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Debate: Have the SSPX-Vatican talks been a waste of time?

Or are they a crucial step along the way towards unity?

By on Friday, 25 February 2011

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the SSPX, blesses families in Ecône, Switzerland (CNS photo/Denis Balibouse, Reuters)

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the SSPX, blesses families in Ecône, Switzerland (CNS photo/Denis Balibouse, Reuters)

High-level doctrinal talks between the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and officials at the Vatican started about two and a half years ago, in September 2009. Now, according to Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, the negotiations are almost over, and nothing concrete appears to have been achieved.

Bishop Fellay says that the aim of the talks was to make the faith “understood in Rome” – yet he accepts that the Vatican participants have not changed their minds about any of the disputed issues. Another SSPX bishop, the disgraced Bishop Richard Williamson, described it as a “dialogue of the deaf”, in which neither side went into the discussion with any notion of compromise or of budging on their positions.

On the other hand, Pope Benedict XVI is determined to heal the divisions within the Church. In his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, he wrote that every effort must be made to achieve unity. The SSPX and the Vatican talking to each other brings the prospect of that unity closer than if there were no dialogue at all. Bishop Fellay himself says the talks were of “capital importance” – even if he is only interested in persuading Rome that he and his SSPX followers are right.

So, were the negotiations a waste of time? Or were they an important step on the long road towards unity?

  • Vicente Lopez

    Editor CT

    PLEASE! Dont Stop reading.

    Read, again, and again and again unti you can memorize:

    –Michael Davies, A Heretical Pope?: Claims have been made that one or more of the “conciliar popes”, that is to say Pope John XXIII and his successors, were heretics and therefore forfeited the papacy…The theological weakness of this argument is an inadequate concept of the nature of the Church. Without realizing it, they believe in a Church which can fail — and such a Church is not the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church that He founded cannot fail, for it is indefectible (i.e. it cannot fail). It will continue to exist until the Second Coming as a visible, hierarchically governed body, teaching the truth and sanctifying its members with indubitably valid sacraments.

    –Baltimore Catechism: “The Pope can sin just the same as anyone else; he could be a very bad man if he wanted to be so, and take the punishment God would inflict for his sins. Could he not be very angry, entirely neglect prayer, or pray with willful distraction; could he not be proud, covetous, etc.? And these are sins. Therefore he could sin; and hence he has to go to confession and seek forgiveness just as we do. Therefore remember this: whether the Pope be a bad man or a good man in his private life, he must always tell the truth when he speaks ex cathedra, because the Holy Ghost is guiding him and will not permit him to err or teach falsehood in faith or morals. (Thomas L. Kinkead, Nihil Obstat: D. J. McMahon, Censor Librorum, Imprimatur: *Michael Augustine New York, September, 1891)

    –Francisco de Suarez (1548-1617): “…God’s “sweet providence” would never allow the one who could not teach error to fall into error, and this is guaranteed by the promise Ego autem rogavi pro te . . . (Luke 22: 32).” (De legibus (Paris, 1856), vol. IV, chap. 7, no. 10, p. 361)

    –Saint Francis: “…saying that the Church errs is the same as saying that God errs and that He wants us to err, which is a great blasphemy” (Catholic controversy page 70)

    –Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): “We ought rightly to presume as Cardinal Bellarmine declares, that God will never let it happen that a Roman Pontiff, even as a private person, becomes a public heretic or an occult heretic.”(Dogmatic Works of St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri (Turin, 1848), vol. VIII, p. 720.)

  • Vicente Lopez

    No Preconciliar Pope wanted Catholics to attend Heretics or Pagan services.

    And No CONCILIAR Pope want Cathoic to attend Heretic or Pagan services!!!

    A Catholic cannot participate in services of pagans or heretics: before or now or never!

    Ecumenis is NOT about participate in services of Pagans or Heretics. It is aboiut dialogue, NOW about participating in their rites or services.

    The Church before and NOW stricly fobiddes Communio in Sacris.

    There are many instructions from Roman Congregations stricly forbiding participation in heretical or Pagan services.

    That is why no Catholic Priest can particpate on an Anglican service or join Masses.

    From Ecclessia Eucastia to Mysterium Fidei, etc, no Pope can ever recommend or authorize participation with Heretics or Pagans in their rites or authorize active participation of Heretics or Pagans in the distribition of Sacraments.

