1. The Catholic Church is divine.
Moreover, in order that we may perform satisfactorily the duty of embracing the true faith and of continuously persevering in it, God, through His only-begotten Son, has instituted the Church and provided it with clear signs of His institution, so that it can be recognized by all as the guardian and teacher of the revealed word (Vatican I, Dz. 1793).
2. The Catholic Church is the unique ark of salvation.
The Catholic Church firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within Her, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics, cannot become participants in eternal life but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock… (Council of Florence, Dz. 714).
3. The Catholic Church is visible and indefectible.
Moreover, what the Chief of pastors and the Great Pastor of sheep, the Lord Jesus, established in the blessed Apostle Peter for the perpetual salvation and perennial good of the Church, this by the same Author must endure always in the Church which was founded upon a rock and will endure firm until the end of the ages (Vatican I, Dz. 1824 [cf., Dz. 1793 above]). The one Church of Christ is visible to all and will remain, according to the Will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it (Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, §15).
4. The Church is founded upon Peter and his successors forever.
If anyone then says that it is not from the institution of Christ, the Lord Himself or by divine right that the blessed Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church…let him be anathema….
If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world…let him be anathema (Vatican I, Dz. 1825, 1831). But it is opposed to the truth and in evident contradiction with the divine constitution of the Church to hold that, while each bishop is individually bound to obey the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, taken collectively the bishops are not so bound (Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum).
5. The Pope has power only “unto edification and not unto destruction” (II Cor 13:10) of Christ’s Church.
For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth (Vatican I, Dz. 1836).
6. Church teaching cannot change.
Revelation, constituting the object of Catholic faith, was not completed with the apostles (Condemned by St. Pius X, Lamentabili, Dz. 2021).
Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed…
Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; … (Vatican I, Dz. 1792; 1800; 1839).
7. Protestants and other non-Catholics don’t have the Faith.
Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will….Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II II, Q.5, A.3).
8. Human law is ordained to divine law.
Likewise, the liberty of those who are in authority does not consist in the power to lay unreasonable and capricious commands upon their subjects…but the binding force of human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as applications of the eternal law, and incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle of all law (Leo XIII, Libertas §10).
9. Bad laws are no laws.
If, then, by any one in authority, something be sanctioned out of conformity with the principles of right reason, and consequently hurtful to the commonwealth, such an enactment can have no binding force of law, as being no rule of justice, but certain to lead men away from that good which is the very end of civil society….But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God (Leo XIII, Libertas §§10, 13).
10. In certain circumstances ecclesiastical laws do not oblige.
a) WHEN DOUBTFUL-” When there is a doubt of law, laws do not bind even if they be nullifying and disqualifying ones…” (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 15; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 14).
b) WHEN RETROACTIVE-” A law comes into existence when it is promulgated.” (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 8, §1 [cf., canon 17, §2]; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 7, [cf., canon 16, §2]).
c) WHEN THEY CANNOT BE OBSERVED (physically or morally)-”No positive law obliges where there is grave inconvenience” is a principle of moral theology (cf., 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 2205, §2; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1323, 40). There certainly is such a grave inconvenience when observance would be detrimental to souls, for “the salvation of souls must always be the supreme law of the Church” (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1752).
11. The Mass is not essentially a meal.
If anyone says that in the Mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God, or that the act of offering is nothing else than Christ being given to us to eat, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 948.).
12. The Mass is the re-enactment of Calvary (and not just a narrative of the Last Supper, which was itself but a pre-enactment of Calvary).
He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once to God the Father upon the altar of the Cross…nevertheless, that His sacerdotal office might not come to an end with His death, at the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, so that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands), whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be completed on the Cross might be represented, and the memory of it remain even to the end of the world…offered to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine….(Council of Trent, Dz. 950).
13. The Mass is not a community gathering.
If anyone says that Masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally, are illicit and are therefore to be abrogated, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 955, cf., Principle 14).
