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Archbishop Lefebvre signed every one of Vatican IIís documents
CNA ^ | January 13, 2009

Posted on 01/13/2009 1:03:00 PM PST by NYer

Rome, Jan 13, 2009 / 01:54 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who died in 1991 and was excommunicated for ordaining four bishops in 1988 without the Pope’s permission, did indeed sign every document of Vatican II—the same documents he would later harshly criticize, according to a recent article in the Italian magazine Panorama.

The article entitled, “In the Secret Heart of the Vatican,” written by Ignazio Ingrao, states that among the documents kept at the Vatican Secret Archives “are those of the Second Vatican Council, which unmasked an historic falsehood spread by the traditionalists,” led today by schismatic Bishop Bernard Fellay, who several months ago rejected a proposal by the Holy See to return to full communion with the Catholic Church.

“Marcel Lefebvre, the archbishop who contested the conciliar reforms and was excommunicated for having ordained four bishops without the Pope’s permission, in reality signed the documents of Vatican II with his own hand, beginning with the constitution Gaudium et Spes, which he later would harshly criticize,” Ingrao wrote in his article.

“The signature of Lefebvre appears at the bottom of the Council documents,” said historian Piero Doria of the Vatican Secret Archives, who helped Ingrao in the research.

In exclusive statements to CNA, Ingrao explained that this was “the first time a photographer and journalist were allowed to photograph and describe” the vast area “where letters relative to the two thousand year history of the Church are conserved.”

Ingrao also told CNA, “In reality, historians and experts already knew that Lefebvre had signed the Council documents. But many people were not aware of this, and traditionalist propaganda spread the belief that Lefebvre had always opposed the documents. The original copies of the Vatican II documents show the contrary and for many this has come as a surprise.”


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; lefebvre; sppx; vaticanii

1 posted on 01/13/2009 1:03:01 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
2 posted on 01/13/2009 1:03:53 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Sounds like the John Kerry of Bishops.

He supported Vatican II before he opposed it.


3 posted on 01/13/2009 1:05:48 PM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: WayneS

The documents were lengthy but pretty vague and insubstantial, and really didn’t present any threat in themselves. None of the post Vatican II liturgical abuses, ranging from getting rid of the communion rail to communion in the hand to the complete replacement of the old Mass, were contained in any documents. They were mostly actions by a contingent of radical clergy at the Vatican, on the one hand, or wild practical abuses, many of them starting in the US, that spread among the laity and clergy and were tacitly accepted because of the breakdown in authority after Vatican II.

Did the documents contain bad stuff? I attended many study sessions on them in the 1960s, like most Catholics my age, and they really didn’t contain much of anything at all. However, their very vagueness and lack of precision left the door open, and a lot of people had obviously been plotting for a long time on how to take advantage of this.


4 posted on 01/13/2009 1:16:42 PM PST by livius
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To: NYer

hypocrite?

or was he deceived in some way?


5 posted on 01/13/2009 1:42:39 PM PST by Coleus (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!)
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To: NYer

They are claiming Vatican II is tainted and invalid because Archbishop Lefebvre signed it?


6 posted on 01/13/2009 2:38:12 PM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: NYer

I don’t think anyone who is at all familiar with the SSPX and/or Abp. Lefebvre didn’t already know that he signed all the Vatican II documents.

The issue is what those documents actually mean, versus what they were later asserted to mean.

The SSPX is in imperfect communion with the Holy See, which is definitely a problem, and must be addressed as soon as possible. It should also be remembered that there are many parts of the “regular” Church in the cultural West (U.S., Europe, Australia, etc.) are at in at least as irregular a situation, when one considers what actually goes on at the average parish.


7 posted on 01/13/2009 2:42:15 PM PST by B Knotts (ConservatismCentral.com)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: B Knotts

Part of the problem is that those who want something done about his/her parish becoming “Happy Catholic”...

1. Have no clue what is needed
2. Are instantly shut down by those in power
3. Do not know the difference between an abuse and an innovation.

Example, the “Hands Extended” (orans) position used by the laity is an abuse. In the GIRM it is directed to the Priest and Deacon ONLY. Never even to an Altar Server. For the laity to use this, is an abuse.
However, holding hands is an innovation. This prayer position is never addressed in the GIRM and therefore people use it. In the Cleveland Diocese, they encouraged a “modified orans” (looks like a ‘stickup up’ gesture, I kid you not) so as to discourage handholding. It’s still wrong.

Reasonably, any one would think that if it is not mentioned in the GIRM it is not allowed (laying prostrate is not mentioned either nor BBQing in the choir loft), because the GIRM doesn’t mention what one cannot do (a huge catagory) but rather what one should do.

Therefore innovation took off.


9 posted on 01/13/2009 3:37:19 PM PST by netmilsmom (Psalm 109:8 - Let his days be few; and let another take his office)
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To: livius; Coleus
their very vagueness and lack of precision left the door open, and a lot of people had obviously been plotting for a long time on how to take advantage of this

Bingo! It was, as a result of their vagueness, that certain bihops and priests were able to introduce 'novelties' into the liturgy. This was not unique to the US but, as we have already seen, worldwide.

To cite an example, when I wrote the local diocese about my (then) pastor attempting to introduce liturgical dance into the liturgy, the Director for Divine Worship responded in favor of the pastor and quoted from a VCII document on 'multicularism'. After choking with laughter, I wrote her back citing Sacrosanctum Concilium and Canon law which states that catholics have a right to a valid liturgy. I won; they lost.

The victims of these shenanigans were pew catholics who never bothered to actually read the documents. They simply went along on the assumption the bishop would not delude them. For many years, I was one of them. Then I discovered this forum :-)

10 posted on 01/13/2009 4:06:44 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: B Knotts
The SSPX is in imperfect communion with the Holy See

"Imperfect communion"?! Do you deny that the SSPX is in schism?

It should also be remembered that there are many parts of the “regular” Church in the cultural West (U.S., Europe, Australia, etc.) are at in at least as irregular a situation, when one considers what actually goes on at the average parish.

"At in at least as irregular". Although I agree there are terrible abuses in some parishes which need to be addressed, surely you aren't attempting to draw some false equivocation between liturgical abuses and the schism of consecrating four bishops in defiance of the Pope? Are you part of the SSPX?

11 posted on 01/13/2009 4:15:05 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: nickcarraway
They are claiming Vatican II is tainted and invalid because Archbishop Lefebvre signed it?

No. As the article states: "traditionalist propaganda spread the belief that Lefebvre had always opposed the documents. The original copies of the Vatican II documents show the contrary and for many this has come as a surprise."

12 posted on 01/13/2009 4:16:27 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer
But if Archbishop Lefebvre signed it, will that lead everyone to question the legitimacy of Vatican II?


(Personally, I don't understand this: I had always heard from all sides that he had signed off on it.)

13 posted on 01/13/2009 4:24:07 PM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: nickcarraway
But if Archbishop Lefebvre signed it, will that lead everyone to question the legitimacy of Vatican II?

Of course not. He simply agreed with its contents NOT with its 'interpretation' by certain prelates.

14 posted on 01/13/2009 4:31:12 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: B Knotts

Good post. I wonder how the Church will look back on the leferbristswhateverists in 500 years.

