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No Latin Mass Without SSPX?

There was a comment recently in one of my posts on Bishop Williamson of the SSPX that got me thinking. (dangerous, I know) I have seen this comment here before and on many other blogs that comment on either the traditional liturgy generally or the motu proprio SummorumPontificum specifically. The comment comes in various special forms but all belonging to the same genus. The comment goes something like this.

—Stop criticizing the SSPX [or its leaders] because without the SSPX there would be no motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and there would be no Latin Mass. If they hadn't done what they did, the traditional liturgy would have been lost forever. We should all be grateful to the SSPX

Many accept the above comment as obviously true and it is rarely challenged in the places I have seen it. However, is it really axiomatic that without the SSPX we would have no Latin Mass? Is it possible that the actions of Archbishop Lefebvre specifically and the SSPX generally were in fact counter-productive for those seeking the restoration of the Latin Mass? Is it possible that if they had submitted humbly and worked within the church that we would have seen the renaissance of the traditional liturgy much earlier?

Before I delve too deeply into this post, let me take a moment to stipulate that I realize that the issues with the SSPX go beyond the liturgy itself and that the intent of this post is not to criticize the SSPX but to ask some simple questions. Further, I am focusing exclusively on the restoration of the freedom to say the Latin Mass and not on all the other issues, legitmitate or otherwise, raised by the SSPX. With that said, now back to the post.

I think that it is without question that without the SSPX we would not have had a Summorum Pontificum. The larger question is whether, without the SSPX, would we have needed it? It is beyond question that the the TLM became the most recognizable and identifiable aspect of the SSPX. Their trademark if you will. During the last decades, to be identified with the Latin Mass meant, to some degree, to be identified with the SSPX. After the illicit consecrations performed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer, to be identified with the Latin Mass meant to be identified with that 'schismatic act.'

In response to that 'schismatic act' , on July 2, 1988 Pope John Paul II issued motu proprio the document Ecclesia Dei. It is also without question that the application of Ecclesia Dei by many Bishops was stingy at best (I am being charitable). Frankly, Bishops were stingy even after Quattuor abhinc annos in 1984 and this was before the consecrations of 1988. However the consecrations of 1988 seemed to harden the lines between the two camps dooming us to two decades of trench warfare with little movement of the lines. Here comes the "what if."

Of course it is impossible to know what would have happened had the illicit consecrations of 1988 had never taken place. Would the battle lines have hardened the way that they did? What if the SSPX had submitted humbly? (Caveat: Again, I know there are issues here beyond the liturgy) Would an SSPX more in the mold of the FSSP or ICKSP have done more good than SSPX seen to be on the outside? If they had stayed clearly within the church, might we have seen the restoration of the TLM sooner? Might some diocesan Bishops been more open to Quattuor abhinc annos over time if not for subsequent identification with 'schism.'

Obviously, this is a lot of questions without any answers. "What if" scenarios are by their very nature paths of which we cannot see the end. However, this my point. The concept that we would never have seen the restoration of the TLM were it not for the actions of Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX is an equally unknowable "what if" scenario. We simply cannot be sure. We can however speculate on the likelihood of a given outcome. I base my opinion on this likelihood on a few things. The first is my experience here in my diocese.

In my diocese (Rockville Centre) we have a priest who is a long time devotee of the traditional liturgy. Monsignor James Pereda has served his diocese and his Bishop with dedication and humility for years travelling thousands upon thousands of miles to serve the indult community here. A recent report on Rorate Caeli on the recalled some of the history of the Latin Mass on Long Island.

Long Island has always demonstrated a definite interest in the Latin Mass that probably cannot be matched by any other diocese in the U.S. - a statement that can be illustrated by recalling Long Island's role in the history of the the traditional resurgence, including the unapproved variety. The late Father Gommer De Pauw set up his "Catholic Traditionalist Movement" and Ave Maria Chapel here immediately after Vatican II without local episcopal approval.

The irregular Society of St. Pius X was quick to establish a chapel here, and SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was a frequent visitor, celebrating mass confirmations in large rented venues. It was also on Long Island that the Society of St. Pius V was founded in a break with the SSPX. Other independent chapels dot the area, making Bishop Murphy's solicitude for Traditionalists of his diocese - the seventh largest in the U.S, -- especially valuable for the future.
In my mind, it is beyond question that the influence of the SSPX and SSPV here hampered the development and greater use of the TLM within the diocese. I believe that the humble and loyal Msgr. Pereda has done much more for those devoted to the traditional liturgy than any of these other groups. In fact, his position and that of the entire indult community has likely been immeasurably more difficult because of the presence of the SSPX and SSPV. I think that Bishop Murphy's openness to the traditional Latin Mass community post motu proprio is in large part due to the humility, loyalty, and steadfastness of good priests like Msgr. Pereda.

My thoughts on this matter are simple. If the Holy Spirit desires the eventual restoration of the the traditional liturgy, He does not need a 'schismatic act' to achieve that end. Submission in humility is much more likely to achieve the desired end ever more promptly than any act of disobedience. It is for these reasons that I do not accept as axiomatic the concept that "without the SSPX (as it is now) and those consecrations, we would have no TLM."

Again, this should not be seen as an attack on the SSPX or on the legitimate aspirations of the many faithful who attend their masses. Rather, it should be seen as my questions and thoughts on this matter. I write it simply in the desire to delve into these questions a little further. I look forward to any discussion on this topic as long as it stays respectful. Respectful of each other, the Pope, the Church, the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre.

Additional Note: None of the comments on this post should be longer than the post itself. (You know who you are ;-)

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David said...

"Without Martin Luther, we wouldn't have had Trent". Probably true enough, but that does not mean that the Reformation was a good thing.

Forceful assertion of our canonical rights is one thing, disobedience to the Holy Father is quite enother.

How could the Holy Spirit be supporting a movement that has led to several sedevacantist movements such as the SSPV? No one remains in communion with the Church unless sustained by the Holy Spirit. Many of us have remained in full communion with the Holy Father and numerous ancient, orthodox Eastern churches, we have got our Mass back, and IMHO, God is working through Benedict XVI to restore the Church.

The Lefebvrites are Anglicans in disguise - they pick and chose out of pride and vanity.

Patrick Archbold said...

I had a whole paragraph about Luther and Trent but I took it out because my post was already too long. While no analogy is perfect, I think that is a good one for my purpose here.


David L Alexander said...

It was I who made a remark about Luther inspiring the need for Trent a couple of weeks ago. Of course the comparison was challenged as arbitrary. I am not so sure.

It is never a good idea to give credit to bad behavior, as a justification for an eventual good. One effectively claims that the end justifies the means. What if the SSPX were responsible for preserving the Traditional Mass? Does that speak well of our Tradition, that we must resort to disobedience, to pride, to vanity, to preserve it? Some have been quick to charge "papalotry" against those who have defended Rome. Is it any more exemplary to make an idol of a set of books?

If Patrick is guilty of anything, it is of having an original thought, of dispensing with the preconceived notions that obscure objectivity. Such virtue is necessary for the reform of the Church, for it speaks to us of personal reform. It's high time some of the brilliant minds in this conversation stopped boring the bejeezus out of the rest of us with the usual tired polemics, and speak well of virtue, of overcoming evil with good.

I don't care which set of books you prefer; any less simply isn't Catholic.

(That wasn't too long, was it?)

dcs said...

The Lefebvrites are Anglicans in disguise - they pick and chose out of pride and vanity.

While I agree with the substance of Mr. Archbold's post (I think it could be argued that during the Pontificate of Paul VI especially the partisans of the Bugninist reform were equally or even more disobedient than Msgr. Lefebvre), I think the above comment is unnecessary and uncharitable. One can debate the "what ifs" for centuries, and debate can be a good, but I do not see the point in being non-conciliatory. Indeed, that is part of the reason that I think Bp. Williamson's comments are often worthy of criticism.

A Simple Sinner said...

They are rather impressed with themselves, aren't they? Never mind the work of 1000s of priest who never broke ranks with the hierarchy or moved in circles loyal to excommuicated bishops who set up chapels without the permission of the local ordinary.

The FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King, the Benedictines of France, The Society of Saint Vincent Ferrer... (and many more!) Do these groups that are faithful mean nothing?

I think it would be generous to guesstimate that the SSPX had so much as 1.5M supporters worldwide... And +Ratzinger was talking about Liturgical reforms and the heritage of the old rites well before he was Pope...

But it would kill them to admit that maybe it isn't all about them, and their small and continually fractured movement.

Patrick Archbold said...

"If Patrick is guilty of anything, it is of having an original thought"

I promise, it will never happen again!


It is one thing for those in the SSPX to claim credit for the return of the TLM. This is expected. More perplexing to me are those who profess not to attend SSPX masses but readily attribute all progress made on this front to the group.

Like I said, perplexing.

Anonymous said...

What amazes me in all of this is that FIUV (Una Voce International) which predates the SSPX and has worked consistently for the restoration of the traditional Mass and has been consulted by Rome prior to a number of the Motu Proprios never even get a mention. I know most of the work is done very quietly behind the scenes but let's give credit where credit is due.

A Simple Sinner said...

"More perplexing to me are those who profess not to attend SSPX masses but readily attribute all progress made on this front to the group."

Locally I know a woman who thinks that the SSPX is the absolute "bee's knees" and all good things in the Church are from them and the fact they "kept Latin Mass alive"... She has never been to a chapel or met an SSPX priest or even a real live SSPX chapel attendee...

... yet she is convinced that the suns rises and sets around them. Why? I dunno, good marketing?

David L Alexander said...

"Why? I dunno, good marketing?"

More like a good distance. Maybe she'd get a better picture of them were she to live in St Mary's, Kansas, where reputations are made and broken by an SSPX parish priest.

Or so people from there have told me.

Anonymous said...

Your article is excellent and well overdue. Studying for the priesthood in the late eighties and early nineties, I can attest to the damage done to the 'Seamless Garment of Christ' by SSPX. Those of us who desired to be faithful to the Church, venerated Tradition and cherished the Church's patrimony were put on watch as 'possible schismatics'. The impatience and pride of the leadership of SSPX polluted the Church. B16 acknowledges that the TLM was never abolished after the Council in Summorum Pontificum. The SSPX cannot claim any victory for the TLM. They can, however be blamed for increaing the tension within the Church and by creating an atmosphere of suspicion.

A Simple Sinner said...

" They can, however be blamed for increaing the tension within the Church and by creating an atmosphere of suspicion"

Well said.

