And it came to pass we were informed from high places the Tridentine Mass is not in danger during the current Pontificate.
I must say I had to smile.
Firstly, I invite you to consider that in the end no one can speak for the Bishop of Rome, who will do what he thinks best (or worst) irrespective of what Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has said, or even of what he might have said to others. There will always be a new situation that will allow him to say that new measures are now necessary.
Secondly, the reason adduced for Francis’ forbidding the priest of the FFI to celebrate the Tridentine Mass can be used ad libitum in the future. If six dissidents are reason enough to forbid 400 priests (says Wikipedia) from celebrating the Mass of the Ages, its “divisiveness” (divisiveness that is most certainly there: a good Mass and a bad Mass are opposed here, it is clear emotions will run high) can be used at a pretext at any given time to go back to the Indult regime. If memory serves (but I might be wrong) Francis has already made an “off-the-cuff” remark about the divisiveness of the Tridentine Mass as intended by the Traditionalists.
Thirdly and most importantly, Francis is, in this matter as in many others, not entirely free to do as he pleaseth. The Indult does not exist because JP II was oh so generous, but because the SSPX was stubborn to the point of heroism. If it had not been for the Society, the Tridentine Mass would have been, to all intents and purposes (though not officially, but there would have been no need for that), wiped out completely from Church life. You can think for yourself whether the Pinocchio-slash-Tango Mass Pope would keep such a “Pelagian” exercise alive if he had a real (as in: practically feasible and not dangerous for his popularity) choice.
From what has emerged up to now, it seems clear Francis is a professional of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare. He will be pro-life speaking to pro-lifers, and “not obsessed” when he wants to please the pro-death fraction. He will say that he who is not with Jesus is with the devil when he speaks to clerics, and say that one is fine to deny Jesus and follow his conscience to the atheists; he will allow himself liturgical abuses with photos all over the planet to show he is “modern”, and celebrate ad orientem when he thinks it’s time to give some bird feed to the conservative pigeons.
No. Francis isn’t fine with the Mass of the Ages. If he were free to choose, you’d have Pinocchios everywhere, and the occasional obscene dance on the Sanctuary. Rather, he has apparently decided he does not need to open this front, because the flak would be rather frightful and the SSPX would greatly profit from it.
Let us hope Francis never feels strong enough to do such a thing. Let us keep our criticism vocal, and very explicit. As Jorge Bergoglio is so much in love with Pope Francis and mindful of his popularity (I am told Miley Cyrus does the same, though in a different manner), the best way to avoid things getting worse is to be very vocal and open in our criticism of how bad they already are.
God knows they are already worse than the most pessimistic mind could have thought only nine months ago. Though strangely enough very few seem to realise it.
I cannot say it often enough: the SSPX is a beacon of sound Catholic thinking in the darkness of the “new humbleness”. Clearly, if you want to know what proper Catholicism is you must stay away from Francis' ramblings, as they will inoculate you with the virus of Modernism and shift you from the solid ground of Catholic reasoning to the deadly quicksands of fluffy, emotional, senseless, and in the end heretical thinking.
I suggest that you take the time – not so much of it after all – to read and interiorise this beautiful reflection on Francis' forma mentis – make no mistake: an heretical one – on the basis of his exploits with “Civilta' Cattolica” and “Repubblica”.
Once again, we see the steamroller of sound Catholic thinking rolling over Francis' marshmallow-tasting, popularity-seeking emotionalism, and flattening it altogether. Francis, a man of embarrassing ignorance and even more embarrassing arrogance, will not understand the objection; but rationally thinking Catholics with a grounded knowledge of Truth will immediately grasp that the problem with Francis is not in, say, the way he expresses himself but, far more gravely, in the way he thinks.
The simile with the blind man and the forest is delicious, and will remain with you for a long time.
Enjoy this example of Catholic sanity, and please remember to say one or three Hail Marys for Francis, who is so much in need of our prayers.
Let me say first that whoever expected Cardinal Pell to say: “Yes! Francis is a flaming Modernist!” needs an urgent reality check. Not only is the man a Cardinal, but in virtue of his being the quota-member for Australia of the Gang of Eight he is in a particularly exposed position. Therefore, asking him about the heresies of the Bishop of Rome is not going to yield any particularly original result.
Still, Cardinal Pell's argument is notable for his… complete lack of sensible argumentation. Bishop Fellay has explained in detail in a long sermon what is wrong with Francis. He has quoted him verbatim. He has analysed Francis' thinking – and actually only some of his many antics – in detail. Not even the most biased commenter could say Fellay's indictment was an emotional outburst. On the contrary: the fact that it came after months of controversies in which the SSPX had avoided open criticism of Francis' clearly heretical statements lends even more weight to the Bishop's entirely justified criticism and righteous anger.
What has, then, Cardinal Pell to oppose to this? If he has tried in the past to bend over backwards and explain to us why water is not wet I have missed his interventions. Still, his latest words are notable in that they are absolutely devoid of any sensible content or decent argumentation. To say that “Francis is a son of the Church” is, as an argument, rubbish, and by the way Luther was an Agostinian.
No, Cardinal Pell's statement has simply no basis: no basis in fact, and not even the attempt to provide one. The Church of V II demands that every … rubbish her prelates spit be believed merely because they say so. This is, to every well instructed Catholic, rubbish.
Let the Cardinal – now that he has thrown the stone – reply publicly and in detail, point for point, to Bishop Fellay. Let him prove with reasoned arguments why Bishop's Fellay accusations of Modernism levelled at the Bishop of Rome would be rubbish.
If he does it and does it well, we will agree with him and applaud his superior wisdom.
If he doesn't, we will know who is talking rubbish.
Here is the translation in English of the press release of the Italian district of the SSPX concerning Priebke's funeral.
Some Catholics should read it and cry of shame; but those who should cry more are those priests, bishops and actually one Pope who chose to be the perfect cowards.
From the statement:
A Christian who was baptized and received the sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist, whatever his faults and his sins may have been, has the right to the celebration of Holy Mass and to a funeral if he dies reconciled with God and with the Church.
This simple truth is inaccessible, because inconvenient, to the very man who is on record with saying
“Everyone has his own idea of Good and Evil and he has to choose to follow the Good and to fight Evil as he understands it. This would be enough to improve the world.”
So Pope Francis is wrong twice: he is wrong when he states such heresies, and he is hypocritical when he conveniently forgets even his own heresies, let alone basic Catholicism, in order not to damage the PR machine now unceasingly licking the plates of atheist and liberals the world over.
We are degenerating to a Catholicism made of nothing more than commonplaces, fake humility, and black shoes.
Pray for Priebke. But pray for Francis, too.
My views and yours about the unspeakably cowardly massacre of Via Rasella – not what you think, but the killing of three dozen unarmed Germany military in the heart of Rome, at a time when Rome was citta' aperta and military men carried no weapons to keep the Eternal City an island of peace in the midst of war; an agreement which the Axis was respecting with German exactness – and the following, not only perfectly normal but highly advisable rappresaglia according to the usually applied criteria – advisable, I mean, to avoid Rome descending in a pit of violence in Baghdad style – will possibly differ. Still, this blog is about Catholicism, not history or WW II, and I suggest to those with an enquiring mind to read the acts of the farce trial moved against Kappler & Co. after the war ended: a crystal-clear example of Siegerjustiz, and an unmitigated shame.
This, as far as the main episode – the retaliation at the Fosse Ardeatine that has divided the Italians since – is concerned.
You might, though, not necessarily know that the notorious reputation of Mr Priebke is not due exclusively to his involvement in the rappresaglia at the Fosse Ardeatine, but to his ways and character before, during and after that operation.
A violent, sadistic and extremely cruel man, Priebke was in charge of interrogations of suspected partisans or partisans' helpers. The offices in the via Tasso in Rome were the theatre of ferocious cruelty, a cruelty shocking even for the not entirely gentle standards of the SS.
Kappler tried to get rid of Priebke, a person he clearly loathed as much as everyone else; but the latter's direct link to Hitler – who knew him personally, admired him and made of him a protégé – made Priebke both untouchable and a trusted “plant” of the Führer in Rome. As a consequence, Priebke was free to torture away for as long as he was in Rome.
I am no friend of Priebke. I think he was a bastard. A cruel, evil bastard.
But I also think he was an immortal soul. I am reliably informed he died at peace with the Lord. My personal antipathy for him is nothing to do with the fact that the information we have allows us to hope – note this word well: hope – that he managed to save his immortal soul and will one day – after a purification process that I can only imagine long and painful – be allowed to enjoy the Beatific Vision.
These are the facts. They have nothing to do with our opinion of him. His priest said he repented of his sins and died at peace with The Lord, and that's that.
But no. The same people who would not think twice of allowing funerals of premeditated suicides, or of sodomites unrepentant and defiant of God's law to the very end, consider a Requiem mass for a repentant Priebke too much to ask. The same people who always go around saying “who am I to judge?” are the same who have, in fact, decided to damn this man, and that even a mass in private – note this word well: private – form is more than a Christian should allow Herr Priebke to have.
Most notably, the very same “who am I to judge?” Pope – who doesn't like to call himself such -; the man ceaselessly talking about the need to stay near to the oppressed and downtrodden; the man clearly thinking even atheists have a place in heaven provided they follow their conscience; and the man always saying that the shepherd must smell of his sheep; this very man did not find a word to say to put an end to the Requiem Mass embargo decreed by Priebke's bishop; who is, by the by, his vicar for the Diocese of Rome, a very short hop with the Ford away.
Francis can play with beach balls and football shirts all right; he can play “inclusive” when it is convenient, thinking nothing of liturgical abuse when it makes him popular; he can suavely talks of forgiveness for pretty much every unrepented sin of people from whom he wants to be liked; but when the time comes to be merciful in a very elementary way – a man who died, as we are assured from a priest, repentant of his sins – he is, as widely expected, nowhere to be found.
And so there we are. A deeply unpopular man, the Beelzebub of the Left, dies a Catholic, staying nearer the sacraments that can be said of the majority of the Italians, and of the vast majority of the mob hating him in his coffin. Who will be on the side of his immortal soul? Who will defy the rage of the mob, and do what is normal and Christian to do? Who will be on the side of the poorest of them all, the soul naked in front of her Judge? His Bishop, perhaps? The Pope, you think?
The ones who will do what is decent to do; the ones showing real Christian spirit irrespective of how unpopular this will make them are, once again, the bad, bad boys of the Society of Saint Pius X.
Once again, the SSPX shows the entire Catholic planet how to do it. Once again, the V II church shows her “pastoral attitude” and her “inclusiveness” only when it is popular and convenient, and her readiness to cave in to the wish of the mob when it isn't.
By the by, what if Priebke had been an atheist who “follows his conscience” whilst torturing? Does not Francis himself say in this case his conscience will be what decides of right and wrong? Has the man such a short memory? Or is he deaf from the uncomfortable, unpopular ear?
May the Lord have mercy for the soul of Mister Priebke, a bastard in life to whom I sincerely, sincerely wish God's mercy and all the eternal bliss I dare to hope, one day, for myself and for all of you. May the Lord also have mercy of those priests and bishops, and of that Pope, who encourage unrepentant sinners to die in their sin, but refuse a private Requiem mass to a sinner who dies repenting. And may the Lord give all of us the same shot at repentance he allowed, in his mercy, to him. And no, you don't have the right to question the man's sincerity, only God has. The priest has said he repented for his sin, that's enough for us. This is why the SSPX decided to do the right thing: right is right even when it is unpopular, wrong is wrong even when everyone applauds you for it.
