SSPX: Will UK Priests Split?

Dear Fr. Morgan, Dear Fathers,

We beg of you in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, high priest and lover of souls, in the name of his Blessed Mother, in the name of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and in the name of all the wonderful, holy ideals which led you to answer the call to become a shepherd and a lover of souls – aid our souls now, in our moment of need. Read more

The above letter is a blatant piece of rebel-propaganda designed to encourage the SSPX clergy of the UK to abandon the Society and set up shop with them. What a nerve!

We hope that the priests who receive the above “letter of entreaty” will bin it without a second thought.

Give serious consideration, rather, to the following entreaty from Catholic Truth:


And that’s the purpose of this thread – to offer many more reasons for staying within the Society than for abandoning ship.

The chaos and confusion, the danger to souls of such a split as that being promoted by these unconscionable rebels, is just too great to contemplate. So let’s encourage the District Superior to remain faithful to the Society. Hopefully, he doesn’t need our encouragement but in case it helps him to keep the wolves, the rebels, at bay please offer him, and all the UK Society priests, your encouragement.

In summary: to the rebels we say “Go!” (Well, that’s the polite version).

To the clergy, we say: “Stay!”


For the General Discussion thread click here


109 responses

  1. Sixupman,

    I don’t know any of the signatories so will take your word for it that this is astonishing news. What I find truly “astonishing” is that these folk have the sheer audacity to (a) send such an outrageous letter to the Society Superior in the UK and his priests and (b) publish it on the internet.

    Yet, what’s the bet that WE’LL get the stick (on a certain rebel forum) for discussing it here?!

  2. I’m horrified by the arrogance of that letter, which seeks to dress up anti-Catholic behaviour in faux-pious rhetoric. No-one can be in any doubt that the future of any organisation formed by these individuals will have a very short and stormy shelf-life.

    Fr Morgan and the priests of the GB District must find themselves in an very difficult position and I imagine that the pressures being brought to bear on them are extreme.

    Division and rebellion are never of God, and I believe that Fr Morgan is a man of God.

    I will pray for him and for the unity of the Society.

  3. The arrogance of these people is just breathtaking and smacks of sheer desperation. They are troubled and troublesome souls who are, thankfully, in a very small minority. The SSPX remains in tact and on course in its non-schismatic defence of Sacred Tradition.

    The situation is a carbon copy of the rebellion of a few who rose up against Archbishop Lefebvre with similarly-accusing rhetoric in 1983. They faded into obscurity and so will this wee bunch. I don’t think anyone actually takes them seriously any more. It’s really rather pathetic!

  4. Is it not long overdue for Fr. Morgan to make a formal declaration on this matter. In the past he has not been shy of threatening anathemas against those whom he has decided have erred in lack of support for himself. [Not myself btw.]

  5. *sigh* Why can’t these Priests stop dilly-dallying and unite with Rome, and continue the Mission of Tradition from within the Church rather from outside? The Doctrinal Differences are barely noticeable, it’s just that there is a now ageing generation of hippies that have liberal interpretations of V-II and other documents. They will die and the norm of sanctity will be duly restored.

    “The SSPX is a sinking ship” – you could easily apply that to any organisation within the Church, pre-1962 or post-1962. However, the SSPX is slowly developing disunity from within itself.

    I think this is terrible. I don’t associate with the SSPX but I certainly support their work. This was very arrogant and very disobedient not only to the principles and charism of the society, but to the See of Peter and Christ himself. I am very sorry to hear about this. Those laypersons have absolutely no place in making such statements. It is very daring of them. That is none of their business. The only thing they should be concerned about is fulfilling their calling as a layperson, and we all know a laypersons nose should never be stuck this far in.

    However…. personally I think we need the SSPX inside the Roman Church rather than outside it.

    In the meantime, I have one word for us all; Oremus.

    • Iacobus,

      I don’t mean to offend but your comments show that you really have not studied the position of the SSPX, both in its stand against the liberal infiltration of the Church and its status as a priestly fraternity “inside the Church.” I suggest a Google search of Cardinal Castrillion Hoyos’ various statements on the subject, where you will easily discover Rome’s conclusion that the SSXP is “in the Church.”

      It is very dangerous to voice opinions in such matters while ignorant of the subject matter. You must research thoroughly and objectively before commenting.

      By the way, the SSPX is anything but “a sinking ship.” I really don’t know where you got that from. The SSPX is thriving while the liberal parishes collapse.

      As for “the doctrinal differences are barely noticeable.” Are you serious? There may only be a handful of differences but they are hugely significant ones, as can be seen from the unprecedented crisis the Church is in today. You underestimate the damage that a single doctrinal alteration can have on the Catholic religion.

  6. I found this passage from the ignorant letter particularly interesting:

    “Amongst other things, we are now able to see that Bishop Fellay accepts the legitimacy of the New Mass which Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX always held to be illegitimate”

    Now, from Archbishop Lefebvre’s letter to Pope John Paul II of April 5, 1983, the following:

    “…A reform of the “Novus Ordo Missae” to give it back the clear expression of Catholic dogma, the reality of the act of Sacrifice, and of the Real Presence, by an adoration more marked out…(and a clear distinction must be made) between the priesthood of the priest and the priesthood of the faithful, and to express clearly the propitiatory reality of the Sacrifice…”

    Ok, I read in the Archbishop’s letter to the Pope a request for reform of the Novus Ordo in order to restore to clarity the act of Sacrifice and the Real Presence, as well as to make clearer the distinction between the priesthood or the priest and the priesthood of the faithful. I do not read the word “illegitimate.” Nor do I read “illegal” or any other such schismatic adjective. So much, then, for the Archbishop always holding the New Mass to be illegitimate!

    • Iacobus,

      They think they are highly gifted above their fellows, vessels of divine grace who can see what everyone else cannot. In a way, they are not that different from the conciliar reformers, who also consider(ed) themselves to be specially gifted by God to set the Church to rights with ruthless zeal.

  7. The letter has been posted to a certain rebel forum, along with information identifying the political motives behind the resistance. Bishop Williamson’s close associates are in damage limitation mode, spinning the most outrageous confabulations and attempting to show that black really can be white….if you just look at it in the correct light.

    Observing the resistance is like watching a living tableau of the Fifth Circle of Hell.

    Calumnies…lies….pride….self-interest….wrath….envy….lack of charity…

    How could any thinking Catholic not see them for what they are?

  8. By the way, the SSPX is anything but “a sinking ship.” I really don’t know where you got that from. The SSPX is thriving while the liberal parishes collapse.

    Athanasius, I got that from the article, that’s what they were claiming, that the SSPX was a sinking ship, which is absurd.

    I understand that the SSPX are still technically, well not technically they are, a recognised Priestly Fraternity in the Church. However, you and I both know that they do not have the same “rights” or “faculties” as the regular Priestly Fraternity, at the moment (please God that this will change). Secular Priests and Bishops alike are not welcoming the Society with open arms as they should. Look at Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, he wanted the SSPX to run his diocesan seminary. That is an example of a Bishop that truly wants to reconcile them to Rome.