The TLM is now permanantly associated in the memory of many as being associated with schismatics. That didn't do any favors for any parties who loved the TLM and would NEVER have dreamed of pridefully setting up a new church! It just gave ammo to formators and bureaucrats...

Anonymous said...

We need to reconsider this matter. As faithful traditional Catholics, we believe that it was the will of Almighty God that the Mass of the Ages, which has never been abrogated (as I argued on-line for years), would not die. It is the Mass that would not die, as Michael Davies called it. God either used the S.S.P.X to ensure this, or else he allowed the work of the S.S.P.X to deliver this sure outcome.

So we can say that the S.S.P.X was the immediate cause (or the principal or even the necessary immediate cause) of the outcome, but the will of God was the final cause. God can use a clean instrument to achieve His ends or He can bring good out of error, so either is possible.

But I think that those who would argue that the S.S.P.X was not the principal and even a necessary immediate cause historically have a very weak case indeed. In the opening of the text of the 1984 Indult, the authors note the report of the world's bishops that the New Mass has been received peaceably and welcomed with joy. But they then go on to note that, nevertheless, they detect opposition to the New Mass. The apposition of the two statements makes it look almost as if they are dismissing the bishops' report as a lie. During this period, the S.S.P.X was experiencing an exponential growth. Rome was worried.

The connexion between the S.S.P.X and "Ecclesia Dei" is undeniable. The latter, which realised the 1984 Indult, was issued only three days after the former. The F.S.S.P., founded that year, was composed entirely of Society members. It was the very first approved traditionalist society of priests--the model for the others.

In 2000, Rome offered the S.S.P.X a 'personal' de facto diocese. When the Society rejected this pending fulfilment of pre-conditions, it was offered to the Campos and accepted. You'd have to be blind not to see the connexion there.

The Society's first pre-condition was delivered by S.P., even though Rome could have delivered the same benefit in other ways (e.g. by erection of an international personal diocese). Post hoc ergo propter hoc? I don't think so, especially given enormous opposition to the Society's demand in the curia. I might add that, while, as Cardinal Ratzinger, the Pope did indeed agree with the Society's view that the old Mass had never been abrogated, he has also made it crystal clear on a number of occasions that what he prefers is a compromise between the two Masses. On one occasion before Davies died, he told him, after a CIEL conference, that most traditional faithful wouldn't even know if they had witnessed an N.O. versus solemn orientem, in Latin, and with all the smells and bells. On another occasion, Cardinal Ratzinger pointed to the 'vastly superior' lectionary of the New Mass, with its 'richer fare from the table of the Lord'.

God has used the Society to achieve all of this. This does NOT mean that the Society has been a clean instrument. Not at all. But it means that it *might* be a holy and a clean instrument. Therefore, we need to think before we attack the Society of Saint Pius X.

My own view is that God has indeed used the Society as His instrument and that the Society was in a state of rightful disobedience from 1976 to 2000 (although there were other ways for laics, at least, to remain faithful to tradition). However, the plausible state of necessity ended the moment Pope John Paul II, through Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, suggested a 'personal archdiocese' for the Society. To show its good faith, Rome actually delivered a personal jurisdiction to the Campos one year later.

The S.S.P.X asked for S.P. and, to its surprise, I think, the Pope delivered. Now the Society must do the right thing both for itself and for the Church and agree to at least a provisional regularisation during a period of discussions over doctrine. The conditions under which disobedience was at least subjectively justified are no longer in force.



David L Alexander said...

"The S.S.P.X asked for S.P. and, to its surprise, I think, the Pope delivered.... The conditions under which disobedience was at least subjectively justified are no longer in force."

Okay, Mr Perkins. Sounds to me like they lost the moral high ground. Can we all stop throwing them laurels until they can get their act together, or do we have to spend another decade hearing about how we couldn't do without them?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Archbold asks the 'what if' question: What if the S.S.P.X had submitted humbly? If we believe that God is behind the survival of the old Mass, we must have faith that God would have found another way to achieve this end. But we cannot limit God by our own suuppositional conditionals. God apparently chose to use the S.S.P.X to achieve these ends. One reason might be to end all this ludicrous and very unmediæval papolatry which we see in 'conservatives'. How Protestant it is. How Hobbesian it is.

Mr. Archbold says that we don't know what the outcome of Q.A.A. would have been without the S.S.P.X and its consecrations of 1988. I submit that, while none of us has perfect knowledge unless God reveals it, we do have very clear evidence of the effect of Q.A.A. before the Society's consecreations of 1988. Between 1984, a period of four years, ONLY NINE bishops in all of North America allowed the old Mass on an every-Sunday basis. If you don't believe me, ask Mrs. Kraychy: she kept the figures. That is only nine dioceses out of over 2,000 in the Western Hemishpere. There were a few other cases of every-Sunday Masses but these had been cancelled by June of 1988. There were a few other cases of occasional or once-monthly Masses. It was not just a small number but a drop in the Pacific Ocean. The bishops responded to Q.A.A. by forbidding the old Mass. It's that simple.

Between 1988 and 1993, there was an enormous explosion of permissions, thanks to "Ecclesia Dei", which resulted directly from the unapproved consecrations. It was approximately a tenfold increase in dioceses with every-Sunday permissions. The rate of increase slowed considerably (since the number of dioceses at any one time is finite, and conditions differ among them) but we saw continued strong growth from 1993 to 1998. The growth line flatlined around 2000 and then picked up slightly immediately after the election of Benedict XVI. The truth is that, even under "Ecclesia Dei", a very large per centage of bishops (about 30% of them in the U.S.A., e.g.) *still* refused to allow the old Mass.

I am sorry, Mr. Archbold, but there is evidence and it is decisive. Even now, many bishops are doing their utmost to obstruct S.P. Only insistence from Rome is forcing them to compromise a bit. For example, my Bishop has just told us that we can list our Mass in the parish bulletin but he will not allow it to be published in the diocesan newspaper. Even now, after all this, the liberal hardliners are pulling out the stops to keep us down. I note that there is little 'competition' from the S.S.P.X in my Diocese (one chapel up-Island and one Mass per month in Victoria).

If the Lord do not build the house, they labour in vain that build it.


Deirdre Mundy said...

As a run-of-the mill, likes Tridentine Mass but also likes a well-done N.O, pope-loving Catholic, I think SSPX has done a LOT of damage to the Latin Mass---

For instance, if I was basing my impressions of traditionalists simply on the Pius Xers I've met, I'd think that everyone in a chapel veil was a sedevacantist, conspiracy theorist, seeing free-masons in the woodwork, nutjob.

Fortuneatly, I have a number of (at least in some respects) normal traditionalist Catholic friends. But not everyone is so lucky-- and if my only exposure to Tridentine Mass had come at the hands of the "masons are everywhere and the pope is a communist because he won't reveal the true secret of Fatima" crowd, I would have run screaming in the opposite direction.

Basically this points to a fundemental problem in ALL schismatic movements, Left and Right alike-- once you lose the anchor that is Rome, you drift into all sorts of crazy currents.........

Or to put it more colorfully: Once you enter the cafeteria, you're guarunteed to end up with a mysterious Jell-O mold full of strange floating objects on your tray......

Which is why I thank God for the Papacy every day! =)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Archbold also refers to the situation on Long Island. But is this supported by the statistics elsewhere in the U.S.A.? With the greatest respect to him, I suggest that informed opinions on this are those which know something of the statistics, which I have been collating and evaluating now for over fifteen years.

The fact is that the S.S.P.X has not done particularly well in the U.S.A., compared especially to France and especially South-West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Even today, the Society is only present for every-Sunday Masses in 64 U.S. dioceses--out of 176 Latin sees. That means that bishops all over the U.S.A.--a majority of them--forbade the old Mass even when there WAS no S.S.P.X presence.

I am sorry, Mr. Archbold, but your hypothesis is not supported by the evidence. The evidence is that the local bishops have fought tooth and nail to wipe out even the memory of the old Mass, and many of them continue to do so. What little we have apparently only came under Society pressure. I could cite a great many cases in which an Indult Mass was approved right next door to a Society chapel. The evidence is that the bishops have had to be dragged kicking and screaming before they would permit Traditional Latin Masses in their sees. As an example, Bishopo Ramirez of Las Cruces once said that he would allow the old Mass in his Diocese "over my dead body". He is still the bishop there and there is still no T.L.M. in his very populous see--and there is still no every-Sunday S.S.P.X Mass there.

Let's not believe what the evidence tells us. Let's believe what we want to believe. Life is so much more fun that way. Sorry to be so sarcastic about this but I'm getting a tad irritated here because my sense of fair play is being offended. Look, I'm not a Society supporter and have never once attended its chapels. But I do believe in giving a man his due. I am prepared to admit that the Society has done much good because that is what the evidence suggests. It does not mean that we must support the Society or believe that its position is objectively justified. But if we are not fair about the evidence, nobody should respect our views.


Anonymous said...

I think that Deirdre Mundy does make a valid point. But the truth is that, when a small group quite correctly rebels against a norm, that small group may include a mixture of good people and nutcases. Any group in society which is seen to be a small minority will attract the usual extremists, contrarians, fascists, ritualists, sexually-frustrated nitpickers, wild-eyed radicals, conspiracy theorists and those who argue that the Pope is being drugged all day long by his secretary of state.

But we mustn't let that distract us from the facts. A journalist once told Archbishop Lefebvre that some fascists had appeared at his Masses dressed in very neat S.S. uniforms. He responded by saying, essentially, Look, I can't prevent lunatics from showing up at my Masses.


Anonymous said...

I am afraid that David Alexander's initial response here is simply not fair, and it is not consonant with Catholic teaching.

Unlike Hobbesian Protestants, we do NOT subscribe to the error that obedience to a monarch, including the Pope, is an absolute. The authority of the Pope is supreme, plenary, universal, and immediate, but it is not absolute. Ask Athanasius. Hence, in Catholic teaching, there certainly are categories of rightful disobedience, even in regard to the Pope.

It is true that there were ways for at least laics to protect their own souls without in any way supporting the S.S.P.X. However, that does not change the fact that, within our Western Tradition, defence of the old Mass was needed as a means of defending the Faith and saving others. The New Mass, despite being valid and fulfilling the four ends of prayer, nevertheless posed dangers to the faith owing especially to its equivocations, its openness to misinterpretation (particularly as regards the nature of the Sacrifice).