Freegards


15 posted on 01/13/2009 4:31:54 PM PST by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed Says Keep the Faith!)
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To: livius
The documents were lengthy but pretty vague and insubstantial, and really didn’t present any threat in themselves. None of the post Vatican II liturgical abuses, ranging from getting rid of the communion rail to communion in the hand to the complete replacement of the old Mass, were contained in any documents. They were mostly actions by a contingent of radical clergy at the Vatican, on the one hand, or wild practical abuses, many of them starting in the US, that spread among the laity and clergy and were tacitly accepted because of the breakdown in authority after Vatican II.

Excellent Post!

I wish more people took the time to read some of Vatican II instead of finding fault with it.

Some of it rings true today almost as a sort of prophecy.

Like this...

From GAUDIUM ET SPES

Excerpt: 65. Economic development must remain under man's determination and must not be left to the judgment of a few men or groups possessing too much economic power or of the political community alone or of certain more powerful nations. It is necessary, on the contrary, that at every level the largest possible number of people and, when it is a question of international relations, all nations have an active share in directing that development. There is need as well of the coordination and fitting and harmonious combination of the spontaneous efforts of individuals and of free groups with the undertakings oœ public authorities.

Growth is not to be left solely to a kind of mechanical course of the economic activity of individuals, nor to the authority of government. For this reason, doctrines which obstruct the necessary reforms under the guise of a false liberty, and those which subordinate the basic rights of individual persons and groups to the collective organization of production must be shown to be erroneous.(4)

16 posted on 01/13/2009 4:34:12 PM PST by stfassisi (The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi))
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
Do you deny that the SSPX is in schism?

I'm not in any affiliated with the SSPX, but consider:

"The bishops, priests and faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics. It is Archbishop Lefebrve who has undertaken an illicit Episcopal consecration and therefore performed a schismatic act. It is for this reason that the Bishops consecrated by him have been suspended and excommunicated. The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated. They are not heretics." - Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, February 8, 2007, in the German Die Tagespost.
17 posted on 01/13/2009 4:34:22 PM PST by irishjuggler
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To: NYer
They simply went along on the assumption the bishop would not delude them.

That's very true. I often wondered how many bishops themselves had read the documents, though, or if they were simply relying on somebody else's creative interpretation of them. And then inevitably the interpretation took on a life of its own and nobody even thought of questioning it...

18 posted on 01/13/2009 4:39:06 PM PST by livius
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To: NYer; nickcarraway
"traditionalist propaganda spread the belief that Lefebvre had always opposed the documents. The original copies of the Vatican II documents show the contrary and for many this has come as a surprise."
That appears to be a made up thesis, evryone I know in the SSPX communities know that the Abp. signed all (save two) of the documents. The issue was the use by the heretical Modernists of the so called "Spirit of Vatican II" to suppress the Latin Mass and the Traditional elements of the faith in pursuit of a changed NewChurch.
19 posted on 01/13/2009 4:46:23 PM PST by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: NYer

Yes I had heard he signed all-—it has been the implementation of what almost all admit are vague and ambiguous critical areas of the documents that the Archbishop opposed

the current situation is a pity; if we had SP and all the recent changes 20+ years ago and no Assisi-I, we would not be in it, I don’t think


20 posted on 01/13/2009 4:57:39 PM PST by Piers-the-Ploughman (Just say no to circular firing squads.)
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To: WayneS

sort of like when the TLM was said to be abolished by the liberals, but then the Pope said it wasn’t

I don;t know the spirit which you made your judgment, but if seriously, it is unfair and has no context


21 posted on 01/13/2009 5:00:48 PM PST by Piers-the-Ploughman (Just say no to circular firing squads.)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
Do you deny that the SSPX is in schism? Pope Benedict(back to the time he was a cardinal) and Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos have repeatedly said the SSPX isn't in schism. I'm not willing to further than the Pope. Why are you? Being in schism has very specific meaning, it's not a term that should be thrown around lightly. The local parish in my town says that baptism is not necessary, and will only perform it in some cases, to "appease the grandparents." Should I consider them schismatic? Of course not.
22 posted on 01/13/2009 5:04:26 PM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: irishjuggler
The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated. They are not heretics.

I don't know anything about that cardinal or his authority on the topic, but regardless the statement is irrelevant. The question isn't whether the priests and lay people are heretics, but whether they are schismatics. I personally believe that anyone who would deny that the SSPX is in schism is either a fool or a liar, and this is exactly why their arguments and equivocations are always so weak. I am not interested in discussing this with them, however, since I would rather spend my ecumenical efforts in conversation with more intellectually honest protestants.

As Pope John Paul II said to the priests and laity of the SSPX:


23 posted on 01/13/2009 5:07:47 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
I don't know anything about that cardinal or his authority on the topic,

FWIW, he's the top cardinal at the pontifical Ecclesia Dei commission which handles relations with traditionalist (aka Latin Mass) Catholics, so his views aren't exactly irrelevant.
24 posted on 01/13/2009 5:12:42 PM PST by irishjuggler
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To: nickcarraway
Pope Benedict(back to the time he was a cardinal) and Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos have repeatedly said the SSPX isn't in schism.

Baloney. I really find this deceit to be offensive. Please see the 1988 Pope John Paul II quote and link in my post #23. Anyone who reads that and is still in doubt about the schismatic state of the SSPX is lying to themselves. Again, I'm not interested in wasting time debating self-deluded liars.

25 posted on 01/13/2009 5:18:32 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Ronaldus Magnus

You just called Pope Benedict and Cardinal Hoyos fools and liars.


26 posted on 01/13/2009 5:35:51 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: NYer

The liturgical innovations are but a part of the controversy. The bigger point for SSPX, especially now that the Traditional Mass is defended by Rome itself, is the Vatican II ecclesiology that they view as too ecumenical and problematic.


27 posted on 01/13/2009 5:39:18 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus; irishjuggler; annalex; nickcarraway; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; ...
April 10, 2007
Cardinal Castrillón: SSPX not in schism
Catholics who attend SSPX masses not schismatic
By Brian Mershon

From the March 31 issue of The Remnant

Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has repeatedly affirmed that the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is not a case of formal schism on at least five separate occasions in public interviews, as recently as March 17 and over the past 2-1/2 years. Msgr. Camille Perl, long-time secretary for the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), has repeatedly affirmed in personal letters that such Catholics incur no penalty and no sin for merely fulfilling one's Sunday obligation at a church or chapel served by the SSPX.

"Signs of the Times" Show SSPX Not Schismatic

The primary question this article will attempt to answer, through a reading of "the signs of the times" as the Second Vatican Council encouraged us to do, is what the present attitude and position of the Church is, as viewed through many recent articles and correspondence from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), and particularly, Cardinal Castrillón.

Are Catholics who attend SSPX chapels out of necessity truly attempting to be "more Catholic than the pope?"

Cardinal Castrillón's most recent interview with an Italian journalist published on March 17, 2007, repeats this affirmation that while there may be a danger of schism and/or heresy for some priests and bishops within the SSPX, theirs is not a formal schism.

