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Scott P. Richert

Does the SSPX Listen to Pope Francis?

By April 26, 2013

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I tend to avoid discussing the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X outside of reporting on their ongoing discussions (now, it seems, stalled) with the Vatican regarding the regularization of their status. Emotions regarding the SSPX tend to run high on all sides, and the best we can do, generally, is to pray that the Holy Spirit effects a reconciliation before hearts harden entirely and the SSPX finds itself going the way of the Old Catholics.

But the most recent "Letter to Friends & Benefactors" by the SSPX superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has left me scratching my head. It is, as far as I know, only the second public statement by the SSPX regarding Pope Francis, the first being a very short "Communiqué from the SSPX's General House on the occasion of the election of Pope Francis." Bishop Fellay has had plenty of time to observe the Holy Father since his election, and, in particular, to pay close attention to his daily preaching. And yet the portion of Bishop Fellay's letter that discusses Pope Francis seems written by someone who has, to put it gently, not paid much attention at all:

We beg Heaven and the authorities of the Church, in particular the new Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter, not to allow souls to perish because they no longer learn sound doctrine, the revealed deposit of the faith, without which no one can be saved, no one can please God.
What good is it to devote oneself to serving people if one hides from them what is essential, the purpose and the meaning of their life, and the seriousness of sin that turns them away from it? Works of charity done for the poor, the needy, the infirm, and the sick have always been a true concern for the Church, and we must not excuse ourselves from it, but if it becomes merely man-centered philanthropy, then the Church is no longer carrying out her mission, she is no longer leading souls to God, which can really be done only by supernatural means: faith, hope, charity and grace. And therefore by denouncing anything that is opposed to them: errors against faith and morality. Because if people sin, for want of that denunciation, they are damned for eternity. The Church’s reason for being is to save them and to help them avoid the misfortune of their eternal perdition.

If Bishop Fellay's words, with their implied criticism of the first month of the Holy Father's pontificate, seem familiar, that's likely because you've read Pope Francis's first homily. When Bishop Fellay speaks of the need to preach sound doctrine and warns of the danger that serving the poor might become "merely man-centered philanthropy," he's simply echoing (albeit in a way that strikes my ear as a touch less than charitable) the Holy Father's own words in that first homily (emphasis added):

We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we are not walking, we stop moving. When we are not building on the stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: everything is swept away, there is no solidity. When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil." When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.
. . . When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

I can understand the SSPX's concerns about Pope Francis's liturgical style, though I think that they are overblown. (His inaugural Mass was marked by its simplicity, dignity, and beauty, and it even reintroduced traditional elements that had fallen by the wayside in pontifical Masses over the past several decades.) And I understand that, yes, the SSPX will regard with suspicion any pope who does not do what no pope could ever do—namely, renounce an ecumenical council of the Church. But all of Pope Francis's homilies (not just his first) have been as solid as the rock of Peter, reiterating (for example) the Catholic understanding of the relationship between Scripture and Tradition and the necessity of belonging to the "hierarchical and Catholic" Church in order to know Christ and, thus, to be saved.

Will Pope Francis renounce Vatican II? Of course not. But he will continue in the footsteps of Benedict XVI by interpreting it through the hermeneutic of continuity. Will he do what Benedict did not do, and abolish the Novus Ordo and replace it with the Traditional Latin Mass? No. And neither will his successor. Or his successor's successor. Or the successor of any of his successors. I don't say that because I despise the Traditional Latin Mass; my family and I attend it exclusively. I say it because it's clearly true. The future of the liturgy for most Catholics in the Latin Rite lies in some form of the Novus Ordo. If those of us who are attached to the Traditional Latin Mass quit regarding ourselves as living in a liturgical ghetto, we might help the Church move the new Mass in the direction of the old. If, however, we content ourselves to follow in the footsteps of the Pharisee and thank God that we're not Novus Ordo publicans, then the new Mass will never be properly informed (and reformed) by the old, as Pope Benedict hoped it would be when he issued Summorum Pontificum.

Pope Benedict XVI made Christian unity the core mission of his pontificate. He offered the SSPX an opportunity—or, rather, several opportunities—to reunite fully with Rome and to be granted a canonical structure that would preserve and protect the Society's attachment to liturgical tradition. To put it bluntly, the leadership of the SSPX blew it.

If the SSPX wants another such opportunity, that same leadership will have to seek it out; Pope Francis is less likely to approach them than Pope Benedict was. Bishop Fellay, however, is starting off on the wrong foot. If he wants to be taken seriously in Rome, he needs to listen closely to the Holy Father—and not criticize him for saying things that he not only has not said, but has explicitly denounced.

