19 December 2016

Summorum Pontificum

Bishop Schneider has called for the SSPX to be given the justice they were denied in the 1970s. I do wonder, with great respect to his Lordship, whether things are now any longer quite as simple as that.

For a decade or two, we have been told that regularisation must wait upon the acceptance by the Society of the teaching of Vatican II and of the post-Conciliar Magisterium. But given the way things are now, might it not be fair and equitable for the Society now to insist that Papa Bergoglio manifest a proper and unambiguous submission to the post-Conciliar Magisterium of S John Paul II and of Benedict XVI? And, in particular, that he enact (perhaps as part of a deal with the Society) a solemn reconfirmation in his own name of Veritatis splendor, Familiaris consortio, and Summorum Pontificum?

The Roman Pontiff, suspiciously, has already declined to to give the very simple answers requested of him to the effect that Veritatis splendor and Familiaris consortio still, as it were, apply. And on November 20, I expressed a fear that a regularisation of the SSPX might be accompanied by a cancellation, or evisceration, of Summorum Pontificum. Indeed, on 21 September 2016 Sandro Magister had reported somebody called Andrew Grillo (Alcuin Reid's sparring partner??) as opining that the next Synod would discuss "the collegial exercise of the episcopate and the restitution to the bishop of full authority over diocesan liturgy". It was pretty obvious to me what the nasty little phrase I italicise was code for, as I wrote a few days later on my blog. In the event, we were reprieved; a different topic was to be selected for the next Synod (Youff, I think), possibly because Bergoglio is decent enough still to have some reticence about too overt a public humiliation of Joseph Ratzinger while he is still alive. But Grillo's expectations are unlikely to have been entertained by him alone.

There has always been a practical certainty that a certain sort of bishop, for whom 'subsidiarity' means I Must Be Free To Ban Everything That Isn't To My Personal Taste, would not easily abandon his hopes of (at least) limiting and controlling worship according to the Old Rite. In one of the Ordinariates (not the British one!) a local bishop put pressure some years ago on the Ordinary to prevent the use of the Extraordinary Form within that Ordinariate. Readers will not need to be reminded of the savage humiliations inflicted, and by a Roman Dicastery, upon the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate; humiliations which are still, as far as I know, in place. There was an American bishop who required clergy to pass a test in Latin to prove that they were idonei to celebrate the Old Mass ... typical piece of Liberal nastiness, isn't it ... you arrange for your clergy, contra canonem, to be ordained without having been taught Latin, then you jeer and sneer at them for not knowing it. At a jollier level, English clergy may remember how Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor acquired, for a year or two, the nickname of "The Envisager" because he attempted to circumscribe Summorum Pontificum by issuing a whole lot of comically panic-ridden rubbish making use of the phrase "It is envisaged that ..." [NB good example of Management-talk using the impersonal passive construction].

Bigotry still abounds.

Archbishop Lefebvre's Society always insisted that they were not begging to be allowed to exist as a tolerated ghetto. They insisted that they would only do a deal if every Latin Rite priest were allowed, without needing special faculties or permissions, to offer the authentic Roman Rite. Accordingly, the entire point of Summorum Pontificum was to call their bluff by giving precisely what they had demanded, and returning the Usus Antiquior to the whole Latin Church. This represented an authoritative removal of the old 'Indult' culture, in which it was only allowed within personal parishes served by organisations such as FSSP and ICKSP, or where it was permitted by an indulgent Diocesan.

Were some deal to be put before the SSPX, accompanied by suspicions that there might be a diminution in the right of every Latin Rite priest to offer the Old Mass, I very much hope that His Excellency Bishop Fellay would refuse it. Or would indicate that, in such a possible future eventuality, he would unilaterally suspend certain of the articles in his agreement with the Vatican. A firm hand on the tiller would be a very great service to the entire Latin Church.

I write this as someone who have, for years, said the prayer Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti in all my Masses with an intention for the canonical regularisation of the SSPX. Regularisation would afford great benefits both to the entire Latin Church, and to the Society; not least by providing a refuge of incardination for clergy being intimidated elsewhere (any provision excluding the Society from exercising the right to incardinate would be ... very dodgy .... very fishy ..... ). I hope the terms agreed would include a provision for the Agenda of each Episcopal Conference to be sent in good time to the Superior of the Society, so that he or one of the other bishops could attend a meeting and explain why some particular proposal would have a divisive effect. After all, the whole point of enhancing the authority of Episcopal Conferences is to encourage divisiveness. Isn't it?

Capitulation is not the way ahead.


Collin said...

Apparently Abp. Lefebvre issued his own dubia concerning the Church's teaching on religious liberty:

In 1985, Archbishop Lefebvre submitted his dubia to Rome: thirty-nine propositions, or “doubts” concerning the discrepancies between the conciliar doctrine on religious liberty and the previous teaching of the Church.


