Thursday, July 31, 2008

Worry is Wicked: On the SSPX and Divine Providence

By Brian Kopp

Years ago I was talking to a patient about the vagaries of life, health, family and friends. A Christian woman of the Brethren denomination, she stated flatly, "Worry is Wicked!" By way of explanation, she quoted Matthew 6:27-29:

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."

Worry to her was simply evidence of a lack of faith, hope, and trust in the Lord, and therefore, to her, worrying was a sinful preoccupation. That viewpoint may have been a bit extreme, but I am convinced that worry, i.e., a lack of abandonment to Divine Providence, plays a pivotal role in the anger and impatience of many within the SSPX fold.

One of the best explanations of Divine Providence from a truly Catholic perspective comes from Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (He may be better known among traditional Catholics for his steadfast opposition to the nouvelle théologie.) In his book, Providence, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange summarizes Self-Abandonment To Providence (emphasis added):

Why we should abandon ourselves to divine providence

The answer of every Christian will be that the reason lies in the wisdom and goodness of Providence. This is very true; nevertheless, if we are to have a proper understanding of the subject, if we are to avoid the error of the Quietists in renouncing more or less the virtue of hope and the struggle necessary for salvation, if we are to avoid also the other extreme of disquiet, precipitation, and a feverish, fruitless agitation, it is expedient for us to lay down four principles already somewhat accessible to natural reason and clearly set forth in revelation as found in Scripture. These principles underlying the true doctrine of self-abandonment, also bring out the motive inspiring it.


These first three principles may therefore be summed up in this way: Nothing comes to pass but God has foreseen it, willed it or at least permitted it. He wills nothing, permits nothing, unless for the manifestation of His goodness and infinite perfections, for the glory of His Son, and the welfare of those that love Him. In view of these three principles, it is evident that our trust in Providence cannot be too childlike, too steadfast. Indeed, we may go further and say that this trust in Providence should be blind as is our faith, the object of which is those mysteries that are non-evident and unseen (fides est de non visis) for we are certain beforehand that Providence is directing all things infallibly to a good purpose, and we are more convinced of the rectitude of His designs than we are of the best of our own intentions. Therefore, in abandoning ourselves to God, all we have to fear is that our submission will not be wholehearted enough. [54]

In view of Quietism, however, this last sentence obliges us to lay down a fourth principle no less certain than the principles that have preceded. The principle is, that obviously self-abandonment does not dispense us from doing everything in our power to fulfil God's will as made known in the commandments and counsels, and in the events of life; but so long as we have the sincere desire to carry out His will thus made known from day to day, we can and indeed we must abandon ourselves for the rest to the divine will of good pleasure, no matter how mysterious it may be, and thus avoid a useless disquiet and mere agitation. [55]

...All theologians explain what is meant by the divine will as expressed: expressed, that is, in the commandments, in the spirit underlying the counsels, and in the events of life. [56] They add that, while conforming ourselves to His expressed will, [57] we must abandon ourselves to His divine will of good pleasure, however mysterious it may be, for we are certain beforehand that in its holiness it wills nothing, permits nothing, unless for a good purpose.

"...a useless disquiet, precipitation, and a feverish, fruitless agitation..."

Is it fair to say that we traditional Catholics are often guilty of this latter extreme? Does not our righteous anger at the injustices of the past 40 years often decay into unjust anger, bitterness, and impatience?

Fr. Zuhlsdorf, in his emphases and comments on the recent Angelus interview with SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson, notes:

Williamson: Had the Archbishop not consecrated? We would have seen some other marvel of the Lord God to ensure that the Faith and the Church continued. [An interesting observation. In other words they did not have to defy the Vicar of Christ, and persist in defiance. I think when people offer the argument that had Archbp. Lefevbre and the SSPX not done what they did, then we would not have the older Mass today, we should reject that premise, or at least scrutinize it closely.] There can be no doubt that the bishops of the SSPX have in fact made possible the continuance of the SSPX as one bulwark of the Faith in difficult times, but the Lord God’s arm is not shortened by the wickedness of men. [True!]

Q: Do you see the situation with Rome as more or less encouraging after these past 20 years?

Williamson: I am afraid the situation with Rome is still more discouraging than 20 years ago. [One would not think so, unless one has an abiding problem with the person of Papa Ratzinger. Perhaps the abiding problems is, in this case, fear. Williamson would not be capable of "winning" an argument with Papa if it really came down to the serious doctrinal dialogue the SSPX claim they desire. So, perhaps constantly kicking sand at the eyes of the "summits" is their best strategy right now.] As Our Lord says in one of His parables, “Some enemy hath done this.” Some enemy, very clever and cleverly hidden, is at work. [A diabolical conspiracy. Still, I find it ironic that he cites a verse from Scripture which Augustine used when refuting the theological positions of the Donatists, who set up altar against altar, defied legitimate Catholic authority, and believed in a Church of the pure only. Ironic.] Notwithstanding, the Lord God is in control. [For someone who makes statements about abandonment to divine providence, there sure is an extreme need to be in control, isn’t there?]
Williamson: The most important development of the last 20 years would seem to me to be no one event in particular, but rather the advance on every front of evil in general. We are surrounded. [I want to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but a close read might suggest to some that he has just including the election of Benedict XVI and the issuing of the Motu Proprio as part of the "advance of evil". I get the impression that this fellow thinks that the MP was a Trojan Horse. Bp. "Cassandra" is therefore warning against any close dealings with the "false Rome" or those at "the summits".] Humanly, we are going under. [Is there a bit of a dualism behind this statement?] But God is God! [Again the reference to divine providence.]
Fr. Zuhlsdorf makes an important point here. Bishop Williamson and other SSPX members routinely make reference to divine providence, but seem to be living the (non-scriptural) adage that "The Lord helps those who help themselves."

Dr. Brian Sudlow's recent post, Confessions of a Nobody or why I quit the SSPX milieu, examines what he views as the primary error of the SSPX theses:

...I began to recognise the one error that ran through all the SSPX theses: a kind of privatisation of judgment. I’ll say it again: they live by a privatisation of judgment in their canonical, theological and liturgical life which leads them into an autonomous situation with regard to these three areas of ecclesial life. It is well meant. It is an instinct of self preservation. It seems to be the most logical and the most effective means of keeping the faith in a time of serious disintegration. But it is, nevertheless, a line of thought and conduct which is self-authenticating.

Can this self-authenticating privatisation of judgment in canonical, theological and liturgical life be reconciled with the demands of Self-Abandonment To Providence?

Looking back to Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, we read:

These are the principles underlying the doctrine of trusting self-abandonment. Accepted as they are by all theologians, they express what is of Christian faith in this matter. The golden mean is thus above and between the two errors mentioned at the beginning of this section. By constant fidelity to duty, we avoid the false and idle repose of the Quietist, and on the other hand by a trustful self-abandonment we are saved from a useless disquiet and a fruitless agitation. Self-abandonment would be sloth did it not presuppose this daily fidelity, which indeed is a sort of springboard from which we may safely launch ourselves into the unknown. Daily fidelity to the divine will as expressed gives us a sort of right to abandon ourselves completely to the divine will of good pleasure as yet not made known to us.

A faithful soul will often recall to mind these words of our Lord: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me" (John 4: 34). The soul finds its constant nourishment in the divine will as expressed, abandoning itself to the divine will as yet not made known, much as a swimmer supports himself on the passing wave and surrenders himself to the oncoming wave, to that ocean that might engulf him but that actually sustains, him. So the soul must strike out toward the open sea, into the infinite ocean of being, says St. John Damascene, borne up by the divine will as made known there and then and abandoning itself to that divine will upon which all successive moments of the future depend. The future is with God, future events are in His hands...Daily fidelity and trusting self-abandonment thus give the spiritual life its balance, its stability and harmony. In this way we live our lives in almost continuous recollection, in an ever-increasing self-abnegation, and these are the conditions normally required for contemplation and union with God. This, then, is the reason why our life should be one of self-abandonment to the divine will as yet unknown to us and at the same time supported every moment by that will as already made known to us.

