FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

The usually cautious and reserved Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) has now given its current opinion concerning the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and on its possible formal re-integration into the structures of the Catholic Church. Father Bernhard Gerstle – the head of the German district of the FSSP – just gave a 24 April interview to the German Bishops’ official website Katholisch.de in which he explains many of the positions and opinions of his priestly fraternity. (Father Gerstle is the same priest who, in 2016, made a politely critical statement about the papal document Amoris Laetitia.)

Father Gerstle explains, first of all, that he himself split off from the SSPX because of the “illicit episcopal consecrations” in 1988 which, in his eyes, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tried to forestall. (Interestingly, and just in the recent past, there have been voices saying that Cardinal Ratzinger, as pope, later removed the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops because he realized that he had contributed to the intensification of that earlier conflict. Worth noting is that, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has served as an official Vatican liaison to the SSPX, recently called this act of excommunication an “injustice.”) In Gerstle’s eyes, the 1988 breach happened due to a “lack of trust toward Rome.” He also claims that many more priests within the SSPX had disapproved of the episcopal consecrations, “but did not make the final step.” Thus, there were “only a few priests and seminarians who left the Society of St. Pius X at the time [in 1988].” Gerstle explicitly says that the foundation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter happened “essentially due to Cardinal Ratzinger, [who was] then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Father Gerstle further distances himself from those smaller groups within the SSPX – whom he calls “hardliners” – who “reject the Second Vatican Council to a large extent, for example with regard to religious freedom or as to the decree on ecumenism.” Some of them, he says, also doubt the validity of the new liturgy. Gerstle makes it clear, moreover, where the Fraternity of St. Peter stands with regard to the Second Vatican Council:

The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements. However, some texts are formulated in such a way that they can give way to misinterpretations. But, in the meantime, Rome has already made here concordant clarifications which the Society of St. Pius X should now also recognize. [Emphasis added]

Additionally, Father Gerstle insists that for the FSSP, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law is the standard. In his eyes, the SSPX has here some more reservations. For the FSSP, explains Gerstle “there is not a pre- and a post-conciliar Church.” “There is only the one Church which goes back to Christ,” he adds. Gerstle also insists that the FSSP does not “wish to polarize or even to promote splits,” but that they wish to instill in their own parishes “an ecclesial attitude.” Certain (unnamed, unspecified) abuses in the Church should only be criticized in a “differentiated and moderate way.”

Father Gerstle also distances himself from the concept “traditionalist” when he says: “This notion I do not like at all to hear. We are not traditionalists, but simply Catholic.” As Catholics, he says, “we appreciate tradition,” but without “completely blocking organic adaptations and changes.”

The worthy celebration of the traditional liturgy, together with a loyal teaching of the Catholic Faith, is at the center of the work of the FSSP, according to Gerstle. “Salvation of souls” and “eternal life” are their Fraternity’s own concern. Unfortunately, adds the German priest, “the Four Last Things have been widely neglected in the Church, with the effect of a belittling and attenuation of sin and of a loss of the practice of sacramental confession.”

Father Gerstle sees that “one cannot simply introduce everywhere again the old liturgy and, so to speak, impose it upon people.” “Both rites thus [with the help of the “reform of the reform”] should enrich each other,” explains the priest. Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”  To read IP5 extracts click here To read entire interview with Fr Gerstle, click here


I’ve only ever conversed with one FSSP priest and it was not pleasant.  He insisted on describing the Society of St Pius X priests as “wolves”.  I insisted that, while they are certainly far from perfect, they are not “wolves”.  The chat went downhill from there. So, I read the above interview with much interest, and have concluded that while they may not be “wolves” the FSSP priests are certainly not going to get back on the fence any time soon – while they talk of the SSPX reconciling with Rome, they, the FSSP have manifestly reconciled themselves to the new Catholicism born at Vatican II.

I do agree with Fr Gerstle – and have said it often on this blog – that we should not need labels such as “traditionalist” because ALL Catholics should be adhering to both Tradition and Scripture. In the current crisis, these labels have sprung up to distinguish those who go along with the revolutionary changes in the Church post-Vatican II, and those who do not. 

