The Regularization of the Priests of the SSPX


Posted by Editor of Sunesis Press

I. The Church is a mystery. It is the mystery of God’s presence among us, our Savior, God, who does not want the death of sinners, but be converted and live. The conversion requires our collaboration.

II The Church is infallible in its divine nature; but it is run by people who can make mistakes and even make mistakes. We must distinguish the office of the person. The latter remains a certain amount of time in office and then out-either by death or other circumstances, but the office remains. Pope Francis today has the papal ministry and the primacy of authority. Within an hour, we do not know,he could resign and another pope will be elected. However, while he has the Papal See, we recognize it as such and pray for him.

We do not say that he is a good pope. On the contrary, he provokes with his liberal ideas and he creates a great confusion in the Church. But when Christ founded the Papacy, He saw the whole series  of Popes of the whole history of the Church, including Pope Francis. And yet He allowed his ascent to the papal throne. Similarly, our Lord established the Sacrament with His Real Presence, though He foresaw the many sacrileges in the course of history.

III. Archbishop Lefebvre founded the SSPX amid these confusing times for the Church. She is called to give a new generation of priests to the Church, to preserve the true Sacrifice of the Mass and proclaim the kingship of Jesus Christ throughout society, even against the liberal popes and prelates who have betrayed the faith. So [it] had to come necessarily [to] conflict: in 1975 the Fraternity was sent into exile. There he not only survived, but grew and has become [what] for many people is a sign of contradiction against the destruction of our day.

This opposition became clear to the world on June 30, 1988 when for reasons of necessity, were consecrated four bishops [by] Msgr. Lefebvre.

IV. However, Msgr. Lefebvre always had the conviction to seek a canonical solution for the fraternity and did not avoid the conversation with the Roman authorities, who wanted to back off. He continued his efforts even after the consecrations of bishops, despite that in its realism had little hope of success. He asked, using ad hominem arguments, to let him “make the experience of Tradition”. He fully accepted the fact that the Brotherhood was in an exceptional situation and this was no fault [of] his own, but [of] his opponents. The situation remained until 2000. Since then Rome has sought a remedy for the situation, sometimes so clever, sometimes with honest intention, depending on who was in care of the problem on the Roman side.

V. The decline of the Church since the simultaneous and constant development of the fraternity, brought some bishops and cardinals who agreed totally or partially, though not readily confessed. Rome was gradually lowering its demands and recent proposals no longer speak of recognizing the Vatican nor the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo Missae. So it seems the time to normalize the situation of the fraternity has come, and this for several reasons:

l) Any abnormal situation lends itself to standardization. This is in the nature of things.

2) We must not lose sight of the danger that the faithful and some brothers used to the abnormal situation and see it as a normal . The opposition here and there against participation in the Holy Year, and the total disregard for the assignment of ordinary jurisdiction by Pope Francis (we always appeal to the state of necessity and have resorted to extraordinary jurisdiction according to the law) It is causing a stir. If the faithful or the fraternity brothers feel comfortable in this situation of freedom from dependence on the hierarchy, then this implies a gradual loss of sensus ecclesiae. We must never argue: we have sound doctrine, the true Mass, our seminaries, priories and our bishops, we lack nothing.

3) We have sympathizers among priests and cardinals, some of whom would like to call on us to help them, they would give us a church building and possibly confide a seminary to our care. But currently, due to our situation, it’s impossible for them to do this. In any case, barriers which the faithful but fearful have will come down. In the news media and everywhere we are regarded as schismatics or separated from the Church, we dismiss these accusations.

4) In the coming years, we urgently need new bishops. It is certainly possible to consecrate them without pontifical mandate in case of emergency, but if possible to consecrate bishops with the permission of Rome, the said permission must be sought.

5) Modernists, liberals and other enemies of the Church are very concerned with respect to the canonical solution for the fraternity. Discernment of spirits in this regard, suggests not what is the right and best way?

6) How will the Church will overcome this crisis? One sees that in the present state of affairs there is not even [a] glimmer of hope. In contrast, the official act of recognition of the Fraternity triggers a healthy turmoil within the Church. The good would be encouraged, the malevolent will suffer a defeat.

VI. Answers to some objections:

1) How can we aspire to a recognition by Pope Francis?

Answer: We have already referred above to the necessary distinction between the office and the titular of the office. There is no doubt that the current pope exercises his role established by God . But we must keep in mind what the council really was and the consequences it brought to the Church: confusion, the dictatorship of relativism, pastoral over doctrine, friendship with the enemies of God and enemies of Christianity. But precisely this is one of the mistakes of the council: separate then the cause from the effects. Some were infatuated with the person of Benedict XVI, instead of regarding the papal office first and person second, making his resignation like a cold shower for many. We must not make the same mistake of infatuating ourselves too closely to the person rather than the divine institution! Perhaps only Pope Francis is able to take this step (normalization), by unpredictability and improvisation. The media may have forgiven him for having taken this step, but would never have forgiven Benedict.

In its authoritarian, not to say tyrannical style of government, he would be able to implement this measure even for the Resistance.

2) But what do people say of the Resistance?

Answer: We can not guide our actions for people who obviously have lost the sense of Church and love for the Church in its concrete form. As it stands now, they are fighting each other.

3) In the future we will have to keep silent about all current errors.

Answer: We will not be silent, moreover, we will point out the errors by name. Before and after our normalization. We would like to return from our”exile” in which we are today.
4) The reputation Pope Francis has among Catholics is so bad that recognition for their part would harm rather than benefit the SSPX.

