Monday, June 30, 2008

Malfeasance, abuse, victimhood - and the rocky relations between Rome and the SSPX

By Brian Kopp

"And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God."
-- James 1: 19-20


When the priestly sexual abuse crisis broke in 2002, one of the underreported aspects of the story was the way the Church had persecuted and silenced those who came forward with reports of abuse. In the 1960's, 1970's, and even into the 1980's, the local diocese would often counter sue the parents of the victim to intimidate them into silence. Even in those cases in which the victim reached an out of court settlement, there was always a gag order. Victims could never discuss their cases in public, so abusers went unnoticed and undisciplined. Those who coddled and shuffled the abusers did so with impunity and rarely if ever paid a price for their collusion in the abuse.

I first met a victim of priestly abuse in a mental institution. The individual had attempted suicide after a motor vehicle accident resulted in a repeat DUI charge, and he was facing jail time. He had led a self-destructive lifestyle of alcohol and drug abuse and homosexuality. Decades later, as his life fell apart following the DUI, he finally told his mother about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of a visiting priest in the parish church, and later at the priest's home.

She was put in touch with me via a mutual friend, and I talked extensively with her and her son about his case and his life before and after the abuse. He had been a normal teenager and altar boy prior to the multiple episodes of abuse. He had had a steady girlfriend. His mother could never understand why he changed so much in his mid teens. The priest had plied him with drugs and alcohol prior to abusing him. He never recovered from those repeated episodes of abuse. Looking into his eyes and hearing his story was horrifying. He had no reason to make it up, nothing to gain. He told a matter-of-fact tale of abuse and subsequent debauchery, and his eyes were cold and empty. He was broken and without faith.

I sat with his mother through a meeting with the local leaders involved. They seemed incredibly kind, generous, and eminently pastoral during that meeting. Over the coming months and years, his mother told me they failed to keep their word on any of the promises they had made in that meeting. It was all turned over to the lawyers and the insurance companies, it eventually went to court, and all pretenses of being "pastoral" went out the window.


In all the recent discussions about the SSPX and negotiations with Rome, there has been a truly frightening level of vitriol from both SSPX critics and SSPX supporters. The former can be found in the posts and comment boxes of Catholic forums, blogs and websites all over the internet. The latter is limited to a small handful of outlets, most notably Angelqueen.

It is hard to understand the level of anger and outright hatred expressed towards the leaders and supporters of the SSPX -- unless one spends a fair amount of time reading the more extreme rantings of some of the leaders and supporters of the SSPX. It is also hard for any Catholics on the outside of the debate to understand the level of anger and outright hatred expressed by some of the leaders and supporters of the SSPX towards Rome -- unless one comes to grasp the fact that most SSPX defenders have been liturgically and spiritually molested by the post-conciliar Church itself, and told to shut up about it, for forty years now.

AngelQueen forum itself began as a refuge for members of a conservative political forum,, who had been banned or censored for unapologetically expressing orthodox and/or traditional Catholic views. (I was one of the "founding members" of Angelqueen and served a long time as a moderator, and have always been a prolific contributor.) Though its founder is an attendee at an SSPX chapel, Angelqueen was not then and is not now an "SSPX forum," though that has become the majority viewpoint.

One of the most anti-Catholic, vitriolic, and hateful posters on the FreeRepublic forum went by the screen name "Chancellor Palpatine." His level of invective was simply inexplicable. No Catholic discussion on FreeRepublic was left unmolested by his poisoned keyboard. Eventually someone figured out that he was a plaintiff in a priestly molestation case down south. Afterwards, it was easy to understand the source of his rage. But an explanation is not an excuse; I often pointed out to him that being a victim did not confer upon him the right to verbally victimize others.

Victims of abuse often get over the abuse and get on with relatively normal, productive lives. They also, quite often, become bitter, angry and even hate-filled over the injustices done to them. Victims are quite often very unpleasant individuals to deal with on a personal basis. They can be terminally narcissistic, and they often turn their status as a victim into a cudgel with which to attack anyone perceived in any way to be associated with their abuser.

I count many friends among the members of AngelQueen, and I truly admire the contributions the SSPX has made to restoring traditional Catholicism. But after Bishop Fellay mischaracterized this Pope as a "perfect liberal" I knew I had to dissociate myself from their forum. The victim mentality, and the anger and vitriol that goes with it, runs rampant. Even John Grasmeier, the owner, has been posting cynical and sarcastic editorials that go way beyond the pale; abuse seems to be one of those gifts that keep on giving.


Many of the decent Catholics who have sought sanity, safety and refuge within the SSPX did so because of the sheer lunacy, and often heresy and apostacy, that accompanied the reforms enacted in the name of Vatican II. They were victims of the liturgical abuse that universally accompanied the reforms. They were victims of a new theology so far removed from everything they knew and loved as to be seen as a "new religion" altogether. And they were spiritual victims of the same priests whose personal lives were so intrinsically disordered they could not possibly pass on the Catholic Faith whole and intact. For every altar boy that a homosexual priest molested, entire parishes were robbed of Catholic orthodoxy and orthopraxis. For every bishop who looked the other way, entire dioceses went astray.

The Church has yet to deal justly with those within the hierarchy who coddled the homosexual molesters and advanced their careers, let alone address the true homosexual nature of the abuse crisis. The Church has yet to admit the wholesale and almost universal victimization of the entire laity in the post-Vatican II era. The Faith was diluted and orthodox theology was eclipsed. The liturgy was gutted, and the people left bereft of the consolation and succor that came from traditional pious practices.

If those within the SSPX do not trust Rome to fix the problems, they are not wholly to blame, and they do not deserve much of the scorn heaped upon them of late. If they are still angry, it is often just anger. The Church has not apologized to the millions of scandalized Catholics. The scandal was not due to "pedophilia," it was due to the widespread malfeasance of its religious, priests, and hierarchy.

Just Anger

There is such a thing as just anger. Victims rightfully experience just anger, and search for justice. Abuse victims were denied justice and therefore sought it in lawsuits. The SSPX is searching for justice and restoration of that which was lost and/or stolen from the Church, and use the court of public opinion to plead their case.

Those who have been scandalized and/or victimized must constantly reflect on their motives. Only the Saints' motives were pure. Even the SSPX can harbor mixed motives.

We all must recall James 1: 19-20:

"And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God."
-- James 1: 19-20

The time for words of anger, even just anger, are past. The acts of Archbishop Lefebvre, up till the consecrations of 1988, were those of a just man attempting against all odds to preserve traditional Catholicism. The final arbitration of what happened in 1988 is still to be seen; it could be resolved overnight with the stroke of a pen.

