Pope Francis Positive Towards SSPXeditor
In an interview with Regina Einig for the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost (March 17, 2017), Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, reviewed the progress made by the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) toward reaching a reconciliation with Rome since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in July 2007, almost ten years ago.
Archbishop Pozzo said that the Holy Father intends to maintain a “positive constructive attitude” in the dialogue with the SSPX. If the Society agrees to a “Doctrinal Declaration” formulated by the Holy See, it may very soon receive from Rome a canonical mission within the structure of a personal prelature. This would enable the Society to keep its “spiritual, theological, liturgical, disciplinary and pastoral identity”.
Archbishop Pozzo admitted that he first heard from the media the rumor that the Society of Saint Pius X planned to purchase the Church of Santa Maria Immaculata on the Esquiline Hill. With gentle irony he noted that it is not his job to negotiate the sale of real estate.
With regard to the ambiguous formulations of the conciliar documents concerning ecumenism, dialogue with non-Christian religions, Church-State relations pertaining to religious liberty, etc., Bishop Bernard Fellay stated in an interview in 2016 that the SSPX reserves the right to denounce what it views as ambiguities and errors, but that it is up to the authorities in Rome to clarify and dispel the misunderstandings on these critical points.
The remainder of the interview with Archbishop Pozzo is given below in English translation:
…I think that even after the reconciliation these misgivings and difficulties that the Society points to should be kept in mind, so as to arrive at a clarification, a more in-depth and subsequently more precise understanding of these points. Moreover the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has intervened repeatedly over the last forty years to elucidate and rectify certain false interpretations or misunderstandings of the conciliar teachings. I do not see why this work of clarification and answering doubts and misgivings cannot continue, if they are presented in an ecclesial and not a polemical spirit.
To what extent do you observe agreement already?
There is complete agreement with the Society of Saint Pius X on one absolutely fundamental point: The Magisterium of the Church is not above the word of God, in Scripture or Tradition, but rather serves it by teaching nothing but what is handed down (cf. Dei Verbum, 10). The Magisterium, for its part, to which Christ entrusted the preservation, defense and interpretation of the deposit of faith, has the task of explaining and elucidating the earlier documents of the Magisterium too—including the documents of the Second Vatican Council—authentically in light of the unbroken Tradition, which certainly advances in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, yet never with any novelty that contradicts what went before, but rather with a better understanding of the deposit of faith “within the same dogma, the same meaning, and the same judgment” (cf. Vatican I, Dei Filius, 4 and Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 8). This principle must be applied also to the documents of Vatican II, which should be read and understood in the light of Tradition and in agreement with the constant Magisterium of the Church, as Archbishop Lefebvre himself acknowledge in 1981 in a letter to Pope John Paul II.
So that means…?
That means, if an interpretation or an understanding or an implementation of Vatican II is suggested that represents a discontinuity or a break with the Catholic doctrine previously defined or taught by the Magisterium, the interpretation must be rejected as false or inappropriate. The problem is therefore not the Second Vatican Council as such, but rather a certain way of understanding, applying and implementing the Council: the so-called “spirit of the Council”. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about a “true Council” and a “virtual Council”, whereby the latter is the product of the power of the mass media, of modernistic currents in theology, in other words of the “conciliar ideology” that was superimposed on the authentic “mens” [mind, understanding] of the Council Fathers.
In the current issue of the magazine Courrier de Rome published by the Society of Saint Pius X, the authors designate the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI as “Holy Mass.” Can this terminology be taken to mean that the validity of the new Missal has meanwhile been accepted within the Society? *
As far as I know, the Society never called into question the validity of the rite of Holy Mass according to the liturgical books promulgated by Paul VI and John Paul II. As early as 1988, in the protocol prepared by then-Cardinal Ratzinger with the consent of Archbishop Lefebvre, the validity of Holy Mass celebrated according to the Novus Ordo was acknowledged. Because of other matters, then, there was no constructive sequel to the protocol. The Society’s misgivings with regard to the Novus Ordo seem to me to refer to some aspects of the Novus Ordo (for example the Offertory prayers, Communion in the hand, etc.) and also to the manner of celebrating the Eucharist which de facto can be observed in various localities and is often characterized by dogmatic errors and liturgical abuse. But this too can be discussed profitably and clarified. As long as the attitude is constructive, and not polemical or marred by prejudices, discussion about the aforementioned topics can contribute to greater clarity and more detailed definitions, so as to promote the correct, integral doctrine and to avoid the errors, misunderstandings and deficiencies or partisan, superficial interpretations that have been and unfortunately still are characteristic of a particular propagation of the Second Vatican Council and also of the praxis resulting from it in terms of discontinuity and a break with Catholic Tradition.