The FSSP – according to Fr Gerstle –  appears to go along with the revolution to a large extent – even to describing the traditional Mass as the “extraordinary form” (a dead giveaway, as far as I am concerned), so I suppose that accounts for his dislike of the term “traditionalist” and his attitude towards the SSPX.  Allow me to hastily add, however, that I know that not all FSSP clergy are hostile to the Society of the Saint Pius X; however, Fr Gerstle is the Superior of a district of the Fraternity of St Peter and so, we may assume, may we not, that what he says, reflects the policy or position of the FSSP on the Mass and the SSPX, and indeed, everything else covered in the interview. 

Reading both the IP5 shortened version and the entire interview, is recommended before commenting. Then, loud and clear, let’s hear what YOU think…

Comments (70)

  • stlonginus

    The twitter feed at Novus Ordo Watch linked to your blog. I receive the monthly newsletter from the FSSP of North America (headquartered in Pennsylvania) and the articles are mostly Catholic (aka ‘traditional’), but they think the Mass can be either the E.F. or the O.F. which is bogus. They’re caught between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t walk that very thin line, they’ll get the rug pulled out from under them, just like the other societies have had done to them. Personally, I think they should cut the cord and condtionally ordain themselves some priests. They have all the trappings but not the substance. It’s too bad the FSSP and the SSPX can’t get together. There’s strength in numbers. For now, with [Bishop] Fellay at the helm, that will be impossible.

    April 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm
    • editor

      St Longinus,

      The FSSP broke from the SSPX, so there’s no question of them “getting together” now. They owe their existence to the SSPX just as those attending the TLM in various parishes post-Summorum Pontificum owe their access to traditional Masses to the SSPX.

      By the way, I paid a visit to the Novus Ordo Watch site (God forgive me!) but can’t see any link to us at all.

      April 26, 2017 at 5:23 pm
      • stlonginus

        I can no longer find it either but it was there since I got to you! Anyway, don’t worry about having visited Novus Ordo Watch. I think we need to encourage people of good will who are interested in the truth to band together, rather than to be shutting one another off.
        BTW, I owe my Catholic upbringing to my parents and a couple of priests in my family but also to Fr. Gommar DePauw, who was not associated with the SSPX.

        April 26, 2017 at 6:13 pm
      • editor

        St Longinus,

        Sorry, my friend, but you won’t find me encouraging sedevacantists – ever. They’re the last people with whom we want to “band together” – if, that is, we want to keep the Faith as it was handed down to us from the Apostles, and not from Francis Schuckardt.

        April 26, 2017 at 11:35 pm
      • stlonginus

        Here is the link:

        Head of FSSP German district wants Novus Ordo “Mass” to “enrich” traditional Latin Mass: https://catholictruthblog.com/2017/04/26/fssp-two-masses-enrich-each-other/ … #catholic #fssp #katholisch


        April 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm
      • editor

        St Longinus,

        It took me a while but I found the link eventually. I really dislike those Twitter feeds. They are difficult to follow and I really cant see the point of them at all. I’ll never be a Twit… !

        April 26, 2017 at 11:31 pm
      • Petrus

        This made me laugh out loud!

        Twitter is great once you get used to it. It’s a lot more savoury than Facebook! It can be quite restrictive, limiting your post to 120 characters. It works having a blog or website and then tweeting the link. With Editor’s approval I’m happy to tweet the links to Catholic Truth Blog articles!

        April 29, 2017 at 1:34 pm
      • editor


        I’ve never said anything, in my entire life, in 120 characters, and I’m not about to begin now 😀

        Feel free to link to us at any time. Especially to the Banks of England and Scotland. 😀

        To this day, I always arrange to meet people outside a bank, so they’ll presume I have money behind me 😀

        April 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm
      • RCA Victor


        You’re right: not including smiley faces, that post was 230 characters, according to my careful prosthesis…..

        But I must say, you’re one heck of a character all by your lonesome! If there were 120 of you, Russia would be consecrated and the crisis would be over! (and then I’d have to find something else to do besides blogging….)

        April 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        RCA Victor,

        LOL! Great answer to editor! I actually did LOL!