But the anger -- just anger -- is going to have to be put away now, so that the greatest number of souls can be saved. The culture of victimhood must be rooted out. The Pope does need the SSPX, and the SSPX must realize now that they are nothing without the universal Church. The Church will move forward in its role of saving souls with or without the SSPX. If one must choose between allegiance to Pope Benedict XVI and allegiance to the bishops of the SSPX, there can be only one choice. It is no more "papaolatry" to muster behind this embattled Pope than it is Fallay-olotry or Williamson-olotry to support SSPX bishops.

The Church does not subsist in the SSPX, and the SSPX bishops do not now and will never have the charisms of the Papacy. This is not 1975, nor is it 1988. This is 2008, and this Pope has done what no "perfectly liberal" bishop would ever do: he has freed the Traditional Latin Mass and admitted it was never abrogated. This Pope of 2008 is not the theology student of the 1950's, nor the Fr. Ratzinger of VII, nor even the Cardinal Ratzinger of Pope John Paul II's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He loved Pope John Paul II, but he is not beholden to nor petrified by the false sense of collegiality that marked his predecessor's pontificate. He is truly a courageous man who is trying to restore the Faith, and in the process (in my opinion) do reparation for the spiritual malfeasance of the post-conciliar era. He is a man of the VII council, so he will never pose the issue in those terms, but his actions belie that he sees the shipwreck that 40 years of experimentation caused.

The post-Summorum Ponstificum age

Twenty years is long enough. Yes, the SSPX leaders, priests, and supporters have suffered. Yes, they've been victimized. Yes, their anger was often just anger.

But the time for that is over:

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child."1 Corinthians 13:11

The SSPX is no longer the child of the 1970's or the 1980's; the Church of 2008 is not the Church of the VII Council. The post-conciliar age is past. We are living in the post-Summorum Pontificum era.

Trust in the Lord. Be at Peace. Just as the abuse crisis, in the Time and Providence of God, could no longer be kept quiet, the issues that the SSPX rightfully raises can and will no longer be kept quiet. Summorum Pontificum guaranteed that as nothing else has, including even the valiant efforts of the SSPX itself.

This is God's Church, not ours. God is in control. Trust him, and come back into full communion with His Church.


By Patrick Archbold

For the record from Father John Zuhlsdorf:
Before reading this, I am getting it second hand and also I have no way to get separate confirmation. So, we have to take this for what it is worth. It’s up to you.

Here is one sentence of the three sentence message I edited it to fix the English:

I´m back from Econe. I spoke with some people. Rome has accepted a response and wrote back positively. All is going well … this was said by Castrillon.

Remember that Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei gave Five Conditions to Bp. Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX.

Read the rest >>>>

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's Not Over 'Til It's Over

By Patrick Archbold

From Rorate:
The Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, granted today an interview to Gino Driussi, of RTSI (the Italian-language Swiss public radio), providing some very enlightening answers:

[17:45][Fellay:] Perhaps it is false to say, in such a way, directly, that I reject, that I propose a total rejection [of the conditions], that is not true. Rather, I see in this ultimatum a very vague, confused thing. But, in fact, I have already written a response and we will see how Rome will react.
[18:53] [Fellay:] For me, this ultimatum has no sense, because we have relations with Rome which go forward in a certain speed, which is truly slow. And it is true, on the other hand, that both the Cardinal [Castrillón Hoyos] and the Holy Father would wish for a rather accelerated speed. For me, the only meaning of this ultimatum is the expression of this desire of Rome to give it a little bit of hastiness. Therefore, for me, it is not a reconsideration of all our relations.

[Interviewer:] "Then, you expect to continue in the dialogue, thus?"

[Fellay:] Yes, yes, it is possible that there will now be a time of more, of coolness, but, frankly, for me, it is not over, no.

Sic Semper Insanus?

By Patrick Archbold

From Rorate:
"The Fraternity has no intention to respond to this ultimatum," Father Alain Lorans, spokesman of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, declared to the AFP by telephone from Ecône (Switzerland).

"We do not foresee any practical or canonical agreement before having considered the doctrinal questions which came about after Vatican II," [...].

"Bishop Bernard Fellay [Superior General of the Fraternity] is surprised with the existing gap between the procedure of the ultimatum and the content of this ultimatum, which remains very uncertain," Father Lorans added.

According to Father Lorans, the Superior General of the Fraternity, Bishop Fellay, wrote a letter to Vatican authorities on Thursday.
Apparently a letter written to the Vatican in the wake of the request of the Holy See does not count as a response.

Sic semper insanus?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Another SSPX bishop undermines efforts at rapproachment

By Brian Kopp

Rorate Caeli has an excerpt of a sermon by Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), for the ceremony of ordinations which took place this morning in Ecône:
Galarreta: "We will not follow it"; Let us "follow the steps"

The ultimatum of the Cardinal: to call this an "ultimatum" is to say too much. It is, for us, a desire to alarm us, to build pressure for a purely practical agreement. This way which they wish to impose upon us is a dead way and we will not follow it. We cannot commit [engager] to betray the profession of Faith nor to let ourselves be signed up for a demolition venture.

Our response to the Holy Father is thus to follow the steps with the known prerequisites and a doctrinal discussion. This will produce this answer: either a pause or a stagnation in our contacts with Rome, or a new condemnation - and we ask ourselves what -, or a withdrawal of the excommunications.
Is this kind of insubordination indicative of the SSPX culture in general? Are traditional Catholics within the SSPX willing to accept this wholesale and continued undermining of the Superior General's prerogative in regard to answering "The Five Conditions"?

Williamson: Rejoice at Formal Schism

By Patrick Archbold

Bishop Richard Williamson has persistently been the most hard line of the leadership of the SSPX. Over the past days there has been much talk about the pre-conditions set by Rome for some sort of gesture toward the SSPX seeking to heal rift between them and the Church.

Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, has cast doubts about whether the SSPX will respond positively to the five conditions in some remarks made last week in a speech.

Bishop Fellay's comments are reasonable and temperate compared to Bishop Richard Williamson. It is difficult to impossible to know the internal politics of the SSPX being played out in public, but Bishop Williamson seems absolutely determined to insure that the SSPX does not respond positively to the request on Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Brian Kopp, writing here explores some of the political possibilities of what may be happening behind the scenes at the SSPX. One thing is for certain, however, Williamson is determined to derail the entire process.

Bishop Williamson, writing on his blog, not only throws cold water on the prospects of reunification but relishes the idea of being declared in open schism, calling it a cause for celebration.
However, when in the next few days the Society makes no gesture towards Rome sufficient for Rome's purpose of dissolving the resistance of Catholic Tradition, I am for my part not at all sure that Rome will really go ahead with any declaration of formal schism. Maybe after eight, or 20, or 38 years of the Society's resistance they really are losing patience, but does not all past experience tell them that each time they use the stick, it stiffens rather than dissolves that resistance?

