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Traditionalist group granted formal status within the Church after a four-year wait

By on Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The community pictured yesterday, the day of their canonical erection (Photo courtesy of Brother Martin Mary)

The community pictured yesterday, the day of their canonical erection (Photo courtesy of Brother Martin Mary)

A traditionalist group based on an island in Scotland has been formally established as an institute within the Catholic Church.

The Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, also known as the Transalpine Redemptorists, was erected today, on the feast of the Assumption, as a Clerical Institute of Diocesan Right.

The community, which has about 15 members, has been in limbo since 2008 when it announced that it wished to enter into full communion with Rome.

The group’s decision was a response to Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which allowed priests to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass freely.

Previously, the community had been a part of the worldwide Society of St Pius X (SSPX), the estranged traditionalist group currently in dialogue with Rome.

Next Wednesday evening, August 22, the community are to make a public profession of vows at their home on Papa Stronsay, a tiny, windswept island in Orkney, off the north-east of Scotland. The profession will be celebrated by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB of Aberdeen, who, as their diocesan bishop, granted them canonical recognition.

Bishop Gilbert was ordained as Bishop of Aberdeen exactly a year ago, taking over from Bishop Peter Moran, who had retired.

  • http://www.catholicyouthwork.com Catholic Youth Work

    “The decision, made unanimously by each member placing a white or black bead in a voting box…”

    Hang on a minute… Didn’t a load of the monks split away in protest at the decision to reconcile with Rome? What about all those stories of the splinter group having to celebrate Mass in a garage somewhere?

    Am I reading this wrong? Or was that story (the garage one) wrong?

    Don’t get me wrong though, this is good news, and thank you for reporting it.

  • http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/ The Catholic Herald

    Dear Catholic Youth Work,

    That’s a good point. The vote was unanimous but it may be (my memory isn’t clear on this) that not every member was on Papa Stronsay, or in Scotland, at the time. And some of them may also have changed their minds after the vote.

    I’ve deleted that clause to avoid confusion.

    Kind regards,

  • http://www.facebook.com/katy.odell.radcliffe Katy Odell Radcliffe

    You’re right. There were some who did not agree and left the community! I guess the vote was taken after they left.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katy.odell.radcliffe Katy Odell Radcliffe

    I’m really happy to hear this. I wish them well.

  • http://www.catholicyouthwork.com Catholic Youth Work

    Thanks for that. I don’t mind if you want to delete my comment above :)

  • Adam

    Wonderful news!

  • http://twitter.com/marion_luscombe Marion Luscombe

    Deo Gratias. God Bless Father Michael Mary and the Community on Stronsay.

  • Tom canning

    CYW – not a load of Monks split after the rest wanted to join Rome – BUT ONE and a brother who have been celebrating the TLM in a garage until the SSPX bought them two houses –  one to live in – the other as a  chapel the Monk also helps out by celebrating the TLM  in Aberdeen for the SSPX which is growing in Scotland with a new priory- hence the final recognition by Rome of the Stronsey group….

  • Tom canning

    Katy – and  I guess that the vote was the reason the two left – it should be recalled that it was the Archbishop  who donated a small monastery in Kent to allow Margaret Mary to initiate his CSSR – they prospered – moved to France -returned and it again was the SSPX  who mainly financed the buildings on Stronsey – and like Campus Brazil -SSPV – Good Shepherd – FSSP – et al- turned their backs on the SSPX…   
    I personally donated $500 for permanent TLM masses – NOT the Novus Ordo- havent heard from them on that point – so I too wish them the very best of GOOD luck

  • James

    I think you’ll find that it was Father MICHAEL Mary and not Margaret Mary who started the Traditional CSSR. However, that aside,  I think you are wrong about the SSPX financing everything… its quite well known that the SSPX wont lift a finger to help any of the religious groups under them especially when it means funds that should be coming to them get diverted elsewhere. (Unless of course there is some ulterior motive or mutual benefit.) True, SSPX faithful would have helped out, but not the SSPX as an organization. Turning their backs on the SSPX is not such a monstrous sin, given that they are turning to Peter on whom Christ founded his Church.  Finally, the Transalpine Redemptorists have never ever said the Novus Ordo which is one of the reasons it has taken them so long to get canonical erection. Vicious rumours continue to circulate in SSPX circles that they say the Novus Ordo, but that sadly is just calumny. God Bless.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Great news!

  • http://twitter.com/donatusjustin Donatus Justin

    Out of curiosity, do you now accept all the new teaching of Vatican II.

  • polycarped

    Wonderful news – and on such a special feast day too!  Mary Mother of the Church, pray for them and for us!

