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Pope to SSPX: Now or Never?

Andrea Tornielli, the famed Vatican reporter, has a story in Il Giornale statting that the Pope has given the SSPX until June 28th to sign on the dotted line.

The countdown has begun for the agreement between the Fraternity St. Pius X founded by French bishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Holy See, as I write on il Giornale today. The Lefebvrians, who asked for the lifting of the excommunication, will have to respond by June 28 to proposals submitted on behalf of Benedict XVI by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. These are five points which have to be signed, and once they have been clarified, the Fraternity will be able to reenter into full communion with Rome. It is a unique opportunity: the Lefebvrians have for a long time demanded the liberalisation of the ancient missal - and Pope Ratzinger with the Motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum cura" has restored full citizenship to pre-conciliar rite - and the "catechesis" which in recent times comes from papal Masses, with the recovery of some traditional elements, is undeniable. The Fraternity must accept the II Vatican Council and the full validity of the post-conciliar liturgical rite (both points were already signed by Monsignor Lefebvre himself in 1988) and as for its [the Fraternity's future] canonical structure, it could be framed as a "prelature". It is known, however, that there is internal resistance: this Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the Lefebvrians, will have to try to overcome in the coming days, during the [Fraternity's] general chapter. Now that the old Mass has been liberalized - albeit with many difficulties and cases of blatant disobedience - many traditionalist faithful do not understand why the Fraternity does not make an agreement with Rome returning fully into Catholic communion. Circumstances so favourable in all likelihood will not come again.
The SSPX has been offered much of this before and turned it down, but if they are waiting for a Pope more favorably disposed toward them, they are beyond foolish. The Pope has restored the Gregorian Rite, he will lift the excommunications, and give them some sort canonical structure. It is time for the SSPX to decide, are you in or are your out. Do you want to be part of the solution or forever on the outside. You know, outside the Church where there is no ... well you know.

I pray that for once, the SSPX does the right thing. If Bishop Williamson and his contumacious comrades scream, let them. Don't let the crazies rule the roost. We are praying for you.

Big Hat tip to NLM

Update: SSPX Confirms offer is on the table!

Update II: Full Translation of the Il Giornale article from NLM (Double Thanks)
In the relations between the Holy See and the Lefebvrians the countdown has begun: by this 28 June, the Fraternity of St. Pius X, founded by the French Archbishop who would not suffer the post-conciliar liturgical reform, will in fact have to decide whether to accept the five conditions proposed by the Vatican in order to reenter into full communion with Rome. Some days ago, the superior of the Lefebvrians, Bishop Bernard Fellay, met with Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, which deals on behalf of Benedict XVI with negotiations with the traditionalist group. Fellay, who previously had written to the Pope asking for the revocation of the excommunication imposed by John Paul II in 1988 to Lefebvre and the four new bishops that he had wanted to consecrate without the consent of the Holy See (among them Fellay himself), has received a letter with the five points set by the cardinal [Castrillón] and will discuss them during the next chapter of the fraternity, to be held at the end of the month.

Never like at this moment the negotiations have come close to an agreementwhich would heal the mini-schism which had been created now two decades ago, allowing the full reentering of the Lefebvrians into the Catholic communion. Among the points that the Holy See asked to sign there would be, according to the indiscretions gathered, the acceptance of the II Vatican Council and the declaration of full validity of the Mass according to the reformed liturgy: two conditions that Lefebvre had already signed with the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1988. The Vatican, for its part, offers the traditionalist group a canonical framework similar to that of Opus Dei, namely a [personal] "prelature", which would allow the Fraternity to continue its activities and to train its seminarians.

The march of rapprochement was started in 2000, when the Lefebvrians made a Holy Year pilgrimage to Rome. It was followed by a brief audience granted by Pope Wojtyla to Monsignor Fellay and the beginning of the long and laborious negotiations with Cardinal Castrillón. Many things have changed since then however. The Lefebvrians asked, before making any step towards an agreement, that the old preconciliar missal, which fell into disuse after the liturgical reform, be liberalised. The new pope, Benedict XVI, particularly sensitive to these issues, a year ago published the Motu proprio declaring the full citizenship of the old Mass allowing it in every parish, in fact stripping the bishop of the possibility of prohibiting it. The application of the new papal directives has not been easy, there are a lot of cases of resistance - some blatant, as is known - but it is beyond doubt that by declaring the existence of an extraordinary Roman rite (the old one) and an ordinary (the reformed one), the Pope has authorized throughout the Church and without restrictions the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. Moreover, Ratzinger has reintroduced the Cross at the centre of the altar, has begun to distribute communion to the faithful kneeling, has restored ancient vestments: all signals that go in the direction of emphasizing the continuity of tradition.

Conditions this favourable for a reentering into full communion will in all likelihood not repeat themselves. Many faithful, now that they have obtained the Mass according to the ancient rite, do not understand why the Fraternity does not definitively make peace with Rome. The Lefebvrians have come to realize what is happening, even if Fellay has some problems of internal resistance. The choice is whether to make an agreement and reenter into full communion with the Holy See, or rather to remain a small separate body with the risk of turning into a little sectarian and uninfluential group.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I pray that they come home, but something tells me that the sin of Pride will finally prevail, unfortunatly.


It's tough to go from a "big fish in a little pond," to being a "little fish in a big pond;" which is what the SSPX leadership would become if they came home.

Christopher M. Tomaszewski said...

