Vatican-SSPX talks to start “in next few days” – Schönborn

September 14, 2009

schoenbornDoctrinal negotiations between the Vatican and the ultra-traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) are due to start “in the next few days,” according to Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, and Rome will not let the Lefebvrists off easy for everything.”

In particular, he told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper in Bavaria over the weekend, “the SSPX will be told very clearly what is not negotiable for the Holy See. This includes such fundamental conclusions of the Second Vatican Council as its positions on Judaism, other non-Christian religions, other Christian churches and on religious freedom as a basic human right.” Here is our news story.

(Photo: Cardinal Schönborn, 16 March 2008/Herwig Prammer)

This is going to be interesting. The SSPX has been insisting for decades that it represents the true Roman Catholic faith while the Vatican and the vast majority of the Church took a wrong turn at Vatican II. By allowing wider use of the traditional Latin Mass and revoking the excommunication of the four SSPX bishops, Pope Benedict has taken two of the group’s main rallying points off the table. Now it comes down to the core issue of accepting the fundamental reforms of the 1962-1965 Council concerning Catholicism’s relations with other religions.

pnplogo1So will the SSPX accept the Vatican ultimatum, if indeed it turns out to be as clear as Schönborn portrays it?

Certainly not right away. Possibly not at all. Maybe only in part (if past practice is anything to go by).

In their public statements, SSPX bishops were triumphant after the decree lifting the excommunications was published and determined to stand firm in its meetings with the Vatican. It’s interesting to note that they describe these upcoming sessions as “meetings” or “doctrinal discussions” (entretiens doctrinaux), while Schönborn calls them “negotiations” (Verhandlungen). Since the full reintegration of the SSPX is at stake, the word “negotiations” seems more suited to these sessions.

tissierBishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, one of the four readmitted, said the bishops had no intention of changing their views in these sessions.” No, absolutely not,” he said. “We do not change our positions, but we have the intention of converting Rome, that is, to lead Rome towards our positions.”

(Photo: Bishop Tissier de Mallerais/SSPX photo)

Bishop Richard Williamson, whose denial of the Holocaust-era gas chambers overshadowed the reporting of the ban lifting, wrote on his blog:“No doubt some Conciliarists in Rome are hoping that the Decree will serve to draw the SSPX back into the fold of Vatican II, but the Decree itself, as it stands, commits the Society to nothing more than to entering into those discussions to which the Society committed itself in 2000 when it proposed the liberation of the Mass and the ending of the “excommunications” as preconditions in the first place.”

SSPX Superior General Bernard Fellay, who has said the negotiations would be “not necessarily short, maybe even long,” has been more nuanced. On the one hand, he told the Italian agency APCom (here in English) in July: “We will not make any compromise on the Council. I have no intention of making a compromise. The truth does not tolerate compromise. We do not want a compromise, we want clarity regarding the Council.”

On the other hand, at the ordination of eight new SSPX priests in Ecône, Switzerland held in June despite Vatican warnings, Fellay said: “The biggest problem is philosophical. Two philosophies meet: the classical scholastic philosophy and modern philosophy. The pope is very eclectic and we feel that he has been marked by a subjective philosophy — less when he talks about morality than when he speaks in the abstract. Our scholastic philosophy is more objective.” The pope and the SSPX, he said, may be speaking “about the same thing, but differently.”

fellay-alps1The German SSPX chapter seems to be on a similar wavelength. In a report on its website, it said the three theologiansreported to make up the Vatican team at the sessions “are all Thomists, so a fruitful discussion should be possible.”

(Photo: Bishop Fellay in Ecône, 29 June 2009/Denis Balibouse)

French religion writer Nicolas Senèze, author of a history of the SSPX called La crise intégriste (The Traditionalist Crisis), wrote on FaithWorld from Ecône that Fellay’s statement was “a timid opening.” Could it actually be an audacious opening gambit? Up until now, the SSPX only aimed to convince the Vatican that it was wrong about the Council. Now it also wants to persuade it that Benedict, a tireless preacher against relativism, is a subjective and faulty philosopher. Get ready for some long and difficult negotiations.

UPDATE: Jean-Marie Guénois at Le Figaro reports the talks will not start until mid-October.

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Pray for patience on both sides as the Church needs the SSPX and the SSPX needs the Church. It is long past the time to reconcile this situation. And Pope Benedict XVI may be the only Pope who can do this, at least for the near future. This issue is very close to his heart.

