Category Archives: FSSPX
Most of my readers are certainly familiar with the concept of supplied jurisdiction, so I will waste time on this. I would like, however, to make some considerations for the “legalist” crowd.
So, you think the SSPX has no supplied jurisdiction, and any confession or marriage celebrated by them is not valid. Why would you, then, go to confession by them after the 8 December and for around one year afterwards? Why would you go to confession to people you consider abusing their priestly role by doing things they are explicitly not allowed to do, and even deceiving the sheep about the validity of their confession or their marriage?
Apart from very rare, rather extreme examples, in which I believe the SSPX priest has jurisdiction even for the Vatican (say: man about to die, no Novus Ordo priest around for the Last Rites) the answer can only be one: because they are so beautifully, authentically Catholic.
Which, truly, answers the question about the supplied jurisdiction once and for all. These are perfectly Catholic priests doing nothing else than perfect (ahem, almost perfect if you ask me) Catholic work. There can be no doubt on their being 100% orthodox. There can be no doubt on their obedience to ecclesiastical authority whenever this does not contravene to a higher loyalty, the one to God. There can be no doubt the metre with which the SSPX measures this higher loyalty is nothing else that Catholic tradition in its purest form, as opposed to the orgy of Neomodernism (or worse) en vogue in Rome.
How can you, therefore, say that these disobedient people are your example of Catholicism, which is, in the end, obedience to the Lord? Are they being obedient to the Lord? Then they most certainly have supplied jurisdiction. Are they not obedient to the Lord? Then you should not approach them during the Year of False Mercy.
Ecclesia Supplet. When a Catholic is not allowed by his bishop or his Pope to do the Catholic thing, he does it nevertheless, with many greetings to the Pope or bishop. Athanasius did it, Eusebius did it, and Marcel also did it. I am pretty sure many others simple priests found themselves in similar situations and did the right thing, particularly during the Arian troubles, because I can't imagine that there weren't many priests ready to say exactly this: Ecclesia supplet. If you are a truly Catholic priests, and your bishop tells you that you must recite a different Creed at Mass – because some of the pewsitters might be offended by the old one – you know exactly what directions you will give to him, and that's that.
The SSPX have supplied jurisdiction, or they haven't. If they have, you certainly don't need Francis to tell you what they can or cannot do. If they cannot they are at least disobedient and probably gravely sinful people, and then you should avoid them anyway.
Athanasius was excommunicated. He continued his job, uncaring. More than that – and something I seldom read about – he and St. Eusebius started appointing bishops of their own, again ignoring the Pope. The bishops they appointed – and I read about that seldom, too – were not bishop without territorial jurisdiction, like the SSPX one. They were bishops in charge of a diocese all right. Nor can it be said that in that world of difficult communications the Pope might not have had control of certain territories. Firstly, it is poppycock (communications in the Roman Empire were, like all the rest, stunningly efficient), secondly it is neither here nor there, because the fact remains that Athanasius and Eusebius clearly appointed those bishops without caring a bit of what the Pope thought about it. He could approve them if he wanted to. If he did not like them, though luck.
To make a modern comparison, it is as if the SSPX appointed the new archbishop of Chicago without either asking or caring for what Francis says, and the Catholic faithful of Chicago accepted this appointment as a matter of course, fully uncaring of Francis' more or less sensible thought on the matter.
Let us, then, now pose the “Athanasius question”: did those Bishops have jurisdiction? Could they hear confession, administer the Last Rites, marry their sheep? And could the priests appointed by them do the same?
If yes, why? If not, why not?
It is very tricky, the Athanasius question. There is no doubt whatever Athanasius was a Lefebvre on steroids. There is also no doubt there was no precedent for the situation in which Athanasius found himself, whilst the SSPX has the shining example and illuminating precedent of… Athanasius. We know as a fact that Athanasius refused to obey to the point of incurring excommunication, did not recant after receiving it, appointed bishops of his own, and really did not care what Patheos would have said.
Therefore, if you follow modern mainstream V II conservatism Athanasius and his brave men had no jurisdiction, those sacraments were not valid, etc. If, however, we accept the principle that when those at the top behave like heretics the tough Catholics begin to play then we must apply the same reasoning to the 100%, 2k years-certified SSPX.
There is no doubt in my mind that the second applies. Every now and then, the Church loses her mind from the very top. It is then the task of a handful of very tough Catholics to simply keep doing what they have always done, safe in the certainty of their orthodoxy because… they do what Catholics have always done. There is no better guarantee of orthodoxy, and no better litmus test of Catholicism.