Answer: Since the beginning we differentiated between the office and the person. If Francis is pope , which he is – then he also has the primacy of jurisdiction over the church. Whether he uses (jurisdictional primacy) it for the good of the Church or not. We must follow the path of usefulness for the Church; orient our actions not by human will and God will bless us.

5) But this integration of the SSPX in the conciliar system will cost you your profile, maybe even your identity.

Answer: It all depends on how strong we are and who converts whom. If we act strongly, based on the grace of God, then our situation may be a blessing for the entire Church. Where else could the Fraternity be in order to make possible such a conversion? Of course we should not count on our own abilities and powers, but God’s help. Think of the fight between David and Goliath. For this we make an analogy: as Christians we are in a wicked and corrupt world, and we need to prove ourselves here. The danger of contagion is great; but we can and must escape it with the grace of God.
One thing is clear: a new situation does not facilitate our position as it will stand, it will be complicated, and yet, it will make it thrive more.

6) All Congregations which were subjected to Rome adapted to conciliate or even perished within the system.

Answer: Our starting position is not the same: In our case it is Rome who pressed for a solution and approached us. In other cases, these “Fraternities” are the applicants, often went to Rome with guilt.
Moreover, none of them has bishops outside the Apostolic Administration Saint John Vianney in the Diocese of Campos in Brazil, where the bishop RIFAN is willing to make any compromise.
Of course solid protection by an appropriate ecclesial structure is required. This appears to be guaranteed by the personal prelature. This structure has not been offered to another congregation. Finally, the objection raised has been true only in part, with some exceptions in the German – speaking region. However, insurgency has been the life of the SSPX.

VII. Conclusion

If God wants to help His Church indeed He has many means. One of them is the recognition of the SSPX by the Roman authorities. Isn’t the SSPX consecrated to the Blessed Virgin, who will protect and guide its work in this new situation?
-Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata; da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos – Grant me to praise thee, Holy Virgin; give me strength against your enemies.

Zaitzkofen, February 19, 2016
P. Franz Schmidberger


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4 Responses to The Regularization of the Priests of the SSPX

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    I read this last week — well, to be honest, I looked at most of it.

    What’s still entirely lacking in their discourse is ; “How can the Fraternity, and we its priests, best use this opening to serve the people of God ?”

    Instead : “insurgency has been the life of the SSPX

    But insurgency is not the life of the Church, nor of her children, nor is it a life in Christ.

    Sectarianism, schismaticism, Gallicanism — none of these things belong to the Church of Christ, for extra Ecclesiam, nulla salus. The ills in the Church cannot be cured from without nor from afar.

    We can not guide our actions for people who obviously have lost the sense of Church and love for the Church in its concrete form

    An utterly scandalous statement — a pastor’s concern is not just for the healthiest and sturdiest in his flock, but also for the weakest, the lost, and those neediest of all Graces.

    I would personally view exactly this attitude of egocentricity as THE major obstacle for any genuine regularisation of the SSPX.


  2. kathleen says:

    Jabba, it’s great to see you here from time to time again after such a long silence. 🙂

    I think that in all fairness to the author of this article (who, personally, I know nothing about) he is either not a native English speaker, or else this report is a so-so translation of the original German. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that perhaps some of the words and expressions used are not 100% exactly as he meant them to be. Are you basing what you see as “egocentricity” just on what he says here?
    All the same, he also states: We must follow the path of usefulness for the Church; orient our actions not by human will and God will bless us.

    It could be that he is decrying the complete lack of basic understanding of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ of far too many Catholics these days when he refers to them having “lost a sense of Church… etc.” Not that he doesn’t “care” about their salvation. It is a fact that there is a lot of hostility in our Western world for the Church and her mission in the world. To recover what has been lost by the hurricane (a.k.a. “Spirit of Vatican Two) must also seem like an impossible task sometimes!

    Anyway Bishop Fellay most certainly seems to possess a big heart and cares very much for the good of the whole “flock” and a reconciliation of the SSPX with the rest of the Catholic Church… as long as the conditions are right. He is naturally wary though; the post Vatican II Church is suffering from a dangerous amount of progressive, liberal thought in all its institutions that stems straight from the evils of Modernism.

    Have you seen this interesting article, by the way? It’s amazing, but Pope Francis who is so clearly uninterested in liturgy and tradition, is very well-disposed towards the SSPX after the positive experience he had of them in his native Argentina.

    P.S. I meant to add that many of the comments below the linked article are very interesting and informative too, although I haven’t had time to read them all.


  3. JabbaPapa says:

    Have you seen this interesting article, by the way? It’s amazing, but Pope Francis who is so clearly uninterested in liturgy and tradition, is very well-disposed towards the SSPX after the positive experience he had of them in his native Argentina.

    Not read that one, but I was aware of that story.

    As for “egocentricity”, no I don’t mean just that article — nor would I offer any opinion as I did on the basis of only one article.


  4. kathleen says:

    Thanks, Jabba – I´m always interested in hearing what you have to say about things, as you know. 😉

    Personally speaking, I can only speak about positive experiences I have had with the priests of the FSSPX. People are always people, and there might be times when their followers are not always as charitable as they should be. (Remember that confrontation we had with an SSPX member some years ago when you kindly intervened?) But I have only known genuine goodness and concern for souls from the priests of the SSPX I have come across.

    Loving the holy Tridentine Mass as I do, and all the treasures of the Faith (devotions, practises, liturgical celebrations, etc.) that they have safeguarded for future generations, I hope with all my heart that there will come a day when they will be reconciled to the rest of the Catholic Church. It will surely bring back so much of holy tradition and help combat the liberal, modernist mindset so rampant nowadays.


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