Monday, June 29, 2015


Traditionalist become apoplectic when Pope Francis allows discussion of issues once thought closed and forbidden to discuss, such as Communion for Catholics in marriages not recognized by the Church to be sacramental. Pope Francis allowed both sides to be aired at the last synod.

But we also know that the door has not been closed to making regular the life of the SSPX community in the Church. Pope Francis has in fact advanced that cause. He does not seem to want to stop what Pope Benedict tried to do prior to his abdication as the Successor of Saint Peter. Progressives are left scratching their heads or living a sort of psychological denial about the tradtionalist aspects of Pope Francis.

I listened to an interview from Vatican Radio on the XM Catholic radio station of a South American priest who works for Vatican Radio. He tried to explain Pope Francis cultural perspective as a South American which is different than the European perspective we have had in our popes, especially with the first two non-Italian popes in 600 years. South American Catholics are more willing to listen and dialogue with differing perspectives to arrive at a unity in diversity. Whereas as Americans (as well as Germanics, such as popes from Germany and Poland) prefer a more linear approach to disagreements and a clearer demarcation in lines of what is discussed and not discussed. South Americans and Italians, by the way, are not as rigid or regimented or puritanical!

Thus this bombshell from the SSPX and what seems to be going forward under Pope Francis. I copy this from Rorate Caeli blog:

SSPX Superior-General after Vatican visits of their Seminaries: "Francis has kept his promises to us, he sees us as Catholic"

On Saturday, June 27, French conservative daily Présent published an interview Superior-General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bp. Bernard Fellay, on the surprisingly positive developments for the Society under Francis, and what they mean for the future.