And if they did go ahead with such a declaration [of schism], Catholics should rejoice, because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity ! Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops' "excommunication". Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ? Not that any of us would rejoice in Rome's self-abasement.
It is time for Bishop Fellay to put an end to such talk by one the leaders of the SSPX. If there is ever to be any hope of reconciliation Williamson should be formally censured or expelled from the SSPX. Being declared in formal schism is a cause for joy for this man, a badge of honor.

Further the priests of the society, if this offer is rejected, should seek reconciliation with Rome on an individual basis for if you don't, you are now allied with a group that openly relishes the idea of schism. Nothing remotely catholic about that.

This goes double for the faithful. The Church has its problems, no doubt, but if you stay allied with the SSPX at this point, you are most certainly part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Bishop Fellay, please do the right thing and say yes to the Pope and no to Williamson. Souls depend on it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are "The Five Conditions" necessary? Part 2

By Brian Kopp

With his most recent blog entry, Bishop Williamson confirms yet again the Vatican's wisdom in extending "The Five Conditions" as a precursor to the lifting of the SSPX excommunications and further efforts at rapproachment.

It used to be that one could at least ignore the insane rantings of the sedevacantists when they wove conspiracy theories, but now one has to seriously wonder about charges they have made in the past regarding conflicts between SSPX bishops. (Please, continue to ignore their other insane rantings!)

Which leads to some troubling possibilities. Either

1) Bishop Fellay is playing "good cop" to Bishop Williamson's "bad cop," and this is simply a disingenuous two part act on the part of these SSPX bishops, or
2) Bishop Williamson is a loose cannon over whom Bishop Fellay has no control, or
3) Bishop Williamson is actively trying to undermine Bishop Fellay's efforts.

In any case, how then is the behavior of these bishops any different than that of the cast of characters our Holy Father must deal with every day, and which side is "untrustworthy" in these proceedings?

Its one thing to claim "Rome" is not to be trusted due to their history of treatment of traditional Catholics, especially Archbishop Lefebvre et al. Its another thing altogether for one SSPX bishop to so publicly undermine the Superior General of the SSPX at such a delicate time in the Church.

Williamson Comments on Reunification

By Patrick Archbold

The sad comments of someone bent on schism.

Reprinted from Williamson's Blog
Rumors abound once more: before the end of June, in other words in a few days' time, either the Society of St. Pius X will begin to give way to Rome's demands to conform to Vatican II and the New Mass, or Rome will declare to Church and world that the Society and its followers are in formal schism and out of the Church.

As to rumors of the Society taking any action that would imperil the defense of the Faith, I think they are to be wholly discounted. On May 5 of 1988 in particular, Archbishop Lefebvre went as far as the Faith would allow him, and even a little bit further, to come to terms with the Church authorities, but their terms finally persuaded him that they could no longer be trusted to look after the Church's immutable Tradition, which is why he went ahead with the episcopal consecrations of 20 years ago.

Similarly, ever since the Society's Jubilee Pilgrimage to Rome in 2000, the Society has gone as far as it could to correspond to the goodwill gestures of Cardinal Castrillon, and even a little bit further, but in eight years it has never given to the Cardinal that abandonment of the Society's stand on Tradition that he wanted. On the contrary, the latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors of the Society's Superior General reiterated firmly that stand, which is surely where the rumors come from of the Cardinal losing patience with his eight years of carrot, and turning once more to the stick.

Catholics should in no way be frightened by any threat of being declared formally, i.e. properly and officially, in schism, or out of the Church. Proper Catholic officialdom would judge, like Our Lord tells us to judge (Jn. VII,24), by reality and not by appearances. The reality is obvious: it is the Conciliar "Renovation" and not Catholic Tradition that has broken with the Catholic Church.

However, when in the next few days the Society makes no gesture towards Rome sufficient for Rome's purpose of dissolving the resistance of Catholic Tradition, I am for my part not at all sure that Rome will really go ahead with any declaration of formal schism. Maybe after eight, or 20, or 38 years of the Society's resistance they really are losing patience, but does not all past experience tell them that each time they use the stick, it stiffens rather than dissolves that resistance?

And if they did go ahead with such a declaration, Catholics should rejoice, because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity ! Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops' "excommunication". Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ? Not that any of us would rejoice in Rome's self-abasement... Kyrie eleison.

Munich, Germany
Posted by Bishop Richard Williamson

Scousers Rejoice!

By Patrick Archbold

From the Catholic Herald: Liverpool Diocese to create first parish for traditional Mass.
Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool is preparing to create Britain's first parish dedicated to celebrations of the traditional Latin Mass.

The archbishop is planning to revive an ailing parish in Liverpool's inner city by turning it into a centre for traditionalists.

He is following the example set by the Diocese of Rome, which set up a parish dedicated exclusively to Mass in the extraordinary form earlier this year.

The Church of St Vincent de Paul, St James Street, Toxteth, will become a traditionalist parish as early as September if the plans are approved by the archdiocese.

Read the rest >>>>

As deadline looms, still no surprises...

By Brian Kopp

Rorate Caeli has an unsurprising excerpt posted:
Williamson: "Our answer will be negative"
"I appreciated the tone of the letter of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, but I frankly believe that nothing will be done and that our answer will be negative."
There's lots of conjecture going on about who might have leaked "The Five Conditions."

Regardless of who leaked them, Bishop Williamson's making this public statement, prior to Bishop Fellay making a formal response as leader of the SSPX, is truly reprehensible.

If you have not yet done so, please read and heed these posts at WDTPRS and TNLM:
Urgent Appeal for Prayers

Reuters: A Day Early And A Dollar Short

By Patrick Archbold

Reuters screams "Catholic rebel snubs pope call to rejoin Rome." This may eventually be true, but I don't think you could accurately say that as of this date.
PARIS (Reuters) - The leader of a breakaway traditionalist Catholic group has rejected a Vatican offer to rejoin Rome, accusing Pope Benedict of trying to silence dissenting voices.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that broke with Rome 20 years ago, said conditions set by the Vatican amounted to muzzling the traditionalists who claim to be the only true Catholics since Church reforms in the 1960s.

Keen to end this schism, Benedict agreed last year to their demand to restore the old Latin Mass. But he insists they must accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) before he can lift excommunication decrees against them.

"Rome is telling us, okay, we are ready to lift the excommunications, but you cannot continue this way," Fellay said in a sermon last Friday now posted as an audio file on the U.S.-based Voice of Catholic Radio website.

"So we have no choice... we are continuing what we've done," the Swiss-born Fellay said in English at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. "They just say 'shut up' ... we are not going ... to shut up."
They base the "snubbing" on Fellay's speech of last week where he said "So, we have no choice, we are not going this way, we are continuing what we have done, we have fought now for forty years to keep this faith alive...That's what we continue to say today." While this is certainly not helpful and obviously not a good sign, I do not think that it constitutes the definitive rejection of the offer of the Holy See. Further, we have no real idea what is contingent to the signing of the letter sent to Fellay.

