Pope To Abolish Summorum Pontificum?

ROME, July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’ repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.

Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.

Catholic traditionalists have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the document, Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI issued it in 2007, giving all Latin Rite priests permission to offer the TLM without seeking permission of their bishops, undoing a restriction placed on priests after the Second Vatican Council.

The motu proprio outraged liberal bishops as it stripped them of the power to forbid the TLM, as many did. Previously priests needed their bishop’s permission to offer the TLM.
Additionally, Summorum Pontificum stated that wherever a group of the faithful request the TLM, the parish priests should willingly agree to their request.

The overheard plans are nearly identical to comments from an important Italian liturgist in an interview published by France’s La Croix earlier this month. Andrea Grillo a lay professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselmo in Rome, billed by La Croix as “close to the Pope,” is intimately familiar Summorum Pontificum. Grillo in fact published a book against Summorum Pontificum before the papal document was even released.
Grillo told La Croix that Francis is considering abolishing Summorum Pontificum. According to Grillo, once the Vatican erects the Society of Saint Pius X as a Personal Prelature, the Roman Rite will be preserved only within this structure. “But [Francis] will not do this as long as Benedict XVI is alive.”

The plan, as related to LifeSite, involved making an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X and, with that agreement in place, sequestering those Catholics wanting the TLM to the SSPX. For most, that would strip them of access to the TLM since there would not be nearly enough SSPX priests to service Catholics wanting the TLM worldwide.

Moreover, LifeSite’s source suggested that the plan may explain a May 20, 2017 letter by the recently ousted Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Even though Cardinal Müller wanted the SSPX fully reconciled to help fight modernists in the Church, the May 20 letter seemed to scuttle an agreement between Pope Francis and the SSPX which would see them get a personal prelature. The letter includes provisions long known to be completely unacceptable to the SSPX, thus nullifying an understanding SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay believed was imminent.

The LifeSite source suggested that the May 20 letter by Muller perhaps was written because he knows what Francis was up to and wanted to avoid the plan to bury Summorum Pontificum with Pope Benedict. “It’s directed not so much against Fellay but against the agreement,” said the source. “Pope Francis was very angry that document came out from Cardinal Muller and some say that’s why he made the decision to dismiss him.”  Source

Comment:

One glimmer of hope in this pontificate is the rising opposition of some clergy – click here to read more

Of course, the Scots clergy are a meek lot, and unlikely to rebel unless their bishop, too, rebels – and then, voila!  Good career move.  I’d better watch – I’m in danger of becoming cynical…

Share your thoughts – especially on the possible link between the Pope’s apparent enthusiasm for a Personal Prelature for the SSPX and his suspected intention to abolish the provisions of Summorum Pontificum so that ONLY SSPX priests will be able to offer the TLM. Surely that can’t be… what about the other traditional Mass groups – FSSP, Institute of Christ the King?  What would those priests do – join the SSPX? What!  But they set up shop to distance themselves from that “schismatic” bunch…  Irony of ironies! 

SSPX: Pope Sets Impossible Conditions

For the record: Cardinal Müller’s letter to Bishop Fellay on the necessary conditions for “full re-establishment of communion” with the SSPX

Last weekend, as rumors swirled of Cardinal Müller’s imminent dismissal from his post as Prefect of the CDF, the French website Medias-Presse.Info published what it claimed to be an excerpt from an important letter sent by the Cardinal to Bishop Bernard Fellay regarding the conditions for an accord between the Vatican and the SSPX. Today the Remnant published an English translation of this excerpt; we reproduce the entire Remnant article below, followed by a note on the 1988 Professio Fidei mentioned in it.  

Rorate’s own sources have confirmed the authenticity of this text. 

Cardinal Müller’s Letter to Bishop Fellay 

From http://www.medias-presse.info comes the following excerpt of a letter from Cardinal Müller to Bishop Bernard Fellay. According to http://www.medias-presse.info, Cardinal Müller’s letter was communicated to all SSPX members by the SSPX General House. 

Excerpt from Cardinal Müller’s letter: 

“As you know, Pope Francis has many a time manifested his benevolence towards your Priestly Society, granting, in particular, to all priest members the faculty of confessing the faithful validly and by authorizing local Ordinaries to grant licences for the celebration of the marriages of the faithful who follow the pastoral activity in your Society. Furthermore, discussions are continuing concerning questions relative to the full re-establishment of the communion of your Society with the Catholic Church. 

