Fri 31st Oct 2014 | Last updated: Thu 30th Oct 2014 at 16:43pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Comment & Blogs

The SSPX is apparently about to go into schism over Bishop Fellay’s plans to return ‘within the walls’; we need him back and should pray that his opponents fail

The other SSPX bishops think this Pope ‘subjects the Church to the modern world’: in other words, they’re barking

By on Monday, 14 May 2012

Bishop Bernard Fellay (CNS photo)

Bishop Bernard Fellay (CNS photo)

What exactly is going on in the SSPX? On Wednesday last week, a “communiqué” was issued by the SSPX “General House,” which I suppose means its headquarters, condemning the circulation on the internet, two days before, of an exchange of private letters between the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X and the three other SSPX bishops. “This behaviour is reprehensible”, thundered the statement; “The person who breached the confidentiality of this internal correspondence committed a serious sin”.

This means, I assume, that the letters as circulated were authentic; they have been roughly translated (I suppose they were in French), and then tidied up on a site called The Sensible Bond, whose text I will quote here. There has been a very fundamental disagreement between the four bishops of the SSPX over the possibility of an agreement with the Holy See, involving the setting up of the SSPX as a personal prelature, in other words as a semi-independent jurisdiction responsible only to the Pope. On the one side of the divide are Bishops Tissier de Mallerais, de Galarreta and Williamson, and on the other the Superior General of the Society, Bishop Fellay, and his two assistants Fr Pfluger and Fr Nély.

The three dissident bishops seem to me to be not only talking utter rubbish but to be actually barking, positively up the wall (Vatican II, they say, represents “a total perversion of the mind, a new philosophy founded on subjectivism. Benedict XVI is no better than John Paul II in this regard… he puts human subjective fantasy in the place of God’s objective reality and subjects the Church to the modern world”; you see what I mean); Bishop Fellay’s response to this, on the other hand, was (and I never thought I would find myself saying this) measured and sensible as well as being, as one would have expected, absolutely faithful to the Catholic tradition.

I really hope, if there is to be a schism within the SSPX (as looks on the basis of these letters more likely than not) that the overwhelming majority of SSPX adherents will follow Bishop Fellay back over the Tiber; there is, and he clearly understands this, still a battle going on inside the Catholic Church between the Magisterium and the “spirit of Vatican II” secularisers; and we need everyone we can get by the Pope’s side in this great struggle for the renewal of the Catholic tradition and the cleaning up of the Catholic Church. A personal prelature doesn’t need more than one bishop; and the disappearance from the scene of Bishop Williamson would be an unlooked for bonus.

Bishop Fellay’s declaration is not merely sensible, it is positively inspiring, and I therefore quote it at length; this is a bishop whose leadership is needed within the mainstream of the Church. He begins by criticising his fellow SSPX bishops’ analysis for two faults: “lack of a supernatural view and a lack of realism”. Then he goes on, very strikingly as follows:

“Do you still believe that the Church is the Church and that the Pope is Pope? Can Christ still speak through him? If he expresses a legitimate desire or decision, should we not obey, and will not God help us?

“Your all too human and fatalistic attitude implies that we should not count on God’s help, his grace or the Holy Spirit. If Providence guides men’s actions, has it not been guiding the movement back to Tradition? It makes no sense to think God will let us fall now, especially since we only want to do his will and please him.

“Likewise you lack realism, just as the liberals make the Council a superdogma, you are making the Council a superheresy. Archbishop Lefebvre made distinctions about liberal Catholics, and if you do not make them, your caricature of reality could lead to a true schism.

“You blame all the current evils on the authorities even though they are trying to extricate the Church from them (eg the condemnation of the hermeneutic of continuity) [note: I think Bishop Fellay means the hermeneutic of discontinuity] and are thus not all obstinate in heresy. That is clearly false. Hence when it comes to the crucial question of making an accord, we do not come to the same conclusion as you.”

He continues by saying that because of the present Pope’s words and actions a real change is taking place. “Young priests and bishops are supporting us… Now, a combat within the walls is possible, though very difficult.”

Archbishop Lefebvre, he says, “would have accepted what is proposed; we must not lose his sense of the Church”. And then he comes to the central point about the situation in which we all find ourselves: “Church history shows that we only recover gradually from heresies and crises, so it is not realistic to wait until everything is sorted out. If we refuse to work in this field, we fall foul of the parable of the wheat and the cockle in which Our Lord warns us that there would always be internal conflict.” In other words, separating yourself off within a little private world in which everything is conducted precisely to your taste simply isn’t the Catholic way.

