The Crypto-Lefebvrism of Rorate Caeli

I need to refute certain claims made by Rorate Caeli concerning the audience that some of us (about sixty, not forty, as RC reported) had with the Holy Father on June 10.

Regarding Summorum Pontificum

Contrary to the claims of RC, there are many who are confused about the way in which the particular application of Summorum Pontificum attempted in our community involves a modification of our founding charism.  Some of these are people on the Internet, mostly in forums and comment sections, who believe our founding charism to include an attachment to the vetus ordo.  Others are within the Institute.  In fact, I have heard friars formerly in positions of responsibility who have argued that the charism has evolved to include such an attachment, even though this “evolution” is not reflected in our ecclesiastically approved legislation.

Furthermore, RC claims “no faithful who ever went to any Traditional Mass ever celebrated by the Friars ever heard anything against the Paul VI Mass.”  I fact, I have heard with my own ears one of our priests claiming from the pulpit that Quo Primum delegitimized any subsequent liturgical changes.  His target was clearly the Mass of Paul VI, as this homily was given the day before the Commission went into effect.  There is more to the charge of crypto-Lefebvrism, than many would care to admit.  What few are willing to say in public others hold in private or at least in an anonymous or pseudonymous fashion.

It would seem that RC wishes to give the impression that the charism of the Institute, which includes a “traditional sensibility,” was destined to produce a community that would align itself quite naturally with Rorate Caeli, The Remnant, and Catholic Family News.  I assume the graph included with the post, representing the growth in membership in our community, is meant to reinforce this idea, as well as the references to the large number of friars now asking for dispensation.  But the growth in our community has been steady over the whole course of its existence and the present requests for dispensation have been encouraged by the former superiors and Roberto de Mattei and incorrigibly misrepresented by Rorate Caeli.

Summorum Pontificum has very little to do with growth in numbers in the recent past, and on the other hand, those who appealed to the Holy were just as willing to implement SP as anyone else.  What they did not want was the problematic ideology represented by de Mattei and RC, and this is what was at issue with the particular implementation of SP in our community and the way it was attempted.

Regarding Vatican II

This has been a concern among many of us since the General Chapter of 2008, and particularly since the end of 2010, when the Institute became, not merely the premier religious Institute representing the implementation of SP, but one that gave a platform to those who wished to call into question the very possibility of a real hermeneutic of continuity in regard to Vatican II.  RC infers agreement with the bogus claim of Roberto de Mattei that Pope Benedict’s December 22, 2005 address was an invitation to such questioning.  And that is precisely the way in which the Italian press understood the situation.  A firestorm of controversy erupted in public as a result.

In fact, as Andrea Tornielli notes, during Pope Francis meeting with us, he referred to the theological work of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto as representing for him the most sound defense and explication of Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity.  It should be noted that Archbishop Marchetto and Inos Biffi publically refuted Monsignor Brunero Gherardini and Roberto de Mattei in the pages of the L’Osservatore Romano.  I repeat, the controversy become a matter of public interest because of the platform our Institute provided those who were publically questioning the very possibility of applying a hermeneutic of continuity to Vatican II.

One only needs to recall the very last words of Pope Benedict XVI on the Second Vatican Council in order to appreciate his true intentions in speaking about the hermeneutic of continuity:

We know that this Council of the media was accessible to everyone. Therefore, this was the dominant one, the more effective one, and it created so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, banal liturgy … and the real Council had difficulty establishing itself and taking shape; the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real force of the Council was present and, slowly but surely, established itself more and more and became the true force which is also the true reform, the true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that, 50 years after the Council, we see that this virtual Council is broken, is lost, and there now appears the true Council with all its spiritual force. And it is our task, especially in this Year of Faith, on the basis of this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council, with its power of the Holy Spirit, be accomplished and the Church be truly renewed. Let us hope that that the Lord will assist us. I myself, secluded in prayer, will always be with you and together let us go forward with the Lord in the certainty that the Lord will conquer. Thank you!

Thus, for RC to claim

. . . if there was one –a single one– institute in the Catholic Church working to try to implement the vision of Benedict XVI regarding the Council it was the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate . . . ,

is disingenuous to put it politely.

Tone Deafness

Beyond this, it seems it ought to be unnecessary to state that the very fact that RC finds the Pope’s position on the matter to be inadequate, is a problem for many of us.  Since when, and among which Catholics, is agreement with views of Rorate Caeli, Roberto de Mattie, Michael Matt, etc. the litmus test for orthodoxy and love for tradition?  So now if one does not line up in lock step with the traditionalist vanguard one is no longer a good Catholic or faithful religious?

In the same article in which RC makes light of the charge of crypto-Lefebvrism, calling it “nonsensical,” it makes the ludicrous assertion that the SSPX would never claim “to oppose the Council.”  Really?  No matter what percentage of Vatican II’s teaching the SSPX is willing to agree with, it is precisely Pope Benedict’s requirement that they accept both the legitimacy of the Council and the new Mass that has kept the SSPX from agreeing to the doctrinal preamble.  And when the dialogue with the Holy See broke down Bishop Fellay famously declared that Vatican II was not a council of the Church, but of the “Jews, Masons and Modernists.”

And RC wonders where the charge of crypto-Lefebvrism comes from?  In the very post in which they try to dismiss the charge against our Institute they make ambiguous assertions about the Society that they know are not true.  But this is a manifestation of a long-standing unbroken habit.  During the dialogue of the SSPX with the Holy See, when Bishop Fellay kept claiming that unnamed sources assured him that the Society would be given the (absurd) opportunity of being presented with a doctrinal statement that required them to agree to nothing, Rorate Caeli went right along with the euphoria.  Why? Because, obviously, that is where their sympathies lie.

The accusation of crypto-Lefebvrism is not a conspiracy theory.  Conspiracy theorists point to what is not there, that is, what is not in evidence, and claim that the lack of evidence is actually evidence.  On the other hand, the crypto-Lefebvrists just can’t give a straight answer to save their lives, because to do so means the jig is up.  That is why the nitty-gritty of this kind of game is anonymity, pseudonymity, the general refusal to take responsibility for what one writes and publishes and the use of others to do one’s dirty work.

Throughout this whole crisis, RC & Associates have failed to realize—and continue to do so—that their public harassment of the Holy See on this matter will not end well.  Pope Francis does not see this kind of behavior as representing a movement that can be integrated into the life of the Church.  I am not saying that it cannot be.  But RC and the petition movement, which it supports, are doing far more harm to their cause than good.  But the real problem is that they don’t even begin to see this as a problem.

Even where the Church deems a charism to be coming from the Holy Spirit, the Church has always reserved its God given right and duty to regulate such a charism so as to see to it that it is properly integrated into the Church.  St. Paul’s intervention in the life of the Christians at Corinth is testimony to this.  One makes a big mistake in taking lightly Pope Francis’ reference to St. Ignatius and his principle of discernment in this matter.  Such disregard will not end well.


53 thoughts on “The Crypto-Lefebvrism of Rorate Caeli

  1. I’m still confused about how the particular application of Summorum Pontificum constitutes an alteration of your founding charism. If you mean that you are not the FSSP, founded to provide the older forms, or the iCKSP, founded to pursue sanctity with an exclusive attachment to the older forms, then I can understand what your writing. If you were worried that your community was on the road to becoming a community that existed to provide the traditional rites of the sacraments to those attached, I can see how this might constitute a dimunition of the true charism of your order.

    But surely there is nothing contrary to your charism in the traditional rites? Since the traditional rites grew up under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the hands of Popes and Saints, it belongs to the charism of the entire Western Church. In particular, the charism of St. Francis was received in the context of a use of the traditional Roman liturgical tradition not too different from that of Trent, and St. Louis de Montfort used the Missal of Pius V. If every priest in the institute loved these ancient rites and offered them often, would not your charism be right at home in such a context?

    The best way I can interpret what you said is to interpret “attachment” as “exclusive” or “ideological” attachment, i.e. an attachment that seems to make your order “about” preserving, offering, and fostering the traditional rites.

    Perhaps it would me understand what damage the ancient, venerable rites of the Roman Church could possibly do to your charism if I asked a few questions. Are you fighting for the right to exclusively use the New Mass? Do you see the use of the revised rites as part of the charism of your order? Would you see a non-ideologically motived preference for using the rites that Maximillian Kolbe used as contrary to the charism of your order?

    • No, I don’t think that the vetus ordo could be in itself a source of harm to the Institute. As I have said here many times before, I learned how to celebrate the old form long before 99% of the friars in the Institute and like the others who appealed had no problem implementing SP. But the kind of problems we are embroiled in now and the sympathies with agendas reaching far beyond anything envisioned by SP were the source of concerns raised by many and disregarded by the former superiors out of hand.

      What is really suggested by many who oppose the Commission—I make no inference about you— is that if one really is supportive of SP, that is, if one really loves the traditional liturgy, then one must think like RC, de Mattei, M. Gherardini, The Remnant, Catholic Family News, etc. But that is precisely what we reject.