Clearly, “who am I to judge” did not apply this time. It would have displeased the atheist and leftist crowd Francis loves so much. Better leave a man who dies at peace with the Lord without a funeral instead. There will be enough masses for people who haven't darkened the door of a church for seventy years. Because hey, they followed their… conscience.
The comment function is shut off. In your charity, you may consider saying three Eternal Rest for the soul of Mr Priebke instead, who – assuming his salvation, for which we have reason to hope – certainly is now in need of them.
God bless the SSPX, an island of true Catholicism in a sea of cowardice.
God bless them all.
Bishop Fellay had something to say about the Bishop of Rome on the 12th; and boy, he did not mince words.
I have already reported that the SSPX made an appeal to Francis imploring him not to allow countless souls to perish. This time, the tones are far harsher.
Fellay is on record with saying that Francis is making an already disastrous situation “10,000 time worse”, and his metaphor with Francis and the parachute is, actually, funny in a very tragic way. He is obviously right in his analysis that Francis is willingly throwing bombs at the Church, possibly thinking the poor will be able to find better shelter among the ruins.
I am frankly surprised at the extreme severity of Fellay's words, as I had rather thought the approach of the first intervention would have been followed in the years to come; what I think has happened is that Fellay & Co. feel the situation is so extreme than nothing less than extreme words will do.
Mind, I do not agree with his calling the Novus Ordo “evil”, either (I follow him up to “bad”, though); but then again I am not a member of the Order, so this is par for the course. We have already discussed this ad abundantiam, though, so I will leave it at that.
Coming back to Bishop Fellay, please note the obvious relief at the failure to reconcile in 2012. Though I do not doubt the SSPX would never have agreed to a reconciliation putting them at the mercy of future Popes, there is no denying a reconciliation followed shortly thereafter by accusations of heresy moved to the Pope would not have been a very lasting one. I cannot avoid seeing in that a sign of Providence, leaving the SSPX free to defend orthodoxy without being encumbered by the desire not to rock the boat of a very fresh agreement. I also remember the one or other suggesting the SSPX leaders come crawling at the presence of the Pope and ask for a reconciliation whatever, before it gets worse. It seems fair to say these good men of God will not only not crawl anywhere, but will stand and be ready for battle at all times.
Someway, I get the impression they don't really read Francis through Benedict.
In the present situation, it is more than understandable that the fans of the Better Mass be worried about the effect this devastating, utterly disgraceful Pontificate will have on Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst I have forgotten my crystal ball at home again, I think a couple of reasonable assumptions can be made:
1) Bishop Francis will not dare to openly go against Summorum Pontificum: not whilst the Pontiff Emeritus is alive, not after he has died. A man clearly driven by vanity, the Bishop of Rome will not dare to take initiatives that would procure him a very vocal, very persistent and very painful opposition. Look at his actions, and realise the man accurately avoid every stance that would cause widespread opposition to the new born cult of Bishop Francis. Too many are the friends of the Tridentine Mass, for him to go and pick this particular fight. It must also be said that the Bishop lives in a liturgical and theological glasshouse, and certainly understands if he starts to throw stones at people who understand Liturgy and Theology he will be hurt, badly.
2) This does not mean the Bishop, being a 1a liturgical Philistine, will not do whatever he can to damage the cause of sound liturgy whilst avoiding the flak. I can well imagine that he will take care bishops of TLM dioceses are replaced, when the usual time comes, with other liturgical philistines, certain to provide an hostile environment for the TLM; with the obvious exception of those dioceses where a SSPX is within driving distance.
I cannot see the Bishop of Rome doing anything that makes him obviously unpopular, but I do believe he will do whatever he can to hush the effects of SP if he can do so without open confrontation.
The biggest safety for SP lies, if you ask me, in the robust presence of the SSPX. As long as they are strong and expanding, the enemies of the Tridentine Mass will have to be very careful, and Bishop Jorge's cult of Bishop Jorge will do the rest.
I might be wrong, of course. Time will tell.
If you scour this blog for the posts of June of last here, you will find the news about the impending agreement, when it seemed that the reconciliation had been achieved and only the right moment to make a public announcement was being waited for. Then, the initial reaction of surprise at the news that the widely anticipated reconciliation might not take place. When it became clear that the obvious informal agreement had been changed at the last minute (or misrepresented by people very near to the Pope) your humble correspondent, who doesn’t like to switch his brains off whenever a Pope is in play, dared to write that someone at the Vatican had lied, or had been duplicitorus, or had eaten his words.
When it subsequently became clear that the deal wasn’t going to happen, yours truly pointed out once again to the obvious: the Vatican had changed the cards on the table at the last minute, obviously after green informal green light for an agreement that seemed a done deal.
How the situation had probably evolved originally, I examined here.
Still, after the porcelain was broken I wrote this blog post, with the following observation:
it seems clear to me they are well aware the Holy Father himself has either eaten his word because scared of the results of the agreement, or he has wilfully lied to them when he first indicated his agreement with the SSPX’s version of the preambolo. Their answer to this is rather laconic: “We do not make names here, but if you want to talk to us be serious and stop playing clever guys”.
As an aside, I also made some proposal to improve the “dialogue”; proposals which, as I understand, were not followed.
Bishop Fellay, though, gave Mueller a lesson or two in Catholicism anyway, among other things pointing out that in the past Mueller would have ended in the sight of the same Holy Office he now leads. I heartily agree, by the way.
Who the real responsible of the entire mess was (make no mistake: Pope Benedict) I wrote here.
In the same tone, I pointed out how the appointment of Archbishop’s DiNoia to formally lead the “dialogue” would lead no nothing, if there is no intention to ever reconcile with Traditionalism.
The news making the round in the last hours are, therefore, interesting in themselves, but not entirely new to the readers of this forum: an agreement was certainly signaled to Bishop Fellay as done, prompting the formal offer of the SSPX which was then only waiting for the formal acceptance. At that point, someone ate his word, and if memory serves Bishop Fellay received confirmation in the following months that the one who ate his word was the Pontiff himself.
At the cost of being unpopular, I repeat once again that it is inconceivable that the sudden change in the Vatican attitude was not approved by the Pontiff, who therefore is the one bearing the responsibility for it.
Still, Pope Benedict is too intelligent to think that after two or three years of discussions, the SSPX would have suddenly abandoned the fight that is the very reason of its existence. Rather more probable is that the Pontiff Emeritus thought he could divide the SSPX dangling in front of the moderate elements the carrot of a reconciliation, retracting it at the last moment to see what effect it has. As I have already written i the past, this was too clever by half.
Where we are now, is that in the Vatican there is no interest in even pretending to be interested to a reconciliation. They prefer to reconcile with the Lutherans, and waffle about the “success” of the Reform.
Please let us not kid ourselves: Benedict never wanted an agreement. What is wanted, is either lead the SSPX to accept V II (a scenario improbable to the point of absurdity), or try to divide them in the process. Look at whom he appointed as head of the former Holy Office, and this will show you everything there is to know.
If Pope Francis ignores the SSPX I will still consider the attitude more honest than the disingenuous, frankly unethical ping-pong and carrot dangling we have lived in the past years.
An interesting discussion has erupted concerning the way a conservative, or traditionalist Catholic, should behave concerning attendance to the Novus Ordo Mass. Catocon was so nice as to prepare a mini-research of sources in the comment box of this post.
There is no doubt that whilst some SSPX priest arrives at times to say not worse than that the NO “provides a deficient spiritual diet to the faithful” (something on which, I hope, we all agree), the general stance is in the end harder, oscillating between attending only in case of “social emergency” (and even then only if the Mass is very reverent) and at the other extreme the softer, original position of Archbishop Lefebvre, who said:
However, “it is an exaggeration to say that most of these Masses are invalid.” One should not hesitate to go a little further to have Mass according to the Roman Ordo; but “if one does not have the choice and if the priest celebrating Mass according to the Novus Ordo is faithful and worthy, one should not abstain from going to Mass.”
Also, there seem to be no doubt even among versed priests somewhat less friendly to the SSPX than I am that for the SSPX priests a properly celebrated NO Mass is valid.
In all cases, it appears most priests of the SSPX would demand from yours truly that he exclusively attends a Traditional Mass; actually, their own Traditional Mass, as the doubts or misgivings concerning the indult/SP masses are also clearly there.
This blog was always, as every reader knows who read it even occasionally, on a different position.
Firstly, allow me to copy and paste – out of sheer laziness – a comment I have written in answer to a description of the NO as “abomination”. The SSPX certainly do not go as far as that, but you get the drift.
I refuse to see the Novus Ordo as an abomination. I positively and squarely refuse to do so. If the NO is an abomination, the Church is a fraud. It cannot be that the Church of Christ has decided to offer an abomination worldwide, and it still is the Church of Christ. If I believed that, then I would be forced to believe that there is no Peter, that the Pope is an impostor and a masquerade. Again, I refuse to do so. In fact, as I have explained the only reason why I continue to attend the NO is that I do not want, one day, to think that the NO is an abomination. If a particular NO Mass is more than I can stomach, I can find another NO, or three. On no account would I ever think I am the one to decide that the Rite in itself is an abomination, and I am too good for what the Church offers me.
It’s good to eat hard bread in a while. It still is the bread of life, and it keeps one honest. Works for me, at least.
2. I never said I am afraid that the Society might become Sedevacantist. My point is rather that if I pamper myself with the TLM every Sunday, I might end up thinking the NO is … an abomination. Should life, then, keep me away from a TLM I would then, coherently, not attend anymore. The one at risk is myself, not them. Now, either the NO (I mean, as a Mass; in abstract; and properly celebrated) is valid or it isn’t. I truly do not think it is for me to say. I am a Catholic for a reason. Now, if I had serious reason to think some local NO is not sacramentally valid, I wouldn’t attend there. If one has a TLM, I will encourage him to go there; if one hasn’t there, I would encourage him to travel further to find one in reasonable distance. But if I heard him talking like you do, I would suggest that he attends a NO Mass every now and then, too.
3. Yes, the NO might bring less graces. It probably does. Particularly if one gets angry. But hey, I can’t have my cake and eat it. To people like me, there are dangers on both sides. Been there, done that. Let me say very frankly that I do not want to die thinking that the Mass the Church of Christ offers me is an abomination, and offends Christ. Probably 99% of the Masses offered in the Roman Rite are NO. Many of them are reverently celebrated – even in Germany I can find decent ones without trouble -. If we throw the NO qua NO out of the window, we are saying the Church is a fraud to 99%. Thanks, but no, thanks.
4. You vastly overstate my influence as a blogger; but yes, I could influence the one or the other. On no account, then, would I ever suggest to them that they stay away from a NO Mass if they cannot have the TLM; because truly, the very thought is scary. The TLM is better, but the NO is still good, because it still is the Mass.
Second choice, I agree. But whoa, pay attention what you say.
One day I might well decide to only attend the TLM. Actually, it would be the more pleasant option by far. To do so, I would have to feel very safe that no antics of our clergy will drive me to distraction. I wish I could give you this security, but unfortunately I can’t, or a part of me is afraid one day I could make such a mistake… You see, I could end up – and I say this without animosity, but with a certain apprehension – thinking like you, and I really do not want to.