    However, I’ll admit, I have much to learn about the Church’s official position on the SSPX – at the moment, feelings are very mixed amongst many clerics and laypeople.

    “As for “the doctrinal differences are barely noticeable.” Are you serious? There may only be a handful of differences but they are hugely significant ones, as can be seen from the unprecedented crisis the Church is in today. You underestimate the damage that a single doctrinal alteration can have on the Catholic religion.”

    We all know that any actual “teachings” that were released in V-II were over-simplified liberalish interpretations of the previously established doctrine (we had the whole Vatican II is infallible discussion on the last blog. That shouldn’t have changed the Church in regards to it’s teachings and doctrines. The Liturgical reforms however, were a massive departure from the Catholic Theology to the Mass.

    For me, at least, Mass is Mass. God is God. The Church is the Church. Vatican II or the post conciliar Church can’t change those facts and the facts that accompany them. They might change the way they are implemented or the way they are explained, but the facts will never change.

    I spoke with a very young Priest about this last week. He was saying that nothing that the SSPX preach or teach is any different to what he would teach. The only things that would differ him apparently is; they way he celebrates Mass (unless he is using the Older Form) and they way he would go about preaching and teaching. And he also pointed out that the Code of Canon Law would of course be different. Basically, it’s just a more modern way of working around society, which sadly has changed rapidly, and the Church needs to suck it up and ensure it doesn’t change the actual faith when changing the way it implements things.

    The SSPX could do a lot better in the Church if more of the Secular Clergy were more welcoming to them, I think.

    • Iacobus,

      ALL of the sacraments are validly administered by the SSPX priests. I’ve found that the most frequently questioned is the Sacrament of Penance. Here’s a useful article which explains why SSPX confessions are valid.

      As for that young priest claiming the only differences between him and an SSPX priest is the way he would “celebrate Mass and go about preaching and teaching” – well those are major differences,

      The diocesan priests appear to be quite willing to continue with the novus ordo Mass, despite its creators admitting they set out to make it acceptable to Protestants, despite knowing that top cardinals described it as “a grave departure, in whole and in part, from Catholic theology of the Mass” and some of them wish to switch between that Bugnini concoction and the TLM. Keep everybody happy. And as for preaching and teaching – well, I know what that priest means. The sermon I heard last Sunday, for example, in an SSPX chapel was different from anything I’d ever heard in a diocesan church. The priest – as he often does – quoted various saints, and tied in the Scripture readings with Catholic doctrine. Long time since I’ve heard any diocesan priest either quote a saint OR preach Catholic doctrine. The only enthusiastic references I’ve ever heard to Catholic doctrine are to Catholic Social Teaching, but only that part of it which is acceptable to wider society. I’ve never EVER heard a priest – even when pleading for funds for SCIAF – remind us that the core of Catholic Social Teaching is that Christ must be King over every nation. Doesn’t fit in with inter-religious dialogue, you see, and what would the Unitarians think, for goodness sake!

      My one-time PP in England once quoted, accurately, Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, painted a glowing picture of Catholic marriage and family life and then drew guffaws from the congregation when he added, pulling a face: “but we all know it doesn’t work”… He went on to express his dissident views about the necessity of divorce and remarriage. I told him afterwards (when he stood there giving the usual daft royal handshake), that if he ever publicly attacked Catholic doctrine in my presence again, I would publicly correct him. How his pony-tail twitched!

      Nothing’s perfect in this world, Iacobus, least of all the modern diocesan clergy. The best of them are fence-sitters, with a long way to go before they truly see the light. Neither are the SSPX priests perfect – far from it. The really important difference is, though, that the latter do not have to worry about keeping on the right side of the Bishop, whether for personal reasons of human respect or because they seek, however sub-consciously, possible promotion. Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.

      Your concluding sentence is fair enough but I would turn it around: my one criticism of the Society clergy is that they don’t get involved enough around the diocese. They should be attending the meetings of dissenters to correct them; they should be correcting heresies in the Catholic newspapers, notable in columns written by the likes of Monsignor Loftus – that sort of thing. But they don’t. Their letters only appear in the newspapers when they are defending the SSPX – not the Catholic Faith. THAT is a major weakness.

      We appreciate, very much, having them offer the Traditional Latin Mass for us, administering all the sacraments, and preaching sound Catholic doctrine. More pastoral and apostolic activity is present in places in the Society, but spasmodic. That, as I say, is a major weakness.

      Overall, Iacobus, you need to – as Athanasius has already said – educate yourself about the Society. No use asking diocesan priests what they think. Most of them are uneducated in the matter themselves. If you begin by reading Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics which is on our Links page, you will see why he did what he did – and how much we owe him for his courage.

      Also, remember that Our Lady foretold the crisis in the Church at Quito, Ecuador, when she said to pray that her Son would send a prelate to restore the priesthood. Now, I wonder who that could be? But note: some commentators are so blindly set against the Society that, even at this late stage with the priesthood in shreds around us, they are praying – they say – for this prelate to come! I somehow suspect that Our Lady was referring to Archbishop Lefebvre! I mean, she saw it in the 17th century – and here we are approaching the END of this crisis and some Catholics still can’t see it.

      Don’t YOU be one of those numpties!

  9. Dear Jacobus,

    When Msgr. Lefebvre was alive there were continuing discussions twixt SSPX and Rome, on several occasions an accommodation was on the verge of agreement – to an extent that clergy and seminarians would congregate to sing the Te Deum in thanksgiving – only for their hopes to be dashed. Lately, we have witnessed the deal with BXVI, only at the 59th. minute of the 11th. hour for Rome to renege. A priest of my acquaintance and Rome experience, in somewhat unpriestly language, explained what would happen to SSPX if a deal was (then) done with Rome. Rome [not the popes] could not be trusted.

    I dearly wished for the BXVI deal to go through, but now am of the view how fortuitous it was for the last minute intervention to scupper the same – sort of divine intervention.

    I have experience of Germany and France with regard to diocesan affairs and the exceptions prove the rule – a Protestantised Church. In England we have classic examples at both diocese and parish level, matters controlled by coteries of laity and clergy trade unions – gutless, or unbelieving, bishops opting for a quiet life.

    In the Salford Diocese: there is a single, non-SSPX, TLM; one central Friday evening TLM; one hinterland Wednesday evening TLM. In the same diocese, a Traditional community [NOM and TLM] bringing The Faith to an increasing congregation [seven days a week] was perforce to move to another church, with the bishop ignoring the needs of the souls to which they had ministered.

    There is a priest, in another diocese, who was cast into the outer darkness, rendered a virtual vagrant, by virtue of the fact he had created a truly Traditional parish [NOM & TLM] and preached old time Catholicism. The parish was closed down to the ire of the congregation – one of ordinary Catholics. In another diocese, the bishop and a priest agree to create a Traditional parish, the diocesan mafia force the bishop to renege on the deal. The priest sent to a less than salubrious parish, run by a lay clique. That priest then set about creating a Traditional parish [NOM & TLM], the lay clique fled with great publicity, that parish now thrives. The adjacent diocese refused to allow a Traditional Order take-over a redundant church, because of the deleterious effect it would have upon other parishes. They sought to sell that church, but public opinion forced the bishop to back down and it is now in a parochial limbo.

