Friday, June 27, 2008

SSPX, Prada Shoes, and Palliums

Pallium of Pope Innocent III

SSPX Rejects Vatican Offer

The leader of a breakaway traditionalist Catholic group has rejected a Vatican offer to rejoin Rome, accusing Pope Benedict of trying to silence dissenting voices.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that broke with Rome 20 years ago, said conditions set by the Vatican amounted to muzzling the traditionalists who claim to be the only true Catholics since Church reforms in the 1960s. {This isn't cafeteria catholicism, this is pride on a grand scale.}

Keen to end this schism, Benedict agreed last year to their demand to restore the old Latin Mass. But he insists they must accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) before he can lift excommunication decrees against them.

"Rome is telling us, okay, we are ready to lift the excommunications, but you cannot continue this way," Fellay said in a sermon last Friday now posted as an audio file on the U.S.-based Voice of Catholic Radio website.
"So we have no choice... we are continuing what we've done," the Swiss-born Fellay said in English at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. "They just say 'shut up' ... we are not going ... to shut up."

The Milan daily Il Giornale reported on Monday the Vatican had told the SSPX it must pledge to respect the pope and accept him as the Church's final doctrinal authority.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told the Paris Catholic daily La Croix: "The pope wants to extend his hand so they can return, but for that to happen, this offer must be received in an attitude and spirit of charity and communion."

Lombardi did not spell out the consequences of rejecting the offer, but Il Giornale's well-informed Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli wrote: "Such favorable conditions for a return to full communion will in all probability not come again."

The SSPX claims about a million followers worldwide, many of them in France. It split off when its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, consecrated four traditionalist bishops -- including Fellay -- in 1988 against orders from Pope John Paul.

Since then, it has regularly appealed to the Vatican to withdraw the excommunications and allow it to return to the 1.1-billion strong Church. But its leaders often publicly denounce the pope.
Fellay said the pope must restore other Church traditions besides the old Latin Mass before the SSPX could return. It is particularly critical of the Vatican Council's reconciliation with Judaism and call to cooperation with other Christians. {In other words we must return to anti semitism and stop trying for Christian unity except on their terms.}

"The new Mass is the tip of the iceberg of Vatican II and of these modern ideas." Adding the old Mass to the "iceberg of Vatican II" did not change the reforms hidden below, he said. {Apparently to save these chosen few, Benedict will have to declare Vatican II null and void.}

Vatican watchers say the ultimatum could split SSPX into a hard core of rebels and a larger group ready to return to Rome now that it has allowed wider use of the old Latin Mass.
"Most people want a reverent Mass and sound preaching. They care little for the loftier theological arguments," Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a prominent conservative Catholic blogger, wrote in an analysis. "The identity of the SSPX is at stake now."
The ultimatum's deadline of June 30 is the 20th anniversary of the bishops' ordinations that sealed the schism. {This is a sad statement coming from one of their clerical sympathizers. It seems to perfectly reflect the attitude of the upper clergy associated with this movement, and since when is anti semitism a lofty theological argument?}


I think it's kind of amazing that Benedict and Cardinal Hoyos are perfectly willing to saddle the other 1.1 billion Catholics with a Latin Mass for which the vast majority of parishes can no longer do justice, for the sake of these 1 million self appointed true Catholics. The moto proprio of Benedict's was no small concession, given that very few others seemed to be demanding a Latin Mass. Now that SSPX has rejected this offer as placating them for their silence, I guess we now know the whole movement had a lot more to do with anti semitism and the repeal of Vatican II than with transcendant Latin worship. I wonder how Benedict feels about all of this.

It could be that Benedict just used the SSPX to get his own liturgical way. He may have attempted to make it look like the reintroduction of the Latin Mass was a charitable offer to a wayward group, rather than a personal imposition on the rest of the Church. It appears he picked the wrong wayward group for his charitable offer, but he did get to impose his personal liturgical preference on the rest of the Church.

In my book the fact the rejection of reconcilliation was based in anti semitism does not reflect well on Benedict. I find it hard to swallow that the Vatican wasn't well aware of the anti semitism and fascism of the leadership of SSPX. It takes a person all of about 10 minutes in a google search to pick that up. It takes less time than that to see the blatant egoism in the clerical leadership of this group. In their estimation the last true pope was Pius XII, and since he happens to be long dead, the True Church resides in the SSPX. Well something resides in the SSPX, I'm just not sure it has anything to do with the true church of Christ.

I also came across a couple of other interesting articles. L'Osservatorre Romano has felt it important to let us know that Benedict does not wear Prada shoes. The article also doesn't tell us what he does wear and what they cost. It also goes on to say that all the fancy liturgical vestments he's drawn out of the Vatican archives are in the spirit of maintaining a hermeneutic of continuity with the historical tradition of the liturgy and the papacy. It's not about a personal preference for ostentatious display. One truly hopes anti semitism isn't the next thing he takes from the past, although I guess he's actually kind of done that with the Good Friday prayer for the Jews. It's watered down, but it's still there.

I also learned that he's adopting a new pallium at the same time he's giving out palliums to 45 metropolitan bishops. Bishop Neinstedt of Minneapolis is one of the recipients. For those who don't know, palliums are like super stoles and indicate exalted rank with in the church. Obviously the pope's pallium is singular. In recent history it features five embroidered crosses with nails through them. I'm sure we all care, but if you do, you can learn more here:

Neinstedt is really earning his pallium. He's been in office a little over a month and has already set the Metropolitan diocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul back fifty some years. His latest coup was canceling the gay and lesbian outreach service by the Parish of St. Joan of Arc--and they weren't even planning on having a layman, or a gayman for that matter, deliver the sermon. The doors are certainly closing to all kinds of Catholics in Minneapolis. Sort of like SSPX is slamming the door on the Vatican. Where is Christ in all of this? Must be brushing up on His latin or knowledge of historical liturgical vestments or forging identity papers to prove He's not Jewish.



