The SSPX and Pope Francis

Discussion in 'Pope Francis' started by Scolaire Bocht, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Today in a very unexpected and I think great move Pope Francis has decided to specifically include the SSPX in the Year of Mercy. He has decided to explicitly state that during the upcoming Year of Mercy all SSPX confessions will be considered valid. You can read about it here:

    The SSPX has replied generously in turn:

    To clarify the position: All parties, I think its fair to say, recognise SSPX priests as being validly ordained and that SSPX masses are valid and for the faithful they fulfill the Sunday obligation. But about some of the other sacraments there are question marks. This is because some of those sacraments, like confession, can only be performed, to a degree at least, by priests who are legally installed in dioceses etc (called 'incarnated') and can not be performed otherwise except in emergency situations. The SSPX say that we are in an emergency situation but some find the theology behind that to be a little thin and hence there are question over SSPX confessions etc.

    Well now this completely unexpected move by Pope Francis has, at least with respect to the Year of Mercy which starts this December, wonderfully clarified things and has guaranteed the validity of these confessions.

    Of course this is a tremendous moment in SSPX/Vatican relations and hopefully will be the first step in a process where the two will get together completely and heal the rift that began in earnest in 1988.

    Currently the SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X) has been described as half in and half out of the Catholic Church and for those who don't know it I thought I would include a very short history here:


    History of the SSPX

    The French Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve - who as the head of the Holy Ghost congregation had many connections to Ireland, Eamonn de Valera even worked as his altar boy once - set up the Society during the somewhat chaotic post Vat-II years as a priestly society dedicated to retaining the Latin mass and traditional Church practices. From that point, 1970, until 1988 he was operating, more or less, within the Church structures but in the latter year he decided to consecrate four new bishops for his order in direct breach of instructions from Rome. The latter responded by excommunicating him and those four bishops and in this state of separation from Rome the Society existed until 2009 when, in a gesture widely perceived as leading to a healing of the rupture, the excommunications were lifted. This of course was also combined with Pope Benedict's overall reaching out to the Traditional movement, with his Moto Proprio garanteeing the right of Catholics to attend the Latin mass etc.

    From that time until now there have been many discussions with the Vatican and currently the impasse rests on a wish from Rome that the Society would sign a document explicitly welcoming Vatican II into the magisterium of the Church, among other matters of course.

    Whatever about at the Roman level these meetings have had a huge impact on the SSPX itself. Many priests, and Bishop Williamson, have left or being kicked out of the SSPX usually in a spirit of opposition and suspicion of what Rome and Menzingen (the SSPX HQ in Switzerland) are cooking up. Even in Ireland this year two priests, Rev. Edward F. MacDonald and Rev. Giacomo Ballini, the former recently stationed in Athlone and the latter based in Cork, left the SSPX in opposition to these talks.

    Probably because of this turmoil in the SSPX at the last meeting of the Society with Cardinal Muller, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, it was agreed to have more widespread meetings between the Society and Church officials rather than just these meetings with the head of the Order. As part of this policy Bishop Athanasius Schneider - as a member of the German community in Russia he fled the former USSR and is currently an auxiliary bishop in Astrana in Kasakhstan - visited two of their seminaries recently, in France and in Winona in the US, and has commented on the results of his visits here: .

    There he is very positive about the SSPX, and thinks that the Vatican should just recognise them as they are, without a special document on Vatican II, and it may be under his influence that this extraordinary and beautiful step has been taken.

    So anyway I just hope that people on this board might like to pray for the SSPX and their congregations so that may come more properly under the sacred, if at times difficult, umbrella of obedience to Rome.
  2. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Well I think this is a great step and so in special thanks to Pope Francis, and in recognition of the great work that the SSPX has also done, especially in Ireland, I thought I would dedicate this song:
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  3. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Actually I did not think the response from SSPX was either gracious or generous. To my reading it says "we didn't really need this, we always knew we were right and we will continue in the way we have always thought was better and best". It just seemed a bit arrogant to me and shows a lack of humility which as ever goes with a lack of obedience.
  4. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    I must say I don't agree Aloysius. You see you must take into account the atmosphere here. In the SSPX right now it is very fraught, in Ireland for example they literally nearly lost their whole position in Cork, obviously the South of Ireland's second city, when that priest left in dramatic circumstances. You now have as much if not more sede vacante priests in Ireland as SSPX which is a tremendous turn around and has meant that the SSPX has lost nearly half it's congregation.

    And all this out of a great suspicion that the HQ will sell out tradition to Rome. So they are on egg shells here and of course they always insisted that their confessions are valid - and maybe they are for all we know, it is complicated - so I at least was very concerned they would be a little dismissive of this step.