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Comments
April 26, 2013 at 9:50 am
(1) Joannie says:

Scott I hate to have to bring this up, but there are two sides to every story including this one. When it comes to Vatican II there are some legitimate critics like the “New Mass” itself which was NOT called for in the Council Documents. It only called for small organic changes to the Latin Mass NOT a brand new MASS which even Benedict XVI has admitted that he was “dismayed” by the introduction of the New Mass which even certain well known Catholics like Alice Von Hildebrand’s husband Dietrich criticized. As far as Pope Francis and his own liturgies the “Holy Thursday” ceremony at the youth prison by washing of a Muslim woman’s foot went against Canon Law much less the Rubrics as Edward Peters have said time and again. He don’t allow himself to be called Pope, he won’t live in the apostolic palace. As far as the Latin Mass he is against it as the same with the Anglican Ordinariates.

April 26, 2013 at 9:53 am
(2) A P O'Beachain says:

SSPX is another Mind Made Up do not confuse with facts. One admires JP 11 and Cdl JR and as BXV1 for dialogue with them but at this point my suggestion for such is deprive them of publicity and media coverage so they can decide quietly if they want to surrender to the Holy Spirit in humble submission to Christ’s Vicar and all we accept and teach. Dedication is excellent but fanaticism and error can be most dangerous,

April 26, 2013 at 9:56 am
(3) Jan Baker says:

Your concern is so much appreciated by all sincere Catholics, but I wish you would see your way clear to praying, not for a reconciliation only, but for a clarification of doctrine that pulls us out of ecumenism and religious relativity. At Vatican II liberals seized control of the Council and changed some key teachings, which in turn have changed Catholic practice around the world, and it has been a social, political disaster! There is no room in a com box to begin to support my statement, but I must at least make the effort to say the struggle between SSPX and the present administration is a doctrinal one, not an emotional one. It won’t be resolved by virtues such as humility and flexibility and just plain being nicer. It’s about the teaching. It is very important to me personally because I am a pro-life sidewalk counselor, directly involved with women seeking abortion, and they need a law to protect them, they need for abortion to be illegal again. They are like muslim women in burkas, they need to be able to say,’ I won’t do that, it’s illegal.’ But Vatican II changed our position subtly but horribly: we Catholics don’t seek laws now, we seek only to ‘witness,’ to ‘form consciences,’ and the fact that the Vatican openly attacks Hungary for simply trying to pass laws that express Catholic doctrine proves my point heart-breakingly well. Please investigate it and you’ll see my point! but won’t you meanwhile please, pray simply that doctrine return to tradition (which is NOT ‘living’ meaning reversible! Not!). Put the emphasis there, not in emotional terms. We don’t need an empty reconciliation. Then the poor truly will be alone in the dark.

April 26, 2013 at 10:40 am
(4) James Hart says:

I totally concur!

April 26, 2013 at 11:02 am
(5) irene adler says:

with friends like these, who needs enemies?

April 26, 2013 at 11:44 am
(6) Matt says:

I concur. It is extemely important to count how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Since the Romans/Latin language folks killed Jesus, (and gambled away his only earthly possessions while they crucified him) let’s throw Jesus out of Christinity and worship in the tongue of the Latin killers. Since Jesus was all about throwing out tradition, and the Romans were all about establishing order and tradition, let’s throw out everything related to Jesus and reinvigorate the Church with tradiution, liturgy, pomp, gilding and mumbo jumbo. Let’s go back and celebrate the tradition of the Church thru a new series of Crusades and burnings at the stake. What is the ancient church position on slavery that should be followed? How does the ancient liturgy deal with conversion and salvation of the Native Americans?Bless them with disease spread in the bankets of the kindly missionaries. Oh, so you only want to maintain some Church traditions but have us kindly forget about the other wonderful traditions. What would Jesus do or say? Not important you say if his life was in conflict with the inspired Holy traditions of those that followed 1000 years later.

April 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm
(7) David says:

The Romans Killed Jesus?

“Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”-John 19:11

Or maybe Jesus was just kidding.

Ummm…your liberal lies are clearly made manifest in the fact that EVERY SAINT HAS ECHOED THIS TEACHING. SO YOU OPPOSE JESUS AND THE SAINTS WHO SAID THIS.

THE JEWS TRIED TO STONE JESUS AND PLOTTED HIS CRUCIFIXION, THEY STONED ST. PAUL, KILLED ST. STEPHEN, DO WE NEED MORE WITNESSES?

