Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are "The Five Conditions" necessary and reasonable?

By Brian Kopp

There is much debate going on inside and outside SSPX circles over "The Five Conditions."

One may ask whether these conditions are "insulting" to the SSPX leadership, as some SSPX supporters insist that the SSPX already adheres to "The Five Conditions."

By and large, this seems to be true of Bishop Fellay, though he recently slipped a bit in this regard:
Bishop Fellay: Pope Benedict is a "perfectly liberal Pope"
Given his record of otherwise prudent and measured statements regarding Pope Benedict XVI, this gaff of Bishop Fellay could easily be overlooked, and likely did not precipitate "The Five Conditions."

On the other hand, an argument could be made that Rome is asking Bishop Fellay to rein in other SSPX leaders.

Maybe a little review is in order to ascertain why such a request might have been necessary. These two entries may serve to illustrate Rome's concern:
Excomm’d SSPX Bp. Williamson on Good Friday prayer: good points but calls Benedict XVI anti-semitic

Williamson: "...modern minds are very sick ...and Benedict XVI has a modern mind..."
Here are several interviews, each of which contain troubling assertions:
An Exclusive Interview with Bishop Richard Williamson

An Interview With His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson

SSPX, The Church & The World: 2008 and Beyond
Finally, a review of Bishop Williamson's own blog entries may be in order. Here's a typical excerpt:
Such is surely the case with many – not all – modernist churchmen, and I would include Pope Benedict XVI amongst them. So he can be objectively insane from the standpoint of the Catholic Faith, and yet subjectively in a kind of good faith. What does this “good faith” matter if he is objectively way off the mark? What matters is that he thinks he is normal and in the truth, so he behaves as though he is, and so he persuades many Catholics that he is. Here is why this crisis of the Church is so terrible – so many cardinals, bishops and priests cannot believe that they or their Pope are in any way off the mark.

Conclusion? – I need not believe that they are not at all cardinals or bishops or Pope, because when virtually everybody is insane, they are that much less necessarily aware that they are not sane. So I can treat the Pope with all the charity and respect due to his exalted position, and I can rejoice in all the objective good that he does, for instance in the recent “Motu Proprio,” but I will do nothing, but nothing, to associate with his insane Conciliar belief-system until it is clear as clear can be that he repudiates both Vatican II and his subjectivism.
Taken as a whole, one could easily understand Rome's concerns. When the public reads "The Five Conditions," and realizes how reasonable they are in view of the links above, pressure will increase dramatically on Bishop Fellay to make this first simple act of submission.

The five conditions could only be seen as harmful by the most schismatic branch of the SSPX, a branch Bishop Fellay might need to trim if he is to hope the SSPX will have any future in the business of saving souls.


Patrick Archbold said...

I argued for some time that the SSPX needs to separate themselves from Bp. Williamson and his friends in tin foil hats.

The question is are they willing to let the radicals go there own way or is internal unity more important than unity with the church?

We shall see.

Anonymous said...

I might have a different idea of just who is insane...

Anonymous said...

On this analysis here and that of Fr. Zuhlsdorf, there needs to be one clarification. Here is the fifth point:

"A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be *a* [emphasis added] required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion."

Note the indefinite article which I have emphasised. Our present commentators' points are mostly good, but I urge people to re-consider what this letter is. It is a first step. The Pope is not saying, as Fr. Zuhlsdorf wrongly assumes over on his site, that the Society need only accept these five points in order to achieve regularistion. Not a chance.

No, acceptance of these five points will lead to the next step in the process, not the last one. I predict that it will lead to a withdrawal of the declarations of excommunication. It's a good step forward.

Rome will not regularise the Society until the Society formally accepts the documents of Vatican II as interpreted in the light of tradition. The sticking point (at least today) is what is meant by this tradition. The Society holds (as I do) that it is something which cannot change in the act of transmission. Divine truth does not evolve because God, being perfect, cannot change. Therefore, a teaching from the past must be interpreted in the sense in which it was originally understood.

This is not the post-conciliarists' notion of tradition at all. However, it is not absolutely necessary that the two parties agree on this. Rome could grant that the Society's undertanding of tradition as a hermeneutical tool is not heretical or forbidden, even if Rome is not prepared to grant that is must be correct. But I'm not sure that the Society will accept even that.

Anyway, let us pray that the Society does accept this first step, so that Rome can, with hope, declare a withdrawal of the declarations of penalty. A fortiori, I pray that, at the same time, Rome will deliver an authoritative declaration (one coming from the body which has the competence in the matter, which is definitely not the P.C.E.D.) that the Society Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation. That would be a major boon.

Peter Karl T. Perkins
Victoria, B.C.,
Dominion of Canada

Dan Hunter said...

Mr Perkins,
I am unable to log on to Father Zuhlsdorfs blog WDTPRS.
I have no idea why.
Could you possibly send me his comments on the five conditions?
I thank you so much in advance.
my e-mail danphunter1@aol.com

God bless