* [Editor’s Note: The interviewer is mistaken. The use of the expression “Holy Mass” in Italian is the conventional manner of speaking about Mass generally – the text is a translation of Critina Siccardi and therefore cannot neither be attributed to the SSPX. The use of this expression in the SSPX publication Courrier de Rome and other Italian publications to refer to the Missal promulgated by Paul VI should in no way be interpreted as approval for this deficient form of the liturgy. A further discussion of the deficiencies of the Novus Ordo Missae is contained below.]
Source – 1 April, 2017
Read that interview, I couldn’t help thinking – what’s the problem, then? The section on “agreement already observed” is very clear. I can’t see what the problem is, assuming there is a cast iron guarantee that if the Vatican goes back on any of it, the SSPX reverts to previous position.
This has been expected for some time now. We will have to see how long it takes to happen.
Of graver matter I see on Fr Z’s blog that Pope Francis is showing a strong inclination to ordain women as Deacons and yet again fly in the face of infallible teaching that Holy Orders can not be conferred on women. How long is it going to take to declare him unfit for Office?
God will attend to Pope Francis. No use us ordinary Joe Bloggs and Bloggesses plotting and planning. You know what they say: if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!
Patience, John R, patience!
Dear Madam Editor,
These are some concerns I have re SSPX regularization. If the SSPX is “regularized”, will SSPX priests be compelled to give Holy Communion to persons living in adulterous relationships or lose their “regularized” status? Will they be pressured to open their churches for inter-religious ceremonies (e.g. March 13th of this year)? Will they be forced to water down the Catholic Faith in order to retain their “regularized” status? I have more but I think you get the idea.
As I’ve said before, the SSPX should not even THINK of regularization until the next pontificate. People go to the SSPX not only for the TLM, but for sound catechesis and doctrine for their children and themselves. There’s simply too much danger right now.
In Christ the King,
We’ve been through this many, many times. Bishop Fellay has been crystal clear on this. The SSPX will need to be accepted as they are. They won’t change. If pressure is put on they will resist.
Pope Francis is a terrible pope but he seems to be more open with the SSPX than his predecessors.
I agree. There’s no way the Society priests will be expected to, or will go along with, giving Communion to the remarried etc. It just won’t happen.
Who will follow the present Pontiff Margaret? The next one might be even worse than the present incumbent. Grass is not always greener …
I see on Fr Z’s blog that Pope Francis is showing a strong inclination to ordain women as Deacons
Fear not John, that was an “April fool” prank from Fr Z!
However I agree with your analysis about how fit Francis is for Office!
Ah! The old chestnut “Doctrinal declaration”! This is the hurdle at which the horse fell last time, so there’s at least a chance that the same thing will happen now. If so, no matter: the Society merely continues until such time as nu-Church has fallen apart completely and turns to the Society with no strings attached to any agreement. One hundred years or so? Fifty? Or maybe Our Lord Jesus Christ will have intervened Himself by then.
Yes, I see the old “Doctrinal declaration” part has come back into the conversation. It will be very interesting to see exactly how that document will be worded, should it materialise. Let’s not forget that Mgr. Pozzo speaks of a doctrinal declaration but Pope Francis doesn’t seem to work in accordance with the old guard.
As you say, though, if a doctrinal declaration does manifest itself saying the same as the last one then Bishop Fellay will just about turn, as he did before.