I will cling to the acceptability of the NO as I cling to the Church. I do not live in Hippyland. Plenty of reverent masses around here. Actually, my “Mass tourism” also has the aim of seeing how things are, examining the lay of the land. Honestly, it could be much worse.
I belong to the Church. I love the Church even when she slaps me in the face. Already once I stopped attending because I thought I knew better, and was better. Already once I thought I do not need to go and listen to a stupid priest talking stupid waffle (obviously, no clue about the real reason why I went to Mass). Never again. If the Lord gives me less graces for that, so be it. I will accept the slap from him as I accept the love, and I will accept whatever slap I take for taking part to the Mass the Church of Christ gave me. Because, you see, the NO is still the standard Mass of the Only Church, and I can’t throw the one from the window without throwing the other.
5. Then let us think to the end. if the NO is an abomination, the priest who celebrates the NO mass is an accomplice in this abomination. Not only the Mass might well be invalid – you probably think it is – but the other sacraments are, probably, too. What then? Do 99% of Catholic priest not impart a valid absolution? How many babies are validly baptised? How many adults validly married? How many of them, actually, validly priests?
It’s a slippery slope.
P.S. To all my twelve readers. I believe the NO is okay. I truly do. Vastly inferior to the TLM, for sure; but seriously, it’s fine.
I hope it will die one day, of course; but as long as it doesn’t, it will deliver all right. It’s the Mass of the Church after all.
You would be better served and more inspired by the TLM; but probably not, if this leads you to think a properly celebrated NO stinks.
Secondly, I would like to make the further consideration that if the SSPX are right, the likes of the London Oratorians are utterly wrong in continuing to celebrate the Novus Ordo ad populum, and we should consider participating at their NO Mass only in case of, say, a marriage in the family. Their NO is clearly, if you listen to some of the voices, not reverent enough for daily attendance.
Even worse it becomes if we take literally the reservations of the SSPX about priests who celebrate exclusively the TLM, but of whom it can be assumed they would not refuse to celebrate the NO if so ordered. In this perspective, not even the FSSP is good enough that their (TL) Mass can be attended to without reservations and moral distinguos.
What is the ultimate consequence of this? As I have already stated, it is that according to this thinking the Church of Christ serves poison and evil fare, day in and day out, to more than 99% of the Roman Rite faithful; who are, once again, not exactly a fringe group, but rather around 90% of worldwide Catholics. In a word, the Church would be the most efficient tool of Satan on earth, bar none.
I don’t like Pope Francis. Actually, I do not even esteem him. I do not think he should have been allowed to become a priest, much less a Pope – the same as Pope Liberius, Pope Benedict IX, Pope Alexander VI or Pope Leo X by the way -. But, come on…
I refuse to espouse such an extreme position. I see a substantial difference between considering the NO like a hamburger compared to the TLM’s porterhouse steak, or Coca-Cola compared to the TLM’s Barolo, and considering it instead stale meat, or a poisonous drink. The difference is substantial in that the hamburger is still nourishment, and the Coca-cola still quenches the thirst.
I refuse to espouse a vision of the world that sees in the Church an almost complete evil-producing wasteland, as the only fully acceptable parts of it would then be the SSPX and their affiliates. I refuse to consider the London Oratorians not good enough for my lofty standards, and a Traditional Latin Mass with the FSSP something I should avoid if I can. With such a mentality, of course talking to the Vatican does not make sense. With such a mentality, of course it is infinitely better to have no agreement at all with the Vatican, not even if one is offered for free and without have to make any concession in return. If Rome is so evil, then they must be fought against, not dialogued with! When, and only when, one has this forma mentis, Williamson’s behaviour becomes not only understandable, but actually coherent.
Frankly, I don’t see it. I want the end of the NO mass as much as the next Traditionalist, but I refuse to consider poisonous or evil – much less “an abomination” – the spiritual nourishment the Church of Christ offers me and the other 99% of Roman Rite Catholics.
Some might say “but Mundabor, they say that the NO is evil, but they qualify by saying it that it is evil in the sense that it does not have a necessary good ” (or suck like). I answer to this that either the NO is evil in the sense that you and I understand when we hear the word evil, or the argument fails to persuade. If “evil” isn’t really “evil”, then the argument isn’t there in the first place.
I wonder how many within the SSPX truly share this view. They have supported Bishop Fellay like a man, and Bishop Williamson’s exclusion has caused not more than a dozen or so defection (less, if memory serves). It is clear they look at Rome in a way well different from the creator and distributor of millions of poisonous masses daily.
I have left the words of the Archbishop up as a quotation, so that at the end of this long post one may want to read it again. Of course the Archbishop might have expressed himself differently in different contexts, and one must take his words in the frame of his beautiful love for the Church. But exactly for this reason, it seems to me that his softer stance is more reasoned and more coherent, as he clearly gives every NO mass celebrated by a “faithful and worthy priest” dignity of – to remain by the culinary metaphor – nourishing, healthy, un-poisonous hamburger.
After an observation or two in the comment box, it is perhaps fitting to say one or two words about this little effort, so that any uncertainty that there might have been in less attentive – or less assiduous – readers is definitively dispelled.
1. Read the statement from Robert De Piante on the right hand column of this blog:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
This is probably the most famous statement expressing in just a few words the essence of traditional Catholicism. It is there for a reason. I do not exclusively employ the term “traditionalist” because I think that “conservative” Catholic also perfectly fits the bill, though in a wider sense. Since this blog’s inception almost three years ago, pretty much all of my posts have been tagged “traditional Catholicism”. If some post isn’t, it’s because I forgot. My blog “line” (the one you also read on every search engine) is also very telling: tradidi quod et accepi, another famous traditionalist “punchline” commonly associated with the SSPX.
2. My blog posts in support of the SSPX are very many, though they are certainly not enough in number or worthy enough in their quality. I do not think I have ever been ambiguous in my approval of their work both in the present time and at the time of the disobedience/refusal to close down the seminary in Econe/appointment of the four bishops. Where I stood in the matter of the preambolo dottrinale is also very clear to everyone who reads my blog with a minimum of regularity and attention, and I dare to say I have made myself clear in as open a way as I could without thinking I was failing to show the proper respect to the office – and in the case of Pope Benedict, the person – of the Pontiff.
3. I attend very often Novus Ordo Masses, and will continue to do so. This I do because I fear the effect that an entrenchment on the Traditional Mass would have on me, given my uncompromising nature and the resulting tendency to incendiary emotions and hardline militancy; emotions and militancy that can be very dangerous, and might well lead me astray unless I recognise the problem and act accordingly to counter them and soften my approach. Therefore, as long as I have no doubt that the Novus Ordo Masses I attend to are sacramentally valid, I plan to continue to do so for as long as I see the danger of slowly slipping into Sedevacantism if I don’t. I also see it as a form of penance, when I reflect that our sins (mine, and yours; not only the clergy’s) are also a cause of the present mess.
Through the participation to a second-rate – but by all means not invalid – Mass, I figure I show the Lord my loyalty to the Church even when it hurts, and at the same time keep my inner religious arsonist in check. But this does not mean I think you should do the same. The Novus Ordo is vastly inferior to the Traditional Mass (I do love to call it “Tridentine”, by the way), and if you can and want to attend it every time, more power to you. For the same reason (obedience to the Pope in as much as I can without conflicting with 2000 years of Catholicism) I go to confession to Novus Ordo priests, as I have up to now never met a priest in the confessional who was such a clown as to make me think, after due reflection, the absolution was not valid. I think most of my readers do the same. Or you can say this: as long as I think a Novus Ordo priest can provide me with a valid absolution, I personally see no reason to confess to an SSPX priest. But if had valid, constant reason to fear then I would happily recur to the services of the SSPX priest. But again, personal fears play a role in my decision: the day I decide a NO priest isn’t good enough, how far am I from Sedevacantism? You may not have the problem. I do. Novus Ordo confessor is it, then.
Still, either the SSPX have supplied jurisdiction, or they haven’t. As I am persuaded they have, after long reflection and opportune readings I have reached the conclusion that I can’t see how this should not be extended to confession. The SSPX priests also obviously think in the same way, and as I would trust my path to salvation much more eagerly to them than to the most conservative of the Cardinals, I can’t see anything wrong in that. In times in which the Popes are bad Catholics, a religious order can certainly be more Catholic than the Pope. Since March, I’d say this is not difficult at all even for a properly instructed layman. The Holy Ghost never promised the Pope would be a good Catholic, or would know the Ten Commandments, or wouldn’t be a murderer, a robber, a fornicator, an accommodating coward, or a pious nincompoop. Read the contract attentively, it’s in the small print.
4. In consequence of all the above, I think it should be clear enough to any reasonable reader what this blog is about. I notice, though, here and there a certain tendency – again, perhaps the fruit of insufficient reflection – to approve of what I write without considering what this necessarily entails. If you think that the SSPX are in formal Schism, then you must think that they endanger souls. If you think so, already the reading of the quote mentioned above and of the blog line should be reason enough for you to strongly disapprove of this blog, whose support of the SSPX is as staunch as its author can express with words. To behave any differently means either to take one’s own salvation lightly, or to read this blog because of the titillation coming from the enjoyment of my somewhat robust prose (and many thanks for the compliment!), but without sufficient reflection as to the values this little effort constantly tries to defend.
I do not write this blog for the sake of a vast audience. I have never searched popularity or approval. Wretched sinner as I am, I write this in the first place in the hope the Blessed Virgin will one day look at my effort and find it certainly inadequate and unworthy, but not entirely useless.
I take my salvation extremely seriously. I spend a lot of time thinking of it, praying for it, hoping for it, fearing for it. I have found that the best course to follow is to be on the side of 2000 years of Catholicism; no ifs, no buts, and most certainly no Pinocchios. Faithful to the Church always. Obedient to the Pope as long as that faithfulness is not challenged. Whilst I am sure the day I die many horrible sins will reemerge to haunt my conscience, I am very confident my support for the SSPX will be on my assets, not my liabilities column. You who read these lines, do you think the same?
My dear reader, please reflect on the consequences of your reading this blog. Be wise and do not follow it merely for the sake of emotional satisfaction and enjoyment of my somewhat, ahem, Italian writing style. If the SSPX is wrong, then they are entirely wrong, as is this blog. If they are in schism, then not only 2000 years of Catholicism are in schism but both yours truly and you are, with my approval of them and your approval of me, being an accessory in this sin.
Of course, I do not think they are in schism, because I do not think 2,000 years of Catholicism can be declared “schismatic” without contradicting the very essence of what Catholicism is. I think the safest way is to live and die on the side of these 2,000 years, rather than following the madness of a new way of thinking that came to power during the Kennedy/ Khrushchev era. If logic and common sense were not enough to persuade me of this, the immense devastation of the last 50 years would.
Stuff Pinocchio. I for myself will take my refuge, and put my hope, in the Church transmitted to my grandmothers and to countless generations of devout Catholics before them; then if we are wrong now, they were wrong then. If they were right then, we are right now.
The press release that appears below has been published two days ago on the site of the SSPX Press Agency, DICI.
Even by the always elevated standards of the SSPX, the beauty of this declaration is such that I want to put it on my site in its entirety, for everyone to come back to it time and again in difficult hours. I am afraid we will have very many of those in the years to come.
