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« Shulerkreis 2006! | Main | The Case Of The Missing Shadows »

August 15, 2006


Kjetil Kringlebotten

Here in Norway, they moved it to Sunday (13th).

Thomas A. Gill



Thanks so much for the reminder!


Why would they ever dispense with such a holy day? The greatest feast honoring the Blessed Mother, and there are prelates who don't want their flocks to suffer through the unmitigated agony of a second Mass in 7 days?

What nonsense.


Our homily for today was about how this feast is a celebration of us and how special we are. The priest said that people don't seem to know this and that the greatest sin is a lack of knowledge about our own affirmation.

Tim J.

Oh, Ian... Ugh!

I'm sorry you had to sit through yet another bland (yet nauseating) permutation of the "I'm okay, you're okay" homily. Offer it up, brother.

Gee, our priest seemed to think that today's feast day had something to do with Mary going straight to heaven without dying, on account of her being sinless, and all.

Something about her being the Second Eve.

Your post makes me EVEN MORE grateful for our priest!


Didn't Munificentissimus Deus leave open whether Mary actually died? I know that the Christian East is of the opinion that she did, since they know the feast as the Dormition.


Check out my homily on the Assumption...comments/critiques/raspberries welcomed!

Fr. Philip (http://hancaquam.blogspot.com)


I believe that the Catholic Church has not defined whether she died.


The Catholic Church has not "officially" defined whether she died, but the non-Dogmatic sections of Munificentissimus Deus refer to her death repeatedly.

Peace and God bless!


Her death -- or the end of her earthly life?


It's left open. On purpose.

Don't hurry the Church to define stuff the Holy Spirit doesn't want it to. Remember what happened when the Franciscans and Dominicans did that -- two unexpectedly dead popes!

Our homily was on Mary's Assumption as a foreshadowing of what we're going to get (we hope!), and on the wonderful responsiveness to God that Mary had. And a bunch of other stuff, actually.

Some Day

I wonder if it was a sort of ecstasy ( is that how you spell it?) and she was so filled already, that not another grace could fit in her while on Earth, so her body, not being in sin, was subject to her soul, which was just rising to God in a inponderable way, went in both body and soul, and the Heavenly Militia saluted her, their Queen.
Oh how phenomenal!
Duc in Altum!

J.R. Stoodley

Our Homily was on the Magnificat and how it applies to us. No mention of the Assuption, or of anything special about Mary apart from being mother of Christ (not that that is any small thing, and I do know this priest has some Marian devotion.)

As I recall, JPII said somewhere that it was not necessary that Mary die but that it was fitting for her to do so voluntarily in the union between her life and the life and death of her son.

Also, the old Catholic Encyclopedia recounts the original story, in which Mary died or seemed to die but later her body disappeared inexplicably from her tomb, leading the apostles to conclude it must have been taken up into heaven.

This story was brought from the Christians in the Holy Land and recounted at one of the early ecumenical councils, if I recall, though it was not in the official Council documents and later it like the belief in the Immaculare Conception was mainly maintained in the Celtic Church and at least a little later the English Church, in the West at least. Look it up in the New Advent site yourself. Of course that Encyclopedia is sometimes not 100% reliable and is quite out of date.

Brother Cadfael

Pope John Paul II (dare I say John Paul the Great?) had this to say on the subject of Mary's death in Theotokos:

"Concerning the end of Mary's earthly life, the Council used the terms of the Bull defining the dogma of the assumption ... With this formula, following ... Pius XII, Lumen Gentium made no pronouncement on the question of Mary's death. Nevertheless, Pius XII did not intend to deny the fact of her death, but merely did not judge it opportune to affirm solemnly the death of the Mother of God as a truth to be accepted by all believers. Some theologians have maintained that the Blessed Virgin did not die and was immediately raised from earthly life to heavenly glory. However, this opinion was unknown until the 17th century...."

He also points out that the Fathers of the Church "had no doubts in this regard" (as to Mary's death), and that Mary is not superior to her Son, who Himself underwent death. Near the end of his reflection he concludes, "As to the cause of Mary's death, the opinions seem groundless that wish to exclude her from death by natural causes."


Isn't today your anniversary of when you became Catholic? If so, happy anniversary!

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

I am sure though that JPII did not intend to question Mary's Immaculate Conception and thus her natural exemption to the effects of Original Sin including bodily death. I therefore conclude that even if natural causes did contribute to her death it was due to her being caught up into the Paschal Mystery, not some accident or the result of a "natural" deterioration of her body.