Athanasius did not know when sanity would come back. Nor did he ever care. He kept doing the Catholic thing and if the entire world derides him, so be it. Athanasius knew he might have to die in the middle of rampant, apparently triumphant heresy. He did not care for that, either.
Truth is truth. How many people refuse to follow the truth is ultimately irrelevant. If the Pope sabotages the truth, then he will be punished more harshly unless he repents, but sabotage it still is.
Truth is truth. It does not depend of from the rank of those who spread lies.
So: Athanasius disobeyed to the Pope. What say you? Athanasius appointed bishops, and bishops with territorial competence, fully ignoring the Pope. Schism? Athanasius decided to disobey and to die, if needs be, excommunicated for being (far) more Catholic than the Pope. What is the difference with Archbishop Lefebvre?
Why, why all those semi-conservative legalists apply all their clerical rigidity to Archbishop Lefebvre, and forget all of it when they speak of Athanasius? Was Athanasius schismatic in the moment, and Catholic only after victory? Or was he, as logic commands, 100% Catholic all the time?
The Athanasius question cannot be easily avoided. It stares at us straight in the face every time we compare Athanasius' “disobedience” to Lefebvre's. It has no other answer than this: no heresy can be acceptable because it's promoted or protected or encouraged from the very Pope, and those who defend orthodoxy are right even when the pope excommunicates them.
In times of great turmoil, God sends us great men.
Thank God for Athanasius, and for Archbishop Lefebvre.
So, should we attend a SSPX Mass? Most people (even conservative ones) say “no”. Other people say “of course”. I personally say “by all means, but paying attention it does not lead you culpably go down the wrong path”.
The short, but already meaningful history of this little effort shows than not a few are the cases of people who start attending a TLM – which can easily be in a SSPX chapel – and after a while throw away the child with the bath water and become either Sedevacantists or so venomous against the Church that one does not understand what their understanding of Catholicism is.
I cannot – in the same way as Bishop Schneider – detect any area in which the SSPX are not Catholic. It is, therefore, a mystery to me how this previously unknown concept of “imperfect communion” may work. The SSPX are as Catholic as they come, and infinitely more Catholic than the Pope – as every good Catholic is, by the way – and they merely refuse obedience to the pope on matters in which a sound Catholic has always been entitled to refuse obedience. You can't be half pregnant, and you can't be in imperfect communion. Most of all, you can't be something that never existed before, and the fruit of a verbal gymnastics invented after V II to describe someone who does not want to give in to Neo-Modernism (or outright Modernism) when the hierarchy in Rome does just that.
By all means, go to a SSPX mass if you can. Only pay attention, if you want my advice, that this does not create in you a siege mentality, according to which only a little moat separates the SSPX from the Whore of Babylon.
I find it a useful experience to also attend at NO Mass. It teaches me obedience. It tells me that the Church is my mother even when she nourishes me badly, and at times seems to hate me. It helps me to avoid the moat thinking, and the siege obsession. It reminds me that horrible as her state may be, this organisation that celebrates these NO Masses all over the world is, in fact, the Only Church; and I prefer to bring this kind of sacrifice as a penance rather than run the risk of slowly persuading myself I am too good for the Mass the Church gives me.
By all means, attend Mass at an SSPX Chapel. But do not think that there are too churches, of which the Vatican is the wrong one. There is only one Church, and he who does not see that the SSPX is 100% part of it probably cannot be helped anymore.
And it came to pass Bishop Schneider gave a wonderful interview to the Spanish version of Rorate Caeli, stating that the SSPX are not in any schism whatsoever, praising their orthodoxy and wishing that they were brought again (I use Vatican terminology here) in “full communion”. Your humble correspondent reported.
After which, Michael Voris embarrassed himself once again with a series of “improvements” of the Bishop's thoughts. The manipulations and misrepresentations were painful to behold. Your humble correspondent ignored them, and so should you. Spend your time on Rorate, not on Voris' outlet.
Now Bishop Schneider has addressed Michael Voris with a very dry clarification on Voris' misrepresentation of his interview. There are no open criticisms and no emotional tones in the Bishop's answers, but as they say, intelligenti pauca.
Now, if Voris were one of the many wannabe “c”atholic incompetent hacks who go around writing rubbish about Catholicism (or about me) I would, life being too short for hacks, simply ignore the whole thing. But the problem here is that Voris is – and there is no doubt about this in my mind – a good and sincere Catholic soul who has been led on the wrong path, if you ask me, on three issues: the matter of criticism of the Pope, the position of the SSPX, and the shameful attacks to great Catholic writers – and true Catholic men – like Vennari, Ferrara, Matt, and Verrecchio. A great shame, because the man has heart and talent, and he is wasting his credibility away.