When I compare the text below to the tofu-tasting, politically correct drivel coming from the Vatican – a tofu-tasting drivel which used to be confined to archbishops and cardinals, but of which the Pontiff himself is now the main driving force – I get the entire measure of the wasteland the earthly Jerusalem has been reduced to after 50 years of madness. The vineyard is in a state of complete neglect because husbandry has gone out of fashion, pruning is considered insensitive, and the vines are supposed to be “inclusive” of the weed and open to ” ecumenical dialogue” with the wild plants.
Read the text below, and pray that the punishment of the entire V II movement (including V II itself; and good riddance) may be taken from us soon, or we may be given the grace to suffer it in serenity and without ever losing our faith in Christ and His Church, however disfigured by the bunch of sellouts currently in power.
Good bless the good people of the SSPX. Emphases mine.
Declaration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations (30th June 1988 – 27th June 2013)
1- On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations the bishops of The Society Saint Pius X are eager to express solemnly their gratitude towards Archbishop Lefevbre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer for the heroic deed they were not afraid of performing on the 30th June 1988. Most especially they would like to express their filial gratitude towards their venerable founder who, after so many years spent serving the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to safeguard the Faith and the Catholic priesthood, did not hesitate to suffer the unjust accusation of disobedience.
2- In his letter addressed to us before the consecrations, he wrote, “I beseech you to remain attached to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of all churches, in the integral Catholic Faith, as expressed in the Professions of Faith, in the catechism of the Council of Trent, in conformity with that which you have been taught in the seminary. Remain faithful to the transmission of this Faith so that the reign of Our Lord may come.” It is indeed this phrase which expresses the profound reason for the act which he was going to undertake “so that the reign of Our Lord might come,” adveniat regnum tuum!
3- Following Archbishop Lefebvre, we affirm that the cause of the grave errors which are in the process of demolishing the Church does not reside in a bad interpretation of the conciliar texts – a “hermeneutic of rupture” which would be opposed to a “hermeneutic of reform in continuity” – but truly in the texts themselves, by virtue of the unheard of choice made by Vatican II. This choice is manifest in its documents and in its spirit; faced with “secular and profane humanism,” faced with the “religion (as indeed it is) of man who makes himself God,” the Church as unique custodian of Revelation “of God who became man” has wanted to make known its “new humanism” by saying to the modern world, “we too, we more than any other, have the cult of man.” (Paul VI, closing speech, 7th December 1965). But this coexistence of the cult of God and the cult of man is radically opposed to the Catholic Faith which teaches us to render the supreme cult and to give the primacy exclusively to the one true God and to only His Son, Jesus Christ, in whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity corporeally” (Col. 2:9).
4- We are truly obliged to observe that this Council without comparison, which wanted to be merely pastoral and not dogmatic, inaugurated a new type of magisterium, hitherto unheard of in the Church, without roots in Tradition; a magisterium resolved to reconcile Catholic doctrine with liberal ideas; a magisterium imbued with the modernist ideas of subjectivism, of immanentism and of perpetual evolution according to the false concept of a living tradition, vitiating the nature, the content, the role and the exercise of ecclesiastical magisterium.
5- Henceforth the reign of Christ is no longer the preoccupation of the ecclesiastical authorities, despite the fact that Christ’s words, “all power is given to me on earth and in heaven,” (Mt 28:18) remain an absolute truth and an absolute reality. To deny them in action is tantamount to no longer recognising in practice the divinity of Our Lord. Hence because of the Council, the sovereignty of Christ over human societies is simply ignored, and even combatted, and the Church is imbued with this liberal spirit which manifests itself especially in religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality and the New Mass.
6- Religious Liberty, as exposed by Dignitatis humanae and its practical application these last fifty years, logically leads to demanding God-made-Man to renounce His reign over man-who-makes-himself-God, which is equivalent to dissolving Christ. In the place of a conduct which is inspired by a solid faith in the real power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we see the Church being shamefully guided by human prudence and with such self-doubt that she asks nothing other from the State than that which the Masonic Lodges wish to concede to her: the common law in the midst of, and on the same level as, other religions which she no longer dares call false.
7- In the name of a ubiquitous ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and of a vain inter-religious dialogue (Nostra Aetate), the truth about the one true Church is silenced; also, as a large part of the clergy and the faithful no longer see in Our Lord and the Catholic Church the unique way of salvation, they have renounced to convert the adepts of false religions, leaving them rather in ignorance of the unique Truth. This ecumenism has thus literally killed the missionary spirit through seeking a false unity, too often reducing the mission of the Church to that of delivering a message of a purely terrestrial peace and of a humanitarian role of lessening want in the world, placing it thereby in the wake of international organisations.
8- The weakening of faith in Our Lord’s divinity favours a dissolution of the unity of authority in the Church, by introducing a collegial, egalitarian and democratic spirit, (see Lumen Gentium). Christ is no longer the head from which everything flows, in particular the exercise of authority. The Sovereign Pontiff who no longer exercises effectively the fullness of his authority, and the bishops who – contrary to the teaching of Vatican I – esteem that they can collegially and habitually share the fullness of the supreme power, commit themselves thereby, with the priests, to listen to and to follow ‘the people of God,’ the new sovereign. This represents the destruction of authority and in consequence the ruin of Christian institutions: families, seminaries, religious institutes.
9- The New Mass, promulgated in 1969, diminishes the affirmation of the reign of Christ by the Cross (“regnavit a ligno Deus”). Indeed, the rite itself curtails and obscures the sacrificial and propitiatory nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Underpinning this new rite is the new and false theology of the paschal mystery. Both one and the other destroy Catholic spirituality as founded upon the sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary. This Mass is penetrated with an ecumenical and Protestant spirit, democratic and humanist, which empties out the sacrifice of the Cross. It illustrates the new concept of ‘the common priesthood of the baptised’ which undermines the sacramental priesthood of the priest.
10- Fifty years on, the causes persist and still engender the same effects. Hence today the consecrations retain their full justification. It was love of the Church which guided Archbishop Lefebvre and which guides his sons. It is the same desire to “pass on the Catholic priesthood in all its doctrinal purity and its missionary charity” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Journey) which animates the Society of Saint Pius X at the service of the Church, when it asks with insistence for the Roman authorities to regain the treasure of doctrinal, moral and liturgical Tradition.
11- This love of the Church explains the rule that Archbishop Lefebvre always observed: to follow Providence in all circumstances, without ever allowing oneself to anticipate it. We mean to do the same: either when Rome returns to Tradition and to the Faith of all time – which would re-establish order in the Church; or when she explicitly acknowledges our right to profess integrally the Faith and to reject the errors which oppose it, with the right and the duty for us to oppose publicly the errors and the proponents of these errors, whoever they may be – which would allow the beginning of a re-establishing of order. Meanwhile, faced with this crisis which continues its ravages in the Church, we persevere in the defence of Catholic Tradition and our hope remains entire, as we know by the certitude of Faith that “the gates of hell will not prevail against her.” (Mt 16:18)
12- We mean to follow well the injunction of our dear and venerable Father in the episcopacy: “Dear friends, be my consolation in Christ, remain strong in the Faith, faithful to the true sacrifice of the Mass, to the true and holy Priesthood of Our Lord, for the triumph and the glory of Jesus in heaven and on earth” (Letter to the bishops). May the Holy Trinity, by the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grant us the grace of fidelity to the episcopacy which we have received and which we want to exercise for the honour of God, the triumph of the Church and the salvation of souls.
Ecône, 27th June 2013, on the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
(Source : FSSPX/MG – DICI June 27, 2013)
Bishop Bernard Fellay
Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta
I was browsing around the German site of the SSPX, and one page was dedicated to their churches.
It turns out the SSPX has built up to now no less than twelve churches from scratch, and they have bought further eight. This is in addition to their almost thirty chapels.
Not only are these numbers very impressive in themselves, but it is also impressive to read the Society passionately explain why they build churches, and spend as much as they can on them, rather than using the money to, say, improve life in the Favelas.
Whilst all of you know the arguments, the element worth noting is that such arguments were very unlikely to be found on the website of your own diocese, where social work, peace ‘n justice, environmental claptrap or ecumenical rubbish are more likely to be found. Note the SSPX does not get a penny from the Kirchensteuer, either.
Some people have their priorities right, some others have them wrong.
Whatever the colour of their cassock.
The press release of the SSPX Italia after the scandalous events at the funerals of don Gallo.
Italian original first, my translation (as literal as possible, no emphases) follows.
In seguito ai funerali di don Gallo presieduti dal card. Bagnasco la Fraternità San Pio X denuncia il grave scandalo causato dall’intervento di Wladimiro Guadagno (detto Luxuria) e dal fatto che il cardinale gli abbia amministrato la Comunione, come se il suo pubblico comportamento e la sua attività da parlamentare non fossero contrari alla morale e scandalosi.
Così si è agito anche nei confronti di altri rappresentanti di movimenti contrari agli insegnamenti della Chiesa. Secondo la dottrina cattolica e la logica del Vangelo gli autori di peccati notori, prima di accostarsi al sacramento dell’Eucaristia, devono pentirsene e riparare pubblicamente.
Riguardo alle posizioni difese da don Gallo, non denunciate dalle autorità ecclesiastiche, ed in un certo qual modo avallate dalla presenza del presidente della conferenza episcopale italiana al suo funerale, si ricorda che:
1- La legge di Dio condanna la pratica omosessuale e la Chiesa insegna che essa costituisce un peccato contro natura che grida vendetta al cospetto di Dio.
2- Don Gallo ha aiutato delle donne ad abortire. Ora l’aborto è un crimine poiché si uccide un essere umano innocente ed è punito con la scomunica non soltanto per coloro che lo praticano ma anche per tutti quelli che lo favoriscono in maniera efficace.
3- L’utilizzo delle droghe cosiddette leggere, incoraggiato da don Gallo, non soltanto costituisce spesso il primo passo verso altre sostanze stupefacenti, ma è contrario al V comandamento che ci ordina di custodire il nostro corpo come un dono di Dio.
4- Il comunismo, esplicitamente sostenuto da don Gallo, è stato condannato dal Magistero ecclesiastico come “intrinsecamente perverso”.
Tali comportamenti manifestano in maniera sempre più evidente la grave crisi che sta attraversando la Chiesa ed il tradimento da parte di membri importanti della gerarchia dei principi più elementari della morale cattolica.
Don Pierpaolo Petrucci
Superiore del Distretto d’Italia della Fraternità Sacerdotale San Pio X
 Catechismo di San Pio X
 Nuovo codice di diritto canonico can. 1398
 «Comunque è vero, sono comunista. Non dimentico mai la Bibbia e il Vangelo. E non dimentico mai quello che ha scritto Marx». Da Angelicamente Anarchico, Oscar Mondadori, Milano, 2005.
 Pio XI, Divini Redeptoris
Following the funerals of don Gallo, officiated by card Bagnasco the Fraternity of Saint Pius X denounces the grave scandal caused by the intervention of Wladimiro Guadagno (known as Luxuria) and from the fact that the Cardinal allowed him to receive the Communion, as if his public behaviour and his activity as a Member of Parliament were not contrary to the morals and scandalous.
The same happened concerning other representatives of movements contrary to the teachings of the Church. According to catholic doctrine and the logic of the Gospel, the authors of notorious sins must, before they approach the sacrament of the Eucharist, repent of them and make acts of reparation publicly.