Also, even if her soul was indeed temporarily separated from her body during her Dormition, certainly her body was preserved from that decomposition which they say begins immediately after death. As the liturgy today proclamed, God would not allow her flesh to see decay from which Christ's human body had been taken.

Brother Cadfael


He addressed that question in Theotokos as well:

"[T]he fact that the Church proclaims Mary free from original sin by a unique divine privilege does not lead to the conclusion that she also received physical immortality."

And I agree with your last point -- I don't think there is any question that Mary's body would not have suffered a moment's decay.

One thing I find amazing, is despite some current Eastern Orthodox and of course Protestant protestations, that Pius XII did something so dramatic and new and of course dogmatic is that in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow that was taken over by communists there is a painting of the Assumption!! I was on a Coptic (not in union with Rome), they claim they are not Monosphytes but we (Latin Rite Catholics) and Greek Orthodox (Byzantine) call them so, but they do admit to not accepting the Council of Chalcedon but claim it is semantics and do accept the Council of Nicea,.... anyrate---On the Coptic website it states that they believe in the Assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven.
While there is some differences on if she died or not before she was assumed or she "fell asleep" the so called Dormition, there is no doubt that her body was not corrupt and something special and unique happened at her death, and while Protestants state it is a dividing doctrine (and some Orthodox) it is actually a very universal doctrine in Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental "Monosphyte" history.
The Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into heaven is a unifying and universal doctrine in Oriental catechisms and Orthodox iconography.


I had always assumed that the Assumption was universally believed among the Eastern Orthodox. They refer to it as the Dormition of the Theotokos, but the instruction I received as an Orhtodox catechumen (perhaps it was not typical) was that she was resurrected bodily into heaven the same day she "fell asleep."


Ian, I feel your pain. After months of struggling to even go to Mass to subject myself and my Lord to the quasi-Lutheran monstrosity that's celebrated in Catholic parishes today, I went one more time, and I swear I actually felt physical pain and I was moved to tears. I felt like my being there was like being forced to hold the nail steady while the priest and those in attendance proceeded to crucify Christ all over again. I started attending an SSPX chapel. Much better now. And wouldn't you know, my regular parish struggles to get people to attend even Christmas and Easter, and yet, the SSPX chapel was filled beyond capacity for the Feast of the Assumption. This is just another time of struggle as the Church has had repeatedly over the last 2000 years. But ultimately, the Lord will prevail, so hang in there. And for your own faith's sake, consider moving on to another parish. You shouldn't have to subject yourself or your Lord to such sacrilege!

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

"[T]he fact that the Church proclaims Mary free from original sin by a unique divine privilege does not lead to the conclusion that she also received physical immortality."

How is it that with no original sin she suffered from at least some of the effects of it? Did JPII explain himself about that?

This is not at all what someone on EWTN said the Pope had said about it, but perhaps he changed his mind one way or the other during his papacy.


It is not clear to me why such a legend or speculation is required as dogma to be received into the Catholic Church since A. D. 1950, but. .

If Mary's body is buried somewhere, why didn't Empress Helena build a shrine? Why aren't there fragments of her body in reliquaries all over the European world?

"The curious thing is that the dog didn't bark"


I visited last night, and if it -had- been "quasi-Lutheran" it would have been more reverent, liturgical and formal than it was. It was oddly casual. Not what I expected.

Is it normal for the guitarist to sing and play and the congregation to sing during the consecration, so that you don't notice that it is happening? Is it normal for the 12 stations of the cross to be reduced to glyphs which do not have Jesus in them?

I think the priest spent at least 1/3 as much time on Indian Independence Day than he did the Assumption.

Brother Cadfael


I recall that he did explain that, but I don't have Theotokos with me right now. I'll check tomorrow and report back.

There are other possibilities than that he changed his mind. Although it is certainly possibly I generally find it to be the least likely.

Somebody could have read something out of context, they could have read him quoting something somebody else said, they could have misunderstood him, you could have misunderstood them, etc.

J.R. Stoodley


As I hope you realize, that mass was highly atypical of anything even in the United States. I have never encountered anything as bad as what you describe.

I do agree that the use of the word Protestant or the name of any Protestant group to describe unorthodox Catholics is inappropriate in most cases. Occasionally you do find a "Catholic" whose ideas, even in one case I've had by their own admission, are Liberal Protestant.


