Is The SSPX Now Fully Regularized?

Pope Francis has fully regularized the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), James Bogle, the ex-president of Una Voce International, told Gloria.tv (video below: see link – Ed)

Bogle stressed that the SSPX and the sacraments administrated by them, including marriages and confessions, have been formally recognized by Francis. The Society is also allowed to ordain to the priesthood whomever they see fit.

Francis further appointed SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay as a judge at the Rota Romana, the highest appellate tribunal of the Church, thus recognizing his authority.

“I don’t see how much more regular you can get than that,” Bogle concludes. He acknowledges, however, that there are a lot of intolerant bishops who still treat the SSPX as if it were irregular.

To them, Bogle answers that those who do not like the integration of the SSPX “better have the argument with Pope Francis.”   Click here to read more and view video

Comments invited…    

The Theology of Mass “Preference”

With increasing frequency, I hear people saying that, while they prefer the traditional Latin Mass (and attend it when they can), they still attend the novus ordo Mass;  generally speaking, it’s easier to get to the new Mass or, in some cases, the people concerned have commitments in their parishes which they are not yet ready or willing to relinquish.  Having educated themselves on the Mass controversy, and come to the conclusion that they really ought to be attending the traditional Mass, they are still somewhat (and naturally so) attached to their parish communities.   But are they right to continue to attend the new Mass, knowing what they now know? Here’s a short talk on the question of informed Catholics continuing to attend the new Mass…

Comment: 

Imagine the reaction of a judge in any courtroom you care to name, listening to  to a defendant accused of any crime, who, while admitting his guilt sought to excuse himself by arguing that he would have “preferred” not to have committed the crime at all, but…  Is that a defence?  Aren’t we all expected to conform our behaviour to comply with the law, whether road traffic laws or the moral law?  Try running a few red lights and telling the court that you’d really have “preferred” not to do so, or excusing the murder of your annoying neighbour by insisting that it really wouldn’t be your first choice of action, your “preference”, but… 

Why, then, do we think that it’s OK to swap the new Mass for the traditional Mass when it suits us, spuriously claiming that we “prefer” the traditional Mass, so that’s all right then?  

Answer:  it’s not.  It’s really not all right.  God more than “prefers” the traditional Mass; this is the worship that He wants from us, as is clear from the history and tradition of the Church – not to mention the decimation of entire congregations since the introduction of the new Mass in recent years.   So, what any of us “prefers” is irrelevant. Goodness, we might “prefer” to spend a couple of hours clap-happy singing in the nearest Pentecostalist church –  who cares?  “Preference” is irrelevant. Our duty is to give due and true worship to God. We are quite simply not doing that at the new Mass. 

If you have some cast iron evidence to the contrary, of course, let’s hear it!                                                               

The Future of the Catholic Truth Blog 

From the Editor…

Some time ago, I announced that I had decided to close the blog. Being the official administrator I had the casting vote, so that was that.   There were a number of reasons for this decision, chief among them that I felt there were not enough people signing up and contributing to the discussions.   Following my announcement, I received a number of representations, by phone and email, both from individual bloggers and from readers who sought to change my mind.  I appreciated all the arguments in favour of keeping the blog open, but I remained resolute in my decision. Right up to the moment when our hard-working blogger, Petrus, put some points to me that really did take me by surprise.   In short, it was his story, which he emailed to me only yesterday and which is published below, that made me change my mind.  As a trusted adviser said when I told her, “we’ll never know how many other ‘Peters’ are out there, to whom the blog has, similarly, made a huge difference in their lives.”  So, read on and tell me if you think I’m right to reverse the original decision to close, instead keeping the blog open… OR am I a Scots version of  Theresa May, dithering and changing my mind at every turn?  Don’t answer that!   Anyway, below, read Peter’s pitch to keep the blog open – and tell us if you think he has a point.  Also, feel free to offer ideas for future topics or suggest any improvements you’d like to see;  if it’s within our power, we’ll be glad to oblige. Just don’t suggest sacking Petrus – that’s out of the question! 

