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Saturday, February 28, 2009


Jeff Grace

This little tidbit in the article caught my eye:

He said the Society would continue to ordain priests as usual because the Church had not specifically ordered it to stop doing so when it lifted the excommunication on the four bishops on January 21.

Hmmm... so they are free to ordain priests who cannot exercise their faculties in the Church?

Brian Schuettler

This is very sad indeed. The Society must observe obedience to the Holy See and to legitimate councils or recognize themselves as splintered schismatics willfully separated from the Bridegroom whom they profess to love.
This is prideful self deception at it's worst.


I'm wondering how someone could construe this as a "little" snag. Frankly, the whole process has seemed like one big snag to me. Is this news at all different than what the situation was before, or ever has been?

Carl E. Olson

Evan: It was a wry remark, offered with a certain ironic dryness that I figured would be obvious since this is, as you rightly note, a huge snag.


Well, see ya SSPX. By the way, I was a bit surprised to see Zenit (a Catholic News Agency, I think) referring to Richard Williamson as "Bishop" Richard Williamson when he "apologized" for denying the 1933-1945 Jewish holocaust. Since when are men "ordained" as "bishops" by Marcel Lefebvre to be considered actual bishops? Recall that Mr. Lefebvre automatically excommunicated himself by conducting those "ordinations" in 1988 after being forbidden to do so by Pope John Paul the Great. Can anyone shed any more light on whether these individuals can or should be referred to as "bishops"?

Robert Miller

Almost 50 years ago, the Church opened dialogue with modernists and assorted secular leftists, so what's wrong if now it opens dialogue with integrists and secular rightists? Indeed, the latter dialogue makes much more sense and is long overdue. Everyone knows that the meaning of Vatican II (especially considering what followed -- whether "fruits" or not)remains highly problematic. I think Fellay is as much entitled to his opinion as are the editors of Commonweal and the National Catholic Reporter -- or neo-cons like George Weigel, for that matter.

Integrism and modernism are both a bridge too far. Both sides had better listen to Benedict.

Tito Edwards

If you read carefully, Bishop Fellay said he doesn't recognize the 'reforms' that came from Vatican II. If you think about it, Vatican II was supposed to make some adjustments in how the Church deals with the world. Unfortunately dissident and liberal Catholics took this to mean changes in the Mass. These 'changes' is what Bishop Fellay doesn't recognize which is referred to as 'reforms'.

Remember the general theme of Pope Benedict XVI on the liturgy is the "Reform of the reform".

So in a sense, both Pope Benedict and Bishop Fellay do agree on Vatican II, just not how the secular press prints it is what is causing this confusion.


Robert (not Miller): the episcopal ordinations in that case were illicit, but still valid.


Bishop Williamson and Fellay and the others are valid bisops because they have apostolic succession from Archbisop Lefebvre. This doesn't vanish if it is passed on illicitly, this is why the orthodox also have valid orders. The Anglicans on the other hand changed the ritual so much that it was declared by Leo XIII that they lost the apostolic succession.

As to Vatican II, the SSPX can accept it, as a valid council, but this doesn't mean it is good and should be adopted. It is clear from the documents themselves this council was a novelty, not intending to change dogma or doctrine, but to change pastoral practise. What the the church learn from this? Lex orandi, lex credendi. You believe as you worship.

Vatican II and the magisteriums of the past V2 popes can be fully accepted as the Vatican demands, but it doesn't have to be considered good for the Church. V2 is not infallible in any way and even explicitly declined this level of authority.

Carl E. Olson

Vatican II and the magisteriums of the past V2 popes can be fully accepted as the Vatican demands, but it doesn't have to be considered good for the Church.

Which means, logically, that (1) Vatican II was bad, but (2) it can still be accepted (3) as though it makes sense for a Catholic to accept what is bad as good. Sorry, this is nonsense. Councils, by the way, don't "change dogma or doctrine," so that's a red herring. As for the old "it was a pastoral council so it's of no value argument," it has always struck me as another way of saying, "I know better than the Magisterium what is good for the Church." Not convincing in the least.

Jeff Grace

It was said above:

As to Vatican II, the SSPX can accept it, as a valid council, but this doesn't mean it is good and should be adopted.

Huzzah! It always amazes me how densely populated these lefebvreites are with people who don the pope's miter as if it were their natural right...


+Fellay has previously said he was willing to accept Vatican II in 'light of tradition' (as +Lefebvre did). This will prove perfectly acceptable to the Vatican for the Institute de Bon Pasteur was allowed reconcile by affirming such a statement and furthermore allowed to give 'constructive criticism' of the Council


I don't see any direct quotes in this interview that contradict what Fellay has said before or that should be construed as a "snag." The inflammatory stuff is all non-quotations that the writer uses in possibly slanted summary.

