What Happened to the Dialogue between Rome and the SSPX?

This post has been a long time coming.  It recounts much of what ought to be clear to the careful observer, but since it runs contrary to the popular narrative this documentation is in order.  I wish to put to rest the fatuous misrepresentations of the dialogue between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X.

My account is by no means complete, but neither does it omit the pertinent facts. A separate analysis could be devoted to the various nuances of positions represented within the Society.  The Society is by no means a homogeneous group and admits of degrees of intensity in regard to the “hardline.”  It is certainly true that there was more sympathy within the Society towards the Pope Benedict’s efforts at reconciliation than was often manifested in the media.  However, for several reasons, I do not think it is necessary to attend to these nuances in order to bring to light the aspects of the history that are often ignored.  First of all, this is so because it is what the leaders of the SSPX think that is decisive.  The opinions of individual members do not represent the Society per se.  On the other hand, what the leaders, particularly Bishop Fellay, set down is policy.  Secondly, the nuances are not essential to this account because the position of Bishop Fellay is relatively moderate within the SSPX.  In fact, he was greatly criticized by many members for his willingness to consider a doctrinal agreement at all.

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The Paternal Solicitude of Pope Francis for the FI

Francis-FI

.- The Vatican has revealed that a house is being sought for members of the Friars of the Immaculate who study in Rome, and assured that Pope Francis is well-informed on the order’s temporary receivership.

In a statement released June 24, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. published the answer of Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo addressing several questions regarding the Franciscans of the Immaculate following a June 10 meeting with Pope Francis.

“The Holy Father is punctually informed of all the steps as they are taken,” he observed, explaining that currently “a house in Rome is being sought to accommodate the Friars…who attend a Pontifical university in Rome to pursue their studies.”

Archbishop Caraballo is the secretary for the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, and assists the congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, in overseeing the order.

“Both the commissioner, Fr. Volpi, and all the seminarians of the Franciscans of the Immaculate were received by the Holy Father on June 10 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae,” Archbishop Caraballo said.

This is “a gesture that demonstrates the interest with which Pope Francis follows the situation of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and his closeness to the work that the commissioner is carrying out in the name of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life.”

Founded by Fr. Stefano Manelli in 1970 with strong Marian charism, the Franciscans of the Immaculate were placed under temporary receivership last year in order to resolve internal differences involving the government and administration of the order, their relationship with their female branch, the use of the exclusive old missal and the interpretations of the Second Vatican Council.

During the hour and a half long meeting between the Pope and members of the religious order, all of the Friars present sang the Ave Maria di Fatima and renewed their vows of total consecration to the Immaculate.

Afterward the friars had the opportunity to ask Pope Francis questions on the most highly debated topics regarding their internal operations.

The Art of Celebration

The liturgical difference between Francis and Benedict XVI has been one of the most noted contrasts between the new pope and his predecessor.  Since the day he was elected, when he dispensed with the mozzetta at his first greeting of the faithful from the loggia of St. Peters, he has opted for plainer liturgical style for papal functions.  His washing of the feet of girls, one of whom was a Muslim, on Holy Thursday, has been noted by some as the end of Pope Benedict’s reform of the reform.  Likewise, his choice to celebrate in parishes within his own diocese according the liturgical customs of the place, rather than impose the standards of his Vatican celebrations, has been noted as an undoing of Pope Benedict’s efforts to restore lost traditions.  But Benedictine Abbot Michael Zielinski, from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, sees the differences as complementary rather than contradictory.

I think it is worth noting here again that, both in the order of being and in the order of logic, two things or assertions that are different, or contrary, are not for that reason contradictory.  That there might be a greater or lesser degree of solemnity, magnificence, or ritual purity, does not mean that the greater end of the spectrum is reverent and the lesser end irreverent.  This is a distinction that seems to be lost on many who are inclined to be reactive against the differences, rather than responsive to the Vicar of Christ. Continue reading