Abp. Pozzo on SSPX: Disputed Vatican II Documents Are Non-Doctrinal

Abp. Pozzo on SSPX: Disputed Vatican II Documents Are Non-Doctrinal

BY MAIKE HICKSON ON AUGUST 9, 2016

In a recent interview published by the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit (32/2016), Italian Archbishop Guido Pozzo (64), Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), made some important statements concerning his qualitatively progressing negotiations with the Society of Saint Pius X — negotiations which fall under the purview of the PCED. His comments make it clear that the process of formal inclusion of the SSPX is advancing, and that Pope Francis has offered a personal prelature to the SSPX – similar to the structure under which Opus Dei operates.

There is a section in the interview that is especially worth noting, inasmuch as it may facilitate proper doctrinal discourse among a wide range of conservative and traditional Catholics. In it, Archbishop Pozzo explains why it may be possible for the SSPX to be fully integrated into the structures of the Catholic Church without their previously accepting some of the documents of Vatican II, namely Nostra Aetate, about interreligious dialogue; the decree Unitatis Redintegratio, on ecumenism; the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, on religious liberty; and, finally, other texts relating to the question of the relationship between Christianity and Modernity. While saying that “the Council is not a pastoral superdogma, but part of the completeness [sic] of tradition and the continuous Magisterium,” Pozzo makes clear that there are some texts of the Council that are not doctrinal and are thus not binding on the Catholic conscience. Pozzo stresses that “the Church’s tradition is developing, but never in the sense of a novelty – which stands in contrast to the previous teaching – but which is a deeper understanding of the Depositum fidei, the authentic deposit of the Faith.” Pozzo continues, by saying that

In this [same] sense, all [the] Church’s documents have to be understood, also those of the Council. These preconditions, together with the obligation to affirm the Creed, the recognition of the Sacraments and of the papal primacy are the basis for the magisterial declaration which the Fraternity has been given to sign. These are the preconditions for a Catholic, in order to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

In discussing the question of the specific documents of Vatican II, Pozzo insists that certain documents are indeed binding upon Catholics for them to affirm and to accept, such as

the teaching on the sacramentality of the Episcopal office and its consecrations as the fullness of Holy Orders; or the teaching on the primacy of the pope and of the college of bishops in union with its head [sic], as presented in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and as interpreted by the Nota explicativa praevia which had been requested by the highest authority.

With regard to the earlier-mentioned documents above – Nostra Aetate about interreligious dialogue; the decree Unitatis Redintegratio on ecumenism; and the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty – Pozzo explicitly says:

They are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice. On can [thus legitimately] continue to discuss these pastoral aspects after the [proposed] canonical approval [of the SSPX], in order to lead us to further [and acceptable] clarifications.

When asked by the journalist as to whether the Vatican has now come to the idea that the varied Council documents have different dogmatic weights, Pozzo very importantly states:

This is certainly not a [later] conclusion on our part, but it was already clear at the time of the Council. The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on 16 November 1964: “This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.” Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such. That has not been [later] invented by “the Vatican,” but it is written in the official files themselves.

In response to a possible critique that important Council declarations such as Nostra Aetate could thus be more fully and openly denied, Pozzo declares:

The secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra Aetate: “As to the character of the declaration, the secretariat does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms.” Nostrae Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view – contrary to the Catholic Faith – that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Jesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostrae Aetate which goes into this [unfortunate and erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected.

Pozzo concludes that the ongoing SSPX discussions should always now be about “a hermeneutic of the documents on the background of the continuous tradition.” He adds: “Tradition certainly is not a lifeless fossil, but it certainly also does not mean an adaptation to any kind of contemporary culture.”

Pozzo even shows his understanding and sympathy for the Society of Saint Pius X when he politely concludes his interview with these words:

In such a difficult moment of confusion and lack of orientation as we have it today, it is the task of those who want to remain loyal to the tradition of the Church to promote the re-strenghtening of the Christian faith and of the mission. I hope that the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X – when fully integrated – will also thus be able to make its contribution to this missionary apostolate and to the strengthening of the Catholic Faith in our society and in our world.