Obviously, we must abandon ourselves to the divine will in all things (and this includes the time and ways God chooses to restore traditional Catholicism):

In what matters we should abandon ourselves to divine Providence

Once we have complied with the principles just laid down, when we have done all that the law of God and Christian prudence demand, our self-abandonment should then embrace everything. What does this involve? In the first place, our whole future, what our circumstances will be tomorrow, in twenty years and more. We must also abandon ourselves to God in all that concerns the present, in the midst of the difficulties we may be experiencing right now; even our past life, our past actions with all their consequences should be abandoned to the divine mercy.

We must likewise abandon ourselves to God in all that affects the body, in health and sickness, as well as in all that affects the soul, whether it be joy or tribulation, of long or brief duration. We must abandon ourselves to God in all that concerns the good will or malice of men. [58] Says St. Paul: [59]

If God be for us, who is against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?... Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations? Or distress? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or persecutions? Or the sword?... I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Could there be a more perfect self-abandonment in the spirit ; of faith, hope, and love? This is an abandonment embracing all the vicissitudes of this world, all the upheavals that may convulse it, embracing life and death, the hour of death, and the circumstances, peaceful or violent, in which we breathe forth our last sigh.

...What is our practical conclusion to be? It is this, that in doing our utmost to carry out our daily duties we must for the rest abandon ourselves to divine providence, and that with the most childlike confidence. And if we are really striving to be faithful in little things, in the practice of humility, gentleness, and patience, in the daily routine of our lives, God on His part will give us grace to be faithful in greater and more difficult things, should He perchance ask them of us; then, in those exceptional circumstances, He will give to those that seek Him exceptional graces.

Few traditional Catholics would argue that the words and actions of Archbishop Lefebvre -- up till 1988 -- were those of an exceptional man working under and through the influence of exceptional graces under exceptional circumstances. The question then is one of the words and actions of the SSPX from the 1988 consecrations up to the present.

Anger and Impatience

For years, I've had an ongoing debate over the proper "role" of anger in traditional Catholic debates online with a dear friend who attends an SSPX chapel. In our most recent exchange, he stated,

I'd like for you to consider the following quote I found on one of the threads:

St. John Chrysostom wrote:

"Only the person who becomes irate without reason, sins. Whoever becomes irate for a just reason is not guilty. Because, if ire were lacking, the science of God would not progress, judgments would not be sound, and crimes would not be repressed.

Further, the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices: it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong."

(Homily XI super Matheum, 1c, nt.7)

I replied,

As far as anger goes, I'm not saying that any person who gets angry is guilty. We know better than that. And your quote here really hits home. Just anger obviously has a big role to play in the defense of the Faith as well as the defense of the Faithful.

But a steady diet of anger cannot and will not sustain any apostolate or individual soul. Anger might be a good and just motive for Catholic action, but it cannot sustain it, and it will always destroy the soul. Other virtues must come into play once just anger plays its role.

The soul whose primary motive is anger is what they call in the spiritual classics a "retarded soul." And when anger is permitted to seethe and permeate the soul for long periods, it leads to real guilt, and destroys virtue in the soul.

In this latter case, the anger is a sign of refusal to accept God's Active and Permissive Will. Its a sign of refusal to abandon one's soul to Divine Providence. It is a lack of patient resignation to God's Holy Will.

[From] the old Catholic spiritual classics, and the lives of the saints, [you] realize real quick that anger was never a primary motive of any of the saints. It may be a transient motive that leads, by the Grace of God, to other motives and virtues. But left unchecked, by an act of the Will, it will shrivel up the soul and undermine good fruits and eventually lead to serious sin.

...The desire to "destroy" anything does not come from God, even if its the Devil and his lies that one desires to destroy.

Only God gets to determine when and how the Devil will meet his eternal reward. Only God gets to determine when and how traditional Catholicism will be restored.

We only need to worry about those things over which we have immediate control. If we try to affect or effect things beyond our control, we are doomed to failure -- and perpetual anger. Only the Devil wins in that scenario.

Tonight he responded (these are general statements and do not betray any confidences),

...I am, in general, EXTRAORDINARILY angry over what has been done to our Church and by extension humanity. I've wept over it many, many times. I read the same catechism and scriptures as you and others, but I can't make it go away or pretend that the anger doesn't exist. It’s there. It just is.

From a pragmatic standpoint, I'm not sure that I'd want it to go away or not exist even if that were possible. I've come to believe that there needs to exist a contingent, as large a one as possible, that is simply not going to stand for what has been stood for until now; a contingent that's not going to shut up, and is not going to be NICE.

The desire to "destroy" anything does not come from God, even if its the Devil and his lies that one desires to destroy.

This statement is inconceivable to me.


1 All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. 6 A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. 8 A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.

Do I really need to list all of what the Church and Her sons and daughters have destroyed or sought to destroy over the last 2,000 years? The heresies, the Islamic incursions, the Roman Empire, communism, Abortion Inc., etc.

Come on Brian, really. If you don’t wish the apparatus that wrought this atrocity on us destroyed, perhaps I don’t know you as well as I thought I did.

Force Vs. Violence

I'm afraid my friend simply does not grasp the difference between the just use of force and an act of violence. At least he is failing to make this necessary distinction. And frankly, this refusal to make such distinctions is a hallmark of the online rhetoric of many SSPX defenders and supporters. Christian polemics are an integral part of preaching the Gospel. However, rhetoric itself can become a form of violence. So too, illicit episcopal consecrations.

In Catholic thought, violence is the illicit application of force in the pursuit of a good. The application of force itself is morally neutral. In our current debate, the dividing line seems to fall once again on 1988, and the point at which just anger becomes sinful, and whether the actions arising out of that anger do violence to the Church. The questions of proper obedience and the authority of the Pope come into play.

Who is to blame if the faithful resort to such "violence"?

In his article The Taproot of Violence the late Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, S.J. reflected on the nature of violence, and the culpability of negligent leaders in its escalation:

An allied, though external reason for the escalation of violence today is the failure of authority—that spiritual power—to exercise itself as a bulwark against criminal violence. This failure is due to the weakened adherence to truth and the loss of faith of both civil and religious authorities. The poet Yeats so well expressed this problem endemic in our days. "The best in society lack all conviction, the worst (the criminals) are full of passionate intensity." For violence proliferates with the breakdown of authority. And authority breaks down when Christian convictions are denied in theory or betrayed in cowardly conduct. When governors, superiors, lawmakers, administrators and teachers cease to believe that they have a body of truth to teach and a code of Christian holiness to live up to, inculcate into others and, yes, even die for, then the community is abandoned by its leaders and left a prey to professional inciters of murder and rapine. For once bereft of effective Christian leadership, the masses are pathetically prone to heed the siren call to revolution. When authority is confused, apathetic, fearful of performing its duty, then society falls into the hands of the most cunning and powerful who are usually organized and proceed to amalgamate ruthlessly communities into communes. When authority is weak it often succumbs to blackmail, thus becoming a catalyst to fiercer attacks of the revolutionaries. For successful violence inevitably calls forth greater, bolder, more frequent violence. What civil and especially religious authorities must realize is that the apologists for organized violence know no loyalty, reverence, reality but their own selfish goals. They are neo-nihilists, spiritually famished, deprived of mature person-hood by self-idolization. They are the waifs of a materialist, godless civilization that seeks a Utopia here and now. What they need is not coddling but discipline. What they admire and respond to is not capitulation but firm convictions and adamant enforcement of doctrinal, moral and civil laws. When authorities, civil and religious, are eaten up with a zeal for truth and holiness, when they show a courage that is the fruit of deep Christian convictions and conduct, when they demonstrate a love for wandering souls that stops at no sacrifice to bring them back to the Good Shepherd of all souls, then the rising tide of criminal violence will begin to fall to a low ebb. Then the spiritual starvelings who are fascinated with the violence of gangsters and of hucksters of false ideologies may be won back to the violence known as intensity of love, that zeal which conquers the kingdom of heaven and leads to a life of truth, holiness, peace and joy with God and man. "The truth will make you free," says Christ. And to be sure a society founded on adherence to truth and holiness will enjoy a peace and a freedom that are immune from the plague of criminal violence.

