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SSPX: we recognise the authority of the Pope

By on Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bishop Fellay, the society's superior general (CNS photo)

Bishop Fellay, the society's superior general (CNS photo)

The Society of St Pius X has said it must defend Church teaching from error but that it recognises the full authority of the Pope over the Church.

“As for all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council, which remain tainted with errors, and for the reforms derived from it,” the statement said, “the society can only continue to uphold the affirmations and teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church.”

The statement from the society’s general chapter meeting, which ended on July 14, was posted in French, Italian, English, German and Spanish on the society’s website.

Chapter participants “determined and approved the necessary conditions” for an eventual, full reconciliation with the Vatican, it said. If the conditions are met, “an extraordinary chapter with deliberative vote will be convened”.

The website said the statement had been sent to the Vatican prior to publication.

Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the Vatican did not consider the statement to be “a formal response” by the SSPX to the last document it asked Bishop Bernard Fellay, the society’s superior general, to sign.

Because “we do not consider it – and it is not – a formal response”, Fr Lombardi said, the Vatican would not comment on the statement’s content.

“The Holy See has taken note of this declaration, but awaits the forthcoming official communication” of the society as its “dialogue with the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ continues,” he said. “Ecclesia Dei,” now led by US Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, is handling the discussions with the SSPX under the guidance of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The SSPX statement said members of the general chapter believe “the paramount duty of the society, in the service which it intends to offer to the Church, is to continue with God’s help to profess the Catholic faith in all its purity and integrity with a determination matching the intensity of the constant attacks to which this very faith is subject nowadays”.

Chapter members formally affirmed their faith in the Roman Catholic Church and its hierarchical structure in which “the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, vicar of Christ on earth.”

At the same time, members said they would continue to seek guidance from the “constant tradition of the Church” as they await “the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities”.

Ending with a prayer, the statement asked Mary “to chase the enemies out from inside the Church”, saying some inside the Church “are trying to destroy it more radically than its enemies from outside”.

Pope Benedict XVI launched a new series of doctrinal discussions with the SSPX in 2009, lifting excommunications imposed on its four bishops, who were ordained in 1988 without papal approval, and expressing his hopes they would return to full communion with the Church.

As the discussions progressed, the Vatican gave SSPX leaders a “doctrinal preamble” to sign. The Vatican said the document, which has not been published, outlines principles and criteria necessary to guarantee fidelity to the Church and its teaching.

When it appeared Bishop Fellay was close to signing an agreement with the Vatican, internal tensions within the SSPX erupted. The statement from the general chapter said that during the July meeting, the SSPX leaders recovered their “profound unity”.

  • Guest234

    reply to awkward customer, “the accidents may change but the essence cannot” What a load of garbage. You must be a seminarian! Can you explain that in plain english so that the layman can understand. you mean the catholic church is an accident? you mean Vatican II is described as an accident? What is your meaning?

  • Matt Indie

    Whats wrong with you guys? We are brethen in Christ. Satan is not using outside power to bring down the Holy Church but from within the church itself.

    Pray more less talk let Jesus do His miracles. Pope or Fellay or anyone of them has no power to say what is right and what is wrong.

    Unite in Jesus pray for the unity of Christian. Everyone who suppose to serve is more likely to be serve. They have stray away from what they should be doing. Take Mother Teresa as an example. She was a mother superior yet her duty non the less like her sisters.

    Our pope and bishops should be like that. No special treatment! To be a master is to be a servant to only to serve the Mass. Think!

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘Essence’ and ‘accidents’ are Scholastic terms employed to explain transubstantiation.  The ‘accidents’ refer to the outer appearance of something, while the ‘essence’ refers to its inner nature. As a layperson, my explanation may not be at the highest level, but if you take bread as a substance, then consider the various outer forms it takes – pitta, wholemeal granary, croissants – and then consider that no matter what the outer form, we know that each of these is bread because they are bread in their essence.  Therefore a host before it is consecrated is bread in its essence and in its accidents (or in its appearance). But after consecration, only the accidents (or appearance) remain, because the essence has become the Body of Christ.  