I don’t think you need to concern yourself about the SSPX being drawn into the various liturgical abuses you mention under threat of losing their regularised status. Bishop Fellay has been quite clear on these points to both Rome and the faithful, there will never be compromise on the part of the SSPX, come what may. And let us not forget that Pope Francis is at an advanced age and will not be around long enough, I suspect, to enforce his own particular novelties. I very much doubt that the Cardinals will elect anyone of Pope Francis’ disposition at the next conclave.
As for the interview with Mgr. Pozzo, I see he says that Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Mass are not fundamentally contrary to Tradition, just the “Modernist” interpretation “Spirit of the Council” that some adapted them to post-Council. Well, if the Monsignor wants to have a truly open and honest dialogue, avoiding the polemical and the partisan, then he needs to start with an admission that both Vatican II and the New Mass are seriously at odds in places with Sacred Tradition.
Religious Liberty, interfaith dialogue and ecumenism are just three of the subjects addressed in the documents of Vatican II that are at odds with the Magisterial teaching handed down. The New Mass is a no brainer, having been quite deliberately constructed around Protestant theology to please Protestants and futher the cause of false ecumenism. Communion in the hand and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are also forbidden by 1500 years of Traditional Catholic teaching. These were illicitly introduced into the Church without Papal permission yet tolerated to the great detriment of the Real Presence and the faith of many Catholic souls. If the Monsignor is serious about fixing the crisis in the Church and getting the SSPX to help in the restoration, then he must start by admitting to these fundamental problems instead of insinuating that it’s all dow to a few rogue clergy misinterpreting the Council and abusing the liturgy. The New Mass for a start was constructed in such a way as to invite liturgical abuse.
The high clergy in the Church really need to get their heads out of the sand and start being honest with themselves. Maybe then they can start having honest dialogue with everyone else!
If a personal prelature is offered to the SSPX, however, then I would be the first to encourage Bishop Fellay to agree to it, on the proviso that he takes all the necessary steps to protect the SSPX from future interference. I trust Bishop Fellay to do just that and to do it very firmly.
Regarding the reappearance of another “Doctrinal Declaration,” as my old Jewish friends would say, “Oy vay!” And as Editor would say, “Gimme strength!”
Referring to a proposition posed in a recent article published on The Remnant website by Father LaRocque, one of our Priors in Paris, why isn’t Pope Francis himself subject to such a doctrinal test? The SSPX has not deviated one iota (Iota Unum..) from the Faith; Pope Francis, on the other hand, has not deviated one iota from his tossed apostate salad of Protestantism, Marxist Liberation Theology, and the wholesale adoption of the satanic agenda of the United Nations!
As for other of Msgr. Pozzo’s comments, this from Athanasius puts everything in perspective:
Well, if the Monsignor wants to have a truly open and honest dialogue, avoiding the polemical and the partisan, then he needs to start with an admission that both Vatican II and the New Mass are seriously at odds in places with Sacred Tradition.
In other words, the problem is not in the interpretation, the problem is in the texts themselves – as anyone who has read Michael Davies (Time Bombs…) and Atila Guimaraes (Murky Waters…) will know.
My responses to other excerpts:
1. “…so as to arrive at a clarification, a more in-depth and subsequently more precise understanding of these points.”
These [SSPX] points have been clarified precisely and in depth ad nauseam for years now, and yet the Modernists have still not got it. And they haven’t got it because they will never admit they are wrong, and that Vatican II intentionally founded a new pseudo-religion. Has anyone seen the old Bill Murray movie “Ground Hog Day”? This doctrinal haggling over the same old ground is reminiscent of that movie.
2. “…the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has intervened repeatedly over the last forty years to elucidate and rectify certain false interpretations or misunderstandings of the conciliar teachings.”
Really? Do those “interventions” surpass the number of fingers on one of my hands? And do said interventions include disciplinary actions that surpass that same number of fingers? (FYI, to polemically clarify, that number would be 5…)
3. “…This principle must be applied also to the documents of Vatican II, which should be read and understood in the light of Tradition.”
If the documents of Vatican II were understood in the light of Tradition, they would then be understood as a mortal danger to the Faith, to the Church, and to the souls of the Faithful, and they would be burned. Period, end of, that’s a wrap, and good-night.