  • awkwardcustomer

    Actually, six monks left in total as the link to a Catholic Herald article below shows – two priests and four brothers.  One priest and one brother now occupy a house bought for them by the SSPX on the neighbouring island of Stronsay where they serve the laity. The other priest left to join an Ecclesia Dei community in Australia, not because he disagreed with the reconciliation but because he was frustrated at the length of time it was taking for the community to be regularised in Aberdeen Diocese.  As for the other three brothers – who knows?


  • Charles

    As a Protestant, I’m confused as to why the Catholic church chose to make the Mass more like our services; isn’t that like Coke trying to be more like Pepsi in the 1980′s with New Coke? it was a disaster. I would have considered converting if there hadn’t been so much flip flopping… either the Mass used for 1400 years was correct or it wasn’t…

  • awkwardcustomer

    No doubt the monks of Papa Stronsay have agreed not to criticise Vatican II as one of the conditions for their reconciliation.  The Fraternity of St Peter and other Traditionalist groups have had to do this. They have to abide by the terms of the Protocol of 5 May 1988, which includes the following condition, among others:

    ‘With regard to certain points taught by the Second Vatican Council or
    concerning later reforms of the liturgy and law, and which seem to us able to be
    reconciled with the Tradition only with difficulty, we commit ourselves to have
    a positive attitude of study and of communication with the Holy See, avoiding
    all polemics.’ (para 3)


    Archbishop Lefebvre did sign this Protocol but later withdrew his signature before going on to Consecrate the four SSPX Bishops later that year.

    So there you have it.  Traditionalists wishing to be reconciled with Rome have to agree not to criticise the Second Vatican Council.

  • Parasum

    Here’s *hoping* it’s good news – perhaps time will tell.

  • Parasum

     It’s a bit more complicated than that – life usually is, unfortunately. There are more alternatives than the ones you name. There has after all been plenty of liturgical change in the CC before now.

    If I’d known what I know now, I doubt I would have converted. There is more flip-flopping in the CC than in the Tory Party.   

  • JabbaPapa

    Traditionalists wishing to be reconciled with Rome have to agree not to criticise the Second Vatican Council.

    Not true — they must recognise the *authority* of the Council, but there are multiple means of perfectly licit dissent and discussion of various questions relating to Vatican II within the bounds of that recognition of Authority.

    Nothing that the SSPX theologians say about Vatican II actually transgresses that rule, except when any of them says that they reject the Council as a whole because of their disagreement with these or those specific teachings by the Council — that’s a completely upside-down approach to things, that these particular theologians should learn to abandon.

  • Tom canning

    James – can accept your correction of Micheal for Margaret but disagree with your lack of support as it was the Isle of Sheppney which was donated by the Archbishop in the beginning – and much funds were also donated when they returned to Stronsey by both SSPX and the faithful

    God bless

  • awkwardcustomer

    The Declaration of Intention made by the original founders of the Fraternity of St Peter of 2 July 1988, contains the following:

    ‘With great satisfaction, they affirm that in the generous and truly maternal
    propositions which the Church offerred to the Fraternity in the agreement of 5 May 1988 are laid the foundations
    for a fruitful and without doubt Catholic future for their society.’

    The original founders of the FSSP, who broke away from the SSPX, agreed to abide by the above agreement which is the same Protocol of 5 May 1988 which Archbishop Lefebvre signed but later withdrew his signature from.  Look on the FSSP website.  The Protocol is there.  It is also mentioned in the FSSP Act of Foundation of 18 July 1988.

     A priest of the Fraternity of St Peter actually said to me (in private);  ‘We had to sign a document promising not to criticise the Council’.  I subsequently asked another FSSP priest about this and he denied it.  Are the FSSP too embarassed to admit in public that they abide by the Protocol of 5 May, 1988? 

  • teigitur

    Fantastic news. Many thanks to Bishop Gilbert. A great Shepherd.

  • teigitur

    We are confused too!

  • Salveregina79

    They were not “part of the worldwide Society of St Pius X “. Sloppy reporting.

  • JabbaPapa

    Criticising the Council in toto is uncatholic — criticising this or that *teaching of the Council* within a framework of acceptance of the Authority of the Magisterium (which frankly, is exactly the same thing as disagreeing with the Council, just with more adverbials) is perfectly licit provided that no infallibles nor Authoritatives are directly contradicted, including the infallible doctrine that Ecumenical Councils are guided in their work by the Holy Spirit.

    Questioning any specific teaching of this or that Council document on the basis of any previously expressed infallible teaching of the Magisterium is licit on the part of anyone with enough theological understanding to comprehend the issue at hand.

    (This is NOT the description of any kind of weaselly get out of jail free card — Ecumenical Councils ARE in fact guided in their work by the Holy Spirit, although not every single phrase written during the works of those Councils will necessarily be perfect. Weeds are often sown among the good wheat, and it is the work of our harvesters to separate the ones from the others — but it is entirely foolish to claim that the Church Fathers at Vatican II sowed nothing but weeds, and that all of it needs burning !!)