      Beyond this, it simply is not true that the General Chapter of 2008 authorized the General Council to implement SP unilaterally on its own terms. The highest authority within the Institute is the General Chapter when in session, not the General Council, and the proposal regarding SP was introduced as a change to our legislation, which was never voted on because of the concerns raised. The claim was later made that there was a decision to authorize the General Council to act, but a number of delegates to the General Chapter where not aware of this. How is that possible? How is it possible that such a decision could be made without a formal vote? It can’t. But why would anyone attempt to railroad a decision like this
      —one that could and in fact did divide the whole community—in an irregular fashion, all the while supporting the agenda of de Mattei and company?

      That was the problem. RC can continue to spread as much disinformation as it likes, but that does not change the facts and you can be sure that the Vatican is not impressed with its methods. More. Of. The. Same.

    • It seems obvious to me that supporting Summorum Pontificum does not mean agreeing with de Mattei or Gherardini. de Mattei, for his part, has at times said things so outrageous that it is difficult for me to take him seriously as an intellectual–though I occasionally read things from him that are well thought out and presented.

      Gherardini is different. I’m aware that he professes close friendship with de Mattei and has granted an interview with rorate-caeli, but I have yet to find anything written by him that is not circumspect and well thought out. I have just purchased his book on Vatican II and look forward to reading it. Gherardini does not seem to me to be himself ideologically motivated. He seems instead to be contributing to the theological hermeneutic that Pope Francis recently called for.

      It seems to me that, while Summorum Pontificum does not require the agreement (much less alignment) with Gherardini, Summorum Pontificum also does not require alignmment against Gherardini. The discussion is (and should be) ongoing.

      Am I to take it that the perception of some within the order was that the hermeneutic espoused by Gherardini, et al., was to be embraced officially and taught universally?

      • I disagree that Gherardini is different. In fact, the book of his we published includes his appeal to Pope Benedict for a reexamination of Vatican II, because, as he claimed, the Holy Father had declared there to be a hermeneutic of continuity without, however, having demonstrated its existence. So it is not true that Gherardini was in line with Pope Benedict, nor did Pope Benedict invite a debate about whether there actually can be a hermeneutic of continuity, which I demonstrate here.

        Basil Valuet, no progressive by a long shot, charged Gherardini with rejecting a number of formal teachings of Vatican II. There is no question that on the matter of the hermeneutic of continuity Gherardini and de Mattei are of one heart and mind, though the former from the point of view of theology and the latter from that of history.

        Anyone in religious life knows that policies are not always promulgated juridically. Gherardini is a personal friend of the founder who was given a special platform by our Institute, in spite of the objections of many. We published his book and appeal. He gave the opening and closing conference at our December 2010 symposium in Rome that was the source of the controversy, mentioned in the body of this post. To my knowledge no one accept me attempted to say anything in writing against his position, and while others continued to publish in the line of Gherardini and de Mattei without the slightest opposition, my book caught in the knot of red tape for a year and a half. At this point if it were to be published, it would have to be completely rewritten in the light of developments.

        Our association with de Mattei and Monsignor Gherardini was also one of the points that the appellants attempted to resolve with the former superiors before they went to the Holy See.

        You may see no problem with these positions, which is fine by me, insofar as that choice effects only you. But it is a completely different ballgame in religious life, especially since the first twenty years of my association with this community included nothing—I mean nothing—of this kind of thinking.

    • After almost a year, the true situation in the FI appears clearer to me. Thank you, Father, for the role you have played. I hope you understand me, Father. I am not an ideologue. I have no agenda, and I do not have partisan allies in this situation. Instead, I have friends from every part of Orthodox Catholicism, from charismatics who would never go to the Traditional Mass to lay Catholics who never assist at the Novus Ordo, while I, in between, love the Traditional Rites above all, but assist at the revised rites whenever circumstances recommend it (e.g. daily Masses). I have difficulty in seeing anyone as an enemy entrenched against me, because it seems we all agree on our ends, but we disagree on the means. People who love Christ and the Church seem to often to treat each other like they don’t love Christ and the Church because of disagreements about means.

      This isn’t to say that I don’t have my opinions. I am trained in philosophy and theology, and I have developed very strong opinions on certain disputed questions, especially when it comes to liturgy and authority (here isn’t the place to state what those opinions are). The difference is that I don’t think that an opinion is made infallible merely because I hold it, and I mustn’t commit myself to an opinion that isn’t a doctrine so strongly that I would become deaf to the Church.

      I started following your blog *long* before I even knew you were a member of the F.I.– long, indeed, before I had heard of the F.I., because I appreciated your theological reflection and devotion to Mary. When you started publishing articles critical of traditionalism (while I self-identified as Traditionalist), I argued against your use of the word “Traditionalism” to mean rejection of Vatican II and the New Mass and ideological alignment against the Pope and Bishops. I still had no idea of what was going on in your order. I had heard of de Mattei (but did not like his thoughts) and found Gherardini’s writings thoughtful and interesting, but did not know that there was a connection. These men were–and largely remain–thinkers to me, and I know little about their personal biographies or politics.

      When the news broke last year of the Commissar and Pope Francis’ decision regarding the TLM, it seemed like an agenda against traditionalism (as I understand the term, meaning those who consider the holding on to what has been passed down, both in theology and in practice, as the primary guard against heterodoxy and heteropraxy and are suspicious of novelties). It seemed to me like an embracing of a radical view of Vatican II, that it has changed religious life and liturgy so much that people were disloyal to Vatican II by the mere fact of not embracing the Novus Ordo wholeheartedly or retaining traditional practices in religious life.

      I still did not know that the leadership of the order had become aligned with those that question whether Vatican II can be read in continuity with the past. But that seems to be the key to understanding the entire squabble. Is it not?

      My opinion does not matter, Father. As you said, it’s different in religious life. But, for what it’s worth, this is my opinion. My opinion is that Vatican II cannot be ignored by us. It cannot be “thrown into the dustbin of history,” as I have heard some SSPXers wish. Nor can we reject it. We must give religious subjection of mind and heart to it. But I believe it is purposefully vague at spots, and I believe that the vagueness was oftentimes intended by those who knew they couldn’t get the council fathers to agree to certain novel (and sometimes erroneous) ideas, but wanted there to be room in the conciliar documents for those interpretations to be foisted upon it later.

      For this reason, the documents require careful and scholarly reading. For instance, I had a study with a friend of mine of L.G. 8 that lasted a year. I think that the lack of clarity is unfortunate, but it is as it is, and we have to deal with it.

      On the flipside, I believe that what happened after the council and in the name of the council went beyond what the council willed. The Novus Ordo is not the Mass envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium. The Council Fathers were promised that the ancient ordo would be maintained. S.C. wished that changes be made only when they are necessary and that they in some way grow organically out of what was already present. The liturgical chaos that followed was not unrelated to the disruption of the law of custom by changing every rite. Similarly with religious life and the role of the laity. We must not see Vatican II as a new beginning. Vatican II must be interpreted in the context of what came before, and particularly in the context of the teaching of Pius XII.

      I wish that someday a Pope will issue authoritative clarifications of the documents along with condemnations of the most common erroneous interpretations. That’s probably a pie-in-the-sky wish.

      personally value Gherardini’s writings as an important part in the ongoing conversations about disputed questions about Vatican II. Yet I can see how suddenly associating an order than had been around for decades with Gherardini could be a dramatic shift in the sense of identity of the order. I would not want to impose my personal predilections upon others when we are talking about disputed questions, especially if my personal predilections are not actively embraced by the hierarchy. I try to present the best arguments for my position, and that is all.

      This is a long explanation. Since you don’t know me, I’m not sure that you really care about all this history or my personal opinions. I just wanted to give you a bit more background so that you would know where I’m coming from.

      • Joseph Anthony,

        I appreciate your comments. I will respond by doing so obliquely. This is purely my personal opinion.

        I think the problems you mention are all worthy of consideration, but the key is to conduct such consideration in an ecclesial manner, by thinking with the Church. I don’t mean this is the juridical sense of determining where the line of legitimacy is and then feeling free to go as far with one’s inclinations as juridically possible. I mean really believing that Christ works through his Church and then acting in a way that truly contributes to its unity.

        My experience over the last decade or so is that in spite of many very difficult and grave problems, the future is looking up. The quality of seminarians and their formation, generally, has improved quite a bit. Over the last six months at the Angelicum, I have seen that the men there are serious, lovers of tradition, open to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and they are receiving an orthodox education that is also fully ecclesial.

        Quite honestly I think to many of us who have a dog in this fight, including myself, belong to a generation(s) that is (are) happily passing. This is not to say that there are no young people who have the same preoccupations, but I do believe that the next generation of priests is likely to have less to be less preoccupied with party politics and the kind of zealotry that tends to divide and ruin the very causes that people fight for.

        Right now the RC crowd are ringing their hands about the closure of our seminary and worried that everyone is going to loose their faith at the pontifical universities. But this is what the Pope specifically wants. There is no question of infallibility here. And, yes, it is only a pastoral decision. But that is entirely beside the point. Christ works through his Church, through his Vicar. All the hand ringing manifests a singular lack of faith.

        I am putting my money on the next generation of priests, who hopefully will be men enough and far away enough from the Event to act with zeal without being zealots.