        April 29, 2017 at 6:13 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      St Longinus,

      I didn’t know the FSSP were OK with both Masses, as that didn’t make sense to me, if they were ordained for the old rite and set up to be a Society of priests offering the old Mass. That’s really come as a shock to me and means I will discount them from now on. They’re not really a “traditional” group if they are going along with both Masses.

      April 26, 2017 at 9:30 pm
      • stlonginus

        A Catholic priest is ordained to offer the immemorial unchanging Mass of the saints in accordance with Quo Primum (Pope Saint Pius V), otherwise he’s not a Catholic priest. And he’s either properly ordained by a properly consecrated bishop, using the pre-1968 ordination rite, or he isn’t…

        April 27, 2017 at 3:47 am
      • editor

        St Longinus,

        You are now on very dangerous territory. It’s a nonsense to say that the overwhelming majority of priests in the Church today are not ordained. Just as ridiculous as the sede claim that there have been no popes since Pius XII – and since he opened the door to the vernacular modern Mass with his permission for dialogue Masses – it’s a wonder they recognise him at all.

        Since you have come to us via Novus Ordo Watch, please assure us that you are NOT a sedevacantist. We will – as you must know from our House Rules section – have nothing to do with those of such an UN-Catholic disposition and since we don’t want to end up in “going round in circles” mode, I would be grateful if you would identify yourself as such, if, indeed, you adhere to that modern (ironically) error known as sedevcacantism.

        April 27, 2017 at 9:35 am
      • stlonginus

        I attend the Ukrainian (Eastern) rite in full communion with Rome.
        I don’t see any danger in what Pope Paul IV promulgated in Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, but it’s your “house” and your rules. God bless.

        April 28, 2017 at 3:55 am
      • Nicky

        St Longinus,

        Why do you attend the Ukrainian rite – is there no Tridentine Mass near you?

        April 29, 2017 at 11:19 pm
      • Athanasius


        I don’t think Archbishop Lefebvre ever declared, or even hinted, that post-Vatican II ordinations are invalid. Had he done so then he would have deserved excommunication. I know some hold this extreme position but it simply isn’t tenable in light of Our Lord’s promise and in light of the Church’s teaching on indefectibility. It’s an emotional position, not a reasoned theological one.

        April 27, 2017 at 3:18 pm
      • Gotradition1!

        Some traditionalists, especially the sedevacantists, seem to believe that the Archbishop doubted the validity of the new ordination rite. Thus, they accuse the SSPX of compromise and that a few of our priests are dubiously ordained. This is absolutely false. This is part of a response I had written to a couple of Catholics who were entertaining such a position:

        One of the reasons the Archbishop expelled the “Nine”(in America in 1983) was precisely because they held that you always have to conditionally re-ordain priests that come from the Novus Ordo. Abp. Lefebvre refused to do so for Fr. Phillip Stark and the disobedient priests rebelled against him. He called this position a “tendency to schism”. http://archives.sspx.org/…/letter_to_american_friends…

        The SSPX has ALWAYS held that the new rite is valid in itself, but that Modernist bishops may introduce abuses into it. They do a case-by-case study for each individual. http://archives.sspx.org/misce…/conditional_ordination.pdf

        Besides, Traditionalists are very fond of priests such as Fr. Nicholas Gruner, Fr. Paul Kramer (who now works with the “resistance”), and Fr. Gregory Hesse. None of the above mentioned priests were conditionally re-ordained and in each case the Society thought it unnecessary. For some “resistance” faithful to do so shows that they tend towards the position of the sedevacantists.

        By the way, one of the most recent priests to come to the Society, Fr. Joseph Horvath (around 2011, during the height of the discussions), was in fact conditionally re-ordained. Every priest in the Society I know holds the same position as ever on this.

        April 27, 2017 at 8:10 pm
      • Athanasius


        Well said.

        April 27, 2017 at 11:08 pm
      • editor


        I wouldn’t dignify the sedevacantist cult by calling them “traditionalists”.

        That said, great post – thank you!