Whether or not any particular Society priest or supporter felt it necessary to support the Society in order to defend the Faith is a question which only each individual can answer. God does not punish us for our mistakes, only for our sins.

As for the S.S.P.V. and the C.M.R.I., these are tiny movements, and you cannot blame the S.S.P.X just because some of its members may have been supporters for all the wrong reasons. You could just as easily say that the Church can't be good because look at all the heretical movements which have come out of her. In fact, that is PRECISELY what the Muslims said in the eighth and ninth centuries, and it is largely why they converted so many Christians in the Levant at that time.

Lastly, sedevacantism is not a heresy but an opinion about a matter of fact. We all become sedevacantists between the death of one pope and the election of another. Since a pope may lose his office if he falls into formal heresy, it is always possible to think that this has happened. But I add that negligence in considering evidence, or expressing views without due regard for evidence, is also a sin. Obviously, we are bound to assume that the guy in white with the gucci sunglassses is indeed the Pope unless we have VERY good reasons for thinking otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Gentlefolks all,

A few points.

"Without Martin Luther, we wouldn't have had Trent" Untrue. The Church had been crying out for the reforms of Trent - indeed for a reforming Council - for at least three generations before Trent was opened.

"The Lefebvrites are Anglicans in disguise" Depending upon what a Lefebvrites is, we can certainly say that the great majority of Priests of the SSPX are 'merely', if one can use the word in the context, suspended, but SUSPENDED CATHOLIC PRIESTS. That is the view of the Holy See and, in charity, it should be our view too. If God or His Vicar go no further, let us go no further in our polemic either.

"FIUV... never even get a mention" This is a valid point, but in theory and in history. However, in reality, the Church is a clerical organisation. The needs or wishes of layfolk, save in limited and rare circumstances, never have the sympathy of the clergy.

Finally, "More perplexing to me are those who profess not to attend SSPX masses but readily attribute all progress made on this front to the group". I number myself among them. Where was the Traditional Rite in the Church of the reign of Paul VI? Even pre-1970? Where in the Church of the reign of John Paul I? Where was it in the reign of John Paul II until 1984 or even 1988 or even after that?

There was no compelling motive for any of the last three Popes to restore a rite that was "never abrogated". None of the last three Popes ever publicly stated that a rite that was being suppressed throughout the world, often forcibly, was "never abrogated".

Archbishop Lefebvre proclaimed it to the world and the world laughed at him and ignored his words. Yet, Pope Benedict has confirmed what few had the courage to say: "never abrogated".

St. Vincent Ferrer supported an anti-Pope throughout his life. Did Archbishop Lefebvre do worse that that? I leave that to God to judge. I leave it to the Pope to pass his judgement upon the words of Archbishop Lefebvre: "never abrogated".

David L Alexander said...

"I am afraid that David Alexander's initial response here is simply not fair, and it is not consonant with Catholic teaching...."

That's a pretty serious charge. You have not taken the opportunity to point to an exact statement. Rather, you dance around it to make the same old tired point you always do about "papalotry."

To be obedient to a pope is not the same as to make an idol of him. That is what I said. That is what I meant. That is ALL that I meant.

For you to suggest anything else is scandalous at my expense. I refuse to participate in what is becoming another excuse for a succession of long tirades, oblivious to the point the original author was trying to make.

Anonymous said...

I see no parallel between the Reformation and the disobedience of the S.S.P.X. The Protestants, like the Arians and Nestorians and Monophysites before them, contested Catholic teaching. In order to safeguard the Faith, œcumenical councils are convened. That is why Trent was convened: not to address abuses in the Church but to answer the heretics on points of dogma. The heretics in question were also schismatics because they denied papal jurisdiction. The outcome of Trent was good but Trent would not have been necessary had the Reformation not occurred, and abuses could have been corrected by the usual means: legislative acts of the supreme pontiffs. To turn Mr. Archbold's 'what if' against him, we might say that, had the Reformation not taken place, a lack of rancour may have resulted in something even better than Trent.

In contrast, the S.S.P.X has never contested even one Catholic teaching. On the contrary, it is most of those in the hierarchy who are calling into question the Catholic teaching on the proper relation between Church and State, the proper freedom due to error, the proper power of the bishops in relation to the Pope, the principal purpose of Matrimony, and the principle nature of the Holy Sacrifice (act of reparation and not commemoration of the Last Supper).

Moreover, the Society has never set up a parallel hierarchy or denied communion with the Pope and those he is in communion with.

We can argue that the Society is mistaken in its belief for the need for a rightful disobedience or the existence of a state of necessity. But, in fairness, we really cannot discredit the motives of its members as a group.

But we can and should urge that the Society consider present circumstances and do what is best for the Church, which is to seek a rapprochement.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Alexander:

I was not accusing you of anything. I was merely pointing out that disobediencde to the Pope is not always wrong. We cannot reject the S.S.P.X simply because it is disobedient to the Pope, for then we would have to reject St. Athansius to the extent that he was disobedient to Pope Liberius. Short enough?


Anonymous said...

Why attack the S.S.P.X?

I have seen an increasing desire on this blog and on many others, especially those from 'conservatives' or 'neo-conservatives', to attack the S.S.P.X while revelling in the benefits imparted by "Summorum Pontificum". The papolaters are just as bad as the archtraditionalist extremists.

This is not constructive, I think. We must first look to intent and, in justice, assume a good intent on the part of the Society members and supporters except where indicated otherwise in individual cases.

There is overwhelming evidence that everything we have would not have come without the S.S.P.X. But the impressive growth under S.P. suggests that the Society might not be very useful in the future. However, there is still one thing which the Society can deliver for all of us, and that is an international diocese which would include but not be limited to the Society. I have already outlined how this would work and so will not repeat it.

Better to spend our energies to encourage a rapprochement between Rome and the Society. This could still have many good fruits. Let's pray for that.


Patrick Archbold said...

Too funny and too true.

Patrick Archbold said...

Mr. Perkins,

You wrote 'God either used the S.S.P.X to ensure this, or else he allowed the work of the S.S.P.X to deliver this sure outcome. '

This avoids the point. The either or you setup avoids the point. I do not accept as axiomatic that the Latin Mass was saved exclusively by the SSPX. I do not accept as axiomatic that if the SSPX did not go the direction that they did, we would have no Latin Mass now.

Statistics, especially the ones you cite, are not particularly convincing. Certainly the mood of the Episcopate was not disposed to the TLM in the 80s. No doubt. But it does not follow that the actions of the SSPX helped the cause. I remain, apparently with a number of others, unconvinced.

Once again, let me re-iterate, I am emphatically not attacking the SSPX. Questioning the value of the approach taken by the leadership of the SSPX is not attacking. Hurling around such accusations is not constructive.

Further, my criticisms of Bp. Williamson are not an attack on the SSPX any more that criticisms of Mel Gibson for the dopey things he said is an attack on Catholics. If Bp. Williamson continues to spout nonsense as regular as a geyser in Yellowstone, then I will be there to take pictures. However, that is not the same as criticizing all the people who visit the park. (Killed that metaphor.)

Anyway, debate away but please don't accuse.

Patrick Archbold said...

"conservatives' or neo-conservatives'

No no no.

Please, remember the rules of the blog. If you call anyone a NEO anything, you automatically lose the argument on a TKO.

We will let it slide this time, but no more neos.

Patrick Archbold said...

Mr. Perkins,

You write that your sense of fair play is being offended. I am sorry to hear that. Please tell me what I did to offend your sense of justice. I asked some questions, stated my opinion in a respectful way (I believe), and backed it up with some evidence (admittedly anecdotal).

How does this offend your sense of justice?

Anonymous said...

Look, Mr. Archbold, I can't control what it takes to convince you of anything. But all the facts suggest that the overwhelming majority of bishops did absolutely nothing to promote the Traditional Latin Mass, and most have tried to obstruct it. Some even do so now, men like Bishop Conry of Arundel and Brighton and Bishop Ramirez of Las Cruces, and the liberal hardline hold-outs in north-eastern France (Reims, Soissons, Châlons, Verdun, Cambrai, Metz, &c.).

So, if some force had not worked against them, we would have no access to it. That force is God, since all things happen owing to His will or His allowance, and this is a good and holy thing. What was the means of His action? It was principally the S.S.P.X. There were other instruments but they have been insignificant. Even in the case of Benedict XVI, we see, before his election, mainly a desire to promote a compromise Adoremus-type liturgy. Hence his closeness to Fr. Fessio and crowd.

The statistics I cite are hard facts. There were almost no regularised T.L.M.s before 1984 and almost none between 1984 and 1988, even though the bishops had full freedom in that period. These are facts. Do you dispute them? The S.S.P.X kept the old liturgy alive almost exclusively from 1970 to 1988, a period of almost twenty years.

I have tracked the 'fight' since 1988, and I found that getting bishops to approve Masses under E.D. was no easy task. But they did so, mainly because of that document--and that document came three days after the unapproved consecrations. Even so, at least 30% of American bishops, for example, refused to heed the Pope's words.

In many cases, bishops established Masses right next door to Society chapels (case in point: Idaho), obviously to take away support from the Society.

A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. But we should pray that people can see past their fantasies and look at the facts honestly.

There is namore to say (Chaucer).


David L Alexander said...

The same fellow who wrote...

"I was not accusing you of anything."

...also wrote earlier...

"I am afraid that David Alexander's initial response here is simply not fair, and it is not consonant with Catholic teaching...."

It is an accusation. It is unsubstantiated.

"There is namore to say (Chaucer)."

Does this mean I can come back without having to endure this?

Tradition On The Line said...

For the SSPX to have "submitted" would have meant to say the Novus Ordo Mass... I assume that is what is meant by "submit humbly".

Since they were correct from the beginning regarding their right to say the Tridentine Mass, what would they have been submitting to? A preference? A forceful nudge?

There never has been a mandate to say the new mass. It has never been illegal to say the old mass.

A priest has an obligation to say mass.

Which should he say? One that offends his Catholic conscience or one that is without doubt pleasing to God?

Should he humbly submit to the faith or to an internal political movement?

The SSPX holds that the Novus Ordo Mass is intrinsically evil. Would anyone on this blog want to force anything on anyone of another faith if they believe the thing to be intrinsically evil?

But back to a better point. In the face of a "new mass" that starkly contradicts its own purpose for existing and the mass of all time, the first having no mandate and the other having a mandate, what is a priest or bishop to do? Bow down to pressure? Or adhere to his Catholic conscience?