These are, it seems to me, wise and courageous words, and the vision which inspired them deserves to succeed. Whether or it does, we will have to wait and see; there are those working within the SSPX against its success. It is clear from this correspondence that, as Bishop Fellay writes to them, the other bishops “have all worked to undermine [him]”. For all our sakes, I hope they fail; and I believe we should pray that they do.

Bishop Fellay is, it seems to me on this evidence, a courageous and inspirational leader; and we could do with him back “within the walls”. This is a crucial time: we are beginning to make, under the Pope’s guidance, real progress. In this country, soon, I hope and pray, Archbishop Mennini will be recommending (when all is as it should be in the Congregation of Bishops) a clutch of new and orthodox bishops to stand by the side of Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury; perhaps Bishop Fellay, as Superior of the new Prelature of the SSPX, will make an official visit to the Shrine Church of Ss Peter and Paul and St Philomena in New Brighton, Wirral. Stirring times, if all goes well. I live in hope; please God, let nothing go wrong.

  • Charles Martel

    What you have written is true, Jae, but not everything decreed by Ecumenical Councils have equal weight. Disciplinary measures, for example, may easily be overturned by the Pope or the next Council.
    Furthermore, with regard to doctrinal issues, the Institut du Bon Pasteur was erected with the following passage (approved by Rome) forming part of the basis of its erection: “Regarding certain points taught by the Second Vatican Council or
    concerning the consequent reforms of the liturgy and law, and that to us
    seem difficult to reconcile with tradition, we make an effort to have a
    positive attitude of study and of communication with the Apostolic See,
    avoiding all polemic. This attitude of study is a wish to participate,
    through a serious and constructive critique, in the preparation of an
    authentic interpretation on the part of the Holy See of these points of
    the teaching of Vatican Council II, as well as certain elements of texts
    and liturgical and canonical discipline that flow out of them”.
    If all the decrees of Vatican II ‘bind all Christians’, how could the Church allow its members to critique them? Our Holy Father himself referred to ‘Gaudium et Spes’ in 1969 as using ‘downright Pelagian terminology’.
    As you can see, this whole issue is a little more complicated than you seem willing to admit.

  • Charles Martel

     Hello Jae, I didn’t mention them because this article is specifically about the SSPX, and I don’t see how or why I should have worked in a mention of such people. However, I fully recognise such people exist, and I respect them. I used to be one of them until I read Michael Davies, et al.

  • Charles Martel

    Yes, Father, but I was just pointing out the problem with using the phrase ‘go into schism’ rather than the word ‘schism’. If the SSPX ‘goes into schism’, it breaks away from the Church – that is the clear meaning of the expression, and that is why I think the title is confusing and should be changed. How about this instead:
    “Some in the SSPX are apparently about to create a schism
    within the Society over Bishop Fellay’s plans to return ‘within the walls’; we need him
    back and should pray that his opponents fail”?

  • Jorge

    I understand that critique as pertaining to the *interpretation* of the text of Vatican II, not to the text itself.

    Where the text is clear, it must be followed.
    Where it is ambiguous whether the text means A or B, there can be a critique, so that we choose the meaning that does not contradict Tradition.

    Have you read the documents? Fore example, regarding the liturgy the documents propose that vernacular language be used where appropriate (such as the homily and the Bible readings). It does NOT say that the entire missal must be translated. It does NOT propose altar rails to be destroyed and the Holy Eucharist to be given in the hand.

    The documents of Vatican II are acceptable and do not contradict Tradition.

    The damage of the 1960′s 1970′s and 1980′s were caused by dishonest hippies who used the mantra of “Spirit of Vatican II” to do things that were NOT allowed by the documents.

    The so-called “post-conciliar popes” have done their best. Servant of God Paul VI was advised by the majority of his theological commission to accept artificial contraception – he disobeyed and did the right thing: condemned artificial contraception, upholding Tradition. He faced scorn, rebellion and widespread condemnation for that feat. The next two popes have done their part too. Pope Benedict XVI vehemently denies that Vatican II was a “new beginning”. He also liberated the Tridentine Mass, and is offering reconciliation to the FSSPX. He faces scorn, libel and widespread condemnation for this feat. And he is trying to begin a slow and gradual process of liturgical reform. As a first step, he gives communion in the tongue. And he indicated that in the future we will blend the best aspects of the Tridentine Mass with the best aspects of the ordinary Mass.