    Ecumenism is nothing about that. It is about dialogue and diplopmacy, not about Catholics participating in Heretics or Pagan rites.

    There can be exeptions in which Catholic are allowed by Canon Law to participate in Orthodox Masses to receive Holy communion (in grave cases only)

    And there are expetions in which Catholic can participate PASSIVELY in Pagan rituals such as the special permission that Pope Pius XII gace to Catholics in Japan to participate in Pagan Funerals and Weddings back in the 1950s.

    But those are rare exeptions. A Catholic cannot participate in Heretics or Pagain rites: period.

  • Jack Regan

    I think you need to check that sentence for irony…

    On a more serious note, I am rather tempted to go through this thread and wind everybody up. That’s not a good thing. So, maybe that’s my cue to call it a day

  • Gerard

    The Pope can err and has erred Pope John the 22nd erred when he preached from the pulpit that no one would see the Beatific Vision until after the General Judgement. He was called on the error, initially resisted and then appointed a commission to study it. He recanted of his error shortly before his death.

    The Charism of Infallibility prevents the Pope from BINDING the faithful to any errors. When he binds the faithful universally he is infallible.

    Other examples of error that fall outside of infallibility is in the absolute mess regarding Pope Stephen exuming the corpse of Pope Formosus and putting it on trial. For years and numerous pontificates afterwards the declarations of invalidity of orders and rulings went back and forth invalidating and validating the ordinations and actions of Formosus with Stephen being overturned in his rulings despite being a legtimate (if corrupt) Pope.

    The Holy Ghost does not promise good fruits from a Council. Vatican II was a real council. It was also a bad idea, executed badly. It even fails to fulfill the criteria established by John XXIII in his opening speech. It did not preserve or find new formulations for the doctrine of the Church (it doesn’t even mention Hell once in all of it’s wordiness.) What we wound up with was theological sounding words for political and ideological policies and re-definitions of old words that drained them of all previously understood meaning and clarity.

  • Gerard

    I’m afraid it’s you that has the non-Catholic notions about Papal Infallibility and whether or not an Ecumencial Council is Infallible, Paul VI and then-Cardinal Ratzinger have both stated that there were no new dogmatic definitions and the level of Magisterial authority was “Authentic” only compared to the Ordinary infallible and extraordinary infallible Magisterium.

    And since the documents of Vatican II actually simply “lower the defenses” of the Church more than actually damage the Church, (by ceding much authority and decision making to the local Ordinary who is probably a heretic)…they aren’t directly fallible or heretical, but they faciliate heretics from within the Church to promote heresy.

    This was all based on Paul VI’s imprudent idea of “Kenosis” in which the Church like Christ on the Cross would be “emptied out.” This also explains his other famous comment to Jean Guitton before closing the Council, “I’m about the blow the seven trumpets of the apocalypse.”

  • teresa

    What you wrote above is the typical defence of SSPX, they know too well they are disobeying, so they feel the need to invent a new theory and new interpretation of “Infallibility” to justify their disobedience, it has been running for decades. And no heresy is new, this kind of arguments was applied by people centuries ago, and they were excommunicated, by the Church long before the contended Vatican II Council.

    I keep on thinking of Luther, he even changed the Bible to justify his own interpretation of what is really Christian…

  • Gerard

    It’s a typical argument from traditionalists because it happens to be correct. If you want to refute it, by all means try. You’ll fail because you’ll find that their is a long record of theologians and examples from history of resisting Popes legitimately. From St. Paul to St. Robert Bellarmine, to Cardinal Newman to Dietrich von Hildebrand.

    But instead you are shifting your argument from infallibility to one of obedience. The argument of the SSPX and other traditionalists is the argument of St. Thomas Aquinas, namely that of a threefold obedience, perfect obedience, true obedience and false obedience. The failure to make those distinctions is yet another modern departing from the Catholic faith imbibed in by the so-called “conservative” (moderate liberal ) Catholics.

  • Jimbo

    why all this stuff about numbers ,if sspx are holding firmly to the truth then it matters not a jot whether there millions of them or a mere handful the truth is still the truth. What we really need is a good dose of Oliver Cromwell treatment for those who corrupted Vatican 2 and superimposed their version of the ‘spirit of vat 2′ and laughed while the rest of us followed like sheep!

