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 Bp. Fellay Adopts "Frankenchurch" Heresy? 
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New post Bp. Fellay Adopts "Frankenchurch" Heresy?
An October 16 Reuters article on a possible SSPX/Ratzinger reconciliation contains the following statements from SSPX Superior General Bp. Bernard Fellay:

“Fellay envisages the SSPX would be an independent group within the Church, free of control by local bishops, while it continued to advocate rolling back other Vatican II reforms.

“’We would be a bit like the Chinese Patriotic Church, in the Church without really being there,’ he explained. ‘There could be a relationship between Rome and us, but it would not yet be a juridical relationship.’…

“Fellay said the SSPX sought an ‘intermediate state’ in the Church so it could continue to oppose what Lefebvre called "neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies ... in the Second Vatican Council and in all the reforms which issued from it.’"

On the face of it, Bp. Fellay’s statements are heretical. You cannot be “in the Church without really being there.” You are either subject to the Roman Pontiff or you are not. There is no “intermediate state.”

Moreover, the statement that SSPX seeks a status like the Chinese Patriotic Church, a schismatic body, is an admission that SSPX is itself schismatic.

Without realizing it, SSPX’s crypto-Gallican theology, based on the error that one has the right to “resist” a true pope, has led it straight into Ratzinger’s Frankenchurch heresy: You can be part of the Catholic Church without being subject to the Roman Pontiff.

[This post was edited to bring it into conformity with the rules of charity.]


Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:14 pm
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Are we certain that the writer from Reuter has the integrity and understanding of the matter, and has quoted Superior Bp. Fellay correctly? Otherwise, a comparison between the Chinese situation and the SSPX is incomprehensible.

How can there be an "intermediate state" , especially after B16 is calling off Limbo?


Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:12 pm

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eliz carroll wrote:
Are we certain that the writer from Reuter has the integrity and understanding of the matter, and has quoted Superior Bp. Fellay correctly?



Eliz, we can be certain the writer from Reuters does not have the integrity and understanding of the matter. :D

Has he quoted Bp. Fellay correctly? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, there is this from the editor of the SSPX DICI website, http://www.dici.org/accueil.php:


"Concerning an article in Le Figaro of Monday October 16, 2006


In its October 16 edition, Le Figaro published an article by Sophie de Ravinel entitled: “The Lefebvrites: Rome about to lift the sanctions”. This article, which claims that Bishop Fellay is sending a letter to the pope asking that the excommunications be lifted, contains two errors which lead to an untrue statement:

Sophie de Ravinel mistook the two preconditions formulated by Bishop Fellay at the beginning of 2001 (freedom for the Traditional Mass and withdrawal of the decree of excommunication) and the spiritual bouquet of one million rosaries which he will offer to the pope at the end of the month of October to ask for freedom for the Tridentine Mass.

Secondly, she mistook this spiritual bouquet addressed to the pope and the answer Bishop Fellay has to give to a letter from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. In this letter dated from June of this year – and which in due course could be made public – there is no mention of “the Latin Mass soon being restored to honor”, nor any request for a letter asking for “the re-establishment of full communion with the see of Peter”.

With these distinctions in mind, it is false to affirm, as Sophie de Ravinel did, that “the Superior of this Society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1970 has indeed told Le Figaro of his intention to send a letter to Benedict XVI with this request (the lifting of the sanctions) as well as a plea for the freedom of the Mass according to the Tridentine rite… and this “in answer to a letter sent by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos some four months ago.”

The article in Le Figaro makes extensive use of the conditional: Bishop Fellay might be about to…, this letter might be an answer…, a letter in which Cardinal Castrillon might have assured… We would like fewer suppositions and more facts. The end result is that the article gives a seriously biased view of the state of the relations between Rome and the SSPX.

Rather than putting words which he never said into the Superior General’s mouth, we prefer to give you a transcription of the key points of his hour-long conference in Villepreux (near Paris) on October 14. During this talk, he gives precise information concerning the relations between Rome and Ecône. You will see for yourself the very clear terms Bishop Fellay uses when he speaks of the “withdrawal of the decree of excommunication” which he clearly distinguished from the “lifting of the sanctions.”