    Just like it is unfair to vilify the Venerable Pius XII, it is unfair to vilify  servant of God Paul VI, blessed John Paul the Great, and Benedict XVI.

    God bless

  • Craig

    Mother of the Clergy, Ora pro nobis!

  • Benedict Carter

    But it didn’t say a lot of things CLEARLY that SHOULD have been said without ambiguity – a charge that certainly can’t be leveled at Vatican I or Trent. 

    There ARE problems with some of the Vatican II documents for this reason alone; and other, serious problems because of innovation and rupture with Tradition.

    A question for you Jorge and anyone else who can answer it I do not know the answer). I ask out of a desire to know, and am not making a partisan point while doing so.

    Many people in the Church and many Catholic intellectuals see these “documentary problems”, let us call them. 

    Let’s assume that the head of steam already gathering for a re-examination of these documents turns into reality and that they are rejected. 

    How could that rejection be managed, given that an Oecumenical Council produced them and the Pope signed off on them?

    Seems to me the only way would be to declare Vatican II (for whatever reason: I can think of one at least) a false Council. 

    Any Canon Lawyers out there who might comment? I for one would be grateful to read the possible answers.

  • Benedict Carter

    The leaven parable is the perfect one. Just imagine the Society running 20 or 30 seminaries, all packed, and producing real honest-to-God Catholic priests. Fifty years on …. the Church changed back into what She should have been these past forty or fifty years. Healthy again, ecumenism a distant memory, the world being converted again …. .

  • Benedict Carter

    The Compendium Jorge to the Catechism, not the Catechism itself.

    The Compendium corrected all the doctrinal errors that the Catechism is full of. 

  • Benedict Carter

    He has nothing at all to “repent” of, at least as far as his post is concerned. What are you on about?

  • Benedict Carter

    Should be.

  • Benedict Carter

    It would have been a good response if he knew the detail of the process leading to the Consecrations. A greater knowledge suggests a very different conclusion.

  • Gerard

    There are plenty of opinions in the documents that are simply opinions and not necessarily “true.”  And the problem is not “the Spirit of Vatican II” it’s the “Spirit of Giovanissimo” that was chanted at the Council to allow the ambiguities and even more important the loopholes in the documents Especially the document on the liturgy.  Cardinal Mahony was especially adept at appealing to the text of Vatican II documents to justify his abominable liturgical practices.   I suggest you read Michael Davies “Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II” or Chris Ferrara’s “Sacrosanctum Concilium: A Lawyer examines the Loopholes.”   The Council gave open-ended authority in “territorial ecclesiastical” hands.   So, I would contest that the problem is with the documents of Vatican II failing in it primary purpose of expressing the Catholic faith in the language of modern man and second, it’s failure to guard the deposit of faith by breaking the lex orendi lex credendi principle of the practice of the faith. 

  • Jorge

    He needs to repent his obstinacy in heresy. He is suggesting that the Holy See can fall into heresy, which is heretical and absurd.

    The Holy Catholic Apostolic Church is “the household of God, which is
    the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”

    The Lord said “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

    While the Holy See can make pastoral errors (such as when she suppressed the Jesuits because of political intrigues), she cannot decay into heresy.

    It is true that some horribly heretical clergy were tolerated while the (only mildly heretical) FSSPX was unjustly persecuted.
    It is true that the liturgical reform of Bugnini went too far and lost beauty and reverence.

    But it is false and absurd that the ordinary mass is invalid. It is false and absurd that the Holy See is wrong on religious freedom.

    Also, don’t you see that remarkable similarity between the actions of the FSSPX and the schism of 1054? In both cases, one side rebelled against the Holy See claiming that the Holy See perverted Tradition and fell into heresy. What happened to the Eastern “Orthodox” is that, separated from the Holy Father, *they* fell into heresy – now they accept “remarriage” and some of them accept artificial contraception. This is what will happen to the FSSPX if it does not come back Rome.

    To this day, *no one* has separated from Rome and maintained his orthodoxy.

  • Gerard

    St. Paul said, “I resisted Peter to his face, because he was to be blamed.”  The canard of calling the SSPX resistance to the abandoning of the traditions of the Latin Church a “schism” is just that.  A canard.  

    The Lord also said to St. Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan.”  And later the first Pope would deny with curses that he even knew Our Lord.  

    I suggest you read the Catechism of Trent over the CCC for a clear understanding of the Catholic faith.  