  • Jimbo

    we were promised that the churches would be packed to the brim with the new reforms ,so where are they all? Card. Heenan said that with the new mass the churches would only have old women and young children. They are hardly meeting even that projection . However I am ever hopeful that within the next 40 years the church will have seen off the “trendy’s” of the 60/70′s and catholics will wonder who caused this furore as they continue to celebrate the latin mass which has sertved us well for over 1500 years.

  • Anonymous

    Bishop O’Donoghue [late Lancaster] delicately touched on Mother Church post Vatican II, where each bishop and each priest and each layman appears to be becoming their own pope and confessor. Overhanging this situation is the problem of collegiality within the bishops’ conferences [+O'Donoghue only spoke out in his retirement]. We now have national associations of priests, and, would you believe association of deacons – each of these telling BXVI ton “get lost” with regard to the new N.O. Missal translation. These dissenters predicate the arising of ‘National Catholic Churches’ nominally tied to Rome, but independent thereof – CofE, Protestant?

    A few years ago the E&W Bishops’ Conference issued a document which stated: in order to fulfil my Sunday Duty [what that today?] I could attend my village CofE or Non-Conformist place of worship – are they Catholic? In respect of the post-Vat II they will be judged as being so! Is Vatican II to be declared [infallibly] an ‘Article of Faith’ of Mother Church?

    Regarding +Williamson: when he opines upon matters of Faith, as far as I am aware, he speaks truth. When he speaks upon his hobby-horse – he exposes himself as an eccentric nutter. He is highly educated, intellegent and a contraversialist, wherein he has chosen a ground where he argues on a subject which is incapable of verification – one way or the other. However, his opponents have been stupid, in such respect, to play him at his own game – at which he cannot be beaten. He shoudl be challenged, not on the numbers of Jewry who died in gas chambers, but on his attitude to the numbers ghettoised and incarcerated in concentration camps and the principle of such action by Germany. Msgr. Lefebvre erred in elevating +Williamson, erred in sending him to the USA, where he attracted head cases, of a type found widespread in the USA.

    Mother Church is splitting asunder and it will take a couple of generations to resolve – but it will be resolved and Vatican II, in history, seen as a gigantic mistake. The Holy Ghost cannot err, but the quislings of Protestantism, did their deeds with impunity.

    My parish priest has preached against the BXVI; celibate clergy; lack of lay status in the church, etc., etc. and Celebrates Mass with CofE affectations – perhaps I should attend the village church!

  • The Raven

    The only truth on the history of the second world war that anyone has to fear is the absolute certainty that cretins will ruin otherwise interesting debates by spouting imbecilic nonsense about the Holocaust: a point that you have just fully demonstrated.

  • teresa

    Tell me if there is any Saint in the history who rejected the decision of an ecumenical council.

    The Paul example is again typical: William Ockham, an excommunicated monk of the 13th. used it to reject the Authority of the Pope.

    You can cry as loud as you like, the Universal Church will move on without you.

  • teresa

    It would be a catastrophe for us all if the Church should reject her own Council. It would be suicide. The Council documents can be re-interpreted, that is, in the light of Tradition, and that is why Archbishop Schneider calls for a Syllabus of Errors, not for a Syllabus of Erroris of the Council, that is impossible, but for a Syllabus of the Errors of people who misinterpret the Council documents. The Vatican II will stay a legitimate Council if we want to remain the same Catholic Church.

  • Scott

    (Genuine, well-intended, question here) What would the SSPX like the Church to do? What doctrines, in their views, has the Pope failed to accept in these recent talks? I don’t understand what the Church refuses to do, in their eyes.

    I have been to several Vatican II churches with holy priests. I have seen the “new” Mass celebrated in more reverent and dignified way than the Tridentine Mass. Vatican II churches where people kneel at communion, receive on the tongue, where Latin is used, where the vestments are unchanged since 62. Vatican II parishes with many pious traditions such as processions, and proper catechism. I have even been at a Mass where the priest faced east (but spoke English).

    What is the row all about?

  • Anonymous

    For heaven’s sake – Vicente, I was referring primarily to the fact that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have invited pagans and Protestants to meet with them to pray at Assisi – for world peace. The third of these scandalous meetings is scheduled for October. And a fat lot of good the previous two have been – the world is growing more dangerous by the minute!

    Only when we have a Pope to obeys Our Lady and consecrates Russia to her as instructed, will we have the promised period of world peace. Until then, there will continue to be wars and uprisings.

  • Anonymous

    Vicente, don’t be daft.