J.R. Stoodley,

I beg to differ. I think that orthodox and reverently offered (notice "offered" not "celebrated") masses are extremely rare, and in my own Diocese of Rockville Centre (New York), I'm not even sure if they exist at all!

The faithful are left to either assist at a Byzantine parish or SSPX. It's truly a sad state of affairs. Our bishop obviously doesn't care.

Some Day

Unless you live in like Neverland, almost all masses have an aspect that is not of true, Catholic inspiration. In fact, when I see priests the way they throw the Eucharist after they consecrate, the way they distribute, and then, IF they purify, they do so irreverntly or not at all.
I sometimes have to do a conditional thanksgiving,
that is I thank God for recieving Him, if He was really consecrated in the Host. Do priests have the intention of Consecrating anymore? I once heard that some saint said that he measures the devotion of the priest based on the way they purify the vessels, and thus a good indicator if they actually intended to consecrate. Are confessions valid with so many priests being in mortal sin, regardless if in their knowledge or not, being they might not even have the intention or pronouncing the correct formula?
I am awfully careful of who I go to confession with. I know the Sacraments do not depend on the Minister for grace, but are they even distributing them in the first place?
We need SAINTS. I know bishops that knew that their seminarians rejected Jesus as being divine and still ordained them. "Oh they are the only two we got."
Because the clergy aren't saints, the people won't be saints, and without saintly families you won't have seminarians and much less holy ones.

J.R. Stoodley


beg to differ. I think that orthodox and reverently offered (notice "offered" not "celebrated") masses are extremely rare, and in my own Diocese of Rockville Centre (New York), I'm not even sure if they exist at all!

Actually I agree with you there. I was just saying that what Puzzled described, with singing through the consecration and all, was worse than I had ever seen. At least in that aspect, though I did go to a mass in the diocese of Albany (NY) where they did something worse: used a funky untraditional bread which I hope invalidated the mass because it was extremely crumy and everyone recieved on their hands and brushed the fragments off onto the carpet, presumably to be vacuumed up later. They also used a weird creed that included the divinity of women and stuff like that.

Reverently offered masses do exist though. They have them on EWTN, and I went to a very reverent, beautiful mass in Mainz Cathedral, Germany. It was atypically good though because they had a Ukrainian Catholic choir visiting that did the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc. in Latin and Greek masterfully. Also the one I went to just two months ago in St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans LA was pretty good to. No Latin or Greek but the first eucharistic prayer and everything was done properly.

Also there are the indult masses. I have yet to get to one (2 1/2 years in the Church and no car), but I know there is a place that offers them in Syracuse, NY. I would think there would be some parish in Long Island you could go to.

J.R. Stoodley

Some Day,

Are confessions valid with so many priests being in mortal sin, regardless if in their knowledge or not, being they might not even have the intention or pronouncing the correct formula?

The formula and basic intention need to be there, but the moral status of the priest does not have anything to do with the validity of any sacrament. In fact, I forget what it was called but that was one of the early heresies in the Church, the idea that sacraments offered by immoral or heretical priests were invalid.

Tim J.

I was a little loose with my earlier comment about Mary going staright to heaven without dying, but this is actually what out priest said.

I understand that the end of Mary's life is somewhat ambiguous (as far as dogma goes), but that she at least did not suffer the bodily corruption normally associated with death, and that her body was "taken up" to heaven.

Brother Cadfael


A recommendation that the faithful attend or in any way support SSPX is recognized by the Vatican as a "grave offense." Pope John Paul II's exact words in the 1988 Apostolic Letter "Ecclesia Dei" in reference to SSPX:

"Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church's law." He also urged that the faithful "ceas[e] their support in any way for that movement."

Please stop.

Brother Cadfael


"How is it that with no original sin she suffered from at least some of the effects of it? Did JPII explain himself about that?"

Here are some comments of his that bear on the topic, all from the General Audience of June 25, 1997, "Mary and the Human Drama of Death," pp. 200-02 of Theotokos.

"Since Christ died, it would be difficult to maintain the contrary for his Mother."

"It is true that in revelation death is presented as a punishment for sin. However, the fact that the Church proclaims Mary free from original sin by a unique divine privilege does not lead to the conclusion that she also received physical immortality. The Mother is not superior to teh Son who underwent death, giving it a new meaning and changing it into a means of salvation. Involved in Christ's redemptive work and associated in his saving sacrifice, Mary was able to share in his suffereing and death for the sake of humanity's redemption."