14. The prayers of the Mass are not directed to the people but to God.
If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned…, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 956).
15. Holy Communion under both species is not necessary for the laity.
If anyone denies that the whole Christ is contained in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist under each species and under every part of each species, when the separation has been made, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 885).
If anyone says that the holy Catholic Church has not been influenced by just causes and reasons to give communion under the form of bread only to laymen and even to clerics when not consecrating, or that she has erred in this, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 935).
16. The Blessed Sacrament is Our Lord and must be worshipped.
If anyone says that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the only-begotten Son of God is not to be adored even outwardly with the worship of latria…let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 888).
17. The Blessed Sacrament contains the whole Christ under the species of bread and wine.
If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist there are truly, really, and substantially contained the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ, but shall say that He is in it as by a sign or figure, or force, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 883).
18. The Catholic priesthood is of divine origin.
If anyone says that by these words: “Do this for a commemoration of me,” (Lk. 22:19; I Cor. 11:24), Christ did not make the Apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests might offer His own body and blood: let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz. 949).
19. The traditional Latin Mass is still in force in virtue of Quo Primum:
By these present (ordinances) and by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgement or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used….We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and that this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall forever remain valid and have the force of law…(St. Pius V, Quo Primum).
• AS IMMEMORIAL CUSTOM: “…unless it makes express mention of centenary or immemorial customs, a law does not revoke them…” (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 30; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 28).
• AND BECAUSE THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS AN OPTION OPEN TO FAITHFUL CATHOLICS:
FR MATTIAS GAUDRON
Catechism of the Crisis
Fr. Rostand told all priests of the US District to use this book for adult catechism. Below are extracts from the end of the book, found on-line in an earlier translation.
Did the official authorities accept this argument of necessity developed by Archbishop Lefebvre?
The current authorities have evidently never publicly recognized the soundness of Archbishop Lefebvre’s argumentation because they claimed to have excommunicated him. But in fact, they often seemed not to believe in the reality of this excommunication–or at least to be divided on the subject.
Does the Society of St. Pius X have a false notion of Tradition?
Today the SSPX is often reproached with having a too static concept of Tradition. Conciliar Rome holds up the “living Tradition,” the adjective living intended to suggest that Tradition can move, like every living thing. But this is precisely the modernist error of historicism: doctrinal truth can never be reached definitively, but is perceived and expressed differently over the course of several centuries. This error was condemned by Popes St. Pius X and Pius XII.
Is the error of historicism really and truly present at Rome today?
Archbishop Lefebvre often reported that when he would be speaking with Cardinal Ratzinger or other Roman personalities and would quote some condemnation issued by Pius IX or some dogmatic definition of the Council of Trent, he would hear his interlocutor reply: “But Monsignor, we are no longer living at the time of Pius IX; we are not in the era of the Council of Trent…”
Isn’t it normal for traditions to evolve over time?
Tradition (with a capital “T”) ought to be distinguished from traditions. The first is immutable, while the latter can undergo a certain change.
What is Tradition?
Tradition (with a capital “T”), is the Apostolic Tradition, that is to say, the deposit of faith confided once and for all to the Apostles and which the Magisterium [the Church’s Teaching Authority] must transmit and protect till the end of the world.
Is Tradition absolutely immutable?
The deposit revealed by God and transmitted by Tradition is absolutely immutable since Revelation closed with the death of the last Apostle. But this immutable deposit is expressed more and more precisely by the Magisterium, which inventories and classifies it at the same time that it transmits and defends it.
Then the Church’s teaching does evolve?
Rather than speaking of evolution (a very ambiguous word), one should speak of development. Also, it should be understood that this development is homogeneous, that is, without mutation: it is simply the unfolding of what was included from the beginning, which a kind of compression prevented from being fully visible.
Might one not then correctly say that Tradition is living?