Steve Sanborn

Anonymous said...

On fairplay and justice.

I don't believe I was referring to Mr. Archbold in particular on this point.

My point is simply that it seemeth to me that many 'conservatives' simply cannot accept the idea that a Society they reject--nay, passionately reject--was necessary to secure access to the Mass they favour.

This may come from a mistaken sense of piety, I'm not sure. Keep in mind that one need not believe that the Society is holy in order to recognise that God used it to attain a good end. God frequently brings good even out of evil. But it seems to me as if conservatives really fear this idea that, perhaps, the Society was right after all. Or is this about pride? Is it a desire among 'conservatives' to take credit for the achievements wrought by the Society? Do they want us to think that their prayers would have been adequate to secure benefits which simply did not exist (with very rare exceptions) outside the Society from 1970 to 1988, even to 1989, in fact?

To 'conservatives', it is anathema to admit that anything good could have proceeded from such a disobedient child as the Society of St. Pius X. They have this emotional attachment to the Pope which blinds them to analyses of facts. Yes, we should love the Pope but it is not in the spirit of true Catholicism to regard him as a god who can make no mistake. This is more in line with the Protestant Hobbesian ideals of absolute monarchy which we are required to reject with passion. (How I remember a certain relative who told me, as J.P. II alighted from an aeroplane in Toronto, "When that man appears, it is as if God Himself is appearing before us." What absolute and infamous rubbish that is.)

When our Lord left us, He told us that He must go so that the Holy Ghost can be sent unto us. The Holy Ghost is the presence of God in our world, not the Pope. The Pope has not one but several crucial divine functions, and has an authority unlike that of any other man. But there seems to be a false idea out there that nobody dare deny it to be absolute. Well, it's not absolute, and the event of the 1960s show us just how fragile it really is. The truth is that the pope can be terribly wrong about just about anything.

I don't take the opposite side either, and I excoriate the archtraditionalists. But they mostly don't argue on-line. They just don't bother and don't care who agrees with them.

Let's steer a middle course between the Scylla of papolatry and the Charybdis of rebellion and hope for a fair assessment of the clear facts and a prayer for a reconciliation. The Pope himself wants this, so we needn't try to pooh-pooh the Society or deny the benefits which would not have come without it.


Anonymous said...

On Mr. Alexander's remarks:

"I am afraid that David Alexander's initial response here is simply not fair, and it is not consonant with Catholic teaching...."

This was an objective assessment of what you wrote, not an accusation that you meant to be unfair. I assume the best of you.

But it is not consonant with Catholic teaching to hold that the Society's disobedience is wrongful simply on the grounds that various groups have, in turn, broken away from the Society. The S.S.P.X is an organisation with official positions, but not everyone in it necessarily holds all the organisation's positions.

Moreover, it is objectively unfair to imply that "diobedience to the Holy Father" is always wrong, done here by contrasting it to "Forceful exertion of our canonical rights". Sometimes, a forceful exertion of our canonical rights is not enough. Many priests forcefully insisted on their canonical right to celebrate the unabrogated Mass of 1962 and even on the grounds that it was not abrogated. The result was that they were thrown onto the street and locked out of their rectories. Where, I wonder, is the compensation for them, now that the Pope recognises that they were right all along?

Sometimes, disobedience to legitimate authority is not only morally ordered but even morally necessary, and we, as Catholics are ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED to admit that Moral Law trumps the Canon Law and all positive law, in fact. As St. Thomas Aquinas declared in the Summa, if an ordinance of positive law violates a precept of Moral Law, the ordinance is not just 'bad law'; no, rather it fails to qualify as law at all. It is, instead, 'no law, but an abuse of power'.

Since De Missali Romano, 1971, which was used to deny priests' right to celebrate the old Mass, is now clearly proved to be a nullity ab ovo, the disciplining of priests for standing on their rights was morally disordered. It follows that they had a right to join the S.S.P.X (or go independent) in order to safeguard their rights.

As Gratian remarks famously in his "Treatise on Laws", even the Pope must obey his own laws. He may change a law in order to escape it, but, until he does so, he must obey it. Since the old Mass was never abrogated, it was the Popes who violated their own laws (probably inadvertently: I am not suggesting sin here). So, if disobeying the popes is, as you say, 'another matter', the popes should ask why they disobeyed themselves.

But, as some bloggers here say: let's get away from all this law business. Fine. Great. Then I put it this way: what sort of a man would dare to deny the Mass of Fifteen Centuries, which sustained the martyrs? Is this legitimate? Is this right? It was wrong; it was an objective evil, and those who resisted it were right to do so.


A Simple Sinner said...

"Moreover, it is objectively unfair to imply that "diobedience to the Holy Father" is always wrong, done here by contrasting it to "Forceful exertion of our canonical rights". Sometimes, a forceful exertion of our canonical rights is not enough. Many priests forcefully insisted on their canonical right to celebrate the unabrogated Mass of 1962 and even on the grounds that it was not abrogated. The result was that they were thrown onto the street and locked out of their rectories. Where, I wonder, is the compensation for them, now that the Pope recognises that they were right all along?"

Alternately, how many SSPX chaplains on O7-08-2007 knocked on the door of the local ordinary asking if they could regularize the position of their chapel now...?

kradcliffe said...

Deirdre, great post! That's exactly how most people think when they hear the words "Latin Mass." If they even know that such a thing exists, anymore.

I recently mentioned going to a Latin Mass at a meeting at my parish and every single person at the meeting was convinced that I had been to a non-Catholic Church. They all said, very firmly, that the Latin Mass wasn't allowed any more. They were vaguely aware that there was this splinter group in Glasgow that did it and that they "weren't really Catholic." They had never heard of the M.P. and weren't even aware that there had been a licit indult Mass for some time before last August.

Anonymous said...

A simple sinner writes (using the insane U.S. month-day-year dating formula):

Alternately, how many SSPX chaplains on O7-08-2007 [i.e. 08/07/2008] knocked on the door of the local ordinary asking if they could regularize the position of their chapel now...?

In essense, I agree! In fact, I have been saying that the obligation to be regularised goes back to 2000, when John Paul II offered them a de facto international diocese. Thank you, Simple Sinner, for joining me on the middle road: the S.S.P.X was right from 1976 to 2000 but has been wrong since 2000, and especially since 2007. The 'conservatives' on this blog think that the Society was always wrong (well, except before 1976); the archtraditionalists think that the Society is still right. How blind are both extremes! The Society was right to disobey the unlawful ordinances of the popes between 1976 and 2000--unlawful because the old Mass had never been abrogated and, therefore, D.M.R., 1971, was a nullity. But the Society is wrong to continue in a state of disobedience to legitimate authority because the cause of the state of necessity has ceased.


Anonymous said...

"More perplexing to me are those who profess not to attend SSPX masses but readily attribute all progress made on this front to the group."

Mr Archibald,

I greatly appreciate the thought that you put into your article and am very sympathetic to your thesis.
I think that a brief summation of two experiences of mine might add some light to some of the points that you have made.

On the issue of traditionalists who might not attend SSPX Masses but give the society credit for keeping the Tridentine Rite alive, I can at least see how someone in my Archdiocese (of Toronto) might have come to that conclusion based on what transpired here several years ago, when an indult was granted to a parish in my neighbourhood. I recieved a summation of the politics surrounding the decision by a very trustworthy priest whose loyalty to Rome is beyond repute.

Apparentely the decision to grant the indult only occured when our previous ordinary decided that he wanted to put an end to the FSSP presence in the archdiocese, in addition to keeping the Legionnaries of Christ from establishing a foothold here. I was told that when the ordinary put forth his thoughts at a meeting of priests that another cleric raised the objection (or at the very least expressed grave concern) that with an SSPX chapel in the West end of Toronto, that the prohibition of an FSSP presence was pastorally unsound. It was only after that objection was raised that the archbishop decided to grant an indult to the parish in the West end that was under the care of the Fathers of the Oratory. Incidentally, that parish happens to be the one at which I have been attending the Tridentine Mass for the past several years.

I would suspect that the scenario that I just described was not entirely unique, and that similar occurences elsewhere have perhaps left many traditionalists feeling some debt (whether begrudgingly or with enthusiasm) to the SSPX for keeping the issue of the Tridentine Rite alive, even if the decision of their local ordinary to grant an indult was hardly an enthusiastic endorsement of the traditional mass. I could see how in the all too often slow and painful struggles of the laity to wrangle Indults from their local bishops, that the few cases where bishops hesitantly granted them simply to provide an alternative to the SSPX would have been touted as proof of the society's role in keeping those masses alive.

Of course, the larger question remains as to whether or not the Tridentine Mass would have fared better had it not eventually became associated with the schismatic tendencies of the SSPX, that were often used as further excuse to marginalize it. On that note, I had a somewhat comical experience years ago when a university chaplain found out about my interest in the Tridentine Mass, and decided to make a rather public show of the matter that tried to associate such sympathies with an attraction to schismatic elements. Notwithstanding his dramatic sigh of relief when I assured him that such a connection did not apply to myself, it seems in retrospect as though he knew how to manipulate the situation of the SSPX to portray an attraction to pre-Vatican Two practices as the domain of a form of reactionary Catholic fundamentalism. Though things have since been changing for the better here in Toronto, it is not difficult to see how the more liberal elements in the Church were able for many years to use the schism of the SSPX to silence or marginalize those priests or seminarians who held a love for the older traditions of the Church. Whether or not it would have changed the opinions of any of the "progressives," at the very least it would have been much more difficult for them to marginalize traditionalists had it not been for the excuse granted by the status of the SSPX.

With Regards,


Anonymous said...

Dear F.M.:

I generally agree with your assessments. It is true that the existence of the S.S.P.X has helped to enable the liberals to demonise regularised traditionalism. But (a) regularised traditionalism would not exist in the first place were it not for the S.S.P.X or some similar movement and (b) even if there were no S.S.P.X, all the evidence shows that the bishops were determined to suppress even the memory of the old Mass. Evidence for (b) can be found in the very opening paragraphs of "Quattuor Abhinc Annos", in which the Congregation for Divine Worship notes that the bishops of the world have reported how everyone just loves the New Mass. This is after the New Mass had driven millions right out of the Church; it is after New Mass and the other reforms decimated the Church according to every leading indicator one chooses to consider.

On (a), virtually our entire movement came into being in the period 1988 to 1993. Immediately after the publication of E.D., and not before, there was a huge increase (from almost zero) in every-Sunday regularised Masses; in fact, it was a tenfold increase in five years in the U.S.A.