Concerning the positions defended by don Gallo, not denounced by the ecclesiastical authorities, and in a way endorsed by the presence of the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference at his funeral, it must be kept in mind that:
1. God’s law condemns the homosexual practice and the Church teaches that it constitutes a sin against nature, that cries for vengeance in the presence of God .
2. Don Gallo helped some women to abort . Now, abortion is a criminal act because an innocent human being is killed, and it is punished with excommunication not only for those who practice it but also for all those who facilitate it in an efficacious manner .
3. The utilisation of so-called light drugs, encouraged by don Gallo, not only often constitutes the first step towards other hallucinogen substances, but it is contrary to the V commandment that orders us to custody our body as a gift of God.
4. Communism, explicitly supported by don Gallo , has been condemned by the ecclesiastical Magisterium as “intrinsically perverted” .
The events show in an increasingly more evident way the grave crisis the Church is now going through, and the betrayal of the most elementary principles of Catholic morals by important members of the hierarchy.
Don Pierpaolo Petrucci
Superior of the Italian District of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X
 Catechism of Saint Pius X
 New canon law code, can. 1398
. “Anyhow it is true, I am communist. I never forget the Bible and the Gospel. And I never forget what Marx wrote”. From Angelicamente Anarchico, Oscar Mondadori, Milan0, 2005.
. Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris.
From the very long – and very fitting – letter #80 of Bishop Fellay to Friends and Benefactors: (emphases mine)
We beg Heaven and the authorities of the Church, in particular the new Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter, not to allow souls to perish because they no longer learn sound doctrine, the revealed deposit of the faith, without which no one can be saved, no one can please God.
What good is it to devote oneself to serving people if one hides from them what is essential, the purpose and the meaning of their life, and the seriousness of sin that turns them away from it? Works of charity done for the poor, the needy, the infirm, and the sick have always been a true concern for the Church, and we must not excuse ourselves from it, but if it becomes merely man-centered philanthropy, then the Church is no longer carrying out her mission, she is no longer leading souls to God, which can really be done only by supernatural means: faith, hope, charity and grace. And therefore by denouncing anything that is opposed to them: errors against faith and morality. Because if people sin, for want of that denunciation, they are damned for eternity. The Church’s reason for being is to save them and to help them avoid the misfortune of their eternal perdition.
“Mundabor”, the teacher would have said at school, “what does the author want to say”?
I am not at school anymore, but I think I know what I would answer: the author wants to say that there has been enough talk of simplicity, black shoes, iron crosses, and Argentinian newsagents, whilst the real issues continue to be happily ignored.
One month on, the silence of the new Pope concerning the new, exploding phenomenon of pro-homosexual legislation is deafening; but Heavens, we know everything about how he doesn’t like Papal Apartments, red shoes, mozzettas, or Roman cobblers.
The SSPX has certainly been prudent for a while, waiting to see how they can picture this Pontiff before speaking publicly.
Their decision to move to an open appeal clearly means they consider his silence as scandalous. Please read Bishop Fellay’s words again. They are clear enough.
Pope Francis has not justified the worst fears (up to now, at least), and has moved rather well on a couple of occasions (the LCWR comes to mind; actually nothing else of consequence comes to mind… one good homily here, one good idea there, things like that); but he has also lived dramatic weeks for world Christianity whilst doing basically nothing, or whilst letting us know how sensitive he is to his newsagent down in Buenos Aires.
God knows how much the French Catholics would have appreciated strong words of the Pontiff concerning the abomination of sodomy; it would have given – and would still give – the movement great strenght for the years of fight in front of them.
Instead, we haven’t heard one word. Not one.
I am sick and tired already to try to see Francis through Benedict. I see that Benedict was indecisive enough, and Francis can talk rather refreshingly if he wants, but he avoids to do it when it means grating the masses whose approval he is so sedulously seeking. Whilst the French members of parliament send the country’s soul to hell, he entertains us with the evil of gossiping.
Mozzetta or no Mozzetta, this is not good enough; this is no longer carrying on the Church’s mission, and allowing souls to perish.
It is a paradox that we had a Pope who saw the necessity of war but didn’t have the nerve to lead us into it; and we now have a Pope who probably has the strenght of character to lead us into any war he chooses, but seems not to think the unprecedented disintegration of the Christian fabric of the West is worth a war in the first place.
But hey, we know all about his cobbler.
I have written only yesterday about what would have happened if the SSPX had been foolish enough to accept the Preambolo dottrinale in its latest version, which included the poisonous pills about the silent acceptance of Vatican II.
It is, perhaps, fitting to take stand on where – I think – the SSPX stays today, and why they should in my eyes congratulate themselves for having done the right thing back then.
I think the time will soon come when many who thought they could afford the luxury to criticise the Society will realise they can't afford this extravagance anymore. If this Papacy drifts towards the easy rhetoric and the avoidance of the difficult issues we are certainly authorised to fear, many will be those who understand the Church needs more than easy slogans, and it is time to show some charitable, but proper Catholic teeth. None does this better than the SSPX.
This is the more important because up to now I have noticed in Pope Francis' utterances a marked reluctance to frontally assault controversial themes. Please note that when the Pope wants to speak in defence of the poor – which he does, well, every time – he has no qualms in specifically and openly addressing the issue; whilst themes like abortion and sexual perversion are deemed to have been touched by some commenters, but have in fact been avoided up to now.
For example, the Pope intervened to defend Creation, and half an army of commenters was willing to remark that hey, Creation includes babies in the womb, so the Pope is speaking against abortion! No, he isn't: one speak against abortion by clearly saying that abortion is the legalised murder of an innocent life, not with convenient words about the very popular and utterly uncontroversial environment. Again, the SSPX does the clear talking admirably.
Then there is the matter of liturgy. Not only has the SSPX avoided a probable self-destruction by refusing to accept V II, but the FSSP and the other traditionalist organisations must be now overjoyed they did. If we look at the situation as it is, the continued existence of a dissenting SSPX is the only reason why the Vatican steamroller might not crush FSSP & Co., forcing the Novus Ordo down their loyal throats. Without the SSPX vigilant and ready to cry foul game – and to welcome, perhaps, the refugees – it is fair to say the moderate Traditionalists would very probably be all, liturgically speaking, on the death row by now.
Then there is the pure doctrinal matter. The SSPX have already publicly criticised the Pontiff pointing out to his V II, “dialogue” mentality, and will continue to do so. They are respectful, but pertinent. They cannot be dismissed as a motley crew of lunatics, and more and more people will understand in the coming years where real Catholic orthodoxy lives. They will be the wise cricket talking to… The Vatican Pinocchios about their mistakes, and will continue to rally and inspire admiration in sincere, orthodox Catholics. Once again, I cannot imagine a more powerful brake to the antics of the wreckovation supporters in the style of Cantalamessa then a strong and vigilant SSPX.
By deciding to stay put, the SSPX has been of excellent service to Traditionalism, to conservative minded Catholics and even to the common faithful in the pews. Many will continue to criticise them, whilst continuing to profit of their very existence. Many others will at some point understand what treasure of orthodoxy we have in them.
I think they are the biggest consolation sent from Heaven to help us overcome this difficult age. Long may it last.
I am not one of those people happy to have problems come to them before they deal with it. I always want to know how to cross the bridge before coming to it. As a result, I cannot avoid thinking what will happen in the troubled relationship between the Vatican (make no mistake, they are the ones who are troubled) and the SSPX.
You only need to look at the then Cardinal Bergoglio’s “Pinocchio Mass” (provided it was a validly celebrated Mass, about which I have my doubts) to understand that an almost sidereal distance separates, at least as per yesterday afternoon, the Society from the new Pope. At the same time, the Pinocchio Mass very well explains why the SSPX will never renounce to speak out loud against such liturgical abominations, and could never be persuaded – much less threatened – to an arrangement which in the end would mean to abandon and betray the very mission of the Society. It can, therefore, be excluded the SSPX will “approve” or “renounce to disapprove” of such irreverent, impious antics.
A different matter altogether is, as I see it, the posture the Vatican will take towards the Society. As per today I think it might be one of the following:
1. Business as usual.
The Society remains in what the Vatican calls “imperfect communion”. No rapprochement, no open conflict, things remain as they are waiting for better times or, rather, better Popes.
2. Nuclear Conflict
In this scenario, the Pope will let the Society know that unless they like his Pinocchio Mass – or renounce to state they don’t – terrible things will happen to them, like for example 2000 years of Christian liturgical tradition being declared “schismatic”. Should such an unthinkable event take place, Pope Francis will take the place of honour near Pope Liberius amidst heretical Popes, the SSPX will happily ignore his diktat and carry on as usual, and their prestige as beacons of orthodox Catholicism will be immensely increased.
3. Guerrilla warfare
In this case, the Vatican would try to weaken the Society according to the Ratzinger/Mueller schema already observed in 1988 and 2012: stick and carrot, with no open war but insisted criticism of the Society’s position, perhaps a re-excommunication, and a prolonged attempt to divide them luring away some of their elements with the promise of a kind of “FSSP status”, perhaps with some privileges added. Predictably, this strategy wouldn’t work more now than it did in 1988 and 2012. Every SSPX priest is aware he could defect to the FSSP, if he so wished, anytime, so if they stay it is for well pondered reasons. Therefore, in this case I see another “business as usual” scenario, though rather more heated at times.
In all cases, I confess myself unable to see what damage the new Pope could do – if he wanted, which we don’t know and I don’t think – to the Society. Besides having a liturgical credibility slightly below zero, the new Pope is certainly smart enough to understand every attack on the SSPX would be nothing else than further justification for the Society’s existence.
The SSPX exists for one reason only: because the Vatican is drunk with Neo-Modernism. The idea they should be wiped out if the Vatican becomes even more Neo-Modernist is totally unrealistic, completely illogical and fails to recognise the society’s very raison d’être, their way of thinking, their motivation, their loyalty to Christ.
I think it’s fair to say scenario 2 is improbable, and we will rather have a mixture of 1 and 3.
But even if it should be open war, I can’t see why the SSPX should be scared.
Around midnight now, and still trying to digest the new Pope.
Whilst I do so, I’d like to share some reflections with you, on which I might expand in the next days.
1) Many have asked the SSPX to accept the “preambolo” no matter how bad. It is now evident this would have been a very bad move not only in itself, but in light of a Pope clearly hostile (at least up to now) to the Traditional Mass. Also, an agreement that might have been changed or recused only months later isn’t the smart thing to do in any case. The SSPX has decided to do things only when they can be done properly, and this is very good. Let them wait for any hostile initiative of the new Pope, if he dares. More prestige, publicity, and followers for them.
2) Too many conservative Catholics play “loyal Catholic” at the expense of the SSPX. It will be interesting to see where they stand if Francis starts to demolish Summorum Pontificum, and force the likes of the FSSP to celebrate the New Mass, perhaps the new Mass exclusively. I expect from them that they all obey without a moment’s hesitation; it would serve them right, too…
3) The same applies to the Pontiff Emeritus, who might well pay a terrible price for his indecisiveness. He initiated a reform (Summorum Pontificum) he never had the guts to enforce. He might now see how the only notable achievement of his pontificate is demolished under his very eyes. It would serve him right, too: if he had demanded that Summorum Pontificum (and himself) are taken seriously, and had appointed more conservative cardinals (both liturgically and otherwise), we might have lived a very different day. Live by Vatican II, die by Vatican II.