  2. Hello again Fr. Geiger,

    I have some more substantive thoughts on this, but for the moment, a quibble, or at least a question:

    “And when the dialogue with the Holy See broke down Bishop Fellay famously declared that Vatican II was not a council of the Church, but of the “Jews, Masons and Modernists.” And RC wonders where the charge of cryp[t]o-Lefebvrism comes from?”

    But there’s nothing “crypto” [i.e., secret or disguised] about the Lefebvrism of Bishop Fellay or the SSPX, is there? They are quite openly advocates of a Lefebvrian line, or at least of the man, since his line underwent some change and evolution over the years. On the other hand, they *might* be accused of being crypto -*other* things, perhaps, like sedevacantism… Perhaps I have misunderstood you here.

    I remain in the dark, however, as to whether similar opinions about V2 have been voiced by FFI friars.

    • No one is saying that the SSPX is crypto-Lefebvrist. That would be absurd. In the their post RC danced around the question as to whether the SSPX really opposes V II and asked “what does that mean anyway?” as if the SSPX is ambiguous on the matter. The charge of c-L has been made against my Institute and against RC, and it has been made for good reasons.

    • “I remain in the dark, however, as to whether similar opinions about V2 have been voiced by FFI friars.”

      Yes. Some of the laity that they influence have the gift to gab. I, for one, can produce a name of a person who is anti VII, anti Novus Ordo, and associated with a particular FFI priest.

    • Ann,

      I, for one, can produce a name of a person who is anti VII, anti Novus Ordo, and associated with a particular FFI priest.

      Which is a statement distinct from claiming that the FFI priest himself is “anti-VII, anti- Novus Ordo.” But is this merely guilt by association? What do you know, first hand, of this FFI priest’s real positions on these questions?

      I think this also raises the question of what these glosses really mean. Does “anti Novus Ordo” mean that one rejects the rite as valid or licit? Or “legitimate”? Does it mean something else? For my part, I make a considerable effort to privilege attending Mass celebrated according to the traditional Roman Rite (EF), not because I reject the N.O. as invalid or illicit (or “evil,” as a notable SSPX bishop has put it), but because I think it inferior – theologically impoverished – to the EF in fully capturing Catholic doctrine, particularly in conveying its essence as propitiatory sacrifice, and the Four Last Things. Does this make me “anti Novus Ordo?” Some might say so. But this is quite distinct from the position of some traditionalists, who openly (or “cryptically”) have a more fundamental rejection of the Pauline missal. My preference of the EF is not merely aesthetic or subjective or because I like the smell of incense or Marshal Petain. But I also recognize that Christ is made fully present in the OF, and that graces really do flow through it, and that judgments should not be made of those Catholics who attend or celebrate it in good faith. If such a position is incompatible with Summorum Pontificum or Universae Ecclesiae 19, someone will have to point that out to me. I contend that more precision is needed in characterizing the people concerned.

      Where is the room for constructive examination and even critique of the modern Roman Rite – or indeed, any current valid rite of the Church? Is there such room? Especially when the recently departed pontiff engaged in such criticisms himself as a private theologian, without official correction?

      If an FFI friar is rejecting the N.O. as invalid, or “evil,” and counseling those in his pastoral care to do so as well, that would be a real problem requiring prompt correction. Is this happening? Or is it something else? Fr. Geiger obviously has first hand knowledge that I do not, if he’s willing or able to provide more detail. But my concern is that these glosses are being employed to shut down positions that fall well short of an SSPX (or sedevacantist) position – and that, concomitantly, such discipline is (and has been for the past five decades) generally nonexistent toward grave errors by other religious on the progressive side.

      P.S. Thanks to Fr. Geiger for clarifying his statement about crypto-Lefebvrism.

      • Actually, that the N.O “theogically impoverished” is your personal opinion and not the teaching of the Church. So in your personal opinion does that make the N.O. valid and licit but not pleasing to God, or not as pleasing to God? And what does attending the N.O. in “good faith” mean? Does that mean those in “good faith” are in error, but unaware? Or uninformed, but following the postconciliar Church without knowing better?

        And is theological impoverishment a numerical or qualitative problem? Is it that the signs (matter, gesture and words) are fewer or less distinct? Or that they are no longer capable of signifying what Christ intended in Instituting the Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Eucharist? In what sense does the N.O. not capture the fullness of Catholic doctrine about propitiatory sacrifice?

        Are you sure that Christ does is not satisfied with the N.O. celebrated according to the mind of the Church, or that He is less satisfied? And I assume if you are, you would assert this as a matter of reason, and not divine faith? Or is it otherwise?

        You can go on and on about the problems of abuse and the lack of faith, but that does not really answer the theological question at hand. And that is the real question, because it is the only one you raised. And the only conclusion you can come to is purely a personal opinion which neither you or anyone else can impose on anyone or expect to use as a policy to control the behavior of other people, especially those who do not and have never believed such things.

        I certainly admit a legitimate range of opinion on the matter, as long as it is presented as purely non-authoritative opinion. The problem is when this is translated into slogans like “save the liturgy and save the Church,” or “of Mary and the liturgy there is never enough.” And it becomes more of a problem when it becomes the policy of a religious community, whose members are free to adhere to the teaching of the postconciliar magisterium and cannot have imposed on them the purely personal opinions that you hold. Indeed, they have at least as much right to resist such opinions, if not more, than you do to expect the toleration of them.

        One last thing: There is a very bad habit on the part of many in the Church today, whether progressive, conservative or traditionalist to confuse apologetics, polemics, politics and journalism with theology. Theology is not agenda driven and it only works well when it exercised in full communion with the Church.

        The essential problem you are dealing with concerns the theological relationship between the sign and its signification, which are distinct. This distinction is the reason why, for example in the East the epiclesis can play a far more prominent role and occur after the Institutive Narrative. The sign is different than the Western Rite, but the signification is not, or at least, not so much. The relationship between these two things is neither purely physical nor mathematical. It is not like programing code. The relationship is metaphysical and related to the Institution of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is not a political question, nor is it going to be solved by the inside baseball of agenda driven liturgical ideology.

        I totally agree that the liturgy, even the current one, may develop and be corrected and improved, but the problem cannot be lifted from its ecclesiological and metaphysical context. And it certainly is not going to be solved by bloggers and armchair theologians.

    • Hello Fr Geiger,

      I certainly admit a legitimate range of opinion on the matter, as long as it is presented as purely non-authoritative opinion.

      With all due respect, I made no pretense of doing otherwise. I’m sorry if I didn’t make that sufficiently clear. What I presented – as an aside, merely by way of illustration – was my own theological opinion. No one can be bound by it. The Church has, in its current law, declared both the traditional Roman Rite (1962 missal) and the modern Roman Rite (Pauline missal) to both be forms of the same rite, and makes no claim that that the older rite is superior…indeed, to the extent that the OF is, indeed, “ordinary,” there’s at least an implicit suggestion that it believes the reverse to be the case, to the extent that it has a position.

      I would only contend that my opinion is, as you put it, “within the legitimate range of opinion” on this question, at present. PCED’s current interpretation of Universae Ecclesia 19 requires little of those petitioning for celebration of the EF/TLM, given its most recent response (Prot. 156/2009) in 2012 to a dubium on this question of the required understanding of the modern rite/OF. The first [dubium] asked whether “legitimas” in UE, article 19, is to be understood as meaning:

      (a) Duly promulgated by appropriate procedures of ecclesiastical law (ius ecclesiasticum); or

      (b) In accord with both ecclesiastical law and divine law (ius divinum), that is, neither doctrinally unorthodox nor otherwise displeasing to God.”

      PCED replied that only the former position needed to be affirmed – and that position certainly encompasses within it my own assessment. Until someone points me to something in current law or its interpretation to the contrary, I will hold that my position is within that legitimate range of opinion. Of course, I must also readily concede that your position is as well.

      Which brings us back to the FFI. The implication seems to be that some in the FFI *were* trying to enforce…what? Either a position like mine or even something stronger, like that of the SSPX, on other friars or novices in the order? If that really is the case, that * would* potentially pose a difficulty, especially given the charter of the FFI. But I would find it no more edifying to see TLM-favoring friars forced to affirm in turn a position not currently required by Rome, i.e., something like position (b) in the 2012 dubium, let alone an affirmation of the objective inferiority of the traditional rite.

      Your other questions require a more substantive response, and it strikes me that I should save that for another comment, if I may.

      • richardmalcolm1564

        It should be noted that the reply of PCED to the dubium as well as the very provision of UE 19 define the line between those who may be beneficiaries of the dispositions of SP and those who may not. Those who may not are people who belong to societies that question the “legitimacy” of the OF, a trait, according to UE, which is often accompanied also by the rejection of its “validity” as well as open “hostility” towards the person of the Holy Father. The dubium concerns the meaning of the word “legitimacy.”

        The answer of PCED states that Church requires the minimum, namely, that those who request the EF must at least accept that the OF is in accord with ecclesiastical law. They are not required to accept that it is in accord with divine law. This is the minimum required in order to receive the benefits of SP and this minimum is ordinarily found (or not found) within the ambit of groups who are inclined also to question the validity of the OF as well manifest hostility against the Holy Father. This minimum needs to be defined because the Church has solicitude for all the sheep of the fold. It clearly manifests a toleration, not an favorable argument.