    It is a theological TRUTH that popes can be heretics. Read St (Cardinal) Robert Bellarmine on the subject.

    That doesn’t meant that the Church has failed or could fail. The Church is indefectible but that is due to the workings of the Holy Spirit, not to the impeccability of popes, who can be wrong like anyone else. Your final quote from Saint Alphonsus acknowledges this and actually cites St Robert Bellarmine.

    You need to remember the distinction (not clear in some of the quotes above, probably because until our times, it was not so essential to make the distinction because popes tended not to teach heresy!) between a pope repeating traditional Catholic doctrine – always, when he does this, he cannot err – and between what we are getting today throughout this diabolical crisis in the Church, modern popes giving us new “doctrines” about ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, religious liberty (encouraging the worship of false gods in the name of human rights – an entirely new idea in the Church, therefore cannot possibly be part of the infallible Faith.)

  • RJ

    I wonder if we are being too “Eurocentric/American” in our view of the situation. It is in “the West” that we see the tragic split between faith and culture, and this may be a major cause of the current decline in numbers. Do we see the same in Africa? I don’t think so. That might cause us to question whether Vatican II and the new form of the Mass are “to blame”.

  • The Truth

    Hi Vicente,

    It’s a waste of time trying to convince these people that they are in error. They choose to be willfully blind.

    And since when does the Holy Spirit run around telling the Holy Father that the church is teaching heresy? If that’s the case, then Jesus lied to St. Peter when he gave him the keys to the kingdom.

    “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.” – St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 13:1-2

  • LeFloch

    Actually the only certainty is that those questioning the version of history promoted by people with a vested interest are attacked as mad, bad and dangerous…….. then locked up. Hardly the actions of those keen on ‘interesting debates’.

  • Gerard

    I would suggest you look up Canons 68-70 of Lateran IV and see if you wonder why virtually the Church ignored those canons. I can’t give you a saint that I can think of that resisted a Council since they all had anathemas attached to the important decrees. Can you point to the anathemas of Vatican II?

    You seem to have this technique of avoiding an actual point and moving onto something else. The fact that the St. Paul example is used does not mean the SSPX are Protestants or that they deny papal authority any more than St. Paul. The fact that JPII is no St. Peter when it comes to character is the relevant argument.

    Re: St. Thomas. Instead of actually dealing with the argument of St. Thomas concerning obedience. You are going on a tangent about Bishop Tissier noting the differences between Thomism and Phenomenology.

    Then you go into the tactic of personal attacks citing Luther as analogous when it is not an apt comparison.

    Romano Amerio is correct and Archbishop LeFebvre preceded him by decades by complaining about Vatican II’s attack on the power of the Pope (See Ralph Wiltgen’s the Rhine flows into the Tiber) And the SSPX didn’t write that horrid encyclical Ut Unum Sint which puts the authority of the Pope up for dismantling by non-Catholics. Just as liberal Presidents of the U.S. tend to hate the U.S. Liberal Popes tend to hate the office of the Pope and they falter in their performance.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about since I do consider the FSSP traditionalists as well as many diocesan priests, unfortunately they are under the same persecution that LeFebvre faced. The only difference being they are not bishops. The liberals were perfectly willing to let the “trads” die out so long as there would be no more traditional formation of priests. LeFebvre effectively ended that.

  • Gerard

    The idea of a Syllabus is probably a very good one. Years ago, Fr. Malachi Martin also suggested that the Popes should basically rewrite all 16 documents giving the proper understanding of Catholic Doctrine as the Council can only be interpreted correctly. He should do it on his own without any “vote” of bishops.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    William of Ockham, you say? The same William of Ockham that the good Jesuit Fathers taught me when I was at Jesuit school and then at the Gregorian University, Rome. If the Jesuits teach him at Rome he cannot be ‘unreconciled’ or a purveyor of heretical doctrine – can he? I am happy to be a Papist but I will not become a papolator. If it comes from Rome or the Bishop of Rome’s curia then it must be right and we may not question it? Utter rot and bad theology, but I am sure you would agree with me – and all the Popes prior to Paul VI – on that one, wouldn’t you? Thomas Acquinas is no joke – as many of us came to understand throughout our time at seminary.