In relation to this, with the approbation of the Sovereign Pontiff, I judged it necessary to submit to the Ordinary Session of our Congregation (which met on May 10 last) the text of the doctrinal Declaration which was transmitted to you during the meeting of June 13, 2016, as the necessary condition in view of the full re-establishment of communion. Here are the unanimous decisions of all the members of our Dicastery in this regard: 

1) It is necessary to require the adhesion of the members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to the new formula of the Professio Fidei dating from 1988 (c.f. annexe). Consequently, it is not sufficient to ask them to express the Professio Fidei of 1962. 

2) The new text of the doctrinal Declaration must contain a paragraph in which the signatories declare in an explicit manner their acceptance of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and those of the post-conciliar period, by granting to said doctrinal affirmations the degree of adhesion which is due to them. 

3) The members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X must recognize not only the validity, but also the legitimacy of the Rite of the Holy Mass and of the Sacraments, according to the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council.” 

www.medias-presse.info adds that Cardinal Müller concluded the letter saying that “during the Audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect on May 20 2017, the Sovereign Pontiff approved these decisions”. The French website also adds that in his accompanying letter to SSPX priests, Father Christian Thouvenot, Secretary General of the SSPX, recalled the words of Bishop Fellay after the meeting of the major superiors in Anzère, Switzerland, on June 28 2016: 

“The Society of Saint Pius X does not seek primarily a canonical recognition, to which it has a right because it is Catholic. The solution is not simply juridical. It pertains to a doctrinal position which it is imperative to manifest […] Divine Providence will not abandon Its Church whose head is the Pope, Vicar of Jesus Christ. That is why an incontestable sign of this restoration will reside in the signified will of the Sovereign Pontiff to grant the means for re-establishing the order of the Priesthood, the Faith and Tradition – a sign which will be, furthermore, the guarantor of the necessary unity of the family of Tradition”.  Source – Rorate Caeli

Comment:

This news is as disappointing as it is worrying.  A one-liner comment on an American blog sums up the problem of the schismatic mentality which has become rooted in the souls of some SSPX affiliates who rejoice each time a “deal” falls through:  A deal breaker.  Thank God!  wrote one USA blogger. 

Clearly, Bishop Fellay cannot compromise – that’s a given.  But that there seems no end in sight (humanly speaking) to the irregular situation in which the crisis in the Church has placed the SSPX, is surely no cause for rejoicing – is it?

FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment:

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis Positive Towards SSPX

In an interview with Regina Einig for the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost (March 17, 2017), Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, reviewed the progress made by the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) toward reaching a reconciliation with Rome since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in July 2007, almost ten years ago.

Archbishop Pozzo said that the Holy Father intends to maintain a “positive constructive attitude” in the dialogue with the SSPX.  If the Society agrees to a “Doctrinal Declaration” formulated by the Holy See, it may very soon receive from Rome a canonical mission within the structure of a personal prelature. This would enable the Society to keep its “spiritual, theological, liturgical, disciplinary and pastoral identity”.

Archbishop Pozzo admitted that he first heard from the media the rumor that the Society of Saint Pius X planned to purchase the Church of Santa Maria Immaculata on the Esquiline Hill. With gentle irony he noted that it is not his job to negotiate the sale of real estate.

With regard to the ambiguous formulations of the conciliar documents concerning ecumenism, dialogue with non-Christian religions, Church-State relations pertaining to religious liberty, etc., Bishop Bernard Fellay stated in an interview in 2016 that the SSPX reserves the right to denounce what it views as ambiguities and errors, but that it is up to the authorities in Rome to clarify and dispel the misunderstandings on these critical points.

The remainder of the interview with Archbishop Pozzo is given below in English translation:

…I think that even after the reconciliation these misgivings and difficulties that the Society points to should be kept in mind, so as to arrive at a clarification, a more in-depth and subsequently more precise understanding of these points. Moreover the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has intervened repeatedly over the last forty years to elucidate and rectify certain false interpretations or misunderstandings of the conciliar teachings. I do not see why this work of clarification and answering doubts and misgivings cannot continue, if they are presented in an ecclesial and not a polemical spirit.

To what extent do you observe agreement already?