Cardinal Castrillón: Church Esteems Fruitful Life of Archbishop Lefebvre

Catholic journalist Simone Ortolani published this most recent interview on the Nihil Obstat Catholic website. His Eminence re-emphasized that the motu proprio easing restrictions on the Traditional Latin Mass was with the pope for his action, just as Msgr. Michael Schmitz of the Institute of Christ the King said in two recent interviews. Ortolani asked Cardinal Castrillón if Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre would be rehabilitated by the Church. Cardinal Castrillón's response follows:

Cardinal Castrillón, in his capacity as PCED president, has recently rehabilitated priests formerly associated with the SSPX and a few of which were ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre. Along with the September 8, 2006 regularization of the Institute of the Good Shepherd in France, and in the same spirit as Archbishop Lefebvre and the current pope, the priests are charged with the freedom to completed an analysis, study and constructive criticism of the theology of the Second Vatican Council documents in the light of Tradition.

Schismatic Actions but not Formal Schism

Later in the March 17 interview, Cardinal Castrillón affirmed once again publicly, "The Fraternity of St. Pius X is not a consolidated schism per se, but its history has included some schismatic actions..." The Cardinal continues to explain the illegal consecration of bishops against the express will of the Holy Father and further warns about the danger of schism, and schism leading to heresy and vice versa, according to St. Jerome.

"I know there are in the Fraternity people filled with good will," Cardinal Castrillón said. "The Superior General, His Excellency, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has in the past years persevered in dialogue."

Pope awaits SSPX with "Open Arms"

He continued, "I hope the open arms of Pope Benedict XVI will be understood as a kairos, an opportune moment, and pacifying the consciences of the faithful and of the lay people, a full effective and affective unity of the Fraternity with the Church and the vicar of Christ will be reached."

Once again, His Eminence confirmed the SSPX is not in formal schism, but that there may be a danger of schism leading to heresy and vice versa within the movement without full canonical regularization, and that Pope Benedict XVI has "open arms" to welcoming the SSPX into full canonical regularization within the Church.

SSPX Bishops and Priests not Schismatics

In a much overlooked and little discussed interview published February 8, 2007, in the German Die Tagespost, Cardinal Castrillón said he rejected the term and idea of "ecumenism" from within the Church as a reasoning behind the continuing discussions and open communications with the leadership of the SSPX. Specifically, he said the following:

Again, it bears repeating. The president of the PCED, Cardinal Castrillón has repeatedly stated in at least five separate public interviews in Catholic and secular media that the lay faithful and priests of the SSPX are not schismatics nor in formal schism.

Catholic Laymen Incur No Penalty

Following this quote in the German interview, Cardinal Castrillón emphasized again what he said in the March 17 interview, his fearing the possibility of schism and heresy, quoting St. Jerome. However, the fact remains that the lay faithful who attend SSPX masses to fulfill their Sunday obligation are not sinning nor incurring any canonical penalty by doing so.

In a February interview for the Argentinian Panorama Católico Internacional and first appearing in El Catolicismo, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Bogotá, Colombia, while explaining the mission of the PCED, Cardinal Castrillón said, "We take care of those who did not wish to follow Archbishop Lefebvre — which is not exactly a schism."

And further, in explaining the current status of the SSPX, Cardinal Castrillón said, "The Saint Pius X associations are in a process of reinsertion with permanent visits and a correspondence which asks for the ancient rite." He added, "They are 500 priests and 600,000 faithful, a growing number, with monasteries and seminaries, some of them full."

PCED Shifts its Course

The PCED is the Holy See's curial organization responsible for relationships with traditionalist Catholics and relations with the SSPX bishops and priests. Although it is currently not of the same canonical status as that of a curial Congregation, it is evident that the language, tone and word choice of the PCED has moderated significantly since the promulgation of the Ecclesia Dei Adflicta document of July 1988, and even more profoundly after the initial meeting of Bishop Bernard Fellay and Cardinal Castrillón with Pope John Paul II in December 2000, during the year of the Jubilee in Rome.

It is important to note that in nearly every instance of personal correspondence with the PCED by Catholics, Msgr. Perl, the secretary, has affirmed the right of Catholics to attend SSPX chapels and masses with no spiritual sin, nor canonical penalty attached. Correspondence of such matters from the PCED or a curial congregation can be acted upon by Catholics with a clear conscience of moral certitude.

Danger of Heresy and Schism Greatest Where?

Of course, Msgr. Perl has always emphasized that the PCED does not, and cannot, encourage long-term attendance at SSPX chapels due to what it calls the danger of potential schism, as Cardinal Castrillón emphasized as his fear in his two most recent interviews.

However, to ensure a fair and balanced picture, in many dioceses and parishes in the U.S. Catholic Church today, the danger of becoming a heretic and/or schismatic is often greater by repeatedly attending many of those churches and masses with priests who are technically within full canonical communion — de jure, but not de facto.

So, while in individual circumstances at some SSPX chapels, there may be some closet sedevacantist or schismatic laymen, which Msgr. Perl and Cardinal Castrillón rightly warn us about, this same warning should be issued and emphasized for the greater establishment Church worldwide where dissident priests and bishops roam around unchecked by the Holy See, "seeking the ruin of souls."

In 2001, after a meeting between Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX Superior General, and two of the three other SSPX bishops with Cardinal Castrillón, Bishop Fellay said that the Cardinal had told him that he found them to be "neither heretics nor schismatics."

First Sign of "No Formal Schism"

Shortly after his March 13, 2004 meeting with Cardinal Castrillón during a visit to Rome, Una Voce International (FIUV) President Ralf Siebenbürger was the first to publicly relay this new attitude in the officialdom of Catholicism that they considered the SSPX priests and bishops not to be in formal schism. Siebenbürger said the following regarding the FIUV delegation meeting with the President of the PCED, Cardinal Castrillón:

What is particularly interesting is that this supposed private conversation between the FIUV president and the PCED president was circulated widely on the internet prior to being expunged from nearly every public site. Reportedly, some within the FIUV hierarchy and the PCED were not at all enamored by this widely circulated report, and ended up eventually being one of the primary reasons for the short-lived FIUV presidency of Ralf Siebenbürger. Of course, Cardinal Castrillón has since confirmed publicly on numerous occasions, especially recently, these same facts regarding the SSPX not being in formal schism.

Groundbreaking 30 Days Interview

In a 30 Days interview appearing soon after Bishop Fellay's August 29, 2005 meeting with the Holy Father, Cardinal Castrillón again confirmed that the SSPX situation was not a matter of formal heresy, but one of canonical regularization. In answer to a question about the historical situation leading up to the August 2005 meeting, Cardinal Castrillón said, "Unfortunately Monsignor Lefebvre went ahead with the consecration and hence the situation of separation came about, even if it was not a formal schism." Although the cardinal does continue to affirm the original Ecclesia Dei Adflicta motu proprio by Pope John Paul II that Archbishop Lefebvre ordained four bishops without a papal mandate, he is careful to add the caveat that it was not a "formal schism."