On the occasion of the blessing of the bells for the chapel of the Saint-Michel de La Martinerie school in Chateauroux, Bishop Fellay gave Presentan update on the situation of the Society of St. Pius X, of which he is the Superior General.
In an interview with Fideliter in 2001, you mentioned the "movement of profound sympathy from the young clergy for the Society." Has this movement grown, especially with the motu proprio in 2007?
"Without a doubt! The motu proprio gave this movement a new impetus. And it is important to insist upon Benedict XVI's interest for the liturgy in general. He truly wished to put the entire traditional liturgy, not only the Mass, at the disposition of the priests and the faithful; this did not happen because there was too much opposition. But the young priests identify with this liturgy, precisely because it is timeless. The Church lives in eternity. The liturgy does also too, which is why it is always young. Close to God, it is outside of time. So it is no surprise that the baptismal character makes this harmony resound even in souls that have never known the liturgy. And the way the young priests react when they discover this liturgy is moving: they have the impression a treasure has been hidden from them."
The Society was officially recognized as Catholic by the State of Argentina, with the help of Cardinal Bergoglio, who has since become Pope Francis. Does this have a purely administrative importance or is it more revealing?
"First of all, it has a juridical and administrative effect with no implications as far as the Society's general relations with--to put it simply--the official Church are concerned. But the secondary effects are not easy to evaluate correctly. There is no doubt that Pope Francis, then Cardinal Bergoglio, had promised to help the Society obtain the Argentinian State's recognition of our society as Catholic and that he kept his promise. So we have no choice but to think that he does consider us Catholic."
Along the same lines, you were made a judge of first instance by the Vatican for the trial of a Society priest. Can that be seen as a sign of good will?
"That is nothing new; it has been the case for over ten years. It is indeed a sign of good will and of common sense. It is something that can be observed in the Roman Church throughout her whole history: her realism, her capacity to go beyond canonical and juridical problems in order to find solutions to very real problems."
In your Letter to Friends and Benefactors, you mentioned "contradictory messages" coming from Rome. What do you mean by that?
"I was thinking of the way in which a society that was becoming closer to Tradition was treated--or rather mistreated: the Franciscans of the Immaculate. And of the different ways we are treated by the different Roman authorities: the Congregation for Religious, for example, still considers us schismatic (in 2011, they declared a priest who joined our Society excommunicated), but that is not the case with other congregations, or the pope himself, as we just said."
"Pessimistic", "closed to others", "thinking that only the faithful of the Society will be saved": you are sometimes referred to in these terms. How would you respond? What is the missionary spirit in your eyes?
"I do not recognize myself in these quips. Firmness in doctrine is indeed necessary, for the Faith is not up for negotiation. The Faith is, as a whole, given by God, and we have no right to pick and choose among the revealed truths. Today, reminders of these requirements are unwelcome, as has always been more or less the case. The expression 'the fight of the Faith' is part of the history of the Church. The missionary has to make the voice of the Faith heard outside, and at the same time seek to strengthen those who already have it. We cannot speak only to the faithful of the Society. The torch lights up the world, the light of the faith shines with warmth. The Faith must be borne by charity: that is how I see the missionary."
A few weeks ago, the Society's seminaries were visited by Cardinal Brandmuller and Bishop Schneider. These visits are a public connection with the "official Church". Isn't that vital?
"The link with the Church is vital. The manifestations of this connection can vary. The dates and places for these visits were left up to me; the Vatican chose the names. I chose the seminaries because they seemed to me to be the most eloquent and representative for the bishops."
What were the first reactions of these bishops?
"They were very satisfied. 'You are normal people,' they told us...which goes to show the reputation we have! They congratulated us on the quality of our seminarians. There is no doubt that their conclusion after this first closer contact was that we are a work of the Church."
Have you been in contact with any bishops who support you discreetly?
"Of course! When we see that priests are coming closer to us today and entering into contact with us, we can easily conclude that the same is true on the higher level..."
In the 2001 interview we already mentioned, you declared: "If there is any chance at all that our contacts with Rome could bring back a little more Tradition in the Church, I think we should seize the opportunity." Is that still your position?
"That remains our position, even if we cannot say it is easy, especially because of the open dissensions within the Vatican itself. These relations are delicate, but our point of view remains valid as is confirmed by the facts. It is a discreet work, being accomplished in the midst of strong opposition. Some are working in one direction, others in the opposite direction."
Is the Society's role as a counterweight within the Church important?
"This role is nothing new. Archbishop Lefebvre started it, and we are continuing it. It is easy to see in the irritation of the modernists at the steps taken by Benedict XVI."
Where is the Society today? What are its strong points and its weak points? What future do you foresee for it?
"I see a peaceful future. It is a work that has been entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; all we have to do is remain faithful to their will. This Church is the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who remains her head and will not allow her to be destroyed."
"The Society's weaknesses? The risk of separation is serious. Look at the caricature of Tradition that calls itself the "Resistance", for example: it is a non-Catholic spirit that is almost sectarian. We wish to have nothing to do with it; it is a movement that is withdrawn into itself, with people who think that they are the only good and just men on earth: that is not Catholic. It is an objective, but relative danger. Most of the Society is healthy and will not fall into these illusions. This encourages us to rely upon supernatural means. God will show us what He wants of us; He will speak through circumstances."
"The strong points? The living fidelity that bears fruit and shows the world today that the Catholic life, even with all its requirements, is possible. But -another weak point- we are men of our times, and it would be a dream to pretend that we are immunized against the influence of the modern world. To be more precise, we must avoid the caricature of wishing for a Church without wrinkles or stains here below: that is not what the good Lord promised us on this earth. That is not what the 'Holy Church' means; it means that she is capable of sanctifying using the means given by Our Lord: the sacraments, the Faith, discipline, religious life, the life of prayer."
What do you think of Cardinal Sarah's suggestion of introducing the traditional offertory into the New Mass?
"It is not a new idea; it has been around in Rome for ten years. I am glad it has been taken up again. Some criticize the idea, saying it is a way of mixing the profane with the sacred. On the contrary, in the perspective of bringing health back to the Church, I think it would be a great step forward, because the Offertory is a summary of the Catholic principles of the Mass, of the expiatory sacrifice offered to the Blessed Trinity, offered by the priest to God in reparation for sins, and accompanied by the faithful. And that would gradually bring the faithful back to the traditional Mass they have lost."
How would you like to conclude, your Excellency?
"In my opinion, we are on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define very well. I would like to call for prayers and end with a gaze towards God, which allows us to always have hope."


Servimus Unum Deum said...

Father I am just going to say straight up, regardless of who ever comments after me. Unless the priests AND lay adherents to the society pledge full obedience to Holy Mother Church, including ALL dogmatic and doctrinal aspects of the Church, such as Vatican II is an ecumenical council, and that the Novus Ordo is NOT an abomination or "evil" they should be kept out of the Church. Last thing we need are more people unwillingly acting as Satan's double agents in the Church. We already have too many of those as liberal dissenters and as the blogs online indicate, to paraphrase Fr D, "Katholic Krazies" running amok.

WSquared said...

"South Americans and Italians, by the way, are not as rigid or regimented or puritanical!"

Because their cultures were, at one time, deeply shaped by Roman Catholicism, unlike ours (note your use of the word "Puritanical").

If I recall correctly, the Catholic Church condemns Puritanism as a heresy. The Church condemns heresy, because it is at best a half truth and certainly, therefore, less than the Truth. Heresies hurt people, and they hurt the Church's witness. We see the hardwired effects of Puritanism in the Church in America when both extremes in the Church actually agree on much, including a pretty Pelagian and materialist view of the world, except that one can be expected to zig while the other zags. One side can be counted on to lean too strict, the other, too lax.

Both leaning too strict and too lax, as C.S. Lewis noted, is a surefire way of doing Uncle Screwtape's bidding.