In March 1987, he received Rome’s answer to the dubia. It was an unsatisfactory answer. In June 1987, the Archbishop published a book dealing with the destruction of the social kingship of Christ, They have uncrowned Him.

In June 29, 1987, Archbishop Lefebvre made public his intention to give himself successors in the episcopate. The answer to the dubia was the sign he was waiting for, and he explained that it was more serious to affirm false principles than to accomplish a scandalous act. He then appointed the feast of Christ the King as the date for the consecration.

see: http://archives.fsspx.org/en/biography-of-archbishop-lefebvre-automaticaly-imported

Someone writes:

Archbishop Lefebvre submitted to the CDF dubia re religious liberty. Some were answered by then-Cardinal Ratzinger; others were left unanswered.

Here's Lefebvre's dubia in the original French: http://lacriseintegriste.typepad.fr/dubia.pdf

They are printed in English here: http://angeluspress.org/Religious-Liberty-Questioned-Dubia

I cannot find the dubia or Rome's (partial) reply online in English. I would be grateful to whomever could provide a link.

In an interview earlier this year, the secretary of the Ecclesia Dei commission said:

“The difficulties raised by the SSPX regarding questions of Church-State relations and religious liberty, the practice of ecumenism and dialogue with non-Christian religions, certain aspects of liturgical reform and their concrete application, remain objects of discussion and clarification,” Archbishop Pozzo added, “but do not constitute an obstacle to the SSPX’s canonical and juridical recognition.”

So apparently the current gripes of the SSPX are: (false) ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, liturgical reform. I am not associated with the Society at all, but I personally find these issues to be at least as important as the Church's teaching on marriage & reception of Holy Communion. The liturgical reform has increased the likelihood of Eucharistic sacrilege a great deal, and a false or ambiguous notion of religious liberty and ecumenism has blurred the very nature of the Catholic Church, her universal mission on earth, and the necessity of belonging to her. Therefore, can someone tell me why the Four Cardinals, and others, have been quite diligent in addressing the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia, but not so much in addressing the ambiguities of the documents of VII and subsequent Vatican documents, which caused Lefebvre (and many others) so much trouble? Is it just a matter of political opportunity, i.e. one can complain about Amoris Laetitia without being denounced as an evil "Lefebvrite" and a dissenter from the Holy Second Vatican Council?

Liam Ronan said...

The Spider and the Fly

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.”

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.” - Mary Howitt (1829)

Sixupman said...

Father, Bravo!

mark wauck said...

Having been taken in for so many years by the vilification of SSPX, Catholics are now learning the hard way where Ultramontanism leads.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Off topic but the sad news is that Austen Ivereigh has finally lost his marbles. See:


He reveals that Pope Francis is a Peronist politician on the model of Fidel Castro.

Cordelio said...

Here is a link where part of the CDF's response to Archbishop Lefebvre's dubia can be found:


The fact that the CDF declined to actually answer the dubia, instead setting up its own meta-dubia and replying to those, is troubling - but not as troubling as the content of the reply.

Woody said...

@collin, without looking back to the details, I recall that a petition to Pope Benedict was signed by a number of impressive scholars, including Msgrs Gherardini and Livi, and Prof. DeMattei, asking for clarification of a number of ambiguities in the VII documents, of which the three mentioned were I am sure a part. So far as I can recall, no answer was received.

Woody said...

The petition may be found here: http://www.dici.org/en/documents/petition-to-pope-benedict-xvi-for-a-more-in-depth-examination-of-the-second-ecumenical-vatican-council/

Richard said...

The SSPX set a puzzle I cannot solve. On every point, bar one, where they differ from the mainstream, they are right and the mainstream is wrong. They have correctly identified all the main causes of the collapse of Catholicism in the west, and they show clearly the only possible road to recovery.
The problem is, in so doing, they have stepped outside the barque of Peter. I cannot. I must turn my back on wise leaders showing the right path and follow weak leaders on the road to ruin.

Anonymous said...

Can any catholic cradle or otherwise be welcome in an ordinariate parish Fr Huniwicke. Is there some Latin reason it is not to be so???

Mary Kay said...

Thank you so much, Fr. Hunwicke! This SSPX friend of many years is so moved by your comment. I pray the same.

Anonymous said...

Colin: I live in a region with a large population of SSPX and there is also a large FSSP parish presence of which I am a member.

I think the issues you bring up are worthy of note by all the bishops, especially those like Cardinal Burke who are favorable toward the Extraordinary Form. Indeed, why SHOULDN'T the questions you {and Lefebvre} raise be answered? Which, given that they have not been raised by the likes of Cardinal Burke have prompted some to indict Burke himself as a modernist. That type of talk these days at this very hour is not, I believe, prudent.

Putting it another way, there is a time to beat the dog for chewing on the furniture but it is definitely NOT when the fox is in sight!

Anonymous said...