        This is not to say that this provision only applies to people who belong to such societies and not to others. But clearly the provision deals explicitly only with members of such societies and no one else. Thus, the reply of the PCED is not a theological source or magisterial basis for arguing that the EF is superior to the OF. To suggest otherwise is to take the reply completely out of context and to do what I warned about in my previous comment to you, namely, to pretend that apologetics and polemics are theology. They are not.

        But I am glad you brought this up because it favors my argument. I believe you are right and there are members of my Institute who hold to your position. This is why they appealed to PCED to be taken under its jurisdiction as a separate entity, when in fact PCED has no authority to erect religious institutes or to accept a society already bound under a legitimate jurisdiction within the Church. All of which suggests to me the actual existence of crypto-Lefebvrism. We can quibble about the term. The point is that EU 19 is being used as a way out onto the fringe instead of a way back into the Church, which is explicitly its intended purpose.

        Now you may still argue that under the circumstances this seems still to be within the bounds of what is acceptable to the formation of an individual’s Catholic conscience, and you may well be right. But then you, RC and the other traditionalists bashing the Commissioner must admit that there has been a “traditionalist drift” in our community and the charge of crypto-Lefebvrism is not entirely without basis.

        Furthermore, I must emphasize that such liturgical theory was never a part of our Institute’s foundation, charism, legislation, formation or tradition, until very recently and it was introduced without—indeed, contrary¬ to—the consent of the General Chapter, because in 2008, these were the precise issues that were raised in objection to the changes being proposed to the legislation and the very reason why the proposal was withdrawn without a vote.

        Lastly, at the end of 2011, I formally requested of the General Council in writing that an extraordinary General Chapter be convoked immediately because a de facto division already existed within the Institute. I said that this division was a result of changes introduced into the observance and formation that had never been authorized by the General Chapter, or rather were changes that the General Chapter had considered and had declined to authorize. I stated at that time that this involved a fundamental injustice because vocations were now being received and formed on an entirely different basis than they had been formerly, and that the situation was likely one that could not be resolved favorably to both sides. Furthermore, I stated that the current situation could have been entirely avoided, had the General Chapter and subsequent events been handled fairly. My request for an extraordinary General Chapter was denied because it was considered fundamentally unnecessary and not based on any real problem. It was only after this definitive rejection that we appealed to the Holy See.

        So you see Richard, responsibility for the current stalemate lies solely at the feet of the former superiors and not at those of the Holy Father, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Commissioner or those who appealed to the Holy See. The fundamental injustice existed before any appeal was made and came into being in spite of the conscientious warnings of many who held responsibility within the Institute.

        The Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life is indisposed generally to the creation of new Institutes especially when it is the result of the division of a preexisting community, regardless of the reasons. It certainly is even less disposed when the basis for such division is the kind of faulty theological argument represented by your interpretation of EU 19.

        When you speak of our community you are not talking about anything remotely like the FSSP or the ICKSP. It is apples and oranges. And the fundamental difference is not the exclusivity of the form in their cases, but the fact that consideration was given to their positions because the Church wished to bring them into full communion. You cannot expect the Holy Father or the Congregation for Consecrated Life to consider the toleration described in EU 19 as the theological and spiritual basis for the refounding of an existing religious Institute that has never had any relation whatsoever to the provisions of PECD.

        There is no conspiracy here against our Institute, just the reaping of fruit sown imprudently in spite of warning.

    • “When you speak of our community you are not talking about anything remotely like the FSSP or the ICKSP. It is apples and oranges. And the fundamental difference is not the exclusivity of the form in their cases, but the fact that consideration was given to their positions because the Church wished to bring them into full communion.”

      I have to take exception to your presentation of the ICKSP, an institute I consider a great treasure to the Catholic Church. The ICKSP was founded by Msgr. Wach, who was never outside of proper obedience or suffered canonical irregularities. It is part of the ongoing fruit of Cardinal Siri and was established with the help of Cardinal Ratzinger. It has no former ties to the SSPX. It’s superiors are not ex-SSPX members. It was *not* established to “bring them into full communion” but for the positive reason of promoting holiness in the context of the traditional rites.

      The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, is one of the indications of the positive role of attachment to the older form in the Church. Attachment to the Usus Antiquior is not merely to bring those whose communion with the Church has been damaged back into full communion. No. What was sacred remains sacred, and what was a great source of holiness remains a great source of holiness. Orders like ICKSP, for whom the traditional rites are the context, not the content, of their charism, and the Canon Regulars of St. John Cantius, who are devoted to the restoration of the Sacred–not particularly to the TLM–indicate that the traditional uses retain their importance in the life of the Church.

      It’s not my intention by writing this to tread into your internal argument over whether their should be room in your order (or in a putative new order) for the exclusive attachment to the older form, I state this merely to say that the ICKSP is an example of how exclusive attachment to the older form is not only conceded for the sake of unity, but sometimes granted because of the goodness of the traditional sacraments.

  3. There’s a reason Jesus advised His followers to shake the dust from their feet. There are more important things to do.

  4. Dear Father Angelo,
    for your information :

    “”What is a “Cryto-Lefebvrist” ? – As you know, this is the most serious accusation Father Volpi (“foxes” in French) has made against the former head of the order.
    Today the leader of the anglo-saxon dissidents (dissidents are those who now have control over the order and destroyed the poor Father Manelli) accuses Rorate to be “crypto-Lefebvrist”. I do not put the link here, sorry, it does not deserve.
    So I would like your opinion: what is a “Cryto-Lefebvrist” ? Is it a contagious disease?” – New Catholic””

    • That’s rich of New Catholic. He can’t help himself. He has to comment but he will not lower himself enough to hold himself accountable on his own blog. Typical.

  5. Then who will speak for the Traditional Catholics who see nothing but a Church in retreat/collapse/silence?

    I’m tired of people who are willfully ignorant of the trends in the Church, and that includes even cardinals and bishops who suddenly say “Well! I am shocked! I didn’t know these things were happening in the Church!” because reality hits them hard and far into their chanceries.

    Ignorance is their excuse, and branding Rorate Caeli and other traditionalist Catholics as not really Catholics, meaning- even LCWR are more Catholic than these people- ARE pushing people out the Church. And then comes the victim blaming. Oh, yes, it’s our fault for being careful of the influence of modernists. It’s our fault for critiquing secular governments and their policies. Yes, it’s our fault for questioning statements that ARE questionable made by officials in the Church.

    If you wanted people to shut their mouths, maybe you should start supporting the quieter Mass too, instead of demonizing people who love it, people who love the devotions and implications brought by such as Mass. For example, by praying for the conversion of Jews.

    • Iohannes,

      You are being melodramatic. Traditionalists have no monopoly on suffering and concern for the well-being of the Church. You have no monopoly on the pro-life movement or the defense of religious liberty. You are not the only ones who show active concern for reverence, truth, Marian devotion and the rest.

      This is precisely why I speak up about this. I know for a fact, through many years of experience, that the modernist/traditionalist dichotomy is false–that if one is not a traditionalist, one must be a modernist. This is completely bogus.

      And you can say whatever you want. I just received an email yesterday from someone telling me that I should just stop blogging or expressing my opinions. I have never told anyone they should be quiet. I have simply disagreed with them. And I promise you that I will continue to do so.

      With regard to RC, I simply hold them accountable for their own words. That’s the Internet. Sorry.

  6. If people will not win by argumentation against the clerical elites who know what’s good for our souls, even those who hand out hosts to be desecrated, I simply won’t be giving anything to the collection plate to those who teach heresy and push forth liberal agendas in the Pulpit or in the liturgy in the guise of Charity.

    Fear God, Father; because you may offer Heaven with sloppy liturgy, but we will go to Hell with our money if we are not given a proper liturgy that isn’t about worshiping “The People”. Otherwise, pray to God that what little remains Catholic remains ignorant and obedient so they ask few questions and give much money.

    • This is your last comment here, Ioannes, unless you change your ways. This is exactly the reason why I oppose traditionalism. You know nothing about me.

      But I do think you are right to do with your money from works that are contrary to the faith.

  7. Dear Fr Angelo, I am happy that so many of you met the Holy Father. I thank you for your courage and persistence in ensuring the FFI stay true to their charism and continue to keep you all in my prayers (such as they are).

  8. An acquaintance of mine recently called me a heretic and non-Catholic because I told that person I had Protestant and Muslim friends, and that I did not wish to receive any more traddie videos which provoke fear and doubt on the workings of the Holy Spirit within the Church. Here is a copy of my response to that ‘friends’ undeserved insult:

    “You provoke negative feelings and words by sending your traddie videos to me hoping ‘to convert me’.

    You don’t even know me! You don’t know what my relationship with God is like either. You don’t know what my correspondence to God’s grace is like in my life (or in any body else’s life for that matter). You don’t know what virtues I have acquired or which ones I struggle with in my every day battles. (What I said applies to everyone you know, and don’t know.)

    I struggle often not to fall into the traddie mindset, or the modernist mindset. My vocation is to be a good wife and mother first and foremost. Then a good daughter, sister, mother-in-law, friend….
    I can’t be a good antthing without God in my life. My relationship with Jesus and Mary….and trying my best to follow God’s Will by listening to the movements of His Spirit is more important to me and my salvation than anything here on earth.
    My role does not include changing the Church. Its not your role either, unless you are a bishop, cardinal or the pope.