I understand Voris has his set opinions on a couple of matters, as I have mine. Reasonable people will also be able to disagree in matters that have no sure answer in the history of the Church. The situation of the SSPX (sidelined for being pure Catholics as the Vatican smears itself with Protestant thinking) and of the actual papacy (too atrocious for words, and absolutely unprecedented in 2,000 years of Church history) are two rather obvious points in case. But when Voris looks at the matter coolly, he will see that he has misrepresented a bishop in a way that moved this bishop to correct him in a very decided way. All this, because his emotional investment in the jihad against the SSPX has now gone out of control, and the man just can't think straight whenever the issue is touched.
I wish Voris would stop embarrassing himself, and free himself from the influence of horrible priests and misleading, if very probably good intentioned, donors. If an interview of a bishop goes against his grain he can, in my eyes, do one of the two: openly criticise the bishop, or simply ignore the matter. He does the first all the time with the other bishops, and he does the second all the time with the pope. Therefore, it should not have been too difficult.
A great pity. We have a very sincere Catholic soul here, misled by people he should do without.
It astonishes me how, time and again, people read imminent good news in “business as usual” announcements.
Bishop Fellay (may the Lord protect him always) has given an interview, and he has stated within it a lot of things we knew already:
-The SSPX is healthy and strong. She is, I add myself, very rich. Long may it last.
– Many within the Vatican truly like the Society (hint: that's because they are honest-to-God Catholics), and Bishop Schneider and Cardinal Brandmueller are only the most recent examples. Many others do not, because they are of the devil or very, very stupid.
– The followers of Williamson have proved a limited group of nutcases; it is good to have lost them.
-We are “on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define”. What this means is everyone's guess. I think it means “we might have to call for the deposition of this pope in October, and we have many bishops and cardinals on our side already”. But the truth is: I do not know. To interpret this statement as the announcement of a reconciliation would be, in my eyes, reckless, because that event we could define extremely well.
Summa summarum: there's nothing explosive, or even new, in the Bishop's interview. Whilst repetita iuvant, we knew all already. The sibylline statement at the end could be a veiled threat to Francis to very much pay attention to what he does or not, as the case may be. We don't know.
What I personally know is that I am so glad that the Society exists.
There is a lot of talk about the “recognition” of the SSPX as a Catholic organisation from the Argentinian Government, and with the obvious help of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. Personally, everything seems very straightforward to me, and nothing to get anyone excited.
Bring a Catholic, non-profit organisation obviously gives a legal status in Argentina. Whether it is about tax treatment, or the issuing of visas, or who knows how many other things, being recognised as Catholic has a bearing on your legal status as seen by the Argentinian Government.
The SSPX would obviously never say “we aren't Catholic”. Just as obviously, no archdiocese which does not want to cause a huge uproar – and big trouble with the Vatican, very possibly – would say to the Argentinian Government “they aren't Catholic”. Besides, I imagine that rules of Catholic decency and common courtesy do not allow for this kind of under-the-beltline bickering.
Result? The Archdiocese says to the Argentinian Government “why, we have internal disagreements; but of course, of course they're Catholics”.
Again, I would not want to be the Archbishop who has to explain to the Catholic Press why the SSPX are allegedly “not Catholic”. He would lose face before he loses the argument.
Therefore, the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires has done the only thing it could reasonably expected to do: confirm the reality on the ground.
Of course this is no canonical recognition, something that is nothing to do with how a Government sees you. Of course the SSPX is not now the obedient subject of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. What has simply happened is that the Archdiocese has had the common sense of recognising the reality on the ground: the SSPX is a Catholic organisation, and not less so because of unresolved issues.
There's nothing more than this, I think. It all seems very straightforward. Nothing very exciting has happened.
Unless it be this: that those outlets – not the Vatican – who described the SSPX as schismatic might have some explaining to do. But the latter weren't much fazed by facts beforehand, and will not be swayed by this further occasion for a reality check now.
The SSPX is Catholic. Dogs bark. The sun goes up on the East.
Yours truly stands corrected in the matter of who is a martyr.
As you can see from this article posted on the US site of the SSPX, apart from all other requirements it is necessary to be a Catholic to qualify as martyr. Being orthodox would not suffice even if all other requirements were satisfied.