Brother Caedfael,

Dissent is not the same as schism. SSPX is not in schism. HH Benedict XVI has stated as much. Even if Archbishop Lefebvre's consecration of four bishops without Papal approval was a "schismatic act," the Society is no longer under the direction of him, as he has passed on. What schismatic act is Bishop Fellay guilty of? At worst, he might be excommunicated having been the recipient of one of those "illicit" episcopal consecrations. However, neither he nor SSPX claims any jurisdiction, declares itself to be obedient to the Pope insofar as he is teaching and acting on the orthodox faith of the Catholic Church and not contrary to it. This is the same as is required of all believers. If a Pope leads you to sin, you don't follow the Pope. It's amazing that some people think that if the Pope sneezes, it is an infallible declaration! Was Peter's denial of Christ an infallible utterance? Popes throughout history have taught error at times and there have been Popes whose conduct has been downright disgusting. Yet, we owe them obedience as the Vicar of Christ, but we do not follow them in their errors or sins.

Now, if an ecclesiastical court, whose members were at least as loyal to Tradition as to the person of the Pope, were to hear arguments from both sides of the dispute, I might be inclined to hear the verdict. But as of yet, it is only the SSPX claiming that they did what was necessary to preserve the faith and have canon laws they can point to to support their side. And the Vatican has its own position that Archbishop Lefebvre performed a schismatic act which resulted in his own excommunication and that of those bishops he consecrated, and they have their own canon laws they cite in support of their argument.

What is our other option, for those of us who cannot bear to participate in the desecration of the Body of Christ that is rampant throughout the Church? We cannot tolerate assisting at a "mass" which brings pain and injury to our Lord. We cannot tolerate heresies like modernism, indifferentism, and pentecostalism being taught and displayed in our parishes. We cannot tolerate bishops openly endorsing homosexuality, abortion, ordination of women, and laypeople taking over duties reserved to the clergy. We do not consider singing "Kumbaya" and "We are the Jesus People" over a guitar and flute to be worship. We do not want to receive Communion from a "Eucharistic minister." We do not want to have Holy Water withheld from us during Lent. We want to hear sermons from the Gospel and epistles, not from the local newspaper. We think that giving direction and introducing every part of the Mass is an interruption and not conducive to attentively worshipping our Lord. Where else can we go? I am not Eastern, so why should I attend an Eastern Rite liturgy? The one and only indult mass our diocese offers is in a chapel that is primarily used by charismatics to have all sorts of innovative "masses" and New Age practices and they cannot guarantee that the hosts reserved in the chapel will not be those "consecrated" at the pentecostalist "mass."

We are being forced into this position by Rome, which cares not and does nothing. We are Catholics. We do not deny the Pope his authority, and we do not hold any grudge against His Holiness. Our only beef is that we want him to not only talk about the abuses and decay prevalent within the Church, but actually do something about it. FWIW, I do believe that the Holy Father understands that the situation in the Church has gotten way out of hand and desires to do something about it. He has reached out to SSPX and granted a 35-minute audience to Bishop Fellay, which is more than twice as long as a bishop typically gets an audience with the Pope for. All it will take, IMO, is some concrete action by His Holiness against the abuses committed in our parishes and the errors taught by our teachers and pastors for a full reconciliation to be possible, which is what everybody on both sides really wants.

Brother Cadfael


Pope John Paul II left little room for doubt about the disobedience of Bernard Fellay to the Pope, the schismatic nature of the act in which he participated, and his excommunication:

"In itself, this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience - which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy - constitutes a schismatic act. In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on 17 June last, Mons. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law."

And the fact that the movement is no longer under Mons. Lefebvre's direction is beside the point. As Pope John Paul II has stated, all of the faithful have a grave duty not to support "the movement" in any way. The duty to not support is directed to the movement, not to Mons. Lefebvre.

I re-urge you to please stop. Disobedience is a choice -- no one has "forced" you to do anything, and urging others to be similarly disobedient is not charitable.


Brother Caedfal--

Attending an SSPX Mass, so long as one abstains from reception of the sacraments, is NOT "formal adherence to the schism."

If you won't take my word for it, perhaps you'll take the word of Monsignor Camille Perl, member of the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission?:"[quote]

We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin[/quote]"


I have no sympathy for the pseudo-sedevacantist factions within the SSPX, but I, like Father Robert Levis of EWTN, have much sympathy for their earnest desire to restore the traditional Latin Mass.