I hope that since this letter was not public knowledge at the time, Fellay might have just been playing to his base preparing them. So that even if he is to accept the offer of the Vatican, they would know that he will still work to address their concerns, if not as publicly and vocally. But Fellay should know that those concerns are better addressed when seated at the table and not on the outside looking in. Like I said, hopefully. We shall see soon enough.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Five Conditions For Fellay?

By Patrick Archbold

Andrea Tornielli writes on his blog that the conditions spelled out are not intended for the entire leadership of the SSPX, but for Fellay only. [Translation Rorate Caeli]
those conditions are not proposed to the Lefebvrists in general, but actually to their Superior, that is, Fellay himself. Who, in the discussions, displays a will to dialogue, but afterwards writes and undersigns very harsh attacks against the Pope. The five conditions are thus a prior step before reaching the cancellation of the excommunication
If true, the Vatican is looking to have a real negotiating partner. Not someone who will say the right things to the Holy See in private and then throws bombs to placate the wacko Williamson wing of the SSPX.

Rorate also reports on a hopeful (if extremely speculative) sign that perhaps Fellay will sign on.
Paolo Luigi Rodari on calls to the headquarters of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX):

A very small indication regarding the fact that, probably, the Lefebvrists [sic] will accept the conditions proposed by the Holy See (or that they are at least seriously thinking about them) came to me by way of a phone call I made yesterday to Ecône, headquarters of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X. As in other occasions in the past, I asked to speak with Bishop Fellay, the Superior of the Fraternity. In the past, particularly when he wished to respond that there was no news regarding their re-entry in the Church, he answered me quickly. Yesterday, instead, he made it known that there was nothing to say. Perhaps because he is seriously thinking about accepting the Vatican conditions but does wish to say so?
Fellay is in a tough spot. Does he do the right thing and risk internal division in the SSPX or does he cater to the hardliners? Prayers, more than ever, are certainly in order. Bishop Fellay needs all the grace he can get.

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.

The Five Conditions: Act Like Grown-ups

By Patrick Archbold

Andrea Tornielli reports on the five conditions set forth for the SSPX to return to full communion. Translation by Fr. Z.
I have gotten hold of the letter (written in French) which Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos wrote with the five conditions sent to [Bp.] Fellay in view of a return to full communion with Rome. Contrary to the first leaks, there is no mention of acceptance of the Council or the new Mass: they are prior general conditions. In fact the Holy See, showing a great generosity, asks that they not attack the person of the Pope. [Bp.] Fellay asked Benedict XVI for the revocation of the excommunication, so the request to respect authority without first pretending to be the recipients of a a "superior" Magisterium to that of the reigning Pontiff seems to me to be a commonsensical condition! This is the text of the letter which bears the signature of the Cardinal President of Ecclesia Dei:

Conditions resulting from the 4 june 2008 meeting between Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Bernard Fellay:

1. A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.
2. A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.
3. A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.
4. A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
5. A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.
Noticeably absent is any repudiation of the concerns of the SSPX. The articles are only requesting that the leadership of the SSPX act like grown-ups. If they cannot to commit to this reasonable behavior, then they really show their true colors. They would do well to remember 1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, [1] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [2] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The Hope Was Nice While It Lasted

By Patrick Archbold

Well, it didn't take long for our hopes of reconciliation to be dashed. Rorate Caeli has excerpts from a speech given by Bishop Bernard Fellay last week. some excerpts.
And now, we are, should we say, something like at a crossroads. And in a certain way, Rome is telling us, 'OK, we are ready to lift up the excommunication, but you cannot continue this way"

So, we have no choice, we are not going this way, we are continuing what we have done, we have fought now for forty years to keep this faith alive. To keep this Tradition not only for ourselves, but for the Church. And we are just going to continue, happens what happens. Everything is in God's hands. If God wants this proof, this trial to continue, it may continue. He will give us the grace we need for it. No fear, we'll wait for better times. That's what the Archbishop said twenty years ago. That's what we continue to say today.
Additionally Rorate relays some additional info on the mood of the SSPX from Father Adam Portugal of the SSPX and some dinner conversation he had with BIshop Fellay.
At any rate, Rome apparently has set an ultimatum, it's what he said, for the end of this month of June, it's what he said. He does not know what that means, what the ultimatum means, what will happen, but that was what he said, and, basically, and he mentioned at the dinner, it was not in the sermon, he brought it up in the dinner, that the, uh, the points...[sic] He got a fax from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in French stating some four or five points, basically of what Rome expects from the Society of Saint Pius X. Basically, of course, you know, sign, sign up [...], right? But basically it's 'be quiet'. 'Fine, you can say the Latin Mass, fine you'll be recognized'...
At any rate, so, Rome has made this known, public, His Excellency made it a public concern to everyone at Wino...[sic], at the ordinations, so. But, to reassure the faithful, that's all, to simply reassure the faithful that we carry on, and if Rome wants to punish us for that, well, hey, I'm sorry, what is our crime? For a punishment, there must be a crime.
Well, the Holy See tried.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is the Catholic Church sliding towards civil war?

By Brian Kopp

Damian Thompson raises an interesting question over at

Is the Catholic Church sliding towards civil war?

"While Church of England bishops recoil from the prospect of gay ‘weddings’ with no precedent in Christian history, their Catholic counterparts are wringing their hands at the growing popularity of services that are too traditional for their tastes.

On Saturday 14 June Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, one of the most senior figures in the Roman Curia and an ally of the Holy Father, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral. The bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, did not attend; nor did any of his four auxiliary bishops. Pope Benedict is rumoured to be furious at this display of bad manners.

What can explain such a breach of protocol? The answer lies in the content and style of the liturgy being celebrated. Cardinal Castrillón processed into the cathedral wearing the cappa magna, a scarlet cape with a 20ft train of watered silk. It is many years since this vestment has been seen in the cathedral — for, although it was never abolished, it is associated with the Tridentine Mass, the ancient Latin rite in which the celebrant faces east, reciting its main prayer in a voice so low that the church falls silent. And that was the Mass that His Eminence celebrated on 14 June, becoming the first cardinal to do so in Westminster Cathedral for 40 years.

Last summer — to the horror of the liberal English bishops — Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, that granted universal permission for the old Mass, which had been effectively banned from normal parish life after the Second Vatican Council. England’s Latin Mass Society seized its chance. It invited Cardinal Castrillón, head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which is responsible for the old liturgy worldwide, to celebrate the society’s annual traditional Mass at Westminster Cathedral, normally a low-key affair regarded with amused condescension by diocesan liberals.

He accepted, leaving liberal bishops with only one course of action: pleading pressing engagements elsewhere. Hence the absence of Westminster bishops at the Pontifical Mass, though diocesan spies were spotted craning their necks to see if any local clergy had sneaked in (thereby scuppering their chances of promotion). Walking down the nave, I was greeted by a young priest sitting at the back dressed as a layman. ‘I can’t really afford to be seen here, but I couldn’t resist,’ he whispered.