  • Gerard

    It is more about what is missing than what is present. The more the Novus Ordo imitates the Traditional Latin Mass the more stability it has. But it is still missing numerous elements, symbols and ideas that are not in the Latin Novus Ordo. As Charled Coulombe pointed out, “You have to bring a full understanding of Catholicism to the Novus Ordo in order to keep your faith with it. If you are brought up without the faith, you’ll adopt Protestant attitudes and ideas.”

    For an understanding of the Crisis from the traditional point of view, check out the SSPX websites. Also the works and speeches of Micheal Davies, the Remnant, Catholic Family News, the various traditionalist apologists, John Salza, Charles Coulombe and William Biersach, Fr. Malachi Martin and Bishop Williamson’s “Faith in Crisis” interview series from the early 1980′s to the present day.

  • teresa

    Why, you are avoiding addressing the main point. To use the Lateran Council is such a slate of hand, anyone who rejected this order at that time was disobedient and must be excommunicated. As Council decisions of this kind are ruling the relationship between Church and the situation in the society, this kind of decisions can be changed when the social circumstances are changed. But nobody was rightfully against these decision as long as the Church doesn’t decide otherwise.

    Your argument is simply invalid.

  • Gerard

    I used to think that people espousing views like Williamson’s were either nuts or stupid. Then, I actually did some research and realized that the constant insult hurling is simply mocking point in order to shut down interest and honest investigation. But you’ve made an interesting point, the enemies of Williamson have exposed themselves as advancing an article of faith that they dogmatize instead of an actual evidential conclusion. LeFebvre, who’s father died in a concentration camp, did not err with Williamson. He’s a great man, unfairly calumniated. He’s a very loving man, very much in love with Christ and a great, great pastor of souls.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Scott

    The point appears to elude you. It is not about kneeling at communion, it is not about ‘holy priests’ or ‘presbyters’, it is not about the so-called Novus Ordo Missae being celebrated reverently and in a dignified manner and it is not, really, about Latin. It is about ‘lex orandi lex credendi’ and about a sacrament signifying what it contains and containing what it signifies. The Novus Ordo does not signify the Catholic theology of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is ambiguous – deliberately so – and tends toward giving a protestant understanding of the Lord’s Supper, which gradually will replace the Catholic Mass in the eyes and Psyche of whatever remaining ‘catholic’ attend it. It is simple: No sacrifice = no need for a sacrificing Priest = no need for an altar but merely a table for a commemorative meal over which the Presbyter presides and in which the People of God exercise their Universal priesthood and so they, not any Priest, worship God in their way instead of in His. It is stuff for which Luther would have eagerly burned Bugnini as a heretic and which has already been condemned by the Church. Archbishop Cranmer made the skeleton for the Novus Ordo Missae during the brief reign of Edward VI in England and Cranmer did it all with love, beauty and reverence. All the love, all the beauty and all the reverence did not make Cranmer’s liturgy either redolent of Catholicism or sacramentally valid. same goes for the Novus Ordo, Scott. Sorry, it is not about feelings and reverence – it is about theology or the lack of it.

  • teresa

    you sound totally bitter. Why can’t Ockham not be taught? He is at first a logician and his logic is not rejected by the Church as heretic, but his political teachings reflect the disobedience against the Holy See. We can also teach science developed by non-believers as long as it doesn’t contradict the Faith.

  • teresa

    They are against the Church’s commitment to Religious Freedom. A gentleman I know talked personally confidentially to Pater Schmidberger, the Prior of German SSPX, they reject in the most stubborn way this teaching in Lumen Gentium. If I remember correctly, that is why Monsig. Lebvres rejected to be incorporated into the Church when the then Cardinal Ratzinger offered him a viable option.

  • Anonymous

    Assisi III leading souls into danger?
    Baloney Anthony!

    His Holiness is exercising His authority as Peter: Servant and shepherd to all.

    He is not his predecessor.

  • The Raven

    Neither mad, bad nor dangerous, merely tedious.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Teresa

    You see how easy it is to misunderstand people? We really have to be very careful when we speak, either orally or in script. Calm yourself, dear sister, I am not at all ‘bitter’, much less ‘totally’. Am I right in thinking that you are using ‘totally’ in the strange manner that has developed in the USA? To the exclusion of all else, that is? No, not at all. All is well on he bitterness front. I too made a mistake, Teresa. I dismissed what someone else wrote about you as being too ‘light’ and not giving enough gravitas to your words. Can you supply the appropriate academic references and demonstrate what you say re his ‘political writings’, please? I would be very eager to read what you have to say and explore it. I hope I am wrong when I say that I believe your veer toward papolatry. As I wrote, I am happy to be a Papist but I will not become a papolator. I hope to be wrong but I feel uneasy that you may tend toward that exagerated position. Who said it was forbidden to read Luther or Calvin? Not I, Teresa! For the record, the last person who accused me of being bitter was a Novus Ordo ‘nun’, a self-proclaimed ‘academic’ and a strident feminist. Now, there, Teresa, you had real ‘bitter’…… oremus et pro invicem