There is complete agreement with the Society of Saint Pius X on one absolutely fundamental point: The Magisterium of the Church is not above the word of God, in Scripture or Tradition, but rather serves it by teaching nothing but what is handed down (cf. Dei Verbum, 10). The Magisterium, for its part, to which Christ entrusted the preservation, defense and interpretation of the deposit of faith, has the task of explaining and elucidating the earlier documents of the Magisterium too—including the documents of the Second Vatican Council—authentically in light of the unbroken Tradition, which certainly advances in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, yet never with any novelty that contradicts what went before, but rather with a better understanding of the deposit of faith “within the same dogma, the same meaning, and the same judgment” (cf. Vatican I, Dei Filius, 4 and Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 8). This principle must be applied also to the documents of Vatican II, which should be read and understood in the light of Tradition and in agreement with the constant Magisterium of the Church, as Archbishop Lefebvre himself acknowledge in 1981 in a letter to Pope John Paul II.

So that means…?

That means, if an interpretation or an understanding or an implementation of Vatican II is suggested that represents a discontinuity or a break with the Catholic doctrine previously defined or taught by the Magisterium, the interpretation must be rejected as false or inappropriate. The problem is therefore not the Second Vatican Council as such, but rather a certain way of understanding, applying and implementing the Council: the so-called “spirit of the Council”. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about a “true Council” and a “virtual Council”, whereby the latter is the product of the power of the mass media, of modernistic currents in theology, in other words of the “conciliar ideology” that was superimposed on the authentic “mens” [mind, understanding] of the Council Fathers.

In the current issue of the magazine Courrier de Rome published by the Society of Saint Pius X, the authors designate the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI as “Holy Mass.” Can this terminology be taken to mean that the validity of the new Missal has meanwhile been accepted within the Society?  *

As far as I know, the Society never called into question the validity of the rite of Holy Mass according to the liturgical books promulgated by Paul VI and John Paul II. As early as 1988, in the protocol prepared by then-Cardinal Ratzinger with the consent of Archbishop Lefebvre, the validity of Holy Mass celebrated according to the Novus Ordo was acknowledged. Because of other matters, then, there was no constructive sequel to the protocol. The Society’s misgivings with regard to the Novus Ordo seem to me to refer to some aspects of the Novus Ordo (for example the Offertory prayers, Communion in the hand, etc.) and also to the manner of celebrating the Eucharist which de facto can be observed in various localities and is often characterized by dogmatic errors and liturgical abuse. But this too can be discussed profitably and clarified. As long as the attitude is constructive, and not polemical or marred by prejudices, discussion about the aforementioned topics can contribute to greater clarity and more detailed definitions, so as to promote the correct, integral doctrine and to avoid the errors, misunderstandings and deficiencies or partisan, superficial interpretations that have been and unfortunately still are characteristic of a particular propagation of the Second Vatican Council and also of the praxis resulting from it in terms of discontinuity and a break with Catholic Tradition.

* [Editor’s Note: The interviewer is mistaken. The use of the expression “Holy Mass” in Italian is the conventional manner of speaking about Mass generally – the text is a translation of Critina Siccardi and therefore cannot neither be attributed to the SSPX. The use of this expression in the SSPX publication Courrier de Rome and other Italian publications to refer to the Missal promulgated by Paul VI should in no way be interpreted as approval for this deficient form of the liturgy. A further discussion of the deficiencies of the Novus Ordo Missae is contained below.]

Source – 1 April, 2017

Comments invited…

SSPX – Is Pope Francis A Heretic?

Discussing the question of Pope Francis’ possible heresy in the context of Amoris Laetitia, Fr Gleize, SSPX, writes…

To use the words of Saint Pius X himself from the encyclical Pascendi, the proponents of the new moral theology proceed with such refined skill that they easily take advantage of unwary minds. They promote heresy while giving the appearance of remaining Catholic.

“Promoting heresy”: this corresponds to the theological note that Archbishop Lefebvre believed he had to use in order to characterize the harmfulness of the Novus Ordo Missae .

“This rite in itself does not profess the Catholic Faith as clearly as the old Ordo Missae and consequently it may promote heresy….What is astonishing is that an Ordo Missae that smacks of Protestantism and therefore favens haeresim [is promoting heresy] could be promulgated by the Roman Curia.” (Mgr Lefebvre et le Saint-Office”, Itinéraires 233 – May 1979, p. 146-1-47).

