Monday, 8 July 2013

SSPX about to be formally declared in schism?

There are a couple of those classic pieces up over at Rorate Caeli, courtesy of the SSPX, one of which is a rationalisation of why negotiations between them and the Vatican fell apart, the other a story that the split is about to be formally recognised.

Scandal narrowly averted?

The more entertaining piece is from 'Côme de Prévigny' presenting the 'SSPX side of the story' on the collapse of negotiations under the previous Pontificate: apparently at the 'last minute'  Rome insisted on adding three totally unreasonable requirements.

Presumably someone had, desireth of avoiding a repeat of the Bishop Williamson debacle, done some just in time google searching, because one of the three new conditions was a requirement to recognize the "liceity" of the new mass.

Pretty outrageous, isn't it - the Church actually wants to insist that her members recognise her sacraments as valid!

No more?!

Strangely, in the light of this, and more particularly perhaps the recent statement by the SSPX that, instead of burying the past and seeking reconciliation, once more lauds those episcopal consecrations and attacks the Magisterium, Rorate also reports that the CDF Prefect has had enough, and wants to formally break off relations.

It is true of course that Archbishop Müller never seemed particularly trad friendly, and he now has a Pope who is, on the face of it, more attuned to his views.

So why is Rorate also attacking John Allen for saying that the SSPX have lost their chance for reconciliation?  On the face of it, seems he was right.

Act on both sides though

I actually do think there is a case for Rome taking a hard line on this one.

But then, there has long been a case for acting against those who behave in exactly the same way from the other side of the ledger.

So if Rome is going to act formally on the SSPX, it would be sensible to wrap it up in a parcel also proscribing a few other schismatic organisations.  In the Australian context, 'Catholics for Renewal' and the organisations they link to would be a good place to start.  


pab said...

Dear Kate

Re your "recognise her sacraments as valid" ... that's a naughty misrepresentation of a distinction that you surely should be aware of!

As I understand it, the SSPX position has long been that the NOM is valid (when celebrated properly) but evil (in itself, and hence illicit to offer or attend). Liceity is not the same as validity, and conflating them is not the responsible thing to do.


jeff said...

There is justification for adopting a hard line on the latest statement by the bishops, but +Fellay's doctrinal declaration a year ago was pretty much in line with the 1988 Protocol. He even admits the liceity of the Novus Ordo (!).

I honestly don't know why +Fellay's offer/statement one year ago wasn't accepted. Perhaps Williamson was the unspoken reason?

Kate Edwards said...

Paul - I admit I haven't followed this particular argument within the SSPX, but surely as soon as you question its liceity, a certain conclusion about validity in most cases is inevitable. And indeed, may SSPX associated sites have drawn that conclusion.

The Loon said...

If they declare the SSPX in schism then some will no doubt say what about this (liberal) group and that group, why aren't they declared to be in schism? And the trad bashers will have a field day.

pab said...

Dear Kate (and maybe jeff)

Liceity should indeed imply validity, but logically speaking non-liceity has nothing to say about validity (or not!). Your "certain conclusion" is by no means inevitable. Some "SSPX associated sites" (whatever you mean by that) might conceivably have made a logical error, but I am certain that the official position of the SSPX is non-liceity but not necessarily non-validity.

Likewise, validity has nothing necessary to say about liceity, e.g. a valid mass may be illicit or not.

I bet jeff is confusing Bp Fellay's remarks supposedly about liceity, with remarks actually about validity.

It's amazing how many blogs/commenters are confused like this. And a great pity, because it's one f the key issues at the core of the "SSPX Question".


Kate Edwards said...

OK so enlighten me on the non-liceity argument. Is this dependent on the words of Pius V on the Missal?

pab said...

Dear Kate

Thanks for allowing the dialogue to continue on your enjoyable and interesting blog.

To my understanding, the SSPX objection to the liceity of the NOM is as follows:
(1) the NOM is an intrinsically evil perversion (the last is my term, not the SSPX's AFAIK; but Abp Lefebvre did use some strong terminology in this context) of the TLM
(2) hence, there can be no law that makes the NOM licit/legitimate.

I think there was something about this on The Remnant's website not too long ago, but not sure where to find.


Kate Edwards said...

Paul - I'm always curious and keen to understand when I'm not getting it!

But put like that one can certainly see why the Vatican might insist on dropping the liceity argument as a condition of reconciliation.

Indeed, I'm afraid I find it hard to see the line between that position and sedevacantism.

jeff said...

+Fellay admitted that the NO was legitimately promulgated. I think that ticks the liceity box.

I'm aware that Pixies will, from time to time, post. some pretty inflammatory stuff and I'm not surprised that you might have come across some denials of its liceity.

the fact is, on the one that matters-the doctrinal declaration of +Fellay's-he does admit that it's licit

Kate Edwards said...