  • Sweetjae

    Charles its not that Church chose the mass to be more of a Protestant service for the following reasons: 1). The Holy Eucharist where Jesus Christ is truly Present, protestants don’t 2). The change from Latin language to vernacular, same what had happened when the Church commissioned St. Jerome to translate the Scripture from Greek to Latin so that people would understand more clearly the Gospel’s message. 3).The Pauline Mass by Vatican II is actually have more resemblance with the Early Christian Liturgy celebrate by the Apostles themselves and early martyrs and Saints.

    Not all the teachings of the Church can’t be change, the practices and disciplines can change from time to time BUT THE SUBSTANCE AND DOGMAS DON’T. The liturgy of the Mass in the apostolic times may not look the same as TLM but the Essence and Substance is the same, in fact they are the exactly the same as St. Justin Martyr described it in 200 A.D. to the present.

  • Sweetjae

    Yes because that’s what a good and abiding Catholic must do. Either obey the authority of a legitimate General Council, this case VII or not, your choice…meaning you are just obeying your own ability and authority to interpret what Tradition truly says.

  • Joan A

     There were no new doctrinal teachings from Vatican II.

  • awkwardcustomer

    Vatican II was a pastoral, non-dogmatic Council.  Therefore the only dogmatic definitions contained in the Council documents are those previously declared infallible.  How much theological understanding does it take to realise that Religious Liberty, Ecumenism and Collegiality contradict the teachings of the pre-Conciliar popes?

    Here is a quote by Pope Paul VI taken from his General Audience of January 12, 1966, one of many quotes from a number of sources which demonstrate that Vatican II has never been declared infallible: 
    ‘There are those who wonder what the authorities, the theological qualification, that the Council wanted to give his teachings, knowing that it has avoided giving solemn dogmatic definitions, engaging the infallibility of the Magisterium. And the answer is known for those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated November 16, 1964: given the nature of the pastoral council, it has declined to speak in an extraordinary manner dogmas with the note of infallibility …’
    Read the Encyclicals of the pre-Conciliar Popes.  For example, Religious Liberty was condemned by Pope Pius IX in his Encyclical ‘Quanta Cura’ of 1864, and by Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical ‘Immortale Dei’ of 1885.
    Similarly, Ecumenism was condemned by Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical ‘Mortalium Animos’ of 1928.

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘Blind obedience is not Catholic; nobody is exempt from responsibility for having obeyed man rather than God if he accepts orders from a higher authority, even the Pope, when these are contrary to the Will of God as it is known with certainty from Tradition …. It is an error to think that every word uttered by the Pope is infallible.’
    Archbishop Lefebvre, ‘Open Letter to Confused Catholics’.
    Vatican II was a non-infallible, pastoral Council.  It contains teachings that contradict the Tradition of the Church. These cannot be binding on any Catholic. (See reply to JabaPapa above.)  Also:
    ‘The magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements…’  Pope Paul VI, discourse closing Vatican II, December 7, 1965.

  • John Paul

     It is doubtful that this guy is truly a Protestant. This is an SSPX in disguise.

  • John Paul

     The Vatican II is Pastoral and Dogmatic. It even produced two Dogmatic Constitution, one more than Vatican I. So stop spreading lies.

  • J.R. Smith

     … and why do you say that, I wonder? Is it so hard to believe that non-Catholics who were attracted by the stable and perennial nature of the Church are suddenly turned off when the Church turns its most sacred practices completely on their heads? I’m a traditional Catholic who’s been attending the Tridentine Mass exclusively since being made aware of its existence by our dear Holy Father’s Motu Proprio … and I can’t begin to tell you the dozens of instances of disgruntled potential converts whose enthusiasm for conversion was knocked out of them by the current liturgical chaos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Francis-Hennessey/100001557463074 Francis Hennessey


  • Charles

     Sweetjae, your arguments are interesting; you are saying that the Novos Ordo is actually more like the original Mass of the early Christian centuries than the TLM which you imply developed later. Where can we find out the evidence for this?


  • J.R. Smith

     You’re contradicting Pope Paul VI who explicitly stated it was not dogmatic. Stop spreading lies, John Paul.

  • Bruddajoe

    Traitors all!

  • Bruddajoe

    Quislings + sycophants all

  • Parasum

     And who can blame them :( ?

    The CC has done a very good job of leaving no earthly reason why any non-CC Christian would *want* to become Catholic. Sad.

  • Parasum

     That religious liberty stuff was new. As well as condemned in advance. God himnself cannot make 2 & 2 = 5 – so how can a mere Council, which is not God ? God cannot require people to believe an untruth; so how can the Magisterium ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Sweet is actually right — mainly, the Novus Ordo separation of the Mass into two halves, the readings first (that theoretically all may attend), then the Mass proper/sacrifice later (that theoretically only the baptised may attend), is informed by the structures of the Mass as celebrated in Antiquity — though the readings and lessons, and dialogue between those present, would typically last much longer than the readings do today.