    Second, I suggest you actually learn some things about Church history and the papacy.  Study the behavior and declarations of Pope Steven regarding Pope Formosus and you’ll get a shock about the reliability of the governing power of the Pope at different times in the Church’s history.  

    Chis promised the Gates of Hell would not endure against the power of the Church.  He did not promise that the Gates of the Church would prevail against the powers of Hell.  Within the normal canonical structures we have in the words of the recent Popes themselves, “auto-demolition” “the smoke of Satan” “silent apostasy” “the collapse of the liturgy, filth and corruption.”  

    So, who’s hand did Rome bite with the Second Vatican  Council?  

  • Catholicdadof3

    Perhaps Mr. Grumpy thinks that many popes were antisemitic?  Pope Clement VIII:
    “The Bible itself says that the Jews are an accursed people.”

    Pope Innocent III:
    “When Jews are admitted out of pity into familiar intercourse with
    Christians, they repay their hosts, according to the popular proverb, after
    the fashion of the rat hidden in the sack, or the snake in the bosom, or
    of the burning brand in one’s lap.”


    Pope Gregory IX:
    “Ungrateful for favours and forgetful of benefits, the Jews return
    insult for kindness and impious contempt for goodness.” (Epistle to the
    Hierarchy of Germany)


    Pope Stephen III:
    “With great sorrow and mortal anxiety, We have heard that the Jews
    have in a Christian land the same rights as Christians, that Christian men
    and women live under the same roof with these traitors and defile
    their souls day and night with blasphemies.” (Epistle to the Bishop of


    Pope Innocent IV:
    “The wicked perfidy of the Jews – from whose hearts Our Saviour did
    not remove the veil because of their enormous crimes but caused them justly
    to continue in their blindness, commit acts of shame which engender
    astonishment in those who hear, and terror in those who discover it.” (The
    Wicked Perfidy of the Jews)


    Pope Saint Gregory the
    Great: “Furthermore, I must tell you that I have
    been led to praise God the more for your work by what I have learnt from
    the report of my most beloved son Probinus the presbyter; namely that, your
    Excellency having issued a certain ordinance against the perfidy of the
    Jews, those to whom it related attempted to bend the rectitude of your
    mind by offering a sum of money; which your Excellency scorned, and, seeking
    to satisfy the judgment of Almighty God, preferred innocence to gold.”
    (Epistle to Rechared, King of the Visigoths)


    Pope Saint Gregory VII:
    “We exhort your Royal Majesty [King Alfonse VI of Castile], not to further tolerate,
    that the Jews rule Christians and have power over them.  For to allow that Christians are
    subordinated to Jews and are delivered to their whims, means to oppress
    the Church of God, means to revile Christ himself.” (Regesta IX. 2)

  • Jorge

    Paul said, “I resisted Peter to his face, because he was to be blamed.” “Read the context from that passage. St. Paul was complaining of St. Peter’s *behavior”, not of St. Peter’s doctrine. I never said that the Pope is impeccable, only that he is infallible.Also, the pope is only infallible when speaking officially for the Holy See, so his teaching can be wrong – if he speaks informally while he drinks beer. But when he uses his position as the Vicar of Christ to confirm the brethren, he is infallible.”The canard of calling the SSPX resistance to the abandoning of the
    traditions of the Latin Church a “schism” is just that.”Why? Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. You can’t just say “it is a canard”. You have to explain why.

    “Get thee behind me Satan.”At that time, Peter wasn’t teaching anything, he was *exhorting* Jesus to escape from the Cross. Also, Jesus said that *before* his crucifixion. At that time, Jesus was physically, bodily, visually with us, so he did not need a Vicar. So, by logic, Peter was not a pope at that time. But this is me speculating. The important thing is that Peter was not teaching doctrine from his office at the Holy See.”And
    later the first Pope would deny with curses that he even knew Our Lord.”Again, he wasn’t teaching doctrine from the chair of the Holy See, so that does not contradict his infallibility.You seem to be constantly confusing infallibility with impeccability.

  • Robert Sledz

    We need to pray fro Bishop Fellay and SSPX

  • Sweetjae

    In addition to what have Jorge said below, I have read the article written by Michael Davies regarding the “destruction” of the Latin Mass. While reading it seemed to me as if one was  transported into a place of filth, foul, grimy underworld and that  there is no hope for the church, the cunning plots, dangers, betrayals, mockeries, ridicule, conspiracy etc. etc. among the Bishops of the Church.

