Skip to comments.Traditionalist Catholic priestly society (SSPX) well acquainted with new pope
Posted on 05/13/2005 1:15:36 PM PDT by NYer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For all its disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church - and the list is long - the Society of St. Pius X has always maintained its loyalty to the papacy.
Now, with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the ultra-traditionalist priestly society - considered a breakaway group by the Vatican - sees "a gleam of hope" that the changes wrought by the Second Vatican Council will be undone.
One Catholic scholar doubts that will happen, though - especially given that the last time the society dealt with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was trying to persuade its founder to accept those changes.
"To try to reconcile the traditionalists with the church would be an implicit rejection of Vatican II, and that's not going to happen," said William Dinges, associate professor of theology and religious studies at the Catholic University of America.
The Society of St. Pius X, founded in Switzerland in 1969 and first recognized by the Vatican in 1970, maintains its American headquarters in Kansas City. The movement, named for the pope who wrote against modernism in a 1907 encyclical, claims between 1 million and 2 million lay adherents worldwide, 20,000 to 30,000 in the United States.
The society's Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, welcomed Ratzinger's election in a statement issued April 19 from the society's international headquarters in Menzingen, Switzerland.
The statement, which appears on the society's American and international Web sites, said Fellay "sees there a gleam of hope that we may find a way out of the profound crisis which is shaking the Catholic Church, of which some aspects have been spoken of by the former Head for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
A subsequent statement reiterates the order's loyalty to Benedict.
A lay secretary in Kansas City, who asked that his name not be used because of the society's rules, said the society would have no comment beyond anything published on the society's Web sites and in its newsletters.
"He knows who we are, and we know who he is," the secretary said of Benedict.
The Society of St. Pius X's profession of loyalty to the pope sets it apart from most other traditionalist movements, who either consider the position vacant or have elected "popes" of their own.
A former society seminarian, David Allan Bawden, has claimed to be "Pope Michael I" since 1990 and maintains his "Vatican in Exile" in Delia, Kan., about 90 minutes west of Kansas City.
Still, even a cursory review of the Society of Saint Pius X's positions shows how deep the divide runs between it and the post-Vatican II church.
The order's late founder, French-born Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, publicly rejected the church's new Mass, which replaced the 16th-century Tridentine Mass in 1971.
The new Mass may be celebrated in any language, while the Tridentine rite is celebrated only in Latin.
There are other differences: In the Tridentine Mass, the priest faces the altar - away from worshippers - and communion is given only in the mouth, never in the hand. There are no lay readers or communion servers.
The Society of St. Pius also opposes the Vatican's efforts to reach out to Orthodox and Protestant Christians and other religions. One statement on its Web site defends the Inquisition, while another expresses support for capital punishment.
The Vatican banned the Tridentine rite from 1971 to 1984, although Lefebre's followers and other traditionalist groups continued to use it. In 1984, Pope John Paul II said the Tridentine rite could be used in special circumstances.
The Society of St. Pius X dismissed the Vatican's move as a ploy to undermine traditionalists. Still, more than three dozen of the society's priests and seminarians did leave in 1988 to reconcile with the Vatican and form the Fraternity of St. Peter, which emphasizes the Tridentine Mass.
Lefebvre was suspended by Pope Paul VI in 1976, along with his newly ordained priests, and excommunicated in 1988 after consecrating four bishops - also excommunicated, along with a Catholic bishop who supported Lefebvre - against Pope John Paul II's orders.
Several months earlier, the archbishop and Ratzinger signed a protocol that made reconciliation with the Vatican seem imminent, but Lefebvre rejected the accord over a clause that gave Vatican representatives the majority on a commission to settle differences in interpretation of Vatican II documents.
He and his followers' excommunication is considered the church's first major schism since the "Old Catholics" broke from the Vatican after its proclamation of the doctrine of papal infallibility in 1870. The society denies a schism exists, however, saying Lefebvre's disobedience was necessary to deal with a crisis in the church and did not constitute an outright rejection of the pope's authority.
The Society of St. Pius X also contends that as a cardinal, Benedict agreed in principle in 1988 that the order had the right to ordain priests and bishops for service to the larger church.