BEFORE YOU CRY “ANTISEMITE” THEN UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS NO GREATER ANTISEMETISM THEN REJECTING THE KING OF THE JEWS, JESUS, WHICH THE JEWS DO TO THIS DAY.

Go ahead and worship the holocaust and receive its mark. We’ll see where it takes you.

April 27, 2013 at 2:47 am
(8) Mod Francisco says:

I’m sorry but I really don’t understand the obsession of SSPX adherents to the traditional Latin Mass, I mean celebrating the liturgy in an ancient language not understood by the majority of the congregation. Most Catholics, I assume, want to pray in the language they can speak and understand. I don’t believe that the Latin Mass is Catholic Tradition, per se. What Pope Francis is doing now is more in line with the apostolic tradition of Christianity. All the liturgical pomps and ceremonials were more based on the changes adapted by Constantine’s worldly style of practicing Christianity to match the ways of the monarchical courts from that time down to the Middle Ages, and continued to be passed on to the modern times by Francis’ predecessors. Pope Francis’ style is more in keeping with the authentic tradition of Christianity. It’s unbelievable that self-righteous Christians act like the Pharisees, and so easy to condemn those who don’t appreciate the monarchical style of papacy like they do. Pope Francis is the most Christ-like pope in the last three decades in humility and simplicity. Jesus abhorred hypocrisy, and too much emphasis on the externals. Jesus has always chosen compassion and justice over rigid adherence to laws and pomposity and hubris.

April 27, 2013 at 3:37 am
(9) Tancred says:

It seems to me that everyone would be better off if those commenting on subjects in general, but this one in particular, restricted themselves to reporting what they actually know.

I suspect you could make a case that Pope Francis is less concerned with the Liturgy, than Pope Benedict XVI, more humble you might say, less preoccupied possibly with its liceity even, but you can’t say that he’s less disposed to reconciling with the Society than Benedict was.

You also neglect the fact that throughout much of the “negotiations”, the Society was confronted by two, mutually hostile parties. This became more marked as the new CDF attempted to coopt the discussions, completely out of step with the stance maintained to the Society by the other party, presumably represented by Pope Benedict.

Pope Francis is somewhat unpredictable. He’s shown himself open to talking to Father Gruner. Is it too much to ask that we let these events unfold as they will?

I for one believe that the Society has time. It’s one of the few parts of the Church that’s actually growing/ working at present that has any resemblance to historical Christianity.

April 27, 2013 at 4:40 am
(10) buckle says:

Our Lord prayed in a foreign language notably Hebrew as the language he spoke was Aramaic. In addition, the sacrifice of the Mass is a recreation of the last supper which was a heavily ritualised and formal passover meal. The NO Mass simply fails to convey the sacrality of the act of sacrifice and its uniqueness in World history.

My observation, as a 54 year old layman, is that the priests have been damaged psychologically by the new Mass. The older form was, ironically, less damanding of the priest and placed emphasis on his sinfulness and unworthiness. I honestly feel sorry for modern priests who are effectively forced by insenstitve laity to celebrate the NO exclusively.

April 27, 2013 at 8:53 am
(11) Burt says:

Great article…I grew up with the Latin mass and have recently attended it but the fact that the leaders and many of the followers fail to realize that their dislike and condemnation of the Novus Ordo is placing themselves ahead of the Holy Father and thus they are schismatics in spirit.

April 27, 2013 at 9:32 am
(12) tlarsen76 says:

Perfectly stated Scott. The Mass is Christ’s! Period. God wants the Mass the way it is now because He leads His Church. Resisting the Pope (on matters of faith and morals) = Resisting God.

April 27, 2013 at 10:01 am
(13) Elizabeth says:

Just consider the fruits of Vatican ll. Clergy scandal, bankrupt Dioceses, Churches and Catholic schools closed, flight of the nuns, iconoclasm ,
heretical speakers welcomed into some Dioceses and Universities , homilies that do not address the social issues, the Commandments, the Sacraments. Doctrine, Dogma, or Devotions– and unacceptable tolerance of dissident politicians . The list is endless.
in short– the Catholic Church is becoming Protestant! Attempts to evangelize must begin within the Church itself! We must admit the big picture, identify the root of our problems, acknowledge mistakes, and atone as a nation. .