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
http://angelqueen.org/2016/08/10/abp-pozzo-on-sspx-disputed-vatican-ii-documents-are-non-doctrinal/
Get AQ Email Updates
AQ RSS Feed

3 comments on “Abp. Pozzo on SSPX: Disputed Vatican II Documents Are Non-Doctrinal

  1. Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    SSPX Regularization: To Be Or Not To Be

    Written by Michael Matt | Editor

    In case you missed it, an interesting article on the potential SSPX regularization was posted last week on the Deus Ex Machina blog. Here’s the summation of Desperately Seeking Regularization .

    · The SSPX will not budge.

    · Francis desperately needs a reconciliation.

    · The reason Francis desperately needs reconciliation is in order to gain some sort of control over the SSPX and ring-fence the NORMALIZATION PROCESS™ inside the Ecclesia Dei Commission. Hence Diocesan bishops must consult with the Vatican before establishing a diocesan religious order, Pope Francis ruled.

    · Francis needs to gain control over the SSPX so as to block off any escape route for the Catholics stuck in NUChurch. Hence clampdown on contemplative orders.

    · Francis is planning a repression of the larger Western Church and understands that it will not go as easily as with the suppression of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Hence Come una madre amorevole in case of rebellion.

    · But most importantly, Francis needs to do something IMMEDIATELY since the Restoration is spreading in the Catholic Church, especially in the wealthy Western countries.

    · The neo-modernist’s who support Francis are freaking out since they see that with their demise, so will end their Novus Ordo NUChurch.

    · This will end their IDEOLOGICAL life’s work and consign them to not only the trash-heap of history, but will earn them the hatred of future generations of the Faithful.

    The article is well worth reading, since it strives to find constructive balance between the Never Regularization camp on the one hand, and those who believe the cause of Catholic restoration would be much better served were the SSPX not so easily dismissed as “schismatic” by the enemies of Tradition.

    As far as The Remnant is concerned, our position hasn’t changed in decades. Of course the “schism” must end eventually, there can be no doubt of that. Archbishop Lefebvre never wanted it, and his spiritual sons in the SSPX obviously (and rightly!) yearn to see it healed. The question is when and according to whose terms.

    We’ve all been fighting in the hills for a long time, and every Catholic heart longs for a return to normal life and an end to the war. But is this possible just now, especially after what happened to the FFI under the exceedingly problematic pontificate of Pope Francis? In my opinion, no, it is not possible… or at least it does not seem prudent. But I hasten to add that not a few good men, those who have only the best intentions where the Catholic counterrevolution is concerned, disagree with me.

    Regardless of my opinion on the matter, I think we can exchange accusations of betrayal and “sell out”, for an honest admission that Bishop Fellay and his team are measuring everything in light of what they sincerely believe to be best for the Church, for souls and for the future of our world at war with Christ.

    Historically speaking, in many conflicts and revolutions involving Catholic men—whether it be the Crusades, the rising in the Vendee, the Cristeros in Mexico—controversy inevitably arose over when and how to negotiate a peace settlement that best served the common good. There were plenty of disagreements, with good men on the one hand resolving to fight to the death and never surrender, while their brothers argued in favor of a truce, if it could be accomplished without unjust compromise.

    This situation with the SSPX and the Vatican is no different. If the time is right for rapprochement then great good for the Church will surely be realized through the efforts of 600-plus traditional priests of the SSPX more rapidly establishing Tradition throughout the mainstream Catholic Church.

    If, on the other hand, an accord is reached prematurely and according to unjust compromise, then the most significant body of organized Catholic counterrevolution in the world today would likely be neutralized.