    How would SSPX fare within such an environment and subject to the local hierarchy? The BXVI deal appeared to overcome that problem – hence the scuppering intervention.

    Not to forget, what I call, the Fr. Zuhlsdorf neurosis – ‘Faculties’! On the basis of his advice: it is proper to Confess to a Kung-clone and improper to Confess to an SSPX priest – notwithstanding the former is unlikely to believe in The Sacrament of Confession – solely on the basis that the Kung-clone will be possessed of Faculties from the local bishop, whilst the SSPX priest will be devoid of such.

    We live in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ times.

  10. Editor,

    I know the New Mass is seems like a massive departure from the Catholic Theology of the Holy Mass, due it’s structure, texts and gestures… but it’s still Mass. And quite frankly, some people still prefer that form of Mass, even if it is flawed. I can happily accept the Novus Ordo Missae if it is celebrated properly, reverently and in as much accordance with the TLM as is possible, which unfortunately is hard to do. Out with the new, in with the old; it’s clear that the more traditional and more Roman way of doing things worked much better than things are “working” now. It’s working to an extent that Church can cope, but it won’t work for the future generation.

    It’s funny how you speak about how the SSPX Priests are very good in their homilies, bringing quotes from Saints, Scripture and Catholic Doctrine. I was at a Mass on Saturday that was celebrated by a very young Scottish Priest, he is 26 and nearly two years out of Rome. the guy is very Traditional compared to the average diocesan Priest, which is good to see in Young Priests, a good sign for the future. He gave quite a “hell, fire and brimstone” sermon at the Mass – it was great! He was criticising people who don’t baptise their children as infants, with quotes from Early Church Fathers, Scripture, the Catechism and Church Councils not V-II. This is an example of what is to come for Scotland. All the younger Priests seem to be much the same, with true piety and fervour for Christ, his Church, and the Sacred Traditions of that Holy Church.

    “Don’t YOU be one of those numpties!”
    If, God-willing, I become a Diocesan Priest… I won’t be an easy-going man at the pulpit, maybe in person, but I hope I have a good idea of how a good Priest preaches, teaches and administers – the (I needn’t use the word Traditional) Roman way!

    Out of interest, is the SSPX Chapel in Glasgow a busy one? Many youths there? It would be interesting to know.

    I would agree that both ends of the stick, the Bishops of Scotland and the SSPX, should work together a bit more. I know it isn’t up to me, but if anyone asked my advice I’d say; give the SSPX Priests a Personal Parish with the full faculties of an average Diocesan Priest!

    For the Bishops Conference of Scotland, a simple phrase comes to mind; “Harden not your hearts.”

    • Iacobus

      … the “I needn’t use the word Traditional) Roman way”

      Well, if you’d read the current newsletter, you would know that you needn’t use the word “Roman” – that’s for sure. Why? Because the name of the Church is NOT “Roman Catholic” but Catholic. It’s such a basic thing yet so few Catholics seem to grasp the significance. I had a letter in today’s post from an elderly woman thanking me for publishing the article and saying that, thanks to HER mother, she knew that fact (about the name of the Church and the genesis of “Roman Catholic”) from her youngest days – even when she was a child she knew better than to use the Protestant label. If you’ve not read that article, please do because someone who says he wants to be a priest ought, at least, to know the name of the Church !

      And, as I keep asking, do these fantastic orthodox priests you keeping telling us about recruit lay people to give out Holy Communion? Do they give Holy Communion in the hand? etc etc. If so, count me out. I’ve no patience with the “I’m very orthodox but I don’t want to annoy my bishop” brigade or, perhaps worse, “I’m very orthodox but Vatican II said “more lay participation”. Too late in the day for that sort of non-defence.

      As for the new Mass being “reverent” – so is a Black Mass. That’s irrelevant: reverence is irrelevant!

      Yes, there are lots of young people at the SSPX chapels. Lots.

  11. Iacobus,

    So you think Archbishop Muller is a “well informed man”? Really?
    I take it, then, that you agree, not only with his views about the SSPX but his views, also, about the perpetual virginity of Our Lady and other key Catholic doctrines? Read all about his beliefs here – not beliefs that you should share: just ask the wonderful priest friends you are always praising as being totally orthodox. Ask them if they can say the same about Archbishop Muller that they’ve said to you about the SSPX. Go, on… ask!

    Oh, he’ll be given a right warm welcome by his friends in the Scottish episcopate, make no mistake about it. They have nothing to fear from him.

    But he has plenty to fear. Not only does he know perfectly well about the crisis in the Church across the world, but he’ll have had several letters land on his desk from concerned and well informed Scots Catholics before he arrives in our beloved country. Therefore, he has absolutely NO excuse for doing nothing. So, yes, he has plenty to fear – at his Judgment if not before.

  12. @ Iacobus

    Out of interest, is the SSPX Chapel in Glasgow a busy one? Many youths there? It would be interesting to know.

    Hi there,

    St Andrews has always been busy the times I have attended. Its only a small Church building, granted, but the congregation fill it no problem. There is a healthy mixture of all ages and backgrounds present, including a good number of high-school and university aged people. I find the number of families with young children, who all attend together as a family unit, an encouraging and impressive sight. Ive been a few times and have begun to recognise both regular and occasional attendees.

    Incidentally, if anyone has any information regarding the history of St Andrews Church, I would be very grateful – I think its very interesting building and would be keen to learn of its architechtural style and general history.

  13. Gabriel,

    There’s some interesting information about St Andrews, Glasgow on Page 53 of
    ‘The Living Flame’ at this link:-

    It’s a fascinating book about the first 25 years of the SSPX apostolate in the UK. Scotland gets its own chapter, and there are some interesting nuggets about the Scottish hierarchy (yes, Bishop Devine is THAT old….) and their utter resistance to the TLM.

    There’s even a photo of the young altar server who went on to become Fr Paul Morgan.

  14. Those who wrote this letter calling out Fr Morgan have no right to do this publicly with any expectation of a reply. I don’t believe there is any reason why those of us who feel they are out of order should discuss anything about Father Morgan in public either.

  15. Burt,

    Nobody is “discussing Father Morgan” here. You misunderstand.

    We feel that Father Morgan may welcome our support, as we believe he is under pressure from the rebels. We want him to know that he has far more support from those faithful to the Society than from those who are just desperate to be outside of it.