Many Mass-goers are unaware of the fact, but the Catholic Church in England and Wales is sliding towards civil war. A mixture of anticipation and panic is in the air. For worshippers used to the low-calorie ceremonial of Westminster Cathedral, the sight of a curial cardinal presiding over the cruelly complex rubrics of the old Missal must have been thrilling or distasteful, depending on their point of view.

But the evidence of traditionalist revival is not confined to church services: it is scattered over Facebook, of all places, where there are dozens of groups pressing for the return of the ancient liturgy or mocking the caterwauling pseudo folk music favoured by trendy clergy. The internet allows traditionalists in different countries to burst out of the ghetto to which they had been banished by ‘the spirit of Vatican II’. Conservatives hunt down video clips of ‘Sandalistas’ performing arthritic liturgical dances and upload them to YouTube, where they become comic classics. Bloggers share photographs of Corpus Christi processions, and publish private letters in which ‘progressive’ bishops reveal the depth of their hostility to Pope Benedict’s liturgical reforms. These blogs are widely read in the Vatican, where the andante tempo of the day leaves plenty of time for internet surfing..."

Damian does a good job of painting the conflict in terms of the Church Militant:

"In the words of one visitor to a traditionalist website, ‘This situation is comparable to the chief of staff of the army coming down to the 101st Airborne Division as the guest of honour at a division-level parade, and the division commander — and his brigade commanders — does not show up for the parade. Instead, he sends a terse welcoming note to be read by a battalion commander.’

The use of military imagery is significant. In many parts of the world, the response of liberal bishops to the Pope’s plans to revive the traditional Mass has verged on the mutinous. And the sense of impending conflict is particularly strong in England and Wales, which is unique among Western Churches in that not one of its 33 serving bishops is identified with the Benedictine reforms. Indeed, until the last conclave, ‘Ratzinger’ was a swear word in the left-wing circles from which the bishops have been chosen."

But the upcoming war doesn't end at the frontiers of England and Wales. Pope Benedict XVI just fired a volley over the heads of "public sinners" everywhere, especially of the political stripe, with obvious implications for the application of Canon 915 here in America. As the BBC reports (with typical MSM spin -- the Pope has not specifically addressed Berlusconi's situation):

Pope denies Berlusconi communion

"Newspapers reported on Sunday that while attending a ceremony in Sardinia Mr Berlusconi had asked a bishop when the Church planned to change the rules.

But the Pope told a conference in Canada that communion can only be received by those free of major sin.

"We have to do everything... to receive [communion] in a pure heart," he said.

No change

Mr Berlusconi has recently begun a major effort to try and get communion granted to divorced and remarried people like himself.

When he light-heartedly asked the Sardinian bishop when this would be possible, he was told he should "turn to a higher power".

But speaking via videolink to a conference in the Canadian province of Quebec, Pope Benedict ruled out any change to the Church's stance.

Although he did not directly address Mr Berlusconi's comments, he said that communion involved "searching without end, through the sacrament of forgiveness, the purity that sin has stained".

"On the other hand, those who cannot take communion because of their situation will find, nevertheless, in the desire to participate in the Eucharist, strength and effect of salvation," he added."

Patrick has reported on other recent liturgy related skirmishes on this blog:

Zut Alors! More Canadian Rivest-ance

For Everybody? Quebec Cardinal: Et Alors?

But the biggest battle to date will be over the Return of the SSPX


Because Rome's offer to the SSPX will by necessity need to be accompanied by the much-anticipated clarification from the PCED of Summorum Pontificum. And as much as Summorum Pontificum itself exceeded the wildest dreams of many, and the worst fears of the modernists, the anticipated clarification of the PCED must make concrete the recent comments of Cardinal Hoyos that the "Gregorian Rite" must be made available in any parish, even on the pastors' own initiative and without the request of a stable group. And it must close the "little tittle" loopholes that many bishops have tried to open by imposing their own guidelines upon Summorum Pontificum.

That is the real war -- this Pope must take back the powers of the papacy that were given away to a false sense of collegiality over the past half century. And this Pope already made clear the nature of that battle and the time it will take to accomplish that struggle:

"How often we wish that God would show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity.

We suffer on account of God’s patience. And yet, we need his patience.

God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man."

--From the Homily of the Inauguration Mass of Pope Benedict XVI, 24 April 2005

We must keep this quote from the Holy Father's Homily at his Inauguration Mass in the front of our minds as the rest of 2008 unfolds.

SSPX Confirms Proposal

By Patrick Archbold

From New Liturgical Movement.

SSPX Confirms that an offer is on the table!
Menzingen, 23 June 2008 (Apic) The Vatican has proposed an agreement to the Priestly Society of St. Pius X to end the schism, reported on 23 June 2008 the Italian daily "Il Giornale." Asked Monday by Apic, Father Alain-Marc Nély, second assistant of Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the Society of St. Pius X in Menzingen (canton of Zug), has indeed confirmed the existence of proposals on the part of the Vatican.

Not wanting to go into further details, Fr Nély, however, confirmed that a proposal of an agreement was made at the beginnig of this month. With conditions. The answer will be given by June 28 "God willing", and will then be made public, he said. But the number three of the schismatic fraternity did not want to indicate in what direction the response of Bishop Fellay would go.

Return of the SSPX?

By Patrick Archbold

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: 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.

Secular Report: No One Wants Latin Mass

By Patrick Archbold

The East Valley Tribune wants you to know that nobody wants the Latin Mass. I mean it, they really want you to know that nobody wants the Latin Mass. No, really. Really Really. Aren't you listening? They really really really want you to know that nobody wants the Latin Mass in Phoenix.

This one has to be a record folks. What follows is just the excerpts of one of the most lopsided secular reports on the Gregorian Rite to date. And that is saying something. Remember, this is just the highlights.
"I think it's boring," said 82-year-old Mary Douglas of Tempe, a longtime member of St. Mary's parish in Chandler, saying the church should be more concerned with retaining young Catholics. "What can we do to make people to stop leaving the church?" ['cause 82 year old cranky ladies are in touch with the youngins]
But East Valley Catholics doubt many would turn out for such Masses after initial curiosity or the novelty ended. So they wonder about the value in training current parish priests in Latin and teaching them to properly lead the old Mass, with its distinctive chants and precise rituals. [Would that be all East Valley Catholics? Did we ask them all? How many did we talk to?]
"I don't think very many Catholics are going to go back to the Tridentine Latin Mass," said the Rev. John Cunningham, the founding priest of St. Bridget parish in Mesa and St. Mary Magdalene parish in Gilbert. "They have lived with the New Mass for 40 years, and I believe they find it more meaningful and expressive of their faith." [Oh, the Rev. John Cunningham who was suspended for concelebrating Mass with a non-Catholic priest. Gotta keep him at the top of the rolodex.]
"I haven't had any requests in my parish for the Latin Mass," said the Rev. Doug Lorig, pastor of St. Maria Goretti parish in Scottsdale. He has not heard of any of his parishioners regularly attending the 6:30 a.m. daily Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix or one at 1 p.m. Sundays that typically draws as many as 250 worshipers."[No one is asking for it. Got it. Have you offered it?]