  1. I've found your new blog, Colleen! I like the look of it.

    I read one of the articles about Benedict's new pallium today on Clerical Whispers. After I did so, I thought to myself, "Good grief. At this perilous passage in Catholic history, we have a pope whose focus seems to be on trying out different styles of palliums?"

    But then I thought, "Well, in a way, we get what we deserve, when we allow this kind of nonsense to have any power over us."

    This is, to me, the ultimate sign of the reclericalization of the Catholic church--and of how misplaced that emphasis has been: a fascination with what kind of clothes priests wear on different liturgical occasions.

    In such a culture, you're absolutely right to note that we're straining out the gnat to let the camel pass through--the camel being antisemitism and other nasty ideologies, which remain nasty, no matter how we dress them up.

  2. I saw on Clerical Whispers that our favorite Roman cleric, Archbishop Raymond Burke, has been named the head of the Vatican's highest court, the Court of the Apostolic Signature.

    So now Mr. Excommunication himself is the chief justice of the Roman church .... rather like naming Milosevic to head the Court on Human Rights!

    BTW, I still pray for Fr. Merek and the parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka in St.Louis, MO. Their parish is thriving and has more than doubled in size since Burke "excommunicated" them ... it's that darned Holy Spirit again!

    Here's their website:

  3. Bill, I don't really know what to think about Benedict anymore. When L'OR has to defend the rumors about his choice in shoes I kind of go flat. Palliums, You know I kind of think this would never have been a topic of discussion under John XXIII. Seems he had other things on his mind. Do you really think this is what we deserve, or do you think all of this is just to keep us focused on anything but those things of substance? You know, so we ignore the fact we're returning to fascism.

  4. Jim, I'm thinking about posting on Burke's elevation tomorrow. The really optimistic part of me thinks this appointment has to do with the fact the Vatican is only recognizing the man has no concept of anything pastoral and the safest thing to is to put him where he's at least competent at what he does. Making him the prefect of the Signatura pretty much precludes him from having to act as a pastor.

  5. Have you read anything about his being replaced as AB of St. Louis? Now that would be good news.

    PS: I'm the same John K from the old site. My google monkier is jmKelley (John M. Kelley).

  6. Colleen:
    The church has been fascist since the 20's when it recovered from bankruptcy. "The Vatican Exposed" by Paul Williams is a fascinating (and disturbing) look at what the Vatican really is like. The shoes palliums, latin, and other things are nothing more than distractions to keep our attention focused on something else so that we dont see what is really going on, an attempt at world domination.

    Re: St Stanislaus
    It is a catholic parish in St Louis that is serving the needs of disillusioned, excommunicated and otherwise disaffected catholics - Burke, Naumann and Finn did a lot of damage there before they were transferred. Of course it is growing and thriving.

    re: What to think about B16?
    He is attempting world domination, like so many of his predecessors have tried. 100 years ago that might have been possible. I dont see it happening today.

    re: Burke's promotion
    Bless him, good riddance, and how soon will be leaving? I think what we will see is that he is fleeing the country to avoid prosecution for his role in the pedophile scandal.

  7. btw, how does one get the cool pictures next to the name?

  8. Carl, when I uploaded a photo for my blog prophile, google automatically added it to comments on any google blog. I suppose that's why Bill's photo shows up as well.

    The Vatican may very well be playing the world domination game by being one of the puppet masters. The use of the gay marriage issue in Europe to try and influence elections is pretty blatant. Viva La Spain and there's no question their nameless, faceless beauracracy is loaded with intelligence operatives.

  9. Colleen, have you seen the latest on the BXVI's sartorial penchants from the Vatican? Whispers in the Loggia has a report on Friday about a recent defense of BXVI in Osservatore Romano.

    The author of the article in OR is Spanish novelist Juan Manuel de Prada, who says that the pope keeps changing clothes to dress himself anew in Christ. He concludes, "The pope, in short, does not wear Prada, but Christ."

    I kid you not.

    I also ran across the cute little clip on YouTube this weekend. I wish my German were good enough to do a literal translation. Much of what's being said can be guessed from context. The interviewer (who is Bavarian, from his dialect) asks the little character Katholi how he can be sure of the right way in this world of so many complex choices.

    Katholi answers, "The Pope!" Then when the interviewer asks why the pope is against evolution, Katholi reponds that the interviewer wouldn't want to be descended from a monkey, would he?

    The part about the church's opposition to condoms is hard for me to hear. I think Katholi is explaining that by saying that all those babies who would have died of AIDS now get to go to heaven.

    When the interviewere asks him if women and gays who question church teaching really go to hell in the next life, he changes the subject and says, "Look what I can do!" the he juggles.

    The clip is at

  10. Bill, the clip reminded me of the scene in War and Remembrance when the inmates at Thierenthienstedt did the puppet show about Hitler. Of course, that got them a one way ticket to Aushwitz. Some people have no sense of humor, although I guess they can juggle.

  11. Yep. It's all the same. Vatican II said this in it's Constitution Dei Verbum:
    it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her
    certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both
    sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated
    with the same sense of loyalty and reverence."

    Vatican II showed that traditions should be kept with loyalty.