  • Sr Russell J Berry

    Did you mean ‘sleight of hand’, Teresa? Why so strident? You sound totally bitter ………;-)

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    My, my, Teresa…the bitterness flows on and on.

  • The Truth

    OK, enough of all of this bitching and complaining. If Jesus was obedient, even obedient to death on the cross, then why can’t the SSPX rbe obedient to the Holy Father?

    Get over it!

    It’s like going to confession every time I hear you speak
    You’re makin’ the most of your losin’ streak
    Some call it sick, but I call it weak

    You drag it around like a ball and chain
    You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
    You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
    Got your mind in the gutter, bringin’ everybody down
    Complain about the present and blame it on the past
    I’d like to find your inner child and kick it’s little ass

    Get over it
    Get over it
    All this bitchin’ and moanin’ and pitchin’ a fit
    Get over it, get over it

  • Cpb75us

    The eternal optimist in me says that yes, these talks were crucial. Both sides were finally at long last, to discuss the pink elephant in the room; namely the Second Vatican Council. Of course, it will take a miracle for Rome to drop Vatican Council II and the Missal of Paul VI. It will require humility on both sides to learn from another. It is my hope that Bishop Fellay will consecrate more auxilary bishops to further the work of Tradition for ALL Catholics. Ad Multos Annos, FSSPX!!!

    Chris Bates
    Ithaca, NY

  • Scott

    Thank you for the answers. For me the old Latin Mass seems far more ambiguous and theologically vague because most people can’t speak Latin! The priest could be saying anything, but thanks to the Novus Ordo my ignorant heart saw and heard the true meaning from the first moment I entered a Catholic church, thank God. As I said in a different thread, it was the disunity of the SSPX that later caused a stumbling block for me, far more so than Vatican II.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    What an extraordinary reply! Extraordinarily arrogant, is what I mean. Your rhyming babble is a very effective non-sequitur since nobody could possibly match the simplicity of its unthinking arrogance. Is that how you dismiss thoese who disagree with you? If so, you dismiss and reject all the pre-Vaican II catholics, Popes and all the saints in Heaven. Neo-modernist arrogance, in all its foolisdh pride.

  • Dr russell J Berry

    PS: Forgive the typographical errors……

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Christ is not divided. Absolutely not. Christ is the One, the True, the Good and the Beautiful. Unity is Christ’s Blessed Will, of course. Unity takes place in the True, not the falsehood of those who blaspheme Sacred Scripture by perverting it to their purposes or who use it in a form of apologia for those who bastardise the Deposit of Faith. Such is the way of the Protestant, let us remember.

    Henry VIII officially made an English translation (quite a good one, in fact) of the Bible generally available and came to regret it saying that it was ‘rhymed and jangled in every ale-house and tavern’ by those unable to understand it. The same remains the case today and Henry, who lived and died a Catholic, would not hesitate to consign to the fires of Smithfield many of those who throw Holy Writ around on these pages like confetti scattered at a wedding, with about as much care and understanding as an eleven year old child. Same goes for the documents of the Magisterium – their typical edition is in Latin and if you are unable competently to read the original in its historical context then you may very well not understand what you think you are reading.

    Speaking only for myself, I find it very hard to discern when the ‘Spirit’ is present. Clearly, for you it is much simpler. Papolatry = idolatry, though…would you not agree? You should, for such is the teaching of the Church.

    To prate and prattle alleged vernacular scriptural quotations is, as I said before, good work for good Protestants, God bless them and lead them to the One True Church. To abuse Scripture or to pervert it is not the work of a Christian, would you not agree? Perhaps we should pray more and speak less, listen more to God instead of bombarding Him with our self-righteous whining. I know a few Bishops who could do that and who would profit by it. Maybe, that way Christ can help us generate some light instead of useless verbal heat, which serves nobody.

