Lifting the excommunication of the SSPX Bishops

TradCat

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Message of H. E. Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X

Dear faithful,

The Rosary Crusade, to which we invited you in Lourdes, during our memorable pilgrimage of Christ-the-King, at the end of last October, has by far exceeded our expectations. In less than two months, one million seven hundred and three thousand rosaries were recited throughout the world to obtain from Our Lady the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication of 1988.

We would like to thank you all wholeheartedly. Considering such a generosity, we dare to ask you to continue your efforts in praying that this Crusade may bear its fruits for the good of the whole Church.

+Bernard Fellay
Menzingen, 20 January 2009
 


ArtyQueing

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Is the excommunication valid in the first place?
 

TradCat

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I think they are asking for it to be formally lifted irrespective of its validity. It would go a long way towards healing a wound in the Church.
 
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Excommunication is always self-imposed, the Pope merely decrees that it be recognised. In this case, Lefevre was excommunicated for consecrating Bishops and priests without Papal approval, in defiance of Canon Law, and defying an agreement between the Vatican and himself that he agreed only a while before. They placed themselves above and outside the scope of Canon Law, and challenged the authority of the Pope (while still claiming allegiance), so the ball is, and always has been, in their court, not the Vatican's.
 

ArtyQueing

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Not so clear cut as the circumstances surrounding the consecration permits it under canon law.
 

TradCat

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I think by asking for this they are playing the ball. Only the Pope can lift the excommunication and they are putting that request to him. If there is anything the Pope thinks they need to do first I'm sure he can make that known.
 

ArtyQueing

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This Pope wants this settled anyway - it is one of the first things he has acted upon - I think that a successful resolution is on the cards. There was an offer which was nearly there only for the insistence of having to give equal validity, (if my memory serves me correctly), to the vernacular Mass and the Latin Mass which is nonesense of course
 

TradCat

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This Pope wants this settled anyway
I think so and for the Society it's now or never. This Pope understands the issue completely and that might not happen again.

toxic

If the issue is papal authority then an exercise of that authority will close the case then that's the best option. The Moto Proprio has already dissolved a major stumbling block. That was a bigger decision than this which could be seen as a natural follow on from it.
 
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I think so and for the Society it's now or never. This Pope understands the issue completely and that might not happen again.

toxic

If the issue is papal authority then an exercise of that authority will close the case then that's the best option. The Moto Proprio has already dissolved a major stumbling block. That was a bigger decision than this which could be seen as a natural follow on from it.
I'm sure it will be settled soon enough, the differences aren't exactly fundamental. But I would say that it was not the Vatican's choice in the first place that they be excommunicated, they made the choice themselves in full knowledge of the consequences.
 

TradCat

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If they had not acted the traditional Mass would have been lost. They kept it safe.
 
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If they had not acted the traditional Mass would have been lost. They kept it safe.
That's not true, though they might like to think so. And the controversy was never about the Latin Mass or traditional rites, it was about the undermining of the Pope and Canon Law. My mum can still recite the Latin Mass word for word (though she doesn't actually do it, I hasten to add). And I have been to some myself down the years (including at the Pro-Cathedral), they were still said in places with no problem.
 

TradCat

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They would have been said under the Indult introduced by John Paul II and depended on the permission of the local Bishop. I have been on delegations where that permission was denied.

Without the SSPX the indult would never have existed at all.

Now thanks to Benedict XVI every Priest has permission to say it. But let's not pretend there was never a problem.
 

ArtyQueing

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The Latin Mass would have been finished without the SSPX - there is absolutely no doubt about that - Lefebvre will be treated as another Athanasius in time.

Of course no priest needs any permission to say the Latin Mass - no Pope, no Cardinal or Bishop can stop them, so why do they?
 
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They would have been said under the Indult introduced by John Paul II and depended on the permission of the local Bishop. I have been on delegations where that permission was denied.

Without the SSPX the indult would never have existed at all.

Now thanks to Benedict XVI every Priest has permission to say it. But let's not pretend there was never a problem.
No, don't get me wrong, I'm an ardent opponent (and was, weirdly, even as a child) of pandering to modern culture, particularly a ridiculous perception of what the 'yoof' wanted, in the form of guitars, happy-clappiness, churches that look like hotel conference rooms, shaking hands etc. I know that there was a culture, born in the 60s, of hostility towards tradition and understatement, and that this has manifested itself in pigheadedness by some towards those who wished to worship according to the old rites. But that doesn't mean that the SSPX were the sole custodians of that tradition, or that the problems with them are to do with their upholding of old rites. However, personally speaking, the sooner the Church discards the hippie ways the better (if they close down Maynooth, the font of evil, so much the better...).
 

TradCat

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Nor would I want to give the impression that papal authority was something I take lightly. I think the SSPX need to come back in for their own sakes as much as anything else.
 

west'sawake

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I think so and for the Society it's now or never. This Pope understands the issue completely and that might not happen again.

toxic

If the issue is papal authority then an exercise of that authority will close the case then that's the best option. The Moto Proprio has already dissolved a major stumbling block. That was a bigger decision than this which could be seen as a natural follow on from it.
Trad Cat,

Do you think SSPX reaction to the Molto Proprio has been generous in Spirit, or a little grudging.

Schisms once they happen are very very difficult to heal, you well know, as a committed Catholic that the only one who wants them is the enemy, and the enemy often works through the sin of pride.

As a parent I am very frustrated with the secular invasion of Catholic institutions, and I admire greatly the academic rigour and apologetic skills of some SSPX bishops. But there is an ongoing carping schismatic spirit there.
 

ArtyQueing

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I would disagree - there are problems - one of the main one is the objections of the French Bishops but both sides are genuine in there desire for the crisis to end - and there is generosity on boith sides - it has been so close to resolution a couple of times I think that resolution is unavoidable - The SSPX will get a special mission something like the one Opus Dei has - it has been offered and has been accepted - the big stumbling block has been the insistence on having to say the vernacular Mass and a statement that the vernacular Mass is equaly valid - if these two conditions are removed the whole episode will be closed.

The Pope was impressed at the march in rome during the Jubilee year and he has said that - and I paraphrase - to someone who asked why the SSPX was not invited to an ecumenical gathering which included a plethora of religions and beliefs - why would they - they are part of the Catholic Church - and he was correct in this.
 

TradCat

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west'sawake

The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X rejoices to see the Church thus regain her liturgical Tradition, and give the possibility of a free access to the treasure of the Traditional Mass for the glory of God, the good of the Church and the salvation of souls, to the priests and faithful who had so far been deprived of it. The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X extends its deep gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this great spiritual benefit.
That's what they said and the joy was genuine. The next step is the lifting of the excommunication and I think Rome's position was that the SSPX had to request that. They have now done so with over one million rosaries.
 


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