April 27, 2013 at 10:05 am
(14) Marty says:

Examine the ” changes” in the NO Mass throughout the decades( that is , if you can find old copies of either Missals or Missalettes) in the words of its liturgy.Examine the history of the passage of Luthers mass and the exclusoin of an authentic Canon and Consecration bc they did not accept Transubstantiation. In point of fact, note that EP2 IN 2011changed this : Send down your spirit upon these gifts TOMAKE THEM HOLY THAT THEY BECOME FOR US THE BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST to Send down your spirit like the dewfall etc.GONE IS THE REFERENCE “TO MAKE TH EM HOLY” Now, semantics are extremely important in theMass. These words were not taught us as being part of the new 2011 changes to the NOMass.And they, to my mind,mean nothing equal to “Make them Holy”

April 27, 2013 at 10:20 am
(15) Mauricio says:

To understand the Pope, it is not sufficient to read his homilies since he was elected to the throne of Peter.

One *must* seek his pronouncements and observe his actions *before* he was elected. When he was not in the spotlight.

These are all in Spanish.

Actions speak for themselves. I invite all to look at this video, especially between minutes 8:00 and 8:20.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coY__PD0oko

I was apalled by the way Card. Bergoglio distributes Holy Communion, in a very irreverent way.

April 27, 2013 at 10:25 am
(16) Justin says:

Elizabeth: ” the Catholic Church is becoming Protestant”… I hardly consider the pontificates of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI as leading the Church to Protestantism, and Pope Francis is continuing their outstanding legacy of doctrinal orthodoxy. And you cannot blame the Second Vatican Council for the problems the Church has faced over the past 50 years. There is absolutely nothing in the documents of Vatican II (read them please!) that lends itself to anything other than sound Catholic doctrine and practice. The root cause of the problems you describe is a distortion of Vatican II, and the manipulation of it to promote a liberal agenda in the Church, a la “the spirit of Vatican II.” But the documents themselves are thorough Catholic, incorporating the teaching of many ecumenical councils that preceded it.

April 27, 2013 at 10:47 am
(17) Renae says:

fatimamovement (dot) com
Explains it all. ;D

April 27, 2013 at 10:49 am
(18) Sam Hill says:

Something to ponder: What would be wrong with TEACHING local congregations some liturgical Latin so that no matter what part of the world the mass is being offered, the Church would speak with ONE VOICE? The Gloria, Pater Noster, Angus Die, etc.

April 27, 2013 at 10:57 am
(19) carl lister says:

This dispute is hard for me to understand. Since the church allows those who wish to, to participate in the old mass, whats the problem? Seems to be a case of form triumphing over content in some people’s mind, with those people wanting to impose their view’s on the rest of the world. With secularism claiming more and more of the youth, spending energy in arcane disputes over someones interpretation of theology seems to me to be criminal. I’d suggest letting the SSPX slowly implode on themselves and move onto the real issues facing the church in the 21st century.

April 27, 2013 at 11:19 am
(20) Dee says:

I am glad I am an “old Catholic” and still remember the beauty and the holiness of the “old Mass”. The generations since Vatican II have missed so much in the hundreds of years of tradition. I have never warmed up to the new mass. It is just to protestant for me, and I shudder shaking hands right before the most Holy Sacrament. If we want to shake hands, we should do so at the beginning of Mass……The door to the Latin mass was truly reopened under JPII and especially Benedict XVI so I am hoping Francis will not close this wonderful Mass….but he is a Jesuit….I was hoping Francis would reign in the far left Jesuits, but I am not so sure……….The Latin Mass is so Holy. Do we not need more holiness in a Church that has so many problems? Can we ever have enough of the mystical beauty and tradition which the Latin Mass provides us?

April 27, 2013 at 11:20 am
(21) Peter says:

This speaks of and to all simple Catholics (Catholics should aspire to simplicity as ultimately the church is simple): Simply stated, no one can begin to SEE unless they understand the constitution of the church. In understanding, one is capable of seeing through the mud and muddled understandings and interpretations. One sees principally that the Holy Spirit does not lie, does not mislead; also sees that our assent to the teaching of the church is on different levels but still is necessary because it is an assent to truth. It assents to truth because one knows in official teaching the vicar of Christ not only will not mislead but will not give a tainted, substandard teaching. This is something many so-called Traditionalists fail to see. The SSPX fails to see it. If they cannot convert to a true understanding of what Tradition means, they will never change even if St. Peter returns to discuss doctrine and discipline with them. THEY have set themselves up as clearing house for the command and will of Jesus: that he give a vicar to his church and that “he who hears you hears Me.” They take it upon themselves to interpret what Tradition itself teaches. They will not see. It’s nothing short of pathetic. But God allows it for his aims. All we can do is pray.

