In a papal letter released today to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization — the topic being the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy — Pope Francis included a paragraph that reads as follows:
A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime, motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.
The SSPX, for their part, have responded with the following statement:
The Society of St. Pius X learned, through the press, of the provisions taken by Pope Francis on the occasion of the upcoming Holy Year. In the last paragraph of his letter addressed September 1, 2015, to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Holy Father writes:
«I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Society of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.»
The Society of St. Pius X expresses its gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this fatherly gesture. In the ministry of the sacrament of penance, we have always relied, with all certainty, on the extrdaordinary jurisdiction conferred by the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law. On the occasion of this Holy Year, Pope Francis wants all the faithful who wish to confess to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to be able to do so without being worried.
During this year of conversion, the priests of the Society of St. Pius X will have at heart to exercise with renewed generosity their ministry in the confessional, following the example of tireless dedication which the holy Curé of Ars gave to all priests.
September 1, 2015
To be honest, I don’t know what to say about this. I’ve been mulling it over all morning and I still am not sure. Sometimes it’s good to be first with a news story, more often it’s better to be right with your analysis of one, but I think that today I’m coming up empty on both fronts.
Some loose, off the top of my head thoughts on this:
Pope Francis is both unpredictable and autocratic. Mercy — the definition of which is up for grabs — is certainly a key theme of his pontificate. In what has become a famous anecdote, Pope Benedict XVI is alleged to have told Bishop Fellay, when pressed on his ability as pope to end the crisis in the Church, “My authority ends at that door.” Pope Francis seems not to feel so constrained. In fact, a “senior bishop” told Damian Thompson last summer that “Benedict allowed the Roman Curia, and specifically the Italians in it, to kill his pontificate. Francis will not permit that to happen.” According to Thompson, Francis “will strike first.”
It certainly seems that he has continuously defied expectations, making decisions independently of the Vatican political apparatus that keep everyone guessing.
While very few people think of Pope Francis — who is alleged to have described those who love the Traditional Mass as “addicted to a certain fashion” — as the possible reconciler of the SSPX, an anecdote shared with me some months ago by someone familiar with the Society indicated that in Argentina, then-Cardinal Bergoglio and the SSPX co-existed peacefully. I was told that the SSPX was engaged in the right sort of social work in Buenos Aires — caring for the poor, and so on — and so while there was no liturgical or theological connection, they were seen as compatible with his personal agenda and left alone.
With that in mind, there are two additional anecdotes in the above-cited column from Damian Thompson that appear germane. First this:
Jorge Bergoglio has little in common with Joseph Ratzinger apart from an intense, orthodox Catholic faith and a love of classical music. Like many Jesuits, Francis isn’t interested in liturgy. This is actually good news for traditionalists, because it means he won’t clamp down on the Latin Mass (with one baffling exception: the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a new order whose use of the Old Missal has been brutally restricted).
Last year Francis described his ‘court’ as ‘the leprosy of the papacy’. By ‘court’ he may have been referring to monarchical trappings — but employees of the Curia suspected that he was talking about them. For those good priests who found themselves trapped in a sclerotic bureaucracy it came across as a needless insult. ‘Morale is tremendously low,’ says a Vatican source. ‘And matters aren’t helped by Latin American clergy swanning around Rome telling us how they’re bringing us simplicity. There’s a new ultramontanism of the left. You can disagree with anything the church teaches so long as you think Francis is fabulous.’
To me, this paints a picture of what we’re seeing unfold. Maybe Pope Francis really does have some fond memories of the SSPX from Argentina. Maybe his emphasis on Mercy makes this move make sense. Perhaps Bishop Schneider’s public statements as an official visitor to the SSPX — indicating that there are “no weighty reasons” that the Society should not be given canonical status “as they are” — was the push that led to this development, essentially breaking the decades-long timeout that the Society has suffered.
At the same time, I can’t help but be confused, for several reasons:
- How can the SSPX be granted jurisdiction for confessions, but only for a year?
- What does this say about their status vis-a-vis the spurious accusations that they are in schism?
- How should this reflect on participation in their chapels in other respects? Should this reflect on their Masses, which some have claimed are an “attack on the Blessed Sacrament”? If they have the power to licitly absolve sins, can the priests of the SSPX absolve each other for offering something “worse than a Black Mass“? Or would that be a violation of Canon 977? (I’m being somewhat faecetious here, but you can see how this does open up a can of worms as regards typical arguments against participating in SSPX Masses.)
- Why is the Society, and only the Society, singled out in this letter as being granted some particular favor under the auspices that the “Jubilee Year of Mercy” which “excludes no one”? Since no other groups, schismatic or otherwise, received similar mention, are we to conclude that the SSPX situation is entirely unique, and perhaps urgent?