Posted by Mitch | Report as abusive

A parlimentarian and a Freemason have reportedly stated that Cardinal Schönborn is a Freemason: 768.html

Posted by Ted | Report as abusive

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph” – the ultimate outcome cannot be in doubt.

Posted by Leprechaun | Report as abusive

Please pray the rosary for the Crusade, and if you are interested in a deeper look (certainly than that given here by Cardinal Schonborn), pick up Iota Unum and They Have Uncrowned Him, both of which explain SSPX’s doctrinal objections well. But most of all let us pray!

Posted by Janet Baker | Report as abusive

Vatican-II all but destroyed “The Holy Sacrifice Of The Mass” replacing it with a Protestant Communion Service being “presided” over by a Catholic Priest. Were it not for His Grace (Archbishop Le Febvre)this most sacred jewel of the Catholic Church would have been lost forever. The damage inflicted by the liberal Magisterium of Vatican-II can never be undone. I pray that some good might come of this dialogue slated to begin in October.

Posted by Bob Mihalo | Report as abusive

Waste of time — will only serve to further divide the Church

Posted by Man Who Loved Cat Dancing | Report as abusive

I do not see this dialogue to be at all divisive. It is about time that it took place. I agree that the SSPX and the Church are interdependent and should work together. One suggestion I have for the SSPX delegates is to insist on more extensive use of the Traditional Mass. To say that it is permitted in any diocese without need of the bishop’s express permission is not enough. People are not aware of this Mass, they are unfamiliar with it, and they do not know enough to request it. And, dioceses make difficult rules, such as, there has to be a “stable group” of parishioners who want the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, etc., etc. Plus, there is the overall negativity of clergy, bishops, and lay people who feel threatened for whatever reason. Let us all pray for successful and fruitful negotiations.

Posted by Germaine Manuel | Report as abusive

Just exactly what does ‘respect’ for another (non-catholic) religion mean?

Posted by alforo | Report as abusive

Please, what in the world is an “ultra-traditionalist”? One is either a Catholic who follows the traditions of the church, or one is not. If what you mean is that an ultra-traditionalist is one who rejects some traditions but not others, they are not traditionalists. The phrase is without meaning, and has become a catch-all phrase that we can do without.

Posted by Allan Wafkowski | Report as abusive

Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Magisterium of the Church. I submit myself to obedience to the Vicar of Christ. One Church.

Posted by Roman Catholic | Report as abusive

I remember the traditional latin mass of my early childhood. I was ten or eleven when vatican II ushered in changes to the mass and local bishops felt at liberty to go far beyond actual intent. I respect the uniqueness of both celebrations. The bishop in our Archdiocese has liberally allowed the offering of the traditional latin mass in many of our parishes. I am of the opinion that many of our newer priest are learning latin as well a the spanish language to better serve the needs of the individual parishes. Many of our churches have also returned to more traditional funishing and fixtures. I feel that both type of masses afford an individual to celebrate the Euchrist in a proper manner base on his/her spiritual understanding. The latin masses that I have personally attended have been sprasely attended but are readily availble.

Posted by Lance Lassiter | Report as abusive

Bishop Fellay is the only friend Pope Benedict has. He is surrounded by wolves. Don’t forget that Pope Benedict has read the Third Secret. He knows the SSPX are his friends. Good things will come from this.

Posted by JamesD | Report as abusive

Ultra-traditionalist means not recognizing the validity of Vatican II. If you’d prefer, you could call them heretics.And, no, the Church of Rome and SSPX are not interdependent in the least. SSPX doesn’t want to be a part of the Roman Church and they’re free to split off and call themselves whatever they want to. They are no different than the PROTESTants were.Now, if the Roman Church does want to bring them back into the fold under the current demands of SSPX, they then logically have set precedent that requires the welcoming of WomenPriests and Married Priests.The Big Tent, as it were…

Posted by Padre Pio | Report as abusive

I pray for the success of the SSPX Discussions. The SSPX were never offically excommunicated in the first place. I know they will hold steadfast to their traditional beliefs and NOT MAKE ANY COMPROMISE with Rome. Vatican II has destroyed out Catholic Church all over the world. I continue to say our Family Rosary for the release of the Third Fatima Secret and the Conversion of Russia – “Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will Triumph!” but first there is a terrifying time that awaits us all!PatriciaScotland

Posted by Patricia Wolfenden | Report as abusive

It’s very interesting, Padre Pio, that you should choose such a name on this blog, the saint who refused to say the novus ordo mass until his death recently.Another interesting point to consider, sir, is that you call ultraditionalists heretics… definition of heretic is “one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church”. Dogma was not defined in any way, shape, or form at Vatican II, as it was declared a pastoral (versus dogmatic) council. Hmmm… so heretics doesn’t fit because SSPX embraces all defined dogma of the Catholic Church.In response, I will pose a fun question to consider. Who today disagrees most with the defined dogma of the church, the Jesuits or the SSPX?