"They haven't asked for it, and I haven't made any kind of offering for it," Lorig said. [Don't ask don't tell!] For priests, he said, it would take extensive training to meet the rubrics and procedures of the Mass not commonly experienced by Catholics in decades. It's much more than just mastering Latin, he said, "You have to learn all the liturgical movements, and everything behind it." Lorig predicted "a lot of priests are going to hesitate, and they certainly aren't going to do it if there is no call for it." [Ok, we got it. Really. Stop now, please.]
"I don't see a need to see it in every parish," [Stop now, please. Really, we got it!] said Betty Bova, a member of St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish in Scottsdale. Those who want the Latin Mass "could travel a little bit and just go to it," she said. If her parish had such a Mass mixed into its weekend schedule, "I would probably attend once just for curiosity and for old-time sake, because when I was little, that is what we did," Bova said.
Allison Walters, a 38-year-old Tempean with St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Chandler, said she hears no call from her Catholic peers for a Latin Mass. [What is wrong with you? Stop saying that! I mean it!] "I appreciate it for the history and the charm, how it once was," Walters said. "I would want to attend it once and experience it once, but I wouldn't do it on a regular basis."
"You would have to attend it pretty regularly to figure it out," [Ineffable stupidity?] she said, adding that the priest's homily in English now has great meaning to her, but likely she would not make such a connection if she listened to it in Latin.[What?!? This one made me laugh! Homily in Latin? What the ....?]
Jay Kilroy, a parishioner of Queen of Peace in Mesa, said he was "very refreshed by Vatican II. I thought it was a great move in the right direction." He would not attend a Latin Mass if it was offered at his church. "I have not felt or sensed that there was a groundswell of people who like the Latin Mass," he said. [Listen up dude, you say it one more time and I am coming down there!]
He said today's younger priests seem to be "more conservative, in general, and display a penchant for traditionalism when it comes to the liturgy," so "some of them, no doubt, will be pleased with the return to the Tridentine Mass in Latin and its 16th century theology," said Cunningham, a religious studies instructor at Arizona State University. [Now that was just uncalled for!]
"I have never heard any of my friends being serious about returning to the Latin Mass," said Harold "Hal" White, a member of Church of the Resurrection parish in Tempe. "We just don't talk about it. ... If they want it, I think it's fine. I don't think I would go back to it." [That's IT!!! Honey, pack my bags. I am going to Phoenix!! Where did I put my baseball bat?]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Zut Alors! More Canadian Rivest-ance

By Patrick Archbold

Wow! I mean...Wow!

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has the incredible story of His Excellency Most Reverend André Rivest, Bishop of Chicoutimi in Canada. (What is it with these Bishops in Canada?). Bishop Rivest is in open opposition to Pope Benedict XVI and his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
The bishop of Chicoutimi, André Rivest, is opposed to the Tridentine Mass and will not apply the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in his diocese, in spite of the request addressed to the parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Msgr Jean-Roch Gaudin by 130 faithful. This latter, in his parish bulletin, gave the good reasons for not applying the Motu Proprio. Here are some of the most significant excerpts:

“… A month ago, a petition signed by 100 persons was handed to me, requesting permission for one Mass a month in the ‘extraordinary form’, in one of the three churches of the parish, preferably the church of Christ the King. According to the Motu Proprio, I was entitled to grant the request.

But as the signatories were hailing from various parishes of the diocese, and out of solidarity with the pastoral policy of the whole diocese, I thought it right to consult with Bishop André Rivest, the first Pastor of the diocese, and at the same time to give him the petition so that he may give a diocesan orientation on this issue.

Bishop Rivest consulted with his Presbyteral Council (composed of various priest of the diocese) on Monday, May 19 last, and the next day he phoned me and said he thought it good not to grant permission to celebrate Mass in the ‘extraordinary form’” in the diocese for the following reasons:
Reason A -- The same ol' Stable Group willful and ungenerous misinterpretation. (Clarifying document please!!! Soon please!!!)

Reason B -- "The permission to celebrate Masses in the ‘extraordinary form’ will be a source of division among priests and faithful, and the impact of such a celebration may well be negative. " Evidence ... none. The Bishop says division to cause division and thus there is division.

Reason C -- The Priest and the particpants must have been fluent in Latin sice before 1965 and a regular attendee at non-existent Latin masses since then or it is a no-go. Sorry.
"Among the criteria put forward by the Holy Father in his Motu Proprio, the bishop must examine whether the persons requesting and the priests themselves have a liturgical training and a ‘certain familiarity’ with the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Latin rite, as well as a good knowledge of the Latin language"
Yes. The attendees need liturgical training and good Latin! No problem, I am sure they could have gotten that from the seminaries lo these many years. Ridiculous.

To add insult to injury, these Papal resistence fighters warn the rejected parishioners not to waste their time going above their heads. Becuase the Bishop is in charge, not the Pope.
In order to discourage any attempt at a recourse with the Ecclesia Dei Commission, as it is foreseen by the Motu Proprio, Msgr. Gaudin answered in advance: “It is not the pope who is the first person responsible for pastoral care and the liturgy in the diocese, but the bishop. And the popes usually respect this responsibility, unless there are some very, very, very serious reasons. The pope will certainly not intervene in this affair and will certainly not oblige our bishop to have a Tridentine Mass in the diocese. He will only ask him for additional information and respect his decision. The bishop will have lost time uselessly.”
This is absolutely amazing. Abhorrent, but amazing. Go read the entire thing over at WDTPRS.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

For Everybody? Quebec Cardinal: Et Alors?

By Patrick Archbold

When asked about the recent statement by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos about the Pope's desire to see the Gregorian Rite widely used even in places where it may not be specifically asked for, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet essentially responded, Et Alors? So what?
[NCRcafe] Though a Vatican official said Pope Benedict XVI wants all parishes to have a Tridentine Mass, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet expressed satisfaction with one parish in his archdiocese offering the rite.

"I think the intention of the Holy Father is to allow the practice of the extraordinary rite where there is a need and a request," the cardinal said at a June 18 press conference at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

"In our diocese we have one parish. At the moment there is no need for other places. I think this is responding to the need of the population," he said.

Ouellet said it is up to each bishop to determine how to handle the demand for Masses according to the extraordinary form of the Mass.
By the way, The Diocese of Quebec has 1,076,180 Catholics over 13,588 square miles.