        April 27, 2017 at 11:25 pm
      • GoTradition1

        I agree, Madame Editor. I guess I was just referring to a very broad scope of “Tradition”, so to speak. This was taken from a debate I had with others who encouraged aspects of this position, so I suppose I’ll compromise on that much.

        April 28, 2017 at 2:40 am
      • Petrus

        I also agree. The priests at my local SSPX chapel have been helpful to diocesan priests eager to learn the Traditional Mass. I believe this is entirely in keeping with what Archbishop Lefebvre had in mind when he formed the SSPX – that it would preserve the Traditional Mass and be of service to the universal Church.

        April 29, 2017 at 1:37 pm
    • Margaret USA

      Caveat lector! Novus Ordo Watch is a sedevacantist website. I’m glad you found CT, though.

      April 30, 2017 at 9:52 pm
  • Athanasius

    The FSSP, from its very inception, is a compromise between Tradition and Modernism. Many of the priests of the FSSP celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass, for example, and recognise a certain validity in the new doctrines of ecumenism and religious freedom (not to be confused with religious tolerance, which is the Church’s Traditional teaching). The original idea behind the creation of the FSSP was that it should entice priests and faithful away from the SSPX. That didn’t happen of course and the FSSP soon took on a life of its own.

    It amazes me that these FSSP priests are so critical of the SSPX, without which they would either not have been ordained or would have been forced through Modernist seminaries. Indeed, the Traditional Catholic Mass and Traditional priestly formation would have vanished had it not been for the position taken by Archbishop Lefebvre and his Society. They owe everything to the SSPX, absolutely everything, and they know it in their conscience.

    The problem with fence sitting, though, is that you cannot then attribute praise and thanks to the people who deserve it when those upon whom you have come to depend for your continued existence disapprove. And of course the other problem is that you cannot ever speak honestly in defence of Traditional doctrine when your sponsors are men of new doctrine.

    God has brought some good from the FSSP despite the ill intention behind its original creation. It has grown tremendously over the years and as a result prepared many more priests to celebrate the ancient Mass of the Church when that rite is finally, and infallibly, declared once more to be the only liturgical rite worthy to be called the Ordinary Form of the Church.

    History will record the priests of the SSPX to be the true champions throughout the Modernist crisis, the only ones who remained 100% faithful to the full deposit of faith handed down despite almost unbearable persecution at the hands of an unjust liberal hierarchy. I suspect the FSSP, especially its founders, will be viewed much less favourably.

    The real reason why Father Gerstle doesn’t like to use the word Traditional is that he would then be forced to admit that there is a serious problem in the Church since Vatican II that strongly resembles the Modernist crisis predicted by the pre-conciliar Popes, particularly St. Pius X. He wants a foot in each camp, Tradition without the persecution, heaven without the Cross, which is what he gets with his present stance. The only problem with his position is that it is not honest, and I think his conscience troubles him about that. Hence the reason why he doesn’t want to distinguish between Traditional and Modernist liberal Catholics. Everyone knows that the divide exists, just look at the devastation in the Church since the latter usurped the positions of influence in Rome and elsewhere.

    So what is the real reason why Fr. Gerstle dislikes the use of the word Traditional? It has to be conscience. I simply do not believe that he is genuinely convinced that all Catholics today fundamentally believe and practice the same ancient faith that came down unsullied for almost two thousand years to the fateful Vatican II. He’s too educated a man to believe such nonsense.

    This having been said, I again express my support for a personal prelature for the SSPX, should it be offered without compromise. Such an agreement between the Pope and the SSPX would be entirely different from the setup between Rome and the FSSP, not least because the SSPX would not be dependent on local ordinaries for its continued existence. It would be free to continue as it is now, upholding both the Mass and doctrine against dangerous novelties. There will be no bi-ritual, cross-doctrinal compromise on the part of the SSPX for the sake of a superficial acceptance and recognition by Modernists. They will be accepted as they are or not at all, that is, as Traditional Catholics.

    April 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm
    • stlonginus

      And why should the Vatican ‘accept’ the SSPX ‘as they are’? What has the Vatican to gain? What has the SSPX to lose?