4. “The problem is therefore not the Second Vatican Council as such, but rather a certain way of understanding, applying and implementing the Council:”
Yes, that’s the Benedictine party line, but as already noted, that is a lie, an attempt to save face.
Now, if Bishop Fellay really wants to throw a monkey wrench into the works and precipitate some serious metabolic shock waves amongst the Modernist castrati, I think he should demand that all the documents of Vatican II should be replaced with the draft schema that were rejected at the outset of the Council, by advance agreement and collusion, by the “progressivists.” With the possible exception of the draft of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which reeked of Bugnini and which, if I remember correctly, was the one draft that survived the holocaust. That one, they should start from scratch….
Excellent analysis. However, I admit that your reference to Groundhog Day unnerved me a bit. February 2nd is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, aka the Purification of Our Lady on the TL calendar, aka Groundhog Day.
Living in Pennsylvania, all the media talks about is how Punxsutawney Phil saw or didn’t see his shadow. The PA lottery has as its mascot “Gus, the second most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania” and makes commercials featuring “Gus”. One of the cable channels actually ran Groundhog Day for 24 hours straight. Imho, that’s going overboard with Groundhog Day.
I’m not blaming you for anything; I just had to express my feelings. (And I’ve never seen the movie except in clips.)
Thanks for letting me vent.
For those who never had a misspent youth (as I have), here is a trailer for Ground Hog Day, so you’ll get the comparison to the SSPX doctrinal discussions:
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has given an interview regarding the SSPX to Rome Reports.
He goes over some old ground, from the time when he had many dealings with the SSPX (2000-2009). Considering this, the fact the Cardinal is retired and the timing of his interview, I wonder what the reason for the interview was?
Could it be another attempt – perhaps on the eve of a resolution – to win over the various dopes who, mistaking themselves for the Church authorities, insist that the SSPX is schismatic or somehow otherwise unsatisfactory?
Here is the jist of what the Cardinal said:
– the SSPX have never been heretical or schismatic
– the SSPX has never created its own, separate jurisdiction from the Church
– don’t call the SSPX “lefebvrians”, their name is The Priestly Society of St Pius X
– the “majority” of the SSPX and their faithful serve “in full unity” with the Church
– that the SSPX have issues with some Conciliar documents is in part a reaction to post-conciliar abuses and in part a reaction to a lack of suitable clarity and subsequent misinterpretation
– he is satisfied with the “possible solution” which is on the table of a prelature
He seems to fall into the “face saving” routine when it comes to the Conciliar documents but, other than that, I thought it seemed a reasonably positive interview.
Yes, it does sound like a reasonably positive interview. I think that makes it at least SIX times Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has said in interviews that the Society is not and never has been in schism. Yet still, the numpties among us, disagree. Including those who take advantage of Summorum Pontificum to attend the now growing number of traditional Masses available, all thanks to the SSPX making that a condition of continuing or resuming talks with the Vatican about regularisation.
What’s wrong with these people? Is it an “intelligence” issue? Do they lack the necessary intelligence to join up the dots? Or, at least, to comprehend the nature (and definition) of schism?
It’s not clear from the SSPX statement whether they will seek “permission” from the diocesan bishop, which I think, from my quick reading of the Holy See statement, is the condition of approving SSPX marriages, although I suspect Bishop Fellay is simply being tactful. In other words, the Society will continue as now with conducting marriages without seeking any local bishop’s permission, thank you very much.
That’s how I read it – what do others think? Here, for ease of reference is the link to the Society statement, posted in Gabriel Syme’s comment of 9.48pm yesterday.
the Society will continue as now with conducting marriages without seeking any local bishop’s permission
I think the Society will now inform the local Diocese of marriages it intends to carry out and this will receive acknowledgement (as per any parish intending on conducting a marriage). I think the Society will send paperwork to the Diocesan records afterwards too.
Of course, I also think the marriage will go ahead regardless of what the local ordinary does or says – as per now, as you say.
Yes, you’re probably right. Had to happen eventually 😀
I don’t really understand the wording of the Pope’s letter (or actually, Cardinal Muller’s letter):
“Insofar as possible, the Local Ordinary is to grant the delegation to assist at the marriage to a priest of the Diocese (or in any event, to a fully regular priest)… [me: that is not an SSPX priest]
…so that the priest may receive the consent of the parties during the marriage rite, followed, in keeping with the liturgy of the Vetus ordo, by the celebration of Mass, which may be celebrated by a priest of the Society.