    Instead they have welcomed it as a fatherly gesture by the Pope so I'm delighted anyway, I don't think they were dismissive at all. And this is despite the fact that some commentators are linking the steps on abortion with this step with respect to the SSPX as if somehow the SSPX had been guilty of as serious a sin!
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  5. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Thanks for that correction Scolaire. It's good to hear that things are better in Ireland with their attitude to Pope Francis. My experience of SSPX is that they are so rigid in their outlook that they will not contemplate even the smallest of changes no matter how much benefit they may contain. They blame everything on Vatican II and refuse to examine the dreadful state of church affairs in the 60s and 70s that could not be blamed on Vatican II and this includes cases of abuse. They refuse to acknowledge the need for change. They should never have used the Tridentine mass as a tool with which to split the wood of the cross so that it could not bear the weight of the body. All the Popes since then have strived to keep the cross intact and our eyes fixed on Jesus. We have not even looked at their prelates who have denied the holocaust. They are a welcoming bunch but they will not budge on their tradition which, as far as I can see, is quite a different thing from true Church Tradition. Anyone who disagrees with them is regarded at best as ignorant, at worst as subversive, and usually both. I know this goes both ways but undeniably they have caused schism, we never caused schism, they are the ones who left, and now they are suffering further schism from within their own ranks. Invariably protesting Catholics become Protestants. It would indeed be wonderful if they could submit themselves to Pontifical authority once again but as you say, rather then do this, there is now a move to sedevacantism among them which suggests they will settle for nothing less than autonomy. It seems they want their own Pope. They have dug such a deep and wide gulf between themselves and the Roman Catholic Church that only the Pope can save them. Now that's ironic. Their nemesis is their salvation. As I have said before even their liturgical calendar is different. How can contemporary Catholics follow such a contentious faction. They are probably best left to themselves and if they are not in line with God's will they will not survive. Even the Warning and the Miracle will not necessarily be enough. They will still have a choice and for some, I fear, their pride may be too much to accommodate change and conversion. Meanwhile I am proud of our Pope's actions in allowing the rest of us lesser Catholics to avail themselves of sacramental services provided by them should that be necessary. Any port in The Storm. It's not just a question of Chateauneuf du Pape or Beaujolais. Its a question of the vintage and the vine and most of all the soil or the ground which once again brings us back to obedience and humility whose root word means earth.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2015
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  6. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Many thanks Aloysius and of course I have to accept that some people do fall into the category you describe, of spiritual pride etc and lacking the humility to respond to the sincere approaches of Pope Benedict in particular. Although in truth maybe many who fall into that trap have left the SSPX now anyway.

    But overall I think it would be an unfair characterisation of traditionalists, in Ireland anyway. They are quite well aware of grave problems in the Church because they can see how the Church has spent so much money in many cases ruining existing Church buildings, just to take one example. So they didn't find the scandals all that surprising really and overall just wanted to keep going reverential masses and good Church practices, and in so many respects are I think right on that.

    But of course a Catholic is somebody who, among many other things of course, supports the Pope and as you say it's an inevitably Protestant drift to rebel against him or the Church. In any case hopefully now the SSPX will come back and make that next good step, having taken so many good steps before this and only a few stray ones.
    Joe Crozier likes this.
  7. It seems to me that Pope Francis is casting the nets in all directions -ALL directions- under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on the coming Jubilee of Mercy.

    Let us do our part: LET US PRAY that much fish is caught from ALL directions. Let MERCY prevail and touch first of all the priests who will be dispensing it, as well as the whole Church in dire need of conversion and mercy. May God grant us that we be able to invite conversion of those beyond her walls with credibility.
  8. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Nice comment wcwts but what bible does this come from. Sounds like a scolding woman.."you men." Its not the Catholic Bible online. I only looked at this one.
  9. kathy k

    kathy k Guest

  10. The 'scolding woman' is Jesus Our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane, in dire need for help from his friends and followers, the apostles. Exactly like He is today, and still addressing us these words.
    Now you can choose the translation of your preference. Here you have a few:

    KJ21 “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?
    ASV What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
    AMP What! Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour?
    BRG What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
    CEB “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me?
    CJB “Were you so weak that you couldn’t stay awake with me for even an hour?
    CEV “Can’t any of you stay awake with me for just one hour?
    DARBY Thus ye have not been able to watch one hour with me?
    DLNT “So were you not strong-enough to keep watch with Me for one hour?
    DRA What? Could you not watch one hour with me?
    ERV “Could you men not stay awake with me for one hour?
    ESV “So, could you not watch with me one hour?
    ESVUK “So, could you not watch with me one hour?
    EXB “You men could not ·stay awake [watch] with me for one hour?
    GNV What? could ye not watch with me one hour?
    GW “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?
    GNT “How is it that you three were not able to keep watch with me for even one hour?
    HCSB “So, couldn’t you stay awake with Me one hour?
    ICB “You men could not stay awake with me for one hour?
    ISV “So, you men couldn’t stay awake with me for one hour, could you?
    PHILLIPS “Couldn’t you three keep awake with me for a single hour?
    JUB What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
    KJV What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
    AKJV What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
    LEB “So, were you not able to stay awake with me one hour?
    TLB “couldn’t you even stay awake with me one hour?
    MSG “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour?
    MEV “So, could you not keep watch with Me one hour?
    MOUNCE “So, could you men not keep watch with me for a single hour?
    NOG “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?
    NABRE “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
    NASB “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?
    NCV “You men could not stay awake with me for one hour?
    NET “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?
    NIRV “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?”
    NIV “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.
    NIVUK ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter.
    NKJV “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?
    NLV “Were you not able to watch with Me one hour?
    NLT “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?
    NRSV “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
    NRSVA ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
    NRSVACE ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
    NRSVCE “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
    OJB So were you not strong enough to be awake for one hour with me?
    RSV “So, could you not watch with me one hour?
    RSVCE “So, could you not watch with me one hour?
    VOICE So you couldn’t keep watch with Me for just one short hour?
    WEB “What, couldn’t you watch with me for one hour?
    WE `What? Could you not watch with me for one hour?
    WYC So, whether ye might not one hour wake with me?
    YLT `So! ye were not able one hour to watch with me!
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  11. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Thanks for the choice.
  12. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

  13. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Hi WCWTS,
    It seems you have misconstrued my comment. I was not referring to you as a scolding woman and I knew exactly who you were trying to quote. I was not going to take this any further and was going to say that my comment was only meant as a joke but in reality it resulted from my antennae going up. While I trust your quote had no hidden agenda I knew instinctively that your quote did not come from a Catholic version. Even translations of the bible have a political bias. Feminism has been the greatest proponent of contraception, divorce and abortion. The NIV 2011 bible has been referred to as the feminist bible. When it was published it was reported that the homosexual community rejoiced, as did feminists. In its drive for political correctness as a means of control it indulges in vertical inclusive language which is unacceptable to the magisterium. While your quote is not an example of this it is an example of the accusatory tone that feminists use in their role as victims of patriarchal systems and in defense of their so called rights to make choices about life that are detrimental to and exclusive of male opinion. While I like to think you had no such intention, its tone can easily be seen as feminist aggression. In your list all the versions that have the phrase "you men" are the NITV, NIV, NIVUK, ERV all with vertical gender inclusive or neutral language (you can look up what vertical and horizontal language means.) The point is that the church has rejected such language as unacceptable.
    For your interest The Catholic Online Version is
    He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping and he said to Peter. "So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour."
    These are the words of Jesus that I recognize. This is the voice that I know.
    I meant no offense to you but it is important for Catholics to read the right bible. To connect with this thread: while I do not agree with the Trads/SSPX in general I believe they are quite right to reject modernist trends such as those embraced by and expressed through politically driven feminism whose purpose is to increase personal power rather then the Power of God and His Word. It also changes and mis-translates the Bible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2015
  14. Thanks Aloysius for taking the time to explain your point. I certainly didn't get it from your first post.

    I have to confess that the particular translation I chose was mere chance, and when I actually saw the "men" word didn't feel like a good option. But almost immediately I felt inside that yes, the word men was appropriate and should remain. It is a painful rebuke of Jesus to the men he wanted as close friends. So I left it thinking that maybe men in particular need to hear the rebuke from Jesus at this time and the need for prayer.

    I have to say also that English is not my first language and I'm not savvy about Bible versions. Probably I should by now but I'm not. I'm not fond of any of the English versions. I just use Bible Gateway as a practical thing -that's where I take the English quotes.

    So I think you have a good point and I apologize if my selection of this verse of the Gospel is causing scandal in any way. I will appreciate that you tell me how the quote should read in a Catholic authorized version and I'll change it.

    God bless you!
  15. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Thank you for your response.LCWTS.
    I am positive your comment caused no scandal and your English is excellent, better than many who have it as a first language. The version I quoted above is from the NAB which is approved. Time for my rosary. I will remember to include you. Hope you have a good day.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2015
  16. Andy3

    Andy3 Powers

    What an excellent example of charitable debate, mutual respect and understanding. I have been so disheartened of late spending too much time on Catholic/Protestant debate forums and I just had to excuse myself today because there is little love and charity in such debates and this stuff is not good for the soul. You both remind me of what a true follower of Christ is and why I love being Catholic. Though we all have our differences we must always show our brothers and sisters love and respect because behind all eyes is the light of the Lord somewhere in there even if just a pin prick of light.
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  17. miker

    miker Powers

    Interesting that the verse in the official US bishop site reads as follows:

    40When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?