Obviously, many Church leaders over the past 40 years fall under the broad categories Fr. Miceli identifies as responsible for the escalation of violence.

The Triumph of Humility

In his book, Providence, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange quotes extensively from the book Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

Fr. de Caussade magnificently illustrates the fruits of a humble Self-Abandonment To Providence:

SECTION XII.—The Triumph of Humility.

To the souls which are faithful to Him, God promises a glorious victory over the powers of the world and of hell.

If the divine action is hidden here below under the appearance of weakness, it is in order to increase the merit of souls which are faithful to it; but its triumph is none the less certain.

The history of the world from the beginning is but the history of the struggle between the powers of the world, and of hell, against the souls which are humbly devoted to the divine action. In this struggle all the advantage seems to be on the side of pride, yet the victory always remains with humility. The image of the world is always presented to our eyes as a statue of gold, brass, iron, and clay. This mystery of iniquity, shown in a dream to Nabuchodonosor, is nothing but a confused medley of all the actions, interior and exterior, of the children of darkness. This is also typified by the beast coming out of the pit to make war, from the beginning of time, against the interior and spiritual life of man. All that takes place in our days is the consequence of this war. Monster follows monster out of the pit, which swallows, and vomits them forth again amidst incessant clouds of smoke. The combat between St. Michael and Lucifer, that began in Heaven, still continues. The heart of this once magnificent angel, has become, through envy, an inexhaustible abyss of every kind of evil. He made angel revolt against angel in Heaven, and from the creation of the world his whole energy is exerted to make more criminals among men to fill the ranks of those who have been swallowed up in the pit. Lucifer is the chief of those who refuse obedience to the Almighty. This mystery of iniquity is the very inversion of the order of God; it is the order, or rather, the disorder of the devil.

This disorder is a mystery because, under a false appearance of good, it hides irremediable and infinite evil. Every wicked man, who, from the time of Cain, up to the present moment, has 92declared war against God, has outwardly been great and powerful, making a great stir in the world, and being worshiped by all. But this outward semblance is a mystery. In reality they are beasts which have ascended from the pit one after another to overthrow the order of God. But this order, which is another mystery, has always opposed to them really great and powerful men who have dealt these monsters a mortal wound. As fast as hell vomits them forth, Heaven at the same time creates fresh heroes to combat them. Ancient history, sacred and profane, is but a record of this war. The order of God has ever remained victorious and those who have ranged themselves on the side of God have shared His triumph, and are happy for all eternity. Injustice has never been able to protect deserters. It can reward them only by death, an eternal death.

Those who practise iniquity imagine themselves invincible. O God! who can resist You? If a single soul has the whole world and all hell against it, it need have no fear if, by abandonment, it takes its stand on the side of God and His order.

The monstrous spectacle of wickedness armed with so much power, the head of gold, the body of silver, brass, and iron, is nothing more than the image of clay; a small stone cast at it will scatter it to the four winds of Heaven.

How wonderfully has the Holy Spirit illustrated the centuries of the world! So many startling revelations! so many renowned heroes following each other like so many brilliant stars! So many wonderful events!

All this is like the dream of Nabuchodonosor, forgotten on awaking, however terrible the impression it made at the time.

All these monsters only come into the world to exercise the courage of the children of God, and if these are well trained, God gives them the pleasure of slaying the monsters, and sends fresh athletes into the arena.

And this life is a spectacle to angels, causing continual joy in Heaven, work for saints on earth, and confusion to the devils in hell.

So all that is opposed to the order of God renders it only the more to be adored. All workers of iniquity are slaves of justice, and the divine action builds the heavenly Jerusalem on the ruins of Babylon.

In the Homily of his Inauguration Mass on April 24, 2005, it was obvious that Pope Benedict XVI understands the nature of this battle, and the role that the impatience and anger of man plays in it all:

"How often we wish that God would show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity.

We suffer on account of God’s patience. And yet, we need his patience.

God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man."

Summorum Pontificum First Anniversary articles (con't)

By Brian Kopp

Rorate Caeli has an article posted today,

A Historian observes the Catholic moment
One year of Summorum Pontificum and the SSPX

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Got Questions, They Got Answers

By Patrick Archbold

The Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, announced today that as a public service it will make its faculty available to answer questions on its web site about the sacred liturgy.

Read More >>>>

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why I Quit the SSPX

By Patrick Archbold

There us a fascinating look at the intellectual and spiritual journey of one man out of the SSPX on a blog called The Sensible Bond. It a thoughtful look at some of the premises necessary to remain in the SSPX. It is very worth the read. A snip...
As I say, it is hard now to retrace every step of that path but I want to give a structure to the considerations that follow, so I will organise them very much in the order which they occurred to me. My initial considerations concerned the episcopal consecrations of 1988 and so were connected to canonical issues. The second body of considerations concerned theological points of controversy, and were connected to the Church’s teachings and to Vatican II. My final considerations concerned the liturgy, and were thus connected to the Church’s worship. What horrified many of my friends and family at the time was not merely my separating from the SSPX, but my questioning the SSPX theses almost right across the board. What they did not understand was my realisation that, in each of these three areas – canonical, theological, liturgical - the SSPX had, albeit very worthily and with serious reasons, made the same false step. That at least is my opinion. I hope to make their false step clearer in due course.

Read the entire thing >>>>

Changes At The Oratory

By Patrick Archbold

From St. Louis Catholic:
Today is a sad day for the faithful at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, as our beloved rector, Father Karl W. Lenhardt, is being called to a new position. Fr. Lenhardt announced at Mass today that the Vicar General of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, Monsignor Michael Schmitz, would announce the specifics next Sunday. As of yet, therefore, Father's new assignment is not publicly known.

While we suspect this move will benefit the worldwide Institute, it is a sore blow for all those in St. Louis who have benefited from Father's wisdom, knowledge, patience and his pastoral care. It seems that there is a trend among clergy in this city-- success in St. Louis leads to promotion to better things, and what is St. Louis' loss is the universal Church's gain.

Read the rest >>>>

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sorry About This...

By Patrick Archbold

A parody about the UK petition for the Gregorian Rite.

I Can't Get No...
I can’t get no, satisfactionem
I can’t get no, satisfactionem
And so I trad, and I trad and I trad and I trad
I can't get no, i can't get no

When I’m sittin’ in my pew
And that man does his floor show
He's tellin' me more and more
About some active participation
Leaving me in more frustration
I can't get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that's what i say

See the rest >>>>

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mundelein Adds Required Course on the Extraordinary Form

By Patrick Archbold

One year after the release of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, The Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, announced that it has added a required 3-credit course on the history and spirituality of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to its roster of classes.

Read the rest >>>>>

I Can't Get No - Satisfactionem

By Patrick Archbold

Bianca Jagger and many other prominent Brits have signed a petition asking the bishops of England and Wales to provide more Latin Sunday Masses in the extraordinary form.

Damian Thompson reports:
As the Catholic Herald reveals this week, leading Catholics including Lord Alton of Liverpool, Bianca Jagger and Dom Antony Sutch have signed a petition asking the bishops of England and Wales to provide more Latin Sunday Masses in the extraordinary form (Tridentine rite).

The petition - which has been signed by Catholics from across the political spectrum - "humbly requests" that the bishops make traditional Masses widely available to the faithful, in accordance with Pope Benedict's wishes. Progress on this front has been slow, to put it mildly.

Signatories include Catholics not normally associated with traditionalist circles, such as the concert pianist Stephen Hough and Robin Baird-Smith, publisher of Continuum Books. He has written on the petition: "Liberal and progressive, I am nonetheless in support of the petition's aims."

Read the rest >>>>

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back In The F.SS.R.

By Patrick Archbold

You don't know how lucky you are boys, back in the F.SS.R.

The Transalpine Redemptorists have changed their name...
Dear Friends
Praised be Jesus and Mary ever Virgin!

Our new name has been worked out in consultation with the Holy See but, as with all things of this nature, we can only say that the name will be absolutely finalised when the community's statutes are approved. This is normal proceedure.