We still have a long way to go. I hope to see the clarifying letter with some specific instruction soon so that we can overcome this Episcopal minimalism.

Friday, June 20, 2008


By Patrick Archbold

“It is cool knowing that the Mass was celebrated this way since … forever,”

So sayeth Joseph Marino of Commack. Joseph was one of the young people confirmed using the Traditional Form this past Sunday by Bishop Muprhy of Rockville Centre. Most of these children attend mass at St. Matthew's, the parish where I grew up and at which I still frequently attend the Gregorian Rite. (Splitting between there and the Mass at Cutchogue).

The Long Island Catholic provides the details of the joyous occasion.

Rockville Centre — They were not yet born — nor had their parents probably met — when the new liturgy was introduced in the 1960s, but a dozen teens and pre-teens last Sunday were happy to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in a Latin ceremony.
Bishop William Murphy conferred the sacrament last Sunday at St. Agnes Cathedral here for a group of children and one adult whose families regularly attend an approved Tridentine (traditional Latin) Mass offered each Sunday at St. Matthew’s Church in Dix Hills.
Bishop Murphy administered the sacrament of confirmation in the traditional Latin rite during a liturgy at St. Agnes Cathedral on June 15. TLIC photos/Gregory A. Shemitz

During a June 11 rehearsal at the cathedral, the confirmation candidates practiced for the liturgy, including the singing of two hymns in English — “Come Holy Ghost” and “Holy God, We Praise thy Name” — as well as such Latin hymns as “Tantum Ergo.”
Msgr. James Pereda, diocesan judicial vicar, who celebrates a weekly diocesan Tridentine Mass at St. Pius X Residence in Uniondale, led the rehearsal. Sister of Mercy Sheila Browne, associate director of the diocesan Office of Worship, and Father Andrzej Zglejszewski, director of the Office of Worship, also participated.

The confirmation class and their parents seemed excited and happy that their reception of the sacrament would reflect their preference for the traditional Latin Mass.
“When my daughter, Theresa, made her first Communion at our parish, St. Francis of Assisi in Greenlawn, she prayed that she could be confirmed in a traditional Latin ceremony,” said Patricia Bissex, one of the parents.

Continue Reading >>>>

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Weigel on Why Latin?

By Patrick Archbold

George Weigel has a piece in Newsweek on what Pope Benedict is trying to accomplish by restoring the "Gregorian Rite". Weigel provides an easily comprehensible presentation of the "gravitational pull" hypothesis. Weigel describes it a such:
Active Participation - The Blog!
See what is changing here at Summorum Pontificum!

Yes, the mass of John XXIII is celebrated in Latin, and yes, it is often celebrated (although it need not be) with the priest and the congregation facing the same direction as they pray--looking together, as classic liturgical theology teaches, toward the return of Christ and the inauguration of the heavenly Jerusalem. But the pope's point in making this form of liturgy more widely available is neither nostalgic nor retrogade. Rather, by encouraging the more widespread celebration of this classic form of the always-evolving Roman rite, Benedict XVI intends to create a kind of liturgical magnet, drawing the "reform of the reform" in the direction of greater reverence in the Catholic Church's public worship. In doing so, the pope is also reminding the church that, as Vatican II put it, the mass is a moment of privileged participation in "that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle." "Going to mass," in other words, is not something we do for ourselves, or something we make up ourselves; liturgical worship is our participation in something God is doing for us.
This is a well written synopsis of the hope. On another note, Weigel makes note of the tempest in a teapot that resulted over the Good Friday prayer for the Jews. Weigel casually notes that the prognostications of the fear mongers proved unfounded.
The modified prayer was used in the minuscule number of Catholic congregations that celebrated Holy Week 2008 according to the Missal of John XXIII; no pogroms resulted, and indeed the argument seems to have died out.
No pogroms, fancy that.

Read the entire piece.

Thomas Woods and Radioactive Moon Rocks

By Patrick Archbold

Inside Catholic has an interesting interview with Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Some excerpts:

On the elusive, sasquatch like stable group:
Yes, that's right. Because most people who would really want the old Mass are already so alienated from their local parish that they have no connection with it to begin with.
Active Participation - The Blog!
See what is changing here at Summorum Pontificum!
On that missing clarifying document and radioactive moon rocks:
There's been talk -- almost since the document came out -- that a clarification would be on its way. What I understand from my sources is that it's all ready to go, but no one quite knows when it will appear.

In the short run, we have had some important statements recently, such as the comments of Cardinal Hoyos, who is president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission and the former prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. He said that priests should be making the Extraordinary Form (the term Benedict prefers for the traditional Latin Mass) available even without any initiative from the congregation. That clearly contradicts the idea that there have to be X number of people who are interested before the Mass can be allowed. I mean, is this liturgy a treasure of the Church or is it not? If it is, then as one of my friends puts it, we shouldn't be treating it like a radioactive moon rock. That's just common sense, it seems to me.
Predicting the return of the SSPX is like predicting doomsday. You might eventually be right, but you will look like a fool until then.
You know, anyone who tries to predict what the Society will do is fooling himself. There are a few commentators who really have the pulse of the Society, but it's like trying to do orange juice futures -- either you have an instinct for it or you don't. I must have predicted the imminent return of the Society at least five times in my life, so I refuse to do it anymore.
Where is the mea culpa for all those who have viewed lovers of the Gregorian Rite as quasi-sedevacantists
Benedict is also interested in preserving the sacred and avoiding improvisation in the Mass, and believes the old liturgy has an important role to play in both areas.

I was also surprised by how bold some of his statements have been. He told a group of traditionalists that he understood the sensibilities that attracted people to this liturgy, because "they are, to some extent, my own sensibilities." Once a statement like that is made, it can never be unmade. It makes me think that maybe some of us are owed an apology by people who have been calling us disloyal for years. Who's going to be first in line to lecture Pope Benedict? If he's right to say these things now, how were we wrong to say them ten years ago?
Read the entire interview.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Active Participation - The Blog!

By Patrick Archbold

As you may have noticed, there are some changes going on around here. The format of the site is one of the more obvious changes. I am still working on it, but I hope you like it so far. If you don't like it, keep it to yourself. Just kidding (not really). This post may be a bit longer than what are used to here, but please bear with me.

Anyway, there is more happening than just the format changes. First and foremost, the title of the blog has changed. For reasons I can't explain, I have never been particularly comfortable with the many monikers for the mass of the ages. As you know, there are plenty. The Latin Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass, the Usus Antiquitor, and the Extraordinary Form, etc. Like I said, I have never been particularly comfortable with any of these names.

So when I read this past weekend about the comments of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos about the desire of the Pope that the "Gregorian Rite" is for everybody. I was delighted not only because this Mass might be more generally available than we had hoped, but also because it now had a name that rolled off my tongue with ease. Say it with me, Gregorian Rite... aaahhh!I liked it so much that I changed the banner on the site.

This change coincides with a number of other changes that I have been mulling for some time. Since July of last year I have maintained this site independently focusing on links to interesting news and commentary about the newly named Gregorian Rite.

Plain ol' news has been harder to come by lately (up until this past weekend) so the number of posts has been reduced lately. For the past year as well, I have put very little commentary of my own on this site. I think that it is time for this to change but I don't wish to do it alone. It is my desire that this site become a group blog for myself and some sagacious aficionados of the Gregorian Rite along with some other amateurs such as myself.

Over the coming weeks, I will be asking some other people to join me here on this site. I have no idea if any of them will be remotely interested, but I will ask. Of course, anyone who joins the club must love the Gregorian Rite, be in union with the Church, and have demonstrated elsewhere some basic writing skills (No, this requirement does not apply to me!) I would be particulary intersted in having a Priest who offers the Gregorian Rite on board, but we will see what the Lord provides.

There is a little more. Besides just a blog of opinion, I think that there is a real value for a site just dedicated to information about the Gregorian Rite. Vatican Documents, the liturgical calendar, prayers of the mass, important statements, and instruction. For this purpose, I am now setting up a companion site to Summorum Pontificum. That site will be The format of that site will be similar to this one in look and feel, but it will be entirely dedicated to the items list above and opinion free. Opinion will be reserved for this site.

I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on what I have outlined above (Be kind). So please feel free to post a comment or suggestion to this post or email me at cmr [at] creativeminorityreport [dot] com.

Patrick Archbold

Holy Day(s) of No Obligation

By Patrick Archbold

Fr. Tim Finigan at The Hermeneutic of Continuity discusses the touchy subject of movement of the Holy Day observances and removal of obligation in the Gregorian Rite. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos spoke to this question this past weekend.
The Cardinal: I am aware that the response of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” with regard to the observance of Holy Days of obligation has caused a certain amount of disturbance in some circles. It should be noted that the dates of these Holy Days remain the same in both the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970. When the Holy See has given the Episcopal Conference of a given country permission to move certain Holy Days to the following Sunday, this should be observed by all Catholics in that country...

Fr. Finigan: That's fine. I certainly made sure to tell the people that our Ascension Thursday Mass was not of obligation. We did indeed celebrate the Ascension on the following Sunday in our three Masses in the Ordinary Form. The Cardinal's mention of "sacrifice" seems to indicate that he is saying that the one Mass celebrated in the extraordinary form should also be the Mass of the Ascension. That's certainly a sacrifice we can make. The integrity of the Liturgy, rather than a desire to avoid sacrifice, prompts me to suggest that the re-introduction of the Octaves for the relevant feasts would be an opportune solution.
The question I have is this. Besides Fr. Finigan, how many people are interested in solutions? I think Fr. is right, of course. We can make this "sacrifice" I also agree that we should prefer solutions to the soapbox as we work these issues out. I hope that we are not too small a club.

Cheer Cheer for ol' Notre Dame!

By Patrick Archbold

Rorate Caeli Reports:
Congratulations to the community of the Parish of Saint-Eugène/Sainte-Cécile and to all other Traditional Catholic communities involved in the preparation of the historic Traditional Mass celebrated today at the High Altar of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the centers of Christian Civilization (first announced last March).

It was a fitting way to begin the celebrations for the first anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Pictures are available at Le Forum Catholique (1, 2, 3, 4)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Take Heart!

By Patrick Archbold

In the text of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos address to the Latin Mass Society, he urges the members of the society to Take Heart, for the Lord and the Pope have heard their prayers!
The first thing that I wish to say is that I appreciate the work which the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has undertaken in the past four decades. You have worked with and under your bishops, at times without all of the results which you desired. Yet in all that you have done you have remained faithful to the Holy See and to the successor of Saint Peter. And you have been loyal during a very difficult time for the Church – a time that has been especially trying for those who love and appreciate the riches of her ancient liturgy.

Quite evidently these years have not been without many sufferings, but Our Blessed Lord knows them and will, in his Divine Providence, bring about much good from your sacrifices and from the sacrifices of those members of the Latin Mass Society who have not lived to be here today. To all of you, on behalf of the Church, I say: “thank you for remaining faithful to the Church and to the Vicar of Christ; thank you for not allowing your love for the classical Roman liturgy to lead you outside of communion with the Vicar of Christ!”

I also say, “Take heart!” for it is obvious from the many young people in England and Wales who love the Church’s ancient liturgy that you have done very well in preserving and handing on a love for this liturgy to your children.
Read the full article

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not Required, But Not Rare!

By Patrick Archbold

What Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos Said about the Usus Antiquior's Presence in Parishes
NLM has some very good analysis on the statement by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Read it.
Clearly then the Cardinal is not speaking in terms of mandatory requirements, he is speaking in terms of what is to wished, hoped for, worked toward and which is desireable.

This is important to clarify for two reasons. On the one hand, it continues to contradict the assertion that some would make, suggesting that "extraordinary" is meant just as it is with Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion -- a rarity or occasional exception applicable only to particular circumstances. This is important for the usus antiquior is not to remain marginalized. Both for its own sake and for the sake of the modern Roman liturgy, it needs as wide a dispersion as possible, even while the modern form will remain the statistical majority of liturgies presently offered.

SP June 16, 2008

By Patrick Archbold

Traditional Mass for 'all the parishes'
More from Damian Thompson

Fr. Z Comments on the Cardinals Statements

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Moment - Damian Thompson Speaks

By Patrick Archbold

The Moment - Damian Thompson Speaks
—Journalist sets the scene when the Cardinal said "Latin Mass for All"

Latin Mass: Not Some Parishes - All Parishes!!
—In a stunning press conference, Cardinal reveals Pope's master plan! Not a joke!!

Latin Mass for All - No Exceptions?

By Patrick Archbold

Latin Mass: Not Some Parishes - All Parishes!!
—In a stunning press conference, Cardinal reveals Pope's master plan! Not a joke!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

SP June 6, 2008

By Patrick Archbold

Pope Benedict is a "perfectly liberal Pope"
The Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, pronounced some interesting words at his homily at Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet (Paris), last Sunday:

D. of San Diego - implementing Summorum Pontificum - follow up

A new blog for an ancient Liturgy. The first few posts are self-explanatory. St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association has been working for the provision of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin since 1995. We’d be very glad if you could (a) post about the new blog and (b) link to it.

In particular, we’d be glad if you could bring to the attention of your readers the news that there will be a Walking Pilgrimage for Vocations on Saturday, 12th July, 2008, commencing at 11 a.m. in St. Brigid’s Church, Milltown, County Kildare, Ireland, with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII) for which the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has granted, under the usual conditions, the Plenary Indulgence for the Pauline Holy Year.

God bless you!

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Suggestion Box

By Patrick Archbold

Please post your suggestions here!