April 27, 2013 at 11:33 am
(22) Matt says:

Scary that the SSPX whom pray and say the rite of excorcism outside of abortion clinics are being vilified for not embracing the perversion of the truth. Shame on all of you.

April 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm
(23) Laurens de Lange says:

I wonder if there is a limit on how far we can give in for the sake of
the people being happy with the church and make changes to avoid them from leaving. It is like making religion your business. and slowly being forced into business becoming your religion. Compromise on God or heed God. I fear that it is difficult to see that difference when you are in the middle of a business. The seed between the thorns.

April 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(24) Susan says:

The real issues of the 21st cen. are the same issues that have plagued man for two thousand years…rejection of God. Read the lives of the saints, and you will find the same battles there as what is happening now. People don’t change. We who live today, aren’t more
“educated” that those of the “past”. We have the same human passions, desires, pride, sin, etc. that we refuse to rein in and check.
What is this “need” to always having to move “forward” or progress? What does THAT mean, exactly? Why are the traditions of our history wrong? Why is it always all or nothing in these dicussions? Why do we pperseve ourselves as a society more learned and smarter that those of other ages? Our current societal problems obivously reflect our learned and evolved intellect….

As much as I admire Pope Francis, there are some uncomfortable things in his past and current applications of his office that makes Catholics who have been paying attention over the years….take pause for concern. I hope that throught the grace of the office he now holds, will awaken in him (if not already) the warrior spirit and defense of the Holy Mother Church, that has been lacking for 50 + years. The Catholic Church of today, as compromised with the world so as to not rock the boat of secular humanism, Protestantism, and the myriad of other “spiritual and societal” isms that tempt souls away from Truth and union with God.

No, Carl, it isn’t cruel to defend the Faith and Truth. It is the Church’s job no matter how uncomfortable it may be to you.

April 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm
(25) jc says:

Scott, thank you for an article well written and very insightful. The Catholic who sees bad fruit coming from the Council fails to see the hand of God through the unbroken chain of authentic Tradition. Also they can’t seem to separate abuse from that authentic teaching. It is true, as Peter wrote, that they are self-designated interpreters of the application of Tradition when Tradition teaches against this. The popes previous to Vatican II expounded this error on many occasions. It is sad that Lefebvre with an inordinate zeal failed to see that God is not a progressive-liberal with an earthly spouse espousing compromise. They refuse to understand and apply the pre-Vatican II papal teachings on this unbroken link. They fail in humility, sadly. The church will ever hold true, as now, to Tradition. The SSPX is hurting the universal church by their open defiance of the Holy Ghost who, through his legitimate vicar, keeps the church safe and leads her to greater holiness…..

April 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm
(26) Susan says:

jc—-How do you know the SSPX is not listening to the Holy Ghost? You think the concilliar church is listening? Where is the proof. What makes you an expert on the SSPX and their motives? They fail in humility? What about the current prelates of the Church who refuse to obey the wishes of Pope Benedict and allow the TLM to be said in their dioceses? No humility or obdience there. Pretty much no humility or obedience from any bishop or cardinal when it comes to following mandates of Christ. What are they afraid of in the TLM?
Vatcian II’s efforts resulted in abuses of the liturgy and the freedom to interpret doctrine anyway one wanted…kind of like the Prostestants do, and the Church did nothing to stop it. The curia did nothing to stop the indoctrination in the seminaries and convents of socialism and relativism. Now they have to deal with the fallout after covering up the abuses of priests and others who took advantage of the “me, me” generation of self gratification.
The smoke of Satan did indeed enter the Church, as Paul VI allegedly said, By their fruits you will know them. They indeed are reaping what they have sown, and now pass off the Catholic Church as a milktoast food bank organization. Feed the poor. Yeah right.

April 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm
(27) MFB says:

I myself in particular follow the Apostol. When descrepancies arose among the believers to whom they should follow Peter or Paul then the Apostle admonished them.Then he said: I am not for Peter or Paul I am for Jesus Christ . The first readings of the Church were in greek .Why the Society of SSPX is creating this contention among us catholics? No we are not going to abandon our church for any change in the texts language . Jesus spoke arameic. Should we demand the Mass in Arameic. No we wil not follow the SSPX Society,we will follow Jesus an our Pope Francis with his holiness or with his falts as happened till now, with every human being. There is no love or humility in division, but utter chaos. Return home where we all belong.