Our new name, the name which we will use exclusively
from 2 August will be:

Filii Sanctissimi Redemptoris

The siglum will be the Latin initials for 'Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer':

F. SS. R.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Interview with Transalpine Redemptorists

By Patrick Archbold

There is a fascinating interview with the Transalpine Redemptorists who have recently entered into communion with the Holy See. The interview covers many topics including having their newspaper banned in SSPX chapels since reuniting, the reasons for reunification, the future of their order, the view of the Redemptorists toward their traditional brethren, and more. A sample:
Carol from CNS: What prompted the community to agree to join in communion with the Holy See?

Fr. Michael Mary: Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father's Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and the letter that accompanied the document led to our monastery council seeking expert advice from outside our community. The advice we received led us to more closely examine our ecclesial structures and their seeming absence of jurisdiction. While the question of supplied jurisdiction for Confessions and Marriages has been widely discussed, we had not come across any discussions on this point of jurisdiction for the religious life. We have concluded in fact, that there is no 'supplied jurisdiction' for traditional religious superiors receiving vows; nor does their power to command link back to the Holy Father and to the power of the Keys.

If this is so, it means that the superiors do not have supernatural authority to command and organise their communities in the traditional understanding, where the voice of the superior is the voice of Christ. This is an extremely important point.

We asked the SSPX about this question and also the traditionalist Dominicans in France. Both agreed that there was no "supplied jurisdiction" for religious superiors.

Once we were clearly aware of this lack of jurisdiction for the organisation of religious life we found that we would be building on sand, not to mention burying our heads in it, if we continued to try to live religious life in this way.

We were unhappy with the responsibilities and possible consequences that we would be taking upon ourselves in commanding people without sharing in the authority that comes from Christ, through His Vicar and through the delegated superiors whoever they may be. Continuing on in the face of these realities seemed to be like 'playing house' and we didn't want to have anything to do with it.

Read the entire interview >>>>

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Liturgical Jealousy

By Patrick Archbold

I have a piece over at CMR on my recent experience of liturgical jealousy. A snip...
It's big, it's green, and it's bad. No, not the Hulk but jealousy. Envy.

St. Thomas Aquinas said of Envy: "Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life... Charity rejoices in our neighbor's good, while envy grieves over it." (2, 36, ad 3)

I must admit that I am jealous, but I am not sure it is a sin. Does a starved person sin when he is suffused with desire upon witnessing the banquet of another? This is the situation I found myself in Tuesday, famished at the banquet.

In Southern California on business, I decided to make my way over to St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado CA to attend mass. Their website had advertised that they had "Latin High Mass" at 7am in the church. I woke up and made my way over to the Abbey from my hotel, a 30 minute drive.

Read the rest >>>>

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Archbishop Burke's role in Summorum Pontificum?

By Brian Kopp

Forest Murmurs blog has a post today about Archbishop Burke's role in Summorum Pontificum:

Motu Murmurs

"I have heard some eminent canonists express the opinion that Summorum Pontificum is lacking in its understanding of canon law. Now it is revealed that Archbishop Burke was one of the people who worked on it and a more eminent canonist it would be hard to find...the good archbishop`s recent ordination of priests for the Institute of Christ the King and suggests that he might be in the running to take over the Ecclesia Dei commission..."

Maybe our good Pope Benedict XVI needs Archbishop Burke as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, at least in part, to enforce Summorum Pontificum, and defend individual priests who attempt to comply with the upcoming PCED clarification of Summorum Pontificum, but are censured for doing so by their local bishop. If priests knew they had a friend at the top of the canonical court system, they might be more likely to ignore the "little tittle rules" set up by their local ordinary to undermine Summorum Pontificum.

Could Archbishop Burke serve simultaneously as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura as well as President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, thus giving the anticipated clarification some real canonical teeth? That is a truly hopeful prospect!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fruits of Summorum

By Patrick Archbold

Return of Latin Mass restores faith in many Catholics
At 12:15 p.m. last Sunday, the Rev. William Whiteside Young, clad in a red-hooded gold robe, walked the aisles of Holy Rosary Chapel east of Marinwood, sprinkling holy water on a rapt congregation.

Moments later, he was at the ornate altar, changed into a green chasuble, delivering age-old Catholic prayers in formal Latin.

From a loft at the back of the church, a choir sang Gregorian chants.

The traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Catholic Church - supplanted in the 1960s during the reign of Pope Paul VI - reappeared in the San Francisco archdiocese for the first time this spring, specifically at the majestic church that soars above St. Vincent's School for Boys.

Read the rest >>>>

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rise of the ex-Anglicans

By Patrick Archbold

Luke Coppen writes at the Catholic Herald:
Anglicans who are considering becoming Catholics in the wake of the General Synod's vote on women bishops will be familiar with horror stories. They will have heard all about the cool response others received from some English Catholic bishops and lay people. But they may not be aware of another story, which has even gone unnoticed by many Catholics. This is the story of the rise of ex-Anglicans within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The rapid ascension of former Anglicans to positions of influence was underlined by the recent appointment of Canon Christopher Tuckwell as Administrator of Westminster Cathedral. Canon Tuckwell was once a vicar and is now in charge of the mother church of Catholics in England and Wales.

I am constantly surprised to discover that people I had long considered cradle Catholics are in fact converts. It is perhaps like the feeling Jews have when they read the (possibly apocryphal) book Him Too? [itals], and discover that a host of apparently gentile celebrities belong to the Chosen People.

Read the Rest >>>>

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"...[VII]...was very successful at taking apart and exposing ... that old 1950s Catholicism..."

By Brian Kopp

On the eve of WYD 2008, some "religious" commentators in Australia are having a fit over the return of traditional Catholic piety:

Concerns old Catholic traditions could repel youth

This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio.

EDMOND ROY: As the Catholic Church's leadership attempts to deal with modern day problems, the upcoming World Youth Day celebrations has highlighted the revival of some of the Church's older traditions.

One of the more unusual practices has involved the bones of long-deceased Italian saints that are now on display for pilgrims at two Sydney churches.

While some Catholics are revelling in the presence of these relics, others are raising concerns the emphasis on older traditions could repel younger Catholics from the Church...

PAULA KRUGER: The worshipping of relics has surprised Rod Blackhurst, a lecturer in philosophy and religious studies at La Trobe University.

ROD BLACKHURST: The cult of relics and so forth is very specifically Catholic, and many people thought that the second Vatican Council had effectively marginalised or done away with a lot of that, but there seems to be revival of those things.

PAULA KRUGER: Why would that be making a comeback in this day and age?

ROD BLACKHURST: Yeah, that's an interesting problem and an interesting question. I'm really not sure. But, one thing is certain is that contemporary religion seems to be very polarised between liberal elements and a return to more conservative and traditional elements.

And so we are seeing a return to those more traditional forms of worship, what you would effectively call medieval forms of worship, side by side with more liberal and modernising elements.

PAULA KRUGER: The Second Vatican Council or Vatican II was an attempt to modernise the Church and move away from the biblical literalism of the past. So the young Catholics of today may not be aware of some of the older traditions that existed before the 1960s.

Dr Paul Collins is a former priest and author of Believers: Does Australian Catholicism have a Future?

He says many Catholics have grown up with a greater emphasis on social justice than saintly relics.

PAUL COLLINS: Well, they certainly haven't seen them I'd say, especially if they went to Catholic schools where the emphases would be quite different. I do think to some extent that this reflects much more the kind of religiosity of the organisers of World Youth Day, rather than the mainstream Catholic Church.

They would claim, you know, in their defence, that they were doing … that they were kind of maintaining the emphases that came through from Pope John Paul II, who I suppose is essentially the founder of World Youth Day.

But nevertheless, I think for Australian Catholics, and I think for Australians generally, these are kind of, you know, odd things that are different that people find a little hard to fit into any context and don't make much sense to them.

PAULA KRUGER: But Rod Blackhurst says the resurgence of relic worship and more pious ceremony may be what some Christians feel they need.

ROD BLACKHURST: The liberal agenda of the Second Vatican Council was very successful at taking apart and exposing the limitations of that old 1950s Catholicism that people from that generation would know.