  • anastasia

    “Dialogue” and “conversations” are novelities inthe Church. . “Negotiation” of the faith is anathema, and “dialogue” and “conversations” are only euphemisms for “negotiation”. Debate and arguments are the only ways to truly settle a dispute, especially concerning matters of faith, because the faith is non-negotiable. Today, you say “argument” to anyone, they believe you are engaging in a moral wrong. Why are you arguing, they will ask. Are you “angry”. The only answer to such a silly question is, “if I seem angry I am.” It is only then that they will finally ask you the pertinent question, which is “why”. “Argument” is not a dirty word, and until there is an appreciation of its value, we will remain in this malaise and will negotiate the faith away. Today, we salute ourselves because we do not “argue” about matters of religion. Instead, we argue about important things, like which restaurant we wish to go to. The next war will not be about “religion”. It will be about the Iranians creating an environmental hazard because they are not dusting their furniture properly. In ten years, this will not be a hyperbolic statement.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    You got it, Anastasia! ‘To dialogue’, as a verb, is a ‘modernist’ concept – not at all ‘modern’ but very modernist. It is entirely conceived toward the undermining of the ecclesial structure and heirarchy and the naturally following adulteration of Faith and the exaltation of ‘la la happy land we all love each other and worship God in our own way’ indifferentism.

    Contest what the ‘La-la Happy Landers’ say and they will accuse you of ‘bitterness’ (usually total), ‘disobedience’ to the very magisterium from which they feel themselves to have been liberated and generally being emotionally attached to sanctus bells and holy water as a child is to a comforter.

    ‘Above all, let there be no murmuring’, they cry as they steal the words of St Benedict to silence criticism of their willful bastardisation of Mass. Sacraments and immemorial doctrine. Kyrie eleison!

  • Gerard

    Jesus was obedient to the Father because the God is the only being who warrants absolute obedience. We owe only God absolute obediences, we owe the Pope “true” obedience as Vatican I states.

    A person giving the Pope absolute obedience turns the Pope into God and breaks the first commandment.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Absolutely right!

  • Gerard

    Again, you don’t know what you’re referring to. I stated that the FSSP undergoes some of the similar persecutions LeFebvre went through prior to 1988. Protocol 1411 being one and the refusal of the FSSP their own bishop after almost 23 years is still relevant. There are other ways the bishops coral and limit the effectiveness of the FSSP and other priests offering the TLM in the post-Summorum Pontificum period.

    Re: Lateran IV and the canons against the Jews, the Church as a body rejected those, they obviously while a resolution to a problem was obviously not the resolution that would have been blessed by God.

    Now, what is invalid is your argument that Vatican II demands the same level of obedience simply because it’s a Council. When in reality it makes no demands, makes no anathemas, and engages in assertions that are demonstrably false or irrelevant 5 decades later.

    Are you going to get back to the original point becing St. Thomas’ explication of threefold obedience or not?

  • Gerard

    Since there are Protestant denominations that already use the Novus Ordo and don’t have an inkling to convert, I think you may be missing out on important aspects of the Catholic faith. I recommend you check out either the Catechism of Trent or the Athanasian Creed, the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX, the Encyclicals of Pius X and the anti-modernist oath, if you have a problem with any of those, you have a problem in your faith formation.

    The TLM is not even supposed to be “heard” in many parts so that is irrelevant. And I’m sure you wouldn’t be keen on insulting Jews, Orthodox or Eastern Catholics and other religions who have sacred languages in their liturgies. Conversely, I don’t think you believe that only Catholics and Protestants are too stupid to worship in a way that might require a little explanation or a language set aside for worship..

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Gerard,

    I think it likely you are right on the points you make. It is likely that those who call the shots do not want the SSSP to have ‘their own Bishop’. Their hope seems to be that ‘traditionalism’ will wither away and leave them alone on the ecclesial field, free to impose their will, God forbid. If I am reading your Lateran IV comment aright, I do not see how it is honestly possible to disagree with what you write. Here comes that much abused noun, again, our old friend ‘obedience’. It is without doubt the teaching of the Church that there is more than one ‘kind’ or degree or quality of ‘obedience’. Vatican II neither demanded nor merits that we obediently prostrate ourselves before it, its participators, the Pope who promulgated its ‘decrees’ and most certainly does not require that we suspend our God-given critical faculties when discussing it. Vatican II made no claim to infallibility and received no such charism. Where Vatican II declares anything that is, may be or could be seen to be contrary to the teaching of the Church all catholics may safely ignore it. In fact, they must ignore it.

