Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SSPX Rumours

The rumour that has been floating around for two or three days now says that the SSPX leadership has decided to reject the Doctrinal Preamble.
I don't know if it's true. I really hope it's not, though I have to confess that I have a sad gut feeling that it is.
That being said, DICI has posted an official press release reminding the faithful that these rumours are currently nothing more than that.

Press Release from the General House of the Priestly Society of St Pius X (November 2 2011)

Filed under From TraditionNews
Since the meeting of the seminary Rectors and District Superiors of the Society of St. Pius X in Albano (Italy) on October 7, 2011, several comments have been published in the press about the answer that Bishop Bernard Fellay should give to the Roman propositions of September 14th.
It has to be recalled that only the SSPX’s General House has the competency to publish an official communique or authorized comment on the subject.
Until further notice, one should reference the communique of October 7, 2011. (DICI of 11/02/11).

We've seen lots of rumours before, and many of them turned out to be false. We also know that there are a lot of people out there on both sides who do not want to see a reunion. There certainly is sufficient motive for some misguided individuals to sabotage the reunion process from either camp.

In any case, keep praying for reunion. I will not listen to these rumours until such a time as they are confirmed true or false.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Last Things

  • You will die.
  • You will be judged.
  • You may go to heaven.
  • Or you may go to hell.
Popularly, we call these the Four Last Things and, being Catholics we might also add the eminently real possibility of Purgatory.


Dies iræ! Dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!

The day of wrath, that day 
Will dissolve the world in ashes 
As foretold by David and the sibyl!

You may die at any moment. There is one chance in however many millions that right at this very moment, the ceiling above you fails spectacularly and a chunk of load-bearing beam lands right on your head. There could be a sudden, violent earthquake that cracks open the ground under you and crushes you. You might encounter right around the corner a violent and thoroughly bad person who will shoot you for the twenty dollars in your wallet.
Or, you might die in sixty years, warm in your own bed, surrounded by two or three generations of family praying around you.
However you die in the end, die you will, and there is no way for you to know if it will or will not happen sixty seconds from now, or sixty years, or more.
Immediately after your death, you will face your judgement. (CCC 1022)


Quantus tremor est futurus, 
Quando iudex est venturus, 
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

How much tremor there will be, 
When the judge will come, 
Investigating everything strictly!

Jesus Christ sits at the right Hand of the Father, and by Him will you be judged after death. You will be judged both by your faith and your works. Alone, you have no chance of a favourable judgement. Without God's free gift of Faith, without Christ's free gift of Himself, our only destination is hell. Through the Church though, there is salvation. All salvation comes through the Church, because the Church is salvation.


Rex tremendæ maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.

King of tremendous majesty,
who freely savest those that have to be saved,
save me, source of mercy.

Should we die in a state of grace, we will enjoy forever perfect communion with our God, with Him forever in heaven, experiencing Him face to face. As well, we will share our experience of God with all the Church Triumphant, from Mary, the Queen of Heaven and Mother of God, all the way to the lowliest of the unknown saints, who quietly and unassumingly worked out their salvation with fear and trembling. (CCC 1023-1029)


Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus.

Tearful will be that day, 
On which from the ash arises 
The guilty man who is to be judged. 
Spare him therefore, God.

Hell is awful even to contemplate, however it must be done. Hell is a very real possibility for any one of us, should we reject Christ's sacrifice even for a moment. The sharpest pain in all of hell is the eternal separation from God's love.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1034: Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire," and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"
The damned man is condemned by himself alone; God merely complies with his wishes. These are those who, in their arrogance, refuse to serve God, refuse to accept His mercy. All we may do is pray for them now, that they repent, and pray for ourselves that we do not follow them.

Pie Iesu Domine, dona eis requiem. Amen

Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them rest. Amen.

No temporary sacrifice is too great for us to obtain salvation, and no temporary pleasure is worth risking, even for the briefest moment, the eternal pain of hell. What is eighty years, when weighed against eternal joy, or eternal punishment? For that matter what is a thousand years? What is the entire history of the human race, weighed on a scale against eternity with or without our God?

The Catholic attitude towards death is rather unique in today's culture. Most either dread death or, more often, ignore it, sanitize it, and forget about it. Funerals today have become "celebrations of life", the dying are shut up in white hospital rooms and sent away to live with the rest of the elderly- out of sight, out of mind. Most people today are not prepared to look death in the face.
A statue in St. Peter in Chains Basilica.
Picture taken by myself.
For us Catholics however, death is neither something to be feared, nor ignored, nor sanitized. Death remains as a consequence of the first sin, yet at the same time we know that it has been defeated; it has lost its power to destroy. So a certain tension is present. We are not to fear death any longer because it has no power over our souls, but at the same time its attack against the body cannot be celebrated. We are not dualists, so we recognize our bodies as good, as temples of the Holy Ghost.
Traditionally, we perform the funeral rites in black vestments, with unbleached candles. These represent our somber attitude towards the ending of an earthly life. We cannot celebrate because we can be certain of no man's ultimate salvation, save for the Saints.
At the same time, we also embrace the macabre to a certain extent, and we even might interpret it sometimes as mocking the attempts of the Evil One to use death as his weapon. We decorate the outsides of our greatest Gothic churches with grotesque gargoyles, and some of our monuments include the skull and bones, and images of Death personified. 
The most central symbol of our faith, the Crucifix, mocks Satan in the moment of his defeat. At the moment of the death of Jesus Christ, Satan's power over us was broken once and for all. No longer is death his weapon because the Son of God- the Son of Man, has taken death unto himself, become sin, and washed us clean in His Blood.