      April 26, 2017 at 8:51 pm
      • Athanasius


        It’s not the Vatican that wants this union, it’s Pope Francis and he seems to be quite unconcerned about laying down conditions. The SSPX has absolutely nothing to lose if this proves to be the case. Similarly, the Church can only gain from a positive reception of the SSPX, assuming it gets to stay as it is.

        April 26, 2017 at 9:14 pm
      • stlonginus


        That is an assumption fraught with danger. The ‘modernists’ in Rome are duplicitous smooth talkers who can be counted on to eventually renege on whatever promises are made.

        April 27, 2017 at 2:48 am
      • editor

        St Longinus,

        Bishop Fellay is on to them – worry not!

        April 27, 2017 at 9:31 am
      • Athanasius


        Trust has to start somewhere! I think Bishop Fellay is well aware of the pitfalls and will be extremely careful in these negotiations. But if all else fails we can always return to where we are now.

        The SSPX was never meant to be on its own this long, the fear being that some may harden in their opinions towards Rome to the extreme that they end up effectively as schismatic as the Protestants. I know this concerned Archbishop Lefebvre who loved the Church and Rome. No, we can do more good within the structures provided the right deal is struck with care.

        April 27, 2017 at 3:13 pm
      • stlonginus

        The length of time the SSPX (and others) have been ‘on its own’ isn’t that long in the grand scheme of history, and likely not in God’s eyes either. The apostles thought the end of the world was fast approaching after Jesus was crucified…

        April 28, 2017 at 4:23 am
      • editor

        St Longinus,

        That’s true, but it’s far too long in the sense that there are people – certainly in our Glasgow chapel – who just want the irregular situation to remain indefinitely. They are,undoubtedly, possessed of the schismatic spirit which Archbishop Lefebvre recognised as a real danger, the longer this situation persists These people don’t even want us to have a bigger chapel to accommodate the growing congregation! It’s incredible. So, the sooner things are normalised, the better.

        April 28, 2017 at 9:35 am
      • stlonginus

        I understand people get very set in their ways and are rightfully threatened by the looming changes. I do hope you get that bigger chapel. I just don’t want to see all the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ the faithful have expended over the decades, to keep the faith, go down the wolf’s gullet and disappear into the maelstrom. What has gone on in Rome since I was born cannot be called ‘normal’ as far as Catholics are concerned.

        April 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm
      • Athanasius


        I think we need to trust God in this. The SSPX is a work of God, maintained and protected by Him since 1970. So we have to think more supernaturally and not get trapped into thinking that our human efforts are what keeps the SSPX in existence. God keeps the SSPX in existence.

        April 28, 2017 at 9:45 pm
      • Athanasius


        The SSPX has been on its own for the best part of a generation. It’s that generation we have to be immediately concerned about, the effect that so long a time in exile can have on those particular souls.

        April 28, 2017 at 9:48 pm
      • stlonginus

        Think too, about how long the first Catholics were in ‘exile’. If, or since, the SSPX exists by God’s grace, then we shouldn’t be too worried about length of time they’re seemingly outside the ‘institutional’ church. Perhaps, just perhaps, that is God’s way of protecting a part of the remnant and to allow it to be given over to the enemy would be the height of folly.

        April 29, 2017 at 3:04 pm
      • Athanasius


        That was never Archbishop Lefebvre’s intention. His Grace was devoted to the Papacy and to Rome, he never sought to remain outside the institutional Church any longer than was absolutely necessary. If he had been offered what appears to be about to be offered to Bishop Fellay, he would have jumped at the opportunity.

        It seems to me that we have reached a point where some people in the SSPX are thinking up objections to stay apart from Rome. That’s a very deceptive and dangerous mindset. The Church needs the SSPX now and it’s a quite remarkable turnaround to hear senior prelates state the fact.

        April 29, 2017 at 10:46 pm
      • Laura

        well said. I agree that some people in the SSPX just keep objecting to anything that would put the situation right with Rome. It’s a truly schismatic attitude. I hope the Society is regularised soon, the Church really does need them.

        April 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm
      • stlonginus

        Where did you get the idea that the Archbishop would think that now is a good time to go back to Rome when he thought it was not a good idea in the 1980s and things have only become more ‘confused’ since those days? And what is being offered to Bishop Fellay that is too good to pass up?