    As we’ve said so many times here in these pages: What’s in this for Francis? Why is he so eager to regularize the SSPX? What does he have up his sleeve? And it’s not enough to say: “Well, look at the FSSP. Francis hasn’t crushed them.” True, at least not yet; but neither would he if, as the so-called “conspiracy theorists” insist, the FSSP is the bait needed to lure the SSPX into the trap. It’s difficult to evaluate Rome’s relationship with the FSSP so long as the SSPX remains on the outside since, if Rome were to manhandle the FSSP, the SSPX would simply head back into the hills and dig in.

    Bishop Fellay and his brother bishops and priests are obviously aware of the potential for a trap, which is why they’ve been proceeding with caution. It is incumbent upon us to storm heaven’s gates with prayers on their behalf, since only God knows how this will end.

    In the meantime, here’s a Remnant TV bit we did some years ago, using a scene from the film The Outlaw Josey Wales, which may provide a little food for thought:


    www.youtube.com/embed/LsfXK4XZtWs

  2. SSPX on the verge of regularization?

    Louie Verrecchio
    August 11, 2016

    In a recent interview with the German newspaper, Die Zeit, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, indicated that the SSPX has been offered a personal prelature on the following conditions:

    [NOTE: Translation of the German text provided by Dr. Maike Hickson at OnePeterFive.]

    The Church’s tradition is developing, but never in the sense of a novelty – which stands in contrast to the previous teaching – but which is a deeper understanding of the Depositum fidei, the authentic deposit of the Faith. In this [same] sense, all [the] Church’s documents have to be understood, also those of the Council.

    These preconditions, together with the obligation to affirm the Creed, the recognition of the Sacraments and of the papal primacy are the basis for the magisterial declaration which the Fraternity has been given to sign. These are the preconditions for a Catholic, in order to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    Based on this, it’s anyone’s guess as to how close we are to a “done deal.”

    First of all, the idea that “tradition is developing” is nonsense. Archbishop Pozzo attempts to clarify this to mean “a deeper understanding of the Depositum fidei,” but if this be so, then it is our understanding that is developing; not tradition.

    The biggest unknown concerns the actual contents of this “magisterial declaration” the Society is being asked to sign. (One should note that what is mentioned is only the “basis” for said declaration.)

    If by Creed, Archbishop Pozzo means the Nicene or the Apostles Creed; clearly this represents no obstacle, but if he is referring to the 1989 Profession of Faith produced by the CDF, it could be problematic.

    Much of the aforementioned Profession is unobjectionable, but it concludes thus:

    “I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.”

    This invites questions as to what exactly entails an exercise of the authentic Magisterium; e.g., does Amoris Laetitia qualify as that which one supposedly owes religious submission of will and intellect? It is to laugh!

    The concept of “religious submission” comes from Lumen Gentium – 25 and it is, in this writer’s opinion, A most dangerous proposition.

    At this, let’s look at some of Archbishop Pozzo’s other comments of note.

    On the somewhat positive side of the leger, he says of the notoriously poisonous documents Nostra Aetate, Unitatis Redintegratio and Dignitatis Humanae:

    They are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice. One can [thus legitimately] continue to discuss these pastoral aspects after the [proposed] canonical approval [of the SSPX], in order to lead us to further [and acceptable] clarifications.

    Note the implied separation of “doctrine” and “pastoral practice.” Where have we seen this before???

    He went on to say of Nostra Aetate in particular:

    The secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra Aetate: “As to the character of the declaration, the secretariat does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms.” Nostrae Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic.

    Do you hear that rumbling in the distance? It’s Bergoglio’s rabbinical cabinet rushing to convene an emergency meeting…

    Archbishop Pozzo continued:

    This declaration [Nostrae Aetate] can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view – contrary to the Catholic Faith – that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Jesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostrae Aetate which goes into this [unfortunate and erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected.

    This is a rather sharp condemnation (as far as such things go in the medicine-of-mercy era) of the document that emerged from the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews in December 2015.