Tomorrow we celebrate All Saints' Day, and the day after we commemorate All Souls' Day. We are commemorating and celebrating the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant: again, those for whom death has no power. Prayers for the final purification of the Suffering, and rejoicing in the salvation of the Triumphant These are the Faithful who have accepted Christ's sacrifice, and by doing so, overcame the power of the devil in our world. On the Last Day, these faithfully departed, and us too should we accept Christ's sacrifice, will be reunited with our redeemed bodies, and death will have lost the last outward sign of its power.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord.

Happy Reformation Day To Us Catholics

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Short Press Release from the SSPX

Reproduced here verbatim:

Press Release from the General House of the Priestly Society of St Pius X

Filed under From TraditionNews
Albano_1On October 7, 2011, a meeting of all those in charge of the Society of St Pius X was held in Albano, Italy, during which the Superior General, H. E. Bishop Bernard Fellay, presented the content of the Doctrinal Preamble, handed over to him by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, at the Vatican, during last September 14 meeting.
During this day, the twenty-eight persons in charge of the Society of St Pius X present at the meeting – seminary rectors, district superiors from all over the world – manifested a profound unity in their will to maintain the Faith in its integrity and its fullness, faithful to the lesson which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre left them, according to St Paul’s “Tradidi quod et accepi – I have handed over what I myself have received” (I Cor 15:3).
Following this work meeting, the study of the Doctrinal Preamble – of which the content still remains confidential – will be pursued and further analysed at the level of the General Counsel of the Society of St Pius X, by the Superior General and his two Assistants, Frs. Niklaus Pfluger and Alain Nely, enabling them to present an answer to the Roman proposals in a reasonable time.
Albano, October 7, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Holy Rosary

Yesterday my TLM parish celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Father explained why the feast day was moved to the Sunday instead of the official October 7, but I honestly can't remember what he said. I'm sure the more learned liturgical buffs can answer that.

Anyway, it was a beautiful Mass. This was the first time I've had the opportunity to see Marian blue vestments anywhere outside of the New Liturgical Movement blog. Father had a Roman style chasuble, mostly white, with a blue cross on the back embroidered with an image of Mary at the transept.

His homily focused on the noble Catholic tradition of praying the Rosary, and the enormous graces associated with a devotion to the Rosary. There are fifteen promises that we traditionally believe the Holy Virgin made to Saint Dominic- promises to any Catholic who prays the Rosary faithfully. They are as follows:

  1. To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces. 
  2. Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary will receive some special grace. 
  3. The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy. 
  4. The rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means. 
  5. Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish. 
  6. Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life. 
  7. Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church. 
  8. Those who are faithful to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed. 
  9. I will deliver promptly from purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary. 
  10. True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in heaven. 
  11. What you shall ask through my Rosary you shall obtain. 
  12. To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities. 
  13. I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court. 
  14. Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination.

Mary is our mother, the mother of God and of all believers. In these promises she reminds us how extensively she watches over us and is willing to intercede on our behalf. In each and every of these promises, we see reflected the famous truth of faith "Ad Iesum per Mariam", To Jesus through Mary.

Devotion to Mary is necessary for the devout Catholic. Our priest showed us the Wedding at Cana to demonstrate this.
From the Douay Rheims: (Jn 2: 1-5)

[1] And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. [2]And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. [3] And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. [4] And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. [5] His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

This event marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Only the disciples and His family could have known about His status and dual nature. Notice how the story is worded: "the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited". The bride and groom could not have known about Jesus as the Messiah, and they invited His mother first, and Mary interceded for them. She did for them exactly as she promises us: special protection and great graces.
Jesus' first public miracle, a powerful foreshadowing of the Holy Eucharist, was performed at the request of His Mother, because of the love that the newly married couple had for her.

SO, if we pray the Rosary with devotion, won't Mary do the same for us? Will she not bring Jesus into our homes, into our souls, and obtain His intercession for us?

Our priest recommended that every Catholic pray the Rosary daily. If we don't do so already, he suggested that we start at the very least with three Hail Marys first thing when we wake up, and last thing at night, to have our Mother on our mind at the start and end of our day. From there we can progress to a single decade. It doesn't take long. Our priest tells us that Mary takes what we offer and expands it. She will take our prayers, the little we can offer, and lead us by the hand to offer her more and more of ourselves.