        April 30, 2017 at 3:39 am
      • Athanasius


        I don’t want to get into this debate again, a debate I’ve had with “Resistance” people many times to no avail.

        The Archbishop, if you recall, initially signed the 1988 protocol on the basis of the SSPX being permitted to celebrate only the ancient Mass of the Church and having one Bishop assigned to it. The only reason Archbishop Lefebvre pulled out of that agreement was his suspicion that the promised Bishop was not going to be appointed any time soon. This rightly made him suspect the motives of Cardinal Ratzinger and prompted him to withdraw from the protocol.

        Today Bishop Fellay is offered a personal prelature which, so far as we know, will keep the SSPX autonomous from the diocesan bishops. It will be permitted to remain as it is with its own bishops, with the Mass and without any requirement to compromise on its essential position. That is way superior to what was on offer to Archbishop Lefebvre back in 1988, a time when there was greater hostility towards the old Mass than there is now.

        You say that things are much worse in the Church now than then, and in some respects you’re right. But let us not forget the outrage of Assisi that happened under John Paul II before the Archbishop negotiated the protocol. When people understand the gravity of what John Paul II did through Assisi, unprecedented in Church history, they soon realise that few of the scandals that have taken place since can rival that one.

        So let us not imagine that things are worse overall today than back in the 1980s. The 70s and 80s were the worse two decades in sacred history for liturgical abuse, the dismantling of chapels, the closing of seminaries and religious houses and the loss of vocations. What I think is different today is that having undermined the faith from that period to present, they are now targetting the Church’s moral teaching.

        But regardless of how deep the crisis is, it was the Archbishop’s undying desire to help the Church from within its structures. He was a wise and saintly prelate who knew that this was the place for the SSPX. Remember, the SSPX was unjustly forced into exile and now we have this extraordinary situation of some people within the SSPX trying to force it to stay in exile despite providential signs that God has greater things planned for it.

        The Church needs the SSPX and the SSPX needs the Church. If, as you say, the crisis is worse now than in the day of Archbishop Lefebvre, then it is quite obvious that it needs the SSPX more than ever. We need to leave these matters in God’s hands. Bishop Fellay knows what he’s doing.

        April 30, 2017 at 1:53 pm
      • stlonginus

        Having been born in the late 1950s, I don’t disagree with your assessment of JPII.
        And you’re correct. Bishop Fellay does know what he’s doing. Perhaps, if I’m alive in 15-20 years, we’ll be able to ‘catch up’ and compare notes. In the meantime, since resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated.

        May 1, 2017 at 3:03 am
  • RCA Victor

    The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements. However, some texts are formulated in such a way that they can give way to misinterpretations.

    Nothing to see here, folks, it’s all in the hermeneutics…

    Translation: the FSSP has sold its soul to the Modernist revolution, in exchange for the “right” to celebrate the Traditional Mass. Fr. Gerstle should wear a white flag of surrender, not a black cassock. Or perhaps he should sign on with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Disgusting.

    April 26, 2017 at 7:41 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      RCA Victor,

      “he should wear a white flag of surrender instead of a cassock” – LOL!

      April 26, 2017 at 9:25 pm
    • Josephine

      That says it all – “The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements.

      No breach with any previous magisterial statements? What about “outside the Catholic Church no salvation”? The document on Ecumenism breaches that statement, surely!

      April 26, 2017 at 11:20 pm
  • Athanasius

    RCA Victor

    I think Fr. Gerstle is already aware of his awkward position. I would say he’s trying to convince himself more than anyone else. If he’s an honest priest with a properly formed conscience he will eventually have to admit to the truth, which is that he is neutral in the war to uphold sound doctrine.

    April 26, 2017 at 9:20 pm
    • RCA Victor


      Do you know whether the German FSSP receives funds from the state-imposed church tax, as do the “mainstream” diocese?

      April 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    Fr. Gerstle is typical of Catholics who like to think of themselves as “traditionalists” but also want to belong to the modern church in the diocese.