From Petrus… 

At the Catholic Truth Conference of June 2012, I gave a keynote address outlining my journey from Modernist Catholic, to Church of Scotland elder, back to Modernist Catholic and finally to the Traditional Catholic faith. In this address, I outlined the role the Catholic Truth apostolate played in that process. In this article, I want to specifically focus on the role the Catholic Truth Blog has played in that journey and my subsequent eleven years attending the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively.

Back in 2008, the blog wasn’t the first contact I had had with Catholic Truth. I had already subscribed to the newsletter for over eight years. Not only did I subscribe to the newsletter, I had a couple of letters published and exchanged emails with the editor – the first occasion being when I read criticism of Catholic education in the newsletter. I’d just qualified as a teacher in a Catholic school and was livid that a Catholic publication would slate Catholic education. In this email, I took great pleasure in telling the editor that those involved with Catholic Truth were excommunicated because they denied the authority of an Ecumenical Council!

Despite my initial condemnation of Catholic Truth, and my Modernism, I volunteered to meet with the editor. However, a priest put me off by defaming the professionalism of the editor, telling me that she had a “failed teaching career” (nothing could be further from the truth). So, I pulled out. In fact, I just didn’t turn up!

During my three years as a Protestant, I lost interest in the newsletter and subsequently missed the launch of the blog. It was only when I returned to the Faith that I returned to reading Catholic Truth. By this time the blog was up and running. I took this as an opportunity to prove my re-found fidelity to the Catholic Faith and set out to put these schismatics to rights!

However, it didn’t quite work out as I planned. The clarity of the comments, alongside the charity of the bloggers had a profound effect on me. I began to wonder what went wrong with my Catholic formation and made a decision that I wouldn’t allow this to happen to my children. The bloggers exercised tremendous patience with me. The best piece of advice I received was to attend the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively for six weeks and I was assured that I would never want to return to the Novus Ordo Missae. This advice changed my life.

Not only has it changed my life, it’s changed the life of my wife, who, whilst not contributing to the blog, is a regular reader. Its coverage of issues in education was instrumental in our decision to home educate our children. Thanks to the blog, only our oldest child has been to a Novus Ordo Mass, but thankfully he has no recollection of it. So, the influence of the blog extends beyond me personally.

I became a regular blogger because it was the only place I could receive support and guidance as a Catholic, outside of the Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. Eleven years later, I am still there, perhaps not as much as I once was due to family and work commitments. It’s not all been plain sailing, I’ve had more arguments and fallings out with the editor than I’ve had hot dinners! [Ed: always his fault 😀 ) However, if I’m honest, I have to say that without the Catholic Truth Blog I might not be where I am now. Without the friendship of the editor and the extended Catholic Truth team, family life in our household would be vastly different… and not for the better. I wouldn’t hesitate in saying that the Catholic Truth Blog has been the most important contribution to authentic Catholic life, both in Scotland and far beyond, in the last twelve years. Please, God, long may it continue!

 

Comments invited…   

SSPX Building Up Vs Pulling Down…

From blogger, Gabriel Syme…

Bishop Huonder of the Diocese of Chur (Switzerland) has announced he will spent his retirement with the SSPX. He is 76 and has wished to retire for a while, Pope Francis having already rejected his resignation in 2017. I don’t know a lot about him, beyond the fact he seems quite solid and has previously been “in the wars” with the LGBT and secular movements.
Presumably he will still be able to carry out the functions of a Prelate and so this could be a real boon for the SSPX. Rorate reports that Pope Francis is “well informed” about the Bishop’s choice and personally approves of it.  

Editor writes…

Clearly, those who have spread the falsehood that the SSPX is in schism, are plain wrong – have been all along, of course, but it must be crystal clear, even to the slowest of “liberal” minds, that Pope Francis (of ALL popes!) is hardly likely to approve one of his bishops spending his retirement with a “schismatic” Society of traditional priests and bishops. There’s a limit to embracing “equality”, “diversity” and “tolerance”.  It seems as good a time as ever, then, to reflect on the closing chapter of Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics, written just twenty years after the dramatic changes in the Church, in the years following the Second Vatican Council.  