To finish my post, I just wanted to include these two images of the Madonna which were made by Japanese nuns. I think it's lovely to see the Virgin Mary depicted in different cultural contexts.

Ad Iesum per Mariam.

Monday, September 26, 2011

SSPX Update

Straight from the horse's mouth:

Italy: Meeting of Superiors of the Society of St. Pius X

Filed under From RomeNews
As announced in the interview given to DICI on the September 14, 2011, following the meeting with Cardinal William Levada, Bishop Bernard Fellay will consult the Superiors of the SSPX about the doctrinal preamble, given to him by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Society’s Superiors will meet together behind closed doors at the Italian District Headquarters, in Albano, the October 7 and 8, 2011. (DICI 09-23-11)
So it looks quite likely that we will have some sort of significant development to report either on or just after October 8. Hopefully the response will be positive, and allow the SSPX to be completely rehabilitated. By my understanding it seems also possible that clarification is sought on points in the Doctrinal Preamble, though considering the brevity of the Preamble I don't know how likely this is.
Keep praying for a speedy, mutually beneficial reconciliation.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Immorality and Free Speech on Campus

It's the start of a new academic year now, two weeks in for me. This week was the week for clubs to advertise and recruit, so there are lots of posters up around campus advertising clubs and causes, etc.. One of the groups that is advertising fairly aggressively right now is "Queers on Campus"; they've put signs up on all the bulletin boards with pretty typical slogans like "Homophobia: now that's a choice", "Closets are for clothes", etc., etc.. Just sound bytes really.

I don't like these ads, and I'm going to explain why.

I do support free speech, free expression, etc., 100% and unqualified. I would disagree with anyone telling them that they can't put up these signs, even though I think this group is completely wrong, and I find the ads and the message behind them rather distasteful. That's not the issue here. The issue for me is that these signs represent an implied threat.

What makes these an implied threat? My own freedom of speech and freedom of religion are being slowly eroded by new policies that make their definition of homophobia essentially illegal. According to my university's "Campaign for Positive Space", students are called to "treat homophobia and transgendered discrimination as seriously as you would racial discrimination or other forms of sexual harassment and act on them." How does that same page define homophobia? "Hatred and mistrust of homosexuals." As we've seen in recent years, the definitions of all of these words are becoming more and more broad. For instance, this pastoral letter written by my bishop got him sent to the "Human Rights Commission" against charges of discrimination. As far as I know the two complaints against him were eventually dropped after the ensuing controversy, however the challenge has been issued. For simply preaching as the Church has always preached, Bishop Fred Henry faced legal attack which in theory could have resulted in thousands of dollars in fines and legal costs.

So, the precedence has been set for labeling all remarks, spoken or written, that are critical of homosexuality, as "homophobia" and "hate speech", which opens the targeted individual to hefty fines and legal costs. These fines of course would be considered unjust under Catholic morality. (An unjust law is no law at all.) If that hypothetical person refuses to pay, what happens? I don't think it's happened yet, but it's not such a stretch to think that it involves imprisonment. So there's the threat. It's a threat of extortion, and at the end of the day, a threat of violence. Who backs up these government policies? The enforcement arm of the government. Guns and metal cages.

St. Polycarp: killed for refusing to offer incense to the Roman gods.
Believe what you want, but if you tell anyone else, you're a criminal.
Sacrifice to our gods if you want to live.

Why don't I like those signs? Every single time I see them, I'm reminded that the day may be coming where I'm no longer permitted legally to say that I believe what they do is morally wrong. Maybe that day is already here. I don't want to find out.

Ads on my Blog

I enabled AdSense to post advertisements at the end of my posts and on the sidebar of my blog. These will start appearing probably within a few days.
I don't control which ads will appear, but I believe I am able to block certain sites from having ads here. If you see anything inappropriate for this blog, please let me know either by email or by a comment, and I will block that site from advertising here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Celebrity-Priest

  • Dale Fushek
  • Alberto Cutié
  • Fr. Thomas Euteneuer
  • Fr. John Corapi
  • Fr. Frank Pavone(?)
There are more I'm sure, and there are going to be more over the next few years I think. Just very recently now, they all seem to be falling one after the other. What has happened?

What is the role of the priest? My informal offering is that the priest serves God and Mankind by laying down his life for the Church, and taking on an alter Christus identity in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the worship of God and the salvation of souls.
The key in terms of the priest's acceptance of his vocation would be precisely that he does lay down his life in service of God and the Holy Mother Church. It is distinguished as a vocation because he does take vows that bind him to his chosen state. (This is, by the way, what distinguishes simple 'default' single life from the consecrated virginal state. Simply being single is not a vocation. Taking a vow of virginity is.)
During the priest's ordination, he prostrates himself while the Litany of the Saints is chanted. The prostration, among other things, symbolizes that he is giving up whatever life he may have had, in favour of service to the Church. He is offering himself wholly to whatever the Holy Church could ask of him. He is no longer his own person. Archbishop Sheen said as much; "The priest is not his own."