Later in the same 30 Days interview, he affirmed that the case of the reconciliation of St. John Maria Vianney priests in Campos, Brazil, was a much different situation, hence a formal schism, than that of the SSPX: "There the situation was very different, because while the Saint Pius X Fraternity is an unrecognized association, served by bishops who declare themselves "auxiliaries," in Brazil instead Bishop Castro Mayer when he renounced the diocese, was followed by 50 or so priests who in fact maintained a parallel organization to the diocese."

Again, this is a reaffirmation that the Cardinal and the Holy See recognize that the bishops of the SSPX do not claim any specific jurisdiction and are canonically auxiliary bishops, ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre in what he believed to be "a state of emergency," to administer the sacraments and catechize the lay faithful in the traditional manner prior to the post-conciliar upheaval and chaos. In other words, the Cardinal acknowledged again in a public interview that the SSPX bishops and priests were not in formal schism, even if they continue to be in a canonically irregular situation.

Cardinal Castrillón Declares SSPX not in Schism on Italian TV

Shortly after the publication of the 30 Days interview, Cardinal Castrillón was interviewed on Italian television channel 5, November 13, 2005 regarding the status of the SSPX. In this interview, the Cardinal said the following:

Church Clarification to "Adherence to the Schism"

On September 29, 2006, some news regarding a PCED ruling for the Archdiocese of Salzburg was posted at http://www.musicasacra.com/blog/archive/2006_09_01_sacredmusic_archive.html, which is a web blog dedicated to the restoration of sacred music.

While never making its way into the mainstream secular or Catholic media, this announcement in the official Gazette of the Archdiocese of Salzburg contained an English translation from the Verordnungsblatt der Erzdioezese Salzburg no. 5 (5 May 2006) page 85, with the headline "Priestly Fraternity of St Pius X : Information."

Relevant parts of the extended text, shown below, include the following regarding the proper attitude of dioceses and parish priests regarding baptisms administered by priests of the SSPX.

Laymen Who Attend SSPX "Catholic Faithful" Per PCED

The communication to the Archdiocese of Salzburg came from the PCED with a brief history and outline of the facts concerning how the Holy See views the canonical situation of the SSPX:

From the Archiepiscopal Chancery, on 10 May 2006. Protocol number 579/06.

According to the author of this website, several months earlier the same Chancery Office in Salzburg (in the Verordnungsblatt 2006, page 126) had published an edict according to which persons baptized by an SSPX priest were considered to be "non-Roman Catholic Christians," who in the event of marriage to a Catholic, were to be treated as though they were entering a "mixed marriage."

It is clear from the contents of the official communiqué issued by the PCED for the Archdiocese of Salzburg that those lay faithful who attend SSPX chapels and have their children baptized there are Catholics in good standing who should be treated as such by the Archdiocese.

Because this new edict was published publicly after a specific communication from the PCED, it may be regarded as the official view of the Holy See regarding the status of Catholics baptized at SSPX chapels by SSPX priests or SSPX priest "friends" who serve SSPX chapels.

Extra SSPX Nulla Salus

Perhaps the most interesting nugget emanating from this PCED official communiqué is this apparent further updated interpretation and clarification of the original meaning from the Ecclesia Dei Adflicta document of this sentence: "Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offense against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church's law."

I should make clear to readers that I am no canon lawyer and have no canonical education nor training. However, it seems evident that the official Salzburg communiqué further defines the canonical meaning of "formal adherence to the schism," which of course, the PCED president admits is no longer truly a formal schism.

This "adhering to the schism" would include only Catholics who hold as a belief that "only those of the faithful who see the SSPX as the only true church, and who make this visible externally, incur the penalty of excommunication," as stated by the PCED.

In other words, if a Catholic makes visible in his writings or in his external verbal speech, that he adheres to extra SSPX nulla salus at the exclusion of the rest of the visible Church, or perhaps parades around in public with a placard on his body demonstrating in the streets stating the same, then he is indeed schismatic and incurs excommunication.

The objective juridical penalties incurred by the priests and bishops of the SSPX are of a different magnitude and canonical stature, so it is difficult to simply apply this directive to them. However, it can be reasonably concluded that the vast majority of priests and bishops of the SSPX do not adhere to extra SSPX nulla salus as a dogma of Faith, which would incur the penalty of excommunication and formal schism.

German Priest & Professor: Bishops & Church Reject Communion with SSPX

The respected German canonist Dr. Georg May, professor emeritus of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, summarized the irony shown above in a January 12, 2003 letter, when he wrote: "The SSPX is not schismatic because she neither rejects the subordination to the Roman Pontiff nor rejects the communion with the bishops (can. 751)." And the explicit irony is found in the immediate following statement where Prof. Georg said, "Rather, the latter reject communion with the Society."

Prof. Georg was the Professor of Canon Law, Law of Church-State Relations and Canonical HIstory from 1960 to 1994 at Mainz University. He has been a well-respected priest for more than 40 years in the Archdiocese of Mainz. The Professor's conclusions appear to be consistent with those of the Holy See as expressed in numerous public interviews and written correspondence emanating from the PCED, specifically Cardinal Castrillón and Msgr. Camille Perl, president and secretary of the commission.

  1. The SSPX is not schismatic, because she neither rejects the subordination to the Roman Pope nor rejects the communion with the bishops (can. 751). Rather the latter reject communion with the Society.

  2. Because the Society is not schismatic, its members are not excommunicated. Both are untrue allegations, made by those, whom the reflective mirror presented to them by the Society irritates.

  3. Absolutely nobody incurs any punishment by attending the masses of the Society. Of course one can fulfill one's Sunday obligation by attending a Sunday mass in a chapel or church of the Society. Whoever alleges otherwise, reveals that he merely fears concurrence.

Traditionalist Catholic Parents Obey the Church & "Signs of the Times"

Traditionalist Catholic parents merely desire to adhere to the dogmas, doctrines, liturgy and devotional practices of the Church of all time. Traditionalist Catholics understand that we must obey the authentic magisterium in matters of faith and morals, but even moreso, we understand the importance of bringing our children up with full access to the traditional devotions, music, architecture and liturgical patrimony of the Church in this culture of death. And many Catholic parents have begun to recognize that the establishment Church, in many ways (most recently with the forced participation in even "conservative" dioceses, so-called, of sex education, sex abuse programs designed by dissident priests and the homosexual education establishment) is not only not aiding them in combating this culture of life, but is often even serving as a roadblock to grace for them and their children. In such cases, the Church recognizes "the salvation of souls" is the highest good, and Catholic parents must rely upon their well-formed Catholic consciences to guide them in making these many individual decisions for their families.

Of course Catholic parents want to adhere to, and be obedient to the doctrines and legitimate juridical documents to which we are required to assent, that are issued by the Holy See and our bishops. We strive to be "as Catholic as the pope" and all the saints and fathers and doctors of the Church, whom rely upon for spiritual sustenance, as well as prayer and the traditional sacraments.

And finally, we strive not to be "more Catholic than the pope," but only as Catholic as God's grace and our cooperation will allow us to be according to our states in life.

Most of all, we want to provide a safe haven for the spiritual growth of our children and grandchildren. And increasingly, as the Holy See has recognized, this "safe haven" is often found outside of the normal visible means of walking to our neighboring parish church.