    God is in control. The only thing in the world you or I need to do is increase our love capacity for our King, His Mother, and our neighbor (which is everyone).”

    ~~The reason God implores us not to judge one another is simply because we don’t know anyone’s interior disposition. We don’t know what wonders God is working within our neighbor’s soul. The call to personal holiness is exactly that, personal. “Be though perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. And that is the call to be merciful; God’s greatest attribute. (read St. Thomas Aquinas).

    The bottom line: judging is not only a sin, but does nothing to build up Holy Mother Church, to the contrary, it’s very destructive, and does not glorify God!

    We are ALL God’s children. We were ALL redeemed by Christ’s precious Blood.

  9. Dear Father,

    Many thanks for your explanation and clarification of the situation, I think it helps a lot of us to understand better the events which have taken place and the positions within the institute now. I will be praying for you all that the proper resolution will be achieved and that the institute will be thus enabled to move forward to even greater things. BTW, I notice that Cardinal Braz is going to appoint an “assistant” for the Legion of Christ. Although it is said that their government will be autonomous, one is tempted (is it my paranoia?) to conclude that the assistant will be a commissar.

  10. [comment deleted]

    [Nice to see you commenting here again ABS. It gives me the opportunity of formally kicking you off my blog for having attempted, the last time you commented, to misrepresent yourself as someone else and have me print a false retraction of that person’s opinion.

    Thanks for illustrating so conveniently the fact that lies from the shadows are so often used to defend these attacks on the Church.

    Goodbye. (Father Angelo)]

  11. Hello Fr. Geiger,

    Thanks for your extended and thoughtful reply.

    I don’t want to bog down the conversion any more than necessary, so I will restrict myself to the most salient points of clarification:

    1) I do accept your assessment of what the 2012 dubium by PCED says, which does not go beyond anything *I* claimed for it. I *would* quibble a little with your conclusion that “This minimum needs to be defined because the Church has solicitude for all the sheep of the fold. It clearly manifests a toleration, not an favorable argument.” Well: the word “toleration” is not present anywhere – this is your gloss, not PCED’s. What it says is that this position, that the modern Roman Rite (OF) is “duly promulgated by appropriate procedures of ecclesiastical law” (a point I fully affirm) without needing to also affirm that it is in full accord with divine law (a possibility I remain open to, but remain not fully persuaded of), is an acceptable position for a Catholic in full communion with the Holy See, able to exercise rights granted by papal legislation in Summorum Pontificum and Ecclesia Dei. That’s all I was claiming in citing the dubium.

    2) The theological arguments for my position – I do have an M.A. in Catholic Theology, for whatever that is worth – I refrained from sharing. The point is not that the OF is not a propitiatory sacrifice, or fails in its form and matter to make present Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity – I affirm that it does indeed meet these requirements – but that it does so in a diminished capacity relative to the Roman Rite, in a way that makes these essential elements less clear than does its predecessor, a point I hold without claiming that the traditional Roman Rite is “perfect” or that there is not room for liturgical diversity, since (for example) there were and are numerous ancient rites (Sarum, Dominican, et al) related to and based on the Roman Rite that share these essential qualities to the same extent. Likewise, in its ordinary, lectionary, and propers (cf. Lauren Pristas’ work on this point), the OF gives considerably less attention to the Four Last Things than does the EF, which I hold to be a critical concern. Hell is a real place, and souls really do go there, as has been affirmed numerous times by the Church; indeed, if the plain reading of Christ’s own words (Matt. 7:13-14, Luke 14:24, etc.) are to be taken at face value, certainly as read by most doctors and saints of the Church (this point is not dogmatically defined, I concede, as the Church makes no pronouncements on the population of hell) who have spoken on the subject, *most* souls will go there. The modern rite in its Latin text (and the reasonably accurate new MR3 English translation) *does* recognize sin and judgment and their necessary connection with the sacrifice of the Mass, but with considerably less frequency and emphasis; by design, it deliberately downplays “negative theology.” The N.O. certainly fulfills the minimum requirements for the sacrament – if it did not, the Church could not have promulgated it, let alone have done so as the normative rite for the Church – but the traditional rite, I contend, does more, and is more efficacious for the salvation of souls, all things being equal. And our affluent, libertine age needs these affirmations even *more* than past ages, not less.

    Let me be clear: The Magisterium at present has made no statement that affirms my position; the most I can say is that it permits it as legitimate. In time, I do believe it will vindicate it (once again), though it may not be in my lifetime. I am happy to say more on this subject…but I don’t want to bog down your combox in a discussion of the relative merits of the two forms unless that’s really your desire. I’m less interested in critiquing the N.O., however, than I am in working to share the great merits of the TLM.

    3. I believe you are right and there are members of my Institute who hold to your position. This is why they appealed to PCED to be taken under its jurisdiction as a separate entity, when in fact PCED has no authority to erect religious institutes or to accept a society already bound under a legitimate jurisdiction within the Church. Point taken. It strikes me that if a cohort of the FFi wished to live under a charism devoted exclusively to the traditional rite (EF) and office, that – barring a formal refounding of the FFI – they would have been best off asking for dispensation and leave to form a new order dedicated to such a charism in accord with the provisions allowed by Ecclesia Dei…to become something analogous to, say, the Benedictines of Le Barroux.

    In the end, I suspect, something like that is going to happen anyway, because I cannot see how two irreconcilable factions (which is how the present situation of the FFI strikes me and, I can’t help but feel, how it strikes you) can remain together in the same order over the long term.

    The rest is inside baseball, which I am not in a position to judge, lacking critical information. I content myself with expressing the hope that those members of FFI who wish to live a charism that is dedicated to the normative or even exclusive celebration of the liturgical books of 1962 can speedily find a way to do so, to their spiritual benefit as well as that of those under their pastoral care, without wishing anything but good will to those who do not share this attachment. I also wish for the onerous restrictions placed on Fr. Manelli to be lifted. Surely there must be a way in which this can be effected.

    All of which suggests to me the actual existence of crypto-Lefebvrism. Which remains, to me, an undefined term. What does it really mean? How do we define “crypto-Lefebvrism?” Obviously it’s something more than an attachment to the TLM, yes? Otherwise, every single member of and layperson under the pastoral care of an Exxclesia Dei society must be a “crypto-Lefebvrist” by definition. Is it marked by adherence to the views of Msgr. Brunero Gherardini and Roberto de Mattei? Or Romano Amerio? Your past statements seem to suggest these latter views. But frankly, it remains unclear what you mean by this.

    • 1) I think it more than a quibble. The PCED reply to the dubium is not a doctrinal statement or affirmation of fact, but simply the expression of the minimum conditions necessary for those who find themselves on the line around which orbit questions of the validity and liciety of the OF, as well as expressions of hostility for the Holy Father. You say I gloss because the word “toleration” is not in the text, but you ignore the context and purpose of the reply. This provision of EU is directed explicitly towards those who because of their affiliation would, otherwise than these conditions, be unqualified to benefit from SP. Besides this, there are no actual magisterial statements to support the contention that the OF is contrary to divine law. In fact, the opposite is in possession.

      2) You and I have no argument about the validity of the OF and I was not confused as to your meaning. I simply do not find your qualitative and quantative comparisons as particularly indicative of anything probative. There is no question that the signs (matter, words and gestures) surrounding the essential matter and form contribute the signification of the Sacrament and Sacrifice. For a number of reasons such signs may or may not bring into act the kind of faith that makes for a fruitful participation in the Sacrifice and reception of Holy Communion. It is possible there may be some sort of objective and effective impoverishment or poor execution or abuse, etc. But precisely because the relationship between sign and signification is primarily of function of the metaphysics of the Mass as Instituted by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, the comparisons you make don’t prove anything in terms of what the form actually effects (or does not) in the life of the believer. Unfortunately, the question we are examining is immersed in identity politics and ideology, so people’s experience of the several forms are as much influenced by the arguments as by the forms themselves. This is why the best guide in the matter is the Church which Christ founded.

      3) The problem is that PECD has no authority to erect religious institutes or except societies already under other jurisdictions. The provisions of EU 19 were made for societies like the FSSP and ICKSP. This is why I maintain # 1 above. The Holy See, even under Pope Benedict, was and is not disposed to move groups of religious from under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Consecrated Life to PECD, precisely because the sec. 3 of SP treats of a different matter than the societies mentioned in EU 19.

      Crypto-Lefebrvism is a form of talking out of both side of the mouth, as when RC pretends that the SSPX does not really repudiate Vatican II. It is also when a member of my Institute speaks publically about the illegitimacy of the OF and then denies he ever did so. It is when in private groups another member of my Institute says that the members of the SSPX are the true Catholics, and then says differently in public. It is when people say they really do not sympathize with the SSPX and then say that they think the Society should be regularized without having to agree to anything.

      I have been doing this a long-time, Richard. I have heard the arguments for a very broad application of “mental reservation.” I have been lied to about these things. I was told by people in authority that we had no preference for the EF, when I knew what the real policy was. You can quibble all you want about the term, but I know you know what I am talking about. I have been dealing with traditionalists for a very long time.