Archbishop Lefebvre writes: Building Up Versus Pulling Down (from Open Letter to Confused Catholics)

Twenty years have gone by and one would have thought that the reactions raised by the Council reforms would have calmed down, that the Catholic people would have buried the religion in which they had been brought up, that the younger ones, not having known it, would have accepted the new one. That, at least, was the wager made by the Modernists. They were not unduly disturbed by the uproar, sure of themselves as they were in the early days. They were less so later on. The frequent and necessary concessions made to the spirit of the world did not produce the expected results. Nobody any longer wanted to be a priest of the new religion and the faithful turned away from their religious practice. The Church which tried to become a Church of the poor became a poor Church, obliged to resort to advertising to collect Peter’s Pence, and to sell off its properties.

During this time those faithful to Tradition drew together in all the Christian lands, and particularly in France, Switzerland, the United States and Latin America.
The fabricator of the new Mass, Mgr. Annibale Bugnini was himself obliged to recognize this world-wide resistance in his posthumous book,21 a resistance which is growing and organizing itself unceasingly and drawing support. No, the “traditionalist” movement is not “slowing-down” as the progressivist journalists write from time to time to reassure themselves. Where else are there as many people at Mass as at St. Nicholas-du-Chardonnet, and also as many Masses, as many Benedicitons of the Blessed Sacrament or as many beautiful ceremonies? The Society of Saint Pius X throughout the world owns seventy houses,22 each with at least one priest, churches like the one in Brussels and the one we have quite recently bought in London, or the one placed at our disposal in Marseilles; also schools, and four seminaries.

Carmelite convents are opening and already forming new communities. Religious communities of men and of women created fifteen or more years ago, who strictly apply the rule of the Orders from which they stem, are overflowing with vocations, and are continuously having to enlarge their premises and construct more buildings. The generosity of the Catholic faithful never ceases to amaze me, particularly in France.

The monasteries are centers of attraction, crowds of people go there often from far away; young people bewildered by the illusory seductions of pleasures and escape in every form, find in them their Road to Damascus. Here is a list of places where they have
kept the true Catholic faith and for that reason draw people: Le Barroux, Flavigny-sur Ozerain, La Haye-aux-Bonshommes, the Benedictines of Alés, the Sisters of Fanjeaux, of Brignolles, of Pontcallec, and communities like that of Father Lecareux…

Travelling a great deal, I see everywhere at work the hand of Christ blessing His Church. In Mexico the ordinary people drove from the churches the reforming clergy who, won over by the so-called liberation theology, wanted to throw out the statues of the saints. “It’s not the statues who are going, it’s you.” Political circumstances have prevented us from opening a priory in Mexico; so faithful priests travel out from a center at El Paso near the frontier in the United States. The descendants of the Cristeros welcome them warmly and offer them their churches. I have administered 2500 confirmations there at the request of the people.

In the United States, young married couples with their numerous children flock to the Society’s priests. In 1982 in that country I ordained the first three priests trained entirely in our seminaries. Groups of traditionalists are on the increase whereas the parishes are declining. Ireland, which has remained refractory towards the novelties, has been subject to the reforms since 1980, altars having been cast into rivers or re-used as building material. Simultaneously, traditionalist groups have formed in Dublin and Belfast. In Brazil, in the diocese of Campos of which I have already spoken, the people have rallied around the priests evicted from their parishes by the new bishop, with processions of 5,000 and 10,000 people taking to the streets.

It is therefore the right road we are following; the proof is there, we recognize the tree by its fruits. What the clergy and the laity have achieved in spite of persecution by the liberal clergy (for, as Louis Veuillot says, “There is nobody more sectarian than a liberal.”) is almost miraculous. Do not let yourself be taken in, dear reader, by the term “traditionalist” which they would have people understand in a bad sense. In a way, it is a pleonasm because I cannot see who can be a Catholic without being a traditionalist. I think I have amply demonstrated in this book that the Church is a tradition. We are a tradition. They also speak of “integrism.” If by that we mean respect for the integrality of dogma, of the catechism, of Christian morality, of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then yes, we are integrists. And I do not see how one can be a Catholic without being an integrist in that sense of the word.