But they weren't particularly good at replacing it with things. And so that there's a yearning amongst young people to go back and experience those things which they felt that had been lost and that perhaps were valuable.

PAULA KRUGER: So, a kind of spiritual element or a mystic element?

ROD BLACKHURST: Yeah, certainly a mystic element and a less of an emphasis on sociological and political religion. More mystical as you say and more devotional, yeah.

PAULA KRUGER: The relics of the Italians saints and blesseds aren't a permanent fixture in Australian religious life and will return to Italy after World Youth Day festivities.

So..."the emphasis on older traditions could repel younger Catholics from the Church..."

Wasn't that the tired cliché they pulled out just prior to and following the publication of Summorum Pontificum? The same one that has been proven wholly incorrect by the enthusiastic attendance at Gregorian Rite masses by our youth, and the swelling of traditional religious orders by those same younger Catholics?

Time: Could the Pope Aid an Anglican Split?

By Brian Kopp

In a classic Time Magazine/ MSM spin on the situation, David Van Biema and Jeff Israely ask,

Could the Pope Aid an Anglican Split?

They try to make it sound as if the Pope is helping to create a schism within a co-equal religious "Communion," working with the Anglican "schismatics" and "dissidents":

Would they actually leave? This is where the Pope comes in. For an ordained clergyman to depart his cradle faith is a lonely endeavor, done individually. But that is probably not how things will roll out in this case. A Catholic Church official explained to TIME that the last time a situation like this arose (when the Church of England voted to allow women to become priests), "some 400 [dissidents] became Catholic priests or bishops." The issue, he says, is "whether there is some way for [the current crop] to come into the Catholic church in a corporate way, [with] their [congregations]." Along those lines, he notes, there are so-called "Anglican Rite" groups in the U.S. that maintain Anglican ritual, but recognize the Pope's authority and count as Catholics.

In fact, in a letter to the newspaper The Catholic Herald on Wednesday, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Eversfleet, announced his intention of converting to Catholicism — along with his diocese. According to the Herald, Burnham and another traditionalist Bishop have been discussing the migration of Anglo-Catholics with Cardinals William Levada and Walter Kasper, two of the Vatican’s most powerful prelates. Burnham’s letter requests "magnanimous gestures by our Catholic friends, especially the Holy Father, who well understands our longing for unity." According to the Herald, Burnham has been requesting a dispensation whereby Anglicans could remain in their parishes guided by Catholic bishops.

Terry Mattingly, for years an acute observer of the Anglican scene as founder of the popular religion blog, and a religion columnist for Scripps Howard says, "I expect some of the old-school Anglo-Catholics to pack up and go to Rome, period." But if Benedict were to sweeten the pot by allowing an Anglican Rite Church in England, "that's gotta be huge." And when Mattingly says "huge," he doesn't just mean for the Anglo-Catholics. Rather, he believes that an exodus of that size could affect the worldwide Communion after all, by giving other dissidents, with entirely different grievances, a model with which to unravelling the fabric of Anglicanism.

Mattingly points out that — more so than in other religious groupings — one of the things that holds the Anglican Communion together is the simple belief that the Anglican Communion must hold together. The case can be made that a dutiful sense of global unity, represented by four "instruments" — including the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams — is stronger than any Anglican doctrinal agreement. Mattingly suggests that the departure of 1,300 priests and bishops from the English mother church could act as a kind of spell-breaking moment, the first time during the Communion's current round of troubles when a significant number of Anglicans "are saying, 'I'm no longer in communion with Canterbury.'"

Such a defection, as it played out in terms of theology, finances and British law, would be a kind of seminar for all possible schismatics on how to break with the Communion, without the world ending. Other dissidents might then feel freer to go their own way.

And it could happen a good deal sooner than almost any other version of schism, primarily because it would take the key decision out of the hands of the Anglicans, who, as Mattingly puts it, "have a special knack for not making decisions." Rome, he notes, "doesn't usually act fast, either. But Rome — and especially, it seems to me, Benedict — has a knack for acting with clarity more than Anglicanism."

Mattingly's argument — which he would admit is only a possibility, not a prediction — may underestimate Anglican desire to stay Anglicans; or overestimate the willingness of the Roman Catholic Pope to play spoiler in the disintegration of another centuries-old international Christian body, even if he has his differences with it. But in this sour Anglican year, it is difficult to guarantee that the head-cradling, hair-pulling and weeping of the mother church might not become a worldwide epidemic.

Talk about headlines that eclipse our own struggles with so-called "schismatics." This imminent unraveling of Anglicanism makes the Church's internal discussions with Trads in irregular juridical situations pale in comparison. No wonder all the news about PCED "clarifications" and SSPX negotiations have all but evaporated; Rome has bigger fish to fry at present.

Anglicans: Let 'em sink or let 'em swim?

By Brian Kopp

There is an interesting perspective posted on one of the blogs by Gerald Warner:

The barque of Peter should not pick up Anglican boat people

On the other hand, a bit more hopeful and helpful post comes from Fr. Dwight Longenecker at the Standing On My Head blog:

Checklist for Anglican Tiber Swimming


Fr Tim Finigan at The Hermeneutic of Continuity Blog has a great summary post with lots of links regarding the Anglican impasse:

Come on in.... it's awful!

RorateCaeli has a post with quotes from another Anglican leader who is less enthusiastic about the prospects of swimming the Tiber:

"That remains a problem for me..."

ZENIT weighs in:

Anglican Bishop Asks Pope for Magnanimity

And Damian Thompson has both a blog post,

The Fellowship of St Gregory the Great

as well as an article in The Catholic Herald,

Ex-Anglicans will bring new life to our Church

in which we find the meat of the matter, most relevant to us Catholics:

The situation now is very different. Pope Benedict XVI is an old friend of conservative Anglo-Catholics in England and America; he shares their dismay at the shoddy state of the liturgy in many churches, and he is seeking to renovate the vernacular Mass by exposing Catholics to the treasures of pre-1970 Latin worship. All this would have been inconceivable in 1994, as would a Ratzinger papacy, and old-fashioned "Sandalista" liberals are still hoping to wake up from their bad dream. The cheering from the Anglo-Catholic sidelines at these developments has been hearty and loud - much louder, I'm sorry to say, than that from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. Yet it is now looking less likely, thank God, that our diocesan bishops will dig in their heels and refuse to allow special measures for former Anglicans. Roma locuta est, I suspect - quietly and diplomatically, but decisively. (One thing I do know, though it is a different issue, is that Ecclesia Dei has instructed the English and Welsh hierarchy to implement the Motu Proprio.)

So what might an agreement between Rome and former Anglo-Catholics look like? Here are some informed guesses:

1. Rome will set up an "apostolic administration" under a Catholic bishop to offer pastoral care to former Anglican priests and their parishioners.

2. The ex-Anglicans will form an umbrella organisation called something like the Fellowship of St Gregory the Great. The Fellowship, under the guidance of their new Catholic bishop, will consist of former Anglican priests who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood. Their parishes, though open to anyone, will consist largely of ex-Anglicans.

3. Some Fellowship parishes will occupy their former church buildings, though this will require an unprecedented degree of co-operation with the Church of England.

4. Former Anglican communities may - if they wish - be allowed to use parts of the Book of Common Prayer adapted for Catholic use, as in a few American parishes. In practice, there will be little demand for this concession, I suspect.

5. Former Anglican priests will undergo an accelerated programme of study allowing them to be swiftly ordained. (Conditional ordination is unlikely to be on offer.) Marriage will be no bar to ordination, but no actively gay priest will be knowingly ordained, and this will be strictly enforced.

6. However there will be no question of married lay former Anglicans becoming priests, since this would effectively abolish the rule of celibacy in the Western Church.

7. There will therefore be no Uniate Anglican-Rite Church; there is not enough demand for it, and it raises too many questions about celibacy and jurisdiction.

8. That said, there could well be a future for the Fellowship of St Gregory once its original supply of ex-Anglicans has died out. The treasures our new brethren will bring with them - a poetic and contemplative spirituality, glorious prayers, fine music - will permanently enrich the Catholic Church in England; they belong to us all.