To be frank, assisting at one of those infamous Masses in Los Angeles, where cardinals consecrate the Precious Blood in glass flagons, distribute the Sacred Hosts in wicker baskets (with uncovered HOLES through which Christ's Body dribbles onto the floor to be later trampled on by a crazed liturgical dancer), the grossly sacrilegious male dancer that they lowered in from the ceiling who mocked Christ's crucifixion by striking a pose while dangling from a string in front of the cross, the female altar girls and lectors and dancers parading about the altar, and the vile homilies by a cardinal who has done everything in his power to keep his pedophile pals active in ministry (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/700876/posts)

seems to me to be the greater sin.

I can point you to so many abuses, so many sacrileges that have occurred in Novus Ordo Masses, things I see every day in the Masses I attend (throughout states all along the East Coast from Florida to New Hampshire, as well as down South), that to attempt to engage someone in a debate trying to prop up the N.O. as liturgically equal or superior to the TLM is a losing effort.

Recognize that attendance at an SSPX chapel is NOT formal adherence to the schism when one goes for the reasons the good Msgr. stated.

Brother Cadfael


"All it will take, IMO, is some concrete action by His Holiness against the abuses committed in our parishes and the errors taught by our teachers and pastors for a full reconciliation to be possible, which is what everybody on both sides really wants."

Contingent obedience is not obedience, and obedience is not optional, as Pope Benedict XVI has made clear over and over again.

"Now, if an ecclesiastical court, whose members were at least as loyal to Tradition as to the person of the Pope, were to hear arguments from both sides of the dispute, I might be inclined to hear the verdict."

Not obey it, mind you, because the verdict might not be what you want to hear. But the very notion that there could be some arbiter of this dispute OTHER than the Vicar of Christ goes against Tradition and the rock solid firm teaching of the Magisterium. Your position on this point -- as then-Cardinal Ratzinger noted at the time of the original excommunications -- is as illogical as it is disobedient.

Brother Cadfael


Perhaps you are more charitable than I, but something causes me to doubt that Augustine shares your caution about abstaining from reception of the sacraments at an SSPX chapel. If he shares it, he should include it when he encourages others to go there. But even his recommendation to go there is contrary to the recommendation of the Magisterium.

It is not only formal adherence to the schism that the Magisterium has cautioned against, it is support in any way for the movement.

Loyalty to the Magisterium involves more than obedience to infallibly declared dogmas and teachings, and it involves more than listening when its pleasant or convenient.

You also stated, that "to attempt to engage someone in a debate trying to prop up the N.O. as liturgically equal or superior to the TLM is a losing effort." Whether or not the N.O. is liturgically equal or superior to the TLM assuming one is being obedient in celebrating either is entirely beside the point.

My obedience to the Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium of the Church is not contingent on them doing what I like them to do.\

And you can certainly sympathize with some of the goals of an organization or a person without supporting them. That, again, is entirely beside the point.


Brother Cadfael-

You said: "It is not only formal adherence to the schism that the Magisterium has cautioned against, it is support in any way for the movement."

That is not what the Holy Father said. He said that FORMAL ADHERENCE constitutes a grave sin, and he URGED people not to support the movement.

As the secretary on the Ecclesia Dei commission said (and Ecclesia Dei is a papally mandated commission for those drawn to the TLM), attending an SSPX chapel for the sake of devotion to the 1962 Missal does NOT constitute formal adherence to the schism. I don't have the document on hand at this minute, but I seem to recall even reading that if one dropped money in the collection basket, not for the sake of promoting schism, but for the sake of keeping the daily TLM going, even that act would not be a formal adherence.

Let's face it; if you know your Church history, you know what Archbishop Bugnini's stated intentions were, and if you read Pope Paul VI's general audience of 11/26/1969 and study the enormous differences between the two Missals, being relegated to the sole option of a NO for the rest of your life is a grim situation. If that were my situation, I'd look for an SSPX chapel, taking care to avoid receiving the sacraments.

It's a messy picture in the Church, and I highly, highly recommend you study some of this stuff very seriously.

There is no part of the Catholic Faith more important than the Mass, and if a Church doctor like St. Alphonsus Liguori called the TLM the "most beautiful thing this side of Heaven," it deserves sincere consideration.

You also said: "My obedience to the Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium of the Church is not contingent on them doing what I like them to do."

With all due respect, this is the sort of attitude I notice a lot among Catholics in the post-Conciliar era.