    The word “homily” actually means “conversation”.

    From the very High Middle Ages onwards, the place for dialogue and catechism and evangelisation was moved out of the Mass itself, and the readings integrated into the liturgy of the Mass proper, rather than remaining as a spur for immediate discussion and exchange — which is a natural tendency, and not to be regretted.

  • JabbaPapa

    How much theological understanding does it take to realise that
    Religious Liberty, Ecumenism and Collegiality contradict the teachings
    of the pre-Conciliar popes?

    Ecumenism and Collegiality do not concern any previous infallible doctrines of the Church.

    The question with Religous Freedom is a more delicate one, as I understand it, because a previous infallible doctrine exists on the question, as well as the underlying dogma of Free Will itself, but this is something for the CDF, or the Holy Father, or Magisterium, or future Council to sort out — NOT individual lay Catholics or clergy.

    Otherwise, please consult Tuas Libenter, which establishes very strongly that Authoritative teachings, not just infallible ones, must be generally adhered to by the Faithful, and be strictly adhered to by ALL Catholic theologians without exception.

  • JabbaPapa

    Neither of you are lying — Vatican II was not a dogmatic council per se, but it *did* promulgate doctrines.

    And because all Catholics must accept the Authority of all Ecumenical Councils, those doctrines promulgated by Vatican II belong to the Deposit of the Faith — that this is in a generally non-infallible manner for the most part is irrelevant to this fact.

  • awkwardcustomer

    The documents of Vatican II have various titles – Dogmatic Constitution, Decree, Declaration, Pastoral Constitution – and no explanation has been given as to the degree of authority these represent.  The fact remains that Vatican II was declared non-dogmatic and therefore non-infallible by Pope Paul VI and the inclusion of the term ‘Dogmatic’ in the title of a particular document does not change this.

    Paragraph 3 of the ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church’, which deals with Collegiality, was considered so ambiguous at the time that an Explanatory Note had to be added to explain how the Chapter was to be interpreted. This includes the following:

    ‘Taking into account conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present council, the sacred synod defined as binding on the Church only those matters of faith and morals which it has expressly put forward as such.’

    Infallible teachings have to be expressly stated as being such.  Vatican II has been expressly stated as being non-infallible.  As a general rule, infallible teachings do not require explanatory notes to clear up the abiguities they contain.

  • awkwardcustomer

    Surely it it entirely relevant.  Especially if the teachings of a non-infallible Council, which you agree Vatican II was, contradict the teachings of previous Popes.

  • awkwardcustomer

    You seem to be saying that lay Catholics aren’t capable of understanding Papal Encyclicals.  As for your comment that ‘Authoritative teachings, not just infallible ones, must be generally adhered to by the Faithful….’ – what if one ‘Authoritative teaching’ contradicts another?  Here’s what Pope Pius XI said about Ecumenical initiatives in ‘Mortalium Animos’ (1928).

     ‘…. founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy….’ (para 2)

    ‘… it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it in anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or work for such enterprises, for if they do they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.’ (para 8) 

    Is this not an ‘Authoritative teaching’?  And if you concede that it is, could you explain how a Catholic is supposed to adhere to it while also adhering to Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism? 


  • Roger_goodwill14

    I am Jamaican Roman Catholic who loved the Church of Rome.Though the Church may have it Bad Seas and alot of obstacles ,we must never try to disregard any council whether it be Vatican 1 or 2.Isnt the Catholic Church not of Christ?….St.Paul warn us in scripture that we must not  be divided over God Holy Church but remember the Man who died on the wooden Tree of it. Forget the faults of Vatican 1 and 2 and look to Jesus Christ ,Our redeemer and King.

  • JabbaPapa

    The Catholic doctrine of religious liberty requires nobody whatsoever to believe any falsehoods.

    To be fair, the doctrine is a work in progress at present, and rougher round the edges than many other Vatican II teachings — but it finds its foundation in the infallible dogma of Free Will.

  • JabbaPapa

    I hear this accusation very often — but when you look up the declarations of those Popes, those declarations typically aren’t infallible either —

    (yes, obviously there are some exceptions to that generality)

    — and just as often, those declarations can be found to be not actually incompatible with the Vatican II teachings in the first place, but only with certain interpretations of those teachings.

  • awkwardcustomer

    Why, then, does my Traditional Missal show the Mass as having two parts?  (Saint Andrew Daily Missal, 1956)

    First Part: the Mass of the Catechumens, described as ‘a service of prayers, chants and readings,

    Second Part:  the Mass of the Faithful, which is ‘the Sacrifice’.

    Also, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar serve as the Preparation, while the dismissal, blessing and Last Gospel make up the Conclusion.