As I say, these are just informed guesses. I have only one plea to the Vatican and the Catholic bishops:

Please, get it right this time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fruits of Summorum Pontificum

By Brian Kopp

Fr. Henrique Fragelli was ordained on July 3, 2008 in Florence, Italy by His Excellency The Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICK.)

Fr. Fragelli celebrated a low Gregorian Rite mass this morning at the chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux, Loretto PA:

Here Father Fragelli imparts the First Blessings (with the Plenary Indulgence for those who venerate the hands of the newly ordained priest) to those in attendance after Mass:

(My two sons had the honor of serving this mass. Pictures posted with Fr. Fragelli's permission.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Is God Offended By African Christian Worship?

By Patrick Archbold

The editor of the Catholic Information Service for Africa, Henry Makori, reminds us about what liturgy is really all about. Us.
As an African Christian, one of my greatest joys is to listen to the Word of God proclaimed in my mother-tongue. To hear God speak in Ekegusii, to celebrate our indigenized mass, connects me to Pentecost.
But the Church came attired in a foreign culture and spoke in a strange tongue. Soon, however, there was a new Pentecost. The missionaries working with Africans learnt local languages, wrote them down and translated the Scriptures, prayers and hymns. But the mass, or liturgy, remained in Latin, 'the language of the Church'.

Another Pentecost happened at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). A new mass which allowed use of vernaculars was introduced. The faithful could also express themselves in worship according to local custom. The evolution of the mass in Africa since then has been tremendous!

Through unique songs, chants, dances, gestures, processions and other expressions inspired by our cultures, histories and geniuses, African Christians today worship God with their entire being! We can speak confidently of an African liturgy, essentially universal but enriched with our own distinctive responses to the invitation of Jesus Christ.

Not everyone is rejoicing with us, though. Visiting Kenya this March, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican, Nigerian-born Cardinal Francis Arinze, spoke at length on liturgical abuses. He emphasized strict adherence to the norms of sacred worship set out in the official texts, which should be studied "in the original Latin editions." Cardinal Arinze has for some time been scandalized by liturgical "inventions of the fertile imagination".

Saying, however, that the Church is a living entity - it "does not live in the Vatican Museum" - Arinze granted that the liturgy could be retouched in accordance with pastoral needs. But he proceeded to outline a veritably impossible procedure that basically discourages anyone from contemplating change to the rubrics.
Why the weeping and gnashing of teeth over this. Because of the fear of the return of the dreaded Gregorian Rite.
Arinze spoke months after Pope Benedict XVI allowed wide use of the hitherto restricted Latin (or Tridentine) liturgy of pre-Vatican II. Subsequently, the pope has praised the old mass. And last week, a senior Vatican official said the pope would like to see parishes around the world celebrate the Tridentine mass. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said the Vatican was writing to all seminaries to ask that future priests be trained to celebrate the old mass.

Looks like the authorities are generally unhappy with the evolution of the mass since Vatican II and want to return to the Latin liturgy. Will this not destroy our unique African liturgy that connects me to Pentecost? Or has God all these years been offended by our worship?
No, I don't think that God is offended by your worship over these years. However, he might be offended that you use such hyperbole and fear mongering to denigrate something that sanctified Catholics worldwide, including Africa, for 1500 years.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summorum Pontificum First Anniversary articles (con't)

By Brian Kopp

Thomas E. Woods Jr. weighs in on the Summorum Pontificum First Anniversary:

Long Live Pope Benedict: The Motu Proprio, One Year Later


The pope's initiative has already borne much fruit, and interest in the Extraordinary Form continues to grow despite the cold if predictable indifference of so much of the episcopate...Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Worship, has said that those bishops who obstruct the implementation of the motu proprio are allowing themselves to be used as instruments of the devil. And reaction among the bishops has indeed been mixed: Some have been cooperative, aware of how intent Benedict is on seeing this through. Others have attempted to block Benedict's move by tendentious interpretations of certain phrases in the relevant documents. The pope's observation that the celebrating priest should have some competence in Latin has been used as the basis for making priests take Latin exams prior to receiving authorization (the very concept of episcopal authorization being at odds with the document's intent) to offer the Extraordinary Form. The Latin original suggests only that priests, at a minimum, be able to pronounce the words -- though, naturally, the more Latin they can learn, the better.

Summorum Pontificum's reference to a "stable group" of faithful making a request for the Extraordinary Form has been transformed in some dioceses into a requirement (in terms of numbers of faithful, etc.) that is extremely difficult to satisfy and that has disqualified countless lay inquiries. On the other hand, we learn from Castrillón Cardinal Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and former prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, that a "stable group" may consist of as few as three or four people, who need not even be from the same parish. With a clarifying note on Summorum Pontificum expected from the Holy See at any time, some observers are convinced that Cardinal Hoyos's comments reflect the contents of that forthcoming document...In recent weeks, Cardinal Hoyos has made clear just how ambitious Benedict's expectations are. The cardinal made headlines when, in response to a journalist's inquiry as to whether the pope wanted to see the Extraordinary Form in "many ordinary parishes," he replied, "All the parishes. Not many -- all the parishes, because this is a gift of God." "This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful," he said.

Also, Zenit has posted Part 2 of Fr. Z.'s interview:

"Summorum Pontificum" One Year Later (Part 2)
Father John Zuhlsdorf Analyzes its Effects


For so long the ecclesiastical establishment looked down on and marginalized more traditional Catholics, shoving them to the back of the bus because of their attachment to our tradition. Some of the more benign saw them as being like our family’s nutty but harmless aunt up in the attic.

On the other hand, many traditionalists, perhaps out of the deep hurts and disillusionment they felt after all the changes in the Church, the silly season of illicit innovations, the ash-canning of our beautiful churches, music, vestments, statues, devotions, you name it, wound up with an enormous chip on their collective shoulder.

As time went by, many of them knew no other way to “negotiate” with bishops and priests but simply to get in their face, make pushy demands, and arrogantly tell them what to do. It got to a point where even clerics who were open and sympathetic started to wince and back away whenever traditionalists approached. And so the waters of good relations froze.

Now, because some of the pain and alienation is starting to melt away in the hearts of many traditionalists, now that they can simply have what they should have been able to have all along, now that a little warm sunshine is being beamed in their direction by the Holy Father and others who share his vision, pastors of souls are starting to unclench as well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Those rumors about the reform of the Novus Ordo don't seem so outrageous any more

By Brian Kopp

Pope guarantees the authentic faith that comes from above, Spanish cardinal says
This is simply an orthodox Catholic statement, one that should not raise any eyebrows.

But in this case, it comes from the Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera.

Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera is rumored to have been chosen to be the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, according to RorateCaeli.

Here's a Google translation of biographical data from the Spanish press link:

LD (AP) was born in Utiel Cañizares (Valencia), October 15, 1945 and was ordained in 1970 in Sinarcas (Valencia), by Archbishop Jose Maria Garcia de la Higuera. In 1992, he was appointed bishop of Avila and in 1997 he was Archbishop of Granada. On October 24, 2002 he was appointed archbishop of Toledo by Pope John Paul II and takes possession of the Toledo headquarters on December 15, 2002.

He was appointed cardinal, with the title of San Pancrazio, by Pope Benedict XVI, in the Ordinary Public Consistory March 25, 2006 and is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

In the Spanish Bishops' Conference has played numerous positions, including that of vice president. Currently, a member of the Standing Committee of the Executive Committee and Council presidency.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, founded in 1908 and named after Pope John Paul II in 1988, is responsible for everything related to the liturgy and the sacraments. The current prefect of this dicastery is Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze.
Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera has ordained priests for the ICK and is said to be a supporter and promoter of the Gregorian Rite. See the photos at this post on Fr. Z.'s blog.

Now just imagine having Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments -- with Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don continuing to serve as Secretary.

Those rumors about the reform of the Novus Ordo don't seem so outrageous any more in such a context, now, do they?