April 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm
(28) John Carmen says:

Its not hard to understand the church before Vac II was CATHOLIC the church after VAC II is MODERIST not CATHOLIC. I am old eoungh to remember the way it was.

April 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm
(29) Jim says:

Bishop Fellay’s comments may be stirred by the complete collapse of catechesis which has taken place in Buenos Aires in recent years which many of the SSPX’s own priest members witnessed first hand as they tried to initially work within the Buenos Aires Archdiocesan structure but fled to the SSPX as they tried to stay loyal to Catholic doctrine.

April 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm
(30) PioKolby says:

The SSPX have clearly condemned the errors in Vatican II in union with the 19th Popes and the Popes of the early 2oth century. What is this I say errors in Vatican II? Yup it is true and possible. Vatican II was a pastoral council of the Church not a dogmatic one like Trent or Nicaea. So what are these errors? Religious Liberty,Ecumenism and Collegiality. For serious Catholics who know something is very wrong doctrinally in the Church and want to understand the matter I suggest two books:

Catechism of the Crisis
http://angeluspress.org/Catechism-of-the-Crisis

Open Letter to Confused Catholics
http://www.amazon.com/Letter-Confused-Catholics-Archbishop-Lefebvre/dp/0935952136

Also for the audio/ video people:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tFo8kThyD0

April 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(31) John says:

Richard,

Your comments are not helpful. There is a lot more to this story. What is particularly disturbing is the animosity toward the pre 1962 Mass that is promoted by many Catholics. The animosity toward the Latin Mass is as ever harsh as the most vicious critics during the 16th and 17th centuries. That animosity is incomprehensible. /the animosity is transfered and switched from the SSPX, to Catholics who love the Latin Mass,, and now to Catholics who simply want a more traditional flavor to the Novus Ordo. Some times they are called, Trads, Rad Trads, Traditionalists etc. does it matter? it is still not of God. Quite frankly, the saga of Vat II has left the Church open to much dissension. The SSPX would not exist but for the confusion in the liturgy, doctrine and frankly the immorality left in the wake of Vat II. We are still waiting for reform and what we have is something else.

Do you wish to have examples? The examples are legion.

sincerely, I pray for peace

John

April 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm
(32) Dee says:

I can’t add anything more to what is an excellent article. All the necessary points have been made, and made with a deep Charity and understanding. Well said…I will be recommending it elsewhere.

April 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm
(33) ANGELO says:

we need to go back to the basics the latin mass. the norvus ordo was put together by annibale buginni a freemason along with 6 protistant ministers and this mass was not put into church law like the tridentine mass was, take a look at Pope St Pius V PRO QRIMUM AND READ IT

April 27, 2013 at 11:52 pm
(34) Katherine says:

As a person who is striving to live closer to a regular SSPX Traditional mass, and who has been brought up with nothing but the Novus Ordo and gets nothing out of it now, it is extremely interesting and humbling to discover that Pope Frances was the bishop of a parish in Buenos Aires in 1996 where a consecrated host became actual flesh and blood. This miracle negates any argument about the Novus Ordo being a fraudulent mass. The story is here: http://www.loamagazine.org/nr/the_main_topic/eucharistic_miracle_in_buenos.html

April 28, 2013 at 7:18 am
(35) Peter says:

I knew Archbishop Lefebvre personally. I spoke with him in private, listened to many sermons and knew many professors, seminarians and other members from the 70′s and 80′s. The Archbishop was a witty, kind and very intelligent person. I’ve scratched my head over the phenomenon of the crusading efforts he made to sustain his understanding of what the Church always is in the face of continual change which is simply a reality in life. Knowing the faith is important. Even high ranking persons in the clergy are capable of misunderstanding Tradition. It has happened in years past. Had Lefebvre listened to Paul VI and, in 1988 to the former Ratzinger just before his consecrations, there would be more strength within the Catholic world today. Comprehending the church is crucial for fidelity to Tradition. Lefebvre, as others, strayed via independent interpretation of this Holy Tradition and application throughout a changing world. New approaches to him meant compromise, so it is not surprising John Paul rightly named it: an “incomplete and inconsistent” comprehension of Tradition. I feel it will be a long process for groups such as him to reconcile with the Church, if it is even possible given their conviction that Rome continues to poison Tradition. How will they ever see what a child can see: The Magisterium in her official teaching cannot fail us. On the contrary: She is the Spouse who is leading us ever closer to apostolic holiness.