Click here to listen to Bishop’s conference. (In French) 47,8 Mo The conference lasts one hour and 10 minutes.

We are currently working on a translation of the key points of the conference. We hope it will be available in a couple days. "


Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:38 pm
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New post An answer from France
Dear Eliz,

This long talk in French by Bishop Fellay is available in MP3 on the SSPX French site.

Sacerdos's article is correctly summarising its content.

Bishop Fellay is in a difficult position since Benedict authorised the Institut du Bon Pasteur to use the traditional rites with almost no strings attached. Fellay has to justify refusing the same deal. On the whole his talk was considered a hardening of his position. That is why he emphasised that he has no intention of entering into a deal that would establish a "juridical relationship with Rome".

Now so far as it goes, that is of course correct. We don't want Bishop Fellay to establish a "juridical relationship" with Ratzinger. We haven't got one either.

But because of his continuing to imagine that Ratzinger is pope, when Bishop Fellay comes to formulating his decision, he does indeed - all unconsciously - use language which is quite incapable of an orthodox understanding.

A Catholic religious society or individual which has "no juridical link with Rome" is in a state of schism, as sacerdos points out.

This does not mean that Bishop Fellay is in a state of schism. Because the people he refuses to have a juridical relationship with are not in fact legitimate Catholic authorities. But it emphasises very clearly how untenable his position is. In order even to explain it he is obliged to make statements that are the natural expression of schism.

Yet in my view it is not even that Bishop Fellay has a schismatic mentality, if we are to be honest, for the "schism" he is committing is with a false, heretical pseudo-Church. His error is in not realising that these men with whom he, a Catholic, cannot in good conscience form a juridical relationship, cannot be legitimate Catholic authorities. A second error is not to stand back and look at his own words and realise how theologically absurd they are.

Grave theological error can be committed in good faith. The present dizzy state of the Church makes the possibility of committing such errors in good faith more likely, even for men who should know much better.

But even if committed in good faith, grave theological errors have grave consequences. A substantial and important part of Catholic theology is necessarily distorted in SSPX circles - and the distortion is now an ingrained habit. This does not relegate the SSPX and all its members and supporters and Mass-goers to the same status as the conciliar sect, as some have extravagantly claimed. But the fact that some have exaggerated does not mean that it is possible to be relaxed about this situation. Bishop Fellay is not making it any easier for those who are trying to defend his good faith.

God bless!

John


Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:58 pm
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Thanks for the input, Sacerdos, Laudenum and John. (never mind my head spinning) And may God bless all of you, too.


Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:50 pm

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Dizzy is an understatement, John

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Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:24 am
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New post Re: An answer from France
John Daly wrote:
Bishop Fellay is not making it any easier for those who are trying to defend his good faith.


Dear John,

That was a beautiful summary. I agree with you on every nuance. What a nightmare situation. Even if no deal eventuates, this is damaging sedevacantist souls who are forming inaccurate and unjust judgements about the SSPX as a result of it. None of this assists the unity of the Church - quite the contrary. And the line above is understatement of the month. :)

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Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:33 pm
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I am trying to figure out why anyone is looking for an indult, partial or universal.
If not, under what privilege would the anti-SV's celebrating the Traditional Mass instead of the NO?

I would think that Quo Primum is enough and if any discussion is to be held it should be about anything but the indult unless they feel that QP is not clear or mandatory.

One could ask BXVI about his views on QP I guess! But since he seems to be promoting an 'anti Syllabus' among other things, I guess the question is moot!

Peace!

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Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:39 pm
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New post Schism
Are the SSPX in schism or not? One person argued that if they intend to refuse subjection to the man they think is Roman Pontiff, then they are guilty of the sin of schism just as much as if Ratzi were really the Roman Pontiff. This argument looks good. Sin is in the will. Do they get off just because Ratzi is really a fake, even though they don't realise it?

In the two Hearts!

Dom


Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:55 am
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New post Re: Schism
Dominic07 wrote:
Are the SSPX in schism or not? One person argued that if they intend to refuse subjection to the man they think is Roman Pontiff, then they are guilty of the sin of schism just as much as if Ratzi were really the Roman Pontiff. This argument looks good. Sin is in the will. Do they get off just because Ratzi is really a fake, even though they don't realise it?