Tradition is living in the sense that the revealed deposit left by the Apostles is not only transmitted as a dead letter in writings, but also by living persons who have the authority to defend it, to show its significance, and to make it lived by faith (which is the function of the Magisterium). But it remains nonetheless that this deposit is itself immutable; truth does not change, and nothing that has once been defined by the Magisterium can then be modified. The expression “living Tradition,” often understood as a moving, evolving Tradition, is thus today particularly dangerous.
What are the Church traditions that co-exist with immutable Tradition?
All the pious practices, the rules of institutes of religious life, methods of apostolate, liturgical or legal laws and customs that are transmitted in the Church without having been directly instituted by God at the time of the Apostles are ecclesiastical traditions, distinct from Tradition in the strict sense.
Can all these ecclesiastical traditions be changed?
Ecclesiastical traditions are not as immutable as revealed Tradition, and, in fact, they slowly evolved over time. But they are the inheritance of the saints and the expression of the wisdom of the Church (which is guided by the Holy Ghost). It would thus be impious and very imprudent to disturb them without a proportionate reason.
But haven’t the “traditionalists” got an excessive and too rigid attachment to ecclesiastical traditions which, after all, are human?
Such a rigid and exaggerated “traditionalism,” which would freeze all exterior forms and refuse any adaptation to contemporary needs, may indeed exist (it can be found among some Eastern schismatics called “Orthodox”). But this was not the attitude of St. Pius X nor of Archbishop Lefebvre, who knew how to intimately unite fidelity to the Church’s past and adaptation to the needs of the day. After all, the antimodernist battle waged by the both of them (and still being waged today by those called “traditionalists”) was not essentially over human traditions by over revealed Tradition, the object of the virtue of faith. The traditionalist resistance is not first and foremost a question of Latin or cassocks or liturgical rubrics; it is well and truly a matter of faith.
How did St. Pius X reconcile fidelity to the past with adaptation to present needs?
Pope St. Pius X, who so severely condemned modernism, was at the same time a great reforming Pope: he reformed the Breviary and Church music; he was the first to prepare a clear and complete Code of Canon Law; and by his two decrees on Communion, he dispelled the final influences of Jansenism. And this is only the list of his major reforms. No pontificate since the Council of Trent had promoted so many reforms as St. Pius X! But these were good reforms, inspired by a truly supernatural zeal, without any contempt for the past, and only aiming at creating the best conditions for the Church’s action in the modern world for the sake of the salvation of souls.
Can Archbishop Lefebvre be compared to St. Pius X on this point?
Archbishop Lefebvre acted exactly like St. Pius X. He cleaved to Tradition with a capital T (which transmits the deposit of faith to us) and loved the Church’s past as much as he knew how to be enterprising and innovative in his pastoral methods. His biography furnishes numerous examples of this.
Where does the expression “living Tradition” used against the “traditionalists” nowadays come from?
The expression “living Tradition” comes from a document of Vatican II (Dei Verbum 12) and it mentions evolving tradition. From the modernist viewpoint, the role of the magisterium is not to safeguard the deposit of Revelation, but to ensure ecclesial “communion” (in space and time). Fidelity to Tradition does not mean first of all fidelity to a deposit handed down from the Apostles, but rather docility to what the pope, guarantor of unity, says today.
Is this new notion of “living Tradition” to be found in the teaching of Benedict XVI?
The notion of “living Tradition” is omnipresent in Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching. In an allocution of April 26, 2006, for example, he defines the nature of Tradition:
The Church’s apostolic Tradition consists in this transmission of the goods of salvation which, through the power of the Spirit makes the Christian community the permanent actualization of the original communion.
Tradition is the communion of the faithful around their legitimate Pastors down through history, a communion that the Holy Spirit nurtures, assuring the connection between the experience of the apostolic faith, lived in the original community of the disciples, and the actual experience of Christ in his Church.
What is notable in this definition of Tradition?