It has also been said that after me, my work will disappear because there will be no bishop to replace me. I am certain of the contrary; I have no worries on that account. I may die tomorrow, but the good Lord answers all problems. Enough bishops will be found in the world to ordain our seminarians: this I know.

Even if at the moment he is keeping quiet, one or another of these bishops will receive from the Holy Ghost the courage needed to arise in his turn. If my work is of God, He will guard it and use it for the good of the Church. Our Lord has promised us, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her.

This is why I persist, and if you wish to know the real reason for my persistence, it is this: At the hour of my death, when Our Lord asks me, “What have you done with your episcopate, what have you done with your episcopal and priestly grace?” I do not want to hear from His lips the terrible words, “You have helped to destroy the Church along with the rest of them.”   [Emphasis added]

21 La Riforma Liturgica: Edizioni Liturgiche Rome.
22 At present, in the year 2000, there are 135 priories, 6 seminaries, 75 schools, 3 universities, 3 nursing homes, 4 retreat houses, 4 bishops and 401 priests–ed.

 

Comment: 

I don’t think there can be any doubt in the minds of those who have lived through the years since Vatican II that the SSPX has, indeed, built up (and continues to build up) the Church at this time of crisis.  Thus, it is heartening to read this news of the Swiss diocesan bishop who has chosen to spend his retirement years  in the Society.   Will other bishops follow the example of  Bishop Huonder?

It seems very clear that the Pope is trying to regularise the SSPX in a variety of ways – is there a  local bishop in your neck of the woods who may assist this process?  Why don’t the local bishops invite the Society priests to (“Mass-less”) diocesan events, for example?  Would the Society priests accept? Is there, in your opinion, scope for a sort of informal regularisation within dioceses to help normalise the SSPX situation?  

Pope Francis Suppresses Ecclesia Dei… 

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei Suppressed by Pope Francis
January 19, 2019 By fsspx.news

On January 17, 2019, Pope Francis suppressed the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which had been created in 1988 by his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

The Apostolic Letter in the form of the Pope’s motu proprio was published at noon on January 19 by the Holy See Press Office and inserted in L’Osservatore Romano. From now on, the Commission’s responsibilities will be placed entirely in the hands of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will designate a special section to take over its activities. This transfer, explains the Sovereign Pontiff, comes in response to a need expressed during a meeting of this dicastery on November 15, 2017, approved by him on November 24, and validated in a plenary session in January 2018.

The pope recalls how, over thirty years ago, the day after the episcopal consecrations in 1988, John Paul II wished to facilitate the “full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Archbishop Lefebvre”. The goal was to help them “remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church while preserving their own spiritual and liturgical traditions”. This preservation of the spiritual and liturgical traditions was ensured in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

This historical reminder of Pope Francis has the merit of showing how this Pontifical Commission was originally founded on the condemnation of Archbishop Lefebvre and his work. In its thirty years of existence, it mostly limited itself to liturgical questions, with the intention of responding to the “sensitivity” of conservative priests and faithful, and of countering the Society of St. Pius X’s growth throughout the world…

But after the supposed excommunications of the bishops of Tradition were lifted in 2009, Benedict XVI believed that the ongoing doctrinal issues were a good reason to attach the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The goal was to begin doctrinal discussions with the Society of St. Pius X.

The Primacy of the Doctrine of the Faith

Today, Pope Francis writes that the religious communities that belong to the Pontifical Commission have acquired stability both in their numbers and their activities; they ensure the celebration of the Mass in its “extraordinary form”. But, he points out, “the questions dealt with by the same Pontifical Commission were of a primarily doctrinal nature.” These objections and questions are clearly irrelevant to these communities. It is indeed with the Society of St. Pius X that they continue to be an issue.

This is what the cardinals pointed out on November 15, 2017, when they “formulated the request that dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X be conducted directly by the aforementioned Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith], as the questions being dealt with are of a doctrinal nature.”

One conclusion is evident: as the so-called Ecclesia Dei communities have preserved “their spiritual and liturgical traditions”, they clearly do not count in this discussion. If they remain attached to a section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it is incidental. They can have the Mass, the “spiritual and liturgical traditions”, but not the whole doctrine that goes along with them.

That has always been the Society of St. Pius X’s great reproach against Dom Gérard [founder of the Benedictine monastery at Le Barroux who worked with Archbishop Lefebvre until 1988] and all those who thought they should break the unity of Tradition in order to negotiate a purely practical agreement. The crisis of the Church cannot be reduced to a spiritual or liturgical question alone. It is deeper, for it touches the very heart of the Faith and the doctrine of Revelation, Christ the King’s right to reign here below over men and over societies.

Comment: 

Is this, as some commentators fear, anticipating this suppression, the beginning of the end for Summorum Pontificum?  Is the Pope about to attempt to suppress the ancient Mass?  

Cardinal Müller: the Faith first – if necessary, priests to disobey bishops…

The German episcopate is divided on the question of granting Protestants access to Eucharistic Communion, and the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reminds priests that they are not obliged to obey their bishops when they order them to commit acts that  go against the doctrine and practice of the Church.

Priests are “not bound by Divine Law to administer Holy Communion to a non-Catholic, and in any case,they certainly cannot be bound by any episcopal order,” declared Cardinal Gerhard Müller on December 11, 2018, in an interview with the information website LifeSite.

This statement from the former prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith comes one month after the bishop of Münster, Bishop Felix Genn, declared on the contrary that no priest has the right to refuse Communion to a Protestant.

Ever since Pope Francis’ visit to the Lutheran church in Rome (November 15, 2015), when in answer to a Protestant woman’s question on the matter, he evasively responded, “I would never dare to give permission for this because it is not in my authority. Speak with the Lord and move forward,” many bishops have rushed headlong into what they believe to be a carte blanche for intercommunion.

Cardinal Müller recalls that there are cases in which a priest has to resist his bishop “just as St. Paul resisted St. Peter,” quoting the passage from the Epistle to the Galatians (2:11). We might add that St. Paul was not only a priest, but also a bishop, and even an apostle, and that he took the liberty of publicly rebuking the first pope “because he was not walking uprightly unto the truth of the Gospel.” Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre did exactly the same thing.

The Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten’s interview with Fr. Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, on December 15, 2018, echoes this position, recalling that it is “inconceivable that the Church was mistaken for two millennia and that she found the truth about these questions only during the years of the Council, between 1962 and 1965.”   Source

Comment:

Before our enemies – or even some well-meaning readers – come racing on to accuse me of posting a misleading headline, because the Cardinal is referring to Intercommunion when he says priests are under no obligation to obey their bishops, allow me to point out that, logically, if a priest may disobey his bishop in a situation where the Faith is being undermined or openly attacked, then it stands to reason that this same “disobedience” applies to each and every instance where the Faith and Catholic Morals are under attack.  Yes? No?  Not sure?  Let’s hear it!  

Priestly Formation: Back to the Future?

Comment:

Clearly, the ongoing flood of scandals involving seminarians and priests calls into question the type of formation taking place (or not taking place) in contemporary seminaries.  The above “A Day in the Life of a Seminarian” offers a glimpse into the training of priests in a “traditional” Catholic seminary.  But note –  prior to Vatican II, the word “traditional” was not used to describe – as now  – a specific group of Catholics.  ALL Catholics were taught to hold fast to both Tradition and Sacred Scripture, which bear equal weight within the Church.

We are reliably informed, as if it’s not obvious, that these days the sort of disciplined seminary life shown in the above video is not the norm in diocesan seminaries.  They seem to be run more like a hostel for young single men, who may come and go as they please, eat out with friends (male and female) and generally live as an independent, single man. 

Surely then, one key ingredient in the ending of the current scandal-ridden priesthood is a return to the sort of disciplined, spiritual, rigorously academic and thoroughly Catholic formation which the students in the above video are enjoying. 

Critics will argue that such a restrictive regime won’t attract modern young men – what do you think?