You see how easy it is: one discovers that one was in error, and one puts oneself in line with the Truth as explained by someone whose authority in the matter we recognise as orthodox and trustworthy, and perfectly aligned with the Magisterium.
Notice also that the article does not necessarily make the thing entirely clear to me. So for example, are the Holy Innocents martyrs or not? I always thought they were and they were certainly not even Christians, but either they aren’t, then, martyrs in the strict sense or I am simply missing something. There will be some explanation. The fact that I do not know it (some reader will perhaps provide it, so I don’t bother looking around for now) does not mean that the Church does not have one.
This is the attitude we must have as Catholics. We accept Truth, and that’s it. We may involuntarily be in error at times, which is easy because the matter is complicated. At other times we may take a theological opinion for unopposed truth. At other times we will simply miss something. But we don’t make our own theology. We learn and then we know something more than we knew before.
I had an occasion to become a “dissenter”, and I have wasted it…
“Schismgate”: John Vennari Replies To Michael Voris On “Schism”, “Reactionaries” And “Francisvacantism”
Today I am very pleased to inform you of another brilliant reply from John Vennari, of CFN. This reply comes in two videos. The first video deals with the accusation of “Schism” levelled at the SSPX by Voris, and the second deals with the methods employed by Voris and the mixing of the argument of “Pope is not validly a Pope” with the legitimate grievances of sound Traditionalism.
The videos are fairly short, totaling less than 20 minutes together. They are a beautiful integration to what has been already said on the matter. The first one gives more and very convincing arguments against the abstruse claim of Schism, and the second shreds some light on the media methods of Mr Voris besides bringing clarity in the matter of “Francisvacantism”.
Enjoy the show.
Concerning the matter in the title, I beg not to be counted among the optimists. I do not believe in the least that any sincere reconciliation effort will come from the Vatican. If any rapprochement were to be seen, it would probably only be aimed at dividing the SSPX, as already seen in 2011.
Still: it shall be allowed, I hope, to play a bit. Let us imagine, them, what would be reasonable and acceptable to the right side.
The principle that what the Church has always held stays, and that the SSPX has the right to refuse strange novelties, is too banal to merit discussion. The principle that in whatever V II documents have declared that is in harmony with Truth cannot be logically denied is also too banal to waste time on it. The fact that V II was a merely pastoral Council is also an undisputable fact for every sound Catholic.
The problem is, if you ask me, another: control. The Vatican might want to attract the SSPX in a mortal embrace, and they might even be ready to make concessions for this. But the SSPX will – I am sure of this – not accept any agreement that puts them at the mercy of the V II Church. Not with Benedict as Pope, much less with Francis.
Therefore, the issue, and the litmus test of the Vatican's honesty in any agreement, will be that of independence.
Own seminaries, own finances, complete freedom from episcopal interference, and – as unavoidable consequence – complete freedom to criticise Pope Francis and V II left, right and centre. Nothing else would be acceptable, nothing less should be accepted, and nothing else will.
Unacceptable for the Vatican? So be it. Profitable in the longer term, or just the Catholic thing to do? Welcome.
In theory, there would be an upside for Francis: the “mercy” rhetoric and the “inclusiveness” propaganda, and the personal satisfaction of having “succeeded” where Benedict failed. In practice, it will never happen: those who hate Catholicism, that is, Francis' audience and applauding public, would turn against him faster than you can say “Ricca”, and the myth of the revolutionary Pope would die a fast but horribly painful death, without making him more popular among true blue Catholics in the least. A heretic remains a heretic even if he embraces a saint.
Back to the issue of acceptable compromise, it is clear there can be no compromises on what is not negotiable (the issues of the Liturgy, of religious freedom, etc). It is also clear it would be suicide – an act Fellay or his would never commit – to deliver themselves to the mercy of V II Popes, who would – this, or the next, or the following one – subject the SSPX to the FFI treatment.
This, I think, is the inescapable frame of any serious discussion, or lack thereof.
Of course, the SSPX would not maintain that all of VII was evil. V II was a modernist mixture of truth and lie, and one can't deny the truth just because the Devil says it. Rather, the SSPX will maintain that everything that is not truth must be expunged from the teaching and the praxis of the Church; and that V II was, as a whole, the work of the devil in its mentality and inspiration, which both must be expunged from the Church, too.