By recognizing the plain words of Cardinal Castrillón and Msgr. Perl that the Church allows Catholics to fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending SSPX chapels, if necessary, for our sanctify and peace of mind, we are being obedient sons to the Church and being not "more Catholic than the pope," but actually living our lives in the heart and soul of the Church.

© Brian Mershon

28 posted on 01/13/2009 5:45:20 PM PST by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
Although I agree there are terrible abuses in some parishes which need to be addressed, surely you aren't attempting to draw some false equivocation between liturgical abuses and the schism of consecrating four bishops in defiance of the Pope? Are you part of the SSPX?

No, I am not part of the SSPX, and only very occasionally even assist at a Traditional Latin Mass. I am a member of a ordinary parish which leans a bit conservative, perhaps. What I am saying is that the substance of disobedience at many American parishes goes far beyond liturgical abuse; there is widespread disobedience of papal and magisterial authority in at least some areas (e.g., how many persons involved in parish ministries or even chancery employees disregard moral teachings on contraception, homosexual unions or the male priesthood). That is why I place it in the same category as the SSPX disobedience. It may actually be more serious, considering the subject matter. I am challenging people to think about it in the same light.

FYI, the SSPX is not necessarily "in schism"; that is why I used the term that I used. They are certainly in imperfect communion with the Pope, however, which is still a very serious problem.

29 posted on 01/13/2009 6:07:40 PM PST by B Knotts (ConservatismCentral.com)
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To: narses
http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/4.6/lefebvre.htm

My Journey out of the Lefebvre Schism
All Tradition Leads to Rome

By Pete Vere, JCL/M (Canon Law)

If you’re a Catholic who’s faithful to the Church’s teaching Magisterium, you’ve probably met up with followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s 1988 schism, known as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). They’re filled with devotion to the Blessed Mother, extremely conservative with regard to most moral issues afflicting the Western world today, and quite reverent before the Blessed Sacrament during their old Latin liturgies. In short, on the surface, adherents to Archbishop Lefebvre’s schism appear to be devout Catholics

It’s easy to sympathize with these folks since most of them have joined the SSPX after being scandalized by contemporary abuses in doctrine and liturgy in some of our Catholic churches in North America. In fact, it was precisely because of such sympathies, as well as the beauty of the Tridentine Mass, that I found myself frequenting SSPX chapels about eight years ago. Like most SSPX adherents, at the time I thought that my separation from Rome was merely temporary.

I failed to realize, however, that at the root of every schism, as the present Code of Canon Law explains, “is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him” (Can. 751). Such ruptures from communion with the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, “wound the unity of Christ’s Body” (CCC 817). For that reason, at the heart of my journey back to full communion with Rome lay many questions about the unity of the Church as an institution founded by Christ.

What follows is a practical reflection on questions concerning Catholic Tradition that troubled my conscience during my sojourn in the SSPX schism. The answers to these questions eventually led me to conclude that Sacred Tradition can only be fully actualized in communion with Rome. My conclusions draw upon eight years of personal experience within the Traditionalist Movement — the last five after being reconciled to Rome. In addition, during the last two years I’ve pursued a licentiate in canon law from the Church, studies that have culminated in the publication of a major research paper entitled “A Canonical History of Archbishop Lefebvre’s Schism.” Here’s a brief account of what I learned that led to my reconciliation with Rome.

Who Was Archbishop Lefebvre?
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was ordained a Spiritan Missionary and later became the first Archbishop of Dakar, Africa. In this capacity he founded many missionary dioceses in Africa, and in fact under Pope Pius XII he was appointed the papal legate to French-speaking Africa.

Before retiring in Rome just after the Second Vatican Council, he also served as Superior General of Spiritan Missionaries.

Certain problems, however, began to arise in the French seminaries during this time, and many young seminarians became disenchanted by the confusion that had arisen within their program of formation. Thus they approached Archbishop Lefebvre in 1970 and coaxed him out of retirement in Rome. Concerned with the lack of discipline that had overtaken many French seminaries and the many doctrinal weaknesses in the formation program of seminarians, in 1969 Lefebvre founded a House of Studies, which soon evolved into both a seminary and his Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

Both these institutions received canonical approval on an experimental basis near Econe, Switzerland. However, Lefebvre’s continued use of the Tridentine Mass eventually became an issue with the Vatican. By 1974 the controversy had become so heated that Lefebvre made a famous declaration within Traditionalist circles calling into question the validity and orthodoxy of the Second Vatican Council.
Finding this declaration problematical, Pope Paul VI canonically suppressed the SSPX and its seminary in 1975. Yet Lefebvre ignored the canonical suppression and began illicitly ordaining his seminarians to holy orders, an action which led to the suspension of his faculties later on in the same year. Over the next thirteen years, Lefebvre continued to operate illicitly and expand the SSPX, while negotiations continued on and off again with Rome.

Relations between Rome and the SSPX remained rather static until May 5, 1988. On this day, agreement was finally reached between the SSPX and Rome, reconciling the SSPX to the Church. The protocol agreement was signed by both Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Lefebvre. Neverthless, a few days afterwards, Archbishop Lefebvre retracted his signature and announced his intention to consecrate bishops without Rome’s permission.

On June 30, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre proceeded with this intention in violation of canon law, incurring an automatic excommunication under the law. The following day, Cardinal Bernadin Gantin of the Congregation of Bishops declared Lefebvre’s excommunication. In a papal motu proprio on July 2, 1988, the Holy Father John Paul II also confirmed Lefebvre’s excommunication for schism and for having consecrated bishops despite the Holy See’s warnings not to do so.

Sadly, Lefebvre passed away in Econe in March of 1991, without having formally reconciled with the Church. Today, the SSPX includes approximately four hundred priests in over twenty-seven countries representing all five continents. Most estimates place the number of adherents to Archbishop Lefebvre’s schism at the one million mark.

Pope St. Pius V and Quo Primum Tempore
The first argument I ever encountered by an SSPX apologist, in fact the very argument that led me into their schism, was a citation of Pope St. Pius V’s sixteenth-century papal bull Quo Primum Tempore. In a nutshell, the SSPX proponent claimed that St. Pius V promulgated the Tridentine Mass in perpetuity, meaning for all time. The SSPX claimed — and I found the claim convincing at the time — that every priest has the right to use the Roman Missal codified by St. Pius V in Quo Primum Tempore, and that this right cannot be taken away from him.

As I later discovered, however, the problem with the Quo Primum Tempore argument is a failure to take into account canonical Tradition. First, this argument does not distinguish between the doctrine and the discipline of the Catholic Church. Yet that distinction is critical.

Briefly put, a dogma is a doctrine the Church declares with certitude to be infallible. Take, for example, the dogma of the Blessed Mother’s assumption into heaven. Pope Pius XII didn’t suddenly declare it as a new truth in 1950 that Mary was assumed into heaven; this truth, after all, had come into existence nearly two millennia before when Mary was assumed. Rather, the pope declared this dogma because the Church had come to know for certain Mary that was assumed into heaven.

At the root of every schism, as the present Code of Canon Law explains, “is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church
subject to him” (Can. 751). Such ruptures from communion with the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, “wound the unity of Christ’s Body.”