April 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(36) Wilson Melendez says:

I know not much of what is liturgy. I know less about what i hear as “Sound Doctrine”. But i can say this: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! Why must we all be taking each word of the sentence when failing to understand the meaning of the sentence? Why continue the trend of the pharisees who criticised Jesus and the apostles? Are we that afraid or rigid to change? Has there really been a change? What is change? Jesus did not CHANGE the law, he put the law in PRACTICE!

I can applaud Pope Francis for his act of humility. An act that St. Francis and many other saints lived following the Master, Jesus. His words are simple yet very understanding to the simpliest one. Benedict XVI also spoke in simple terms so that we may understand the message.

What i can see is the devil playing with the hearts of all of us by dividing us. These things matter very little when judgement comes. It is important to pray, do penance and be partakers of the Most holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Is it that hard?

April 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm
(37) Isabelle says:

I recall my son telling me the night before he made his confirmation that a girl at the rehearsal asked him if Jesus was God. He was the only one who could answer her in the affirmative. Say what you will about the SSPX but their children all know Jesus is God.

I am a Catholic in good standing who attends a Latin Mass only diocesan parish. I have a true affection for this divine liturgy and to hear it mocked by so called Catholics is truly an abomination to my ears! It is Christ who said by their fruits you will know them. The fruits of the misinterpretation of Vatican II are all rotten. Most Catholics are in a state of apostasy. Their children don’t know the faith they don’t practice the faith and therefore cant be in any better place than someone in a schismatic group who at least believes Jesus Christ is God!

April 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm
(38) Stephen says:

Isabelle, you must be 13 or younger. It’s not Rome’s fault that that the kids were improperly prepared for confirmation. Nor is it Rome’s fault that priests who know how to pronounce Latin and speak it rapidly go through the old Mass like its the Indianapolis 500. It’s not Rome’s fault that before Vatican II millions of people had an ax to grind about this or that church teaching, and Rome’s not to blame for the clergy in the 50′s and 60′s who failed to teach properly about the magisterium of the church. How deplorable that one is! People are blockheads to think they can interpret what God “really” wants and “really” means. That’s why popes are elected and the cardinals and bishops in union with them. Long before Vatican II people by the millions didn’t like what came out of Rome, don’t kid yourself. As long as man has free will, he can be very narrowminded, even high ranking clergymen who think they know better. The church never destroyed this Mass you love. Wake up. The new is the norm but all three–the old, the new and the eastern rite– are all perfect and perfectly sanctifying. It does not take a doctorate degree to be able to separate those who harm the church from the church herself ! Take your pick about what you “prefer” but shut up. Traditionalists who are hard line, saying like Lefebvre that the new Mass is a “bastard rite”, are hypocrites and actually are in danger of losing their faith. They can learn the truth but prefer (for years, and sometimes till they die) to believe they know better than the pope. People did this around Jesus and the apostles too. They’ve done it since Pentecost ! They will have to wake up sooner or later. Don’t expect Lefebvre even to make it to venerable, at least on earth, since he set himself up as savior of a church going corrupt. Wow ! I don’t even know why they say they are faithful to the pope. “We follow the pope in the measure that he follows Tradition.” What a joke.

April 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm
(39) Ginny says:

I have a question. How did Bishop Fellay discover that the pope’s concern for sick, poor and needy and his talking about helping them was “merely man-centered philanthropy” ??? The Latin Mass is beautiful. But I’ve attended many Latin Masses that bothered with being too hasty or rigid, with high intellectual sermons or priests who behaved like they are untouchable due to their high degree of holiness so they watch their least movement and measure each word. And I’ve attended many New Masses that were very beautiful, others that were a horror. I’d just like to know why everything with Rome from the SSPX point of view Is suspect? Why do they see themselves as the Rescuers All Over? Everything I’ve read and seen of the popes since Pius XII is rock solid. I mean, the faith is intact. Why do the Trads keep looking for errors? Are they the authority? Don’t they have better things to do since God made the pope the pope and not them? I’ve known a few people in the SSPX. They’re nice but so rigid I can’t believe it. Like from a different planet. They’re fight to keep their stance of attacking Rome can be compared, I think, to the need of a car for gasoline in order to run. They’ll disintegrate if they can’t keep fighting Rome and so long as Rome does not repent! I find this obsession disturbing. Can anyone shed some light on it? It looks like this topic is something important to many people because there are many comments. Thank you.

May 1, 2013 at 4:20 am
(40) josephine says:

Well said!

May 3, 2013 at 6:06 am
(41) Evan says:

This is all talk about the supernatural – nothing can be proved – it all comes down to personal preferences. Preferences about language, money, leisure time and brain space.

