The SSPX-Vatican Talks

By Michael Potemra
National Review Online
July 15, 2012 9:00 P.M.
Link to original

Rumors were circulating earlier this weekend that the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X would issue a definitive “No” on Sunday to the latest Vatican offer of a regularized position in the Catholic Church. That didn’t happen — and a source friendly to the SSPX writes that the group has not given up on the Vatican yet. That was the message I got, today, too: I attended an SSPX Mass in Manhattan, at which the priest told his flock that he was pretty sure there would be no change in the near future in their relations with the Vatican, but that they should continue to pray for an outcome that would be consistent with the fullness of the Catholic faith. He stressed that the group respects and recognizes the Pope — he said, “we are not sedevacantists” — and that they would follow all papal strictures and requests that are consistent with Catholicism. (A sign of their allegiance to the Pope: They have a large portrait of Benedict XVI at the entry to their meeting place in a midtown club.) The priest was thus warning his parishioners to expect a “no” in the near future — but encouraging them not to view this “no” as the end of the story. He basically described the SSPX (“our little group”) as a leaven within Catholicism, sticking to its guns in the hope of eventually restoring theological orthodoxy to the broader church. (Though he did, also, use a rather less optimistic analogy, saying the SSPX was a “life raft” tethered to the “mother ship” — which he called “the Titanic.” At some point, one hopes that people on a life raft tethered to the Titanic would do what good sense dictates, and cut the tether; but perhaps this is to push the analogy further than this particular SSPX homilist would wish.)

The article I linked to above, by Côme de Prévigny, suggests that the current roadblock in the talks was caused by new conditions added to a Vatican-SSPX agreement at the last minute by Vatican bureaucrats. The Pope has reshuffled the bureaucracy since then, which is a sign that he, too, is not quite ready to give up on the negotiations. There are major theological differences between the SSPX and the mainstream of inside-the-Vatican thought; so the question is, on what specific topics will disagreement be tolerated, and to what extent. Despite what headlines now and over the next few weeks may say, this process may not be over.

Get AQ Email Updates

9 comments on “The SSPX-Vatican Talks

  1. “… new conditions added to a Vatican-SSPX agreement at the last minute…”

    It appears that perhaps the CDF tried to pull off a “bait and switch” — not that they thought they could trick Bp. Fellay into swallowing the poison pill, but hoping that, having gotten “positive responses” from him lately, pride would lead him to accept this so as to not look like the “bad guy” in this chapter of the story.

    This was clearly a miscalculation, but it was understandable, as pride is a predominant trait of Modernists: the “New Theology” (i.e., “We’re smarter than that Aquinas guy; he was okay for the 12th Century, but we’re improving upon and correcting him.”), John Paul II’s “Luciferian (or something like that) Mysteries” (“The Rosary was pretty good as it was, but clever ol’ me found a way to improve it — so what if it destroys the balance and symmetry already present, we can’t let that stand in the way of my wonderful innovation.”), Paul VI’s “New Mass” (“Hey guys, let’s make the Mass more Catholic by introducing Protestant elements into it. Pius V would’ve done the same thing if he had been as enlightened as I am.”), or Joseph Ratzinger’s non-Papal publications done since becoming Pope (“These ideas of mine may not be consistent with the Catholic magisterium, but they’re too important to be left unpublished, so we’re going to release them as the work of a private theologian.”), to name just a few examples from a much larger list of prideful Modernist actions. It is no surprise that such people would think that an appeal to personal pride would work on someone else.

    Anyway, if they’re going to demand “full acceptance” of Vatican II from the SSPX, shouldn’t they first see about getting that from those already in “full communion”? Why not simply demand from the SSPX whatever concessions they got from the Jews for watering down that 1962 Good Friday prayer? After all, the SSPX isn’t demanding a weakening of Catholic doctrine… oh wait, I think I’ve answered my own question.

  2. Shouldn’t Vatican II be Used as a Bridge, Not as a Wedge?

    Why do those who accept as relevant Vatican II’s non-dogmatic, “pastoral” suggestions and who are committed to implementing the concepts and trends introduced at the Council, violate both Vatican II’s letter and spirit by using the Council as a wedge to create division, discord and scandal within the Church, instead of as a bridge to understand, harmonize, and respect fellow Catholics that do not fully agree with them?

