Excommunication: Archbishop Lefebvre & Bishop Pat Buckley… Spot the Difference!

As promised in our July Newsletter – which you can download from our website here –  we are launching a brief discussion on the matter of two prominent 20th century excommunications: that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Founder of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and Bishop Pat Buckley…  A brief overview of each situation follows: 

Archbishop Lefebvre…

From the SSPX website…

Following the repeated requests of several young men seeking a traditional priestly formation, Archbishop Lefebvre opened a new seminary in Econe, Switzerland. The local ordinary, Bishop Francois Charriere, gave his blessing for this work, and on November 1, 1970 the Priestly Society of St. Pius X was born with the approval of the Church.

A brief account of the history of the SSPX can be read here. One detail, however, should be added to that general account, as it pertains primarily to Archbishop Lefebvre’s involvement in the Coetus Internationalis Patrum. During the Second Vatican Council, an important friendship developed between Marcel Lefebvre and Antonio de Castro Mayer, bishop of Campos (Brazil). These two shared ideas at the various Coetus functions and kept in contact long after the close of the council. They both refused to implement the modernist teachings of Vatican II and in 1983 jointly authored an open letter to the pope lamenting the numerous errors which seemed to infect Rome. When Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four new bishops in 1988, Bishop de Castro Mayer assisted as co-consecrator.  To read more, click here

From The Remnant website…

Sadly, in the current catastrophe that is the Post-Conciliar Church, some blinded men, instead of joining the fight against the heresy, apostasy, and de facto schism around us, insist on melodramatically condemning, with the most condescending and arrogant invective, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Although any excommunication that was previously levied against the living bishops of the SSPX has long since been remitted, some hardened Neo-Catholics insist that Abp. Lefebvre himself remains perpetually excommunicated, one Neo-Catholic priest even going so far as to presume his damnation. Thus the same Neo-Catholics who tell us that the Church’s perennial teachings on religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality are confined to past times and changeable, treat a 1988 letter from a pope as if its infallibility ranked somewhere between Dogma and Holy Writ.

The 1988 letter I am referring to, of course, is John Paul II’s Ecclesia Dei adflictaTwenty-six years later, Neo-Catholics cling to this letter as it represents, in their minds anyway, the one infallible document that ensures Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre can never be rehabilitated or declared a Saint in the future. As usual, the irony of the Neo-Catholics, on the one hand preaching the Mass of Pius V is changeable at the whim of future popes, while on the other hand preaching John Paul II’s excommunication is certainly valid and binding for all time, escapes them entirely.  To read the entire article on The Remnant website, click here

Bishop Pat Buckley…

Google Father or Bishop Pat Buckley and the description “rebel priest” comes up… Here, in his own words, is why he was dismissed from his parish

 

Later, Fr Buckley was consecrated a bishop, as reported in the Irish Times: 

“The rebel cleric, Bishop Pat Buckley, has excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church by being consecrated as a bishop, a Hierarchy spokesman has said.

The church spokesman said the ordination of Bishop Buckley by the Tridentine bishop, Dr Michael Cox, was “valid but unlawful” (under Canon law).”  To read rest of this report click  here

Comment: 

The adjective often used to describe both bishops is “rebel”.  Archbishop Lefebvre is well known for his work to preserve Catholic Tradition against the innovations following Vatican II, while Bishop Buckley is well known for his dissent from Catholic teachings, such as the prohibition on divorce and remarriage.  Archbishop Lefebvre fought to keep the Church within Catholic Tradition, while Bishop Buckley seeks to achieve changes in the Church which will meet the perceived needs of contemporary Catholics living in a “liberal” society.  

So, check out the headline – IS there any difference between the two excommunications?   

France: Lift Excommunications of Freemasons – And Dialogue to Death!

FreemasonicSymbol(Paris) On the 26th of November 1983, the Roman Congregation reaffirmed with  Pope John Paul II’s  express approval, a declaration of incompatibility of Freemasonry with the Catholic Church.