RorateCaeli has a subsequent post:

It's certain
According to the most well-informed Vaticanist in this pontificate, Andrea Tornielli, Archbishop Angelo Amato, SDB, current Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will be the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Tornielli even mentions the probable day of publication of this indication: next Wednesday.

This means that the list of those who may be picked by the Pope for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prefect) is reduced to two names: Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Archbishop of Toledo, and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, current secretary of the same dicastery.

If the Rumors Are True...

By Patrick Archbold

about the reform of the Novus Ordo. I have the marketing campaign all ready to go.

Please note, the above link is my attempt at a little humor on the topic.

C of E & "the possibilities opened up by the Motu Proprio"

By Brian Kopp

Damian Thompson has a very hopeful post up on his "Holy Smoke" blog:
[C of E] Bishops plan conversion to Rome
Of course, there is an angle to this regarding Pope Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum (i.e., another of its fruits):
It's no surprise that the Anglican bishops are talking to the CDF, where the former Cardinal Ratzinger always lent a sympathetic ear to potential converts - and also expressed his appreciation of the Anglo-Catholic tradition. His warm personality, his intellect and his programme of liturgical renewal are tremendous incentives for traditionalists to take the plunge.

If there is a deal between Rome and the departing Anglican bishops, what might it look like? I'm working on an article for the Herald on that subject: I think one key to understanding the situation is a grasp of the possibilities opened up by the Motu Proprio, which the English bishops have ignored at their peril. But, however extensive the Vatican's concessions, we are still talking about Anglicans becoming Roman Catholics. There is no half-way house between Canterbury and Rome, as more and more Anglo-Catholics are now aware.
Fr. Z. has a related post: The Telegraph: Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit


Damian Thompson has another blog post regarding this ongoing saga:

Liberal Catholic bishops kept in the dark over secret talks

Summorum Pontificum First Anniversary articles

By Brian Kopp

Fr. Z.'s essay regarding the First Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum:

"Summorum Pontificum" One Year Later (Part 1)
Father John Zuhlsdorf Analyzes Its Effects


Q: The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is reportedly preparing a document to clarify some ambiguities related to implementing "Summorum Pontificum." What have been the main difficulties thus far that such a document should address?

Father Zuhlsdorf: The document will probably clarify some terms in the letter issued "motu proprio" that have been used by some diocesan bishops and priests to block what the Holy Father is trying to accomplish.

For example, "Summorum Pontificum" says priests must be idoneus, "capable, competent" to say Mass with the older book. Idoneus, a technical term, refers to the minimum requirements for competence, not to expertise.

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, a distinguished canonist in his day, correctly stated that idoneus, as far as the Latin language is concerned, means that the priest must be able to pronounce the words properly. That is the minimum.

Of course we hope for far more than that. But some bishops are subjecting priests to exams in Latin before they determine whether he can exercise his right to say Mass using the 1962 Missale Romanum, or even in Latin with the Novus Ordo, that is to say, Mass in his own rite, as a priest of the Latin Church.

Another issue is how large a group, a coetus, making a request for the older Mass must be before the parish priest is required to act in their favor. Those and other questions pertain to the interpretation of the "motu proprio."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bishop Williamson manages to violate all Five Conditions in one blog post

By Brian Kopp

In a surprise move nobody anticipated, Bishop Williamson of the SSPX manages to violate all Five of Rome's Conditions in one short blog post.

So much for reining in the rest of the SSPX leadership and at least abiding by the spirit of the ongoing dialogue, huh Bishop Fellay?

(Yeah, well, maybe he didn't really violate all Five of the Conditions. We might need a canon lawyer to parse it and get an accurate count.)

Update [By PA] A taste of Williamson's vitriol.
On the other hand, the Cardinal did not proceed to any further official exorcism of the Society, but – reportedly – declared that he had never intended his text of June 5 to be an “ultimatum”. And so the situation returns to where it was before. I think we may expect the loving son to continue to try to get close to his leprous mother, the leprous mother to continue to try to hug him, the loving son to continue to jump back, then try to get close again, etc, etc.
The leader of the Traditional Redemptorists based in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland, who has just led as many of them as will follow him back into the embrace of Conciliar Rome, writes ecstatically of how “sweet” it “tastes” to be once more in “peaceful and undisputed communion” with the Vicar of Christ. Good luck, dear Father, with avoiding the leprosy! But at least you must be giving some consolation to Cardinal Castrillón! What confusion!

Q&A with PCED about SSPX, schism and sacraments

By Brian Kopp

Fr. Z. has posted a very illuminating article by Brian Mershon:

PCED Confirms Officially: Society of St. Pius X within the Church, Not in Formal Schism; Catholics Commit No Sin nor Incur Any Canonical Penalty for Mass Attendance

Here's the money quotes from PCED:

Stating that the Society of St. Pius X “is not in formal schism” is to say that there has been no official declaration on the part of the Holy See that the Society of St. Pius X is in schism. Up to now, the Church has sought to show the maximum charity, courtesy and consideration to all those involved with the hope that such a declaration will not eventually be necessary.”

“The bishops of the Society of St. Pius X are excommunicated according to the prescription of canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law which states that “A bishop who consecrates someone a bishop without pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.” Archbishop Lefebvre was duly reminded of this before his conferral of Episcopal ordination on 30 June 1988 and the Holy Father confirmed that this penalty had been incurred in his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, #3 [cf. AAS 80 (1988) 1495-1498; English translation in L’Osservatore Romano English edition of 11 July 1988, p. 1].

“The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but suspended, that is prohibited from exercising their priestly functions because they are not properly incardinated in a diocese of religious institute in full communion with the Holy See (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 265) and also because those ordained after the schismatic Episcopal ordinations were ordained by an excommunicated bishop.

“Concretely, this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid, but illicit, i.e., contrary to Canon Law. The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony, however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid. It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not have proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplies these faculties so that the sacrament is valid (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 144)

“While it is true that participation in the Mass at chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute “formal adherence to the schism” (cf. Ecclesia Dei 5, c), such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a schismatic mentality which separates itself from the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff and the entire Catholic Church. While we hope and pray for a reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” cannot recommend that members of the faithful frequent their chapels for the reasons which we have outlined above.

Can't get much clearer than that. This is the official position of the Church*: one can fulfill one's Sunday obligation at SSPX chapels, but their bishops are excommunicated, their priests are suspended, their masses are valid but illicit, and their sacraments of Penance and Marriage are definitively invalid.


This is the official position of the Church*

*Unless...the official position of the Church is further clarified soon, or this letter turns out to have been misrepresented, or it is simply nullified by a non-private document or statement from a higher/more competent Church authority...or, if it is made completely pointless by the lifting of the SSPX excommunications, for which I am praying and sacrificing daily.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"a “Novus Ordo” that the SSPX could accept without theological reservation?"

By Brian Kopp

There is a very encouraging report making its way around the blogs. RorateCaeli posted about it here and Fr. Z. here. Translation by Gregor Kollmorgen of NLM.

Here's the substance of the report:


The rite of the Mass [Rorate: i.e. the Mass of Paul VI] could change. According to some indiscretions, Benedict XVI has charged the Congregation for Divine Worship to study some modifications in the liturgy. In particular, the Pope is said to have the intention to restore Latin for the formula for the Eucharistic consecration within the Mass in the "vernacular language", i.e. the one celebrated in the different national languages. The same could happen to the formulae of Baptism, Confirmation, Confession and of the other sacraments. In addition, the exchange of peace among the faithful during the Mass, which today takes place prior to the distribution of the Eucharist, could be anticipated (as in the Ambrosian rite) to the offertory so as not to disturb the recollection that precedes Communion.

These would be changes which would be added to the changes in the liturgy and regarding sacred vestments which the Pope, together with his Master of Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, has made in recent months, to recover ancient traditions: the restoration of the crucifix at the center of the altar, the distribution of Communion to the faithful in the mouth while kneeling, the recovery of the pastoral staff of Pius IX (the ferula), the changing of the style of pallium (the strip of white wool with red crosses worn by the Pope), the restoration of the papal throne used in the Consistory and the celebration of Mass with the back to the assembly, as happened in January in the Sistine Chapel.
A poster on the thread at RorateCaeli made an astute observation:
I recall a video on You Tube by Bishop Bernard Fellay of the SSPX. It was from May of 2007 from their chapel in Oregon; he was giving a conference. At the time, he was not to confident that there would even be the motu proprio which came, thanks be to God, not long thereafter.