I believe that the issue with celebrity priests is one of independence.

Of course in the Church there is a place for 'missions' that a priest could take on which are secondary to his offering of the Holy Mass. We have great need of priests who teach, serve the poor, pray outside abortuaries, etc.. The issue is not with taking on these extra responsibilities per se. The problem arises when the priest allows this mission to overshadow his vow to place himself at the service of the Church. Pro-life work is a great and honourable thing to do, but if the Church calls a priest to serve in a different capacity, he must serve in that capacity.

Many priests take on extra responsibilities which are great things in and of themselves. They often do many good things while carrying out these responsibilities. Then, we've seen a few times, they get 'too good' at it. They are praised for their work, and rightly so, but they allow temptation to overpower them, and they accept the praise for themselves instead of deflecting it all to the Church. Now this praiseworthy undertaking is their mission. It is not their service of the Church.

The issues may manifest in minor instances, such as the priest who has a quiet attitude that his bishop or ordinary should not 'impede' the exercising of his personal mission. Or it might be major, such as the priest who rejects the Church so that he is no longer under supervision of those who might call him in other directions.

I don't believe that Dale Fushek and Alberto Cutié were ordained with the intention to reject the Church, be excommunicated, and seriously violate moral law. I don't think Fr. Corapi ever intended to leave his ordained ministry in preference to his speaking, and I don't think Fr. Euteneuer ever intended to violate his obligation to chastity and moral integrity. The moment a priest opens himself to regarding his personal ministry as his own work, rather than the Church's work of which he is merely a steward, I believe that he puts himself at grave risk of being corrupted, of turning his own good intentions into a tool that Satan may use to attack their vocation.

There have been priests whom we might call celebrities who did not fall in this way. I'm thinking of Archbishop Sheen and Padre Pio. Both found themselves very famous, and with a certain 'cult following'. I can only speculate on their thought process, but I am more than willing to hazard a guess that both of these very great men rejected the fame they were offered, and instead redirected all attention they received to the Church. They resisted the temptation to conduct their ministry as a personal crusade, and instead always kept in mind that whatever they did was only a tool of the Church to reach more souls.

Christ is the perfect model for priests, and all of Mankind. A priest can always call upon the example of Christ to lead him. I have in mind right now Jesus' temptation in the desert. The Devil offered him everything that the world could provide, and our Lord rejected it all. He rejected the glamour of evil, the wickedness and snares of the Devil. Our priests can all do the same, especially through the faithful and pious offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Satan was defeated in Christ's Incarnation, death, and resurrection. He is defeated over and over again at every offering of the Mass. I think that the more faithfully and the more reverently the priest offers Mass, the more completely he is able to reject the many temptations of the world, and the more perfectly he is able to crush the serpent by the power of Jesus, Mary, the angels, and the Church Triumphant.

I'm not attacking priests like Corapi or Pavone. We don't even know the real nature of Fr. Pavone's situation. However I am afraid for them. A priest is given great dignity, and great fruits are demanded from him. To whom much is given, much more will be expected. I worry that their stumbles and minor faults are far more costly to them than they might be for someone who is neither a priest nor famous. Their example leads many, so they must be completely above criticism so as to never lead their own faithful to sin. Such is a great scandal, and it is a tragedy every time it happens. We need to pray for our priesthood, that they be preserved from attacks by the Devil, and that they resist every temptation to let their own desires and weaknesses infiltrate their vocation to the Church.

Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs. 
 We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, annointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood. 
 Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as are we, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith. 
 We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread. 
 We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours. 

 March, 1995 
 Electronic Copyright © 1999 EWTN All Rights Reserved

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ethical Philosophy

It's time for me to re-read Veritatis Splendor in preparation for my philosophy in literature course this semester. First book we've been assigned is James Rachels' Elements of Moral Philosophy, and Rachels, as you may or may not know, was entirely in favour of euthanasia and abortion, as well as so-called "affirmative action", which I have a huge moral problem with, though it pales in comparison to euthanasia and abortion.

My starting point in ensuring for myself a firm basis in the Catholic moral tradition will be the three "sources of morality" that are dealt with in Veritatis Splendor (§74). Those three sources of morality, sometimes called the Fonts of Morality, are the object chosen, the intended end, and the circumstances (including consequences) surrounding the action. In particular while I read, I will be noting every way in which I can oppose utilitarianism (including the so-called modern utilitarianism) and pragmatism.

In supplement to Veritatis Splendor, I will also re-read and analyze an article from the Summer 2010 issue of Communio called Experience of Nature, Moral Experience: Interpreting Veritatis Splendor's "Perspective of the Acting Person" by David Crawford. This article provides a solid argument against what I hope I recall correctly to be situational ethics and proportionalism.

Wish me luck. Secular philosophy is so frustrating sometimes.