Will, or should, the SSPX demand that the Vatican goes back to sanity before accepting reconciliation? Of course not. If the work of the SSPX can go on in exactly the same way, to refuse a freely offered reconciliation would be tantamount to elevating the SSPX to a parallel church, of which the Vatican is not worthy. It would be like refusing the blessing of a priest because one does not like the priest. One may despise the man, but one will still recognise the office.
This is, I think, the only possible frame of a reconciliation. At the same time, this is why the reconciliation will not work as long as The Most Astonishing Hypocrite In Church History (TMAHICH) is in power.
Even a “gratuitous” exercise of “mercy” would be too expensive for the Vatican.
They know perfectly well how mercilessly the same people would attack them, who are now the beneficiaries of the fake “mercy” they peddle around.
And it came to pass the SSPX announced – after leaks in a French blog – that there will be an informal meeting between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Müller in the Vatican.
I am, personally, unable to see that anything at all may come out of it. In my eyes, this is nothing more than an informal meeting asked by Müller because of the job he occupies; nothing more, nothing less.
It is not realistic to think a man who does not even get what “ever Virgin” means will seek a rapprochement to the Society; particularly after the harsh words he spoke in the past.
It is also not realistic to think that Müller may try to intimidate the SSPX into submission with the threat of declaring them “schismatics”, or “Martians”, or “Blue Elephants”, or the like. Fellay would eat him for breakfast, and no sound Catholics will believe the SSPX are Blue Elephants, Martians, or Schismatics, whatever rubbish Müller may, in hypothesis, declare.
The positions are, as we all know, even more distant now that a clown is running the show in the Vatican. Mistrust runs deep on both side. The SSPX has no interest whatever in showing itself an accomplice of the clown, and they have already branded him in strong enough terms.
Nor have we had signs of a devilish offensive of the Unholy Father against them. Francis is weak with the strong, and does not look for conflicts. He never picked a fight with the SSPX in Buenos Aires, it's not clear to me why he would want to pick it now. He would be ridiculed and exposed as utterly and completely incompetent. He would have nothing to gain as the leftist, socialist, dissenting side is already supporting him. There is no upside.
Therefore, I think that nothing will happen.
Tea and scones, rather; “touching base”; a friendly meeting between opposing sides like countless of them happen in diplomatic circles.
In order for anything in this matter to change we need for the Pope, the CDF and the entire Vatican attitude to change.
The SSPX will, for sure, not change in the least.
I have written several times about this, but would like to do it again as we now approach the last weeks of the Crusade.
This is a wonderful occasion to take the habit or praying the rosary daily.
In one of his eleison editorials, (it's number 355; no independent link) Bishop Williamson states that the Vatican is thinking of doing what, in fact, Benedict should have done in 2012: recognise the full legitimacy of the Society without any condition or demand.
The statement seems absurd, and it probably is. One simply struggles to see why the Bishop of Rome would do something like that, and at the same time persecute the FFI. Yes, Francis might try to spin this as a move toward “inclusiveness”, particularly if he plans something very scandalous on the other side of orthodoxy, like paving the way for sacrilegious communion. A way to, so to speak, try to make everyone happy and show he is the Saint Protector of Absolutely Everyone: Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Heretics, Sodomites, even Catholics.
One could think he might make such a move, but let us reflect: is this the way he has operated up to now?
No. What he has done up to now has been consistently belittling, insulting or persecuting decent Catholics whilst he panders to the emotional needs of all kind of wrong people, who in turn build his personality cult. Why would he change direction now? Has there been a scandal too big for him, short of officially overturning Church teaching? Does he think if he gives the SSPX a “certificate of conformity” they will stop their rather ferocious, if always respectful, criticism of him? Has he been persecuting the FFI for, basically, no reason at all? Is he not afraid that this might backfire mightily, destroying the image of liberal icon he has been building for himself?
No, I cannot see this working. Rather, it seems to me that the Bishop is receiving third-hand rumours from sympathisers within the SSPX, and that he tries to make the argument of how little orthodox the SSPX must be, if Francis is even thinking of receiving them into his ample, inclusive, Catholicism-free bosom.
Don't believe the rumours.
Believe the facts.
For those who at the time were still wasting their time on Patheos blogs or (un)Catholic Answers, read here what this is all about.
Yours truly has been praying the rosary for the Crusade every day with the faithfulness of an Irish Setter.
For those of you who want to start now, it is never too late.
Follow the link, and give your best effort.
… et portae inferi non paevalebunt adversus te.
As a salutary antidote to the orgy of V II celebration, you may consider this reblog.
The reflections of this good SSPX priest are as ruthless as they are calm and reasonable.