But this all came about as a result of a document which was published in direct reaction to the S.S.P.X's unapproved consecrations. In fact, the unapproved consecrations were done on 29-6-88 and E.D. followed on 2-7-88. That's a space of only three days. E.D. directly declares that it is promoting the old Mass in order to accommodate traditionalists who do not want to follow the S.S.P.X after its consecrations.

Before 1988, there were only nine every-Sunday Masses regularised in all of the Western Hemisphere, 2 in Canada and 7 in the U.S.A. And even they came as a direct result of S.S.P.X activity.

There is absolutely no evidence that we would have had any movement at all were it not for the S.S.P.X. In England and Wales, under the Cardinal Heenan Indult of 1971, they still did not have EVEN ONE every-Sunday Mass before 1984.

Similarly, the Campos structure was formulated for the S.S.P.X and was only offered to the Priestly Union of St. John-Mary Vianney when the S.S.P.X rejected it pending the fulfilment of its pre-conditions. Essentially, Rome tried to divide unapproved traditionalists by getting the Campos people to leave their affiliation with the S.S.P.X and join up with Rome.

One of those pre-conditions was fulfilled by S.P. It took the Pope over two years to get this through his curia and past the German and French bishops, who even threatened rebellion over it. While it is true that Pope Benedict XVI favoured the legal finding demanded by the Society, it is also known that he much prefers not our Mass but a traditionalised N.O.M. Had Cardinal Ratzinger not been elected Pope, he'd probably be a member of Adoremus, with Frs. Fessio and the other one, the priest in Puerto Rico (forgotten his name).

So, once again, all the evidence suggests that, without the S.S.P.X, we'd have nothing. Of course, it is possible that the Pope could have done this just on a whim. Anything's possible but not everything is bloody likely. I think it is risible for anyone to claim we could have achieved this without the S.S.P.X. Why on earth would any Pope have extended permission to priests had there not already been an established demand for our Mass?

Let's suppose there were no Indult Masses and no S.S.P.X to the first part of 2007. Would the Pope have still published "Summorum Pontificum"? For whom? And suppose he had. Who would care?


David L Alexander said...

"This was an objective assessment of what you wrote.."

The scary thing is, you might actually believe this. You said, "I AM AFRAID THAT DAVID ALEXANDER'S INITIAL RESPONSE HERE IS SIMPLY NOT FAIR, AND IT IS NOT CONSONANT WITH CATHOLIC TEACHING." (I wrote it like that so you wouldn't miss anything.) The point is, you made an accusation that a statement of mine is "not consonant with Catholic teaching." Yes, sir, you are accusing me. To deny that competently involves more than saying, oh, no I'm not.

For the record, sir, I don't give a rat's patootie about the circumstances under which a Pope should not be obeyed. What's more, I suspect very few Catholics worry about it, as opposed to the circumstances under which a Pope SHOULD be obeyed. Do you ever get off your high horse long enough to consider that?

Humility. It's a virtue. Check it out.

Your inability to engage anyone in this forum, resorting instead to the usual long-winded jesuitical sophistry that has been your contribution to this subject matter in numerous other fora -- what the hell do you do anyway, just copy and paste from the last one? -- does not add to the conversation, but simply regurgitates another one you already had. Indeed, one reason I think you need your own blog is that the rest of us really don't have to be there for you to make your point.

Honestly, I'm usually not this hard on anyone in a forum like this, but your polemics have become so repetitive, so tiresome, that sometimes I just need to walk away. On the other hand, I wish to read what others have to say about this. At least they're succinct.

So you've really put me in a bind here. Do I put the check mark in "Email follow-up comments..." or do I not???

David L Alexander said...

"Additional Note: None of the comments on this post should be longer than the post itself. (You know who you are ;-)"

Actually, Patrick, I don't think he has the slightest idea who he is.

kradcliffe said...

Mr. Perkins:

What I am going to say is meant as honest constructive criticism, and not as an insult. (I would email you, but you post anonymously.) You come across as a long-winded pompous bore who is in love with the sound of his own voice. There is nothing in your posts that could not be written in one brief post. If others disagree with you, and you have a counter-argument, that's fine. But, your primary rhetorical strategy seems to be to filibuster.

You suck all the joy out of debate.

Anonymous said...

Look, Mr. Alexander, it was you who levelled a serious accusation to begin with, not me. You suggested, by way of a question, that the Holy Ghost could not be inspiring those in the S.S.P.X on the grounds that there have been sedevcantist schisms from the S.S.P.X. Frankly, the fact that the S.S.P.V was kicked out of the S.S.P.X suggests just the opposite: it suggests that that the Society leadership is part of the Church and has therefore expelled the sedevacantist-tolerant S.S.P.V. Would you say that Rome is not guided by the Holy Ghost on the grounds that various movements and schisms have come out of Rome? Hardly.

Then you wrote this unfair statement:

"The Lefebvrites are Anglicans in disguise - they pick and chose out of pride and vanity."

How do you know that they pick and choose out of "pride and vanity"? And what do they pick and choose? They only remain faithful to the teachings of the Church which remain the same "yesterday, today, and tomorrow".

But you do suggest, at least, how it is that they are unfaithful: it is their disobedience: "Forceful assertion of our canonical rights is one thing, disobedience to the Holy Father is quite enother."

It was you who raised the matter of disobedience. As a result, I explained that there is such a thing as rightful disobedience. I also explained the elementary difference between subjective and objective disorders to show that they only need honestly to believe that their disobedience is rightful: we needn't agree. We all understand that one every time we prepare for confession. I see nothing jesuitical about such explanations.

Once again, I am saying that these statements of yours were unfair: unfair to the S.S.P.X. If you had the humility you accuse others of lacking, you would not accuse Society leaders or members of "picking and choosing out of pride and vanity". If you can show evidence which points to their motives, do so by all means; otherwise, stick to the facts.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Kradcliffe writes:

"You suck all the joy out of debate."

Well, yes, when someone loses a debate, it tends to find that his opponent has sucked all the joy out of it.

Peter Karl T. Perkins
Victoria, Canada

Anonymous said...

Kradliffe, in a moment of charity, writes this of me:

"You come across as a long-winded pompous bore who is in love with the sound of his own voice. There is nothing in your posts that could not be written in one brief post."

On his first point, I should like to point out that I have gone to a great deal of trouble, for the benefit of bloggers here, to explain some complex issues fully. This does take space. I did this for the benefit of others on this blog. But if someone does not appreciate this, or if someone already knows this information, he is free simply not to read it. Nobody is forced to read anything I write on this blog. This sort of cruelty on the part of Mr. Kradliffe is not consonant with Christian charity. However, I am not asking for an apology: I think that all this apology nonsense is a tad overdone.

On his second point, my posts are often long not because they could be shorter but because I have imparted a great deal of statistical information to support my points. That takes space. I have worked for years at compiling statistics for our movement and have assisted in two on-line sites which list our Masses for the benefit of travellers. I do this because I am trying to help those who are attached to tradition. I thought that some on this blog would appreciate knowing the statistics in order to give them a better understanding of the state of our movement. Apparently, I was wrong.

The intent of most of my posts in irenic. I am, once again, trying to suggest that attacks on the S.S.P.X, such as Mr. Alexander's, are not constructive. Without the S.S.P.X, the evidence suggests that we would not even have a movement. On the other hand, I do not agree with the Society's intransigent attitude since 2000. I am hoping for a peaceful resolution which can benefit everyone. Somehow, I think that that is what our Lord would want.


David L Alexander said...

"Then you wrote this unfair statement: 'The Lefebvrites are Anglicans in disguise - they pick and chose out of pride and vanity.'"

No, I didn't. Nor did I write anything about sedevacantism, or the SSPX vis a vis the SSPV. I did refer to behavior resembling a cult in some instances, and the need for humility, concessions having been made to them.

This is what happens in a lop-sided conversation. One side is so busy pontificating that he loses track of those to whom he is pontificating. Now, you've got some good stuff in your comments, I'm not too proud to concede that, sir. The statistical study is good. But your focus should be on the central point that Mr Archbold is making, without going off on a million tangents.

Confine yourself. Be brief. Be very very brief. And write as if you are starting anew. I've read the same $#!† from you at least half a dozen times already.

THAT is what sucks the joy out of this. Winning and losing is irrelevant. A mutual seeking of the Truth is relevant. At least when I lose, I learn something.

Anonymous said...

On David Alexander's last post:

Dear Mr. Alexander: if I have confused you without another blogger here, I apologise without reserve. However, any confusion was not caused by 'pontificating' but simply by a misreading of labels. Were you not the first respondent on this topic, who wrote the following?:

"Without Martin Luther, we wouldn't have had Trent". Probably true enough, but that does not mean that the Reformation was a good thing.

Forceful assertion of our canonical rights is one thing, disobedience to the Holy Father is quite enother.

How could the Holy Spirit be supporting a movement that has led to several sedevacantist movements such as the SSPV? No one remains in communion with the Church unless sustained by the Holy Spirit. Many of us have remained in full communion with the Holy Father and numerous ancient, orthodox Eastern churches, we have got our Mass back, and IMHO, God is working through Benedict XVI to restore the Church.

The Lefebvrites are Anglicans in disguise - they pick and chose out of pride and vanity.

Anonymous said...

Mr. David Alexander writes:

"But your focus should be on the central point that Mr Archbold is making, without going off on a million tangents."

I did not go off on any tangents. All my points were included as a thorough support to a counter-argument; namely, that, without the S.S.P.X, we would not even have a movement. If we would not even have a regulaised movement without the S.S.P.X, it makes no sense to speculate how well our non-existent movement would have fared had the S.S.P.X never existed.

To reiterate, but without repeating the details, the 1984 Indult and, in particular the 1988 E.D. which made our movement viable, both came as a result of S.S.P.X activity; so did the Campos arrangement, the thirty-some approved traditionalists societies and orders, and S.P.

Benedict XVI has never preferred the 1962 Missal. What he clearly prefers is a traditionalised N.O.M. So, to paraphrase Mr. Archbold, had the Society submitted from the outset, the most we'd have today would be that. We'd presumably have the Adoremus Mass or not even that. The Pope would not have regularised the 1962 Missal had there not already been thousands of regularised traditionalists pining for this and/or a desire to regularise the S.S.P.X.