Under the pretext of emphasizing the living character of Tradition (“Tradition is the living river that links us to the origins, the living river in which the origins are ever present,” the Pope also says), the essential content of this Tradition is left aside: revealed truth, which is immutable.
How should we respond to this new notion of “living Tradition”?
It suffices to answer with St. Paul:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. (Gal. 1:8)
Wouldn’t it have been possible to continue to go along with Rome?
Simple common-sense shows, and experience confirms, that it is currently impossible to fully live and defend the Catholic Faith while being approved by Conciliar Rome. Following upon the episcopal consecrations of 1988, Rome conceded the celebration of the former liturgy to a few communities, but in return these were obliged to recognize the New Mass as a fully legitimate rite and to refrain from any criticism of Vatican II. In particular, they had to accept (or at least not criticize) religious freedom and ecumenism. Such a silence constitutes per se culpable complicity.
Which are the communities that obtained permission to use the traditional liturgy in exchange for their silence about the errors of Vatican II?
The communities having been authorized the use of the traditional liturgy in exchange for their silence about the errors of Vatican II are in particular the Fraternity of St. Peter (issuing from a split with the Society of St. Pius X in 1988), the Institute of Christ the King (founded by Fr. Wach at Gricigliano, near Florence), the Benedictine abbey of Le Barroux (brought round in 1988), the Fraternity of St. Vincent at Chéméré (which abruptly went from sedevacantism to the conciliar cause while Archbishop Lefebvre was dealing with Rome in 1987), the Institute of Opus Mariae (Fr. Vladimir), the Dominican Teaching nuns of Brignoles (founded by Fr. Berto), and finally, most recently, the Society of St. John Marie Vianney of Campos, Brazil (governed by Msgr. Rifan and brought round in 2002). These communities are generally designated by the general name “Ecclesia Dei communities.”
Why do all these communities have the common name “Ecclesia Dei community.”
These communities are designated by the generic name “Ecclesia Dei communities” because most of them are under the Commission of the same name founded at Rome at the time of the 1988 episcopal consecrations for rallying those who left the Society of St. Pius X.
Where does the name “Ecclesia Dei” come from?
The words “Ecclesia Dei” designate the document by which Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated. One might say that all these communities were established as a result of this excommunication and benefit from Archbishop Lefebvre’s heroic act of June 30, 1988. If the founder of Ecône had not first announced (May 29, 1987) and then performed (June 30, 1988) these episcopal consecrations, Conciliar Rome would never have granted the traditional liturgy to all these communities.
Why was Conciliar Rome so bothered by these episcopal consecrations?
Conciliar Rome was bothered by these episcopal consecrations because they assured the survival of Tradition. Until then, it might have been thought that the traditionalist reaction would eventually die out once there were no more traditional bishops to ordain traditional priests. Since Archbishop Lefebvre was quite old, it was only a matter of time, and Conciliar Rome’s entire strategy consisted in trying to gain time. The consecrations of 1988 reversed the situation. Even though they left Archbishop Lefebvre, the Ecclesia Dei communities benefited from it. Rome in effect granted them the use of the traditional liturgy in order to detach them from Archbishop Lefebvre.
Do the Ecclesia Dei communities acknowledge that their prosperity is due to the consecrations of 1988?
Since they are tolerated only insofar as they are publicly separated from him, the Ecclesia Dei communities generally avoid acknowledging their debt to Archbishop Lefebvre. Some laymen enjoy a greater freedom of speech. In 2006, the editor of the Remnant, a newspaper of the Ecclesia Dei community in the United States, publicly recognized that the Society of St. Pius X was like the counterweight that enabled the Ecclesia Dei communities to exist and to develop. Consequently, and very logically, he declared that he did not wish an agreement between Conciliar Rome and the Society of St. Pius X for the time being, for this displacement of the counterweight might weaken the whole traditionalist movement.
Aren’t all these tactical considerations too human?