At that point, our Lady’s assumption was thus no longer a matter of theological speculation for Catholics. Once declared, a dogma must be believed by the Catholic faithful, and cannot be reneged upon — although the Church may always clarify her understanding of a dogma.

A mere discipline of the Faith, on the other hand, is a law, a custom or practice originating from the Church as a means of safeguarding the good order of the Church. To establish ecclesiastical discipline, the Church must ask herself: What is the most practical way of protecting the doctrine of the Church here and now?

Consequently, discipline is subject to change depending upon the present needs of the Church. Furthermore, mere disciplines of the Faith need not be applied in the same manner throughout the entire Church, and they may always be dispensed from, since the pastoral needs of one particular grouping of the faithful may differ from the pastoral needs of another. For example, the discipline of celibacy is imposed upon Catholic priests in the Latin Church, whereas this discipline is optional for Catholic priests in the Eastern Catholic churches.

Through this insight I first came to see the weakness of the SSPX’s claims. If Quo Primum Tempore had indeed been promulgated as a dogmatic declaration, then the SSPX would be correct in stating that every priest and bishop has a right in perpetuity to use the Tridentine Missal codified by St. Pius V. Nevertheless, within the very text of Quo Primum Tempore stood a clause by St. Pius V granting an exception to the declaration: All priests and bishops who said Mass using liturgical missals more than two hundred years old were not obliged to use this codified version of the Roman Missal. So even from the beginning of its promulgation, Quo Primum Tempore never applied to every Catholic priest.

From this fact alone I was able to draw the conclusion that Quo Primum Tempore was merely disciplinary rather than dogmatic in nature. For a dogmatic definition, by its very nature, binds the entire Church, while Quo Primum Tempore contains exceptions among the Catholic faithful in its application. Thus I was forced to conclude that the document could be legally changed or revoked by a future Roman Pontiff such as Pope Paul VI.

Yet even if this were not the case, and future Roman Pontiffs were forbidden from reforming the Missal codified by St. Pius V, I couldn’t deny that this papal bull merely granted the right to celebrate Mass according to the Tridentine Missal. Quo Primum Tempore did not extend the right to bishops — upon their own authority and against the expressed wishes of the Roman Pontiff — to ordain priests and consecrate bishops as Archbishop Lefebvre had done. In other words, using a certain liturgical Missal to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not the same action as consecrating bishops without permission of the Roman Pontiff; even if one consecrates bishops in order to provide a source of ordination for priests who will say the Tridentine liturgy.

A State of Necessity?
The second point raised by the SSPX in defense of their schism that initially convinced me of their position was based upon canons 1323:4° and 1324 §1:5° of the present Code of Canon Law — the canons pertaining to state of necessity. According to these canons, in an emergency situation, certain laws of the Church that normally apply cease to do so. Under such conditions, a penalty that can be attached to the transgression of the law will either be lessened or cease to apply completely.

For example, normally a priest must be in good standing with the Church and have permission from his bishop before hearing confessions. However, if an excommunicated priest came across a car accident on the side of the road, and found a seriously injured Catholic party, the Catholic Church would automatically provide the excommunicated priest with the power of hearing the injured person’s confession, as long as a serious danger of death existed. In other words, the Church does not punish, because of the crime of a priest, an injured person in desperate need of absolution; for it’s more important that the Church absolve the penitent’s sin in danger of death than it is to enforce the priest’s punishment. Therefore, under the state of necessity canons mentioned above, the Church allows exceptions to many of her laws in certain unforeseen circumstances.

Archbishop Lefebvre insisted that his irregular consecration of bishops without Rome’s permission was carried out in a state of necessity. However, the Holy See foresaw the situation in which the archbishop found himself before he consecrated the bishops, yet still denied him permission to proceed with such an action. As Cardinal Gantin, on behalf of the Holy See, wrote in a letter to Lefebvre dated June 17, 1988: “Since . . . you stated that you intended to ordain four priests to the episcopate without having obtained the mandate of the Supreme Pontiff as required by canon 1013 of the Code of Canon Law, I myself convey to you this public canonical warning, confirming that if you should carry out your intention as stated above, you yourself and also the bishops ordained by you shall incur ipso facto [by that very fact] excommunication latae sententiae [imposed automatically] reserved to the Apostolic See in accordance with canon 1382.”

A mere discipline of the Faith, is a law, a custom or practice originating from the Church as a means of safeguarding the good order of the Church.
To establish ecclesiastical
discipline, the Church must ask herself: What is the most practical way of protecting the doctrine of the Church
here and now?



In essence, the Holy See did not agree with Lefebvre’s analysis of the situation in the Catholic Church, namely that a sufficient emergency existed to warrant the consecration of bishops without Rome’s approval. This is an important point in resolving the dispute between Archbishop Lefebvre and Pope John Paul II, for where there exists a difference in interpreting the application of canon law, canon 16 states clearly: “Laws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic interpretation.”

In Lefebvre’s situation, he knew in advance that his interpretation of canon law in this case was not acceptable to the Roman Pontiff, who is the highest legislator. So even though Lefebvre disagreed with the Roman Pontiff’s interpretation of canon law, it nevertheless remained up to Pope John Paul II to interpret that law authoritatively. Therefore, because the idea of a state of necessity in Lefebvre’s circumstances was rejected by Pope John Paul II, I came to realize that I could not legitimately invoke the state of necessity canons in defense of Lefebvre’s consecration of bishops without Rome’s permission.

The Novus Ordo Missae: Intrinsically Evil?
A common argument now put forward by the SSPX is that the revised liturgy of Pope Paul VI is intrinsically evil, or at the least poses a proximate danger to the Catholic faith. This would mean that the post-Vatican II liturgy is in and of itself contrary to the law of God. How individual Lefebvrites approach this issue will often vary, but they typically insist that the new Mass contains heresy, blasphemy or ambiguity. In resolving this question, I came to the personal conclusion that Christ has a sense of humor, since the same text from Catholic Tradition the SSPX quotes in defense of this claim is the very text that refutes it.

A preliminary observation is in order. The Mass has not changed since Christ instituted this sacrament on the night before His crucifixion. In essence, there is neither an “old” Mass nor a “new” Mass, but only the Mass. In fact what changed after the Second Vatican Council was not the Mass, but the liturgy.

This means that while the “accidents” (to use a classical theological term) differ somewhat between the pre-Vatican II liturgy and the reformed liturgy of Pope Paul VI, their essence remains the same: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ transubstantiated into the Eucharist. This central mystery of the Mass takes place regardless of whether the priest celebrates according to the liturgical books in use before the Second Vatican Council or according to the liturgical books revised by Pope Paul VI. In fact, both sets of liturgical books are usages of the same Roman liturgical rite.

When I was associated with the SSPX, to defend the claim that the reformed liturgy is intrinsically evil I used to quote the seventh canon on the Sacrifice of the Mass from the Council of Trent. This canon states: “If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of Masses are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema.”

Let’s look at this more closely. Since the definition of intrinsic evil is “something which in and of itself is evil,” we see from the Council of Trent that an approved liturgy of the Church cannot be such. For something that is intrinsically evil is naturally an incentive to impiety, while the Council of Trent declares dogmatically that the approved liturgical ceremonies of the Catholic Church cannot be incentives to impiety.

