Skip to comments.SSPX Agreement Reneged on by Lefebvre
Posted on 08/25/2004 1:51:22 PM PDT by Mershon
THE PROTOCOL AGREEMENT OF THE VATICAN AND ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE
Signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on May 5, 1988
I, Marcel Lefebvre, archbishop-bishop emeritus of Tulle, along with the members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, which I founded:
1. We promise always to be faithful to the Catholic Church and to the Roman Pontiff, its supreme pastor, the vicar of Christ, successor of blessed Peter in his primacy and head of the body of bishops.
2. We declare that we will accept the doctrine contained in No. 25 of the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium" on the ecclesiastical magisterium and the adherence owed it.
3. Regarding certain points taught by the Second Vatican Council or concerning subsequent reforms of the liturgy and law which appear difficult to reconcile with tradition, we commit ourselves to a positive attitude of study and of communication with the Apostolic See, avoiding all polemics.
4. We declare moreover that we will recognize the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and of the sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does and according to the rites in the typical editions of the missal and rituals of the sacraments promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.
5. Last, we promise to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, particularly those contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II, except for the special discipline conceded to the fraternity by particular law.
II. JURIDICAL QUESTIONS
Taking into consideration the fact that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X has been formed for 18 years as a society of common life - and based on a study of suggestions by Archbishop Lefebvre and the conclusions of the visit made by His Eminence Cardinal Gagnon - the most suitable canonical model is that of a society of apostolic life.
1. Society of Apostolic Life.
It is a canonically possible solution, with the advantage of the possibility of bringing laity into the clerical society of apostolic life (for example, coadjutor brothers).
According to the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, Canons 731-746, this society has full autonomy, can form its members, can incardinate priests and assures the common life of all its members.
In its own statutes, with flexibility and creative possibility in the light of the known models of these societies of apostolic life, one anticipates a certain exemption in regard to diocesan bishops (cf. Canon 591) in what concerns public worship, the 'cura animarum' and other apostolic activities, taking into consideration Canons 679-683. As for jurisdiction regarding the faithful who seek out the priests of the society, it will be conferred on them by the local ordinaries or by the Apostolic See.
2. Roman Commission.
A commission to coordinate relations among the diverse dicasteries and the diocesan bishops as well as to resolve eventual problems and contentions will be established by the Holy See and given the necessary faculties to treat the above-indicated questions (for example, the establishment at the request of the faithful of a place of worship in a place where there is no house of the society, 'ad mentem,' Canon 383.2).
3. Condition of People Linked to the Society.
3.1 The members of the clerical society of apostolic life (priests and coadjutor lay brothers): They are governed by the statutes of the society of pontifical right.
3.2 Men and women oblates, with or without private vows, and members of the Third Order linked to the society: They belong to an association of the faithful linked to the society in terms of Canon 303, and they collaborate with it.
3.3 The sisters (that is, the congregation founded by Archbishop Lefebvre) who make public vows: They will constitute a true institute of consecrated life, with its own structure and autonomy, even if one foresees a certain link for the unity of spirituality with the superior of the society. This congregation - at least at the beginning - will be responsible to the Roman Commission instead of the Congregation for Religious.
3.4 Members of communities living by the rule of diverse religious institutes (Carmelites, Benedictines, Dominicans, etc.) and morally linked with the society: It is fitting to accord them, case by case, a particular status regulating their relations with their respective order.
3.5 Priests who as individuals are morally linked with the fraternity will receive a personal status, taking into account their aspirations, and, at the same time, the obligations resulting from their incardination. Other particular cases of this kind will be examined and resolved by the Roman commission.
In what concerns lay people who seek the pastoral help of the society's communities: They remain under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishops but - notably for the liturgical rites of the society's communities - can look to these communities for the administration of the sacraments (for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and marriage, notification of their own parish remains necessary; canons 878, 896, 1122).
NOTE: There is reason to consider the particular complexity:
1. Of the question of the reception by the laity of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, marriage, in the communities of the society.
2. Of the question of communities practicing - without being connected to them - the rule of this or that religious institute.
It is for the Roman commission to resolve these items.
For ordinations, it is necessary to distinguish two phases:
4.1 Immediately: For the ordinations planned shortly, Archbishop Lefebvre would be authorized to confer them or, if he couldn't, another bishop agreed to by him.
4.2 Once established, the society of apostolic life:
4.2.1 When possible, in the judgment of the Superior General, follows the normal procedure: remitting the dimissorial letters to a bishop who agrees to ordain members of the society.
4.2.2 Because of the particular situation of the fraternity (cf. infra): ordination by a bishop of the society who, among other tasks, would have that of proceeding with ordinations.