But Jeff.

First, I'm not sure legitimately promulgated quite goes far enough works if you then say its intrinsically a perversion!

Let's take the example of a law of the land - it can be legitimately promulgated but so counter to the common good that Catholics would be duty bound to refuse to obey it. The legislature, in other words, had no power to pass it...And that is my understanding of Paul's summary of the argument. Have I misunderstood?

Moreover, over at Rorate the (admittedly unofficial) spokesperson is saying that demanding acknowledgement of liceity is indeed a problem for the SSPX.

jeff said...

Did you hear about those two dubia sent to the PCED regarding UE 19 about what constitutes "legitimacy" and the answer came back saying that an acknowledgment of its legitimacy need only go so far as agreeing to its legitimate promulgation in accordance with ecclesiastical law but not necessarily divine law

pab said...

Dear Jeff

I'd be glad to learn more about the PCED and UE 19 please - vague recollection but short on specifics.

But I can imagine why might not cut ice in Vatican-SSPX dialogue - e.g. SSPX dealing with with CDF not PCED; also the idea that a valid ecclestiacal law could violate divine law is somewhat challenging.


jeff said...

This is one of the most significant milestones for Trads in the past 25 years after SP and UE.

Cardinal Pole said...

"Is this dependent on the words of Pius V on the Missal?"

You're chronologically close there, Terra. As the S.S.P.X. explains in its The Problem of the Liturgical Reform, the basis for its opposition to the New Mass is ultimately the Council of Trent's teaching that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is a true and proper Sacrifice. Now the integral parts of a true ritual sacrifice are oblation, consecration, and consummation, and the New Order Mass lacks all three of these, replacing the structure of a true propitiatory sacrifice with that of Jewish table blessings. Most striking, and most problematic, is the New Mass's lack of a true sacrificial oblation—most striking, as one would have to agree if he looks at the T.L.M.'s and the N.O.M.'s respective Offertories side by side, and most problematic because, as The Roman Catechism explains, the full force of the Eucharist, as Sacrifice, consists in the Oblation.

Kate Edwards said...

But Cardinal - If there is no true sacrificial oblation, how can it be a valid Mass?

Cardinal Pole said...

"If there is no true sacrificial oblation, how can it be a valid Mass?"

Because all you need for a valid Mass is wheat bread, grape wine, and a validly-ordained priest pronouncing, with the intention at least to do what the Church does, the words 'This is My Body' and 'This is (the Chalice of) My Blood (&c.)' over the bread and wine, respectively, and all these are present in the N.O.M. But the liturgy surrounding the valid confection of the Eucharist lacks something which it ought to have, and is therefore evil.

Kate Edwards said...

So the Church, which is accorded the protection of Christ against the gates of hell, can legally promulgate something that is intrinsically evil? Hmm, you are not exactly convincing me that the SSPX doesn't deserve to be declared schismatic!

It is one thing, it seems to me, to think the NO is less pleasing to God, and some of the practices with associated with it unhelpful to the faithful. That's where most 'mainstream' traddies fit I suspect.

Quite quite a big step further, it seems to me, to argue as above...

Cardinal Pole said...

"So the Church, which is accorded the protection of Christ against the gates of hell, can legally promulgate something that is intrinsically evil?"

That's the same reasoning which would lead one to conclude that every Papal utterance appearing in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis is free from even the possibility of defect. Traditionally, the indefectibility of the Church has been understood only to guarantee that, with respect to her office of sanctification, a defective liturgy could last only for such a length of time that the Faithful on whom it has been foisted will not be irrevocably deprived of the sanctification which is their right. But someone born on the day the N.O.M. was promulgated would only now be entering middle age, and in any case, the T.L.M. was, as everyone now knows (and as the S.S.P.X. had long before 2007 been arguing), never abrogated. (There is a parallel between the Church's indefectibility in her offices of sanctifying and of teaching, and you would surely agree that Our Lord's promise only guarantees, with respect to teaching, that the Church's definitive pronouncements will be true, and that her ordinary teaching will never be defective for any great length of time, but this does not exclude the possibility of that teaching going into eclipse, so to speak, for a short period, such as during the Arian crisis.)

Kate Edwards said...

That is an interesting proposal for the limits of indefectibility Cardinal, but basis do you have for it? And what past precedent is there for short lived liturgy officially promulgated by Rome but subsequently deemed outright evil?!

If indefectibility means anything, it has to mean that the Church's primary means of worship and sanctification is protected. Individual parts of the Church, true, can fall into error and fall away from the whole. And there is no protection against individual abuse of the laws, or ancillary things not intrinsic to the whole being protected. But the intrinsic act itself (and I don't just mean the minute or so it takes to say the words of consecration), surely!

