Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's Time To Stand Up To The Ultra Conservatives

The Tablet, June 6, 2009

The four Lefebvrist bishops whom Pope Benedict XVI partially rehabilitated in January have defended their decision to ordain 21 priests into the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), sparking alarm among German-speaking bishops.

In January the Pope lifted the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops, including British-born Richard Williamson, a Holocaust-denier, but the men remain suspended.The ordinations are to take place in three of the Society's seminaries at the end of June, according to a round-robin letter published on SSPX websites on Monday.

Three men will be ordained at Zaitzkofen in Bavaria, 13 at the St Thomas Aquinas Seminary at Winona, Minnesota, and the rest at the SSPX headquarters at Ecône in Switzerland.

The President of the Vatican's Ecclesia Dei Commission, Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, is considering visiting Ecône on 29 June, according to a French priest Claude Barthe, the French right-wing newspaper Présent reported.

The priest said the cardinal's visit would be aimed at hastening the implementation of a provisional agreement "for the good of [the clerics'] souls".

On 4 July the cardinal turns 80, the age at which membership of ­curial congregations usually ends, and it is widely believed that Cardinal Castrillón wanted to have the SSPX fully reintegrated before he retired.

Following the huge outcry over the lifting of the excommunications, in March the Pope wrote an unprecedented letter to bishops around the world expressly stating that the Society did not have a canonical status in the Church and its ministers did not exercise legitimate ministries.

However, the SSPX communiqué argues that the ordinations will be taking place with the permission of the Holy See.

"During the period in which convergence and understanding with Rome is being sought, the SSPX has a provisional legal status for an indefinite period of time until, after the theological talks are over, a definitive canonical ruling is found. That is what the ‘line of approach' which has been agreed to by the Vatican foresees. In none of the talks up to now has there ever been any mention of ‘putting a stop to ordinations' in general. On the contrary, the lifting of the excommunications was meant to show a willingness to cooperate without putting any restrictions on the life of the Society."

There was no comment from the Vatican on the SSPX's statement.

In an interview with Vatican Radio on 1 June, the Bishop of Regensburg, Gerhard Müller, in whose diocese Zaitzkofen lies, said he contacted the Zaitzkofen seminary as soon as he read about the SSPX plans.

"I told them that the ordinations were against canon law and that in such a precarious situation one must allow Rome to prescribe how to proceed. "Calling the ordinations "a provocation", he said: "One simply must suspend everything until this Society's position is cleared up as far as canon law is concerned."

In the letter the Society wrote to the Pope in January, they said they fully accepted the Pope's primacy ... [T]hey are not prepared to take the consequences."

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who founded SSPX, was suspended a divinis in 1976 for ordaining priests without church approval, and excommunicated in 1988 automatically when he ordained four priests as bishops illicitly.


I can't see where Pope Benedict can be shocked by the simple fact SSPX is going to do what it wants to do. It always has and it always will. Like a lot of other ultra conservative groups it will talk the talk only if it benefits them. Other wise they do what they want to do--righteously of course. They aren't prepared to take the consequences of fully accepting the Pope's primacy because they don't accept the Pope's primacy. They don't accept any pope since Pius XII.

What bothers me more though, is that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is lending his support to what are illicit ordinations. This shouldn't come as a shock to Pope Benedict either. Cardinal Hoyos is another one who marches to his own Latin Mass drum beat. His fellow Cardinals have referred to him as 'imperious'. Latin goes with imperious. So do red Maserati's.

German Bishops have a right to be upset with the SSPX, and they have a right to be upset with the Vatican. This isn't a propitious time for blatant anti semites to be given recognition in Catholicism nor have their irregularities attended by a high ranking Vatican official, no matter how imperious that official might be. It makes one wonder if the Vatican is unable to control the conservatives, is in collusion with them, or just plain in fear of them.

Given the shooting yesterday at the National Holocaust Museum, another indication that the ultra right is getting out of control, I don't think Benedict can afford to let the SSPX continue with impunity. This group will always be under suspicion for anti semitism because so many of their spokesman are blatant anti semites who truly believe the real tradition of the Church states that Jews are Jesus killers. Like anti abortion proponents state Dr. Tiller was a baby killer.

Right wing groups who use fear and scapegoating are enormously uncomfortable when progressive movements gain ascendancy. They will use terrorist tactics to prove their point that the world is safer when they are in control of things. They violently act on their own self fulfilling prophecy. They create the fear we are to fear. They do what ever they want to prove no one has any authority over them.

Pope Benedict, like President Obama, was powerful in setting a different tone in rhetoric for the Middle East. Both of them now have to step up to the voices on the right and have the courage to make the point that the world is desperate for real meaningful change. President Obama and Home Land Security will have to set the message in the States, and Pope Benedict will have to underscore the message in the Catholic world. He could start with SSPX and Cardinal Hoyos.


  1. The Holy Father's message to the Holy Land on equal and definitive rights and borders for both the Israelis and Palestinians was indeed a beautiful occurance and completely in-sync with President Obama's hopes and aspirations for the region. It would be very disturbing, and highly counterproductive, to rehabilitate the SSPX in any way right now. Doing so, would just widen the chasm even further which has been created between the Catholic and Jewish world in the wake of Bishop Williamson's rehabilitation. Hopefully, His Holiness will genuinely understand the ramifications this would cause throughout the world, if he doesn't understand fully now let's continue to pray for him and for the sake of Catholic-Jewish dialogue that he will not continue down this road of destruction in making more and more accomodations for the SSPX.