5. Problem of a Bishop.
5.1 At the doctrinal level (ecclesiological), the guarantee of stability and maintenance of the life and activity of the society is assured by its erection as a society of apostolic life of pontifical right and approval of its statutes by the Holy Father.
5.2 But, for practical and psychological reasons, the consecration of a bishop member of the society appears useful. This is why, in the context of the doctrinal and canonical solution of the reconciliation, we will suggest to the Holy Father that he name a bishop chosen in the society, proposed by Archbishop Lefebvre. As a consequence of the principle indicated above (5.1), this bishop is not normally superior general of the society. But it would be good that he be a member of the Roman commission.
6. Particular Problems to Resolve by Decree or Declaration.
-- Lifting the 'suspensio a divinis' of Archbishop Lefebvre and dispensing the irregularities incurred through ordinations.
Anticipation of an "amnesty" and an agreement for the society's houses and places of worship erected -- or used -- until now without authorization by bishops
Most Holy Father...
Being radically opposed to this destruction of our Faith and determined to remain within the traditional doctrine and discipline of the Church, especially as far as the formation of priests and the religious life is concerned, we find ourselves in the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace our concerns and will help us to protect ourselves against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi.
That is why we are asking for several bishops chosen from within Catholic Tradition, and for a majority of the members on the projected Roman Commission for Tradition, in order to protect ourselves against all compromise.
Given the refusal to consider our requests, and it being evident that the purpose of this reconciliation is not at all the same in the eyes of the Holy See as it is in our eyes, we believe it preferable to wait for times more propitious for the return of Rome to Tradition. That is why we shall give ourselves the means to carry on the work which Providence has entrusted to us, being assured by His Eminence Cardinal Ratzinger's letter of May 30th that the episcopal consecration is not contrary to the will of the Holy See, since it was granted for August 15th...
+ Marcel Lefebvre
The good archbishop has been proven right on target.
St. Catherine of Siena wrote to Barnabas, Viscount Lord of Milan: "He is insane who rises or acts contrary to this Vicar who holds the keys of the blood of Christ crucified. Even if he was a demon incarnate, I should not raise my head against him, but always grovel and ask for the blood out of mercy. And dont pay attention to what the demon proposes to you and you propose under the color of virtue, that is to say to want to do justice against evil pastors regarding their fault. Dont trust the demon: dont try to do justice about what does not concern you. God wants neither you nor anyone else to set themselves up as a righter of the wrongs of His ministers. He reserves judgment to Himself, and He reserves it to His Vicar; and if the Vicar does not do justice, we should wait for the punishment and correction on the part of the sovereign judge, God Eternal." (Letters, Vol. I. Letter No. 28).
... today I am convinced that there are those in your ranks who no longer have the true faith in the authentic Tradition of the Church; those who, without a conversion caused by the Holy Spirit, will return with difficulty to unity, it seems to me. (Letter of Cardinal Hoyos to Bishop Fellay, April 2002)
***Even if he was a demon incarnate, I should not raise my head against him***
"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy." - Gal. 2
Paul doesn't seem to value the "shut up and take it" attitude as much as Catherine does.
***God wants neither you nor anyone else to set themselves up as a righter of the wrongs of His ministers.***
Hogwash! Biblical history is full of men who God called to stand up and denounce the "religious authorities" of the day. God doesn't value position and title. He is a holy God and makes to deals with devils - even if they call themselves Vicar.
That selective quote does not do justice to Catherine of Siena. St. Catherine chastised Popes for sins and weaknesses. She told one of them that following him would lead to damnation.
St. Paul was an Apostle, "his equal as regards the defense of the faith" (St. Thomas, II-II q. 33 a. 4), and he was opposing St. Peter's private conduct.
The Church has no power to change the form of her government, nor to control the destiny of him who, once validly elected, is no vicar of hers but Vicar of Christ. Consequently she has no power to punish or depose her head. She is born to obey. This truth may seem hard, but the best theologians have never attenuated it; rather, they have accentuated it. To make us aware of all that we ought to be ready to suffer for the Church, of how much heroism she can ask of us, they have proposed extreme cases. They have supposed a Pope who shall scandalise the Church by the gravest sins; they have supposed him to be incorrigible; and then they ask whether the Church can depose him. Their answer is, no. For no one on earth can touch the Pope.
In his Summa de Ecclesia (lib. II, cap. cvi) Cardinal Turrecremata pointed out several remedies for such a calamity: respectful admonitions, direct resistance to bad acts, and so forth. All these could, of course, prove useless.
There remains a supreme resource, never useless, terrible sometimes as death, as secret as love. This is prayer, the resource of the saints. "See that I do not have to complain of you to Jesus crucified," wrote Catherine of Siena to Pope Gregory XI; "there is none other to whom I can appeal, since you have no superiors on earth." And again, a little earlier in the same letter: "Take care, as you value your life, that you commit no negligence."