It is characteristic of Vatican II to have replaced the courageous profession of the Catholic Faith with tactics, diplomacy, and dialogue (the documents on religious freedom and ecumenism are the clearest manifestation of this). Opposite, Archbishop Lefebvre was always motivated by considerations of faith. He only resorted to the consecrations of 1988 in order to continue transmitting the Catholic faith and sacraments. While keeping the same attitude, it is not out of place to note that the faith of Ecône’s founder, who refused to get bogged down in human calculations, ultimately proved to be much more astute than all the maneuvers of the Vatican’s diplomats.
Can the episcopal consecrations of 1988 then be considered to be a great victory of Catholic Tradition?
Yes, the episcopal consecrations of 1988 constitute a great victory for the Church. They saved the traditional Mass. The slow but real progress of the Mass within the Church is an incontestable fruit of the consecrations.
If the victory was won, what prevents the Society from being reconciled with the Roman authorities today?
The consecrations of 1988 contributed to saving Catholic Tradition not only by assuring the transmission of the sacrament of holy orders, and thus of the traditional Mass and sacraments, but also by protecting a small part of the Church’s flock against the conciliar errors. Now, these conciliar errors continue to ravage the Church, and they reign even at Rome. To continue to be protected against them effectively, it is therefore necessary to keep a distance from the Roman authorities. The definitive victory is yet to come.
Wouldn’t it be possible to continue resisting the conciliar errors without being outside the normal chain of command of legitimate Church authorities?
During an epidemic, the most basic prudence imposes the strict separation of the sick from the healthy. A certain communication remains indispensable (for taking care of the sick), but it is limited as much as possible and surrounded with painstaking precautions. The same holds for the situation today: it is impossible to frequent the conciliar authorities on a regular basis without exposing oneself to contracting their errors. The example of the Ecclesia Dei communities furnishes the striking proof.
Have the members of the Ecclesia Dei communities really accepted the errors of Vatican II or have they only kept quiet about them?
Without pretending to judge the internal forum or possible exceptions, it seems that most of the members of the Ecclesia Dei communities have ended, unfortunately, by adhering to the conciliar errors. They began by keeping a prudential silence. Then they had to give more and more tokens of unity. Unawares, they were subjected to the psychological pressure of liberalism, all the more effective the less compulsory it seems. They ended by refraining from thinking otherwise than they spoke and acted. (“One must live the way one thinks or end up thinking the way one lives,” as Paul Bourget said.) In short, they were completely caught in the machinery into which they imprudently put a finger.
Is acceptance of the conciliar errors common to all the Ecclesia Dei communities?
There are undoubtedly nuances, but, in general, all the Ecclesia Dei communities today accept the conciliar errors. When making its peace with Conciliar Rome in July 1988, Le Barroux publicly imposed a condition: “That no doctrinal or liturgical counterpart be required of us, and that silence not be imposed on our antimodernist preaching.” But by the following October, one monk had observed “a certain relativizing of the critique of Dignitatis Humanae and Assisi” within the abbey. In fact, Le Barroux was even to go so far as to try to justify the errors of Vatican II publicly. The Fraternity of St. Peter, which at first claimed to be continuing exactly what the Society of St. Pius X was doing (except for the episcopal consecrations) has similarly slid.
But do the Ecclesia Dei communities stand firm as regards the liturgy?
Far from resisting firmly, the Ecclesia Dei communities have all more or less accepted the new liturgy: Dom Gerard (the father abbot of Le Barroux)15 had to concelebrate the New Mass with the Pope (on April 27, 1995). Fr. Wach (superior of the Institute of Christ the King) had already done as much (on December 21, 199116). Bishop Rifan has also concelebrated the New Mass (on September 8, 2004). The Fraternity of St. Peter had to accept the principle of concelebrating the Holy Thursday chrismal Mass with the bishops of the dioceses where it is established (Rocca di Papa meeting, February 8-12, 200017). The Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer is a little more reserved: they “only” recommend attending the Holy Thursday chrismal Mass in choir and receiving Communion18 (but even this is a liturgical participation and therefore an acceptance of the New Mass).