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘My chaplain told me that Vatican II gave Lutherans many concessions in fact all that Luther complained about.’ you said.
    So there we have it.  Catholics faithful to Tradition have long complained that Vatican II went out of its way to accommodate Protestants.  And now we have the confirmation of that from your very own chaplain.  ‘Sadly they did not return’ you say.  Why would they return?  If Vatican II seems to confirm that Luther was right, why should any Lutheran return to a Church which got so much wrong for 500 years.  Far from furthering any full scale return to the Church by Protestants, Vatican II seems only to have driven countless Catholics away from the Church.

    By the way, click on ‘Reply’  on the bottom right, or your comment won’t necessarily come to the attention of the person you are replying to.

  • Tridentinus

    Bishop Fellay’s consecration is valid and he is recognised by the Pope and the Church as a validly ordained bishop because it was carried out by validly ordained bishops. An ordination is always valid if it is carried out by a bishop who himself was validly ordained with the intention of doing what the Church does. Canon Law says that it is illicit for a bishop to consecrate anyone without the consent of the Holy Father but such consecrations are valid. The Church recognises the ordinations of Orthodox clergy even though they are not in communion with the Pope.

    Who is Judas is another question altogether.

  • orthodoxpriest

    I am interested to know whether those of you who are clearly knowledgeable  think that it is possible for a council to be a divine-human synergy in which the responsiveness to the Holy Spirit can be more or less militated against by circumstances.

    I mean, is it possible that VII had one intent but that this was to some extent subverted, and requires some further conciliar action to correct and make more clear what was intended in the first place.

    Is it necessary, in your Catholic understanding, to insist that either a council is entirely inspired, or entirely uninspired? Why is it not possible to say that VII has proved to be inadequate and requires a further expression of the conciliar authority?

  • Charles Martel

     Thanks. Unless you understand what happened in 1975/6, you’ll never understand 1988. I’m not necessarily saying the 1988 consecrations and resulting putative excommunications were the right way to do things, but they were certainly a result of the lynching in 1975/6, which was a horrific travesty of justice.

  • sclerotic

    I think the Peoples Liberation Front of Judea have won this one, but a good try from the Liberation Front for the people of Judea.

  • David Lindsay

    As Lefevbrist devotional and disciplinary
    practice is an obvious expression of, if not direct Jansenist influence, though
    probably so, then at least the strain in the French character that made it
    receptive to Jansenism, then Lefebvrist theory and organisational practice are
    no less obviously expressions of Gallicanism, and sometimes of very advanced
    Gallicanism indeed.

    For example, rule of the SSPX is by a General
    Chapter in which not only do bishops and simple presbyters have equal status,
    but it is considered an aberration that the Superior-General is at present a
    bishop, rather than being a simple presbyter to whom the Society’s bishops
    would be, and in the past have been, subject.

    Shades of the extreme Gallican
    attempts to prove a Dominical institution of the office of parish priest. And
    shades of the structural arrangements of Anglo-Catholic traditionalism over the
    last two decades and before, echoing the extent to which that movement has
    always tapped into the same English and Welsh organisational traits that made
    Congregationalism so popular (and many of the same English and Welsh devotional
    traits that made Methodism so popular) just as Lefebvrism has tapped into the
    same French traits that had previously manifested themselves as Gallicanism
    (and Jansenism).

    Lefebvrism gives perhaps the first ever formal
    institutional shape to the situation created by the seventeenth century, which
    began with three competing parties in the French Church, but which ended with
    two, the Gallicans and the Jansenists having effectively merged against the
    Ultramontanes due to the deployment of Gallican ecclesiological arguments
    against the Papal condemnations of Jansenist soteriological ones. By the
    wayside had fallen such features as Jansenist belief, with the sole if notable
    exception of Pascal, in the infallibility of Papal definitions ex cathedra,
    and Gallican use of belief in Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception as a mark of
    party identity due to its having been defined by the Council of Basel.

    The
    popular attraction of the Lefebvrist clergy in terms of the old Latin Mass and
    traditional or “traditional” devotions echoes that of the Gallican
    clergy in terms of the old diocesan Missals and Breviaries and a sympathy for
    the entrenched local devotional practices reviled, like those entrenched local
    liturgical forms, by the Ultramontanes.

    The French Church, or an idea of the French
    Church, is assumed to be fundamentally autonomous, so that the incompatibility
    of Dignitatis Humanae with a very specifically French
    Counter-Revolutionary theory of the relationship between Church and State means
    that it is the Conciliar Declaration that must yield.