“Where the above is not possible, or if there are no priests in the Diocese able to receive the consent of the parties, the Ordinary may grant the necessary faculties to the priest of the Society me: this makes it sound like a Society priest may celebrate a nuptial Mass only if there is no Diocesan priest available, or if the parties cannot find a traditional priest, or a Diocesan priest acceptable to them – ?]
who is also to celebrate the Holy Mass, reminding him of the duty to forward the relevant documents [attesting to the celebration of the sacrament] to the Diocesan Curia as soon as possible.”
Either I’m not getting it, or this letter is so poorly worded that it seems to contradict itself.
regarding marriages in SSPX chapels, unlike England, where it is the church building which is registered for weddings and the local Registrar must be present to ensure recognition by the State, in Scotland it is the clergy who are registered and act as Registrar on behalf of the State. The clergy of the “big two,” the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, are automatically registered to perform weddings but the clergy of the smaller Churches, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Wee Frees etc, must be registered by a lay person and the registration must be renewed every so often. The SSPX were regarded as another Church and so the Prior in Preston, we didn’t have our own priory then, was the registered person.
About fifteen or more years ago, a wedding was due to take place at the Edinburgh chapel and after Mass one Sunday the assistant priest said that as the Prior would be on holiday he was going to perform the wedding. He wasn’t best pleased when people told him he couldn’t because he wasn’t registered to perform weddings. He said, “surely the church is registered for weddings” and when it was pointed out that it isn’t the church that is registered but the clergyman he said, “Oh it doesn’t matter, I’ll still do it.” Well that didn’t go down too well and one lady told him that he couldn’t just ignore the law of the land. The Prior took the same attitude as the assistant and couldn’t see what the problem was. Eventually the District Superior became involved and I was asked to register the assistant. I went to the Registers of Scotland and explained the situation to the lady who had the SSPX documents in front of her. She told me that she thought it ridiculous that the Society had to register and re-register and said that she wanted to look into the situation and arranged for me to go back the following week. Upon my return, she said that she had been in contact with the Archdiocese and had spoken to a Canon Lawyer who informed her that as the SSPX was a religious order within the Church they should not be treated as a separate Church and their priests should automatically be registered if they were serving chapels in Scotland.
Look at this despicable hit-piece, from the equally despicable Austin Iverleigh.
He attempts to de-rail the progress being made between Francis and the SSPX. It clearly sticks in his craw to see the SSPX finally receive some measure of the recognition and justice they so richly deserve.
Its a sad article, dripping with lies and hypocrisy. It is a shame to see a fellow Catholic reduce themselves to this sort of level, the level of the marxist media.
I suppose it’s worth a chuckle more than anything else:
– he calls the Society “breakaway” and “schismatic”, barely two days after Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos again confirmed they were not (as if it were unclear). So, showing himself to be a liar. Great start Austin.
– he says talks should be put on hold, until it is determined the SSPX deals with abuse allegations properly. Apparently he has seen something on TV which said they have not. And let us recall, the mainstream Church is such a paragon of virtue and good practice in dealing with claims of abuse, that it can certainly afford to cast aspersions on the topic. Goodness me!
– he sneers that the SSPX always find some excuse to avoid reaching a resolution with Rome. Yes, this is in the same article where he himself calls for work with the Society to be put on ice. What a complete idiot he is. An oaf.
– he refers to Bernard Fellay as an Archbishop, betraying the standard of his knowledge. I.e its non-existent.
– In desperation, he dredges up the spectre of Richard Williamson – who is ancient history in SSPX circles. It’s exactly like secular critics dredging up some obscure Pope or Inquisitor with a dodgy record from the dim and distant past.
– he refers to a “rumoured agreement with Rome next month” (?)