PS: The dubia are not limited to issues involving marriage and divorce/remarriage. In fact, the dubia go right to the heart of basic Christian truth. Indeed, they are very craftily worded and do not exclusively address the possibility that the Pope might be a heretic. Depending on answers given, they could expose the Pope as an apostate.

Thus the desperate need for the Pope to answer them to clear up any confusion on the subject. I believe the Pope to be a man of integrity, so in his defense, I think it might be best if he leaves them unanswered...

Sadie Vacantist said...

I'm afraid I can tell you why Burke has been selective. He is an American.

Unless there is a radical change of secular political context, Rome would be foolish to recognise the SSPX.

A Trump presidency following on from Brexit and then a Le Pen presidency in France might have ushered in the changes necessary. The first two projects are already in trouble and the latter may not be realised at all.

No change is my prediction.

Pulex said...

Collin wrote: "Four Cardinals, and others, have been quite diligent in addressing the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia, but not so much in addressing the ambiguities of the documents of VII and subsequent Vatican documents"

The case of AL was rather straightforward. The four Cardinals' dubia address texts that currently cause controversy outside the trad ghetto, even among bishops. These errors regarding matrimony and morals regard the teaching that has been clearly taught since the Sermon of the Mount until Veritatis Splendor, and they can be confounded without recourse to pre-Vatican II magisterium.

The controversial passages in the documents about ecumenism or religious liberty likely regard a body of traditional teachings with different degrees of certainty. So far I remember, there is not terribly much in the Denzinger about this. And how much of this is infallible and irreformable?

mark wauck said...

Here's an article that dates back to Summorum Pontificum, which raises the issue of Lefebvre's Dubia in a general and enlightening way, providing valuable context: Rome-SSPX: Background to the Doctrinal Discussions

Athelstane said...

The problem of remarriage and communion is opportune for debate in a way in which (say) religious liberty and ecumenism are not. We have a new document, generating immediate and grave pastoral issues and division.

Whereas the opportune time to fight battles on ecumenism and religious liberty really was in 1964-65 (note how long it took Archbp. Lefebvre to send dubia on any of this). Those battles, to the extent they were fought, were lost, certainly rhetorically if not in formal doctrinal terms (the exact magisterial authority of Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra Aetate in particular remain unclear, and even certain passages in Lumen Gentium are not cast in formal doctrinal canons). And it should be noted that you can find far more bishops and clergy willing to go to war over *this* issue (and its related doctrines) than you can over restoring the pre-conciliar understandings of church-state relations, the reign of Christ the King, and ecumenism/inter-religious dialogue, I'm afraid.

You could say that Burke and allies are picking their battles, but it's more than that. This battle is urgent, and timely.

Athelstane said...

You can certainly receive communion and confession in one (only the usual requirements applying). The other sacraments - marriage & confirmation of children, particularly - typically depend on formal membership in the Ordinariate. A cradle Catholic *can* become an Ordinariate member but only if they have never been confirmed - that is a provision aimed at cradle (baptized) Catholics who ended up being brought up in an Anglican (or other Protestant) church.

But none of that can keep you from being on the parish rolls - a fairly elastic concept anyway - and I know Catholics who do not otherwise qualify for Ordinariate membership who are on all the relevant parish lists in certain Ordinariate communities. And all of the ones I know of in the US would certainly "welcome" you to become a regular part of parish life and worship.

I would definitely speak with the administrator or pastor of your local Ordinariate community on this. I think you will find they'll be happy to encourage you to become part of the community to the greatest extent possible, if you're interested.

John Vasc said...

"not least by providing a refuge of incardination"

Father,isn't that rather exciting possibility precisely the reason why such a clause would not be granted to the SSPX during the current pontificate?
Bishop Fellay seems so far to have played a blinder - and I say that as one who has no connection at all with the SSPX, but regards them with sympathy.
If it is indeed true that Pope Benedict XVI granted Summorum Pontificum to meet them halfway, it follows that we owe our current TLM provision in large measure to the SSPX.

Prayerful said...

The SSPX and anyone with eyes can see the Traditional Rite still exists in an Indult shadow world. Some dioceses will have multiple daily TLM offered throughout, with others perhaps weekly, many monthly, quite a few not at all. Dioceses with supportive ordinaries (say Dublin where I live and was born) had diocesan TLM before Summorum Pontificum (St Audeon's and St Kevin's churches). The entire west of Ireland (ICKSP excepted, house in Limerick, monthly Mass offering in Galway) has just a single monthly TLM (Old Parish Church, Knock). And there are parts of the country with less than that. Priests seem reluctant to offer TLM where a bishop is hostile. There is also the obvious problem that since the 'New Joy' of Vatican II, there are desperately few priests below retirement age. While the attitude to the Usus Antiquor remains highly condition and often hostile, from Pope to diocesan ordinary, the SSPX are fully entitled to remain wary.