I wish everyone a good night. Though the dreams might not be so sweet.
Beautiful initiative of the Society, who have on the site of their communication agency the Novena for the election of the Sovereign Pontiff.
Unfortunately I could not post this yesterday as per original plan; but though late, I hope this is not too late.
The collect (a part of the Novena) is as follows:
O Lord, with suppliant humility, we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy Thou wouldst grant the most holy Roman Church a pontiff, who by his zeal for us, may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may ever be honoured by Thy people for the glory of Thy name. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Beautiful and very fitting.
The entire exercise takes just a couple of minutes.
The site has the texts also in Latin.
If you needed an additional confirmation that the SSPX has realised Pope Benedict’s resignation equates to a big card reshuffle, you can click on this link.
Besides the obvious fact that Pope Benedict will, in all probability, not make any parting gift to the Society – it is not logical that he should do so; he has been planning his departure for some months, and if he had wanted to act he would have done it before lest he gives the impression he acts at the last minute to avoid the criticism to his decision – what is interesting in this interview is Fellay’s suggested roadmap for a reconciliation.
The good bishop is very clear in saying that whilst he does not expect from the next Pope that he proceeds to an open, outright condemnation of Vatican II, the new Pope can accomplish a lot smartly and quietly, proceeding to a series of adjustments apt to eliminate a good part of the problems. To quote (emphasis mine):
As far as Vatican II is concerned, just like for the Mass, we believe that it is necessary to clarify and correct a certain number of points that are either erroneous or lead to error. That being said, we do not expect Rome to condemn Vatican II any time soon. She can recall the Truth and discretely correct the errors, while preserving her authority.
The message is very clear. It would be more than enough if the Vatican were willing to work toward the repair of the edifice without any admission that, so to speak, the architect was on drugs and the building company straight out of Greece. Quiet and discreet action – starting with immediate action on the very worst – can accomplish a lot.
Note that in this interview there is no trace whatsoever of an alleged fear of the Society that some terrible punishment may be inflicted on them by the next Pope. There isn’t, because there is no terrible punishment the Vatican can even try to inflict on them without – besides not reaching their scope – inflicting a much bigger damage on themselves.The Vatican can, simply, not credibly strike at orthodox Catholicism, and spotless obedience.
No, the only way the Vatican can try to neutralise the Society is by trying to blandish, seduce and divide them, dangling the carrot of “reconciliation” in front of their eyes whilst waiting for the division and strife this would cause; a game, this, already tried in a massive and open way both in 1988 and in 2012; on both occasions clearly engineered by the current Pontiff; and parlously failed twice.
The SSPX awaits the outcome of the Conclave from a position of unprecedented strenght and prestige. The progressive – if too slow – rapprochement of the Vatican to the positions held before V II in so many matters is a vindication of Archbishop Lefebvre’s brave fight. As the ideology of Vatican II continues to slowly wither, Traditionalism will grow in prestige and authority; if you say Traditionalism properly intended (that is: not mere liturgical preference, but defence of the entire patrimony of Tradition), you say first and foremost SSPX.
Archbishop Mueller really can’t stay away from journalists. Not only does he like them, but they like him. They sense the man is always good for something politically incorrect, or controversial, or simply short-tempered. He always delivers, and they know it.
This time, Archbishop Mueller has given an interview to the German so-called prestigious German weekly Die Zeit, reported in English by Vatican Insider. As Vatican Insider is part of La Stampa, a highly professional Italian daily newspaper, I will not check that the English rendition faithfully corresponds to the main points of the German text.
Yours truly, who likes Yogurt inordinately (though he prefers Weihenstephan to Mueller) would like here to make some comments himself. The points of the interview I’d like to say two words about are the following ones:
1. Systematic media attacks on the Catholic church.
The Archbishop doesn;t mince words (he never does, anyway) and compares the anti-Catholic atmosphere created in many Western countries to anti-Jewish pogroms. Now this is Germany, and in germany when you compare yourself to the persecution of the Jews it means you are really angry and people have to pay attention to what you say, because of the all-present Vergangenheit, the past. This Vergangenheit is a bit of a joker you can employ on pretty much everything: illiberal laws, the persecution of Kreuz.Net, and the creeping Nazi attitude of German homosexualists and their friends.
The Cardinal points it out in general, but does not say what in wrong in particular. In a country whose biggest Catholic site has been more or less forced to silence by the Nazi attitude of politicians, media and homosexualists, this is not good enough. Alas, it seems the Archbishop wants to play victim without mentioning the bigger victims, because he happens not to like them.
2. No to so-called same-sex unions.
Same yogurt here. Read to the translation of the Archbishop’s words:
“It is impossible for the Catholic Church to accept a relationship between people of the same sex, as such relations cannot in any way be considered equivalent to marriage,”
Notice he doesn’t say such “relationships” are evil, perverted, satanic. He says they are (and I quote) “not equivalent”. This is exactly like saying that the Church does not accept pears being called apples, because pears aren’t apples. Then Church officials complain they are attacked. But it is so surprising they are attacked as backwards and bigots, if they even renounce to say why they are so opposed to perversion? If I were to tell you all day that you simply should not eat pears, would that be enough?
I also notice the Church in Germany has kept, in practice, shtum when the German Government legislated against marriage with the civil partnerships, and that the Archbishop himself never openly attacks those colleagues of him, like the infamous Cardinal Woelki, who express themselves in favour of such abominations. One gets the impression Mueller is rather willing to bully the SSPX, but not so aggressive when his own colleagues and countrymen are involved; and that in this he fully reflects the attitude of the German clergy.
3. Priest celibacy.
For what it’s worth, I give full notes to the Archbishop here. He points out not only to the role of the priest and why celibacy is important, but also makes a very counter-cultural statement, that sexual activity (outside of marriage) is not a natural necessity. Bravo.
4. Criticism of the “dialogue” between lay people and priests in Germany
This is one of those things people who live outside of German can not even easily grasp. Germany is a country where the laity think they must “dialogue” with the clergy about issues like (you got it) so-called priestesses, and the clergy think they must engage in the “dialogue” with the laity and discuss those issues again and again. Come on, this is not even Catholicism anymore.
The Archbishop points out to this, and adds he thinks this must stop. Again, kudos to him.
5. (Umpteenth) Warning to the SSPX
This is another (predictable) serving of yogurt turned sour. It truly seems the Archbishop can’t open his mouth without expressing his anger at the SSPX, an anger which has personal besides Church-political reasons. It also seems to contradict what the Archbishop had said previously, then if memory serves (and it serves) it was Archbishop Mueller himself who declared the talks failed and the door closed, whilst Archbishop Di Noia insists in saying the door is still open (if you drink the poison of V II, that is). Now Mueller takes Di Noia’s position, “we are still waiting for your answer”, but his attitude is diametrically opposite to Di Noia’s one.
I frankly this the Archbishop needs a reality checks if he thinks this kind of message will have any effect whatsoever on the SSPX. More probably, he knows it won’t, but he says it anyway. It might have been wiser to say that there is a man specifically appointed to the task (Archbishop Di Noia) and he would therefore prefer not to touch on the subject. This would have been, methinks, the more diplomatic and intelligent answer, and the Archbishop would have looked much better without giving away an inch. But again, he is short-tempered.
There is a truly beautiful post on Father Z’s blog about the validity of confession from an SSPX priest. You already know yours truly is a great fan of the organisation, and considers them better Catholics than your average Cardinal (let alone bishop) by a mile. Still, I try not to descend into Sedevacantism only because of the obscenely bad quality of the clergy in good standing I (more than) sometimes see around me, and one of the reasons I go around and regularly “try” different churches is to hammer into my head that even the bad Mass is a valid Mass and even the stupid priest has valid orders; then if I were to start questioning the validity of the Mass according to the quality of the priest, Sedevacantism would not be far away.
The same reasoning, and the same praxis, I apply to confession. I “shop around” to take the temperature of the local Church: are people there queuing? Is the priest timely? )(Ha!) Is the confessional a traditional one? Does the priest encourage me to repentance or – as many do – to complacency? & Co., & Co.
Many of the priests who have confessed me in the last five years have left me with a strange feeling to say the least. Like eating artificial food, or drinking Diet Coke. Still, as long as the priest says the absolution formula and I can see he is doing what the Church says he should be doing I never doubted (though at times it didn’t come natural, see below) that the confession and the absolution were validly given; even in those cases in which I thought the priest was a waste of space, a robbery of Church bread, and arms stolen to agricultural work.
For the exact same reason, I never went to confession at a SSPX chapel. It’s not that I do think the priest confessing there is a bad priest (I think his chances of heaven are, in fact, extremely high, and I seriously can’t say the same of a couple of confessors I have experienced), but rather that whilst this priest has a granitic conviction he must do it, I know and cannot pretend not to know he is not authorised to hear confessions. This is unfortunate, then I do have more than a mild curiosity to experience the difference with your average V II priest, not knowing whether a torrential rain of fire and brimstone would fall unto me or whether, as it is traditionally said, the priest who is a lion from the pulpit is also a lamb in the confessional.
One thing is clear to me: even if I had doubts about the validity of the confession of many priests of the V II church, I would still go to confession to a priest of the V II, because even the V II church is my church, and the only one there is.
As I have said, this doesn’t come natural to me. A couple of times, I must admit, I was tempted to think: “this was not a confession, this was a joke; I’d better repeat it somewhere else as soon as I can”, but then I immediately reflected about the gravity of my thought, and started to realise the devil uses bad priests to lead us to doubt the institutions and the sacraments of the Church; then again, if I start to think I can decide whether a confession was valid – even if the usual and expected elements of the confession were there – Sedevacantism can’t be very far away.
This does not mean that the SSPX priest is a bad priest, as he believes the state of necessity does extend to confession. But I simply cannot agree with him on that, and whilst I am rather sure he’ll rank far higher than me in Paradise (if I make it there) I do not think going to confession to him would help me one iota in this respect.
Reading on the Internet here and there one gets the impression the SSPX depends on the Vatican’s goodwill to survive. The reasoning goes along the lines of “the SSPX should take what is offered now, because the Holy Father’s patience is now rapidly depleting, and he is the last chance for them to reach an agreement, after which they will be crushed/declared schismatic/ordered to disband”.
It seems to me this kind of comment is made in ignorance of what the SSPX is all about. Let me explain.
The idea at the basis of the SSPX is that the fidelity to the teaching of the Church comes before the fidelity to the Pope. Whilst generally the two coincide, and obedience to the Pope is due every time fidelity to the Church is not in question, when the Pope insists in wanting something that is against the teaching, then the faithful find themselves in the necessity to refuse that obedience they continue to be ready to pay in all other circumstances.
This is not a Sedevacantist position, as the authority of the Pope and his legitimacy in being Pope is not put into question.
It would be very erroneous to think a Pope can never be wrong in doctrinal matters, because the Holy Ghost would strike him dead if he tried. Popes have been vocally and utterly wrong in doctrinal matters in the past (think of John XXII), and the protection of the Holy Ghost only kicks in in that the Holy Ghost will (predictably) strike the Pope dead before he imposes his error as a dogma of the Church. This has never happened up to now (not even with John XXII), and therefore the Holy Ghost clearly had no reason to strike any of the Vatican II Popes dead.