However, in this lecture he said, if I can paraphrase, “about a year ago spring 2006) I was made aware that a high-level panel was in secret, working on a new Missal for the Novus Ordo to repair the damage and make it more Catholic."

Essentially, it involved fewer options, though one option would be using the “Offertory” from the 1962 Missal in the vernacular in the Novus Ordo and the
suppression of all Eucharistic Prayers except EPI, the Roman Canon, and EPIII.

The three year lectionary would remain.

If this were to happen, it would make sense and it would coincide with the new Vox Clara Commission translation including the “pro multis.”

Could this then be true?

Could we also be on the verge of the elimination of the indult for Communion in the hand and a strong push or even mandatory ad orientem celebration?

If the above happens, would that not be a “Novus Ordo” that the SSPX, while not required to celebrate, could accept without theological reservation?
Certainly worth hoping and praying for.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summorum Pontificum First Anniversary articles

By Brian Kopp

As the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum approaches on 7/7/08, there will be plenty of editorial comment on the impact of this document in many outlets.

Shawn Tribe at The New Liturgical Movement is leading the way:

Time to begin reflecting; A First Pass of One year ago

In a year Pope Benedict XVI has reshaped the liturgical landscape - Catholic Herald

We'll try to keep up a running list of the more pertinent articles here.

More good news! (Saner heads prevail...Part 2)

By Brian Kopp

Once again, RorateCaeli has the latest developments:

Castrillón satisfied with SSPX answer
SSPX will give heed to the five points

From the blog of Andrea Tornielli (Vatican correspondent for Il Giornale):
I have learned from secure sources that, contrary to what has appeared in certain articles, the response of the Fraternity [of Saint Pius X - FSSPX/SSPX] to the letter of Cardinal Castrillón has not in fact been negative. The Cardinal is satisfied with it, has responded to Fellay, and has promptly delivered the letter of the Fraternity to Benedict XVI. After the deadline of the end of June, the Lefebvrists [sic] ask for time but - it seems - they will respect the five points.
Labels: Decision 2008
(Bishop Fellay says the SSPX will respect the five points!!! I sincerely hope the more extreme elements among the SSPX supporters have lots of duct tape...wouldn't want their heads to explode with all these positive developments on the part of Bishop Fellay ;-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"...undisputed communion! It is a pearl of great price..."

By Brian Kopp

Awesome news from Fr. Michael Mary, C.SS.R., and the Transalpine Redemptorists (hat tip to Fr. Z and Rorate):

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Canonical Good Standing

1 July, 2008
Feast of the Precious Blood

My dear friends,

I am happy to inform you that last June 18th, before Cardinal Castrillon and the members of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in Rome, I humbly petitioned the Holy See on my own behalf and on behalf of the monastery council for our priestly suspensions to be lifted.

On June 26th I received word that the Holy See had granted our petition. All canonical censures have been lifted.

Our community now truly rejoices in undisputed and peaceful posession of Communion with the Holy See because our priests are now in canonical good standing.

We are very grateful to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for issuing, last July, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum which called us to come into undisputed and peaceful Communion with him.

Now we have that undisputed communion! It is a pearl of great price; a treasure hidden in the field; a sweetness that cannot be imagined by those who have not tasted it or who have not known it, now for many years. Its value cannot be fully expressed in earthly language and therefore we hope that all traditional priests who have not yet done so, will answer Pope Benedict's call to enjoy the grace of peaceful and undisputed communion with him. Believe us, the price to pay is nothing; even all the angry voices that have shouted against us and calumniated us are as nothing when weighed in the scales against undisputed communion with the Vicar of Christ; others have died for it; what are raucous voices?

We publicly thank all those souls who have prayed for us over the last months; some of you have truly stormed heaven for us. You have kept us afloat. We are deeply grateful. Especially we thank that priest who was unknown to us, until June 16th when he wrote in fraternal support. Where did he come from? Why us? But he told us of the number of Masses, Offices, prayers and sacrifices he had personally said for us; he had also enlisted the prayers of contemplatives and Third Order societies and had a great number of people fervently praying for us with an abundance of prayers. We were amazed! Thank you Father! Thank you also to that brave person who, so kindly wrote to us to say that if he said any more prayers for us he would be floating! What wonderful people! Thank you!

Looking to the future, the next stage will be to have our community canonically erected. So please, dear friends, keep praying for us, there will be many crosses to bear; but they will be yokes sweetened by the grace of these last days.

We assure you all of our very best wishes.
Your devoted servant,

Fr. Michael Mary, C.SS.R.
Vicar General

Posted by Transalpine Redemptorists at 17:19

Saner (SSPX) heads prevail...

By Brian Kopp

RorateCaeli has a "Breaking News" report:

I.Media: SSPX asks for removal of excommunications

Fr. Z. also has news of hopeful developments:

Behind the scenes SSPX things are brighter than they may seem

Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers.

Now would be a good time to review what RorateCaeli has dubbed The One-Two-Three Strategy:

"the Fraternity of Saint Pius X remains faithful to a line [which has been] clearly expressed and regarding which it has not wavered:

- obtaining the two preconditions, which are the withdrawal of the decree of excommunications and the freedom of every priest to celebrate the Mass of Saint Pius V;

- the resolution of doctrinal questions;

- the search for the most adequate canonical solution."


According to RorateCaeli:

Swiss news agency APIC adds the following: " 'The letter is on the Pope's bureau,' it [the Pontifical Commisson Ecclesia Dei] has indicated, noticing that 'discretion' should be kept in this affair."

Meanwhile, the official SSPX news agency, DICI, has published the first official communiqué of the Fraternity on current events

Here's a translation of SSPX media outlet DICI's official communiqué from RorateCaeli:

On the matter of the ultimatum of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

On June 4, 2008, at the request of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Superior General of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, went to Rome, along with the 2nd Assistant General, Father Alain-Marc Nély.

In the course of the meeting, a memorandum, in the form of an ultimatum, was given to him, being an answer demanded by the end of the month of June. On June 23, contrarily to custom, Italian daily Il Giornale revealed the existence of this ultimatum and published its content, on the next day, in its electronic edition. The information was picked up in the following days by the entire international press. Therefore, in addition to the urgency of the ultimatum, there was media pressure.

The document of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos included five demands: besides a positive answer asked for before the end of June, the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, in the person of its Superior General, should commit (1) to "a response proportionate to the generosity of the Pope"; (2) "to avoid every public intervention which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which may be negative to ecclesial charity"; (3) to "avoid the claim to a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not propose the Fraternity in contraposition to the Church"; (4) to "display the will to act honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect for the authority of the Vicar of Christ".

It should be noticed that the very generic, not to say vague, character of the proposed demands contrasts remarkably with the urgency of an ultimatum. These conditions seem to aim the achievement of a climate favorable to an ulterior dialogue, rather than being precise commitments on exact points. The Fraternity of Saint Pius X wishes that this dialogue be situated at a doctrinal level and take into consideration all questions which, if evaded, would run the risk of turning obsolete a canonical position established in haste. It considers that the prior withdrawal of the decrees of excommunication of 1988 would favor the serenity of such dialogue.

The Fraternity of Saint Pius X does not claim to exercise a Magisterium superior to that of the Holy Father, neither intends to oppose itself to the Church. Following its founder, it intends to transmit that which it has received, that is, "that which has been believed always, everywhere, and by all". It makes its own the profession of faith which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre addressed to Paul VI on September 24, 1975: "It is to His Vicar that Jesus Christ entrusted the mission to confirm his brothers in the faith and that He demands to watch so that every bishop will faithfully guard the deposit, according to the words of Saint Paul to Timothy."

It is in this sense that Monsignor Fellay responded to the ultimatum in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos simply noticed the reception of this response on the following day.

Until further information is available, no other comment will be made.

Father Alain Lorans