    Firstly, the Latin Mass wasn’t abrogated in fact endorsed by the Council. It still is the Mass of the Ages until the end of the world.

    Secondly, yes a good catholic can raise some critical questions on some decrees but it doesn’t necessarily mean one can refuse  and say they are not binding. Martin Luther started  questioning the doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences,  did his exercise make them not “binding”? NO, sadly and eventually Luther rejected them.

    Thirdly, there might existed to some degree of what had been described in the article (human weakness) however, if you are a protestant then definitely the “church” would collapse under such secular pressure  but this is not not just another “church”, IT IS THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF that He promised the “gates of hell shall not prevail against My Church” –  NOT even for one second I imagine the Holy Spirit deserted the Church or took a 60-year vacation and thus promulgate a defective or inferior liturgy, it never happened in the history before and didn’t happen in the 60′s. So I find the concern of Michael Davies and others lacking in faith in the Holy Spirit and the great promise of God and to some extent also 
    unwise and imprudent to conclude the so called “inferior or invalid” new missal.I’m willing to see the whole issue is a little more complicated than what seem to be, however, if we put our Trust in  Jesus Christ when He said to His Apostles and His Church, “My Spirit will guide you INTO ALL Truth until the end of ages”….meaning 24/7, 365 days until the Last Day, it would be very simple as the mind of a child.

  • Jorge

    (trying to fix the post)
    “St. Paul said, “I resisted Peter to his face, because he was to
    be blamed.””

    Read the context from that passage. St. Paul was
    complaining of St. Peter’s *behavior”, not of St. Peter’s doctrine. I
    never said that the Pope is impeccable, only that he is infallible. Also,
    the pope is only infallible when speaking officially for the Holy See,
    so his teaching can be wrong – if he speaks informally while he drinks
    beer. But when he uses his position as the Vicar of Christ to confirm
    the brethren, he is infallible.

    “The canard of calling the SSPX
    resistance to the abandoning of the  traditions of the Latin Church a
    “schism” is just that.”

    Why? Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. You can’t
    just say “it is just a canard”. You have to explain why.

    “Get thee behind me Satan.”

    At that time, Peter wasn’t teaching
    anything, he was *exhorting* Jesus to escape from the Cross. Also, Jesus
    said that *before* his crucifixion. At that time, Jesus was physically,
    bodily, visually with us, so he did not need a Vicar. So, by logic,
    Peter was not a pope at that time. But this is me speculating. The
    important thing is that Peter was not teaching doctrine from his office
    at the Holy See.

    “And  later the first Pope would deny with curses
    that he even knew Our Lord.”

    Answer: Again, he wasn’t teaching doctrine from the
    chair of the Holy See, so that does not contradict his infallibility.You
    seem to be constantly confusing infallibility with impeccability.

  • Gerard

    The point is, that St. Paul was justified in his resistance to St. Peter.  It proves that Popes are not irresistible in matters that fall below infallible exercises of the papal magisterium.  The problem isn’t a false belief in impeccability, it’s a belief in irresistibility with regards to the papacy.  

    That is precisely what the SSPX have done in regards to the post conciliar Popes.  The Popes have bound nothing, the council bound nothing.  It just loosened things.  There are no “teachings” in the Council.  It’s just humanistic policies with a veneer of religious language. Added to that, an immoral suppression of the traditions of the Church by the ordinaries let loose by the Council.  The SSPX has resisted him to the face because he was to blame.  (in this case 3 Popes) 

    The SSPX has denied no doctrine of the Church, no part of the Creed nor defined any binding character on any document.  There are no anathemas for disagreeing with Vatican II, its “spirit” its documents or its foolhardy purpose.  
    Re: Vicars.  We currently have both a vicar of Rome and a Pope in Rome so, your logic concerning Peter not being Pope at the time of Jesus’s rebuke doesn’t hold.  The SSPX would want nothing better than for any of the recent Popes to have defined infallibly whatever it was Vatican II was supposed to have taught.  The problem is, they can’t and they won’t because they are interested more in socially engineering the Church according to their pet theologies and philosophies through policies that are antithetical to the flourishing of the faith among the entire Church. 

    The SSPX didn’t appoint bad bishops and cardinals.  They didn’t allow theologians to thrive and destroy Catholic schools and education at all levels.  The SSPX didn’t allow liturgical abominations to occur in the name of the “the Council”  The SSPX didn’t use Vatican II documents to foist a non-Catholic understanding of the faith on the populace.  
    No use or abuse of Vatican II can be attributed to the SSPX.  There refusal to dip in those waters has proven prudent for the sanctification and salvation of souls.  Who wants to play Russian Roulette with ambiguous conciliar documents, poorly formed priests and silly liturgies that are aesthetically and intellectually insulting to both God and Man. 