Dear Dom,

Fascinating argument. A few comments occur to me.

1. Are we trying to “get them off” or are we trying to convict? I think the former, because if they are fellow Catholics we want to excuse them in every respect until and unless it becomes impossible. This is not optional. However, I get the impression sometimes that some others are kind of disappointed when the SSPX fails to be manifestly evil. It is almost as though it spoils their game of “I’m good, they’re bad.” Which isn’t very Christian, but I think sometimes in the passion of their arguments they forget that they are talking about fellow Catholics.

2. We must distinguish sin and crime. Your argument may well suffice to prove sin (I don’t think it does, by the way). But it cannot prove crime. If I steal a car that I find sitting in the street out the front of a car yard with the keys in the ignition, and it turns out my wife had purchased it an hour before and intended for me to pick it up that afternoon, then I have sinned but committed no crime.

3. If we agree that schism cannot be committed except by refusing subjection to the Roman Pontiff (or refusing communion with fellow Catholics), as Fr. Cekada so elegantly demonstrated with respect to the CMRI, then the SSPX is not in schism. Indeed, the case is so far from being able to be demonstrated, it is absurd. Which is why nobody serious tries to make it. It never gets beyond loose rhetoric.

4. And so it remains to consider sin. Putting aside our obligation to excuse our fellow Catholics and concern ourselves with our own sins, and pretending that it is our business to convict others of sin, what do we have? As you rightly say, sin is in the will. What is the cause of the stance taken by the SSPX? What is their will in this matter? Well, we could try taking them at their word. Which is that they refuse to obey Ratzinger because his commands amount to a programme for the destruction of the Church. Which, if we consider it honestly, is entirely reasonable and the only charitable and just judgement that one could make about their actions.

5. This is not to say that we should cease pointing out to SSPX types that they ought to solve the contradiction inherent in their stance. They should solve it, by rejecting the claim of Ratzinger completely. But we err, gravely and even sinfully, if we turn this point into an accusation of sin on their part, and especially if we puff it into an accusation of the crime of schism. Their actions are the very opposite of schism, considered in its essence, for the only reason they remain (verbally) attached to Ratzinger is that they are worried that if they reject his claim they will commit the crime of schism. This is completely indisputable.

I hope this assists.

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Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:53 am
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Mr. Lane,

I will consider your answer. One more question: Are you saying that it's all right to remain subject to Ratzinger?

In the two Hearts!

Dom


Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:49 pm
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Dominic07 wrote:
Are you saying that it's all right to remain subject to Ratzinger?


Well of course not. But it does depend on what is meant by “all right.” This question has, in one form or another, come up more often in recent years, due to a certain hardening of attitude on the part of some leading sedevacantists. This shift of position, whilst striking, has occurred slowly and by stages, so that many sedevacantists seem not to have noticed that it really was a shift, and a very significant one. For if the sedeplenists are schismatics, then they are not Catholics, and the Catholic Church is not just tiny (as she actually is, considering most Conciliar Catholics excluded from her as we must), but actually minuscule, for under this hypothesis she consists of the few sedevacantists and nobody else. This is in fact the old Britons Catholic Library position of ultra-exclusivity. Unlike the Frankenchurch “branch theory” by which the true Church is imagined to consist of various “branches” who share some fundamental doctrines and not much else (i.e the Greeks, the Anglicans, and the Roman Catholics), this theory posits a “Church” so small that we can hardly describe it even as one “branch.” Indeed, it is probably better represented as a single leaf. But since it is nothing more than a warmed-over theory already posited many years ago, we may christen it in its current guise the “microwaved leaf theory.”

But in case anybody is inclined to take this leaf theory seriously, let’s examine its fundamental tenet – viz. that all who “resist to the face” the man they mistakenly think to be the Roman Pontiff, are in fact schismatics.

In relation to schism we must distinguish the matter and the form, as we do with heresy. With respect to schism, the matter is the fact of refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff. The form is the malicious will.