... Is not the fervent prayer of an individual soul who asks such things for himself, already efficacious and infallible? If then the salvation of the Church demands that such and such a Pope should be removed, then undoubtedly the prayer we have mentioned will remove him. And if it be not necessary, why question the goodness of the Lord, who refuses what we wish and gives us what we ought to prefer? (Journet, Church of the Word Incarnate, VIII, III, 4, D)
***Consequently she has no power to punish or depose her head. She is born to obey.***
If you have no power to judge the rightness of wrongness of the Pope, but to simply obey they you have forfeited the gift of God, the basic human freedom of conscience.
"Take heed that no man deceive you."
Jesus puts the principle of personal judgement and conscience on a higher plain that obedience to "authority". Your quotes seem to indicate you put uncritical obediance to authority on a higher place.
Let's say the Pope comes out and says, "It's ok to worship other gods". It seems your position would preclude you from regecting that teaching - because the Pope is the ultimate authority (higher than the Bible). My position would be, "What this man is saying is against the scriptures and is an attempt to deceive me. This is something Jesus warned me might happen, so I reject him and his deception."
***For no one on earth can touch the Pope.***
This goes against a basic scriptural principle that "God is no respecter of persons" or better stated as, "God has no favorites who can get away with evil."
Paul gives his readers a rare insight into his opinion of "authorities" (actually the entire Apostolic Counsel of the early Church) when he said...
"Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. ... And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me."
I want to bring your attention to:
"from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)"
Archbishop Lefebvre did more than I ever would've done in the same position.
"St. Paul was an Apostle, "his equal as regards the defense of the faith" (St. Thomas, II-II q. 33 a. 4), and he was opposing St. Peter's private conduct."
St. Paul was not an Apostle; his fans tried to re-invent him as one.
The Magisterium of the Church is not to be given the assent owed to it? (#2) The approved rites of the Church are invalid? (#4) Her "spotless" (Mystici Corporis Christi, 66) laws, unworthy of respect? (#5)
in particular #3. What a joke.
The idea that this agreement is "harassing" is silly - it's extremely generous - the SSPX don't even have to retract their errors.
***I have to disagree with you here***
That would be easy if those were the only verses in the Bible that touchged on the topic --- but they are not.
Jesus didn't consider all the Pharisees to in their position through God. John the Baptist publically rebuked them saying...
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
Jesus himself said of the Pharisees...
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! ... Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"
(By the way, have you ever read that entire chapter? [Matt 23] I find it amazing anyone would use it to justify protecting evil religious authorities.)
And don't forget what God commanded Jeremiah to write regarding prophet who claim to speak in the name of God...
"And the LORD said to me: "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds." - Jer 14
"Your prophets have seen for you
false and deceptive visions;
they have not exposed your iniquity
to restore your fortunes,
but have seen for you oracles
that are false and misleading." Lam 2
***Jesus specifically said to honor those in religious authority over us by doing what they tell us to do, even when they do wrong***
Jesus said, "Let no man deceive you"
He didn't exclude men who happen to be in the Church. No, he said watch for deceivers - both inside and outside the Church.
In the scenario you posit (a Pope unambiguously denying the sinfulness of idolatry or any other article of faith), the proper thing to do would be to remonstrate with him privately (or perhaps publicly? St. Thomas II-II q. 33 a. 4 "if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly"). If he, having been shown that his opinion was contrary to the teaching of the Church, refused to retract, he would most certainly commit the sin of heresy. When this crime became notoriously public, he, having ipso facto fallen from the Christian state, would also fall from the Apostolic See, being deposed by God, and the Cardinals would proceed to elect a new Pope. Such a thing seems quite unlikely to me, however - "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Lk 22:32) seems to rule out the occurrence of such a thing.
If we were to posit an error which did not deny any of the articles of faith, the Holy Spirit would ensure that the entire Church did not give internal assent to the error and it would be corrected before it became the traditional teaching of the Holy See. (cf. F.A. Sullivan, De Ecclesia I: Quaestiones Theologiae Fundamentalis, p. 350).
But in the case of sinfulness on the part of the Pontiff, the Church has no right to judge, nor can his personal defects be alleged as an excuse for not obeying lawful commands.
You said #2 was absurd: "We declare that we will accept the doctrine contained in No. 25 of the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution, 'Lumen Gentium' on the ecclesiastical magisterium and the adherence owed it."
Nor did I say that. And so forth down the line.
You said "We declare moreover that we will recognize the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and of the sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does and according to the rites in the typical editions of the missal and rituals of the sacraments promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II." was absurd. What's absurd about it?
I'm not sure which exact error you are referring to, so if you could, say which one you have in mind.
The denial of the doctrine of the Declaration on Religious Liberty.