    I thought I was seeing things when I read that he says the novus ordo could enrich the traditional Latin Mass. What planet is he on?

    April 26, 2017 at 9:24 pm
    • Petrus

      The only way in which the Novus Ordo could enrich the Traditional Mass would be if every Novus Ordo Missal in the land be burned and the power generated used to heat SSPX churches!

      But then again, we all know what doesn’t burn!

      April 26, 2017 at 9:55 pm
      • editor


        April 26, 2017 at 11:40 pm
      • gabriel syme


        That is hilarious and brutally incisive!

        every Novus Ordo Missal in the land be burned and the power generated used to heat SSPX churches!

        We at St Andrews could be doing with a system like that in winter!

        For as long as the hierarchy obstinately persevere with the novus ordo, it could be considered a form of renewable energy (as they keep printing more missals!).

        Maybe we could get a government grant to install this “novus ordo power” renewable heating system in our Church?

        April 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm
      • RCA Victor


        I’m a grant writer by trade, i.e. well-schooled in the art of making any situation look like Chicken Little was correct (there’s a crude American name for that skill…), so if we can get Editor to develop a budget, I’ll write the narrative!

        April 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm
      • RCA Victor


        While we’re burning, let’s throw in the documents of Vatican II as well! Not sure those Missals and documents would work in a furnace though – think of all that black smoke…..

        April 27, 2017 at 4:39 pm
      • Petrus

        I’d also add the rainbow stoles!

        April 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm
    • RCA Victor

      Margaret Mary,

      That insane statement rang a distant bell – Fr. Gerstle is apparently referring to Pope Benedict’s much earlier statement in Summorum: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/5389/How_the_ordinary_form_of_the_Mass_can_enrich_the_extraordinary_form.aspx

      April 26, 2017 at 11:19 pm
      • Josephine

        RCA Victor,

        I remember that discussion before, about the old Mass enriching the new one. It is ludicrous to think they had to bring back the old Mass to make the new Mass better, LOL! That really is ridiculous.

        April 26, 2017 at 11:23 pm
      • editor


        Ridiculous? Do you mean to say, you think that statement is (en)rich (ing)?


        April 26, 2017 at 11:41 pm
  • Helen

    Can anybody enlighten a young thing like me as to which elements below are enriching?

    “Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.” “

    April 27, 2017 at 10:51 am
    • Laura


      My guess? The sign of peace and Extraordinary Ministers

      April 27, 2017 at 11:05 am
    • RCA Victor


      The first thing you’d have to do, in figuring that out, is distinguish between what the Catholic Faith finds to be enriching, and what the enemies of the Faith think is enriching. Those two enrichments, you will find, are diametrically opposed to each other….and therefore, from a Catholic perspective, the statement is not only ludicrous, but actually meaningless.

      April 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm
      • Lily

        RCA Victor,

        That’s the word I would use – “meaningless”. There’s no way the new Mass can enrich the old.

        April 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm
    • Nicky

      I suggest they would take the lay involvement of all kinds and try to introduce that to the traditional Mass, so there would be lay readers, lay people giving out Communion under both kinds, standing for Communion and receiving in the hand. All that, probably, they’d think would “enrich” the Latin Mass. No way!

      April 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm
  • gabriel syme

    That the two rites could possibly be “mutually enriching” is a very patronising statement; it is clearly designed to “save face” for the modernists, rather than reflect reality.

    The only use of the new rite is to act as a definitive case study as to “how not to do things”.

    In his interview, I think Father Gerstle is very much pandering to modernists and the German Bishops is particular.

    I think his interview gives a poor impression of the FSSP and certainly encourages the view that they will accept anything, just as long as they can continue to say the traditional mass. Prior to his interview, I always regarded that as a harsh analysis, but now I can see there is truth in it (even if Fr Gerstle’s views are not universal in the FSSP).

    It is silly of Father Gerstle to “tsk tsk” at the thought of the Church “imposing” a certain liturgy on people. I wonder what his thoughts are on the brutal imposition of the current drivel which passes as liturgy in the mainstream Church?