St. Thomas explains schism as follows:

“As Isidore says (Etym. viii, 3), schism takes its name 'from being a scission of minds,' and scission is opposed to unity. Wherefore the sin of schism is one that is directly and essentially opposed to unity. For in the moral, as in the physical order, the species is not constituted by that which is accidental. Now, in the moral order, the essential is that which is intended, and that which results beside the intention, is, as it were, accidental. Hence the sin of schism is, properly speaking, a special sin, for the reason that the schismatic intends to sever himself from that unity which is the effect of charity: because charity unites not only one person to another with the bond of spiritual love, but also the whole Church in unity of spirit.

“Accordingly schismatics properly so called are those who, wilfully and intentionally separate themselves from the unity of the Church…” (S. Th. II-II, Q. 39, Art. 1.)

In this case (that of sedeplenists) the “matter” is not verified. There is no Roman Pontiff. Therefore there can be no question of crime. Just as if one were to attempt to kill another, and the other were already dead, there would be no murder. (In such a case there may be another crime – mutilation of a body, for example. In the case of sedeplenists, I have yet to hear what the alternative “crime” would be. Failing to sit at the feet of Bishop Sanborn, perhaps? Failing to interpret divine law in accordance with John Lane’s understanding of Bellarmine? A pertinacious refusal to draw logical conclusions even when assisted by Fr. Cekada? Or what? Even to state the case is to refute it.)

Likewise the malicious will is not verified, for in the case we are considering it is notorious that to maintain the Faith it is necessary to refuse the New Mass and all the rest of the “reforms” of V2. Resistance is necessary. All used to admit this. The few are now denying it. Why, we wonder?

In any case, each of those leading sedevacantists who now alleges that it is schismatic to keep the Faith whilst thinking that the V2 popes are legitimate, once held that position himself. Nor has any of them publicly abjured and repented of what they must now consider to be their schismatic past. Indeed, I am not aware even of one public retraction and apology for this putative crime.

But more importantly, if the accusation of schism is sound, it actually outlaws and disowns every single act of resistance to V2 prior to the sedevacantist thesis being adopted. In other words, every traditional Catholic, from 1965 onwards, acted unlawfully in resisting what they considered to be true authorities, and thus were schismatics (at least “materially”) until some of them became sedevacantists and thus resurrected the true Church from complete (objective) oblivion. As I said, even to state the thesis is to refute it.

But perhaps to be fair to our enthusiastic brethren, their true thesis is slightly different (even though we can’t get them to state it themselves). Perhaps what they really think is that it was OK to “resist to the face” when they did it, but not today. Today it is illicit. But not “then.” When did “then” cease to be, we wonder? The moment that they converted? Ten years after V2, perhaps? When Wojtyla died? Who can say? Certainly our enthusiastic brethren are not saying. For to state their thesis would be to refute it. And they’re not about to do that, apparently.

Or, again, since we cannot get them to state the principle governing their novel thesis, could it be that they imagine that the Church has judged this matter? If so, I am interested to hear when, and why this was never noticed for thirty+ years, but has only been noticed in these latter days, and why now that it has been noticed, everybody has carefully avoided citing the relevant document. Of course, even to posit the thesis is to refute it.

So, is it OK to remain subject to Ratzinger? No, it is a mistake in a very grave matter. It is exceedingly dangerous, for (a) it entails the risk that one will think that his commands ought to be obeyed. The Campos fiasco is sufficient evidence of that, if any were needed. And (b), it involves an implicit rejection of truths taught as “certain,” in the theology manuals, such as the infallibility of the Church in her general disciplinary provisions.

But it is not “schism” or anything like schism. Nor is it an act of heresy. But the microwaved leaf theory is schismatic on its face, because it endeavours to create a fundamental split between groups of Catholics. If this effort is successful, the resulting split will truly be a schism. For this reason those who promote this warmed-over “leaf theory” of the Church need their feet held to the fire until they agree to prove it or drop it.

I hope this answers your question. I apologise for the length of it!

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Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:04 pm
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Mr. Lane,

Thank you. There is much to think about here.

In the two Hearts!

Dom


Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:40 am
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