Another famous episode is the way Paul defended received truth (occasionally also against Peter). Paul doesn’t mince words:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. (Galatians 1:8)
Paul was an obedient follower of the Pope, but not a silent one, nor was his obedience unconditional, in a kind of blind Fuehrerprinzip. In Galatians we read, referring to the incident in Antioch
But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. (Galatians 2:11)
Paul opposed Peter every time he thought it necessary, full knowing the latter’s position. He did so publicly when necessary. It’s not that Peter should have been struck dead by the Holy Ghost. Peter simply happened to be wrong on a couple of issues, and not even angels would have persuaded Paul that hey, he is the Pope so that’s what it’s going to be.
A third episode is the painful story of Athanasius, about which I have written already.
The obvious consequence of this is that the SSPX will give obedience to the Pope in everything possible, but refuse obedience whenever necessary. Not one, or one hundred, excommunications are going to stop them. Not any declaration the Vatican could make that the SSPX are Schismatics, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or cats, or dogs; not any order to disband; not even an angel coming down from Heaven and telling them to, pretty please, accept the Vatican II concept of, say, religious liberty. It’s just not going to happen.
Now, I fully agree that if the SSPX had been an organisation of people merely fantasizing themselves the defenders of orthodoxy, the old excommunication would have wiped them out in just a few years. But the fact is, they truly are the defenders of the orthodoxy! Many people see it, and see that far from being rebellious to the Pope, they are obedient to the Pope in everything, except in those things which not even an Angel could persuade them to do, because it would mean to be disobedient to the very Truth from which the Pope’s authority derives. This is why the SSPX grow and prosper, whilst the V II clergy shrink and become old.
Yes, of course the Vatican is wrong, and the SSPX is right. Peter was wrong, and Paul was right! The Vatican was wrong, and Athanasius was right! It has happened in the past, it will happen in the future. It does not mean we do not owe obedience to the Church and to the Pope, it simply means we must recognise we live in one of those periods in history in which a state of necessity may apply in certain circumstances; but again, it is a state of necessity due to obedience, not rebellion.
Bishop Williamson’s letter in answer to his exclusion from the SSPX has been published. I have read a German translation, and I must respectfully say that I am not impressed. Please note Williamson has many friends within Kreuz.net, and I think the translation accurately reflects his own thinking.
The way I read the document, there are two main themes and the same time explanations for his “rebellious” behaviour: past obstacles put to his work, which forced him to become active with his blog irrespective of the consequences and, more importantly, a progressive deterioration in the attitude of the SSPX under the leadership of Bishop Fellay.
The first argument is of a very personal nature, and it is impossible from the outside to see who is the real cause of which behaviour, and who is responsible for which reaction; I will, therefore, not get into the matter of who has abused whose patience more, or first.
The second argument simply does not stand. Bishop Williamson accuses the SSPX of having started to “melt” in front of Vatican cajoling since the year 2000, and to have officially left the line of the Founder (may he rest in peace, and santo subito….) at the latest in 2008. As evidence, he brings a couple of short sentences without any context, and which really demonstrate absolutely nothing.
The simple fact is that in Bishop Williamson’s view of things, every talk and every attempt to reason with the Vatican is wrong, to the point that even invitations to dinner from a Cardinal – invitation accepted from “three of the four” bishops – might constitute an inappropriate propinquity. It is clear the Bishop sees Rome as a place infected and therefore to be avoided in principle, rather than the centre of Catholicism; and the Pope, wrong as he may be in this or that matter, your ultimate boss and someone with whom you simply do not refuse to reason.
Some time ago, I wrote an explanation of the different positions within the SSPX based on the very imaginatively Italian comparison of the poisoned cake . Whilst, alas, the Vatican cook was proved a bad one, the different approaches to the cake remained and are, apparently, the main cause of this fracture.
Williamson’s position is made even more untenable by the clear refusal of the SSPX to consent to any agreement which might compromise their integrity; this for the good Bishop rather embarrassing circumstance is dismissed as a kind of fortunate last-minute effort thankfully heading in the right direction; a flawed thinking which ignores the simple reality on the ground: the SSPX has remained completely orthodox and faithful to Catholicism because this is what they are, full stop.
There is in Bishop Williamson’s reasoning also another Leitmotiv: that Archbishop Lefebvre would not have wanted any reconciliation until Rome’s full “conversion”. This simply flies in the face of reality, as the saintly Archbishop obviously sought – and obtained – official recognition for his newly created order, remained in full communion for several years and would have happily gone on that way if his wish for at least one bishop had been heard.
The reality of the last days is, I am afraid, a bit different and somewhat more cruel: a passionate but rather un-diplomatic, rather difficult, and rather grumpy old man finds himself increasingly more detached from a truly orthodox, but still intelligently diplomatic leadership and can digest with more and more difficulty the isolation and loss of influence this unavoidably means.
The reality on the ground is that the SSPX is, as I write, every bit as orthodox as Bishop Williamson.
The only difference – but a highly meaningful one – is that the SSPX will always take every opportunity to explore whether a reconciliation made in the proper way and not implying doctrinal concessions is possible, whilst Bishop Williamson considers every contact with Rome as a defilement and a danger for the organisation itself.
You see the – in my eyes – flawed reasoning also in the reproach made to Bishop Fellay to have made a mistake in trusting the Vatican to be willing to dialogue in good faith. Good Lord, if this is the worst reproach that can be moved to Bishop Fellay I hope he stays in charge for a very long time. To pick up again the “Italian” imagery, you talk with the mamma even if you have the strongest suspicion that the cake baked by her will contain poison. You do that, because she is the mamma and di mamme ce n’e una sola (“mothers, one has only one”). Of course, if the mamma orders you to eat the cake, you don’t; but the SSPX didn’t do it, either.
Up to now, I have not known of any official announcement of the creation of a separate group; but if you google around, you will find at least one internet pages created to – supposedly – “save the SSPX”, and I have not heard any confirmation that no secession is going to happen.
We shall see. As I said, I can’t say I am impressed.
It has been (as Sir Humphrey would have said) “officially unofficial” since yesterday: V-II ecumenism has gone.
In a radio interview to be broadcast today Archbishop Mueller (the short-tempered, Liberation Theology sympathiser, and theologically challenged Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) has finally said very clearly what conservative Catholics all over the world wanted to hear: the Catholic Faith is non-negotiable.
Therefore, there will now be an end to the endless ecu-maniacal dialogues. As it has been pointed out already, this means the end for the International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, for the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, for the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with Muslims, for the U.S. Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue, and for all the countless institutions, both local and Vatican, “negotiating” about the faith.
It cannot be anymore. Speaking of the Catholic faith, the Archbishop says “there will be no compromises here”.
An astonishing U-Turn, nicht wahr? Who would have thought that a man in more than odour of heresy would finally decide to defend the Catholic Faith after so much ravaging?
Still, this is what he said!
But wait: has he?
We must pray for this very confused man.
I have often written on this blog – with disbelief, sorrow and some amusement – about the rather numerous cohort of those for whom the Pope is always the one responsible when he does something they like, and the hapless victim of cruel, ice-cold, shameless corridor plotters when he does something they don’t.
It can’t work, you see. Either one has the shop under control (and then he is responsible), or he hasn’t (and then he is responsible too, incidentally…).
This strange disease by which the Pope is either the man in charge or the victim of the famous “wolves” (people he has chosen to stay or remain near him, without exception; this too is elegantly overlooked) according to whether we like what comes out of the Vatican reached frankly amusing proportions in the last months. On this occasion, the famous preambolo – of which it was clear that it had been approved by the Pope, then otherwise the SSPX would have never dared to run to the wall by saying it was – was given back to the SSPX with mysterious last-minute changes, which were and remain clearly unacceptable not only for the SSPX, but for everyone who love their work and the preservation of Tradition they so beautifully defend.
Ah, how the pious cohorts of Pope Benedict went to defend him! The wolves have betrayed him! They have profited when he was taking a nap and have changed the text of the preambolo! Perhaps they changed some key words whilst he was eating his Leberkäse ! And all under his nose! Shock! Horror!
It now turns out that rather smartly, the SSPX – in my eyes tired to be used and abused by the Holy Father, though certainly far too diplomatic to say so openly – have addressed a more or less direct request to the Holy Father asking him who was the responsible for the, erm, voltafaccia.
At this point, you can be as much the Pope as you like, but you are in a bit of a spot. If you do not answer, they will make it public that you have refused to answer, which will let you look extremely bad; if you say that it was someone else’s fault you have to find and agree the version with the poor scapegoat first – which knowing the Vatican means the entire planet will know about it it in a matter of weeks – and then you will have to go back to the text and change it again, losing face twice in one go; no, the only way to limit the damage is to tell the SSPX the truth and hope they sweep it under the carpet in the hope this nicety will spare them the “worse” (say, a renewed excommunication).
Unluckily for the Holy Father, the SSPX does not make this kind of calculation, does not appear to value his word much and wants the planet to know it, and has – I can find no other words – exposed the Pope by saying in a very diplomatic and gentle way, but still klipp und klar, that the Pope has confirmed the person responsible for the changes is – surprise, surprise – he himself.
Kreuz.net reports the interview with Father Schmidberger, the head of the German province of the SSPX. The interview is on Pius.info, and if you understand German you can listen from 3:25 to dispel every doubt as to who is responsible for what. As Father Schmidberger is a rather authoritative and prestigious source, I do not think there can be any doubt whatsoever – even for the “wolves party” of the conspiracy theorists – about how things went.
Alas, now the time to face reality has come, and all those who have accused those around of the Pope of being “wolves” must ask themselves why the Pope should, now that the truth has emerged, by considered by them any more gently than how they were considering those around him.
Like everyone else, I would so much like to believe that the Pope is on the side of a sensible restoration of traditional Catholicism and that he works, prudently but steadily, toward that goal. There was a time – in particular after Summorum Pontificum – when I have thought that this was more or less the case, at least that this was partially the case, in preparation of the successor who would then set the foot on the accelerator. My, was I wrong.
Not only is this Pope fully committed to the errors of Vatican II bar the worst modernist heresies; not only does he consider Vatican II as a whole so much above criticism that he will not allow the SSPX to work in peace whilst he allows wannabe Catholic Bishops and Cardinals all over the planet – particularly in Germany and neighbouring countries – to set forth their work of destruction undisturbed; but he will not even refrain from wilful deception to damage the SSPX, eating his own word in the hope to divide them in the process.
The game is now up, the SSPX has managed the crisis in a rather admirable way – they might lose Williamson and his “wing”, but will not be substantially weakened by internal strife; more a pruning than a falling – and Father Schmidberger’s claim that they are now more united make perfect sense in light of both the Papal behaviour and the clear absence of strife – apart from the Williamsonites, who aren’t very quiet at the best of times – within the Fraternity.
Kudos to the SSPX for having said – charitably but openly – what was clear enough but too many refused to see. This might well bring them a renewed excommunication – which might have come anyway, after letting them believe it won’t if they behave… – but frankly I do not think they are in the least afraid of it.
To say the truth, I think they don’t think much of the Pope, and want the world to know where they stand, and to know why; I cannot otherwise find a reason for their decision to tell urbi et orbi that the Pope has eaten his word at the last second; a statement as damning in his hard reality as it was gently expressed (see the interview again, and if you speak German enjoy the crystal clear subtext of the interview). Once again, the Holy Father was too clever by half.