I am asking that we be fair. We don't need to agree with the S.S.P.X position. But it is unfair not to acknowledge that, without the S.S.P.X, there would be no traditionalist movement today and no S.P. It is absurd to suggest that the Pope would have issued S.P. one fine spring day when the spirit moved him. He had to get S.P. through a hostile curia and past hostile bishops. They are still hostile. Today, it is widely reported that the new traditionalist chaplaincy for Maine will have to ante up U.S. $72,000 a year to pay for the chaplain's expenses and even to rent sacred places.


matthew archbold said...

All please refrain from polysyllabic words in lengthy arguments. I passed out twice.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Archbold:

To put it more simply: no S.S.P.X, no 1988 pope letter. No 1988 pope letter, no tenfold increase from 7 to 70 dioceses with old Mass every Sunday in U.S.A. and same stuff in other places. No big increase from 1988 to 1993, no old Mass movement blessed by pope. No old Mass movement blessed by pope, no pleas for S.P. with Pope who prefers N.O.M. with smells and bells. No pleas for S.P. but pleas againt it from bishops everywhere, no S.P.

As a result, no S.S.P.X., no nothin'. I've tried to keep the syllable count down. I hope that everyone gets it now. Sorry for many syllables. I teach at University. I no teach at kindergarten (whoops, too many syllables in last word).

Take this lightly, Mr. Archbold. Lighten up.


Tradition On The Line said...


Wonderful!!! Well Done!!! Kudos!!!

Steve Sanborn

PS. Perhaps you and I could stray a bit on the fact that there has never been an obligation to say the N.O., while there is an obligation to say and/or assist at mass. While many arguments focus on the rights of traditionals (which I do not disagree with) less focus is placed on the fact that it was the transition to the N.O. that created much of the problem.

Since Lefebvre perceived (and I believe correctly) that moving to the N.O. would have been sinful... he could not say it. One man's humble submission is another man's path to Hell.

What say you? ...and I can take or leave the articles in your sentences...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sanborn makes good points. He is right that, as we now know (cf. S.P., Article 1), the old Mass was never abrogated and therefore never forbidden in principle. It follows logically that all attempts to forbid priests from celebrating the old Mass were unlawful and, as such, abuses of power. In particular, "De Missali Romano" (not to be confused with the apostolic constitution, "Missale Romanum"), 1971, was a nullity ab ovo. It is null and void because it violates the precepts of Moral Law.

One has the right in Moral Law to resist an abuse of power. It follows that those priests who joined the S.S.P.X to protect their rights acted properly; they acted morally.

However, in 2000, the situation changed when Pope John Paul II offered the S.S.P.X priests a way out. At that point, the Society's argument from a state of necessity ceased, and I think that the I.P.B. and the Campos group werre right to accept regularisation.

As regards laics, the situation was a bit different. One has the right but not necessarily an obligation to resist the abuse of power being imposed on someone else. So laics are free to support or not support the S.S.P.X. The Society admits this and has said on many occasions that it does not claim to be the entire Church, only part of it.

When I write that the Society now has an obligation to accept regularisation, I am speaking objectively. It remains possible that it declines to accept regularisation owing to an honest opinion that this would endanger souls. Only God can judge the motives of each Society member. Only God can say if its members are motivated, as one blogger wrote here, out of "pride and vanity".

Still, I think that it would be best both for the Society and for the entire Church if there were now a rapprochement. And I think that the means of achieving this are present. Therefore, let us pray for that.

Notice that I am not the attacker here. I am defending the Society position but I am not a Society supporter and never have been one. I am only trying to be fair and just. It seems to me that some contributors to this blog are determined to argue that S.P. likely would have been published even if the S.S.P.X had never existed, or if it had submitted to Rome from the beginning. That is absurd. The evidence simply does not support this hypothesis; on the contrary, it directly contradicts it.

I don't say that bloggers need support the Society position. But it is another thing entirely to try to remove the credit we all owe the Society for the present conditions. Justice means giving every man his due.


Tradition On The Line said...


Well stated.

I differ with you on the "regularization" issue primarily because this currently requires that the SSPX compromise on the issue of the N.O., i.e., that it should not exist, and specifically that it is intrinsically evil...(so I believe that it is for them very specifically an issue of endangering souls) and also the mass is not the only issue at hand.

In all of the comings and goings, the swaying and the swooning, there has been one organization (though fractured at times to the right and left - SSPV and FSSP)that has stayed in one place. That's SSPX.

SSPX would likely resolve to "reunify" (boy I hate that word), but in a very real way it is not the SSPX that must resolve to make a return to something... it is Rome. She must resolve to return to the Catholic Faith in its entirety.

Were the SSPX to "come back" now, who would stand as a beacon for the eternal truth regarding salvation of souls, particularly those that are not Catholic?

How can the SSPX trust Rome at all, when Rome has effectively taken herself out of the equation for non-Catholic souls? And to a large extent Catholic souls.

If the world were inside out, and one place continued to dangle in the proper atmosphere, who is on the outside and the inside? Is this really a case of "one of these things is not like the others"? As I see it, it is the other way round.

To recognize the old mass is normal - not extraordinary, not heroic, not saintly per se. What about the rest? Who stands at the helm if the SSPX comes in out of the rain?


David L Alexander said...

"All please refrain from polysyllabic words in lengthy arguments. I passed out twice."

Only twice? Must be nice. (Hey, I made a rhyme. And just in time...)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Sanborn:

I fear that you are coming from the other extreme, opposite to that of these 'conservative' papolaters.

The point about the New Mass being "intrinsically evil" is interesting (and controversial) but I am not aware that the Society has specified that it must be abolished before it will reconcile. To my knowledge, the Society has said that three pre-conditions must be met before it will accept regularisation.

The first is that Rome recognise that every priest in the Latin Church has a right to celebrate the old Mass. The second is that the declarations of excommunication and other penalties be withdrawn. The third is that doctrinal issues be resolved through negotiations. Now, I suppose that you could include the nature of the New Mass under your third point here.

However, it seems to me that obedience to the Holy Father is a moral norm for Catholics. We are not in a cafeteria. Rightful disobedience, therefore, can only exist as a last resort in a state of necessity to preserve the higest laws, to build up the Church and save souls. But it would be possible for the Society to further her mission to save souls without having the New Mass declared to be intrinsically evil as s pre-condition of this.

What I have suggested, to get around all difficulties, is that the Society at least accept a provisional (ad experimentum) jurisdiction during the period of discussions. If Rome would accept this (and I think that she would in a heartbeat), it seems to me that the Society must accept it too. Rome has already offered a permanent structure of this kind. The only reason for making it provisional would be to safeguard the third pre-condition. The third pre-condition would become just a condition.

I am suggesting this not only to build up the Church and show proper respect to the Holy Father but also because it is in the interest of the Society.

Once again, I know a great deal about the statistics of our movement. I would just hate to bore some bloggers about this, so I will skip to the conclusion and then they can ask me to prove my assertions and I will be happy to do so. The 'he and the she of it' is that, should the Society not make an arrangement with Rome over the next few years (and preferably as soon as possible), it is facing decline and then decimation. I just don't think that this will help its mission.

The Society asked for freedom for the old Mass and the Holy Father complied. Now, as a result of this compliance, we are seeing a growth of T.L.M.s that makes even the huge increase of 1988-1993 seem small my comparison. For example, in the last nine months, more every-Sunday Traditional Latin Masses have been approved than were approved for the previous ten years in the U.S.A. It is hard to overestimate the effect of S.P.

In fact, the effect has been so great that it has easily fooled conservative bloggers into thinking that, perhaps, the S.S.P.X was not needed all along. Those prone to papolatry and wild fits of fancy immediately reach the most bizarre conclusions, conclusions which entirely ignore the statistics from the previous four decades.

The S.S.P.X can now do something wonderful, something to parallel what it did with S.P.: it can make a charitable gesture for the whole Church by asking that Rome's offer of an international diocese be conferred not on the Society alone but for all of us. The Society, as a society of apostolic life, would then be a part of this flexible new structure. In order to interest and excite fellow bloggers, I have formulated a canonical solution for this. But I fear that this only bores bloggers here. But I will explain it in my next post if people ask for this.


Tradition On The Line said...


I do not deny that obedience to the Holy Father is a Catholic norm. And I was not asserting that the SSPX requires the abolition of the novus ordo mass prior to a regularization.

The SSPX has been clear with Rome that it will not accept the novus ordo mass. Their belief that it should not exist cannot be changed. They would continue to spread this message after they kiss and make up.

Pope BXVI states in his letter to the bishops - "...it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy."

Also... "It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite."

Also... "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal."

And finally... "Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness."

Anon, is it me, or do you see a road block here?

The SSPX will not abide by this. They cannot.

It isn't a matter of its total abolition prior to a reunion. It's a matter of being told to sit down, eat the poisoned crap and tell us how good it is...

Sorry to be crude, but after 40 years of destruction... the political nature of this is getting old.


Anonymous said...

On Mr. Sandborn's last comments.

I'm not really sure that there's a roadblock there at all. The positions of Rome which he states are not infallible and most of them are not even doctinal in nature, but disciplinary. The Pope's claim that the New Mass is the ordinary form of the Roman Rite is not even a doctrinal statement, not even a non-infallible one; it is only a finding in law, and the Pope can be dead wrong in his interpretations of law.

For the S.S.P.X, the main problem of the N.O.M. is its lack of clarity on the nature of the Sacrifice and the extent to which the New Mass is open to heretical interpretations. There are a few other concerns but this is the big one.

I have reason to believe, as Bishop Fellay has stated, that Pope Benedict XVI has formed a committee to work on a 'project' to fix the New Mass. Abp. Ranjith has denied that there are plans in the works but this is clever side-stepping. Rome never plans things; she works on projects, which are then vetted by various dicasteries. (I know this because I was consulted in this process on one occasion.)

I think that the Pope will alter the New Mass so that it clarifies that the Sacrifice is primarily a Sacrifice of our Lord by our Lord to the Almighty Father, done in an unbloody way to make available to the living and the dead the merits earned by Christ at Calvary; and that it is only secondarily that it is a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise and only thirdly a joining of our own sacrifices to those of Christ at Calvary. He may also alter the N.O. Confiteor to restore the Indulgentiam (absolution for venial sins) and a petition in both parts of it to our Lady and the saints.

I think that His Holiness will meet enormous opposition if he should try to abolish Eucharistic Prayers. But he might restore the traditional Words of Consecration and make the Memorial Acclamation optional, introduced by a formula such as 'Let us proclaim our faith in Christ'.