  16. This just appeared on one of the rebel sites, via the Daily Telegraph – Damian Thompson sticking the knife into the SSPX:-

    Neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers ‘plan takeover’ of SSPX, claim anti-Fascist campaigners

    Far-Right supporters of the disgraced rebel Catholic bishop Richard Williamson are planning a takeover of the ultra-traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX), according to the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight.
    Williamson, a convicted Holocaust denier, had his excommunication lifted by Pope Benedict XVI along with that of the SSPX’s three other bishops as a prelude to possible reconciliation with Rome. But the unity plans fell apart after Williamson was exposed as a Holocaust denier – and after Bishop Bernard Fellay, the “moderate” leader of the SSPX, failed to grasp Pope Benedict’s olive branch.
    Williamson was eventually expelled from the SPPX – but now, according to Searchlight, his supporters are trying to wrest control of the body, alienated from Rome since the 1970s, from Fellay. The following is from a Searchlight document which provides detailed claims of links between allies of the English-born Williamson and former supporters of the British National Front and the BNP:

    “A coup within Catholicism is imminent. The target is The Society of Pius X (SSPX), an ultra-traditionalist group founded in 1970 out of opposition to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

    The plotters intend to make a major step towards their takeover at a conference on the weekend of 1 and 2 June, which we can reveal will be held at Earlsfield Library Hall, 276 Magdalen Road, Earlsfield London SW18 from 9am to 5pm.

    The key players in this plot are a bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and others with disreputable backgrounds. Their objective is to replace SSPX’s current Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, with the convicted Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson. This plot is a very worrying turn of events.”

    SSPX is no stranger to controversy. Its members have supported the French Front National and given sanctuary to a Nazi collaborator and war criminal. A previous District Superior… removed Nazi sympathisers from the Society, but our sources inform us that they have re-infiltrated it … This has left many decent members shocked and fearful for its future. They do not want to see it fall into the hands of neo-Nazis.

    The SSPX is, in my opinion, more trouble than it’s worth: mainstream Catholic bishops use its extreme stance as an excuse to persecute traditionalists within the official Church and deny them their canonical right to celebrate the traditional Latin liturgy.

    That said, far-Right views have hitherto been confined to a (fairly significant) anti-Semitic fringe within the SSPX. But now that hardliners in the Society have set their face against reunion with Rome, the dynamics of sectarianism are taking over and the fringe risks becoming the SSPX mainstream.

    • Thanks for this, spiritustempore…

      Confirms my view of Damian Thompson as a no-good (heavily censored) … anti-traditionalist (heavily censored) er…. person…

  17. But now that hardliners in the Society have set their face against reunion with Rome, the dynamics of sectarianism are taking over and the fringe risks becoming the SSPX mainstream.

    I take great exception to this extract from Damian Thompson’s report as posted above by Spiritustempore.

    For “hardliners” read “rank and file members of the Society”.

    For ” .. set their face against reunion with Rome” read ” . . have expressed their renewed determination to uphold Tradition in the face of efforts by Liberals to distort it”.

    For “. . the dynamics of sectarianism are taking over and the fringe risks becoming the SSPX mainstream.” – just ignore this as rabble-rousing by Damian Thompson. The mainstream of the SSPX has the chief aim of upholding Tradition, and has little or no interest in sectarianism and its associated ills.

    All members of the SSPX and all lay people who support the Society, would be only too pleased to see an end to the “irregularity” and accept an invitation from the Pope to sing from the same hymn sheet as all other Catholics as long as Rome acknowledged the doctrinal errors of Vatican II and its fruits and expunged them and that hymn sheet was once more based on Tradition as the Church has practised it from its inception.

    Then we could get on with evangelising all those who have been deceived for so very long.

    • Well said, leprechaun – especially that bit about singing from the Traditional Hymn Sheet – I LOVE the old hymns!

  18. It seems quite obvious that the whole uprising in the SSPX was an effort to discredit Bishop Fellay. I don’t believe that all the priests who have joined the resistance or who sympathize with it realize who they are in league with.

    • 3littleshepherds,

      I completely agree. But now is the time for the priests to dissociate themselves from this band of troublemakers. They should begin to associate with US – we’re a much better class of troublemakers!

  19. Editor

    Exactly. The faithful have the power of the rosary, the Mass, the help of Our Lady, the Sacred Heart, the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, and true charity. The political agitators just have tricks, rumors, and scandal.

    Sr. Lucia wrote that Our Lord wanted to know if we, the faithful, were the only ones who were going to be cowards. “Don’t they know that I am more powerful than my enemies?”

    • 3littleshepherds

      That’s the first time I’ve read that quote from Our Lord via Sr Lucia – do you have a source for it (or are you having visions of Sr Lucia?!)

  20. Editor

    Hate to say it, but I’m coming round to your way of thinking on Damian Thompson….lazy journalism and unfair generalisations. I reckon that Leprechaun should rewrite his piece for him….


    Agreed. The priests surely cannot realise the nature of those pushing the ‘resistance’. Allowing extremists to associate themselves with the apostolate of the SSPX is an open invitation to the modernists and their secular allies to push the Society to the margins and stigmatise it.

    Factor in Bishop Williamson’s presbyterian vision of ‘loose associations’ of ‘independent priests’ and you would have the end of any credible resistance to modernism within the Church…..and then just watch Summorum Pontificum, the FSSP and ICK disappear like the morning mist.

    Rosary time, I think.

  21. That article by Damian Thompson is one of the worst pieces of journalism I’ve read. Does this guy do any research before he writes? I don’t think so. It appears he is oblivious to the responsibility he bears before God to treat his fellow Catholics with charity and justice. That article is the biggest load of nonsense.

    The SSPX has a problem with a handful of rebels, that’s it! The Bishop Williamson situation is long resolved. His Excellency has been expelled and there is no chance of him being re-instated.

    The SSPX has been here before with a few rebel rabble rousers, back in 1983 to be precise, so there’s nothing new under the sun. In fact, the FSSP has had much greater upset within its ranks, although even that doesn’t come close to the rebellion that the laft-wing bishops in the Church launched against the faith fifty years ago, and are maintaining today. I wonder why Damian Thompson doesn’t approach that subject head on?

    • Laughably, too, Damian Thompson is regarded as a “traditionalist” – by the neo-conservatives, of course!

  22. I wonder why Damian Thompson doesn’t approach that subject head on?


    At a guess, because he doesn’t want ++Vince to take away his smells & bells provision…..same reason he says little to nothing about the blasphemous Masses in Mayfair.

    I did like your new word “laft-wing”….sums up beautifully the daft left wing that Britain has had to suffer in the Church these past 50 years.

  23. spiritustempore,

    You are too kind, crediting Athanasius with creating a new coinage. Didn’t occur to you that he may have simply mis-spelt “laughed”?

    Reminds me of the dumpling who wrote about William IV’s “lovely funeral. It took six men to carry the beer.” [bier]

    • Yes editor, just you back off and leave spiritustempore in peace with her image of me as a master etythingy. I meant to write “left wing.” I’ve been making these typos quite often recently, it’s worrying!

  24. Aw, Editor…..don’t spoil the image I have of Athanasius as a master etymologist. 🙂

    I’m not sure if here is the place to post this, but it seems worth saying that it would be a tragedy if the SSPX apostolate was diminished in any way by association with this sort of thing – a Catholic bishop declaring the Pope likely to become a vehicle of the Antichrist…..and to make matters worse, note the source:-

    Barrett asks Williamson if he agrees with some Muslim scholars who contend that The Zionists are the forces of antichrist.

    “The antichrist is on his way,” Williamson replies, “and I believe that if the Vicar of Christ on Earth, who is the Pope, if the Pope does not stick to truth but follows emotion – which I think is the case here on the basis of the evidence that I’ve seen, a Pope who follows emotion is liable to become an instrument of the antichrist because the media and the enemies of Christ- through the media the enemies of Christ dominate the emotions.”

