutely contrary to traditional Catholic doctrine that the Mass should be for some people only, but not for others — including the understanding of the words of the Bible, and the words of the Liturgy.

    It remains quite scandalous that SO MANY liberal Bishops and clergy decided to go full speed ahead moving away from a more traditionally respectful rendering of the Novus Ordo, which was most certainly NOT a teaching of Vatican II to authorise ; and I cannot help but see Lefebvre’s unnecessary rebellion against the Holy See, which most likely would have approved the candidacy of those Bishops anyway (from what I’ve read about it), as having deprived the Church of precisely the sort of defense of the traditions that was needed internally at that time against those excesses.

    The extremely silly sedevacantism of some in the SSPX is also of no help whatsoever.

    They are teleologists, rather than pragmatists.

    I am unconvinced of the appropriateness of this strange comparison.

    For instance, they would preach chastity not condoms in Africa, in response to AIDS, and holiness as a means to overcome the quandary of impossible ideals. The modern church de jure does not do this.

    These statements OTOH are just false.

    The Church teaches chastity ; the Church teaches holiness.

    If you have been unlucky enough to have been exposed to some other teachings by some extremist liberal clergy, it is nevertheless an unacceptable generalisation to imagine the “modern” Church in this light.

    It is a war about the nature of reality- & modern thinking, shaped by 2 horrendous world wars, believes that peace is a higher good than truth: that it is better for people to become pacified and corrupted by endless ‘manufactured’ consumer desires, than to be consumed by the clash of religious desires.

    This is spot on though 🙂

    Contentiously, the SSPX say that the new mass is, over time, a danger to one’s true catholic faith. Certainly those distinctive and difficult (but deeply numinous) aspects of the old mass, which remind us we are in exile from our true home, sit badly with the optimism of the this-is-all-there-is, ‘we are the Easter People’ new mass.

    Well, contentiously indeed … the “deeply numinous” is as I have mentioned above directly contrary to the traditional doctrines of the Mass, that it should be pastorally accessible to everybody, instead of becoming the hieratic mystery that I mentioned earlier.

    Meanwhile, the this-is-all-there-is, ‘we are the Easter People’ new mass is not a Novus Ordo Mass that I would recognise.

    Furthermore, the SSPX have given me a valuable long-distance perspective on the present- exactly what Chesterton rejoiced in when he found the Catholic Church, and realized that he was no longer just a prisoner of his own time, and now part of the ‘democracy of the dead’..

    … and very similar to some aspects of what I found in the Church during my own conversion.

    I’m glad that you have found that, anyway, at SSPX.

    I hope that the leaders and membership of SSPX can find it in themselves to make an end of this entirely unnecessary and counterproductive rebellion against the central Church.

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  20. Patty Burger says:

    That’s sad when V2 didn’t even change anything much.
    Vatican II said this in it’s Constitution Dei Verbum:
    “Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”

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