    It should be evident that it is completely contrary to the letter and the spirit of Vatican II to unjustly demand that Catholics who disagree with the Council’s non-dogmatic concepts and pastoral suggestions violate their informed conscience to get them to agree.

    Did not the Council unequivocally condemn bullying, coercion, force or intimidation? How is it that Council partisans occupying the Church’s highest offices are constantly observed bullying, and trying to coerce, force, or intimidate into submission otherwise faithful Catholics who, as a matter of conscience, disagree with them when it comes to the Council’s pastoral and non-dogmatic suggestions?

    To restore unity in the Church, shouldn’t Vatican II partisans currently occupying the Church’s highest offices honor the wise axiom of the great St. Augustine that should always guide us as Christians: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things, charity”?

    In fidelity to the mind of the Church and to Vatican II itself, shouldn’t Vatican II partisans unequivocally oppose bullying, coercion, psychological pressure or intimidation against those who disagree with the Council’s non-dogmatic suggestions? Should not Catholics unequivocally oppose use of the Council as a wedge to divide, disunite or sow discord among Catholics faithful to the Magisterium?

    Can we all agree that this fabricated “crisis” within the Church not only injures the Body of Christ, but is a source of scandal to the World that those currently occupying the

    • Dr. Rios,
      One of the major difficulties in any discussion with Novus Ordo Catholics today, whether laity or Vatican officials is the fact that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, they act and believe as if Vatican II and all of the Modernist actions of the vatican since were dogmatic, authoritative, Magisterial, and beyond question. Evidence in point is the recent statement by a vatican official to the effect that any regularization of the SSPX would require the full acceptance of Vatican II. The story was on this site last week I think.

  3. Can we all agree that this fabricated “crisis” within the Church not only injures the Body of Christ, but is a source of scandal to the World that those currently occupying the highest offices in the Church must work to end, if their commitment to Vatican II is truly genuine and sincere?

    • It’s not a fabricated crisis; it’s a real crisis. And anybody occupying the highest offices in the Church, who has a sincere and genuine commitment to Vatican II, can never end that crisis.

    • tradical on said:

      Hi Dr. Rios,

      Just for clarification, what is your understanding of “fabricated crisis”?

    • Dr. Rios,
      I’m not sure that I would agree with you on the use of the word “fabricated,” but this crisis is certainly a serious scandal. Just try telling any sincere non-Catholic that they must convert to the Catholic Faith to be saved. Then try telling them that they can’t go to the local Catholic Church with their guitars, but have to come to this tiny chapel in an obscure corner of town, must put up with all the intolerance and sneers of the general public at your “old -fashioned” religion, and must ,on top of it all, endure the accusations, threats, and condemnations of Vatican officials and leading churchmen who should be supporting us in our fight to remain authentically Catholic in every sense of the word. Now before everyone accuses me of despair, let me assure you of the contrary. God’s grace is always sufficient and abundant, but from a strictly human point of view (which is not at all the reality) our task of evangelizing seems quite impossible, mostly due to the immense scandal which Dr. Rios has noted for us. May God increase our Faith and our Hope. Russia will be consecrated and will convert, there will be a period of peace for the Church and the world, and I believe it is implied (if my memory doesn’t fail me) that the world or the greater part of it will be converted. May this happy event come to pass soon.

  4. Pardon, but anyone suggesting they have a commitment to Vatican II ought, themselves, be commited. That whole project is a one way ticket to capital violations of the principle of non-contradiction.

    On the street, that’s plainly called insanity.

    • tradical on said:

      Hi gpmtrad,

      It would be fun to take the 95% of the council that the SSPX accepts (in the ‘light of Tradition’) and beat the Libs/Mods over the head with it … repeatedly … preferably in a hardbound copy.

      One of my friends has used orthodox speeches given by Bl. John Paul II, with significant effect.

      I have yet to master his technique.

Leave a Reply