Even in this interview Bishop Fellay is clear that the particulars need to be addressed before a more general "stance" is taken on the Council. Lefebvre himself signed all the council documents and Fellay has repeatedly said he accepts the council as legitmately called by the pope. So I see no other approach than to address the particulars that the SSPX has a problem with.

I wouldn't get worked up over this interview of dubious clarity, and that goes for those who would be saddened and overjoyed by the breakdown of talks.


Which means, logically, that (1) Vatican II was bad, but (2) it can still be accepted (3) as though it makes sense for a Catholic to accept what is bad as good. Sorry, this is nonsense.

Come on Carl, you've been doing apologetics for too long to say this.

1. Something can be good and bad at the same time, but not in the same way. A beautiful piece of music may be badly performed, or a beautiful psalm set to atrocious music. A profound theological insight may be expressed in a confusing way.

2. Just because something is binding in authority does not make it a good idea. When my pastor permits altar girls with the blessing of the Church, he is exercising his appropriate authority, but (I could argue) he is not using this authority wisely. Ditto for the bishops moving Ascension Thursday to Sunday.

Robert Miller

I think Pope Benedict is challenging us to think (in communion with those who have gone before us with the sign of Faith) critically about the heritage of Vatican II. To the extent that the integrists can open themselves to understand that their attitude toward the Council and the "V2 Popes" is problematic, I (and apparently Benedict)think they can make a valuable contribution to the project. It is far less likely, in my opinion, that the modernists can make a contribution -- because they clearly don't recognize that their attitude to V2 and the V2 Popes is problematic.


The fruits of Vatican II are just what Fellay says they are. And people are tut-tutting like he is a nut job! Sure there are reactionaries in the SSPX, just like there are raving liberals in the Church who remain without as much as a comment. Being faithful does not mean blinding agreeing that every pope and every council are super. And Vatican II repeatedly was defined as pastoral versus dogmatic. Pastoral blunders, seems to me, are Rome's specialty. So excuse me if I don't share in the thinly disguised disdain of many here. The SSPX coming into the fold would hopefully introduce another and helpful orthodox cell into the Body, and I for one pray that reunion is accomplished. There liturgical habits certainly beat those found in the Diocese of L.A., to say nothing to catechesis.

Kevin C.

It has always struck me as strange that people seem to look at the state of the Church, with dissident theologians teaching at "Catholic" universities, atrocious liturgies, little to no acceptance on the part of the faithful of the Church's teachings on abortion, contraception, etc, etc, with such a narrow focus as to the causes of said behavior. I just don't think it is possible to point to the Council as the sole cause of this. Have the documents of the Council been misrepresented and misconstrued by some to further their agendas? Sure. Would we still have the issues we have without the Council? More than likely. The Church and her members do not live or operate in a vacuum, but live in the world (far too many are of the world, you might say). And while the Church has far-reaching influence in the world, Vatican II did not cause the 60s.

Has apostolic succesion been lost? No. Has the Petrine ministry been broken? No. Is the Church still guided by the Holy Spirit? Yes.

Carl E. Olson

Howard: I was speaking about objective "badness." Some folks (and this includes Scott, based on his remarks) believe that Vatican II was simply bad, period. For example, just last week a young convert who has been flirting heavily with the SSPX told me flatly: "There was nothing good about Vatican II." He believes that there is nothing good to be found in the documents of Vatican II. Nothing. Which means, to take up your analogy, that he believes the Council was bad music performed badly, not good music performed badly. I don't disagree with your two points, but I am talking about a particular attitude/belief that cannot be explained by those points. It may be, I should note in fairness, that Monsignor Fellay holds a different position; he seems to have expressed a variety of opinions on the matter.


Ah... my apologies, Carl, I missed the irony. Such are the perils of reading things online.


For once I'd like the devotees of "Vatican II" to redact its doctrinal teachings into a formula to which the SSPX could swear allegiance. It cannot be done by the Vatican, apart from formulations consistent with the "light of tradition". In which case, our friends at the National Catholic Reporter and most of the heirarchies of Europe, would balk at the Loyalty Test.

Carl E. Olson

For once I'd like the devotees of "Vatican II" to redact its doctrinal teachings into a formula to which the SSPX could swear allegiance.

How about the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has been rightly called the Catechism of Vatican II?

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

V2 is a child of the 20th century. It could not have happened in the 18th cent. The inveterate polarization of ideologies in the Church allows interpetrations that have given us the mess we are in now. Oversight was, quite often, absent. Wimpy Bishops allowed the existence and proliferation of, as an example, The Call to Action, etc.
Kevin C. says the Church did not create the 60's, but it was influenced, in some ways, by the product of such society at that time.
I think BXVI has the best interpretation of what the V2 left for us, and how we can learn from the Council.

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