Veritatis Splendor

Experience of Nature, Moral Experience: Interpreting Veritatis Splendor's "Perspective of the Acting Person"

buddhism-as-philosophy-introduction-mark-siderits-paperback-cover-art.jpgI also intend over the next few weeks to write a bit about Buddhist philosophy, ideally in a way that allows me to determine what aspects within Buddhism could be called pre-figures of Christianity. I have a couple ideas, specifically with regards to the Four Noble Truths (There is suffering, suffering has an origin, there is an end to suffering, and there is a[n eightfold] path to ending suffering.
Very briefly, my intention when I analyze this further is to examine the Buddhist conception of human suffering as existential pain, and determine how far this can be related to the Christian understanding of the dissatisfaction of Man while not united with God. It should be interesting if I can put together a solid post on that.

Ok, now I'm done for real. God bless.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Battle Plan" For New Bishops

I took Fr. Z.'s cue today and read an exceptional article by Phil Lawler at outlining his own advice for new bishops. Read the full article at this link. Seriously, do it. It's the best article you'll read all week. Except for the ones on my blog, right? No, better than that too. ^_^

 Here are my favourite pieces of advice from the article:


 -About 20-30% of the priests are leftist ideologues, outright heretics, historically encouraged by previous bishops who either feared them or sympathized with them. The most corrupt and liberal priests are the most likely to try to cozy up to the new bishop with flattery. The conservatives are either too busy in their parishes or find such flattery repugnant.

 -There's a minority of activist orthodox priests: maybe less than 10%. Some orthodox priests are truly wild men. Also, the priest who insists that all of the world's problems will go away if he avoids speaking up and does more holy hours may be truly “orthodox” in a sane environment, but isn't much use on the field of battle if he gives in to evil programs in the name of “obedience.” Some ostensibly orthodox priests use the outward appearances of orthodoxy to mask sinful behavior.

-The liturgy is in shambles in most parishes, even some of the “orthodox” ones. (Many orthodox priests just don't know what constitutes good liturgy!)

First Steps

-Ask for resignations from everyone on the chancery staff. (Ideally the apostolic administrator should have done this before the new bishop arrived.) All staff members should understand clearly that you determine whether or not they stay, and the presumption is negative.

 -There are probably a large number of people you really have to dismiss quickly: rebellious pastors, effeminate chancery officials, etc. (The less urgent cases can wait; you can use the budget crisis to justify the blow.) Fire them all at once. Plan it carefully to minimize the uproar. Make the announcements late on a Friday afternoon. On Saturday, release that rip-snorting pastoral letter on family life, which you have been drafting since your appointment was announced. Schedule some event Sunday with a big, loyal Catholic group. Tell reporters you'll answer questions there. Settling in: new ideas

 -Your next pastoral [letter] should insist upon the proper celebration of the Mass. It should contain disciplinary teeth. Narcissistic priests hate constraint. It's easier to catch them in an act of liturgical abuse than an act of sexual abuse.

Building community in the new-look chancery

-You will find that you have two or three prosperous parishes that are traditional centers of opposition, led by dissident priests. If you had all your priests read that fire-breather pastoral on protecting family life, you'll probably have enough general lay support—even given the hostility of the media—to face down the bad pastors after they refuse to play ball. Replace them with Nigerians to mute the screams from liberals [Lol! -I.G.S.] and to force the worst parishioners to go to the Episcopalians or the Paulists.

Consultation and dialog

-Cultivate a reputation for enjoying candor. When people give you a “nice” answer to your questions, press them: “You don't really think that, do you?”

-Make a habit of calling priests at random, at odd times. Ask them what they're doing. Networking and team ministry

-When laws that impinge upon the Christian conscience are discussed (e.g., laws that would guarantee access to abortion or sterilization, laws that require hiring of homosexuals) remind everyone who represents the diocese that it is not sufficient to obtain a “religious exclusion” so that Church-run institutions are exempt. If what's being proposed is morally objectionable, everyone should be able to invoke a conscience clause—at the bare minimum [Can we get a conscience clause for taxation? -I.G.S.]. Church lawyers and lobbyists should defend the rights of all Catholics, not only those employed by Church institutions.

Ongoing Processes

-If a complaint comes in on liturgical abuse, phone the pastor and get his side of the story. Make it a policy to write him a letter summarizing the conversation (including his assurances of conformity) and if that complaint was warranted, insist that he post your letter in the vestibule of the church for a month. If the complainant reports no change, send someone to check it out on site.

-Skip a meeting of the USCCB and delay paying the annual assessment, just for the hell of it. [Maybe he'd start a trend. ^_^ -I.G.S.]

 So yeah, I really l enjoyed this article. It would be a seriously exciting diocese that had a bishop who followed this advice. Maybe we'll see that in the newer generation of bishops. Archbishop Chaput, for instance, has already made some serious waves in Philadelphia. See also:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

His Excellency, Bishop Fellay, Speaks

Bishop Fellay provided a brief interview in the aftermath of the final meeting today. I reproduce it here in its entirety.

Interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay after his meeting with Cardinal William Levada

Filed under From RomeFrom TraditionNews
mgrfellay_1At the conclusion of the meeting that Bishop Bernard Fellay and his two General Assistants had at the Vatican with Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on September 14, 2011, at 10:00 a.m., the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X answered our questions [for the readers of DICI].
How did this meeting go?
The meeting was conducted with great courtesy and with equally great candor, because for the sake of honesty the Society of St. Pius X refuses to evade the problems that remain.  Moreover
the theological discussions that took place during these past two years were held in this same spirit.
When I stated on August 15 of this year that we were in agreement on the fact that we did not agree about the Second Vatican Council, I also made sure to explain that when it comes to dogmas, like the doctrine of the Trinity, we are quite obviously in agreement when we find them mentioned in Vatican II.  One sentence must not be taken out of its context.  It is to the great credit of our theological talks that they seriously examined and elucidated all these doctrinal problems.
The joint press release by the Vatican and the Society announced that a doctrinal document was delivered to you and that a canonical solution was proposed to you.  Can you give us any particulars?
This document is entitled “Doctrinal Preamble”;  it was handed over to us for in-depth study.  Hence it is confidential, and you will understand why I say no more about it to you.  However the term “preamble” does indicate that acceptance of it is a preliminary condition for any canonical recognition of the Society of St. Pius X on the part of the Holy See.
On the subject of this doctrinal preamble, to the extent that this does not concern its confidentiality, can you confirm that it contains, as announced in the press release, a distinction between what is de fide [essential to the faith]—to which the Society fully adheres—and what is dependent on a pastoral council, as Vatican II itself claimed to be, and thus could be subjected to criticism without calling the faith into question?
This new distinction was not only announced in the press release;  I have personally heard it from various sources.  As early as 2005, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told me, after I spent five hours explaining to him all the objections to Vatican II that the Society of St. Pius X had formulated:  “I cannot say that I agree with everything that you have said, but what you have said does not mean that you are outside the Church.  Write to the pope therefore and ask him to lift the excommunication.”
Today, for the sake of objectivity, I must acknowledge that in the doctrinal preamble there is no clear-cut distinction between the inviolable dogmatic sphere and the pastoral sphere that is subject to discussion.  The only thing that I can say, because it is part of the press release, is that this preamble contains “certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church’s Magisterium and to ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’ [thinking with the Church]. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and of the later Magisterium.”  There you have it;  no more and no less.
As for the canonical status that is said to have been proposed to the Society of St. Pius X, on the condition that it adheres to the doctrinal preamble:  there has been talk about a [personal] prelature rather than an ordinariate;  it this correct?
As you correctly note, this canonical status is conditional;  only later on will we be able to see the exact modality of it;  it still remains a subject for discussion.
When do you think you will give your answer to the proposal in the doctrinal preamble?
As soon as I have taken the time necessary to study this document, and to consult with those who are chiefly responsible for the Society of St. Pius X, because in such an important matter I have promised my confreres not to make a decision without consulting them first.
But I can assure you that our decision will be made for the good of the Church and of souls.  Our Rosary crusade, which continues for several more months, must be intensified so as to enable us to obtain, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, the graces of light and strength that we need more than ever.  (DICI no. 240 dated September 14, 2011)

I am hopeful and excited. I hope that the Doctrinal Preamble can be accepted by the Society. I'm watching this play out with great anticipation and prayer.
God help us all.

SSPX Meeting With Cardinal Levada

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy See Press Office released the following communique concerning the postion of the Society of St. Pius X:

"On 14 September at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation and president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the congregation, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the pontifical commission, met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accompanied by Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, respectively first and second assistant general to the society.

"Following the appeal of 15 December 2008, addressed by the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father decided to remove the excommunication against the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre. At the same time, he approved the opening of discussions with the society in order to clarify doctrinal problems and to heal the existing rift.

"In order to put the Holy Father's instructions into effect, a joint study commission was set up, composed of experts from the Society of St. Pius X and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who met in Rome on eight occasions between October 2009 and April 2011. Their discussions, which aimed to identify and study the essential doctrinal difficulties in the controversial issues, had the result of clarifying the positions of the two sides and their respective motivations.

"While bearing in mind the concerns and demands presented by the Society of St. Pius X about protecting the integrity of the Catholic faith against Vatican Council II's 'hermeneutic of rupture' with Tradition (a theme addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains that the fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See is the acceptance of the text of the Doctrinal Preamble, which was handed over during a meeting on 14 September 2011. The Preamble defines certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and 'sentire cum Ecclesia'. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and later Magisterium.