– he claims the SSPX has a mindset “lagging decades behind” the mainstream Church regarding dealing with child abuse. From my perspective, the mainstream Church made a real pigs ear of dealing with child abuse, to the extent that it’s priests are now considered synonymous with pederasts. Austins “special guy” Pope Francis recently softened sentences for abusive clergymen. Again, Austin comes across exactly like secular critics with his attacks.
– he mentions a small number of cases the SSPX is alleged not to have deal with properly. Serious allegations, for sure. But amazingly, he then goes onto reveal the Vatican knew about these cases but did not instruct the Society to do anything different to what it was doing. So, whats your point exactly Austin?
– he says the SSPX should “hand over its files on abuse”, again a direct port of secular criticism which presumes without evidence that files exist in the first place.
– he ends by muttering about fundamentalism and bullishly insisting “Vatican II is here to stay”. But his lies and hysterics regarding the SSPX suggest he is not too confident about that.
I can’t wait to read that article – no time right now, but nothing ever surprises me about dear old Austen Ivereigh; he’s one of the (if not THE) big white chiefs behind that “liberal” concoction called ‘Catholic Voices’ – supposedly media savvy Catholics who can be trusted to explain the Faith on TV and radio etc. Yeah right. About as much as you’d trust Ian Paisley Junior to teach Irish history 😀
To be fair, there have been a couple of occasions when the CV women-folk have been OK – not outright heretics – but never the men I’ve seen interviewed. Disastrous, with bells on, best describes their performances.
Sounds like Austen is livid at the progress being made in the SSPX-Vatican talks. Now I’m REALLY keen for that Personal Prelature to become reality! Will drive the modernists like him crazy, so can’t be all bad 😀
All the weasels are creeping out from under their rocks right now in an attempt to derail any reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX.
The child abuse cases cited by the weasel you refer to have recently been aired on Swedish TV, a programme produced by the same “journalist” who lulled Bishop Williamson into talking gas chambers just as Pope Benedict XVI was favouring the SSPX in 2009. This guy chooses his times well, always spreading sensationalist stories when Rome and the SSPX appear on the brink of an agreement. It is my view that he couldn’t care less about abused children, it’s Traditional Catholicism he detests.
Anyway, the cases mentioned concern four SSPX priests at different times in different parts of the world, as well as one layman in the U.S. who, if memory serves, abused a number of boys over a period of time before being unmasked and jailed for life.
Of the four priests in question, two have long left the SSPX (3, 4 or more years ago) and are now with Bishop Williamson’s “Resistance”. If my information is correct they left before their canonical trials were completed. Rome gave full authority to the SSPX to hold canonical trials of all four priests as and when revelations occurred. I further understand that one of the priests, not sure if it was one of the two who left, was ordered to retire in prayer and penance to a monastery in the Swiss Alps. Our Swedish journalist calls this monastery the “Golden Prison”, as if to suggest that it is a soft penalty designed to keep predator clergy out of the reach of the law. The programme in question is actually entitled Golden Prison, though in Swedish.
You have to laugh at the Swedes, they are the most liberal/immoral country in the world and yet here’s this guy pretending to be outraged over priestly immorality in the SSPX. Sounds to me like he has a wholly different reason for spreading this muck around. Of course it will soon be all around the globe, as Bishop Williamson’s gas chamber comments were. The liberal press loves a good sleazy story about Catholic priests abusing children. Invereigh is in the same camp as these sleaze mongers, he does not represent objective journalism. He is driven by an agenda that is unholy.
But just to put matters in perspective, the scandal that these horrible people are doing their best to publicise with maximum damage involves only four SSPX priests at different times. The SSPX has six hundred priests and has been in existence for nigh on forty years. I would like to know from these “outraged journalists” just how the superiors of the SSPX can be held responsible for a very tiny percentage of priests who betrayed their sacred office in so serious a manner. If canonical trials were held and sentences handed down (monastic life), then where is the “cover up”.
As far as I understand it the parents of the abused children did not want the offences reported to the police for fear that the liberal press and others would use the betrayal of the few to do harm to the many. This is now precisely what we are witnessing through the Swede and Invereigh. None of it is intended to benefit souls or society, it’s only highlighted to do further harm.
Mistake above! The SSPX has been in existence almost 50 years, not forty years.
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