- What is in place to solidify the Holy Father’s statement, “I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity”?
- Doesn’t this action confirm that the power to grant canonical status to the SSPX “as they are” exists at the will and pleasure of the pope, extending further the questions of “Why not full reconciliation? Why has this not happened before now? Why are there time limits on this if it is good for souls and a true expression of God’s mercy?”
There are oddities about the letter as a whole, not least of which is the fact that abortion is no longer considered a sin reserved to the Holy See according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Canons 1398; 1356), so special faculties should not need to be granted to forgive these sins. That this is being overlooked with the SSPX bombshell should be noted, but it can be revisited at another time.
On the whole, this appears to be a good thing, and a positive step towards a full reconciliation between the Society and Rome. But I don’t feel like I’m seeing the whole picture yet. Do you?
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
“Perhaps Bishop Schneider’s public statements as an official visitor to the SSPX — indicating that there are “no weighty reasons” that the Society should be given canonical status “as they are”” —did you mean …”should be denied canonical status”..?
Good catch. Thanks.
It may very well be that, behind the scenes, Benedict XVI had some influence on this gesture. The whole thing is bewildering. It’s as if the Vatican wants to keep this group in a state of suspended animation no matter how ambiguously worded the new-spun policy. I’m sure that anti-SSPX pundits will claim that Francis has by no means rendered any of SSPX’s ministry “legitimate” – that this “consideration” is solely for the benefit and opportunity of lay faithful who initiate a request to confess. And to be fair, the Pope’s language lends merit to that interpretation, as hair-brained as it is. At my most cynical, I’d say the Vatican has forced the SSPX in a one-year deliberation as to whether they’ll ‘persist in Mercy’ after December 2016. I suspect it’s a new timetable informed by how long Francis expects to persist in the Papacy.
“I’m sure that anti-SSPX pundits will claim that Francis has by no means rendered any of SSPX’s ministry “legitimate” – that this “consideration” is solely for the benefit and opportunity of lay faithful who initiate a request to confess.”
Yes, this is the editorial spin of CMTV. They are writing to Pope Francis as we speak for a “clarification” 🙂
The right response is the humble one, where anti-SSPX foes just lay down their arms and move on to other battles, but not before they lick their wounds and eat some crow! If CMTV doesn’t right the wrong they’ve done, publicly and clearly like others have done today, it will be a permanent crimp in the hose that limits all future effectiveness. In fact, their own consciences will limit them, a kind of self-perpetuated self-sabotage.
Funny: the complete rehabilitation of the SSPX may have a side effect of draining the venom out of “news” outlets like CMTV who are left with little to but *actually report the news* instead of creating it and inserting themselves in the middle of it.
CMTV and outfits like them should apologize immediately get back to investigative journalism on actual the enemies of the faith inside her walls, and stop creating click-bait articles, videos, and vortexes that stir up dissension among faithful Real Catholics.
The hole over there is just dug all the deeper. The pearl-handled shovel attributes the Papal outreach as an act of ecumenism (something moderators claim is a trivial matter when corrected) only to quadruple down on declaring schism without a license. Prayers for those folks and those they mislead.
Can you even believe they called it ecumenism?
“A stiff-necked man will be broken suddenly, beyond repair”, as the Teacher put it.
I will not be surprised if they find themselves with the “bloggers” and no press pass at the Synod.
I’m saddened by the blind adherence to nothing but a crumbling attempt at legalism. There is such good that could be done.
Ah, but they do “do a lot of good” at CMTV. The SSPX thing is not this huge issue there. Many make it sound like every single Vortex episode is a slam to the SSPX. I agree with you 99% of the time, PGMGN, but I still like MV and CMTV, and there is much truth to be found there. It is, sadly, run by HUMANS. 😉
Not a point of liking MV or not for me. His blatant animus against the Society as demonstrated by his misrepresenting them and using His Excellency Bishop Schneider is beyond the pale.
So while there is the potential for a lot of good, the man, for whatever reason, has taken to intentionally sowing division. And by way of calumny and parsing the truth.
That’s dangerous. I’m concerned for him…and his staff. Those who are misled to abhor other Catholics without reason and subsequently berate them are the victims.
I don’t think that I ever heard MV encourage Catholics to abhor other Catholics…except perhaps the ‘c’atholics who practice everything from sodomy to abortion and believe it’s not sinful. Maybe I’m missing something…?
If you’ve missed the CM pieces calumniating the Society and those who attend their chapels, then you are in a swiftly decreasing minority. Sadly, this organization has gone way out of the way, even going so far as to ban any/all who legitimately call out their errors to include those who have financially supported their apostolate from the beginning.