    While this is welcome, one notices the terminally flawed “hermeneutic of continuity” mindset on display here as Nostra Aetate itself is being held blameless; as if it has nothing whatsoever to do with the havoc that followed in its wake.

    In truth, the conciliar texts as a whole must be rejected; not just particular interpretations.

    That’s not to say that the conciliar text is utterly devoid of truth; it contains many reiterations of authentic doctrine as previously taught, but as Sacred Scripture plainly warns – a little leaven leaventh the entire lump.

    That said, I do not believe that it’s necessary for Rome to come to this same conclusion before the SSPX can accept the offer of a regular juridical structure.

    The only thing that will be necessary moving forward is for the Society to remain steadfast in proclaiming the true faith, and that necessarily means condemning the conciliar text and not limiting itself to criticizing supposedly false interpretations (which very often are truly nothing other than applications of what the documents themselves plainly state.)

    When asked if the notion that the Council documents have varying degrees of doctrinal weight constitutes a development in Rome’s understanding, Archbishop Pozzo said:

    This is certainly not a [later] conclusion on our part, but it was already clear at the time of the Council. The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on 16 November 1964: “This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.” Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such. That has not been [later] invented by “the Vatican,” but it is written in the official files themselves.

    Pay close attention to what the archbishop said here and one will detect a glaring and yet subtle contradiction:

    The quote of Cardinal Felici that is given is very plain; the only conciliar propositions that are binding are those that the Council “explicitly declares” as such. So far so good, but then Archbishop Pozzo immediately follows by saying that texts “assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such.”

    The difference is considerable.

    The former concerns an objective reading of the text itself; e.g., either the Council explicitly declares that such-and-such is binding or it doesn’t. Simple.

    The latter, by contrast, invites one to make a subjective judgment as to the Council Fathers’ intent wherein even in the absence of any such explicit declaration, one may conclude that certain texts are indeed binding.

    Where did Archbishop Pozzo get that idea?

    From the very declaration of Cardinal Pericle Felici, which states in its fullness:

    Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding. The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church’s supreme magisterium, ought to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ’s faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council. The mind of the Council becomes known either from the matter treated or from its manner of speaking, in accordance with the norms of theological interpretation.

    My friends, this is perfect example of the kinds of flaws one finds throughout the conciliar texts; a clear statement followed by one that opens the way for contrary opinions to flourish, which is precisely why the documents themselves must be rejected.

    Archbishop Pozzo demonstrates the danger at hand well when he offers the following as examples of conciliar propositions that are supposedly binding:

    …the teaching on the sacramentality of the Episcopal office and its consecrations as the fullness of Holy Orders; or the teaching on the primacy of the pope and of the college of bishops in union with its head [sic], as presented in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and as interpreted by the Nota explicativa praevia which had been requested by the highest authority.

    A thorough review of the teachings cited reveals that there is no open declaration of bindingness.

    To be clear, in the case of episcopal consecration being understood as the fullness of Holy Orders, this may well be an expression of the authentic Magisterium that binds the faithful, but let’s be clear – if so, this is not due to the teaching of Vatican Council II, as if the conciliar text itself binds.

    All in all, my takeaways from Archbishop Pozzo’s interview are as follows:

    – The process of regularization of the Society is far from complete.

    – The movement on the side of Rome, while far from satisfactory, is noteworthy.

    – In spite of this, the Council continues to be Rome’s Golden Calf and until it is buried confusion and disorientation will reign.

    Stay tuned…

  3. Words, words and more words. The SSPX will be fine as long as they adhere to the dictum: I passed on that which I have received. The Ecclesia Dei Commission itself is a modernist invention designed to trick everyday Catholics into the belief that those who follow Tradition are somehow “outside the church and need to be brought back in.” It simply won’t wash. None other than St. Paul in II Thessalonians said it: “Hold fast to the traditions you have received from us whether by word or our epistle.”

Leave a Reply