    • “[Crypto-Lefebvrism] is when people say they really do not sympathize with the SSPX and then say that they think the Society should be regularized without having to agree to anything.”

      I think there can also be a danger in seeing “crypto-Lefebvrism” where it is not. There is nothing internally inconsistent with the private opinion that the SSPX is wrong to reject the Novus Ordo and parts of the Second Vatican Council, but that, since they do not reject anything that is De Fide, the conversation about the Mass and the Council should take place within the context of the Church, and not outside of it. Although this isn’t my opinion and might be an erroneous opinion, it isn’t “crypto-Lefebvism.”

      • Please don’t be so naive. This is why I find it hard to take this kind of thing seriously. I don’t mean to be disrespectful.

        The SSPX, under Bishop Fellay has publicly avowed to militantly oppose what they consider to be the compromises of Vatican II and has renewed that commitment since the breakdown of the dialogue, which broke down precisely because they were being required to end their public opposition. Archbishop di Noia gave them a reasonable path out of the stalemate which would be respectful of the conscience of individual members, while requiring them to act in a manner consistent with full ecclesial communion. They rejected the Archbishop’s proposal out of hand.

        If the SSPX were regularized without having to agree to anything they would be nothing but trouble and all those who are supporting them now would consider themselves vindicated and authorized to oppose the magisterium anytime they thought they were acting in the interests of “Tradition.” Everyone knows this is true.

        I don’t mean to judge anyone’s intention or analyze subjectively the reasons why people draw the conclusions that they do. There is no way I can come up with terms that will have no liabilities or satisfy everyone. People don’t like the word “traditionalism,” or “crypto-traditionalism.” The “liberal/conservative” dichotomy is said not to apply to the Church. And it goes on and on.

        Fine. People will disagree with the terms. But we are talking about something real and in the process of debating about the use of words, we come to understand what we are really talking about. I don’t believe for a second that New Catholic at RC does not understand what is meant by “crypto-Lefebvrism.”

    • What you did was argue against the position, saying that it is naive and wrong, but you didn’t say it’s crypto-Lefebvrian. Perhaps holding it makes someone “naive”, but does it make someone a crypto-Lefebvrist? Is it possible to oppose parts of the agenda of the SSPX, but hold that the good of regularization outweighs the bad and do so without duplicity or secret sympathy for disobedience, erroneous opinions, or parallel magisteria?

      I’ve gone back and forth on this. As a general principle, I think that union with the Pope gives access to the guidance of the spirit of truth that is not available otherwise. E.g.: When Feeneyite communities are regularized, they continue to embrace errors (though not errors definitively condemned), but now have access to graces they previously did not have access to. I think that, over time, these graces will melt hearts and heal wounds. They will be brought closer to the communion of the Church, and responding to their arguments will require theologians to take EENS seriously. Thus they become part of a helpful dialog.

      Elements within the SSPX are afraid precisely of this phenomenon, that once inside, they’ll experience a magnetic pull toward the positions of the Pope. I believe that agreement was frustrated in part because of fear among the more extreme wing of the SSPX. I thought union was so important that no obstacle not necessary to protect the faith should be placed in front of them. But I trust that the Holy Spirit has all of this under control, and what happened is within the realm of providence.

      There can be no question that Pope Benedict desired union and most likely did everything within his power to achieve it. Pope Benedict saw fit to put down these two things as preconditions, and I trust him. But I wish there was a way to bring in the SSPX.

      • I trust Pope Benedict as well. But if you recall, during the dialogue Bishop Fellay said on a number of occasions that if regularization occurred it would be entirely due to Pope Benedict, because Fellay did not believe the time was right, and he continually assured the Society that it was not about to change its principles. Go back and read the interview, homilies and statements of the Society and especially, Fellay. What he was saying is “Pope Benedict wants us back so bad and privately has so much sympathy for us, that he is not going to make us back down on the Council and the new Mass.”

        There simply is no evidence that the Society had any intention of doing anything differently than it had been doing. Fellay went so far as to announce explicitly that he was sure that Pope Benedict wished to put aside all requirements and regularize the SSPX on its own terms. Bishop Fellay is the only named source for this information and the only thing the Holy Father was willing to say and put his name to contradicts Fellay’s contention.

        And then when the whole thing was said and done, Bishop Fellay said the Council does not belong to the Church but to the Jews, Masons and Modernists. He also made sure that people knew that the Society considers the new Mass evil.

        So yes, Pope Benedict pulled out all the stops to regularize the SSPX and even offered them a personal prelature if they would behave themselves. (What else did they realistically think they were going to get? I mean really, what dream world are these people living in.)

        Not only would they make no such guarantee, they did not even remotely make the first step toward such a guarantee. In fact, at different points during the dialogue various spokesmen for the Society assured that faithful that they were not in it to achieve regularization at the expenses of their principles, but to change Rome and the climate of the Church.

        I really am shocked at how often those who follow the Society don’t know this history, or are just living in a dream world. Maybe this does modify the allegation of “crypto-Levebvrism,” but in my view it still does not reflect well on them. But then I don’t believe that most educated traditionalists, especially those who have much to say on the matter, are really that ignorant.

        And no, I don’t think that regularizing the Society on these terms is going to bring them closer to the Pope. On the contrary, all the evidence points to the fact that they will stick in his face.

  12. Pingback: More Crypto-Lefebvrism from Rorate Caeli | Mary Victrix

  13. Father, I think you’re being too much of a legalist on disputes related to the Council. How do you see, for example, the case of the medieval pope John XXII, who acted against Tradition on the matter of the Particular Judgment, received his deserved opposition and then turned back, withdrawing his position? This Pope opposed Tradition and was opposed by catholics. The following Pope declared the dogma in favour of the “rebels”. If you was there, would you be a “rebel” or would you be a legalist in favour of the Pope? Tradition must be the criterion! If a Pope teaches something that oppose Tradition, this is not “magisterium”; it’s simply his personal opinion. I think we must be faithful to papacy, and the correct way to be faithful to papacy is being faithful to the popes in order they came: first Saint Peter, then Linus, etc.; the pope that follows cannot contradict his predecessors. Otherwise, we can’t trust on any pope. How can we have sure that the present pope is saying the truth, if after him another pope may come and teach the contrary?

    You say on another article that Gherardini defends that we must follow Tradition before Magisterium, and this would be wrong. Well, I don’t think that contradiction with Tradition is magisterium, but if you understand that Magisterium is all things that get out the mouth or the pen of the pope, and that the pope cannot do harm, as if he was a robot of the Holy Spirit and didn’t have free will, how do you solve the contradictions?

    Don’t you think that lefebvrians and “crypto-lefebvrians” are as important to the nowadays Church as was the “rebels” that opposed pope John XXII? I’m not saying that they are correct in everything but that they can’t be silenced, for the good of the Church. Tradition must rules. Tradition is formed also by the Magisterium, but Magisterium, to be “M”agisterium, must be faithful to Tradition; otherwise it is only “m”agisterium and we should stay with Tradition, like the catholics at the time of the “m”agisterium of John XXII.

    • Mariano,

      I am not legalistic about these disputes. You, de Mattei, Mons. Gherardini and Rorate Caeli can knock yourselves out arguing that the living magisterium has betrayed Tradition. I am not going to stop you. I am not going to try to stop you. Honestly, I probably should care more than I really do, because I don’t think it is good for your souls. But have at it if you want.

      On the other hand, I reserve the right to disagree with you and to oppose you, if I believe you are wrong, and especially if your efforts militate against the common good or my rights as a Roman Catholic. And most especially, will I do this when I know that I have the support of fifty years of papal teaching and the actual support of the current occupant of the Chair.

      Your opinion and my opinion have absolutely no magisterial authority and there is not a single person on God’s green earth that has even the slightest obligation to care even in the least what you or I think, or what de Mattei, Gherardini and New Catholic think. However, when the Holy Father in his capacity as pope speaks on faith and morals, even without exercising his charism of infallibility, his is never merely a private opinion.

      Just because he may not be speaking infallibly does not give you the right to publically oppose him. And if you wish to call him a heretic or otherwise treat him like a betrayer of Tradition, I would advise that you actually be right on the matter. I leave that little theological burden in your hands.

      You are right at least on this: The Lefebvrians cannot be silenced. And I have no interest in silencing them. But no, in my opinion, we do not need them. And they are not the guardians of Tradition. The Church belongs to Christ and my trust in His Church is not trust in man but in Christ. I have no trust in the SSPX.

  14. Ok Father, but your efforts have militate against the common good of your Institute and the rights of the majority of its religious.

    Do you think that the trial on your former superiors was fair? The visitator was “suspect”, they have accused it and were ignored. On any administrative civil law, even the laws of more disorganized countries, there is the right to raise the suspicion of the judge, if he has some kind of relationship with one of the sides of the dispute. And as far as I know, Father Manelli and the others didn’t have the right of defense. Has the pope listen to them?

    All this trial seems to be a simply ideological persecution. You have win this dispute only because you had a depressing schismatic Cardinal in favor of you, and a pope that has also his ideological sensibilities. Yes, both of them have supressed Summorum Pontificum in their former dioceses; Aviz and Bergoglio didn’t obbey the universal law of the Church proclaimed by Pope Benedict and have forbiden the Mass in Brasilia and Buenos Aires, respectively, against the law of the Church. Buenos Aires still have not a Traditional Mass. Would you have the same strong results with pope Benedict? The problem with all this trial is that it depends on what kind of pope we have. Depending on who will succeed Bergoglio, things can change.