    • spiritustempore,

      We just need to keep reminding all and sundry that Bp Williamson is firmly outside the SSPX and, the way things are going, he will more likely than not, soon be outside the Church as well – if he’s not already placed himself in that very dangerous position.

      Athanasius a “master etymologist”? Don’t know about that, but he’s very good with words…

        • Too true. Especially when one exits one’s car too quickly which can result in… colourful etymology or metaphors to that effect…

          Private joke everyone – don’t ask!

  25. …the excerpt above is from an interview with Bishop Williamson on Truth Jihad Radio, that well-known Catholic broadcaster.

    • What a pity. I’d like to meet just one person who has visions, who doesn’t live in Glasgow and whose alleged visions (don’t) always occur at closing time on a Friday night…

      • Yea, like the guy who saw a racing greyhound and asked if anyone else was seeing the large rat with a number on its back!

      • Editor

        I only knew this to be Sr. Lucia quoting Our Lord. The only reference I can find is a 1970 letter where Sr Lucia writes, “And would we alone act with cowardice?! Is God less powerful than the devil?!” She isn’t quoting Our Lord but it sounds like what I have in quotes.

        I wanted to check the 1960’s and 70’s Soul Magazines but they are not online. So nobody quote my quote!

        My priest once gave a sermon where he told us we were not allowed to have visions without his permission. Funny.

  26. Editor

    He is that!


    More power to your metaphors. We need more metaphors….the more colourful the better 🙂

    • Ha! I reached new heights on that front the other day when I smacked my shin on the edge of the car door! The sky might not have been blue, but the air certainly was.

      • Now everyone will get my “private joke” above – I’ll need to start reading to the end before I reply to posts from now on…

  27. Father Ray Blake has posted an extract from Damian Thompson’s article on the SSPX but unlike DT, he knows his stuff. Here’s a response from Father Blake to an ignorant “why are we bothering about these people who are out of communion with Rome” types…

    Father Blake writes:

    “Deacon Flavin,

    Evidently you missed the Canon Law day course! suspension doesn’t equal excommunication. The Bishops were excommunicated, the excommunication was lifted, though suspension remains, however in every other respect the SSPX, and their followers are like you, Catholics in “good standing”.

    Where is their heresy? That is an accusation Rome has never levelled against them, or am I mistaken? You didn’t miss the theology course too, did you? “

    Now what would all the modern Catholics do, who accuse the SSPX of being in schism (despite the facts), were they parishioners of Father Blake’s (or any other properly informed, honest priest?)

    Father Ray Blake’s blog article is here

    • Good for Father Ray.

      Ignorance and wishful thinking exist on both sides of the debate. Poor education and political agendas are the usual culprits.

      Catholics of good faith (or should that be ‘Faith’?) also exist on both sides of the debate….and thank God for that.

  28. I see that Fr Ray has passed the press release he received to the Nuncio…..does anyone know what’s likely to happen with that?

  29. From the SSPX GB website:-

    “The Recusant” presents itself ‘as an unofficial SSPX newsletter, fighting a guerrilla war for the soul of Tradition.’ This ‘guerrilla war’ is now coming out into the open in that a signed ‘Letter of Entreaty’ has appeared on its website which attacks the Society in no uncertain terms. Addressed to ‘Fr Morgan and the Clergy of the British District,’ the open letter, dated 21st May 2013, accuses the Society of having deviated from its essential mission of fidelity to Catholic Tradition and opposition to Modernism due to the betrayal of its liberal leadership!

    Ignoring the fact that there has not been a false deal with modernist Rome, and in spite of his public withdrawal in Ireland of the questionable April 2012 ‘Doctrinal Declaration,’ the dialectical letter pretends there is no option for us now but to show true leadership and to follow its proponents in seceding from the Society!

    In recent months, such as in his last Letter to Friends and Benefactors and his recent conferences in Ireland, Bishop Fellay has clarified that he does not accept the legitimacy of the New Mass nor the errors of Vatican II nor the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ which pretends to reconcile them with Tradition.

    With regard to the ‘Letter of Entreaty,’ Bishop Fellay has stated that “the paragraph which claims to prove everything, that is of ‘my April (2012) declaration,’ is wrong and false from the beginning to end; there is not one phrase which presents correctly what I have written…Poor people who are so misled by their mistrust.” Hence, rather than boycotting the Superior General’s forthcoming visit, I would urge the concerned individuals in particular to attend Bishop Fellay’s conferences and to consider carefully what he has to say.

    Whilst acknowledging the serious issues surrounding the Society’s negotiations with the Roman authorities, it is excessive and indeed offensive to claim ‘that the SSPX is now a sinking ship’ which is beyond repair. Far from abandoning the legacy of Archbishop Lefebvre, we need staunch clergy and faithful to help keep the Society faithful to its providential mission, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

    May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us!

    Saint Pius X, pray for us!

    Father Paul Morgan

    District Superior
    Saint Augustine of Canterbury, 28th

  30. Nice to see Fr Morgan standing up against scurrilousness and holding fast to the Society.

    As he knows exactly who is behind ‘The Recusant’, I wonder if they’re still welcome to receive the Sacraments at SS Joseph & Padarn…..?

  31. Well, Fr. Morgan certainly appears to be more conciliatory in tone with these ‘Recusant’ people than he was with Catholic Truth, which basically said a year ago what he now seems himself to be admitting, i.e., that the rebels in the Society have falsely judged and accused Bishop Fellay.

    I would like to think that Fr. Morgan will now seek to restore the good name of Catholic Truth that his Newsletter notice of some months ago so unjustly tarnished.

    While it is pleasing to see that the rebellion of certain priests and individuals within the SSPX has come to nought, as we knew it would, there remains the work of building bridges with those who have been left marked by the event, not least those who were savaged for no other reason than that they trusted the Superior General in his negotiations with Rome and leapt to his defence against his public calumniators and their secret supporters.

    We would also benefit from assurances from the superiors of the SSPX that there will be no repeat of the events of one year ago should the Superior General have occasion to negotiate matters with Rome in the future. There must be trust in Our Lord and trust in our Superior General when such opportunities arise that may lead to the SSPX becoming a leaven for the good of the Church instead of its present situation of “Tradition in exile.” The SSPX exists, after all, for the good of the entire Church, not just as a private members club with a ‘them and us’ mentality. Uncompromising faith in the face of Modernism in the Church does not necessarily equate to zero discussion. There are some who would do well for their own salvation’ sake to reflect on that.

  32. Everyone’s favourite home-aloner has set up his own little society and welcomed Fr Hewko to Glasgow yesterday:-

    Mass in Glasgow for the Feast of Corpus Christi
    Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated yesterday evening (30th May 2013), in Glasgow by Fr David Hewko. This was the first Mass of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary in Glasgow, inaugurating their apostolate here. A short conference followed with both Fr Pfeiffer and Fr Hewko answering questions from lay people on a variety of subjects. Thirteen laypersons attended this Mass and conference. We are extremely grateful to Frs Pfeiffer and Hewko and we hope and pray that the apostolate will grow from here, with the help of Almighty God.