As for teaching, the Arian crisis doesn't prove anything - the protection is to Peter when teaching authoritatively and other bishops acting in union with him, not every individual bishop. Popes have failed to teach, acted imprudently, succumbed to pressure on disciplinary matters and worse. In their ordinary Magisterium they have occasionally gone down wrong tracks.

But teach outright heresy authoritatively? I don't accept that there has ever been a single case of that occurring that stands up to scrutiny.

Garry Nolan said...

Hi Kate
It is interesting that you should end your article by calling for a parcel proscribing a few other schismatic organisations. In the Australian context, 'Catholics for Renewal'. In Australia, some 90% of Catholics no longer attend Mass on a regular basis because of the failings of the institutional Church. Catholics for Renewal have been encouraging Catholics to remain in the Church and appear to have achieved more success in this regard than any action by the official Church in Australia. The premise being that many Catholics have said that if there is any chance of Catholics for Renewal being successful in returning the Church to the Teachings of Jesus, then Catholics who feel betrayed by the institutional Church will remain as part of the flock. Paul (a lay man) debated matters of Church doctrine with Peter and Church history is filled with examples of the laity recognising before the clergy that a certain point of view is more Christian, well before it is adopted by institutional Church. Catholics for Renewal is following the direction of Pope Francis to “Go against the grain” and are keeping Catholics coming to Mass.
God bless

Cardinal Pole said...

(I'll try to make this comment a short one, focusing on just one point rather than dealing with all the points you made, and if you want to bring the discussion to a close then I'm happy to refrain from making any further comments after your reply to this one.) Terra, you wrote that

"If indefectibility means anything, it has to mean that the Church's primary means of worship and sanctification is protected."

Yes, but the key point at issue here is the extent to which that protection occurs. You seem to agree with me that we can only say that a Papal doctrinal act is, by the mere fact of having been properly promulgated, guaranteed free from defect when that act is definitive; why do you think that Papal liturgical acts—which by their very nature are non-definitive—are guaranteed free from defect by the mere fact of their promulgation?

Kate Edwards said...

I don't agree that liturgical acts are by definition non-definitive Cardinal.

Indefectibility is a broader protection than infallibility - it has to be or else the validity of the sacraments would not be protected by it. Indeed, the classic definition of it given in Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma is as follows:

"In saying that the Church is indefectible we assert both her imperishableness, that is, her constant duration to the end of the world, and the essential immutability of her teaching, her constitution and her liturgy."

Kate Edwards said...

Gary - There is nothing virtuous about promoting dissent in the Church.

Good if people come to Mass - but ultimately pointless if they aren't actually open to the objective truths of the faith!

St Paul did not in fact confront St Peter over doctrine but over practice. Important difference.

And it is one thing to say that the institutional church has failed in pastoral things, and needs reform; quite another to claim that it is doctrines can be wrong. There are no examples of the laity knowing something is more catholic than the rest of the Church.

Rather the sensus fidei has at times worked to call out heresy on the part of individual bishops, or to recognise the crystallisation of a long held belief into proclaimed dogma.

Garry Nolan said...

Hi Kate Thank you for your response to my comments. Your response raises a number of interesting philosophical, theological and historical context issues. At the time Jesus came upon the earth in human form, the Jewish religious leaders had expanded the Ten Commandments to a list of 613 Mitzvot (Commandments). Many of these rules provided good advice for a healthy and harmonious life. But over some 2,000 years the religious leaders of the day had made the Jewish religion so complicated that the average person did not know what was the core religious beliefs. Now, 2,000 years later, we have come full circle as men have sought to make our religion more complicated that what was clearly illustrated by Jesus; to love God and to love our neighbour. Some of our religious leaders have lost sight of what is core to our faith. One of the major Teachings of Jesus was that when the religious leaders of the day have become confused about what is important in our faith and what is not, we have an obligation to speak out. This is reinforced by Canon Law 212.3 - “Rights Of The Faithful - They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their view on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the pastors, and take into account both the common good and the dignity of the individuals.” This is precisely what is happening at this time. The spontaneous combustion that is occurring around the world at this time to bring our Church back from a monarchical papacy where blind obedience to a single-gender hierarchical structure has been at the core of the current crisis in our beloved Church (the greatest crisis since the Reformation) back to the Teachings of Jesus, is clearly the work of the Holy Spirit. This work of the Holy Spirit was clearly manifest in the election of Pope Francis who has illustrated a desire to move away from a papal monarchy. God bless Garry

Kate Edwards said...

Gary - If Pope Francis is trying to move away from a papal monarchical style of government, he's going an odd way about it.

So far he has appointed a committee of Cardinals - but only to advise him. A lay expert group - but only to inform their deliberations.

He has taken no apparent notice of serious allegations made against his appoint to oversee the Vatican Bank.

He has acted as an absolute monarch not bound by the law of the Church when it comes to liturgy.

And there are those canonisation decisions: