Saturday, June 28, 2008

Progress (or not) toward communion with the SSPX?

Bishop Fellay, head of the SSPX.

The SSPX stands for the Society of St. Pius X, a uber tradionalist Catholic group. They are schismatic in that their founder, Bishop Lefebrve, rejected much of the Second Vatican Council's documents on religious freedom. More importantly, he began elevating other bishops without permission from Rome, hence the formal excommunication and schism.

This would be a huge win for the Church and Pope Benedict if he can gain their trust. Benedict sees the good in their community, and he hopes for the million strong group to be leaven for the Church in need of a stronger Catholic identity.

In any case, I think Benedict has worked the situation to be a win for the Church ultimately; if SSPX doesn't want to negotiate, then it proves that Rome doesn't deal with fanatics on the left or the right- the Pope is authentically orthodox in the middle. Second, if Bishop Fellay, now the head, rejoins with Rome it would be a big win for Catholic identity and bolster the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

We'll see.

Here are the Vatican's requests of this schismatic group (who says their not schismatic, by the way):

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.

Not too shabby.

Bishop's Fellay's remarks so far...
(Translation by Rorate Caeli)

Fellay: "I have already written a response
and we will see how Rome will react"

[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 [Castrill├│n 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. And for me it is not a reconsideration of all our relations.

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

[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.


30 Days magazine managed to obtain a long interview with the Superior General of the SSPX, H.E. Bishop Bernard Fellay. Although the written interview omitted certain reservations made by Bishop Fellay, one sentence resounded in the Vatican corridors: : "If he calls me, I go. Right away. Or rather, I run. This is certain. Because of obedience. By filial obedience with regard to the head of the Church."

Quoted from Newsletter of the [SSPX] District of Asia of Jan-Jun 2001, "Roman talks – An Update", by Fr. Pierre-Marie Lauren├žon SSPX, Superior of the French District taken from Letter to Priests, no.9, March 2001.

Here's what Fr. Z recommends:

In a few minutes, at the bottom of this hour, I will say Mass, again for the intention of the closer unity of the SSPX with the Roman Pontiff. Join your intentions to this Mass.

Remember, as Augustine says, where there is charity there are no distances.

Ask your angel guardian to be present.

Pray that God’s holy angels will protect all those involved from the incessant attacks of the Enemy.

O God, Who settest straight what has gone astray,
and gatherest together what is scattered,
and keepest what Thou hast gathered together:
we beseech Thee in Thy mercy to pour down on Christian people,
the grace of union with Thee,
that, putting disunion aside and joining themselves to the true shepherd of Thy Church,
they be able to render Thee worthy service.

(From the Mass for the Unity of the Church (1962 MR) translation from the Roman Catholic Daily Missal – Angelus Press)

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