God willing, they will cease if only to maintain the ability to help in this crisis. By marginalizing themselves by way of unsubstantiated opinion and obvious bias, they have effectively cast themselves as hostile calumniators, not purveyors of truth.
CMTV has engendered a serious and deep credibility crisis that is 100% self-inflicted and self-perpetuated. It will have to end with a big fat mea culpa from Voris.
If the Pope declares in one breath “The SSPX has been in formal schism for X years, but I hereby fully grant them full communion from this point forward”, I will eat crow. But I just don’t see that happening the day SSPX is regularized.
I don’t know why this has to be over analyzed. Can’t it just be taken for the apparent good news that it is? This letter was a much needed break from the usual papal ramblings and it actually sounded quite Catholic! Seems like no one really wants any good news, though, but just wants to scrutinize every word to find something sinister. The SSPX seems pleased by it, so why shouldn’t we?
You’ll have to forgive me. Watching these events this closely for so long, one cultivates an unavoidable cynicism. It is most certainly good news, but it raises questions that demand answers.
The present pontiff in Rome has destroyed the trust of many. It is only natural to wonder what is up. We shall indeed see .
This is my thought exactly. Francis writes a letter telling one of the Bishops of the SSPX they have the legitimacy to absolve sins and presto….everything’s hunky dory, at least in the Confessional. Actually though, this has been his M.O. from the beginning. All we have to do is take care of the poor, the marginalized, and the environment and everything else is just ‘fluff’ it seems.
Do you think this may be his way of making it harder for some to complain if he were to give the ability for priests to grant annulments in the confessional?
I had the same thought: “Who are you to complain about who I give Mercy to? Did I not give it to you?”
This makes sense.
Canon 12 of Session 24 of the Council of Trent should make that impossible.
Does this mean I can attend Mass at an SSPX chapel regularly during the Year of Mercy.
The nearest canonically approved EF parish is a 3 hour drive, but there is an SSPX chapel 20 or 30 minutes from my home.
I wish I knew the answer. It’s one of the essential questions this prompts.
It would give us more options to attend the Latin Mass in our area with the many dioceses being so close to each other. I’ve always wanted to attend their Mass, been multiple times to the Fraternity of Saint Peter and one done through the Ecclesia Dei commission. All beautiful, not sure what would be different.
Rome and Ecclesia Dei has said for many years that a Catholic could fulfill his Sunday obligation at an SSPX chapel. That was never an issue, but now during the Year of Mercy, we are 100% percent certain that our confessions will be valid during that time. So yes, Mass and confession will be no problem during the Year of Mercy.
can u share the quote so that I may share it as well. Thank you
Rome has contradicted itself on this over the years. I’ve written about the history of their varying responses, with quotes, here:
What I’m curious about, this “dissension” is legit for confessions only, or is it also applied for weddings?
You could attend an SSPX chapel legitimately even before this statement from Pope Francis.
On 27th September 2002, quoted and reaffirmed on 18th January 2003, the Holy See, through the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, stated that ‘In the strict sense you may fulfil your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X.’ (Letters signed by Mgr Camille Perl).
I have been going to the SSPX for sunday (and other) masses for about 3 years now – best decision I ever made. They beat the Jesuits I went to before hands down. (I also, where possible, support Diocesan clergy who offer the TLM, as well as the FSSP and Una Voce events).
Go there! You wont regret it!
This is a generous statement by the Pope and it is unthinkable that the new situation will not be made permanent – if not, and the faculty was removed again, it would turn the year of mercy into a joke.
Fortunately, Francis seems to allude in the statement that something bigger is coming down the line. As did Bishop Fellay (SSPX) in a July statement when he said “we are on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define”. And in August, Bishop Schneider, who visited SSPX seminaries on behalf of the Vatican said “there are no weighty reasons” why the SSPX should not be awarded a canonical status.
So that was a positive development in all of July, August and now September. Cant wait for next months installment!
I can tell you one thing you can say about this declaration: it blows the position of Michael Voris clean out of the water.
I hope all of the bickering about Mr. Voris will come to an end.
I would hope so, too, but that will only end when Mr. Voris gives up his unwarranted and erroneous attacks on fellow Catholics.
His persistence in conflating issues, disregarding the facts, and promoting a false perception of schism, ill-will, and the attitude that ‘he and his followers’ are more concerned for souls than anyone else (the excuse given for the promotion of half truths and spin) is the source of the problem.
Sorry, but he’s putting himself and CMTV in this position. Prayers for their leadership that they follow the prudential statements of His Excellency Bishop Schneider.
Visiting the comment section of CM is truly disheartening as they spin is only continuing to promote bad policy and a black out of any/all correction, logic, charity, and truth.