I like L:atin and I like English. Is that permissible.

I cannot conceive of a god that understands only Latin. My mathematics I choose to use our standard number set. I have left Roman Numerals behind.

May 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm
(42) Sherman Jude Santa-Maria (MR) says:

G’day Scott

Your article is FANTASTIC (mind the French fanbloodytastic!)
By chance I came across it and read it and it is full of truth.
I thought the sspx was reconciled to Rome after Benedict XVI Pope Emeritus lifted the excommunication.Yes I pray that thay be reconciled to the Church.

Pope Francis! Thank God for a pastoral Pope.OK time to go, please pray for our former Parish of St.Luke’s, the parish priest there has very similar ideas like the sspx priest in that he does not like lay people being involved in the Church and such has caused many faithfulparisherners to leave and to join other life giving parishes.

God bless and do keep in touch.

God bless

Sherman

Sherman Jude Santa-Maria (MR)

Sherman Jude Santa-Maria (MR)

May 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm
(43) Alex Fastro says:

It is hard to see this as any thing but a series of worldly leaders following a misguided path. What are they trying to protect…. material comfort perhaps.

May 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm
(44) Ava says:

The TRUTH hurts, it’s more than obvious by some of the comments here. The SSPX is only stating what Jesus established the church for: saving souls. That’s the primary goal and purpose of the Church. Of course it’s OBVIOUSLY *necessary and *urgent to help the poor, but I do wonder if ANY of the people trashing the SSPX here (and yes, “with friends like these who needs enemies” def sounds like misinformed, bitter trashing) do *half as much as the SSPX is doing for the poor, worldwide, especially providing education and good living conditions for poor orphaned children in third world countries. Most of you do not know the SSPX and/or their work; your ignorance is obvious by what you’re writing. So do not judge. It’s wonderful to watch most Catholics nowadays practice tolerance towards Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and everyone else but it’s sad that you do not apply that core Vatican ll principle to traditional Catholics, all because they insist on worshiping as Catholics did for thousands of years until the 1960′s. Grow. Up. Also, these “enemies” pray for the pope Every.Single.Day at Mass, like Catholics are required to do in the Tridentine liturgy.

June 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm
(45) SULLY says:

Excellent article I am also Scratching my head. I have had first hand experience with SSPX and the problem with many of these people (although the ones that I know went reluctantly to the FSSP). is there arrogance & ignorance they are very literal and many lack charity. The Letter you site is so typical of them little nit pickers finding fault. Pope Francis is a very Holy Man and we should be so grateful to God for Pope Francis. Pope Benedict XVI will go down in history as one of the greatest Popes we have ever had and Of course John Paul The Great is proof of Gods abundant Love for his Church. Pope Francis does not need to be lectured by the Schismatic SSPX who will never accept the True Supremacy Of The Pope. Many of them need to humble themselves. Just going to The Latin Mass does not make a Devout Catholic. As Pope Benedict XVI stated Our Lord Was Humble. God Bless Our Popes.

August 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm
(46) Debbie says:

iI am sorry to disagree with you because the goal of Bishop Fellay, I believe, was to explain to the Holy Father that taking care of the poor in every sense is part of our Christianity, part of being as Christ to others. What Bishop Fellay wanted to get through to the Holy Father was , I believe, the fact that while taking care and reaching out to the poor in every sense of the word, you also Bring Christ to Them – via the CATHOLIC church, founded by Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus said, “Father, that they may be one as We are One”.He didn’t mean accept all religions as one, He meant Bring All Religions, the Poor, etc., to the Truth of the CATHOILIC church founded by Jesus Himself. To be taught the truth of the One True God and COME BACK HOME to the Catholic Church. That was the goal of all the apostles. And that, kind sir, is where 2000 years of Tradition lie.

August 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm
(47) Thinking One says:

Jesus.Did.Not.Speak.Latin.

November 1, 2013 at 11:51 am
(48) lg says:

Dear Thinking one,
Jesus.Did.Speak.Latin

November 1, 2013 at 11:53 am
(49) lg says:

Dear Scott,
All I have to say is that Bishop Fellay is right and that you are wrong.

February 27, 2014 at 6:45 am
(50) Chris Setiawinata says:

Oh dearest Lords Disciples,
If you feel that you have nothing sin or wrong, be throw the stone at the very first time.
So come, and don’t put the ego above your faith.
Jesus will deeply hugs you, who ever and what ever and how bad we are.

I will pray for the whole catholic church, per christum dominum nostrum.

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