"At the same meeting, certain suggestions were made for a canonical solution to the position of the Society of St. Pius X, with a view to achieving the desired reconciliation".
OP/ VIS 20110914 (450)
I see nothing momentous yet, but it appears that the document was given to Bishop Fellay, in which case previous rumours indicate that he has two weeks to respond or ask for clarification.
ETA: I'm not seeing any of the recent articles mention this two weeks thing that I heard before. Maybe that was a mistaken rumour. In any case, according to CNS, they are expected to respond rather soon.
ETA2: This link goes into just a tiny bit more depth, saying:
"The “doctrinal Preamble” offered today to the Lefebvrians, as foreseen yesterday by the Vatican Insider, is a concise two to three page long text, which reaffirms the fundamental principles of the Catholic faith, needed to maintain the unity of the Church. The Vatican’s spokesman, Federico Lombardi, however, said that its content is supposed to be kept secret." 
 Slightly further on:
"The “doctrinal Preamble” therefore, does not seem to contain an explicit request for “full recognition of the Council and the teaching of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI himself.” This was affirmed by the Secretary of State, in a communiqué published issued in December 2009." 
I find this last paragraph especially to be very encouraging. Maybe this is going to be quick and painless...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SSPX Reunion Part Two?

Cardinal Levada
At the start of the summer the rumour was that the SSPX would be offered an ordinariate structure sometime in July. See my last post for details. Obviously this was incorrect, but again I'm seeing similar rumours- this time based on tomorrow's meeting between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Levada.

Now, last summer Bishop Fellay spoke during his homily at the SSPX ordination, and asked his priests and those faithful who attend their Masses not to listen to rumours, and that he would tell them as soon as anything happens. Therefore, for a while I too ignored that rumour.

However, to hear the same rumour again is interesting at the very least, and we do know that this meeting tomorrow is an important event in SSPX/Rome relations. Catholic Culture is also reporting today on rumours that a resolution is close; they even imply that it is imminent. As they write:
"The Vatican is close to an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) that would regularize the status of the breakaway traditionalist group, according to a report in Le Figaro.
Jean-Marie Guenois, the veteran religion correspondent for the French daily, predicts that a September 14 meeting between the SSPX leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and key Vatican officials will lead quickly to a resolution of the split that began in 1998[...]"
For the time being, all we know is that tomorrow, Bishop Fellay, and I believe Frs. Pfluger and Nely will meet Cardinal Levada, head of Ecclesia Dei and the CDF. Cardinal Levada has, as far as I know, the authority to resolve the issues once and for all tomorrow (I imagine with Pope Benedict's approval), and Bishop Fellay too has the ability to resolve everything.

I am going to pray for all involved parties, that this entire episode can be put behind us tomorrow, so that the SSPX can be the robust force for legitimate Catholic renewal that I believe they are meant to be. In my opinion, as the situations stands now the SSPX is capable of limited good (I believe they had an important influence in the greater availability of the Traditional Mass). I do also believe though that they are seriously handicapped because of their situation of tension and conflict with Rome. I believe their intentions are good, and I believe they (or rather most of them) desire a resolution (maybe more than some Vatican officials and the more modernist Catholic faithful).

God help all involved. :)

Bishop Fellay, Fr. Pfluger, Fr. Nely, Cardinal Bertone (respectively):



Friday, June 10, 2011

The Reunion of the SSPX May Be At Hand

From Messa in Latino:
(Translated with Google)
Bishop Fellay

Pentecost 2011: based on the information we could gather, everything indicates that we have come in this month of June 2011, the most crucial time in relations between the Society of St. Pius X and Rome from the beginning of the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

Pentecost 2011: the procedure that had indicated Mgr. Fellay, superior of the SSPX, reaches its conclusion:

a) The motu proprio of July 7, 2007, which was confirmed by application of 30 May 2011, recognizes every Catholic priest of the Roman rite the right to celebrate Mass according to the ancient custom: it was the first prerequisite mail from Msgr.Fellay for a possible reconciliation.

Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei
commission, Guido Pozzo.
b) Decree of 21 January 2009 revoked the excommunications of the four bishops of the Society: it is true that the second precondition, more mail from Msgr. Fellay.

c) A theological commission of the fraternity is invited to Rome to confront doctrinal talks with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a table of three theologians are engaged discussion of the SSPX and three Roman theologians: as expressly required by the fraternity in order to to verify the assumptions mend the rift between Rome and the heirs of Msgr. Lefebvre.

Pentecost 2011: in his last interview in Gabon, and published on the website of the fraternity say, we can see that Msgr.Fellay has two questions about events that may occur. These, precisely, his words in the interview:

- Let me finish, Your Excellency, with two questions. The first concerns the relationship between the Society and Rome. At what point are you in your contacts? Supplementary question: can we expect medium-term normalization of these relations?
Fellay: The contacts continue. We get probably at the end of a phase of discussions. This is not yet completely clear. What will happen? What will be the outcome of this phase? This answers the second question. What we now forecast for Rome? We must not delude ourselves: we are in the midst of the crisis of the Church is certainly not finished. What is our destiny in this crisis? I think that somehow the good Lord has bound us to this crisis, because we work for the restoration of the Church, but it could still last a decade, maybe two. You must have great courage and perseverance. Everything can be resolved tomorrow or day after tomorrow. Everything is in the hands of the good God will simply remain faithful.
The first question is about how to respond to the discussions of doctrine: they are now concluded. It is conceivable that the synthesis of the same will now be examined, as expected, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. You will see then clearly that is the convergence divergence on Vatican Council II and the new liturgy. After a very long maturity, certainly providential, there will undoubtedly be an asset for greater clarity and with grace, unexpected by both sides still a few years ago, he had been able to address a discussion on the substance of issues. However, the final statement (on the existence of differences that only the future can iron out), it will be radically different from what it had done in 1988 by Cardinal Ratzinger, when he also decided to sign with Msgr. Lefebvre canonical agreement (agreement then foundered on the issue of appointing bishops requested by the French bishop).

This answers the second question of Mgr. Fellay: "What we now forecast to Rome?". The Pope is about to propose to Msgr.Fellay the establishment of a Ordinaries to regularize the situation of the SSPX and its community allies, leaving the full (and necessary, given certain bishops in circulation) be independent of diocesan bishops. Some members of the Ecclesia Dei communities were able to clarify that this proposal will be made canonical in the present month of June with Msgr.Fellay.

Pentecost 2011: the current Pope has made immense and generous openings to lead to peace: the Pope's address to the Curia on the interpretation of Vatican II, in 2005, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on the opening of the celebration of the traditional liturgy in 2007 and the gesture, which was unfortunately very high price for the Holy Father, the revocation of the excommunications of the four bishops of the SSPX in 2009. The time seems now come to get to cross another milestone: that the Society of steps by the irregu status of 'unlawful' to a canonical status of 'recognition'. It 's a win-win solution, in which everyone would have a lot to gain: on the one hand Rome mend a painful break and find fresh troops and determined to lead the fight to recover what the last decades have dissipated, and second is the SSPX laverebbe stigma of rebellion and 'schism', allowing them to carry out an apostolate even more effective, without incurring a thousand prejudices that accompany it in the mind of the average Catholic, while retaining the current full freedom of movement and action.

A great hope animates us. But there are also fears that deep thinking decisive occasion, and probably only, may be missed.All Catholics (except those who like the Vatican - or rather, a certain idea of ​​Vatican II - most of the Church) can not but hope.

That's why, for the sake of the Church, the Holy Father for affection, and the pro best possible use of "mission" of the SSPX, Messainlatino takes the liberty to beg everyone to join in prayer throughout the octave of Pentecost, invoking the 'omnipotent

In order for the Society of St. Pius X can regain official status in the Church

For this intention, on the advice and with the approval of the priests who collaborate to this site, from Pentecost Sunday to the Trinity, we ask everyone to pray this prayer:

V / .Veni, Sancti Spiritus,
R /. Repl tuorum rope fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem on.
V. / Emitt Spiritum tuum et creabuntur;
R. / And Renovabis faciem terrae.

Deus, Spiritus Sancti fidelium rope here docuisti illustration from nobis in eodem Spiritu recta know, et de eius semper consolation rejoices. For Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

[Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful, kindle in them the fire of your love. Send your Spirit, will be a new creation.And renew the face of the earth.
O God, with the light of the Holy Spirit to instruct the faithful, grant that we enjoy, for that same Spirit, true wisdom and enjoy more of your comfort. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.]

And then that intention to offer the rosary daily.

To the priests, we send the invitation to add this intention to the personal memento of their mass.

If Messa in Latino is to be trusted, an Ordinariate structure is set to be offered to Bishop Fellay this June. This would, in my opinion, be a beautiful thing for the Church. The stage is set, with Summorum Pontificum, followed by the lifting of the excommunications, the Anglican Ordinariates, and now Universae Ecclesiae. There has been no time since the promulgation of Pope Paul's Mass that the Traditional Mass was so well accepted, and Pope Benedict is easily to most favourable pope towards tradition that we've had since the Second Vatican Council.
The SSPX would be a powerful voice for Tradition from within Rome. They are strong as it is, and I believe that they had some amount of influence on the publishing of Summorum Pontificum, the establishment of Ecclesia Dei, etc., but they will be still more powerful from a position of completely normalized canonical status. When their status is regularized, it will be far harder to ignore them, as so many Catholics are inclined to do.
There is a certain fear of the SSPX that I've seen, and it's rather unwarranted. I think the problem has been exaggerated by many people, and probably some in the episcopate included. I believe that most in the SSPX have good will towards the Pope, and most do seek a position of complete unity. Most, probably all, have only the best interests of the Church and the faithful in mind. Some are rather more antagonistic than others, particularly Bishop Williamson, but from others like Bishop Fellay I've read nothing but well balanced opinions, reasonable points, and zeal for the faith.
We should all pray that these rumours are true. If their canonical status is regularized, I will be at an SSPX priory for Mass at the very next available Sunday.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Calgary Alberta
Altar centerpiece.

I hope that we will be seeing this again soon.