Surely the Ecclesia Dei communities at least gain a wider field of apostolate in exchange for these compromises?
The situation varies quite a bit from country to country (and in France, from diocese to diocese), but most of the bishops restrict the activities of the Ecclesia Dei communities. Even those bishops who are not too hostile towards them hesitate to welcome them since they fear the reactions of their clergy or the activist laity. Rome for its part fears the reactions of the bishops. The situation of the Ecclesia Dei communities would be precarious in the extreme were it not for the Society of St. Pius X’s counterweight.
Ultimately, what does this situation reveal?
The situation of the Ecclesia Dei communities, which are gradually being constrained to abandon traditional doctrine, yet which are only accepted in various dioceses with many restrictions, clearly confirms the existence of “the state of necessity” invoked by Archbishop Lefebvre to justify the consecrations of 1988. Now as then, for those who desire to defend the Catholic Faith to the bitter end, collaboration with Rome is impossible. But this situation will not last indefinitely, as Our Lord promised: “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Mt. 16:18). Nb: see different translation in Angelus book, last page (230) ….” putting ourselves into the hands of authorities who contradict or relativize the faith” i.e.; Rome must renew publicly the SSPX canonical recognition, without demanding any compromise or collaboration with Modernists.
Recent (2011-14) Ex-SSPX members and faithful:
Make a DOGMA out of a prudential practical judgment which was appointed by Abp Lefebvre to the Superior General; i.e.: all dealings with Rome. In 2003, Fr Schmidberger told the priests at Winona, that just before he died, the Abp told him to watch out for opportunities to take our case once more to Rome. Unto the end, he was open to a “deal” whereby Rome would bend to allow the SSPX to grow without compromise. Trusting it would happen one day, he was not hopeful it would be soon. “No Canonical Agreement w/o a Doctrinal Agreement” Really means that no such practical arrangement will be workable or long-standing, until the Pope comes closer to the Faith of all times. It also means the SSPX will not pursue a canonical agreement until we see signs of Rome (i.e., the Pope and/or key Cardinals) converting to Tradition. If they should offer us a solution, it has to be carefully checked, as happened in 2012, and finally rejected as unsafe. They slander the SSPX officials as willing to “sell out” the work of Archbishop Lefebvre, by presenting all his strong quotes after the so-called “excommunication”. They overlook the other quotes, where he acknowledges the possibility of a canonical solution, even before every doctrinal issue is resolved. “Note Regarding the Doctrinal Declaration” (Cor Unum, Easter 2013) …From the start what has guided us in our relations with Rome is the principle of the faith: without the faith it is impossible to please God (cf. Heb.11, 6). We cannot accept what lays waste to, or even weakens, our Faith received from the Church at baptism. If we wish to remain Catholic, it is this principle to which we must be attached and upon which we ground our actions. Putting this principle in danger in order to obtain some practical advantage or other, even a canonical recognition, has always been out of the question.
Under what conditions can we agree to accept the initiative of the Pope to give us the recognition justice requires, and for which Archbishop Lefebvre asked us to pray?
No-one can answer that except the successor to Archbishop Lefebvre. It is his divine mandate. He thought in 2012 the times are changing, buds of spring were in the air, the Pope may act in our favor on his own against the bureaucracy in Rome, even against his personal preference for Vatican II novelties. See the attachment with relevant quotes from this sermon:
http://sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Sermon-on-his-40th-Anniversary-as-Bishop.htm Bishop Fellay quotes from Archbishop Lefebvre here to a concerned faithful: some say he changed his opinion after 1988, I say he did not. Just before he died he said again…”Let them (Rome) make me an offer” ! He had less hope then that a genuine bishop would be provided.