Next time you complain about the collapse of the talks, please don’t take it out on Cardinal Bertone, or on Cardinal Levada. Rather, think how the Holy Father allowed them to be in the centre of the scandalised Catholic criticism for months, and whether the Holy Father would have ever told the truth if he had not been put in a rather tight corner by the Fraternity. Perhaps a prayer for them both (and for the Holy Father, who needs it most) is in order.
There is little doubt that personalities of Cardinal Martini’s caliber have been a thorn in the side of the Church for many decades, and have promoted the agenda of the revolutionaries who wish to marry the Church with the world, and do away with the Ten Commandments. While we should pray for God’s mercy on his soul, the permissiveness and license he received from the supreme authority is another sure sign of the auto-demolition that has occurred within the Church… a mother’s tragic betrayal by her own sons.
These very wise words come from the “Pastor’s Corner” of the US Site of the SSPX, where every week a priest of the SSPX offers his own thoughts.
I fully agree with the statement: Martini’s work was meant at nothing else than the demolition of Christianity (and the Church) as we know it. I am still incensed at the honours that have been tributed to him after his dead, even from the highest place. Whilst I do understand an elementary sense of diplomacy should refrain a Pope from saying “heavens, what a mistake we made on that one”, the eulogy of such a scandalous man is in itself a scandal.
The author of the blog post also says
It seems that the time for such rebels is over and – today – no young version of Martini would be made a bishop or cardinal.
This is probably true if taken literally, but I wonder whether there is such difference in not allowing anymore nutcases like Martini to become bishops, and allowing countless other nutcases similarly oriented, and who are already bishops or cardinals, to go on pretty much undisturbed.
At this pace, the extreme wing of the “everything goes” fraction will retire circa 2030, after another around 20 years of wreckage of everything Catholic. If things go on at the present pace, in 20 years time Catholicism will be nothing one than one of many cultural factors in many European countries, and one seen with mistrust and perhaps – here and there – possibly persecuted at that.
The idea of leaving a rotten bunch of heathens calling themselves Bishops and Cardinals free to cause an almost unprecedented damage in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – and considerable damage everywhere else; all in the name of the beautiful “renewal” of Vatican II – is more than what a man who loves Catholicism can bear without losing his countenance. The continuing spectacle of not only inaction in front of heresy, but even praise of the likes of Martini (and of himself as dearly departed) is one that should fill with rage the heart of every sincere Catholic.
I know the Church is indefectible, but being indefectible does not mean that it might not be wiped out by large parts of the Western world due to the cowardice and inaction of the Church hierarchies – up to the very top – in these last several decades.
We need a Pope with guts, fast, or we must prepare ourselves for a world where real Christianity is considered an unpleasant extravagance at best and a weed to be exterminated at worst, whilst a parallel politically correct “church” tells us how much (or how highly) we must think of Catholics who live in a situation of permanent scandalous adultery. If you think this is fantasy Catholicism, please reflect a large number of Catholic Bishops are making just that in Germany. They will not, of course, officially challenge Church teaching; they will only take care that their (paying) public knows the dear bishops are really on their side, though they cannot say so openly.
A shadow church barely disguised within the official one, and daring to openly challenge Church teaching.
The Holy Father knows all this, and does nothing.
This appeared some days ago on the generally well-informed (and said to have very good contacts within the SSPX) Kreuz.net.
The news matches rather neatly with another one, always from the same sources, concerning the Bishop having celebrated some confirmations in Brasil without authorisation from the SSPX.
It is now irrelevant to decide whether Bp. Williamson will (would; might) be excluded because of his Brasil confirmations, or whether he decided to fly to Brasil because he had decided to secede in the first place. What I think is relevant is that the news comes from a generally very informed source, and as far as I know has not been denied by the SSPX yet.
Those of us who think that the Holy Father started the entire exercise to try to see whether he could provoke divisions within the SSPX (I am among them) might think that with this development the Holy Father has reached his objective, but I am not persuaded the action will be of any use to the Pope either during the rest of his pontificate or afterwards.
Williamson will – if the exclusion/secession really happens – carry with him a part of the SSPX, but not a very big one. We know this, because we have seen Bishop Fellay carrying with him the vast majority of the Fraternity in the past months and we know that his leadership was not challenged in any significant way. It is reasonable to assume enough supporters and – importantly – wealthy donors will remain with the SSPX to allow it to continue its work undisturbed, with the added advantage of getting rid of the at times embarrassing presence of Bishop Williamson.
At the same time, it is difficult for me to believe Bishop Williamson would have decided to (or encouraged the) split without being assured he will have an organisation at his command with enough supporters and enough means to be of some permanence. I might be wrong, but if this secession is going to happen I think the newly created organisation is going to stay with us for a long time, and to be a voice heard within the Catholic world.
If, therefore, the split was the objective of the Holy Father, what has he obtained? Has he managed to weaken the SSPX, or to undermine its authority and prestige among sanely thinking Catholics? By no means. Has he then at least managed to defuse Bishop Williamson? Improbable.
Of course, the Holy Father might now proceed to excommunicate (again) both Williamson and the SSPX bishops after the clear failure of the negotiations (which I am now persuaded were meant to fail from day one from the Vatican, it being rather illogical that a Pope who placidly tolerates schismatic movements or currents in Austria, Switzerland and Germany would see himself unable to allow the SSPX to continue their perfectly orthodox work), thus striking them when they are, allegedly, weak; but again, I doubt this would lead to any meaningful results, as the SSPX fare best when the Post-conciliar Vatican is against them, as the past decades have abundantly shown.
Therefore, as a result of what I think were rather Machiavellian machinations from the Holy Father, the Vatican will – if the secession happens – be now confronted with not one SSPX but, so to speak, two; of which one rather as strong as ever, and the other possibly destined to become rather strong, too.
I have often thought, and become more and more persuaded, that this Pope is too clever by half, and his policy of deception is not bearing any of the desired fruits.
Pope Benedict gave conservative Catholics Summorum Pontificum to make them believe he was on their side and would (slowly and prudently, but steadily) steer the Church in their direction. In reality, though, he was only giving some food to the pigeons whilst he continued the Vatican-II policy of appointment of modernist bishops, and toleration of almost every form of dissent (not the orthodox one of the SSPX, of course; perish the thought…). As a result, conservative Catholics are now more and more aware of the deception and will (particularly after he has died; alas, many Catholics can just not conceive a reigning Pope might be wrong) soon realise the “hermeneutic of continuity” is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate the Neo-modernist horrors by getting rid of the Modernist tones.
Concerning the SSPX, the same politics was observed: the lifting of the excommunications – a fact which might have been embarrassing for the Vatican, but was certainly not decisive for the SSPX – was the prelude of “talks” meant to divide them in the middle, and possibly strike them separately afterwards. It seems clear to me this policy will fail, too, and the traditionalists will now grow stronger rather than getting weaker.
Make no mistake: Williamson will do fine, and so will the SSPX. The only one who will be disappointed is the one who wanted to beat or destroy them, and whose machinations are now all too clear to see. Just reflect how free the neo-modernist forces are to operate, and how inflexible the Vatican is with the SSPX, to realise on which side this Pope stands.
Again: too clever by half.
Archbishop Mueller has a couple of problems: the first one is that he cannot avoid giving more or less arrogant interviews (well, ok: more); the second is that he has been invited from the SSPX to say how he reconciles his strange idea of a non-virginity which is a virginity, but hasn’t done it; instead, he thinks he can put the controversies over his own embarrassing ignorance of the basics of Catholicism (or worse) by just saying “I believe in that in which I am supposed to believe, therefore you must be wrong”.
On the first problem, it is clear the Archbishop should go back to school with very rigid SSPX teachers; that he knows it very well; and that it hurts. Once again, he reacted angrily to the (perfectly legitimate, and still unanswered) questions openly posed to him from the SSPX by saying that those who disagree with him either aren’t very intelligent, or haven’t read him, or couldn’t understand him. Congratulations, with such arguments he would have great success with a group of drunken friends at the pub.
Simply put, either the SSPX is populated by cretins, or Archbishop Mueller is a 1a cretin himself. Reach your own conclusions.
On the second problem, I notice that the Archbishop still hasn’t answered (at least as far as the Blessed Virgin is concerned; on other matters things seems clearer) to the criticism levelled against him. To say “I am orthodox” is rather easy; to say whether you think you were wrong in what you stated and why is quite another.
I could tell you whatever crap gets through my mind, and then react to every criticism saying “yours are provocations, and not even intelligent ones at that. I am right and orthodox, you just don’t read or can’t understand me”. Would you let it pass? Thought not…
Why, then, is the Archbishop allowed to (factually) deny the Perpetual Virginity of Mary and get away with it by just saying “I believe in the dogma?” I could tell you – if I were a theologian burning to say something new and revolutionary to further my career – that the dogma really means, say, that the Blessed Virgin liked baby blue in preference to sage green. When I, then, say that I believe in the dogma I do not do anything else than to repeat that I believe in what I have already stated I believe. Similarly, Mueller has already said that to him “virginity” does not really mean… virginity. Therefore, when he says that he believes in Mary Ever Virgin he has retracted absolutely nothing, because he must first persuade us that he got what virginity is.
The rest of the interview is the usual rather embarrassing blabla: I really didn’t want to become de facto Number Three; I mean, not really really, but the Holy Father told me I could not refuse (the Pope allowed Monsignor Wagner to refuse, though. I wonder why?); I will talk with the mad nuns because the only ones I consider cretins unable to read are the SSPX priests; I do believe in my heresies concerning Protestants and I will not back pedal about them; but I really, really have to back pedal about transubstantiation, otherwise I am in serious trouble; and so on.
The man is a walking embarrassment for the Church: a man dangerously prone to choler (he can’t avoid insulting the SSPX even in his interviews; just imagine what he must be in private), theologically shamed by every properly instructed ten years old boy circa 1910, and so much in love with himself he reminds one of Usain Bolt, without the achievements or the talent.
May God forgive the man who put him in such an important place because he has edited his own books.
From yesterday’s SSPX communique’
“doctrinal mutism is not the answer to this “silent apostasy”, which even John Paul II denounced already in 2003.”
amidst a Church in crisis and a world which distances itself farther from God and His law with each passing day.
…waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities
If I understand correctly, the chap in white with the long hair is a Catholic priest, and this horror was set in scene in a real Catholic Cathedral.
In other words, this is not a movie, or a joke. This is supposed to be the real thing.
Welcome to the Church of Paul VII.
In case you want more, here is another video about the same exercise. Note how after (or during?) the “concert” what is supposed to be Holy Communion is distributed among the “faithful”, leaving one in no doubt that this is not a joke or a videomontage, but a bona fide Vatican II mass. The priest is (cela va sans dire) in full communion, and no doubt he has the bishop’s blessing.
After this beautiful “outpouring of the Spirit” (both videos from Catholic Church Conservation) , excuse me if I terrify you with the shocking images of the schismatic Mass of a splinter group of disobedient priests, who have the unspeakable arrogance to doubt all the wonderful things the Spirit is doing for the Church.
Thankfully, the bishop clearly approved the mass (or attempt of it) of the first two videos, and I am glad to inform you the splinter group is not in full communion, and the Holy Father is allegedly very cross with them. They are disobedient, you see.
Perhaps they should buy an electric guitar and start staging such “masses”?
This would mean they are obedient to the Pope, surely?
Forgive my stupidity, I had failed to understand that the SSPX is the real problem afflicting the Church today. The only words I can say to my defence are:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.