I feel we should keep an eye to this. But the time limit seems strange. For what it is worth this shows us that Francis actually does very well know how to run things. Seems to put to death the whole “He’s a stooge” argument.
I am hopeful, and will be looking forward to attending, and confessing beginning in a few months.
As one who has been a strident and implacable foe of the schism since its inception, IANS is happy he “lost.”
Kudos to the SSPX and those who succor it.
One does not have to be a weatherman to know which way the winds of reconciliation are blowing; this reconciliation seems to be roaring down the reconciliation tracks and it has slowly been developing momentum and increasing its speed ever since the excommunications have been lifted and there seems little to prevent its accomplishment as a full communion reconciliation with the Pope.
We Irish-Algonquin Catholics have always specialised in lost causes and so IANS is. once again, happy to have lost to his foes but he thinks that at least he fought fair with facts.
Again, congrats to the SSPX and those who succor it; y’all have reason to be proud you stuck with you guns and IANS is laying his down.
A very gracious comment. Thank you for being a gentleman.
You’re welcome, Steve; and thanks for being so patient with IANS who, as always, will apply the tincture of Chartreuse to his war wounds
Perhaps this gesture was designed to blunt “traditionalist” criticism of the coming decision to clamp down finally on the ongoing hoax at Medjugorje. (Of course, there is not now and never was anything traditional about this bogus shrine, but millions of Catholics have been swept up in its lies.)
I haven’t found a big following of Medjugorje among “traditionalists.” I have only seen it among “conservative” Catholics. Has your experience been otherwise? (Only priest I have ever heard bring up Medjugorje and condemn it as a hoax is an FSSP priest.)
Recent comments from the CDF seem to indicate a leaning towards denouncing it. The statement said something to the effect of nothing supernatural going on there, not to support diocesan pilgrimages but acknowledging it as a special place of prayer. I didn’t start following it at all until pretty recently. A very holy and good priest I know seemed to think it a very special place and had some sort of experience there. I decided to look into it and read some of the prophecies about the supposed apparitions and it always felt off… I felt a bit vindicated after that statement from the CDF.
As I wrote elsewhere, this pontificate seems to say one thing and do another and like the old shell game where the eyes are focused on one thing and through a sleight of hand the authentic thing is replaced with something ‘new and improved’ and supposedly better than the ‘outdated ‘real thing. I think this is a diversion from the synod this fall. But I want to be wrong! I often am.
I think that you are very right. One more confusing move which distracts from the main event (the synod).
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It’s not a faculty for the SSPX priests, it’s an indulgence for the faithful who go to them. It will take a while for the canon lawyers to work this out.
Strictly guessing, he wants Parishes to open up their doors to the special ministers of mercy who, probably, will absolve people of the sin of being divorced and remarried. The easiest way to make that happen is to also open the door to the SSPX, which has the reputation of being stricter than the general Parish priest. So the Parishes will have to open their door both to the extreme “right” and the extreme “left” this year.
I believe Pope Francis wants a big tent Church. He can tolerate groups like the SSPX and their devotions, as long as they stick to their corner, and tradition does not affect the mainstream Church and there is no general attempt to convert the Church to tradition. He will be happy as long as his social ideology program towards the poor and mercy continues.
I’m going to be honest. I don’t feel like with this pope we ever see the whole picture. In fact, I feel that he intentionally causes confusion and says things in vague ways that can have many interpretations. How I long for the clarity of teaching the Church has always had. This modernist confusion just makes life so much harder in people truly trying to live out their faith as all the saints did before us.
I’m glad to have come across this article and the comments. At first I was overjoyed at the gesture of Pope Francis but then I began to wonder if this is not the beginning of the attempted destruction of the SSPX. Why is the same mercy not granted to the Franciscans of the Immaculate and to the three remaining Bishops that Pope Francis suspended for the reason he gave was because of their traditionalist attitudes? Is this truly a good gesture or is it another Modernist trick?
Allowing SSPX to participate in the ‘Year of Mercy’ is certainly confusing just as is the entire idea of the ‘Year of Mercy’. Pope Francis is just so full of surprises, perhaps even some good ones. All of this raises the question of ‘what is the point’ of these antics. One thing for sure, Pope Francis knows how to “make a mess”.
What is odd about this „act of mercy” is that it was issue through a letter to a Bishop. It was not put in an official Vatican document. This might be due to avoiding the “theological structurer”, i.e. Card. Muller. And for those who follow the ins and outs of the SSPX situation at the Vatican, will recall that Card. Muller is the arch-nemesis of the SSPX. He is also the arch-nemesis of Francis and the Kasperian/Bergoglian “theology done on the knees”. So the most simple explanation is that Francis is using the SSPX to drive a wedge in the orthodox/conservative/neo-conservative
opposition. On one side we have Card. Muller and the Curia and on the other we
have Bishop Schneider and Cardinal Brandmuller (the two identified SSPX visitors). If he can diminish the authority of Card. Muller and his CDF veto over the resulting Apostolic
Exhortation that will come on the end of the bi-Synod, he might be able get
some of the Kasper agenda through. Or so he thinks…
I’ve always been struck by the ponderousness of any communique from SSPX. It’s like the authors of such notes go out of their way to speak “oh so” elegantly ‘circumloqucious’; it’s as if they were written by a punctilious-to-an-annoying-fault lawyer who never in his life picked up a shovel. Every phrase seems designed to reinforce ground. There’s a bad spirit here.
Mere lack of clarity speaks to a “bad spirit”? Don’t tell the Vatican..
I don’t see that at all. I think they are measured and careful in their statements. It is quite refreshing .
Actually, there’s always a cunning, distrusting edge to them, using words to try to defensively take ground, like having a litigious-minded child, always drawing lines of responsibility, and not so subtle reminders.
Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.
I much prefer this to the “just say whatever pops into your head” approach. I think they probably take the three stages of an act of prudence very seriously.
Cunning and defensive? Being particular in assuring the accuracy of one’s comments as pertains to the truth and canon law is what we need more of….not less.
Would you condemn a lawyer who was defending you against unjust litigation and/or an accountant assuring by way of accuracy that you weren’t left open to charges of fraud as being a litigious minded child? Really? (…and keep in mind that it is often members of families that sue each other.)
The canon laws that allow for action in case of necessity are, despite what you’ve been led to believe, put into place precisely to provide for times of crisis, injustice, error, etc, etc, etc.
The litigious-minded children are rather those who would perpetuate bad will on purpose because they need, for their own satisfaction, to see their brothers cry uncle first. And not out of charity.
Catholics aren’t in court; we’re supposed to be in a family, mere children of a loving Father God, where tenderness, generosity, a good spirit is expected.
…and yet the Church, in Her wisdom, has a long history of canon law. Why? To settle matters that arise in every family.
Human nature is fallen, friend, and that is why it is important to understand the need for a rule of law.
It has canon law, mainly to keep other governments out of its business.
No. That’s not the purpose of canon law. You may want to think of house rules at home, that and the established method by which conflict is resolved.
SSPX is noisily punctilious. Refinement that calls attention to itself!
Ad hominem attacks that go out of the way to poke fun at the desire for accuracy and good speech are completely out of line.
Was a person named? Be precise man.
…seek a whipping boy elsewhere, sjme.
Let me correct you. You aren’t SSPX, as much as you might like to claim that. My remarks have been about communiques from that organization. I haven’t made any criticism to you (hominem) but to the organization.
I will continue to defend my well aimed points at the organization, with our without its wannabe titular head.
…I was speaking of your using the Society as a whipping boy, friend. Your well aimed points are directed at underscoring your own lack of information and charity. You are sadly too wrapped up in your own idea of ‘knowing’ that you cannot see as much.
God bless you just the same.
See i try not to anthropomorphize my critical comments.
I don’t see that either. The SSPX are used to being under fire from many sides. It stands to reason that they be very measured in their communique’s when there are scores of people, lay and cleric alike, who are waiting to pounce on anything they deem out of line and point their fingers.
…the bad spirit lies with those who would mock the precision of others when, to be honest, being correct in one’s language is critical. Should we mock the Queen of England because she is prudent in her speech?
Precision is one thing….using every phrase to carve out or take claim is another.
And some language, including the stuffy language above, has a sad vanity to it.
…there is no carving out or taking claim, sjme2002. There is simply a thank you and a restatement of position. This only reaffirms the reality that are real issues that need to be worked out at higher levels. IOW: The Society has a legitimate concern, it is still a legitimate concern, and not just a matter of pride and/or being stubborn.
Your notion of stuffy language and sad vanity only indicates your own narrowness as to how others speak. Not everyone is casual, friend.
Please….take a peek.
The Society of St. Pius X learned, through the press [THUD, sorry someone didn’t ring you up personally on the phone]}, of the provisions taken by Pope Francis on the occasion of the upcoming Holy Year. In the last paragraph of his letter addressed September 1, 2015, to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Holy Father writes:
«I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Society of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.»
The Society of St. Pius X expresses its gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this fatherly gesture. In the ministry of the sacrament of penance, we have always [THUD] relied, with all certainty [THUD…that is to say..”we don’t need the New Vatican to know this] , on the extrdaordinary jurisdiction conferred by the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law [THUD, essentially this is our guide, not you Francis]. On the occasion of this Holy Year, Pope Francis wants all the faithful who wish to confess to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to be able to do so without being worried. [THUD, trivializing]
During this year of conversion, the priests of the Society of St. Pius X will have at heart [typical needless ‘quaintism’] to exercise with renewed generosity their ministry in the confessional, following the example of tireless dedication which the holy Curé of Ars gave to all priests.
Yes, I’ve read the response. What you fail to understand is that the Society has been operating under the provision of supplied jurisdiction for a long time. Why? Because they hold the position that there is an ongoing crisis within the Church. And there is one, friend.
Just because the Holy Father, in an act of generosity to calm minds/hearts, issues a pronouncement of jurisdiction granted by way of papal mandate doesn’t negate the premise of supplied jurisdiction.
Having said as much, you seem to misunderstand that Canon law is a guide. It is there precisely to be used when the need arises. That is why your perception of trivializing is not trivializing at all. Rather the assumption that the Pope’s gesture is all that is needed for doctrinal matters to be resolved is trivializing the depth of matters at hand.
SSPX exists to serve the Church. When most of its energies are spent in cross-boundary fire, it no longer serves the Church. It’s a mere well painted fingernail catching on things.
And the Society has been serving the Church by way of helping souls. Souls often so scandalized that it was only the discovery of Catholic tradition, and blessed consistency, that brought them back to the sacraments. Be careful, sjme2002, lest you become the clanging cymbal.
Beginning to understand Jesus’s peeve with Pharisees.
…look to yourself sjme2002. Your legalism is showing.
Your observations are valid. Still, has it occurred to you that the Society, which has much of its presence overseas, does not write these things in English first?
I know for a fact that it was written in Switzerland, originally in French.
This also from a society that studies most consistently the teachings of pre-conciliar popes, who wrote more with the poetic phrasing of the late 19th and early 20th century than the banalized casual speech of our present age.
I think you’re looking for significance where there isn’t any.
“Why are there time limits on this if it is good for souls and a true expression of God’s mercy?”
Exactly. Excellent point.
There are no established definitions for Modernists. Nothing is set in stone. A “true expression of God’s mercy” can mean one thing today and the opposite tomorrow
There is a lot to this that makes me take a step back. I like it but I don’t trust it. This is the result of a pontiff that speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Every time I want to trust him, I think of the men he has surrounded himself with and I say “What are you up to now?” I will accept it but will wait and see how it plays out. I can only hope and pray.
I feel the same way about Pope Francis a lot of the time, but at the same time I have faith in the Holy Spirit and the special graces afforded to the Successor of Peter (Not saying you don’t of course!) On the one hand I look at the upcoming Synod and think “Oh no…” but on the other this is Christ’s Church. Is division and schism coming? Well yes since it’s already here and more is coming. Will the church change it’s teachings or be destroyed? No because it can’t. I’m looking to the Polish and African bishops (among others) to right things… I wish we could look to Pope Francis but if he follows the pattern of the last Synod, he’ll just sit quietly so someone else can teach heterodoxy…
What has emerged after the release of this letter and the subsequent comments that followed on blogs such as these shows a strain of disobedience and disrespect for authority among certain traditionalists. They claim to be under the pope but yet hold a sedevacantist mentality. They operate under their own authority, boasting of the useless need of such a papal proclamation. Many of us wish we could attend sspx chapels and receive the sacraments and guidance from their priests. But we will wait, with patience and obedience, until this is all resolved and the final word comes from the Holy See.
“on blogs such as these…”
Are you saying that you believe the post itself shows this, or only the comments? Because as far as I recall, I’ve never made an argument in favor of supplied jurisdiction in SSPX confessions.
I can’t figure out the appropriate attitude, frankly, when a Catholic believes the pope has done something harmful but has not violated the infallibility of his office. Being torn between legitimate obedience to the Roman Pontiff and adherence to those things which have been proven to be most beneficial to the faith is not a situation Catholics should ever find themselves in…and yet here we are.
I was referring to the comments, not the post. I totally agree with your asessment of the sspx not having supplied jurisdiction, and have therefore refrained from visiting their chapels, although I have a strong desire to do so.
God is certainly allowing this trial for a reason, and maybe it’s to test the faith through obedience and humility.
…it might be time to test the faith through obedience to the Holy Father by attending the Society chapel as you have been inclined to do, Beppo.
There are no points for being ‘more obedient’ because of what ‘you’ perceive. If in fact your only reservation is what the Pope allows or disallows, then you have, in this coming year of mercy, the ticket to assuage your conscience and do some Catholic outreach at the same time.
Perhaps that is the basis for the Holy Father’s actions. Those who already attend Society chapels do rely upon supplied jurisdiction. So this offer may be precisely for folks such as you to venture out without being afraid. (…to go would be an exercise in humility.)
The implication of “The Year of Mercy” is that, prior to this Pope, the Church has not been merciful. This is what is most disturbing to me, but we really shouldn’t be surprised. From the beginning of his pontificate, starting with his refusal to wear the red shoes, Pope Francis has “broken ranks” with his predecessors and papal tradition, thereby suggesting that they were wrong and that he knows better. Hmmm….it is as if there is a new “opening of the windows to let the fresh air in” happening again, just like at Vatican II. This is a man who clearly has dreamed of what he would do if he were Pope. His Papacy has been filled with surprises and obfuscation, leaving some to rejoice and others to scratch their heads. I, for one, have doing what I can to grow closer to Jesus Christ and to gain more knowledge and understanding of our Faith because of Pope Francis. His confusing actions and double-talk have compelled me to go right to the heart of it all, right to the source: Jesus Christ, the Sacraments, the Bible and the Catechism while increasing prayer of intercession to the Blessed Mother. I have Pope Francis to thank for that. Sadly, too many of us are caught up in the worship of man and in Catholic circles, this is very clear when it comes to Pope Francis. It seems we are focusing too much on him. Where is Jesus Christ in all of this? Our Church is far too human-centric. We are losing the sense of the sacred and the Faith is getting watered down and mundane because of the focus on ourselves. We are warned in Scripture to not place our trust in man, but in God alone. Many of us are forgetting that, but if we stick to the basics, repent of our sins and stay true the Faith, we will be guided. Pray for the Church!
We have had 50 years of “mercy”. Mercy to those outside the Church. Mercy to unrepentant sinners. What the Church has taught is false mercy, false love, and false charity. I expect nothing will change.
I think it both are amazing! The special grace for those who are repentant and contrite of heart concerning abortion and the validity of the SSPX confessions. Think about it! Our Holy Father is subtly telling the SSPX hierarchy and their faithful….guess who has the authority! It is going to gently and lovingly bring to the church those souls who are true sheep and those who are not (at this time, I never consign anyone to hell as long as they are breathing) will probably foam at the mouth and say, “who do you think you are?” It is as profound wisdom as Solomon telling them to cut the baby in half when the wicked woman tried to say the innocent woman’s baby was hers. The truth came out without an argument and a bunch of long discourses. This play of TRUE authority is merciful and at the same time a judgment! It can’t get any better! Along the same lines…how angry angry angry Satan must be! Publically we are welcoming back those who are contrite of heart/repentant who have had abortions! Yes, we always have but this is much more public! Plus, not all know because many have been told if the Church is against it then you must be against the church because they are going to tell you that you are going to hell. The souls that the enemy of our souls thought he had, now through this masterful and merciful move is calling them back to our Lord…to His Kingdom, out of darkness into light! I am ecstatic! Now, I see why our Holy Father made comments such as in effect we need to quit talking so much about “issues”. He is right! We have been crying out for our Pope to use his God given authority and He just did! How amazing! He did so without talking about anything! He just wielded it!
The position of the SSPX is illogical. They are faithful to the pope and the Magisterium, meaning they believe the popes since the Second Vatican Council are true popes, and the Council was a valid Council. Yet, they are not faithful to the Novus Ordo Mass, which the Council declared to be the only valid Mass (until Benedict). They are in effect, Protestants, who want to pick and choose what they like while reject what they don’t like.
It is also true that Bernard Fallay is hated among a lot of the SSPX’er’s and claim he wants to sell out to the Vatican, while many of the priests left the SSPX because of this.
Now, we have a pope who singles out the SSPX and only in the area of “penance” and for one year.
Another bone thrown at the SSPX to get it to finally step into line and stop being a thorn in the side of the Modernist church?
…the council did not declare that the Novus Ordo Missae was the only valid mass. And Pope Benedict didn’t re-validate the TLM, rather he let it be known that the TLM was never abrogated – that is it was never forbidden. Unlike folks were led to believe, something evidenced by your erroneous assumption about VII declaring anything about the Novus Ordo Missae.
What is illogical, lwhite, is to assert something to be illogical that one doesn’t understand.
Unfortunately there are news agencies out there that purport to be Catholic, and a fighting arm of the Catholic Church, and a place to go to be truly ‘educated’, that only propagate confusion due to a misapplication of canon law, ignorance of it, withholding of the fullness of truth, spinning people’s words to mean something different than what they mean, and in some cases, editing out the actual words of trusted orthodox bishops to skew the message of play fair.
Which Mass is the only one available in the majority of Catholic churches?
If the reality is that the Novus Ordo Missae is the only one available, does it matter that the Council did not declare it to be the only valid Mass?
Consider the fact that its impossible to confer the TLM in the overwhelming majority of churches because they have been renovated to accommodate the Novus Ordo Missae and there is the problem. These renovations clearly indicate that the bishops believed only the Novus Ordo Missae was to be conferred.
It doesn’t really matter what the Council declared if no one follows it, does it?
Lwhite, you’re all over the map here. In all instances, yes, it does matter. It is not okay to just continue down a road of misinformation just because. Especially when dealing with the Deposit of the Faith and the salvation of souls.
This just in on 9/2, late in the day, over at another militant apostolate:
“So why hasn’t the Church used the word “schism” very often to define the situation of the SSPX? It’s most likely the same reason Protestants aren’t called heretics, Orthodox aren’t called schismatics, and non-Christians aren’t called infidels: ecumenism.If you compare the approach taken by Rome towards Protestants and the like versus the SSPX, they are one and the same. We here at ChurchMilitant.com seek to aid in bringing the SSPX where they belong: in full communion with the Catholic Church under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff — the Bishop of Rome — the Pope….The SSPX are in schism. ”
A truly stunning display of hubris. There are no words to react to these words. Well, maybe a few.
You cannot reason with this kind of auth-enthroned magisterial superciliousness. They have literally crowned themselves with pseudo-authority. They are stuck in their own Vortex.
Wouldn’t a Pope who grants faculties to schismatic groups automatically be a heretic? Stupefying super-silliness!
The best part though is the qualifying bit of “most likely”. This means that they *know* their reasoning is based on conjecture but yet they persist in making pronouncements.
They need to do what yet another blog has done, with all gracious gentlemanliness:
“But one thing is clear: after yesterday’s announcement, there is no way I can consider the SSPX to currently be in schism…The reason is simple: the Pontiff cannot give faculties to a group truly in schism. If they were in schism, reconciliation would have to happen first. ”
What a courageous, kind, and humble way to put it.
I would encourage anyone reading this to reconsider your financial support of certain stubborn apostolates until they have desisted from what now amounts to as slander, but has through all of this clearly amounted to hubris.
For what it’s worth, I’m now among the legions of blocked commenters at Church Militant, despite the fact that I do so very rarely:
I was following some of your comments over there and couldn’t figure out if you had divined the right tone to avoid being censured. I can relax now, knowing you did not.
I was wondering the same thing myself ;^)
Welcome, Steve! And thank you again for providing a forum for adult conversation about the Church Militant. That is all of us Catholics fighting for the Faith, not just those with the rubber stamp on all of our paypah’s pleeze.
A small insight/correction:
The 1983 Code does make abortion no longer a reserved sin, but it was never reserved to the Holy See, even before 1983. It was reserved to the local Ordinary.
The 1983 Code removes the reservation, but adds the provision that only a bishop can in an ordinary case remove automatic (latæ sententiæ) excommunications. Most bishops, at least in the U.S. have granted permission to absolve to their priests. Technically, though, unless this has happened, the priest needs to go to the bishop to get permission.
Thus, Pope Francis’ move does make some sense. For the “Year of Mercy” he is suspending the part in Canon Law requiring a bishop to remove such excommunications, and giving it straight to priests (which in many places already had it thanks to their bishop).
As regards the SSPX, it clearly doesn’t address the whole “supplied jurisdiction” arguments, but it does seem to do one very important thing. In a year’s time, it will be very difficult to not get egg on his face if this permission is not extended. That will look distinctly like a punishment, that is un-merciful.
That means, at least in my small mind, that perhaps Francis intends to unilaterally establish some kind of canonical structure. Bishop Schneider certainly thinks that is the solution from his recent interview.
It seems that nobody can decide on what it grants and doesn’t. See canonist Ben Nguyen’s analysis of the letter, cited here:
I also don’t particularly think Francis cares what others think of what he’s doing. I’m currently reading Ed Pentin’s book about last year’s Synod, and it’s appalling. But those in charge of the Synods have pointed to Francis as the architect. Still, people don’t want to believe it.
He’s virtually untouchable.
More SSPX nonsense, this time from the Vatican: one second before the appointed hour SSPX clergy have not the power to absolve sins, upon the stroke of the clock, they have such power. Move on twelve months and the position reversed. Rubbish. The power to confect the Sacrament and Absolve Sins are endowed upon the priest at the time of Ordination. Such powers cannot be deprived by the Local Ordinary, merely the facility to formally operate in the particular diocese. Local Ordinaries have used and abuses Canon Law to suit their own ends and proclivities – including the persecution of diocesan clergy preaching orthodox Catholicism. In the present climate, Local Ordinaries must be approached with caution.