http://www.sspx.org/archbishop_lefebvre/two_years_after_the_consecrations.htm “But what if Rome accepted your bishops and then you were completely exempted from the other bishops’ jurisdiction?” But firstly, they are a long way right now from accepting any such thing, and then, let them first make us such an offer! Sermon of His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre On His Fortieth Anniversary As a Bishop (Oct. 3, 1987) “…. Now I think that there is a new dialogue that is being set up. And pray, my very dear brethren, pray that this dialogue will lead to a solution that will be for the good of the Church. We are not seeking anything else; we are not looking for the good of the society; it is not a question of the Society, it concerns the good of the Church. It is a question of the salvation of souls, of the salvation of Christian families, of the salvation of Christian societies. So, we hope that in this new climate, which has been established for some weeks, well, some new solutions will be able to spring up. It is a small hope. Oh, I do not have an exaggerated optimism, because, concisely, those two currents that are opposed are indeed difficult to reconcile. But if Rome really wants to give us true autonomy, the one that we have now, but with submission, we would want this, we have always desired to be subject to the Holy Father. It is not a question of despising the authority of the Holy Father; on the contrary. But we have been as if thrown outside because we were traditionalists. Well, if, as I have often asked, Rome agrees to have us make the experiment of Tradition, well then, there will be no more problems. We will be free to continue the work that we are doing, as we are doing it now, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff. Obviously, that calls for solutions that must be looked at, that must be discussed, which are not easy to settle in their details. But with the grace of the Good Lord, it is possible that we will find a solution that will permit us to continue our work without abandoning our Faith …let us ask that the Good Lord make it possible for us to contribute in an official, free, public manner to the building up of the Church, to the salvation of souls, for the honor of God, for the honor of Jesus Christ, for the honor of the Church, for the honor of Rome, of Catholic Rome.” quote from Pope Benedict XV (Nov. 1, 1914):
“As regards matters in which without harm to faith and discipline — in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See — there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of anyone to express and defend their own opinion.” Fr Joseph Pfieffer, acclaimed head of the break-away group which continues to insult and misrepresent the leadership of the SSPX, put his foot in his mouth in Australia, and was corrected by the District Superior, Fr John Fullerton. Fr Pfieffer had proclaimed that only a Modernist could agree with Bishop Fellay and accept paragraph 25 of Lumen Gentium of Vatican II. In fact, the Archbishop himself agreed to that passage and even said it was something the other bishops should sign. Thus, the great “defender” of Archbishop Lefebvre was seen to completely contradict him on a very important point of theology.
Then they said we had to accept the paragraph in Lumen Gentium which deals with the magisterium of the Church, §25. When you read this paragraph, you understand it condemns them, not us; they would have to sign it because it is not so badly written, and written, in a whole paragraph stressing the immutability of doctrine, the immutability of the Faith, the immutability of the formulas. We agree with that. There are those who need to sign this. Thus, there is no difficulty in accepting this paragraph which expresses traditional doctrine.
Bishop Fellay explained below The April 15 “Doctrinal Declaration” The following was received by Cardinal Burke, sent by a parishioner to Rome, 8 April 2011:
Dear Cardinal Burke,
You are now in the position to make a great difference in the future of the Church and the restoration of the sacred venerable Roman Rite of Holy Mass. Your predecessor in the Vatican’s High Court (Cardinal Dino Staffa 1969.03.26 – 1977.08.07) was prevented from hearing the case of Archbishop Lefebvre back in 1976. The resulting suppression of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) was thereby null in virtue of both natural justice and Canon Law. The late Michael Davies (praised by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004) gave the whole story here:
You could do one or both of two things to restore truth and justice in this matter and hence benefit the whole Church:
1. Get the Holy Father to look at the matter and give some short statement as that below.
2. Get the same message out to bishops who are sympathetic to Tradition, and bishops who have any question about legal matters with the SSPX.