But wait a second: Wasn’t the revised liturgy of Pope Paul VI an approved liturgy of the Church? Of course! So according to the Tradition of the Church as dogmatically defined at the Ecumenical Council of Trent, I could only conclude that the reformed liturgy of Pope Paul VI cannot be an incentive to impiety. It necessarily follows, then, that neither could it be intrinsically evil. Thus in my defense of the schismatic position I stood refuted by the very Catholic Tradition from the Council of Trent that I was seeking to preserve through adherence to the SSPX schism.

Illicit Consecration of Bishops: An Act of Schism?
One argument commonly presented within SSPX circles is that the act of consecrating bishops without papal permission is an act of disobedience, but not an act of schism. Although I didn’t give much thought to this argument, either before or after my involvement in the SSPX, nevertheless it should be addressed because it’s frequently made among schismatic ranks. The SSPX folks generally claim that they have not withdrawn subjection to the Roman Pontiff. Rather, they refuse obedience in some matters.

We should reiterate here that canon 752 defines schism as “the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” Notice that the canon does not distinguish between degrees of withdrawal of submission to the Roman Pontiff. In other words, a person need not completely withdraw submission to the Roman Pontiff to enter into a state of schism. Rather, partial withdrawal of obedience in certain matters — and consecrating bishops without papal mandate is a serious matter — remains an act through which a person withdraws submission to the Roman Pontiff. In short, the Holy Father told Archbishop Lefebvre not to consecrate bishops without Rome’s permission, and Archbishop Lefebvre refused to submit.

I never paid this argument much attention during my time in the SSPX chapels. But afterward I realized that the SSPX claim — that they haven’t withdrawn submission to the Roman Pontiff, but rather have merely temporarily suspended their obedience to him in certain matters — could not be sustained by Catholic Tradition. For such an act of disobedience in a serious matter remains at least a temporary withdrawal of submission to the Roman Pontiff. Therefore, with sufficient moral certitude I could only conclude that Archbishop Lefebvre’s act of consecrating bishops against Pope John Paul II’s stated wishes was an act of schism according to canon law.

A person need not completely withdraw submission to the Roman Pontiff to enter into a state of schism. Rather, partial withdrawal of obedience in certain matters - and consecrating bishops without papal mandate is
a serious matter - remains anact through which a person withdraws submission to the Roman Pontiff. In short, the Holy Father told Archbishop Lefebvre not to consecrate bishops without Rome’s permission, and Archbishop Lefebvre refused to submit.

Pope Liberius
Probably the most common claim I came across within SSPX circles was the claim that Pope Liberius (reigned A.D. 352-366) was a heretic, sympathetic to Arianism, who falsely excommunicated St. Athanasius. For this reason, the SSPX claims, Pope Liberius became the first pope in the history of the Church not be recognized as a saint. Of course, by analogy the SSPX considers Archbishop Lefebvre a modern St. Athanasius and Pope John Paul II a modern Pope Liberius.

Their argument is that if it happened once, it can happen again. And yet, as our Lord showed me in a rather amusing fashion, such claims have little basis in Catholic Tradition.

Convinced the SSPX claims pertaining to this situation were true, I was reading my copy of Henri Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma one day when I noticed that Denzinger listed Pope Liberius as “St. Liberius.” To say I was surprised would be an understatement — ironically enough, the SSPX had sold me the particular edition of Denzinger I was reading, since they held all subsequent editions as suspect. Yet this portion of Denzinger clearly did not accord with what was being preached from our local SSPX pulpit. So I simply dismissed this listing as a probable typesetting error and continued reading.

A mere ten pages later, I came across a papal epistle authored by Pope St. Anastasius subtitled “The Orthodoxy of Pope Liberius.” In it, Pope St. Anastasius clearly states: “The heretical African faction [of the Arian heresy] was not able by any deception to introduce its baseness because, as we believe, our God provided that that holy and untarnished faith be not contaminated through any vicious blasphemy of slanderous men — that faith which had been discussed and defended at the meeting of the synod of Nicea by the holy men and bishops now placed in the resting place of the saints” (see art. 93 of the thirtieth edition).

So far, so good; God had clearly preserved the Church from Arianism through the actions and prayer of holy men. But who were these holy men, and how does this relate to Pope Liberius? I wondered. To my surprise, Pope St. Anastasius answered the question in the subsequent paragraph this way: “For this faith those who were then esteemed as holy bishops gladly endured exile, that is . . . Liberius, bishop of the Roman Church.”

I was stunned by this pope’s answer, for clearly there was a contradiction here: Was I to believe Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers as the authentic teaching from Catholic Tradition? Or was I to believe the teaching of Anastasius in his papal epistle Dat mihi plurimum — the claim of one who was a saint, a pope, and a writer much closer to the time the Arian heresy took place? When my local SSPX priest failed to provide an adequate solution for this quandary, I could only accept the claim of Pope St. Anastasius as the authentic voice of Catholic Tradition.

Traditional Rome vs. Modernist Rome
The question of Rome eventually weighed in on my conscience, as it should for anyone who leaves the Church. Given what Catholic Tradition consistently teaches concerning faithfulness to Rome, how could I justify my separation from the Roman Pontiff? In fact, even five years after reconciling myself to Rome, the question of communion with Rome and the local Bishop remains the catalyst for much of my theological and canonical exploration.

While I was with the SSPX, however, I accepted their solution to this problem. The SSPX claimed that the questionable behavior of the post-Vatican II popes had divided the faithful into two camps. One camp, the institutional Church, was faithful to contemporary Rome, which the SSPX claims has been infiltrated by modernists and liberals. In the other camp rests the SSPX, who naturally are faithful to Traditional Rome.

Nevertheless, I was unable to deceive my conscience. So I kept wondering whether Catholic Tradition actually sustained the argument that a Catholic could be faithful to Traditional Rome, without remaining faithful to temporal Rome.

“Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in You,” remarks St. Augustine at the opening of his Confessions. My heart was spiritually restless because it didn’t rest in full communion with Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church. Yet Christ also promises us in the Gospels that if we seek the truth, we will find it (see Matt. 7:7).

In my case, the truth lay in the back room of my parents’ basement. There I found an abandoned box full of old papal encyclicals left over from my father’s college days. At the bottom of this box was Pope Pius XII’s masterful papal encyclical Mystici Corporis.

Curious as to the content, I immediately opened this work to the following passage: “We think, how grievously they err who arbitrarily claim that the Church is something hidden and invisible, as they also do who look upon her as a mere human institution possessing a certain disciplinary code and external ritual, but lacking power to communicate supernatural life” (par. 64). This theological discovery from Catholic Tradition as expressed by the pre-Vatican II popes astounded me even more than my previous St. Anastasius discovery in Denzinger.

Here, from the Church’s Tradition, was the teaching that we cannot separate the Church into a mere spiritual communion as opposed to a mere human institution. In short, the Rome of Tradition and the Rome of Today were the same Rome. Everything suddenly made sense to me about Catholic ecclesiology. Just as at the Incarnation Christ was fully human and fully divine, without sacrificing either nature, so too must the Church, as Christ’s Mystical Body, be a perfect union of the visible and the invisible.