    Father also glosses over the various ruptures caused by Vatican II. It is not sufficient to claim Rome has made clarifications: bad practice (which is the norm in the modern Church) must be corrected, and faulty documents must be revised or discarded.

    While the commentary under the article above does acknowledge that not all FSSP priests may think like Father, I think he has left the FSSP looking poorly in light of his interview.

    April 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      Well said. I endorse every word.

      I paid a flying visit to The Remnant just now and found this critique of the toothless head of the CDF – click here to read it.

      Although it’s not about the FSSP or the new Mass per se I think it fits well here, on this thread, because, ultimately, the very existence of the FSSP and the new Mass, IS about the crisis and Pope Francis and his sidekick, Cardinal Muller, are part and parcel, and playing a leading role in the worsening crisis right now.

      April 27, 2017 at 4:35 pm
      • RCA Victor

        GS & Editor,

        Just read The Remnant article: Christopher Ferrara at his best. But this from Dr. Anna Silvas, whom Ferrara quotes extensively, caught my eye:

        Make no mistake, the end game is a more or less indifferent permission for any who present for Holy Communion.

        Sorry, Dr. Silvas, that’s not the end game: look much further down the road. The end game, as I’ve said elsewhere, is to integrate the Catholic Faith into a new world religion. And in order to do that, Holy Communion must be changed from the spiritual food of the Mystical Body into a meaningless warm and fuzzy sharing of good vibes by the “community,” regardless of the state of those who partake.

        As an integral part of this destruction, from what I understand there is another new Mass being developed in secret, which, according to rumors, would allow Protestants to communicate (??) as well. I’m guessing that there will be no Consecration in this new creature of the devil….

        That said. Gabriel Syme, I heartily endorse Editor’s endorsement of your post!

        April 27, 2017 at 4:59 pm
  • Therese

    RCA Victor

    Spot on. Sadly.

    And in order to do that, Holy Communion must be changed from the spiritual food of the Mystical Body into a meaningless warm and fuzzy sharing of good vibes by the “community,” regardless of the state of those who partake.

    I don’t believe that those purported “Masses” which involve ludicrously dancing women (many of whom should know better, at their age), and aged congregations, clapping and gyrating, are actually in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t think they believe they are, and I don’t think they actually are. I think that the end game, for them, the priests and congregations like them, is now.

    April 27, 2017 at 6:15 pm
    • Nicky

      As in “mission accomplished”! I agree!

      April 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm
  • Lily

    What that article with the German FSSP superior has done for me, is convince me that they are not fighting the crisis in the Church. They are providing Latin Masses, but so what. So are lots of diocesan priests. Now that I know they are also saying the novus ordo, I am writing them off.

    April 29, 2017 at 1:28 pm
  • crofterlady

    Having returned from holiday, I have been catching up with the blog. I’ve often wondered about the FSSP and that article by Fr. Gerstle has confirmed suspicions I’ve held for a while.

    I also worry about the Society being away from the mainstream Church for such a long time. I know that in the great scheme of things it’s not that long, but it is still a worry that we may not want to join up again, if you see what I mean. A sort of “I’m alright Jack” mentality.

    I was surprised at the comment up above about folk at St. Andrew’s not wanting a bigger chapel to allow for the expanding congregation. Why on earth not? What could possibly be wrong about that?The last time I attended Mass there a group of over 18 of us had to stand at the back! The congregation was squashed into the seats with little or no room for any item other than bodies!

    April 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      I agree with you re. the FSSP.

      I also wonder why on earth anyone would not want a larger SSPX church?

      April 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm
      • Josephine

        Margaret Mary,

        People have all sorts of dark motives for things and in parishes it’s usually to do with power. Some people form a clique and they think they own the place, they run everything, finger in every pie. If the SSPX get a bigger church, new people arriving, offering to do things, the clique might lose their power-base. I think that’s probably it.

        April 29, 2017 at 11:14 pm
      • Helen

        Are you having a laugh about cliques? In a Catholic chapel? Surely not. If this is the case then it is shameful and the priest should put a stop to it. Whatever next!

        April 30, 2017 at 8:55 pm
  • Therese

    Ah Helen, so young, so innocent!

    April 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

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