    Future Masses, times, venues etc will be announced in due course.

    Crìost an Rì abù!

    • spiritustempore,

      I can’t see the name of the person who set up this “resistance” (to what?) website, anywhere on the link.

      Who is the “home-aloner” – can you (literally) spell it out for me because I can’t see any names given.

      If this is someone who attends the SSPX chapel in Glasgow, then he/she needs to be identified. Pronto! Could be the same person who pinched my missal! Yip! You couldn’t make it up!

      • Editor,

        I can;t believe such an organisation exists in Glasgow! 13 oddballs sitting in a room with a crackpot priest isn’t going to scare Bishop Fellay, is it?

  33. It would appear to be Michael Rooney, judging by his thread on Cathinfo and the fact he’s hanging about on both Cathinfo and IA…..just waiting for someone to notice.

    Sad, but sweet in an “I haven’t thought this through properly” kind of way 🙂

    • Unbelievable! And I mean that. Are you sure it’s Michael R? I recall him as someone who worried a great deal, intermittently, about attending SSPX Masses in case they were “schismatic”; surely he’s not now promoting an openly schismatic sect… And who else attended?

      Am I going round the bend? (Another of those strictly rhetorical questions…)

  34. That’s a real turn up for the books. Whoever it is who runs that new organisation , I just wish they would have the courage to put their name on things. It’s a real weakness when these things are anonymous. So much for having the courage of your convictions!

    It will never last. These sects are doomed to fail!

  35. This St. Kentigern thing is just so tragic, so utterly pathetic, the troubled souls behind it are best consigned to the mercy of God. Poor, poor deluded people!

      • Petrus,

        We can only speculate as to their motives for acting as they have, but the facts suggest that they have driven themselves into a little sect out of bitterness and rebellion. Now we can only assume that some of them at least are not fulfilling their Sunday obligation at Mass for want of a priest who meets the extreme conditions they now expect. Additionally, the priests who do minister to them, such as Frs. Hewko and Pfeffer, have lost all claim to administering valid absolution in confession, danger of death excepted. What a mess!

  36. Athanasius

    I completely agree. It’s sad and somewhat alarming to see the fruits of Bp Williamson’s ‘apostolate’: loss of the Sacraments, anger, bitterness and pride. We should pray for the poor souls led astray.

    • If there is any consolation, spiritustempore, it is in the pleasing knowledge that they are a mere handful. Always thankful for small mercies!!

  37. Athanasius,

    True….and I shan’t worry about this last paragraph in Fr Morgan’s letter either…oremus! 🙂

    Whilst acknowledging the serious issues surrounding the Society’s negotiations with the Roman authorities, it is excessive and indeed offensive to claim ‘that the SSPX is now a sinking ship’ which is beyond repair. Far from abandoning the legacy of Archbishop Lefebvre, we need staunch clergy and faithful to help keep the Society faithful to its providential mission, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

    • spiritustempore,

      I’m only slightly worried about this reference to so-called “serious issues.” I’m not aware of any issues that Bishop Fellay was not in full control of. The people who have serious issues, as far as I’m concerned, are those who act as though Rome has become the Seat of the Antichrist.

  38. Agreed, Athanasius….particularly when those who act as if Rome has become the Seat of the Antichrist display anti-christian atttributes like rebellion, disobedience, fear, suspicion, disloyalty, pride, and dishonesty.

    Bishop Fellay knows what he is doing – perhaps those whose station in life is to be lovingly directed by him will now let him get on with the business of running the Society as ABL intended. It couldn’t be in better hands.

    He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.….as they say,

  39. I was wondering if anyone knows what the rebels mean when they speak of Bishop Williamson’s belief that the priesthood is at it’s end. I don’t know if he does believe this but they’ve been discussing it as a possible cause for his not consecrating a bishop nor organizing a structured order, etc.

    Not to dwell too much on the Bishop’s ideas but does anyone know anything about this?

    • 3littleshepherds,

      It’s difficult to know what Bishop Williamson means without reading the context in which he made the statement. I wouldn’t want to venture a guess at this stage. What I can say for sure is that the priesthood will only end when the world ends, not a minute before.

  40. I am really sad that Michael Rooney appears to be behind this rebellion. It’s complete madness. Come to think of it – that sounds like a play….”The Madness of Michael Rooney”. I knew I should have been born in Stratford Upon Avon!

  41. Verily, it shall run and run….

    Don’t worry, Petrus. He’ll grow out of it.

  42. It’s being reported that Fr Kramer has left the Fatima Centre – has anyone heard anything to confirm/deny?

    • This is all very disturbing but Fr. Kramer is speaking at the big Fatima Centre conference in September and he’s at the rebel conference in London this weekend. The Carmel Books man was selling books yesterday and his fascist friend Roberto Fiore is speaking at the Path to Peace conference with Fr. Gruner and Fr. Kramer in September. It’s just been announced that Bishop Fellay will also be speaking at the Fatima Centre conference. I don’t understand what’s going on.

      • Helen,

        This is quite incredible. Are you claiming that the manager of Carmel Books was selling books at the Rebels’ Conference yesterday?

      • Helen,

        I see Petrus has asked you to confirm that Michael Fishwick, who manages the Carmel Books outlet, was indeed selling books at the “resistance” (to nothing) conference in London yesterday.

        Please do, because once confirmed I will remove the link to Carmel Books from our website and will email to let Bishop Fellay know.

        Thank you.

      • I’m very disappointed that Fr Kramer has attended that recusant conference. I’ve defended him a lot in the past when he’s been criticised re. incardination etc. However, I cannot support him any more.

        • I meant to add that it’s no use saying he was there to speak about Fatima. He’s not a stupid man, in fact he’s highly intelligent, so he must have known that his attendance would be used by the organisers to boost their rebellion. Poor Bishop Fellay must be having a time of it working out his friends from his enemies.

  43. Yes editor. John Grace who you said last year is the Carmel Books manager said on one of the rebel blogs that he was going to be at their conference in London this weekend.

  44. Helen,

    How do you know he was there sellling books? Could you provide a link to the rebel blog?

  45. Photos have just been posted of the Corpus Christi Mass in Glasgow. It’s in someone’s house….hmm…I’m sure I recognise it!

  46. It was on the Catholic Info blog Petrus. I saw it about a week ago and don’t know if I could find it again. Other bloggers might be better at it than me. But I remember John Grace said he was going to the conference so it stands to reason he’d be selling books there, that’s what he does for a living. Quite a lot of people seemed to make complaints to the charity commission about the GB district employing BNP members after it was suggested on Catholic Truth to do it so why is he still running Carmel Books? I don’t understand either why Fr. Kramer spoke at the rebel meeting and why Fr. Gruner has Roberto Fiore speaking at his meeting in September. Didn’t Athanasius say before that he’s a nazi terrorist? And most of all I don’t understand why Bishop Fellay is speaking at a conference with a nazi terrorist.

    • Helen,

      I know the manager of Carmel Books has denied that he is John Grace. I thought you knew for definite that he was there sellling books.

  47. Helen,

    I am as shocked as you that Roberto Fiori has appeared on the Fatima Conference list as a speaker. I would sure like to know who organised that. Bishop Fellay, of course, may not yet be aware that he’s sharing a podium with Mr. Fiori. He’ll doubtless be told soon enough and then we’ll see what happens. I think Fr. Gruner needs to be informed as well.

    I don’t think it was ever said here that Roberto Fiori was, or is, “a Nazi terrorist.” All we know about him is that he fled his home country (Italy) in the 1980s and took up residence in London. He was found guilty in absentia of crimes relating to right wing extremism and sentenced to 7 years in prison. He stayed in Britain until the entire business blew over and the statute of limitations allowed his to return home. I think there were numerous attempts by certain MP’s to have him deported between times, but it never happened and he eventually left of his own accord.

    It would be better for all if Bishop Fellay and Fr. Gruner did not associate their Apostolates with this man’s name. But that’s their choice, really.

    As for Fr. Kramer, I don’t know what made him decide to preach about Fatima to these rebels, especially since they are all from Traditional Catholic backgrounds and know the Fatima story very well. Besides that, there wouldn’t have been more than a handful of people present. It’s very odd.

    What concerns me is that there may be someone or some people who are trying to make inroads with Fr. Gruner and Fr. Kramer in order to use their supernatural apostolate as a vehicle for radical politics. Bishop Fellay may also get caught up in such an agenda if he is not extremely careful. The last thing the SSPX or Fatima Apostolate needs is to become associated with politically motivated and ambitious men.

  48. Roberto Fiore is a business partner of Nick Griffin, I believe. Apparent,ly they used to share a flat when they were in their twenties and have been close ever since. I notice that they continue to share common causes and often speak together at the same functions in Brussels, both now being MEPs.

    Nick Griffin’s father, Edgar, is or was Roberto Fiore’s accountant. Here he is, third picture down:-

  49. If true, reports of what Fr Kramer said at last weekend’s conference are worrying:-

    Fr. Kramer said in his talk today, backed up with much explanation, that to say the Novus Ordo was “legitimately promulgated” was “fraud, schism and heresy“.

  50. I wonder why the Fatima Center didn’t invite Bishop Williamson to speak at the conference. It looks like he would fit right in!

    In my opinion Bishop Fellay should stay away from the conference. The media will ignore the message of Fatima but spend weeks trying to make the Society look bad.

  51. 3little shepherds,

    I agree. I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, but the associations are worrying.

  52. “Legitimately promulgated” only means that the NO Mass was promulgated according to Church law. Even Ecclesia Dei don’t claim that it was promulgated in accordance with Divine law.

    I’m amazed that Fr Kramer would make public statements like that. Assuming that he’s not being misreported, of course.

    • spiritustempore,

      Are you sure you’re not confusing “legitimate” with “legal”? The New Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI is legal since the Pope has that authority. But legitimacy is a different matter since the New Mass was highly innovative and marked a grave departure from the Catholic theology of the Roman Rite.

  53. Athanasius,

    As I understand it, “legitimate” is used in the sense of “legal”. Unless I’m being led astray by a well-known conservative priest, Fr X.? (I’ve removed the usual comments in red bolded typeface, to spare sensibilities 🙂 )

    A bishop who wishes to remain anonymous recently submitted two dubia to the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission, regarding the interpretation of “legitimacy” in the 2011 instruction Universae Ecclesiae, n. 19.

    The response from the commission is conciliatory to hard-line traditionalist groups such as the SSPX, because Rome is only requiring devotees of the Extraordinary Form Mass to acknowledge that the Ordinary Form is “legitimate” from the standpoint of human (ecclesiastical) law, not necessarily from the standpoint of divine law.

    It also means Rome is not requiring Catholics who want access to the Extraordinary Form Mass to admit that such innovations as altar girls and Communion in the hand are acceptable in God’s sight. We reprint below the letter submitted by the bishop and the response of the pontifical commission.

    The author of the bishop’s letter is a retired theology professor. He passed that letter and the Roman response to The Wanderer after the response was forwarded to him by the bishop concerned.

    Two Dubia Submitted To The Pontifical Commission

    In article 19 of the commission’s instruction of April 30, 2011, UniversaeEcclesiae (UE), it is laid down that those Catholics who desire celebrations of the Eucharist in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (using the 1962 Missal) may not support, or be members of, any groups which “challenge the validity or legitimacy” (validitatem vel legitimitatem impugnent) of the ordinary form.

    While very few still question the validity of Mass celebrated with the reformed Roman Missal, certain prominent “traditionalist” groups, individuals, and publications have been openly and defiantly challenging its legitimacy.

    However, there often appears to be confusion and conflicting assumptions in these circles as to how, precisely, the latter word is to be understood. As a result, it is not always clear to those priests wishing to serve Catholics attached to the traditional liturgy whether or not some of these folks are in fact in compliance with this requirement of the Apostolic See enunciated in UE, n. 19.

    In order, therefore, to clarify this matter and facilitate a consistent pastoral application of article 19, could the Commission graciously consider and respond to the following two dubia?

    1. Whether legitimitas in UE, article 19, is to be understood as meaning:

    (a) duly promulgated by appropriate procedures of ecclesiastical law (ius ecclesiasticum); or

    (b) in accord with both ecclesiastical law and divine law (ius divinum), that is, neither doctrinally unorthodox nor otherwise displeasing to God.

    2. If (b) above represents the mind of the Commission in regard to the meaning of legitimitas, whether UE, n. 19 is then to be understood as allowing access to Mass in the extraordinary form:

    (a) only to those Catholics who do not challenge the legitimacy of any specific text or practice whatsoever that has been duly approved by either universal or local ecclesiastical law for use in celebrating the ordinary form; or

    (b) to those faithful mentioned in (a) and also to those who acknowledge in principle the legitimacy of Masses celebrated according to the reformed Roman Missal and its General Instruction, but not the legitimacy of certain specific practices which, while not mandated therein, are permitted as options by universal or local liturgical law.

    The second dubium has in mind those many traditionally inclined Catholics who accept the legitimacy (in sense l [b] above of ordinary-form Masses in which more traditional options are used, but who regard as wrong and displeasing to God certain practices which were for many centuries universally disapproved and forbidden by the Church but which are now permitted by the local liturgical law of many or most dioceses or episcopal conferences (e.g., Communion given in the hand, female altar service, and the use of extraordinary lay ministers of Communion).

    Rome’s Response

    Pontificia Commissio Ecclesia Dei

    Prot. 156/2009

    Vatican City, 23 May 2012

    Your Excellency,

    This Pontifical Commission has received, via your Excellency’s good offices, a copy of a correspondence from [name blacked out] placing before the Commission two dubia as to the interpretation of article 19 of this Commission’s Instruction Universae Ecclesiae.

    The first [dubium] asked whether legitimas in UE, article 19, is to be understood as meaning:

    (a) Duly promulgated by appropriate procedures of ecclesiastical law (ius ecclesiasticum); or

    (b) In accord with both ecclesiastical law and divine law (ius divinum), that is, neither doctrinally unorthodox nor otherwise displeasing to God.

    This Pontifical Commission would limit itself to saying that legitimas is to be understood in the sense of 1(a).

    The second [dubium] is responded to by this answer.

    With the hope that Your Excellency will communicate the contents of this letter to the individual concerned, this Pontifical Commission takes this opportunity to renew its sentiments of esteem.

    Sincerely yours in Christ

    Mons. Guido Pozzo

    • I haven’t had time to check out the link to Fr Z’s blog article but the two dubia were reported by Christopher Ferrara in The Remnant some time ago (and I reported that source in the newsletter) as having been submitted to Rome by a layman (via his bishop), with whom he, Christopher, was in debate on the subject over a meal. Must be the same case. Or somebody’s got a twin!

      Anyway, the response from the Vatican is revealing…

      The new Mass is “legitimate” only in that it has been approved by Church law, but nobody in the Vatican is going to go so far as to say it is legitimate in that it is totally orthodox and pleasing to God.

      Hands up all those priests who are happy celebrating a Mass that the Vatican won’t announce is pleasing to God and likewise all those laity who are happy attending a Mass that the Vatican will not confirm is pleasing to God…

  54. Isn’t it just revealing, Editor?

    Even Rome doesn’t claim that the NO is pleasing to God.

    I find Ecclesia Dei’s statement interesting. If ‘legitimas’ is taken to mean ‘promulgated according to Church Law’, as they say, then does that support – or undermine – the Society’s position?

    (ie that the NO Mass is valid, but not licit?)

    Bp Fellay translates ‘licit’ as good….but I’m not clear whether ‘licit’ and ‘legitimate’ are interchangeable. Both come from the same Latin word for ‘law’….does Bp Fellay mean the same by ‘licit’ as Ecclesia Dei means by ‘legitimate’?

    I’m assuming that the Society will only accept as ‘licit’ a Mass that is promulgated according to Church law and also Divine law?

    • spiritustempore,

      The statement from the Vatican supports the Society’s position. The new Mass is only legitimate in that it is permitted in Church law, much as abortion is “legitimate” because it is permitted in UK state law. Whether or not abortion is pleasing to God is neither here nor there (as we can see) because the state law is in force that permits it. Ditto the new Mass. Archbishop Lefebvre was convinced that the new Mass – being a grave departure from Catholic theology of the Mass – is not totally orthodox and pleasing to God, and the rest, as they say, is history.

      I would avoid saying that the new Mass is not “licit” because – as just noted, and is clear form the Vatican statement – it IS licit in the strictly academic sense of being permitted in Church law. Whether or not God considers it licit, I’ll… well… I’ll keep my thoughts to myself, since mine is not to reason why…

      And as for the terminology – it really is irrelevant: “licit” = “allowed” – it IS allowed in Church law which is the only form of legitimacy enjoyed by the new Mass, as the Vatican statement above confirms.

      It seems self-evident that the Society can scarcely embrace a Mass that even the Vatican itself refuses to affirm is totally orthodox and pleasing to God. The worrying thing in all of this is the fact that from the top down there are prelates who have never known the Traditional Latin Mass. How it is going to be restored is a real mystery. Maybe we should get Poirot on the case!

  55. I’m not sure, Editor……this is what confuses me:-

    Finally one other condition,, which concerns the Mass this time. We must accept the validity of the new Mass, but not only its validity. We would have to accept also its liceity. We speak about validity when we ask, “does the thing exist?” A Mass that is celebrated validly means that Our Lord is there. We are not looking then at the circumstances in which this Mass is said. Thus a black Mass could be valid. It is horrible, it is a terrible sacrilege, but, alas, there are priests who celebrate what is called a black Mass. This Mass is valid. In citing this shocking example, you understand of course that that is not permitted, that is not licit because it is bad. “Licit” means permitted because it is good. We, however, we have observed the ravages caused by this new Mass, we have noted how it was made, for what purpose it was made, for the sake of ecumenism. And we see the results, the loss of the faith, the empty churches, and we say: it is bad. This is how I replied to Rome. Usually we do not even speak about liceity, we simply say about this Mass that it is bad. That is enough.

  56. spiritustempore

    That definition of “licit” is Bishop Fellay’s own definition. The technical meaning of the word is quite simply “lawful” – not “lawful because it is good”. I’ve never heard that definition before.

    The simple fact is that, good or bad, the new Mass is permitted in ecclesiastical law. So was fasting from midnight on Saturdays at one time, doesn’t mean it was a good idea (I was sick so often and had to go out for a drink of water that the pass-keepers used to joke that I knew what was in the water! Whisky!)

    Even Pope Paul VI did not try to over-egg the NO Mass – he said at one point (hand-wringing) that he only meant it as an option, not a replacement (not sure if that’s true, but I read it somewhere and could quite believe it in the context of his agonised exclamation about the smoke of Satan having entered the Church) so I cannot see how anyone, even Bishop Fellay (!), can re-define “licit” to mean “permitted because it is good”. I mean, it doesn’t make sense that such a definition would be required of HIM, when the Vatican has already responded to two dubia, by refusing to affirm that the new Mass is “totally orthodox and pleasing to God” – they more or less admit there that it’s NOT good.

    Doesn’t make sense at all. “Licit” means permitted in law. End of. This fashion for re-defining words, not to say institutions, is driving me nuts. I’ll stick with the Oxford English Dictionary, thank you very much!

  57. Thanks Editor,

    That’s one point I’ve been struggling with. ‘Licit’ means ‘allowed’, literally, and the Vatican have stated that the NO is ‘allowed’ because it was promulgated according to Church Law….not Divine Law.

    Bp Fellay doesn’t appear to make the distinction and seemed to me to require that the Mass must satisfy Conditions (a) and (b) in my post above… that it must satisfy both Church and Divine Law.

    I was wondering whether Ecclesia Dei’s definition offered an olive branch or a mantrap.

    • Reading over Bishop Fellay’s words again, he seems to be saying that the Vatican is asking the SSPX to accept the new Mass because it is lawful and good. All he needs to do, in my humble opinion, is say that it is a self-evident fact that it is “licit” in the strictest sense of the word – as abortion is licit in many countries in the world – but that doesn’t mean we think it is good. It’s as simple as that. If the CDF is trying to get Bishop Fellay to accept that the NO is “good” (not merely “licit”) then I’d say that is a trap, all right. The next stage would be, obviously, “if it’s good, then why not the Society priests say it?” Gerrourahere!

      Emphasising its Protestant origins, and making clear that no SSPX priests will ever participate in a NO, nor promote it, makes the SSPX position crystal clear. If the Vatican can’t accept that – well, so be it. Back to the drawing board! With the right people in place at the top of the Vatican Congregations, especially the CDF and Ecclesia Dei, I think the Pope would accept it. So, roll on the “clear out” of the Curia that we were told was imminent – months ago!

  58. Yes – what ever happened to that “clear out”? There was a rumour today that Cardinal Bertone had resigned….quickly quashed by Fr Lombardi. So far, it’s looking like business as usual.

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