I remembered that St. Paul had asked somewhere in his epistles the question “Is Christ divided?” (see 1 Cor. 1:13). Of course, the answer was no. Therefore, why in the name of Catholic Tradition was I dividing Christ’s Mystical Body into a spiritual communion and a human communion?

Furthermore, in frequenting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass outside the visible communion of the Church, why was I dividing Christ’s Sacramental Body (Body, Soul and Divinity) in the Eucharist from Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church? For didn’t expressions such as “Body of Christ” and “Communion” carry this double meaning: the first sacramental, meaning the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and the second ecclesiological, meaning the sacred unity of the Church?

Captivated by these questions forming in my conscience, I kept reading Mystici Corporis and came across the following section:

But we must not think that He rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. . . . Since He was all-wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. . . . That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same (par. 40).

Of course, I said to myself; the Roman Pontiff and Jesus Christ form but one head of the Catholic Church. The word “tradition,” which I recalled from so many homilies in SSPX chapels, comes from the Latin verb tradere, which means “to hand down.” Ultimately, I reasoned, there must be a source from which Tradition was first passed down, and that source is Jesus Christ. In the end I realized that Tradition is a Person — the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who incarnated Himself in the womb of an immaculately conceived Virgin.

As Christ and His vicar constitute but one Head of the Church, then the voice of Tradition must speak through St. Peter and his lawful successors in the Roman Primacy. Therefore, I had to make a choice to follow Catholic Tradition and embrace the Rock upon whom Christ founded His Mystical Body here and now.

Like the prodigal son, I realized my error in following Archbishop Lefebvre into schism, and I was now making my way home to Holy Mother Church. Through his generous papal indult in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, John Paul II was exactly like the father in Christ’s parable: He was living up to his title “Pope,” which means “Father,” by welcoming into the Church his Traditionalist sons and daughters who in 1988 had followed Archbishop Lefebvre out of the vineyard of authentic Catholic Tradition.

Was Archbishop Lefebvre Excommunicated?
The last argument I consistently came across within SSPX circles is more of a technical one that never affected my decision to reconcile with the Church. In fact, I myself never thought about researching an answer to this question, but rather stumbled across the answer accidentally while researching my thesis. Even so, the argument is made often enough to deserve mention. It’s the claim that the Church never actually excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre, but rather informed him that he was automatically excommunicated by virtue of canon law itself.

The Church can excommunicate an individual in two ways. The first is by means of latae sententiae excommunication. This means that the offender is automatically excommunicated by virtue of the law itself, and thus the sentence need not be imposed by a judge within the Church. However, in order for such an excommunication to be enforced by canon law, a legitimate Church authority must still declare that the excommunication has taken place.

The second method of imposing an excommunication is by ferendae sententiae. This refers to the decision of a judge in a Church tribunal.

Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated by virtue of the law, and not by any penalty imposed by a judge. However, Lefebvre’s apologists fail to note in making this argument that his excommunication was subsequently declared by the Church. Cardinal Gantin, in a decree from the Congregation for Bishops dated July 1, 1988, declared on behalf of the Church the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre as follows:

Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning of 17 June last and the repeated appeals to desist from his intention, has performed a schismatic act by the episcopal consecration of four priests, without pontifical mandate and contrary to the will of the Supreme Pontiff, and has therefore incurred the penalty envisaged by Canon 1364, paragraph 1, and canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. . . . Having taken account of all the juridical effects, I declare that the above-mentioned Archbishop Lefebvre, and Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta have incurred ipso facto excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.

Without getting into all the canonical particulars, we can nevertheless clearly establish in this statement that the Church has excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre. Rome has clearly spoken as the voice of Catholic Tradition, and thus the case is now closed.

The Substance of Catholic Tradition
In my journey back to the Church, through the grace of God I’ve been led from the mere “accidents” of Catholic Tradition to the substance of Catholic Tradition. Although I enjoy the reformed liturgy of Pope Paul VI, which I now recognize as the normative liturgy of the Latin Church, I’m as firmly committed to preservation of the 1962 liturgical missal today as I was during my time in the Lefebvre movement. However, I realize that our liturgical tradition as Catholics cannot be preserved apart from John Paul II and all the other legitimate successors of St. Peter. For his voice is the voice of Catholic Tradition in the Church today — a Tradition that has been passed down to him by Christ and the Apostles.

Cleck here to View Envoy's "Canon Law 101" for explanations of of some of the terms in this article

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30 posted on 01/13/2009 6:32:54 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: B Knotts
That is why I place it in the same category as the SSPX disobedience. It may actually be more serious, considering the subject matter. I am challenging people to think about it in the same light.

As a former Protestant, I feel that I have a better understand the true costs of schism and a clearer view of its destructive nature than most of the cradle Catholics I know, particular more that these duplicitous and self-deceiving Lefebvrists and their defenders. They do far more damage than they know, to themselves, to others, and to Christ's True Church. The heartfelt plea of Pope John Paul II which I copied into my post #23 is really all they and their defenders should need to see.

31 posted on 01/13/2009 6:42:34 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Ronaldus Magnus

So Vere has an opinion, so what? The opinion of the Church hierarchy differs. Your slurs and calumnies are similar to Vere’s here before he got banned, as I recall. Are you Peter returned?


32 posted on 01/13/2009 6:52:21 PM PST by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: NYer

bumpus ad summum


33 posted on 01/13/2009 9:22:25 PM PST by Dajjal (Obama is an Ericksonian NLP hypnotist.)
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To: irishjuggler
The SSPX and its adherents (not casual Mass attendees thrilling themselves by the naughtiness of their attendance at SSPX cult Masses) were declared schismatic and excommunicated by POPE John Paul II. That ruling was never reversed by JP II nor by B-XVI. Castrillon de Hoyos simply lacks the authority to countermand papal rulings. No one in genuine authority ever called the SSPXers heretics. Castrillon de Hoyos is simply raising a strawman on that subject.

Mr. Mershon's career as a journalist continues to plunge so that he is now relegated to the pages of The Remnant. Next stop will probably be the Angelus (house organ of SSPX).

When Tridentine Masses are again generally available at Churches in communion with their territorial bishops and with the Holy See, the SSPX cult will claim credit but SSPX and its persistent rebellion against papal authority has been the stumbling block in the way of a return to genuine Tradition. Anyone tempted to regard SSPX as Catholic should review the vituperation against the Roman Catholic Church that spews from the vile mouths of Bishop de Mallerais and of Bishop Williamson.

Bell, book, candle, stake, ropes and fire. Sayonara to the cult.

34 posted on 01/13/2009 10:50:54 PM PST by BlackElk (Dean of Discipline of the Tomas de Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus

They are wrong. You are right. Persist and may God bless that persistence.


35 posted on 01/13/2009 10:58:52 PM PST by BlackElk (Dean of Discipline of the Tomas de Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: Piers-the-Ploughman

That’s me!

Unfair and without context!

Oh, and also a smarta$$.

It was a joke.

;^)


36 posted on 01/14/2009 5:02:17 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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