However, in a 1986 letter, Ratzinger insisted that Lefebvre accept the reforms of Vatican II, "the texts of which are magisterial and enjoy the highest doctrinal authority."
And there, Dinges said, lies the stumbling block for traditionalists.
"The society is intransigent on the liturgy issue and the (Vatican) council issue," he said. "Those are two - in my mind - insurmountable issues to any long-term reconciliation."
ON THE NET
U.S. site: http://www.sspx.org
International site: http://www.fsspx.org
Society's international news site: http://www.dici.org
"More things change, more they remain the same" ... old French adage.
Time will tell. There has been a stumble or two, even three on the way up that hill.
I do not know if Pope Benedict XVI will normalize things, but Hope is a virtue and so I hope but I do not expect. It may be the Pope after this one that corrects things. I am content to wait till then.
Bump for reading later.
I think Pope B16 will at least passively bring back the TLM. If the TLM is "liberated" from its current constraints and simply allowed to co-exist with the NO (not as a separate rite, but as a "mainstream" occurrence in Catholics churches everywhere), then the TLM will experience exponential growth ipso facto. In time, the NO will be depopulated for two reasons: the V2 generation dies off, and the younger ones are continually drawn to the TLM.
So, a passive undertaking rather than an overt restoration may be what has to happen. Of course, his strategy may be exactly what I suppose and/or he may "traditionalize" the NO, which would also be a good thing.
Oh the horror.
I am not a student of this disagreement but it seems that the Vatican has offered an apostolic adminisitration, no?
Doesn't that mean SSPX could go and set up anywhere? It's not all what they want, but it's a good start. Let their works shine forth, and the rest will come in the Lord's time. Archbishop L signed VII documents and celebrated if briefly and rarely the NO. He signed the 1988 agreement.
Why not accept it, be officially inside, and not be subjected to the smears of heretics?
Now let's see if the four SSPX Popes decide it's time to become Bishops again.
Oh wait, I forgot.
They were waiting for a different outcome.
One that went something like this:
"Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Christum.
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Lefebvrii Primi!"
Even then, there would probably be something wrong with Jesus' choice of a coat-of-arms.
I don't disagree with your thinking generally, but would note that the Society of St John Vianney, in Campos, Brazil, which did accept the apostolic administration proffered by Rome (by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, of the Ecclesia Dei Commission), has found that it cannot in fact operate anywhere in Brazil except in the Diocese of Campos. I understand that this was NOT the original understanding of the deal by the SSJV, that in fact they thought they would have the right to operate (and say the TLM) anywhere in Brazil, but this was quite rapidly denied them AFTER their reconciliation with Rome. Thus more fuel for the fire for those in the SSPX who didn't (and probably still don't) trust those in authority in Rome.
Perhaps there will be more favorable developments under our current Holy Father, however. We can hope and pray (a lot) for that, as the reconciliation of the SSPX would be a great help in the (correct) renewal of the Church that I am sure our Pope wants very much.
Talk about spin city.
On what, I'd like to know, does the SSPX disagree with the Roman Catholic Church? AFAIK, they only disagree with the modernist heretic bishops, whose actions were roundly condemned by Catholic magisteria.
The Latin Mass, for starters. They do not recognize the post Vatican Council II liturgy. Like it or not, it's here to stay.
Go to Our Lady's Warriors website and look at what they (very orthodox) say about the SSPX
I believe that time is of the essence. The longer we wait, the more souls may be lost through relativism, and the gap widened so much that the past may not even be remembered, much less desired.
Why go to "Our Lady's Warriors"? MegaSilver just said she didn't want "spin city". OLW say right on their website they are just a couple of lay people, although people quote and refer to them like they have some kind of authority. Their opinion is as authoritative as mine. Ah, the new Lay Magisterium.
Why not go to the horses mouth, the SSPX website? (after all megasilver did ask what it is that the "SSPX disagrees with" not what OLW thinks they do.:
FWIW, it also has many other categories other than dissent, for example, Canon Law.
such an excellent job of listing dissenters (including elected government officials who are CINOs)
On what, I'd like to know, does the SSPX disagree with the Roman Catholic Church?
Now, had MegaSilver asked, "On what, I'd like to know, does the SSPX disagree with the Roman Catholic Church, according to OLWs?" that would be a different story.