    This is simply taken to
    be self-evident. In reality, such a position is as schismatic and as heretical
    as John Courtney Murray’s attempt to conform Dignitatis Humanae to the
    American republican tradition’s reading of the First Amendment as taught to
    high school students, an approach comprehensible only within Manifest
    Destiny and all that, so that it has ended up, for now, in George
    Weigel’s signature to the Project for the New American Century, and in the
    public support for the Iraq War on the part of the late Richard John Neuhaus,
    known to George W Bush as “Father Richard”.

    American “conservative” Catholicism
    sees the American Church as autonomous as surely as does American
    “liberal” Catholicism, and freely disregards Catholic Teaching on
    social justice and on peace as surely as the other side freely disregards
    Catholic Teaching on bioethical and sexual issues, so that both alike are blind
    to the Magisterium’s brilliant and unique global witness to the inseparability
    of all of these concerns. In both the French and the American cases, there is a
    strange inability to recognise that what one was taught at 13 or 14 might not
    always be the last word on any given subject.

    One of Lefebvre’s consecrees is a Legitimist,
    another is a Carlist, and a third is Richard Williamson, who doubtless adheres
    to that recurring cause among unhinged Englishmen, the reversal of 1688 on the
    principles formulated in reaction to 1789; a Legitimist or Carlist monarchy,
    only with a Stuart monarch. Or, these days, a Wittelsbach monarch, more German
    than the Queen or even, just about, the Duke of Edinburgh. The fourth consecree, however,
    is Bernard Fellay. He is the most sympathetic to reunion with Rome, Williamson,
    unsurprising, being the least. And he, Fellay, is Swiss.

    In Switzerland alone, so far as I am aware, there
    survives, at cantonal level, the Catholic republican tradition of the
    pre-Revolutionary kind. The Catholic cantons of Switzerland are the only
    remaining Catholic republics as such, rather than republics with Catholic
    populations but which in themselves are nevertheless products of the
    Revolution. Even the church taxes in Germany and Austria, for example, are the
    products of compromises between the antagonistic forces of, on one side, the
    Church and, on the other side, the Republic that had been conceived in the will to
    destroy Her, or at the very least to banish Her from any sort of public life.
    But the Swiss cantons are not like that.

    The Protestant cantons are also the only
    pre-Revolutionary Protestant republics still in existence, so far as I am
    aware. The American Republic is in an odd position, in that 1776 came before
    1789, so that that Republic is not a product of the Revolution, but
    nevertheless sits under a radically orthodox theological critique, most
    obviously by reference to pre-Revolutionary traditions of Catholic and
    Protestant republican thought, on the Catholic side perhaps Venetian, on the
    Protestant side perhaps Dutch, and on both sides perhaps at cantonal level in
    Switzerland, where it is possible that such thought might hold sway even now.

    It certainly ought to hold sway there even now,
    historically speaking no less than philosophically speaking. Insofar as it
    does, that begins, and rather more than begins, to account for the very, very
    different approach of the one Swiss among the Lefebvrist bishops, compared with
    that of his titled French and Spanish confrères, and compared especially with
    that of his confrère who belongs to a small but clearly identifiable tribe of
    English eccentric whose embrace of Continental reaction while seeking to apply
    it to the very different history of these Islands has left him not wanting to
    be British and not really wanting to be English.

    Including when she was the
    Dowry of Mary, one of the most extravagantly Catholic countries that there has
    ever been, England never had an absolute monarch, still less an absolute
    monarch who was really just a temporal servant of the Pope. Where has ever had
    such a thing? Certainly not France, either. And very certainly not anywhere in
    Bernard Fellay’s Helvetic Confederation.
     

  • Padraig

    Guest
             How could one be surprised at the demise of the Church since the Second Vatican Council, when certain clergymen such as Rahner, Cong and Bugnini  who were suspended from teaching and publishing their views by previous Popes prior to the Council,,were actually invited to participate in the Council and were even rewarded with promotion to senior positions in the Hierarchy afterwards.Was this the work of the Holy Ghost?

  • Ian

     hahahhhahahhahha….. did i just read dat correct??? hw did d Church get related to the “accident” of da Eucharist???????????

  • Henrick_Maundey-666

    The Pope is the head of the powers and principalities of the World, even Satan sits a step below.