    I find it amazing that he addresses Peter directly here. Maybe I'm making too much of this, but with all that Francis is doing and planning this year, it's almost as if, he has taken thus message to heart as the "Peter " of our time to help us to stay awake right now so that Jesus finds us ready?
    hope likes this.
  18. Eamonn

    Eamonn Guest

    Are dialogue and reconciliation with the SSPX part of the Jubilee for Mercy?

    Vatican City, Sep 3, 2015 / 02:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' decision that during the Jubilee Year of Mercy the faithful can receive absolution from priests of the Society of St. Pius X is the most recent attempt at reconciliation with the priestly society, according to a Vatican official.

    The decision must be understood as Pope Francis extending his arm to the SSPX, a Vatican official who has taken part in talks between the Vatican and the society told CNA Sept. 2.

    The official added that for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has solved the issue of the validity of absolutions granted by priests of the society.

    In his Sept. 1 letter detailing the Holy Year of Mercy, which runs from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016, Pope Francis wrote that among his considerations were “those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X.”

    “This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” he reflected. “From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity.”

    “In the meantime, motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.”

    Later that day, the SSPX released a statement “express(ing) its gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this fatherly gesture … on the occasion of this Holy Year, Pope Francis wants all the faithful who wish to confess to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to be able to do so without being worried.”
    The society's statement added that “in the ministry of the sacrament of penance, we have always relied, with all certainty, on the extraordinary jurisdiction conferred by the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law.”

    The statement reflects the SSPX's belief that even though their priests have not been given the faculty of hearing confessions by local ordinaries (because of their irregular situation in the Church) – which is necessary for the valid absolution of sins – their absolutions are nevertheless valid, because they believe Church to be in a state of “emergency” which overrides the need for faculties given by the local bishop.

    The Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 to form priests, as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Church following the Second Vatican Council. Its relations with the Holy See became strained in 1988 when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II.

    The illicit consecration resulted in the excommunication of the five bishops; the excommunications were lifted in 2009 by Benedict XVI, and since then, negotiations between the Society and the Vatican have continued, “to rediscover full communion with the Church.”

    In remitting the excommunications, Benedict also noted that “doctrinal questions obviously remain and until they are clarified the Society has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers cannot legitimately exercise any ministry.”

    The biggest obstacle for the society's reconciliation has been the statements on religious liberty in Vatican II's declaration Dignitatis humanae, which it claims contradicts previous Catholic teaching.

    Doctrinal discussions between the SSPX and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith broke down in the summer of 2012, when the society's superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, would not sign a doctrinal preamble presented by Rome.

    In December 2012 the vice-president of the Ponticial Commission Ecclesia Dei, Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, wrote to the society's priests, seeking “reconciliation and healing” and urging them that “some new considerations of a more spiritual and theological nature are needed … considerations that focus rather on our duty to preserve and cherish the divinely willed unity and peace of the Church.”

    Talks between the CDF and the society resumed in 2014. In September of that year, representatives of both bodies held a two-hour meeting to discuss matters of Church teaching. The Holy See press office stated that “various problems of a doctrinal and canonical nature were examined, and it was decided to proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time in order to overcome difficulties and with a view to the envisioned full reconciliation.”

    And within the past year, the Holy See delegated both Cardinal Walter Brandmuller and Bishop Athanasius Schneider to visit the seminaries of the SSPX.

    The prelates were sent to become better acquainted with the society, and to discuss doctrinal and theological topics in a less formal context in accord with the September 2014 meeting between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the CDF.

    Both Cardinal Brandmuller and Bishop Schneider may well be among the brother bishops whom Pope Francis said “have told me of [the SSPX's] good faith and sacramental practice,” coupled with an uneasy pastoral situation – in August, Bishop Schneider told Adelante la Fe that “I could observe a sound theological, spiritual and human reality” in the society's seminaries.

    Another recent sign of reconciliation toward the SSPX came earlier this year when the CDF appointed Bishop Fellay the first-instance judge in adelicta graviora case involving a priest of the society. Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, told Vatican Insider the decision was “a sign of benevolence and magnanimity” and “a step toward reconciliation.”

    In the end, Pope Francis' gesture of an open arm toward the SSPX for the mercy jubilee can be seen in the context of a hope for full reconciliation, amid a history of positive signs punctuated by halts in discussions between Rome and the priestly society

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