This whole article is un-Catholic and can not possibly be correct. The Pope can not and will not ever offer the SSPX terms that come with the ultimatum "now or never". The Catholic Church does not do "now or never". Any terms he would offer would be valid in perpetuity and if any of his successors failed to honor them and lift the excommunications, they would be gravely remiss in their duty.
This is for the simple reason that the Church has only ever demanded one and the same thing from the SSPX: obedience. Whether the SSPX gives this by June 28, 2008 or by June 28, 2108, there is no difference. The Pope is morally and offically bound to accept penitent excommunicates back into the Church, regardless of when they make their appeal.
Are we seriously to believe that if the SSPX signed the agreement on the 29th, the Pope would refuse them the pleasure of communion? Certainly not: to believe so would be the height of folly. He would welcome them back with every manner of canonical protection and privilege. Not only would he welcome them back, but he would establish them as a model for imitation, and give them every protection against the persecution that they have suffered for the past 40 years at the hands of liberal bishops.
Of course, the easiest way to bring the SSPX back into communion is to have the excommunication automatically voided by electing Bernard Fellay to the Papacy: that would be ideal. (Can you say Pius XIII?) Dare to dream...

~cmpt

Ron said...

Bernard Fellay to the Papacy?
I'm pretty sure we can file that in the "never" basket.

Patrick Archbold said...

cmpt,
Take it easy...
Nobody said that the Pope was offering a one time deal or permanent censure. The now or never is my commentary that if the SSPX turns it down now, they will never get a better deal. It is my opinion that if they turn it down, many of the people who attend the SSPX would eventually return to the fold on their own. The rest would join Williamson's super secret uber-catholic club and would have very little interest in coming back to the fold. Their identity would then be entirely based on being separate.

Lastly, please take note of the question mark (?) at the and of Now or Never?

This indicates that it is a question...not a statement.

"Now or Never?" <> "Now or Never!"

Now let's take it easy from now on...

Anonymous said...

I'm from St. Marys ks {xsspx} I don't believe anybody would leave sspx. Anti- vatican II have been drilled into their brains non stop from these smattering rebel priests. Their stagnantcy is really starting to stink.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Until last weekend I didn't even know the SSPX existed. I was out of town looking for a church on Saturday in the phone book. I called the closest one listed under Roman Catholic to ask for Mass times and the person who answered told me that they only had Latin Mass. I didn't think anything of that since I'll go to a Spanish Mass even though I don't know much Spanish. I'll admit when I showed up the next day it was a bit of a shock. I found my way to this site by searching for Marcel Lefebvre, who was listed in their Bulletin as their Founder. Can anyone point me in the direction of some good information on what their status is with Rome, how they are looked at when they fall into other diocese, and things of that nature? Needless to say I am quite intrigued by this group, and would appreciate your help in learning more. Thanks!

-Russell

Walter said...

I WOULD CERTAINLY HOPE THE SSPX LEADERS WOULD DENY THAT ANY OF THE ALLEGED ACTIVITIES WHICH CARDINAL HOYOS DEMANDS THEY DISAVOW, HAS,
OR EVER HAS BEEN, THEIR POLICY.
THEY DO, IN FACT, HAVE SOME VALID POINTS. ECUMENISM AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, AS DEFINED BY MANY LIBERAL THEOLOGIANS, DO SEEM TO BE A DEPARTURE FROM PREVIOUS CHURCH TEACHING. I WOULD CONSIDER THIS ENTIRE AREA TO BE ONE OF "QUAESTIONES DISPUTATAE" CONCERNING WHICH THE SSPX IS ENTIRELY FREE TO PROPOGATE THEIR VIEWS WHICH ARE ENTIRELY IN ACCORD WITH TRADITIONAL CHURCH TEACHING. IF THEY COULD JUST DENY, TO USE A SLANG EXPRESSION, THAT THEY ARE "BAD-MOUTHING" THE HOLY FATHER, ROME SHOULD OFFER THEM A PERSONAL PRELATURE. AS IT IS, TRADITIONAL CATHOLICISM IS MAKING A STRONG COMEBACK. IT IS NOT JUST THE SSPX THAT SEES OUR FUTURE IN OUR PAST.
AND THE CONCEPT OF TRADITION, OF HANDING OVER WHAT HAS BEEN RECEIVED, IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR FAITH.

alwayscatholic said...

Talk about missing the point. Anyone who thinks the Pope and the Bishops cannot be in error concerning the Faith is oblivious of history. When Pope Liberius excommunicated St. Athanasius in the forth century because Athanasius refused to obey the Pope who was teaching (along with the vast majority of Bishops) that Christ was not God (Arian Heresy), it was a badge of honor for the poor Saint who was almost alone in the world in keeping the faith. It was not about pride, it was about remaining faithful and obedient to the Church and to the Papacy, no matter what the cost. Yes, Athanasius would rather "give up his pride", be in the Pope's good graces and have the excommunication lifted, but not at the cost of abandoning the faith. Eventually, his prayers and efforts helped to bring the hierarchy of the Church back to the faith, and a future Pope condemned the actions of Pope Liberius and declared Athanasius a saint. There are dozens of similar incidents including "excommunications" of other Saints in the sometimes embarrassing history of the Church. Look them up and learn from them before you write recklessly to your eternal shame about men who may very well be cannonized Saints in the future.
Our Lady of Fatima warned about this "great apostasy, beginning at the top", and Catholic prophecies have spoken about it through the ages. She referred to the present time as "these last days" and pleaded for Catholics to return to their faith.
It is love, humility and obedience to God, Our Lady and to the Papacy that keep the SSPX priests faithful to the Church, and it is pride, fear and ignorance of their faith that keep the Pope and most Bishops from admitting and abandoning the obvious errors and heresies of Vatican 2.

Anonymous said...

Wilianmson, Felly, if you are reading this, sign the papers now! This is a sign from God that the time is right to fight for catholic truth. Please dispel the erroneous interpritations of Vatican II. Your society has a Chapel in my area which I can't attend because you are excommunicated. Come home and saved your Father's house.
Please

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