    And what do you think about the personalities of the Comissioner and Father Alfonso Bruno? The way they act seems very dirty, especially Fr. Bruno. It’s really a scandalous thing, the trial and the new leadership.

    • Excuse me, Mariano. I am having a hard time following you.

      What “depressing schismatic Cardinal” is in favor of us? Do you mean Cardinal Aviz is schismatic? And did you really say that Pope Francis has “ideological sensibilities”?

      Please document that Pope Francis “forbade” the traditional Mass in Buenos Aries?

      What is really dirty, Mariano, is all the lies done from the shadows, while pretending to be innocent.

      The common good of the Church is in the hands of the Holy Father, not those who would oppose him.

      Thank you for helping to illustrate the reason why I appealed to Holy Mother Church.

  15. Pingback: The Cyrpto-Lefebvrist Dodge | Mary Victrix

  16. What I’ve said about Cardinal Aviz I’ve said by my own experience, as I’m here in Brazil. He systematically disobeyed the law of Summorum Pontificum. If he just disobeyed the law, he would be disobedient, but from the moment he prevented others from benefiting from the law, he established a parallel government. And this is a schism. He is schismatic, as also is the now Cardinal Baldisseri, who helped and led resistence here when he was the nuncio. This is a thing that, for example, Bishop Castro Mayer didn’t do, as he didn’t forbid any of his priests to say the New Mass, just refusing to do so himself and supporting priests who wanted to follow him.

    About then Cardinal Bergoglio, you’ve linked an information that your friend New Catholic have yet explained:

    “This is also important: the diocesan Traditional Masses mentioned by dear Fr. Finigan as occurring in Argentina do not include any in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires precisely because there are not any there, which is limited to the Federal Capital (Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, which, despite the name, is outside Buenos Aires Province, in a situation comparable to that of the District of Columbia and Maryland). The three mentioned by him are in Buenos Aires Province: Villa Celina (La Matanza Partido, Diocese of San Justo), Rawson (Chacabuco Partido, Diocese of Mercedes-Luján), and La Plata (Capital of the Province of Buenos Aires, Archdiocese of La Plata). The Archbishop’s territory became a Summorum-free zone.”(

    My messages don’t illustrate nothing about your case, Father. I don’t have nothing to do with that. I wrote to you to try to understand something. Not that I have a right to it. I honestly wrote without waiting for an answer. But you answered twice, without actually answering anything that I’ve asked. I just wondered how you respond to crypto-Lefebvrians philosophically and how you see your role and the ongoing situation in your institute. Only that. My messages doesn’t justify your acts.

    And do not get me wrong. I do not wish you anything bad. In your dispute I have to support your former superiors because I think they were doing a great good for the Church. Not only for saying the Traditional Mass, but also for the theological work of the crypto-lefebvrians, especially Fr. Lanzetta. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to take your freedom for going in another direction. But that the others are suffering an injustice, I see that you can not deny. You’ve opened a Pandora’s box, allowing the anti-lefebvrians to do their bolshevik persecution. I understand that you want them to be defeated philosophically, but it’s hard to deny that the methods used by Aviz, Volpi and Bruno are not catholic, and this discredits your cause.

    • There was a hybrid Mass in the Cathedral even Rorate Caeli admits this. I would have to know more about the situation from the Diocese, that is from people not already hostile to C. Bergoglio, as to why the situation was not different.

      I am not sure what you mean by my philosophical response, other than I think the SSPX is wrong and that if people support them they ought to be fully honest about what that means, especially when it effects other people. I have written many times as to my reasons for opposing radical traditionalism, especially that of the SSPX.

      If an injustice exists, it is not our fault. We pointed to the former superiors that they had introduced a division within the Institute, and that it would be best addressed internally with a General Chapter. And before the division was introduced we warned them in General Chapter that this would be the effect. They went into this with their eyes open. For the first 20 years of my membership in the Institute it was not like this. If it had been, I would never have joined.

      You need to understand this. We were not like this before. Those of us who appealed did not create the injustice. I have always felt it unjust to have changed things midstream and have begun to receive new vocations on an entirely different basis. It was wrong.

  17. Father,

    I mean the center of debate I think it is: when a pope contradicts his predecessors, the catholics should remain with the most ancient pope or should align with the pope of the moment? The traditionalists think that we have always to stay with the most ancient magisterium, because the popes that came after have the same obligation of the faithful to adhere to the past magisterium. I cited the case of Pope John XXII to illustrate that the posture of traditionalists is not new and, in the past, has not been condemned, but victorious.

    Fundamentally the SSPX argues simply that. The correct way to fight the SSPX is to prove, for example, that Unitatis Redintegratio, Ut Unus Sint and Assisi don’t contradict Satis Cognitum and Mortalium Animos, or that Dignitatis Humanae don’t contradict the Syllabus or the encyclical Libertas Praestantissimum.

    I think people may disagree that there is a contradiction and try to prove it, but may we disagree with the principle that we should always stay with the most ancient magisterium?

    And if there is no contradiction like some people defend, we should all believe in the same thing, SSPX and their opponents. If there is no contradiction, the later documents should say the same thing that the earlier documents. So it should have no problem with the SSPX that believes blindly in the earlier documents. Unless they are in contradiction with the earlier documents. But are they? Are they in contradiction with Quanta Cura or Mortalium Animos? Can it be proved?

    Regarding unjustice I understand your point of view. What I do not understand is that an Institute cannot change for good. For me, obviously, walk in direction of Traditional Mass is a progress. And all the Institutes should do that. For other people progress is to walk in direction of New Mass. And this should be done. I wonder if this happens with the IBP, for exemple. Fr. Laguerie and a majority of priests decide to move to the New Mass. The Vatican would applaud. The minority of priests would complain. They would say that if the Institute were so they would not have joined. But I doubt the Vatican would say this change is impossible or illegitimate. And I think the statutes of your institute say nothing about one Mass or the other. Am I correct? The statutes of IBP say. So in their case they would have to change the statutes. And the Vatican would say that this is legitimate. The FI was founded with the New Mass because there was no other. But now there is, and the Institute can not recognize its superiority and walk to it? I understand your point of view and feelings, but I think this movement should be legitimate if the majority wants it, like it would be legitimate in the case of IBP, despite of their statutes. The only thing illegitimate I think is that a priest be forbid to say one Mass or the other if this is not in the statutes.

    • Mariano,

      It was a subsequent Pope who corrected John XXII, and there was no subsequent magisterial tradition to support his clear error. In the present case we have fifty year of consistent magisterial doctrine from five popes (six if you count JP I), two of them canonized saints and one of them soon to be beatified. Even, the one the traditionalists invoke most often, Pope Benedict, is not on their side. You are comparing apples and oranges.

      If you want a defense an theologically sound defense of Vatican II documents, read Archbishop Marchetto, or Basil Valuet or Thomas Pink, to name a few. You want proof? Since when does the magisterium need to prove anything to a Catholic?

      Christ entrusted the care of the Church to the Apostles and their successors. The papacy and the apostolic college are not abstractions. The pope is not a thing that is stored away in the Vatican archives and just taken out when needed. As if when Catholics needed a definition they dust the pope off and have him declare something and then put him back in his box till next time, and God help him if he should presume to govern the Church by the authority given to him directly by Christ. Where did you come up with this idea? So now anytime a Catholic thinks the pope is not consistent with previous magisterium he is just free to dismiss him? This is precisely the reason why I have a problem with traditionalism

      The opinions expressed on matters of faith and morals by the SSPX, or by Rorate Caeli, Roberto de Mattei or you and me are just that, they are opinions. Even our opinions about previous papal teaching never are never more than personal opinions. There is virtually nothing you or I say that any Catholic has an obligation to take seriously. Even if you are certain about your opinions, they still remain just opinions. They are contingent upon your reasoning. They are not matters of divine faith or metaphysical certitude. This is exactly the reason why we have a living pope and why he has universal and immediate jurisdiction in all matters regarding faith and morals, even when his teaching is only pastoral. The same logic you use to justify dismissing a pope is the same logic Protestants use to interpret the Bible. They have their book, you have yours.

      Concerning the question of “injustice” and your opinion that all institutes should change and use the EF, well, that is just your opinion. Do you actually mean that your opinion really ought to be normative for everyone—I mean are you serious? If our constitutions are to change, that would have to be done in general chapter. That was attempted in 2008, and it was rejected. The proposal was withdrawn without a vote, because it did not have the votes. I have no interest in imposing anything on anyone, but I don’t want to have it imposed on me. This is why we warned the former superiors that there was a problem. The situation could have been handled in a different way, which did not involve this impossible situation of one group being put at a disadvantage. The present situation is not the Commissioner’s fault.

      Look, I have covered all this before in recent posts and my comments there. Just read them.