    The people who are responsible for all of that were the Popes and the bishops “in union” with him.  (What kind of unity besides canonical we could only speculate about.)  

    The fastest way the Pope could get the whole SSPX on board is to produce a syllabus of errors condemning the errors taken from Vatican II and officially binding the majority of the  loosenings in Vatican II as well as the post -conciliar period (i.e., communion in the hand)  

  • Gerard

    Actually, you are the heretic if you believe that God has taken away the free will of the Popes.  Any Pope can fall into heresy.  What can’t happen is that he can’t bind the universal Church to a heresy.  

    Also the SSPX has never claimed the Novus Ordo was intrinsically invalid.  It can however easily be made invalid due to the level of innovation and abuse as well as wrong intention due to heresy. 

     But also to clarify since any liturgical rite only binds the particular Church of which it is contained, it can’t invoke infallibility concerning validity. It’s not for the universal Church. Contrast that with the Assumption of the BVM, he Coptic and Byzantine Churches have to accept that as well as he Latin and all Churches withing the Catholic Church.    As it stands the Novus Ordo does the trick, but that doesn’t make it a ‘good’ Liturgy since it is designed to appease non-Catholics and so it fails to express the faith as the Apostolic Rites of the Church do. 

    Another mistake you are making is failing to distinguish what and who is “separating” from what.  It was the Hierarchy under the disastrous reign of John Paul II that falsely accused the SSPX of “separating” when they simply maintained the faith and the practice of the faith while the Hierarchy ignored the pleas of the faithful. 

    Just because a Pope frames the politics of the issue, doesn’t mean that the Pope is telling the truth or correct.  The current Holy Father claims that the priest/sex scandals have nothing do with homosexuality in the priesthood. That’s his claim and possibly his belief, but it’s nonsense and I’m never going to believe him on that one.  



  • Charles Martel

     I once called my sister a ‘liberal Catholic’ when she called me an ‘extremist’ for advocating the total legal banning of abortion. My reply was, ‘Liberal is the politest word I could think of’.

  • Sweetjae

    I admire Michael Davies however, he put too much emphasis on the “weakness” of human beings (Bishops who conspired in VII) and not the trust that a catholic should have in the Holy Spirit to guide the Church INTO ALL Truth until the end of time…if we belong to any protestant “church” I would be very worried by the majority votes but this is not like any other church…IT IS THE CHURCH of the God and the Apostles! INDEFECTIBLE as promised by no other than Christ Himself. 

  • Gerard

    The argument that LeFebvre  would have accepted the current proposals is specious, what was possible or restoration in 1988 is not possible now.  Just as 1978 would have been a better time to reverse the damage.  New problems have emerged and old ones festered since 1988.  Appealing to LeFebvre in 1988 is akin to saying  George Washingtons economics policies would be suitable for today’s economy and government.  

  • Benedict Carter

    The process of recovery has to start somewhere, Gerard. The Society can’t stay outside the tent p*ssing in forever. 

  • Benedict Carter

    You aren’t, with all your posts, telling us anything at all we don’t already know. 

    What YOU cannot grasp is that not every word of a Council carries the same weight as others, nor do all documents demand one level of obedience. 

    So the Holy Ghost calls a Council, does He?

    So much confused half-knowledge.

  • Benedict Carter

    Excellent post. All true.

  • Benedict Carter

    “He needs to repent his obstinacy in heresy. He is suggesting that the Holy See can fall into heresy, which is heretical and absurd.”

    Rubbish, pure and simple rubbish, and you owe Gerard an apology. The Franciscans opposed Pope John in the 13th century because he taught heresy regarding the individual judgement of the soul after death. As Gerard says below, the Holy Ghost protects the Pope and Church from a Pope teaching heresy ex cathedra. 

    There must be other examples in history. Professor Romano Amerio, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, thought one of John Paul’s Encyclicals contained matter that could not possibly be reconciled with Tradition (can’t remember which one). 

    You go on to say, ” .. (only mildly heretical) FSSPX ..”. Again, you seem to have taken leave of your senses. How can maintaining the position of EVERY CATHOLIC in the world until the Pol Pot Year Zero of Vatican II possibly make the SSPX “mildly heretical”? Chapter and verse please on that, or make a public apology here to the Society. 

    The cases of the SSPX and the Eastern Orthodox, or the “Old Catholics” are entirely different. To lump them in together is a grand exercise in speciousness. The SSPX are not making any doctrinal claims, teachings, innovations, and would not: their whole raison d’etre is to maintain Catholicism unpolluted by Masonry, Modernism, Marxism and Protestantism, which the modern Church is FULL OF.

  • buckle

    I suspect GW’s economics policies would be suitable for today’s economy and government! What we need is a program of old evangelization and not new.

  • buckle

    You’ve copied this from Richard Williamson’s blog and copied it badly.

  • buckle

    I am not a lawyer but every author has the right to produce a forward to his work. Later that forward might be revised complete with clarifications, explanations and even excuses for certain strange sounding passages the signficance of which might confuse a contemporary reader.

    Vatican II is almost novel like in length. To demand that the Holy Spirit guarantee every word strikes me as a misuse of the magisterium, unreasonable and an insult to God. It runs contrary to the “new theology” as subjective phenomena, by definition, changes over time and between individuals.

    The best weapon against Vatican II’s toxicity is not tradition but the Council itself.

  • JabbaPapa

    Another mistake you are making is failing to distinguish what and who is “separating” from what.  It was the Hierarchy under the disastrous reign of John Paul II that falsely accused the SSPX of “separating” when they simply maintained the faith and the practice of the faith while the Hierarchy ignored the pleas of the faithful.

    This is not true — the reality of the separation was essentially disciplinary, because Monseigneur Lefebvre provided consecrations of Bishops in direct opposition to the Authority of Rome.

    That SSPX has spent literally *decades* exaggerating the scope of the actual doctrinal disagreements (the SSPX may disagree more broadly with the liberal extremists, but these extremists are not the Church), which has been disastrous as far as what should have been a far more simple process of reconciliation given that the basis of the rupture is disciplinary.

  • JabbaPapa

    You may not like them, but these politicised camps do in fact exist.

    I find it helpful to think in terms of both traditional versus liberal and conservative versus revisionist.

    They’re not actually quite the same oppositions — it’s quite possible to be conservative of the Tradition but liberally-minded in understanding and practice — or traditional in one’s religious habits, but revisionist in one’s opinions of the state of the Church ; and so on and so forth.

  • JabbaPapa

    As far as I know, the Holy See was still trying to work out a good list of suitable candidates, although the Vatican was already in agreement with SSPX concerning one of those candidates.

    It was not a case of “you can only have one extra bishop” — but rather a case of “we will accept this one bishop who is a good candidate, but do carry on looking for more good candidates”.

    I agree with both Jorge and Jae on this one !!

  • JabbaPapa

    Nonsense !!

  • JabbaPapa

    No — there was a meeting between Monseigneur Fellay and the Curia this weekend, and the results of that consultation (including the various different comments and interpretations of the various participants) have now been presented to the Pope for his possibly final discernment and decisions.

    It could take a few days, or weeks still — but of course if the decision appears to be an easy one from the Pope’s point of view, then who knows ?

    As for the doctrinal preamble, it has actually been described by somebody who HAS seen it as a specifically modified confessio fidei, and a canon lawyer at La Croix has explained that the signing of such a document is a necessary step after the lifting of a formal excommunication to return to Full Communion with the Church.

    The clear difficulty here being, of course, that these are not just individual excommunications, but that the relationship of a large number of Catholics and great numbers of priests with the Church are directly affected by the final outcome of the resolving of these particular personal circumstances.

  • Andrew

    This article made me think of the wedding feast in Cana when Our lady turned to the them  and said”listen to him and do as he says!”
    The SSPX would be a huge tremendous boost to our beloved Church,especially in the times we are
    living in. They have stayed true to the Tradition of the Church and can help the Holy Father lead the Church back to what has been lost with the many years of secularlisation in the world .The Holy Father sees this and is offering them a chance to be part of the changes that is needed.Lets hope the three Bishop mentioned  realise what  a chance Almighty God is offering them – a chance to reconcile them  back and a great historical gift of  being part of bringing many back to the Tradition of the Apostles.SSPX has so much to offer and to help bring about this changes that is needed in the church,what a gift this could bring! I  pray those three Bishops dont let spiritial pride get in the way and listen to the  Holy Father,who IS the successor of St.Pete(the Holy Spirit acts through him) therefore they must listen to him.Pray that those Bishops see that it is the Holy Spirit that is guiding the Church and the Pope actions. Please listen to the Holy Father Bishops,be the three wise Bishops!

  • pagnol

     If what you say about “50 italian intellectuals….” is true that’s encouraging (if Ratzinger…I use the name purposefully since he was NEVER a friend to tradition… still promoting Vatican II as well as JPII and his love of Vatican II. Efforts to canonize JPII are scandalous as well. I often wonder if appeals to Ratzinger to reverse himself on Vatican II could bear fruit, and thought about writing myself to that end.

    Also think that Williamson (say what you will about being a loose cannon) is a good servant of God and faithful to the Church, Vatican II being the “smoke of Satan” behind his controversy.

    As for the FSSP I’m getting tired of their priests bad mouthing the SSPX from the pulpit. Do they think that’s good “homily”? Don’t know if complaints from the pews would do any good.

  • pagnol

     Excellent! Thank you.But that question needs be asked FIRST, not just also. Furthermore to Jorge, “separate” is new Vatican rhetoric. The true SSPX status at worst is “irregular”, certainly not excommunicated. And Lefebvre is surely with our Lord in spite of the incomplete canon law mentioned by JPII who never (could have) declared him formally.

  • pagnol


  • pagnol

    You forget(?) that Paul VI formally declared the Holy Spirit NOT assist VII which made that “council” pastoral (except for some quotes borrowed from previous doctrinal councils which can never be revoked). You sound like the NO maniac in Australia who told me I was going to Hell because I did not accept VII as Ecumenical (ie doctrinal). I often wonder what he’s saying now that Ratzinger is giving lip service to the true Mass (and Tradition).

  • Mr Grumpy

    Cdo3, do you believe that the words of any Pope, past or present, can make it right for Richard Williamson to defame the Jewish people by falsifying history?

    I hope you will be answered by a more knowledgeable Catholic than me. For myself, I would just commend to you Pope Benedict’s exegisis of Mt 27,25 in Jesus of Nazareth, Vol, II.

  • Alan

    All these anti-VII posters want to return to some imaginary “golden age”, but they are utterly vague about what exactly they want to return to.  The Crusades?  The Inquisition, with torture of heretics?  Pio Nono’s “Syllabus of Errors”?  Do these people seriously imagine that, if the Church moved back to those times, millions would come flocking to join?  Much more likely the opposite, and the Church would be reduced to the level of a tiny medieval sect.

  • Charles Martel


  • Tim

    As far as I can see there are two realistic ways of putting many of the documents of Vatican II out of harms way, shall we say. 

    The first is apparently what Benedict has chosen to do, which is say that VII documents must be viewed in the context of the hermeneutic of continuity and where VII creates significant change or rupture with the past then that is not the meaning of the VII docs. In a sense he is attempting to put Buckle’s ‘forward’ into VII. This of course has the problem that a future Pope could, presumably, say otherwise.

    The second is to call a new V Council. This is of course fraught with danger as well, even if Benedict survived the process. 

    I cannot see that VII will be openly declared a false Council as this would cause uproar.

  • crusader

    The three more cautious SSPX bishops deserve a better shake than this, and would not “go into schism” if they rejected the deal. We should pray, rather, that the Society accepts the offer only if it doesn’t end up emasculating it and shoving Modernism and the conciliar error of religious liberty down its throat.

  • Tim

    There is an interesting passage within the SSPX’s UK May newsletter. You can find it at this url starting at the foot of page 4.

    Probably no accident that Archbishop Lefebvre’s address to priests in 1990 is repeated in this edition.

    I can fully recommend the retreats detailed on page 26.

  • Alan

    This is the kind of comment I find repulsive.  Religious liberty an “error”?  People should be banned from following a non-Catholic faith if they wish?  Thank God the Council finally rejected it!

  • Jorge

    While I side with Fellay and the Holy Father, I disagree with W. Oddie’s disrespect towards the three recalcitrant bishops. Oddie’s language was uncharitable, unChristian and served to sow division and discord.

  • @Stuart1927

    Very good article, accept for the comment “and the disappearance from the scene of Bishop Williamson would be an unlooked for bonus.”. I can see why people say and think things like this, but it is wrong never the less. It is a worldly comment in line with ones that His Lordship Bishop Williamson could make himself. A Bishop (or 3) not in Communion with the Holy Father is not a bonus, a good thing and it is most definitely not God’s wish. God wants His Lordship in The Church, hard though it may be for him and others to understand.