More practically, I hope that he will abolish the N.O. Offertory and restore the traditional one. Other changes could be restoration of most of the priest's old gestures and an affirmation that any priest may celebrate versus solem orientem. Next would be a return to kneeling to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.

These sorts of changes would still allow the liberals to avoid an altered Confiteor by using one of the other penitential rites; they could still have their Memorial Acclamation, Eucharistic Prayer Number Two, and the wild and crazy hug of peace. They could also keep their banjos and so on. They might even be allowed, for an intermediate period, to keep their N.O. Offertory *as an option*. Lente, lente: slowly and gradually their options would be reduced and the clown Masses forgotten.

Hence I think that the Pope will traditionalise the New Mass but slowly and, at first, often through the making available of options.

Such changes would remove the Society's objection that the New Mass is 'intrinscially evil', a charge which is very controversial in Anglophone countries because, in English, the term 'evil' always carries subjective connotations which were not intended by the S.S.P.X (or were they?!).


Tradition On The Line said...

Here is a much better source for the information.


Tradition On The Line said...


Tradition On The Line said...

ok... well i've tried to post the link but it doesn't seem to want the whole thing.

It's a Remnant article. My email address is sjsanborn@gmail.com if you'd like it.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Sanborn:

Thank you for the excellent link. I urge everyone on this blog to read it. It is very interesting.

My first reaction to Bishop Fellay's comments is that, at first, he seems to be open to a provisional structure while negotiations ensue, for he writes that doctrine must be resolved before the conclusion of a "final practical canonical agreement". Note the term "final". But then he seems to close this door, when he uses the phrase "any sort of practical agreement". Still, I sense from his tone that he is at least open to a provisional structure during discussions.

One problem, however, is that Bishop Fellay does not seem to be interested in making any sort of formal response to move the process forward. He seems to accept the idea that S.P. fulfils his first pre-condition but their is no sense that he plans to thank the Holy Father in any public or private letter. It may be that he will wait to see how S.P. is implemented.

I also noticed that, when the questioner asked why the S.S.P.X did not accept what the Campos and I.P.B. had accepted, he did not answer the question but changed the subject.

If Bishop Fellay has not had any discussions with Rome since November of 2005, we might ask why. It would be good for the Church for us to move forward.


Tradition On The Line said...


I would like to drop back to a previous point you made regarding the SSPX. You mentioned that unless they made some sort of agreement (and I am paraphrasing here out of laziness) that eventually they would face decline and then decimation.

How do you arrive at this conclusion? Everywhere I look in the Catholic world I see decline and decimation, with rare exception and of course those exceptions are tradition based groups.

The SSPX has done nothing but grow at a pace they can hardly keep up with. Much of this growth has been the result of the Novus Ordo Church attempting to build a Burger King across the street from McDonald's, only to realize we like McD's burgers better... lots of free publicity and advertising.

Even offshoots such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter (which must make the SSPX good according to the logic of a previous post... since the SSPV somehow makes them bad...) have helped to bring many to the SSPX... or more appropriately traditional Catholicism in the raw.

As for Bishop Fellay's comments... I think it's fair to say they are based (in my own view)on the fact that there is no ability to compromise with something intrinsically evil... and to follow up on your previous "evil" comment... of course they mean lacking a due good. You are fully aware of that I'm sure. I know the word evil conjures up witch's brew and pitch forks...

The Novus Ordo lacks a due good in the same way a catechism that omits the Holy Trinity lacks a due good.

It is the Novus Ordo that will decimate itself in time.

And not to be flippant, but if the SSPX were to simply follow all of the example of the truly disobedient, if they're to take anything from them... their's is simply a waiting game. And of course it's no game, but surely if the once schismatic are now brethren... if heretics now simply lack the fullness of truth... perhaps Rome will give up on its own auto-demolition and its completely illogical position on the SSPX.

And then the Force will be in balance again...

Anonymous said...

On the last poster's points. First of all, I mentioned a coming decline and eventual decimation for the S.S.P.X should it not accept regularisation. But I did not mean to suggest that the N.O.M. is, in contrast, healthy and growing. The N.O.M.'s decline was precipitous from 1970 to to about 1985. Since then, it has continued to decline (in terms of Massgoers and ordinations, for example), but at a slower rate. Internationally, while the Church continues to grow in terms of sheer numbers, what ultimately counts is the per centage of faithful in the world. The increase in the per centage of the people on earth who are Catholic slowed to a crawl around 1990 and flatlined by the end of the last century. Then began a decline which is very very slight at first but which will likely accelerate, mutatis mutandis.

But keep in mind that the New Mass is an elephant, next to which we are a mouse, or even a fly. So I do not expect the New Mass to disappear in the foreseeable future. It might disappear owing to a juridical act but not from pressure from below. Not in our lifetimes.

Now, when I was referring to the situation of the S.S.P.X, I was not comparising it with that of the New Mass but with that of regularised Traditional Latin Masses. I will not haul out numbers tonight, but my assessment is that there was an exponential growth in the Society (I refer here to the *rate* of growth) from its foundation in 1970 to about 1990. This rate slowed considerably after the unapproved consecrations of 1988. Growth continued, but at a much slower rate and at a rate that has continued to decline gradually since the mid 1990s. This was caused, I think, by the 'competition': the exponential growth in Indult Masses between 1988 and 1993, which continued at a slower rate from 1993 to about 1998 before it also flatlined.

It terms of priests, the Society went very quickly from 100 to 400 but it has taken ages and ages to get from 400 to 500.

Now, along comes "Summorum Pontificum" (S.P.). Everything has changed overnight. We are now seeing a growth in regularised Masses that is unprecedented; it even makes the initial growth under "Ecclesia Dei" look small. For example, in the U.S.A., more dioceses have gained every-Sunday Traditional Latin Masses in the last nine months than in the previous ten to twelve years. That is positively AMAZING growth: I've never seen anything even remotely close to it. We are living in very exciting times. And, owing to the 'learning lag', many more T.L.M.s are coming. That is what has acted like a wild narcotic on the 'conservatives' on this blog, so that they dream of having arrived at this point on their own. They would love, somehow, to erase the last three decades and then claim that they did it all by themselves through prayer. They are almost as much as joke as the liberals. Really, a conservative is only a liberal in slow motion.

Now, the problem for the S.S.P.X is that most faithful simply will not attend a Society Mass if a regularised T.L.M. is available. The numbers prove that. And they prove it most where it counts most: in Latin America.

Ultimately, Latin America is everything, and the U.S.A. and Europe are just a joke compared to it. We should all be learning Spanish (even though French is obviously the language of the highest culture by far). Fully one half of the faithful live in Latin America. After nearly forty years of hard work, the S.S.P.X has had very little success there. It has done all right in Argentina and nowhere else. In contrast, owing to S.P., regularised Masses in Latin America are beginning to appear all over the countryside. This is a bit of an exaggeration but the signs are not good for the S.S.P.X. To Latin Americans, a Catholicism not blessed by the Pope is unthinkable. They can imagine going over to wildly emotional Pentecostal Protestantism, but not to 'a Catholicsm without the Pope'.

The Society has also not done all that well in the U.S.A. Regularised every-Sunday Masses now outnumber those of the Society by a ratio of 2.5:1, soon to be 3:1.

The Society has done best in France and South-West Germany. But now, thanks to S.P., there are regularised Masses all over France: 86% of French faithful have one every Sunday in their dioceses. Once Rheims falls to the forces of goodness and truth and the evil Abp. Jordan capitulates, it will be a mopping up operation for us there. And we are now finally seeing the same thing happening in Germany, where the number of every-Sunday T.L.M. dioceses has MORE THAN DOUBLED in just eight months.

Ecclesia Dei of 1988 definitely slowed the growth of the Society, and seriously. But that is a drop in the bucket compared to the effect of S.P. I think that it will slow Society growth to nil and then begin to cause its decline. If current trends continue, the more moderate Society supporters will leave over the next ten years, and it will become a refuge more and more of the extreme, the insane, the wild, and of fascists, contrarians (which is what I am), distributists, royalists (which is also what I am), eccentrics, ritualists, and what Evelyn Waugh called 'homosexuals with bad accents'.

I am using a bit of overstatement and humour here to make a point. What I mean is that, as S.P. spreads, the more normal types from the Society will leave, and as they leave, the remaining normals will feel less and less comfortable among the nutcases.

So it is in the best interest of the Society to make an arrangement with the Holy See. And the Church needs the Society right now to deal with the nutcases on the left because those are the lunatics who are really dangerous.

It's in the best interest of everyone for the Society to become regularised, with the sole exception of the eccentrics, contrarians, and lunatics everywhere.


Anonymous said...

On Mr. Sanborn's comment that the New Mass is "intrisically evil". This is an expression which has been used by various people at the highest levels in the S.S.P.X. My own view is that this expressions means to be controversial; it seeks to cause trouble. It is the sort of expression that would cause most bloggers here to fulminate against the Society. I don't think that the expression is constructive; it is meant to distance the Society from those who are attached to the New Mass. The expression has this effect because, in English, 'evil' most often includes the subjective element. For example, it carries this subjective meaning in the expression, "Your actions are truly evil". We use the word in the purely objective sense less often, as in "a lack of education is an evil which harms society". To solve this problem and diffuse the issue, we can say that the New Mass is faulty in a way which endangers souls.

Now there are many reasons for levelling this charge, but the main one is that the New Mass fails to convey the primary meaning of liturgical Sacrifice; in fact, it is ambiguous about the most important meaning of the Mass itself. One of the ends of the Holy Mass is the inculcation of doctrine: the Mass is our first and greatest catechism. Since the salvation of souls is the highest law and the Sacrifice, properly understood, is the primary means of saving both the living and the dead, this failing is very serious.

I think that Benedict XVI means to fix this problem by altering the text of the New Mass, a liturgy which, despite this serious fault is still valid and is still orthodox, and still fulfils the four ends of prayer.

The quickest and easiest way to rectify the problem is to abolish the Novus Ordo Offertory and restore the Traditional one to the N.O.M. The old Offertory expresses univocally the primary meaning the Sacrifice--the meaning which has been omitted so as not to offend Protestants--in its opening prayer, the "Suspice, sancte Pater", mainly because of its inclusion of "hostiam [victim]".

Another way to solve the problem would be to abolish all the alternate Eucharistic prayers, or at least some of them (especially No. 2). But I think that this would encounter far more opposition from the curia and the bishops of the world.