Here is my attempt at a very brief statement of fact and resolution:
The case of the late and venerated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was not allowed to be heard by the Apostolic Signatura (thanks to the late Secretary of State Cardinal Villot) in 1976, we may accept that the case is still sub judice in a legal sense, and hence the SSPX is still a legitimate ecclesial body since its foundation in 1970.
The measures taken against the late Archbishop in 1988 were based on the irregular (extra judice) suppression of his approved Society (SSPX) in 1976, along with his conviction of necessity for providing faithful-to-Tradition bishops to continue the work blessed by God and His Holy Church; hence these measures were also legally null and void. The letter of July 3, 1988, Eccelsia Dei, is hence to be modified to overturn the excommunication of both Marcel Lefebvre and Antonio de Castro Meyer.
The discussions inaugurated by the Holy Father Benedict XVI with the theologians of the SSPX, now having come to an end, have demonstrated beyond doubt that the theological positions of the Society, and its reservations regarding the Second Vatican Council are within the genuine rights of loyal Catholics.
The pastoral and vocational response to the work of the said Archbishop have amply demonstrated over 40 years of fruitful and faithful service to the Mother Church.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
All bishops of the dioceses where there is a presence of any established operation of the said Society, must forthwith enter into discussions with the Superior General or his delegate in the District (see website of the SSPX) to facilitate the full regular canonical mission to further the work of the Society, now to be treated as Society of Pontifical Right. No bishop may consider those priests authorized by the SSPX Superior General, to be in any way regarded as less than in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, in good standing, and with canonical mission (to be published, hopefully, by the Pope).
FROM THE VATICAN …”the censure of excommunication latae sententiae declared by this Congregation on 1 July 1988 while I declare without juridical effects, as of today’s date, the decree issued at that time.
Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, 21 January 2009.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops”
Vatican Admits Society of Saint Pius X Masses Fulfill Sunday Obligation On January 8, 2003, the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei Commission, in response to someone who asked about attending chapels of the Society of Saint Pius X founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, wrote in a letter that:
1) Attending the Society of Saint Pius X chapels fulfills the Catholic’s Sunday obligation,
2) That Catholics are permitted to make financial contributions to the Society of Saint Pius X.
The Pope may be a sinner like each one of us, he may adhere to the same errors as his immediate predecessors, and even to other errors… he may even be unfaithful to the duties of his office, yet he is and remains the Vicar of Christ, and, as Fr. Calmel put it so beautifully: The Church is not the Mystical Body of the Pope; the Church together with the Pope is the Mystical Body of Christ.
The First Vatican Council denounces, as contrary to Scripture and Tradition, the error of those who claim, “that the primacy of jurisdiction was given immediately and directly not to Peter, but to the Church, and through her to Peter, her minister”. Therefore, it is not possible to think that one is in communion with the Church independently of the Pope, acting as though he did not exist, refusing all contact and all dealings with him, and not seeking to establish relations that enable us to accept his jurisdiction while refusing to compromise with his errors. All this is difficult, delicate, risky, and whatever else you want to call it—granted. But not to desire this, or even to reject it a priori, is to reject communion with the Church as she was constituted by Jesus Christ and as she lives in 2014. There is no Church of St. Pius V, or St. Pius X, of Pius XII or of Francis; there is the Church of Jesus Christ, which has nothing idyllic about it and is entrusted today to His Vicar, Pope Francis. Not to love this Church, as she lives today, is not to love the Church. To refuse to seek to reestablish canonical ties with the Church, in the state in which she exists today, as she lives and suffers today, whatever pretext may be given, is quite simply to reject the Church, which is not a Catholic thing to do. Then too, is it not appropriate to recognize at the basis of all these controversies the presence of a very pernicious spiritual evil: the spirit of contradiction? I could speak about defiance, but I prefer to mention this mindset that loves to quarrel, not out of a desire to arrive at the truth, but simply out of a desire to be right.