  2. I totally agree with you Phillip. The last thing we need are SSPX Priest infesting the globe with their poisonous views with the blessings of the Pope. They need to be stood up to as the headline in this blog says.

  3. Hopefully, the German Bishops Conference will continue to stand their ground too.

  4. There is a palpable link in the ideology of French Royalists and the infamous (and literal Nazi) Vichy regime in France, with that of the SSPX & its denizens. The proof of this may be found in online forums & blogs frequented by their enthusiasts.

    During the Williamson affair they were lauding him & spewing quite vile Anti- Semitic rhetoric which would make a KKK member blush!

    Marcel Lefebvre had plenty of his own curious connections......

    You will see the mindset manifest itself in the virulently anti Muslim rants & desires for Catholic Corporate Statism....and for the 'great king & holy pope'. They are virtually at one with Opus Dei on these matters.

  5. This idea of a Catholic corporate state is truly frightening and I really do believe it's an idea that underpins the philosophy of the neo cons and many conservative traditional Catholics who are politically motivated by the culture wars.

    It's a parallel kind of thing to the Evangelical's New Apostolic Reformation. The fact these two groups are coallescing together is mind boggling given NAR's attitude towards Catholicism. I guarantee the NAR will use conservative Catholics strictly for their own political advantage and then drop them like hot potatoes.

    Conservatives need to look to the enemy with in, Gingrich and other Evangleical converts are Catholic in name only.

    On the other hand, a political pissing match between Opus Dei, the Knights of Malta, and other very wealthy conservative Catholic groups with the NAR could be quite interesting. We could see a battle of the exorcists! :)

  6. "On the other hand, a political pissing match between Opus Dei, the Knights of Malta, and other very wealthy conservative Catholic groups with the NAR could be quite interesting."

    ....let's just say they are having "Family Troubles" they all collaborate at a certain level (e.g. pro-life groups/activism), & are members of the same think tanks. But as you say, their differences are showing.....

  7. It is truly idiotic journalism to link Tiller's shooting with SSPX in this fashion. Truly. You should confess this. It truly gives scandal.

  8. "It is truly idiotic journalism to link Tiller's shooting with SSPX in this fashion."

    Those whose God-given abilities of cognitive & CRITICAL thinking have not been 'disable' or affected by a 'virus' will clearly see the very cogent link between the ideology of those of the SSPX & the radical pro-lifers. It is one & the same.

    Go to their various websites, forums & blogs. READ what they say. You will find the most vile & hateful rhetoric employed.....against gays, Jews, women who have had abortion & those in favor of abortion. This became readily apparent in the Bishop Williamson debacle!

    What you will NOT find on these sites - or on the minds (or tongues) of the ultra-conservatives & traditionalist is........Christ.

    Oh they will talk ABOUT Him.....but as if He were a buzzword. A mantra. Or - to get to the point - a convenient corporate logo & medium of control.

    You will not see manifested in them Christ, as they really do not believe in (or have not attempted to integrate into themselves)....the Gospe;. The true teaching of Jesus.

    Theirs is a religion or externals; not internals. They often talk at great length of internals.....but never really 'get' what Jesus taught.

    They are all about 'pay, pray & obey'; not "Love the Lord you God with all your heart & soul - and love your neighbor as yourself".

    Their groups & rhetoric has effectively made most of them fanatics - as that is what they are all about. This is also most firmly condemned by Christ. They use what are tantamount to brainwashing techniques, of a cultlike nature, to establish & maintain control over their adherents.

    This is an excellent breeding ground for 'Manchurain Candidates'; made intentionally or otherwise;. All done via the principles of compartmentalization & plausible deniability.

    So, yes - the SSPX is very much part of the mileau which created the assassin of Dr. Tiller.

  9. "This is an excellent breeding ground for 'Manchurain Candidates'; made intentionally or otherwise;. All done via the principles of compartmentalization & plausible deniability.

    So, yes - the SSPX is very much part of the mileau which created the assassin of Dr. Tiller."

    Thank you anonymous, I couldn't have said it better myself. I also agree completely with your analysis about externals vs internals. That all started with the council of Nicaea.

  10. "That all started with the council of Nicaea."

    ...on so many levels, YES!!!

    We mentioned the concept of the "Catholic Corporate State"....frightening indeed. Yet we have been there already. It was called:

    The Middle Ages...or Medieval Era. A holistic Corporate state, run by the Church (with the overt & gleeful cooperation of monarchs & nobility whose power base WAS the Church). It was also a literal slave state.

    In our history books it is benignly referred to as 'Serfdom'. Anyone who cannot see why this IS slavery needs a mental reboot! The vast majority of the populace had NO freedom: their very existence hinged on the Church/State collaboration on which the Feudal/Vassal/Serf system was founded.

    They were thought controlled by the Church using the neat combo of fear of torture - in this world and/or the next - and well engineered peer pressure to conform. You were your lord's could not escape or move. And where could you go anyway?

    It is the consideration of these historical realities which makes the 'conspiracy theory' that - "the Church created Communism" - sound less & less far fetched......

    At the very least, they lay the groundwork, by giving a practical example of a working model of the totalitarian collective: the life & work of the Serf!

  11. Communism in Russia, as it played out, really was just another form of collective serfdom. I guess that's not surprising given the fact Mother Russia lagged centuries behind the rest of Europe in giving rights to peasants or even having a semblance of real democracy.