Posted by Joe Spencer | Report as abusive

Joe, thanks for the reply. Of course my nom de plume is intended to be sarcastic.And yes, I understand the nature of Vatican II as pastoral. The heretical part of SSPX is that they refuse to recognize that there is a Pope even though JPII and Benedict were both elected through the dogmatically defined process.So, there you have it…heretic DOES fit.Your question regarding Jesuits vs SSPX isn’t terribly relevant. The Jesuits have members who are orthodox (think Spitzer, Int’l Chaplain of Legatus), and some members who question orthodoxy.Patricia — are you seriously still praying for the conversion of Russia? To what?

Posted by Padre Pio | Report as abusive

Also, Joe, it is important to note that Padre Pio died in 1968, 41 years ago, before the N.O. Mass really got rolling. I ask this out of ignorance, not to provoke: Is it documented that he refused to say the N.O. Mass? I would also suggest to P.P. above that it may be more proper to define the SSPX as schismatic than heretical given the facts as he sets them out.

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive

Mr. Pio, while there is nothing against ignorance, as it’s clear you don’t know much about SSPX, there is an issue with communicating error publicly, like SSPX refusing to recognize that Benedict XVI is the Pope. This is clear slander, whether intended or not. What you have described is “sede vacantism”, from which the SSPX has continually distanced themselves. They even post it on the top of their splash page. Again, heretic does not fit in any way. With regard to the Jesuits, I was educated by them. The orthodox members are quite few, and the others are teaching outright heresy many times.Rich, agreed that it is more appropriate to describe SSPX as “schismatic” rather than heretics, while still not accurate. The Holy Father has removed the excommunications. To be in schism, you are excommunicated.With regard to the question of Padre Pio and the new mass, good question. There are many accounts of his doings late in his life, as he was a very public figure by 1965 (against his desires). One of which follows extracted from an article by By Fr. Jean, OFM…”[Padre Pio] was a model of respect and submission towards his religious and ecclesiastical superiors, especially during the time when he was persecuted. Nonetheless, he could not remain silent over a deviation that was baneful to the Church. Even before the end of the Council, in February 1965, someone announced to him that soon he would have to celebrate the Mass according to a new rite, ad experimentum, in the vernacular, which had been devised by a conciliar liturgical commission in order to respond to the aspirations of modern man. Immediately, even before seeing the text, he wrote to Paul VI to ask him to be dispensed from the liturgical experiment, and to be able to continue to celebrate the Mass of Saint Pius V. When Cardinal Bacci came to see him in order to bring the authorization, Padre Pio let a complaint escape in the presence of the Pope’s messenger: ‘For pity’s sake, end the Council quickly.\'”

Posted by Joe Spencer | Report as abusive

SSPX has never ever refused to recongise Pope JPII or Pope Benedict!

Posted by Mouse | Report as abusive

To the post-conciliar and conciliar mind, would this encyclical be anti-semitic?To the reader who takes the time to view the link below, please note, the pope whose tone though harsh when speaking an inconvenient truth, takes pains to remind the episcopacy of Poland that, “…The Jews are not to be persecuted…” Is the reminding of the world of the danger of creating a false reality concerning,”…those whose color have changed…”, an example of being insensitive? God Bless +Richard Williamson of speaking in the same manner as POPES previous! b14aquo.htm”…Furthermore, by means of their particular practice of commerce, they amass a great store of money and then by an exorbitant rate of interest utterly destroy the wealth and inheritance of Christians. Even if they borrow money from Christians at heavy and undue interest with their synagogues as surety, it is obvious to anyone who thinks about it that they do so to employ the money borrowed from Christians in their commercial dealings; this enables them to make enough profit to pay the agreed interest and simultaneously increase their own store. At the same time, they gain as many defenders of their synagogues and themselves as they have creditors.””On Jews and Christians Living in the Same Place” – Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on June 14, 1751Submitted by a former seminarian cleric of the Society of Saint Pius X

Posted by John Kokenge | Report as abusive