The ruling was then deemed necessary by then Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Since  January 1983,  membership was in the Masonic lodge was not explicitly mentioned in the new Code of Canon Law, as it occurred in several countries, there was the assertion, including Austria, that Freemasons were no longer excommunicated. Catholics, therefore, asked Rome for clarification, and that took place with particular haste in November of the same year.

“The negative judgment of the Church on Masonic associations, therefore, remains unchanged because their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them continues to be prohibited. The faithful who belong to Masonic associations are therefore in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.”

This excommunication was reaffirmed and clarified:

“It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgement on  the nature of Masonic associations  which would imply a derogation of what is ruled from above.”

La Croix wants a lifting of the excommunication for lodge brothers

Nevertheless, there are “wordly Catholics” who brush aside  the excommunication or deny it flatly. “Some people have no qualms about openly showing their disapproval. Belonging to the Masonic Lodge is more important than obedience to the Church,” said Corrispondenza Romana .

The most recent example is La Croix , the daily newspaper of the French Bishops’ Conference . On January 25, it complained that there are many severe “exclusions” which are really “painful” that only include “Masons,” “who profess the Catholic faith”.

According to La Croix there are “judgments”, like  that justified by the CDF justified and “understood” for a time in which the lodges were avowedly been anticlerical. Today, however, that is, at least according to the newspaper of the French Bishops’ Conference, no longer the case.

Instead of a justification for this assertion, La Croix  introduces that omnipresent commitment to “dialogue” onto the field: “Is it really applicable in a context such as the present, that condemnation no longer benefits dialog?” In order to “liberate”  the apron clad brothers from the self-imposed exile from church, the   newspaper refers to the “Holy Year of Mercy”, “Why not finally eliminate this charge from the category of ‘serious sins’ for the Year of Mercy?”

The daily paper of the French Episcopal Conference can think of no reason why the Masons should be excommunicated. To be precise, the newspaper makes no attempt to find a reason. It merely refers to a “past” that is no longer applicable now without explaining when to what and why it should be changed.

“The answer is quite simple. The accusation of grave sin can not be eliminated because Freemasonry has neither changed nor has ever done anything to change. Its goal is to be the destruction of  organic and natural society. It supports  positions and behaviors that are absolutely incompatible with the Catholic faith from an ethical and social point of view and those things about which they rather avowedly disagree, such as divorce, abortion, homosexuality, gender ideology, euthanasia and many others,” said Corrispondenza Romana .

If the distance were  reduced, it would be because the progressive part of the Church have come closer with their “holes” to the positions of the lodges, “if it is not  result in a deadly embrace.”

The outspoken condemnation on April 28, 1738 by Pope Clement XII. with the Bull In Eminenti   has lost none of its  validity. Most importantly, it leaves no room for doubt. “It would not be bad if those  in the daily newspaper of the French bishops consider it and perhaps would read this excommunication on occasion,” said Corrispondenza Romana .

Vienna cathedral minister Toni Faber and his Aproned Lodge Brothers 

Among those who flout the current condemnation of Freemasonry, is Vienna’s cathedral pastor, Msgr. Toni Faber. In 2010 he was with the former Grand Master of the Austrian Grand Lodge guest on the private television channel TW1.

When asked about the statement of the CDF and the excommunication upon entry into a lodge,  Faber said: instead of Cardinal Ratzinger we are more obliged  “thankfully, to Cardinal König”.  In Austria, “Thank God, it’s always” been “that Masons who have asked the Cardinal  König: ‘Is it permissible for me as a sincere Catholic to belong in the Lodge,’ have always received approval from him.”

Faber gave the impression that the attitude to Freemasonry is merely personal judgment call. The “approval” that Cardinal König gave, according to Faber, however, was null and void because he had no responsibility to make the decision.

Faber’s outspoken representation illustrates that ecclesiastical regulations are thwarted in the highest places. Faber was open in the broadcast  about his personal contacts with “many” Freemasons, which he invariably called “convinced Catholics”, only to boast about them, because he could be sure  to be fear nothing from the supervising office.

The alleged harmlessness of the lodges by Toni Faber in 2010, and now of La Croix is so far that one might wonder why  supposedly “upright” and “convinced Catholics” find it important to live in disobedience to their own Church, to belong to an allegedly so harmless a club.  Source 

Comment:

Athanasius, one of our regular bloggers, has just reported that schismatic nuns (Russian Orthodox) have a piety stall in one of Glasgow’s churches – St Mungo’s.    Click here to read it for yourself.

Ecumenical and inter-Faith events across the world mean that religious indifference is embedded in the once Catholic mindset.  Now we have a call from the French Bishops, via their official newspaper, to lift the penalty for Catholics who are Freemasons.

What next? Surely, this is a scandal… Or is it time to re-think the ban on Freemasonry?

Pope Francis & “Team Bergoglio” …

Rome, Dec. 6, 2014:  Since the news that the new book by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, former spokesman for the Cardinal of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, contained allegations that a group of Cardinals canvassed for the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, numerous news outlets the AustinIvereighTHEGREATREFORMERworld over have covered the story.  The group of 4 to 7 Cardinals, whom Ivereigh nicknames, “Team Bergoglio”, “shocked and disappointed” by the revelations, have taken the extreme action of having Fr. Frederico Lombardi issue a carefully worded denial through the Italian News Blog, Il Sismografo (published by co-workers from Radio Vaticana).

The probity of Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony concerning the vote-canvassing campaign has been subject to question the world over in the last 2 weeks.  For this reason, the From Rome blog considers it important to publish information regarding other sources which corroborate or disprove Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations, to shed further light on which of the two parties Dr. Ivereigh or the Cardinals are telling the truth.

The Church according to the oft declared teaching of Pope Francis, himself, should not be a place where the powerful silence the weak or hide behind their offices like aristocratic princes, concerning whom no action can be questioned and nothing untoward be imputed, regardless of whether it is true.  For this reason, the “Team Bergoglio” story, whose history has been chronicled here at this blog (see here), represents one of the greatest challenges to the integrity, transparency and honesty of the Bergoglian papacy, if not its very validity in law.

Ivereigh knew of UDG 81 before the Conclave of 2013 began 

Editor: UDG  Universi Dominici Gregis  promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996.  In paragraph 81, all forms of vote canvassing which include vote promising were punished with automatic excommunication (latae sententiae). 

That Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony in the print edition of his book has great probity, arises not only from the fact that he is former secretary to the very Cardinal who is implicated as the point-man for “Team Bergoglio” (Murphy-O’Connor), but also from the fact that he personally covered the news of the 2013 Conclave, blogging about it for Our Sunday Visitor and speaking on Television for the BBC.  The video excerpt was posted on YouTube by Catholic Voices on February 22, 2014, ostensibly by Dr. Ivereigh himself.  Click here to watch the video

In a telling report, filed by the BBC on March 12, 2013, the day before the Conclave began, Dr. Ivereigh shows himself knowledgeable of the papal rule forbidding canvassing for votes.

The interview took place at 17:03 local time, during the very act in which the Cardinal Electors took their vows to uphold the secrecy of the Conclave.  Among which electors is seen Cardinal Bergoglio. Interviewed are Msgr. Mark Langham and Dr. Austen Ivereigh, founder of Catholic Voices.

The BBC reporter starts the conversation with an implication which seems to suggest all which The Great Reformer, the book by Dr. Ivereigh, is saying about “Team Bergoglio”, when the former says at 0:56 minutes: The way that one would want to write about this is to talk about the intrigue and the plotting and the scheming

 At 4:30, Dr. Ivereigh admits that he knows of UDG 81’s prescription that the Cardinals are excluded from canvassing pacts, saying, The norms governing the Conclave make sure that there should be no pacts, no agreements…

And at 12:05, Dr. Ivereigh furthermore admits to having met with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and discussed the pre-conclave affairs.

This interview by Dr. Ivereigh thus confirms, both that he had personal first hand knowledge of the requirements of the Papal Law, as well as personal contact with one member of “Team Bergoglio” in the days in which he now claims in his book, the vote-canvassing campaign was conducted.  That makes his testimony on the affair, given in his book, of the highest probity.

Therefore, let us review again, the papal laws by which such a campaign could lead to an invalid election of the Pope.

The Terms of UDG 81, Excommunicate Electors for Voting Agreements

All who participated in the Conclave are by Pope John Paul II’s aforementioned Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG), paragraph 81 to avoid vote canvassing:

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:¹

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when having sworn an oath, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

The Terms of Canon 171, §2 Invalidate elections in which Excommunicated Electors participate

What makes the revelations of Dr. Ivereigh so challenging to the papacy of Cardinal Bergoglio is that Canon 171 invalidates elections in which the number of votes required for victory was obtained by the counting of votes from electors who were excommunicated at the time of the voting.  This Canon sanctions not only those who sought votes, but also those who agreed to give them.  If the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh are true, then as many as 16 Cardinals, the number reported to have initially voted for Cardinal Bergoglio in the first ballot, would be suspect, and thus the final vote of 78 votes, which is only 2 more than the required 78, would be in doubt as to its validity.

Here is the official Latin text of Canon 171:

Can. 171 — § 1. Inhabiles sunt ad suffragium ferendum:

1° incapax actus humani;

2° carens voce activa;

3° poena excommunicationis innodatus sive per sententiam iudicialem sive per decretum quo poena irrogatur vel declaratur;

4° qui ab Ecclesiae communione notorie defecit.

§ 2. Si quis ex praedictis admittatur, eius suffragium est nullum, sed electio valet, nisi constet, eo dempto, electum non rettulisse requisitum suffragiorum numerum.

Here is the official English translation from the Vatican website:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

  • 1/ a person incapable of a human act;
  • 2/ a person who lacks active voice;
  • 3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
  • 4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§ 2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

That the Apostolic Constitution by Pope John Paul II, Universi Dominic Gregis, regulating papal elections is a decree in the sense mentioned in Canon 171 §1, n. 3, can be had from Canons 29 ff. on general decrees.

 ___________________

¹  In paragraph 81, the term suffragium in Latin has the proper meaning of “support”, but the technical meaning of “vote”.  In English, we say that one pledges his support for a candidate, to signify that one promises to vote for him at election time.

Comment

The above article, reprinted from the From Rome blog, is intended to kick start a discussion on the claims made by Austen Ivereigh in his biography of Pope Francis  – The Great Reformer – that several cardinals canvassed for votes for Pope Francis.

The gravity of such “vote-rigging” should be apparent to anyone who has read Universi Dominici Gregis # 81. This news is now several weeks old,  but for a variety of reasons we’ve not run a blog thread on the subject, although it has been discussed briefly on one of our Pope Francis threads.  Dominie Mary, however, an occasional blogger here, is so keen to discuss the issues surrounding these allegations, that she has submitted a couple of links from the From Rome blog.  I’ve chosen to use the above article to start off, in case anyone has missed the basic facts, but you can read the rest of the very comprehensive coverage on the From Rome blog by clicking on the two links submitted by Dominie Mary –  here and here  

It’s all very interesting, of course, and absolutely shocking stuff.  But does it really change anything for us?  We have a bad pope.  We know that. Nothing we can do about it except pray for him and for souls likely to fall victim to his outright modernism and, of course, we must resist his false beliefs – with bells on.  If the allegations are true then, of course, we learn a little more about the character of Papa Francis than heretofore, but, other than that, nothing’s changed. Has it?