I am not trying to suggest that the New Mass is something I could ever celebrate, no matter how reformed it is. I could not, for it is not the outcome of organic growth. However, it is not wrong for traditionalists to favour a rectification of the New Mass in order to clarify the meaning of the Mass.

There are other problems in the New Mass which need correction. I think that the "Indulgentiam" should be restored to the optional Confiteor, for example. Once again, it was removed because Protestants do not believe in the power of priests to absolve sins, even venial sins.

To be honest with you, Mr. Sanborn, I must say that, quite often, I think that archtraditionalists are only proclaiming some of these faults in polemical terms as an excuse for rejecting the Pope. They feel outrage because of some of the post-conciliar changes, and they want to find ways, I think, of showing their vehement opposition to him. This assessment is based on my own reactions and my own emotions. I too feel real outrage when I see 'papal youth Masses' with rock noise (which, in my view, is formally evil) in which adolescents fornicate in tents on the very spot where they will receive Holy Communion the next day. I tool feel outrage when I hear that consecrated hosts are left to the sweepers or that the Pope has prayed in a mosque with infidels whose religion comes from the maw of Hell.

But we must try try try to separate these emotions from right reason and endeavour with all our souls to remain united in obedience to the Vicar of Christ. It does not mean becoming a silly 'conservative'; we can remains as traditionalists who revile 'conservatism' almost as much as we revile liberalism. But we must be Catholic!

Right reason and logic dictate, in my view, that, at this time, the S.S.P.X should strive for reconciliation with Rome, and it should not seek ways to obstruct that or to incite anger on the other side. Let us stick to the facts but keep in mind at all times that the salvation of souls is the first law.

The Pope has made it possible for the Society to reconcile without threatening its mission. The solution is a provisional ordinary structure ad experimentum while discussions ensue. The structure can be established in such a way that either party to it can dissolve it at its pleasure.

My criticism of archtraditionalism (look at all those syllables!) is that it looks for excuses for division. The archtraditionalist runs away when the Pope tries to embrace him, just as the conservative papolater tries to embrace and encourage the Pope even when he does something wrong. Let's avoid both and rejoice in the truth, always under the authority of St. Peter's Successor.


Anonymous said...

So, to conclude:

No Latin Mass without the S.S.P.X: Is this an axiom we can take on faith?

Answer: no, it's an axiom which we can safely believe by considerating the facts, especially the statistical facts.

I'm sure.


Tradition On The Line said...


I'm seeing a fair number of words in your posts at the average reader would have to run to a dictionary for...

My use of the words "intrinsic" and "evil" are not meant to be separatist. It shouldn't be too much to quote the SSPX whose desire is not to anger the uneducated.

It is unfair to cite known atrocities such as our Pope praying with Muslims in a Mosque or in the past, kissing a Koran, and then opine that "archtraditionalists" merely use such facts as a means to reject the Pope. Frankly if one wishes to reject the Pope, he certainly doesn't need to cite these atrocities to do it.

In fact a cogent argument could be made for the idea that the Novus Ordo Church is the entity that wishes to reject the Pope, or more clearly, the Office of the Holy See.

We see stark contradiction between Vatican II documents and previous documents. Opposing ideas, each claiming to be the truth, for the love of God!

Paul VI freely gave the Papal Tiara to the United Nations!!! Who rejects the Pope here?

Forgive my exclamations... my emotional reaction to such anti-Catholic facts are based on the silly notion that the truth does not change. Perhaps I should better train myself to be more stoic about them... just what the world needs.

This perhaps is the quintessential question in all of the 40 years of hub-bub... Who is for the Pope? Who is for the Office of the Papacy?

Can a man be seated in the Chair of Peter and then dismantle it? Who then are the faithful? Those who say he is wrong or those who say he is right... because he is the Pope?

Millions of souls are likely damned to Hell because of the worldly mess that has been made of our Catholic Church over the last 40 years. In any other organization on the planet, when such disunities and failures arise, who is looked to? The leader! Consider the US Army, consider Coco-Cola for God's sake.

Since John XXIII, the popes have made an insane mess of the Catholic Church. Should I be afraid to say that? Should I sweep that fact under the rug while souls get swept into Hell? If I become emotional about these issues, am I a separatist? Am I rejecting the Pope?

Let me just ask this quesiton for now and then I'll shut up for a bit.

Are the Jews assured of salvation in their current state?


Anonymous said...

I agree with many of Mr. Sanborn's points, and I did not mean to suggest that prayers of popes in mosques are acceptable. Such prayers are an abomination, as was the kissing of the Qu'ran by Pope John Paul II. May God forfend such dangerous behaviour, dangerous to souls, that is.

But I mean that the S.S.P.X is not free, if it be truly Catholic, to invent reasons for refusing submission to the Pope. There is such a thing as rightful disobedience but it is only justified as a necessity. When there is no necessity, it is wrong. Pope John Paul II, for all his fault, gave the S.S.P.X a means of avoiding any rightful disobedience. He did this in 2000 when he offered the Society freedom from the local bishops without endangering the Society's mission. Pope John Paul II offered, in fact, FAR MORE than what Apb. Lefebvre was prepared to accept in 1988. So how can the Society bishops justify their continued disobedience, a disobedience that Abp. L. would not have countenanced for one second? We are not free to disobey just because we are angry, even if this anger is legitimate. Many joined the Protestants in the sixteenth century because they were righteously angry over abuses in the Church. Does that justify disobedience? It does not.

As I see it, from 1976 to 2000, the S.S.P.X was a Catholic organisation in a state of rightful disobedience, even if other faithful need not share its views without compromising their faith. But, since 2000, the S.S.P.X is objectively moving into *real* schism. Pope John Paul II warned about this tendency in 1998: the longer you remain in separation, the greater the risk of this.

So, now, it seems to me, Bishop Williamson does what he can to keep distance between the Society and Rome. He might be motivated by a good heart, but, objectively speaking, his direction is gravely injurious to souls. Souls need union with Rome as a norm. When a union in obedience is possible, it is mandatory. It is now possible.

To make the situation crystal clear to the Society, it is likely also the case that the Society will face decline and then decimation if it does not do the right thing.


Tradition On The Line said...


Sir. I'm happy you agree with my points about popes praying in mosques, but really, what are you talking about?

Exactly what is the SSPX making up or inventing as you put it in order to refuse submission to the Pope?

Benedict XVI is traveling to the US next week and plans to participate in an "ecumenical" prayer gathering as well as in a Jewish synogogue.

"Benedict's visit to the Park East synagogue on April 18 is to be the first by any pope to a Jewish house of worship in the United States and the third to any synagogue, The New York Times reported.

"On April 17, the pope's schedule includes a meeting with 150 religious leaders from various faiths at the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. He has added a separate brief meeting with 50 Jewish attendees when he will present them with Passover greetings." NEW YORK TIMES

Now... what is the SSPX inventing? False ecumenism? A Pope who contradicts Catholic doctrine... for more than 40 years of his life? Are they inventing bent and broken crosses? Are they inventing a new position about the salvation of the Jews? Are they de-constructing Limbo? Are they saying Catholics may now marry non-Catholics with no obligation to raise their children Catholic? Are they inventing unchecked sex education in Catholic elementary schools?

What in your opinion, or anyone's for that matter, is the SSPX inventing?

Rome has barely come back to her senses... and I say barely because that's what it is... on one issue, the TLM... And the SSPX is supposed to simply trust and join the ranks of those who for years allowed them to be hacked at with the most maniacal agendas to squash their very existence?

I am so sick and tired of this attitude toward the SSPX... that somehow they have fault in this whole BS situation. That somehow they're required by law to placate to the Pope for being right for 35 years.

It has been clear for some time that the SSPX situation is an "internal" matter in the Catholic Church. I'm sure you agree with this since it comes from Hoyos.

What then is the SSPX supposed to accept? On what basis? That they are in schism? Separated?

Is it the excommunication? The so-called excommunication on paper?

Maybe it's worth honing in on the consecrations for a bit.

It seems for Novus Ordo Catholics, it shouldn't matter why Lefebvre was told he could not consecrate 4 new bishops. If he was told no, then that's it... he's a schismatic rebel... forget the bushels of liberal anti-Christs who pose as bishops all over the world unchecked... let's focus on the "disobedience" of a guy who had the gall to protect the future of the Catholic Faith.

Why was Lefebvre told not to consecrate his bishops?

And at this point, why would the SSPX publicly change it's "position" with a man who once again plans to scandalize the remaining Catholic world with his promotion of false ecumenism within the week?

A Simple Sinner said...

" False ecumenism?"

Judged by whom?

" A Pope who contradicts Catholic doctrine... for more than 40 years of his life?"

Judged by whom?

At 19 I was all on board with these assesments - what I saw didn't fit with my vision, I was willing to ascribe it to HIS problem.

From the most pragmatic standpoint the question becomes, how do you feel comfortable setting out the litmus tests or knowing that you act on info that is accurate?

This rings of arguments I hear perenially from our buddies the Greeks - "We are all for the papacy up until it quit being Orthodox!"

This rings of arguments I hear perenially from our buddies the Ultrajectines - "We are all for the papacy up until it quit being rightly understood in 1871!"

This rings of arguments I hear perenially from our buddies the sedevacantists - "We are all for the papacy when we have a REAL one again! How will we know it is real? It will be obvious because..."

1000 difficulties do not make one doubt - my issues with how things have been handled at different levels which were not to my satisfaction are my own issues. I outgrew my days of armchair poping.

Prudential decisions being what they are, they aren't yours to worry about inasmuch as they don't affect you. You can easily join up with a TLM parish and work on what IS yours to work on - growth in holiness and a good death. Pray for him that he is wise in prudential decisions, and then leave them to HIM. He will answer for everything he has done, you will answer for what you are responsible for.

You aren't responsible for ecumenism, you aren't responsible for the last 40 years. You are responsible for you.

Latin Tridentine Extraordinary Altar Boy said...

"How to Serve Low Mass" CD is a beautiful training exercise for an Altar Server to learn how to serve Low Mass. The instruction was given by a Roman Catholic Priest from Catholic University of America in the 1950s. The training gives an overview of the functions and duties of an Altar Server throughout Mass, as well as the Latin prayers he must recite and when. This CD is a great guide for any Altar Server trying to learn to serve Mass, but also great for a layperson to devoutly learn the prayers and rubrics of the traditional Latin Roman Rite of Mass.




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