    I, too, await the demanded/requested ‘explication’ of St Thomas’s teaching on obedience. The Jesuits at the Gregorian taught on it extensively. I have my lecture notes before me as I write. They are very clear and copiously annotated so I am eager to hear what anyone else has to say about ‘obedience’ according to Acquinas.

    God bless

    Russell Berry

  • Cmflynn

    You are right to say that ‘no group has split from…’etc. But who has split from whom? The SSPX went on teaching the same Catholic Faith after Vatican II as had been taught before. Heresies tend to spring up in a certain place at a certain time because they suit the ideas current in that time and place. As time passes they look increasingly odd to a new generation and so fade and die. During the past 40 years it is the Vatican II Church which has been dying. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said several years ago that at the then rate of decline there would be nothing left within 20 years.
    A few statistics 1970: SSPX founded by Archbishop Lefebvre with three priests.
    1976: Supposed suspension, 12 priests
    1983: 50+ priests
    1988: supposed excomunication 200+priests
    2010: 500+ priests
    Perhaps the SSPX will disappear completely as you say but on present trends it is the Vatican II Church which is more likely to disappear. You can only ignore the elephant in the room for so long

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Mr Regan

    I am sorry you wrote ‘don’t pick me up on the wording – I really don’t care’ for it is precisely that sentiment that has got us where we are, today viz in the ecclesial doo-doo!

    Your proposed change to Canon Law is interesting. It would be quite uncharitable, coming from the new church of universal ‘lurve’ but not at all inconsistent since it is this new ecclesial body that seeks to be ‘free’ from nasty things like Canon Law but seeks to use it as a stick to beat all-comers who disagree with it. The ‘ecumenical church’ whose ‘presbyters’ dishonestly ‘celebrate’ a neo-protestant liturgy with honest protestants would be telling good catholics to take a hike while getting into bed with heretics. In other words, Mr Regan, your interesting suggestion would, in practice, be rank hypocrisy, would it not?

    Your natural sequitur ‘Then, the Church should declare SSPX to be in formal schsim’ is entirely in conflict with new Vatican policy. Be careful or you will be accused of sinning against the unity of the church!

    I see very little of the love of the new church in what you write. I see nothing of the Gospel. Either you are hiding your love and your charity under a very big bushel or you need to point out where it is being kept. If you have any charity or love, Mr Regan, you have a Christian duty to show it. Nothing approaching either can be detected in what you write.

    God bless you, Mr Regan. You need His blessing as much as I, I see.

    In Christo

    Russell Berry

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Teresa,

    Why would it be ‘catastrophic’ for the Church to ‘reject her own council’? Firstly, it would not be the first time, would it? Secondly, those ‘teachings’ of vatican II that are or tend toward error and are not in communion with the mind of the Church may simply be deleted by papal decree. Not to delete them is to tolerate error – not possible for the One True Church of Christ, is that not so? Vatican II was no dogmatic Council and has no charism of infallibility or inerrancy. ‘The Council documents can be re-interpreted’ you write. By whom can they be ‘re-interpreted’? Where they stray from catholic doctrine they simply have no validity, at all. If they differ from catholic doctrine how can they have any validity? Error cannot have the same rights as Truth and to suggest that it can is a logical nonsense, is it not? Eviscerate, redact, cut, remove the error and all acts that followed from it and we shall have a true, pastoral Council of the Roman Catholic Church. Leave it as it is and you knowingly subscribe to error and all that goes with it.

    God bless us, every one!

    Russell Berry

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Teresa

    You wrote: ‘The Council documents can be re-interpreted, that is, in the light of Tradition’ and in my earlier reply I should have asked ‘Why do or should authentic documents of the magisterium need or require to ‘be re-interpreted’? Should they not ring clearly as authentic and not require to be ‘re-interpreted’? Do they need to be be ‘re-tuned’ to make them sound different? What tinkering about with them will make them appear more in tune with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Do they not speak for themselves? Did the Council and Paul VI misspeak themselves? Did they not mean what they said, say, about religious liberty? Does ‘Gaudium et Spes’ need editing the better to make it conform to Catholicism ? Is the suggestion to keep the substance but change the appearance? Or should we jettison what is not Catholic? You can put lipstick on a pig but piggy will remain piggy, Teresa. Is that not so?

    God bless!

    Russell Berry