John Nolan said...

In the light of that, Fr McDonald, I hope you will in future desist from describing the SSPX as schismatic and stop trying to invent bogeymen on the far right to justify your via media (which, let's face it, is what you can get away with without alienating the more progressive in your parish).

Yesterday I had no singing commitments and so attended the Solemn Latin OF Mass at the Oxford Oratory. The Mass setting was the Missa Solemnis by the American-born composer and arranger Nicola Montani (1880-1948), who was a leading figure in the liturgical renewal of the first half of the 20th century, which should not be confused with what happened after V2. He took the 1903 motu proprio 'Tra Le Sollecitudine' at face value. His writing is not florid although in the late-romantic idiom, and there is a brief fugal ending to the Gloria. The organ accompaniment is impressive.

The guest celebrant was a newly-ordained Norbertine priest who is a graduate of the University. He sang his parts beautifully in flawless Latin and recited the Canon in a subdued but audible tone. What was interesting was that he incorporated elements of the Premonstratensian Use into the OF Roman Canon, extending his arms at right angles from his body at the 'Unde et memores' (a feature of most pre-Tridentine Uses) and including the signs of the cross and kissing of the altar which were a part of the Roman rite until 1967. This is surely what is meant by 'mutual enrichment'. It is certainly not a 'mixing of rites'. The Novus Ordo Preface is proper to the Feast of SS Peter and Paul and is richer than what obtains in the older Rite. Unfortunately the Introit and Communio of the NO don't correspond, but they are not supposed to be sung texts, and in a sung Mass the Graduale Propers, which correspond to the Roman Rite, should be used.

Lefebvrian said...

After having relocated halfway across the country this past weekend primarily for the purpose of being closer to an SSPX Chapel and school, I was able to attend the Mass for today's great feast at the local chapel (now a mere 10 minute drive away instead my former closest chapel being 3 hours away).

Afterward, we all burned copies of Vatican II constitutions and spat on 1970 Roman Missals.

Oh, wait... Actually we just had a nice Low Mass and then proceeded with the rest of our day having begged for the grace to love our duty of state and to sanctify ourselves, our families, and the world. May God bless and keep His Excellency Bishop Fellay!

Anonymous said...

I love the way visitors to the SSPX seminaries are impressed with the quality of their priest candidates. They, the FSSP, and the other priestly societies devoted to the TLM are the hope of our Catholic future. I am not saying that diocesan seminaries do not have some excellent seminarians, however many marginal candidates are also accepted. The quality of NO seminarians tends to depend on the orthodoxy of the Bishop. The more orthodox bishops get more and better candidates.


gob said...

John N....hard to believe that yesterday you "had no singing commitments" being the superstar that you are. Hope things pick up for you. I can let you have a few bucks to tide you over...

John Nolan said...


What a pathetic, ignorant creature you are. I am not paid for singing at Mass, nor would I wish to be. You are in the worst possible position to sneer at anyone since you have no ideas of your own, no education as far as can be inferred from your puerile comments on this site, and one can only surmise that you are a thoroughly unpleasant individual.

If I were into pious platitudes I would say I would pray for you; I won't, since in your case, and to quote Hilaire Belloc, 'caritas non conturbat me.'

Angry Augustinian said...

Well, John, Gob hangs out with all the other protozoa…what do you expect. LOL!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Nolan said...

Julian Barkin

You are a young man. You are also educated and liturgically aware to the extent that most of your contemporaries would not know what you are talking about. I belong to the last generation that was brought up with pre-V2 Catholicism and the 'changes' all happened when I was in my teens. I had other fish to fry at that time (don't we all?) but knew when I went up to University that there was a serious disjunct between what I understood as an historian and a Catholic and what pertained, in both opinion and worship, in the average parish. I was prepared to be a committed but non-practising Catholic.

This changed in 1973 when I walked off the street in South Kensington into the church of the London Oratory. They were singing Haydn's 'Nelson Mass' There was Gregorian chant. The Mass was in Latin - effectively abolished in my home parish in 1967. Later The Sacred Triduum as they celebrated it was, and is, spectacular; and it is done according to the Novus Ordo.

I now sing most Sundays for the EF (which is the Roman Rite after all) and feel I have come around full circle. What's half a century in the history of the Church? Did Vatican II initiate a new springtime? Historians, who are society's cynics, must reserve their judgement. Father Kavanaugh is (just) too young to remember the pre-revolution Church so I can cut him some slack. What you need to guard against is a predilection to rush to judgement and to take refuge in legal positivism. In 1976 I attended a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lefebvre in a function room of the Great Western Hotel, Paddington, all the London churches having been closed to him. A great and holy man. When he died Cardinal Silvio Oddi prayed at his tomb and uttered the words 'Merci, Monseigneur'.