  18. Ok Father, to end my participation in this discussion:

    1) Obviously, what I say is only my opinion, I’ve never thought differently;
    2) But Quanta Cura, Syllabus, Vehementer Nos, etc, are not my opinion. The subsequent popes can’t disagreed on those documents;
    3) It was another pope that formally corrected John XXII and only another pope can correct the six conciliar popes formally. I know that very well. The people that resisted to John XXII doesn’t “corrected” him, they simply resisted to his infidelity to Tradition. The question is if this kind of attitude is legimate. It seems yes, as they won the dispute. So I don’t think that I am comparing apples and oranges. John XXII was correct and the present popes not yet. But the attitude of those resistants of the past and that of the resistants of the present are the same. They follow the same principles. So it doesn’t seems for me apples and oranges;
    4) The fact that 5 or 6 popes have persisted in the infidelity to Tradition doesn’t matter. The problem continues: if a pope can be unfaithful to Tradition, how can we trust on those 5 or 6 popes, if the seventh pope can come and deauthorize their little tradition of 50 years to start another? If the principle that Tradition can be changed is admitted, the Magisterium is destroyed. We simply don’t know if what Francis is teaching now is true.

    You have listed 3 good defensors of Vatican II. I don’t know what line of defense they follow:
    A) They can say that the contradictions are only apparent and they try to prove that there is no contradiction, so the past documents remains valid;
    B) They can admit contradictions and try to justify them.

    If they are in group A, I am interested in read what they say. If you can indicate me some of their texts I thank you.

    If they are in group B, I’m only interested in see how they respond to this kind of argument that I’m exposing to you. Again if you can indicate me their texts about this matter I thank you very much.

    • Mariano,

      We have a pope precisely to settle matters of dispute concerning doctrine. In actuality it is the magisterium and not private persons, even theologians who have the authority to rule on questions concerning the contradiction of one pope by another, or one definitive magisterial statement by a non-infallible one. Read for example Thomas Pink’s treatment of the question of religious liberty. You can google these things just as easy as I can.

      Furthermore, it is one thing for theologians to present their concerns to the magisterium in a academic context that is respectful to the authority of the Apostolic College and the supreme authority of the Pope, it is another to engage in and foster among the faithful public rebellion against the living magisterium.

      Here is something I wrote some time ago:

      This is, for example, what the SSPX has said. For them Tradition is not living. It is static. It is the place of safety and restoration. And, therefore, it is Rome that must change and return to Tradition. And so, every permission given by the Vatican, every expression of a willingness to dialogue and every offer made was interpreted as the Pope Benedict’s readiness to jettison the reforms of Vatican II, or at least let the SSPX have juridical status without requiring them to change anything. On the other hand, every stricture, requirement or correction demanded by the Vatican was interpreted as an attempt to derail the Holy Father’s efforts to bring reconciliation. These were the cold, hard calculations that led to a moment of decision that Bishop Fellay was not unafraid to confront. Rome would have to wait until it is ready to return to the past.

      The problem with all this is that the religious question is a matter of both faith and reason, but is it the grace of God that is the cause of unshakable, supernatural faith in the truth revealed by Him. It is not simply a cold hard calculation. It is an assent to the One who reveals, which leads to hope in His promises. In practice it involves the passage through time with all the contingencies that create, according to the great Cardinal Manning, innumerable “inequalities and anomalies in the history of doctrine.” But, Manning also says, “to the Church the facts of antiquity are transparent in the light of its perpetual consciousness of the original revelation.” He is not talking about the mummified Church of the past, but the living Church of the present.

      Progressives and traditionalists run into the same problem: private judgment—not the fiducial faith of the Protestants, but a choice of a rule of faith that will govern every other choice. It, therefore, consists in playing the remembered past or the “remembered” future off the living magisterium, insisting that theological arguments based on traditional or progressive interpretations are “The Teaching of the Church,” and therefore trump anything the actual occupant of the Chair of St. Peter has to say. In this the progressives are much more inclined to defend the radical autonomy of nature, sometimes to the point of pantheism. The traditionalists, on the other hand, will invoke the supernatural character of their calculations, and claim that their rigorous, scientific syllogisms coalesce into Church doctrine.

      And here is Blessed John Henry Newman writing on the subject of matters taught non-infallibly:

      To submit to the Church means this, first you will receive as de fide whatever she proposes de fide . . . You are not called on to believe de fide any thing but what has been promulgated as such — You are not called on to exercise an internal belief of any doctrine which Sacred Congregations, Local Synods, or particular Bishops, or the Pope as a private Doctor, may enunciate. You are not called upon ever to believe or act against the moral law, at the command of any superior.

      (The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman [LD], XX, 545 [in 1863], edited by Charles Stephen Dessain (London: 1961-1972), in Ian Ker, John Henry Newman: A Biography, Oxford University Press, 1988 [764 pages], 530-531)

      I say with Cardinal Bellarmine whether the Pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience. His facts and his warnings may be all wrong; his deliberations may have been biassed. He may have been misled. Imperiousness and craft, tyranny and cruelty, may be patent in the conduct of his advisers and instruments. But when he speaks formally and authoritatively he speaks as our Lord would have him speak, and all those imperfections and sins of individuals are overruled for that result which our Lord intends (just as the action of the wicked and of enemies to the Church are overruled) and therefore the Pope’s word stands, and a blessing goes with obedience to it, and no blessing with disobedience. (Letter to Lady Simeon, 10 November 1867)

  19. Dear Fr. Angelo,

    Apologies if I overlap somewhat the other comments and replies here, but at least from my own somewhat time-challenged perspective, what seems most to be needed by many now is some distinct direction from the supreme authority on how to understand the Council’s difficult points. It sounds like the Holy Father has basically done this with his commendation of Archbishop Marchetto’s book, but I note that the book is no longer in print in English and the prices in the used market are prohibitive even for me. Thus perhaps a secondary set of materials would be useful, among which I would propose anyway, the following:

    Catechism of the Catholic Church
    Compendium of the Catechism [these two look like they have indirect explications which should be helpful, given a particular topic, and are, after all, magisterial at one or the other level]
    Vatican II: Renewal Within Tradition, edited by Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering [the best collection of commentaries on the conciliar documents that I have seen that are in accordance with the hermeneutic of continuity].
    On DH, in addition to Dr. Pink’s article mentioned in your comments, there is a long article by David Schindler in the most recent Communio (I do not have it hand to cite it better).

    Keep up the good work, and all the best.

    • Woody,

      Thanks for those suggestions. They all look good to me.

      I would be interested to know which Schindler article you are referring to.

      God bless.

    • Dear Fr. Angelo,

      The Summer-Fall 2013 issue of Communio was evidently devoted to religious liberty, including an article from Cardinal Scola as well. The Schindler article is here:

      From a more distinctly philosophical point of view, I just saw an article by the English Thomistic philosopher David S. Oderberg (who has the honor of having another article, on cooperation with wrongdoing, cited in the majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case) entitled something like The Right to be Wrong, arguing that while there is no moral right to be wrong, one should not be coerced into avoiding error, as that would compromise the individual’s freedom. That, and many other interesting articles, may be found on Oderberg’s web site.

      All the best.

    • Finally, I note the appearance of a new book by Cardinal Scola, “Let’s Not Forget God”, dealing with the religious liberty question, and although I have only skimmed a few pages, it appears that it is a very interesting discussion covering the history since the Edict of Milan through DH and beyond, into today’s secularized society. Interestingly, the foreword is by John Allen, who notes that when the Cardinal gave the speech the formed the kernel of the book, he was criticized by the secularists, because the Cardinal was not arguing for freedom from religion but for freedom for religion, in the public space.

  20. I think to call Rorate Caeli, a very accurate and totally Catholic website “Crypto-Lefebvrians” is not a as insult as was intended, but rather a badge of honor and pride. I am a “crypto-Lefebvrian” and am proud of it. I would rather support the SSPX and their agenda and the holy life and work of Archbishop Lefebrve, than I would ever support or pay homage to the agenda of Pope Francis, or “saints” John XXIII or John Paul II. For the statistics alone from 1965 to present, Vatican II is a disaster, and to defend the Novus Ordo against the traditional Tridentine Latin Mass in pathetic. The Tridentine Mass has given birth to saints and scholars and has built the Catholic Church, Vatican II and the “Novus Ordo” of soon to be “blessed Paul VI” wrecked the Catholic Faith from which it will take 200 years to recover.
    Your Order will probably go extinct, because all the good traditional members know the liberal brood of vipers Cardinal Braz de Aviz and the Pope represent. No good Catholic should follow or obey them.
    Regardless, it is obvious Pope Francis is ill, and reports are something serious is being hidden. He won’t be alive for long (meaning years), and his liberal agenda and what wreckage he began in your Order will come to nothing. The next Pope will be totally the opposite of Francis….more like a young version of Benedict XVI, or Pius XII.
    Rorate Caeli is a great Catholic site. The cheerleaders for Pope Francis and Vatican II websites are garbage.

  21. Pingback: L’inganno Cripto-Lefebvriano: un Francescano dell’Immacolata risponde a De Mattei « Croce-Via

  22. Pingback: L’inganno Cripto-Lefebvriano: un Francescano dell’Immacolata risponde a De Mattei « La verità sul Commissariamento dei Frati Francescani dell'Immacolata

  23. Pingback: Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome Vol. I. (FFI)

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