Without prejudice to any better opinion, we willingly had recourse to it in order to describe the major problem posed today for the conscience of Catholics by the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.


Editor’s note
 

Fr. Gleize’s precise distinction will surprise more than one. In short, it seems that Pope Francis cannot be considered heretical, since none of the ambiguous statements in Amoris laetitia constitute “a rejection or contradiction of a truth that is not only revealed but also proposed as such by an infallible act of the ecclesiastical Magisterium.”

However, in the popular use of the word “heretical,” one who acts and talks in such a way that he encourages evil and favors heresy is considered heretical. “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck!” The popular expression is not a precise theological judgment; it is rather a common way of designating persons or ideas at odds with the deposit of faith.

The theological expression which can be properly applied to Pope Francis instead of “heretical” is favens haeresim or “promoting heresy.”

That does not change that the fact that the Holy Father is ambiguous in his declarations, refusing to clarify them, and – far from correcting evil- promotes it by practical disposition. It is what Fr. Gleize calls “the scandal of praxis.” Click here to read entire article

Comment

There’s really nothing new in the above article, nothing that we haven’t already discussed and concluded on this blog in past discussions, but since repetition is the mother of education, and with continued questioning of the status of Pope Francis, I thought it might be worthwhile revising the key points. Which part of the article do you find most useful – the commentary on the dubia? The definitions? The conclusion? What then? 

SSPX on ‘Cowards Behind Computers’ …

The following article entitled Father X Takes Issue With Father SSPX-X  is taken from The Remnant website: 

On February 16, just two days after the Church observed the Feast of Saint Valentine, who was known for his kind gestures and notes, a rather unkind anonymous post appeared on the SSPX U.S.A. website, criticizing of all things anonymous posts on websites, among other things, such as the anti-Francis posters that appeared on many streets throughout Rome last week:

An excerpt from the SSPX website appears below:

“Further, and as we have touched on before, we cannot support this passive-aggressive and disrespectful method of “correcting” the Sovereign Pontiff. While privacy and confidentiality are not without their place, hiding behind a computer screen has, unfortunately, become an accepted method of public discourse. Letters sent without signatures, anonymous emails, and posts on websites using pseudonyms are not done by men of fortitude and conviction in the truth. They are the acts of cowards, who like the mythological figure Eris, only seek to attain their goals – however noble they may be – through chaos.”

Beyond the amusing irony of an anonymous poster denouncing anonymous posts, as an anonymous poster myself I take issue with the anonymous poster, whom we will refer to hereafter as SSPX-X.

In my experience there are two groups of people highly critical of anonymous criticism or correction: those who wield power tyrannically and those who are protected or immune from the power of the tyrant. In the case of Francis of Rome, it is manifestly the case that this man wields his crosier like a club. If you doubt this, ask the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate or Cardinal Raymond Burke or anyone else who has been the object of his papal tirades and insults—to include traditional Catholics. 

With regard to those who are protected or immune from the power of the tyrant, to a degree this applies to the Society of Saint Pius X. Even though—and precisely because—they are regarded as irregular by the Vatican authorities and mainstream Church, this has put them in a position to stand in private and public opposition to the aberrations of the Vatican II era Church with relative impunity. After all, what Society priest would be suspended or laicized by superiors for criticizing Vatican II or any heterodoxy. On the other hand, what diocesan cleric dares speak publicly about the same without a realistic fear of suspension, or far worse?

It is my hope that the criticisms of SSPX-X are not widespread within the Society and do not represent an official position of the Society, even though the post appears on the Society webpage. Many anonymous bloggers and authors within the broad spectrum of tradition are strong supporters of the SSPX, including many or most of us here at The Remnant. And while still supporting the SSPX, many of us are gravely concerned about the impending regularization of the Society with Rome, under a papal regime that is transparently tyrannical, heretical and unprecedented in Church history.

The atypical silence of the Society over the constant outrages of Francis in the months leading up to a possible regularization with Rome does not bode well for the future, for the Society itself and for tradition as a whole. If the price to pay for regularization is silence now, the cost to remain will be the same. Then, my friend SSPX-X, you will find out what it is like to fight in the trenches of tradition and keep your head down from enemy fire.  Source

Father X

Published in Fetzen Fliegen