There is the notion that we must obey everything the Pope says, literally everything. If the pope expresses a personal opinion, if he prays with African Satanist priests in Assisi, kisses the Koran, says the Old Covenant was "never revoked" while speaking to Jews (on the contrary, Christ makes it quite clear that it was: Matt 26:28, Mark 14, Luke 22), adds new mysteries to a devotion given by Our Lady to St. Dominic, appoints Cardinal Mahony, Bishop Weakland, and other gravely heterodox bishops and cardinals...the list goes on, but this type of Catholic has contructed a cult of personality surrounding the pope.

We can best see this in the premature canonization by popular fiat of many Catholics calling Pope John Paul "John Paul the Great."

There have been many, many popes throughout the years who are now great saints who were NOT given the title "Magnus." Why Pope John Paul? He absolutely bore a phenomenal witness to suffering and did much good in standing up for Church teaching against abortion, contraception, etc. He had a wonderful devotion to Our Lady and a great love for the Blessed Sacrament.

But that list I cited above and the many modernist tendencies of his papacy are cause for genuine, real, true concern and preclude this impromptu canonization.

Catholics are obliged to obey things belonging to the deposit of Faith, but as I said, read Bugnini's autobiography, read Pope Paul VI's commentary on the New Mass, read about the Ottaviani Intervention, Dietrich von Hilldebrand. Read all of it, and THEN return and tell me I am being an irritating, disobedient Catholic. I doubt you'll do so if you apply yourself to studying the matter, and I hope you will.


Brother Cadfael,

There is no schism. This is not Martin Luther making his own private interpretations of Scripture and deciding that the Pope is unnecessary. On the contrary, we need the Pope. But when the Pope abuses his office, uses it to promote anti-Catholic ideas and tolerates wholesale paganism to be paraded around in the guise of the mass, then it is obligatory to resist him on these points. Nobody in the SSPX (to the best of my knowledge) is claiming the Pope to be a heretic and absolutely nobody is denying his rightful place as Pope. What is objected to is the abuse of the office to suppress legitimate dissent (we're talking about preserving authentic Catholic Tradition here, not advocating ordination of women priests or conferring Matrimony upon homosexual men) while allowing outright blasphemy to have free reign in Christ's own Church. The Pope is merely the Vicar of Christ, not Christ himself. If the vicar does not carry out the will of the King, the subjects of the King owe the Monarch their obedience, not the vicar, for the vicar is only a vicar insofar as he carries out the will of the King and executes the King's laws faithfully. Or should I suppose that were the Antichrist himself sitting in the Seat of Peter that we owe him blind allegiance as well? If the Pope tomorrow offered a mass dressed in a clown suit, consecrating a graham cracker host, and then poured a libation to "Holy Mother Earth" on the same altar, and recommended this as the proper form of the mass, would you follow him into it? Well, guess what! He hasn't exactly done that, but he may as well have because such things are actually taking place in thousands of parishes across the country and around the world, and the Pope is aware of these abuses, and yet as much as he publicly gripes about it, does practically nothing to put an end to it.

Please wake up, realize that the Catholic Church was not just founded 50 years ago, that Truth is unchangeable, that the Church is very much in a time of crisis, and that real souls' eternal destinies are at stake here. The errors of modernism, ecumenism, and pentecostalism are eroding the Church from within. Or should I suppose that we should have tolerated those other heresies that arose throughout the ages. What's wrong with a little Montanism or Protestantism or Sabellianism after all? As long as we all are able to ignore the fact that it is not what the Church has always believed and taught and we can get along and have a good time, what is the harm in that? "God is love," right?

Can you not even see the hypocrisy and error in declaring the SSPX bishops to be excommunicated--bishops who want nothing but to preserve the integrity of the Church--all the while the great majority of bishops in the Church are preaching heresy and practicing sacrilege and yet the Pope does nothing about it?

For 1950 years, you could go to a Mass anywhere and recognize the Catholic Church. Only in the last 50 has it become impossible to distinguish the Catholics from the New Age, the Protestants, the Pentecostals, and the Anglicans--heretics all! 60% of Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation. Could it possibly be that the Mass has ceased to resemble anything like a sacrifice? Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Brother Cadfael

MJ and Augustine,

I will address the rest of your posts, to the extent I am able, as soon as I get a chance. In the meantime, could either of you please answer two simple questions for me.

Has the excommunication of Bernard Fellay been rescinded? If so, can you please tell me who rescinded it, when and how.

Is there a magisterial document, following Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, stating that the SSPX is not in schism?



Perhaps someone could explain to me how to place sections of text in italics. The [I][/i] notation is not working.

Brother Cadfael--

"Has the excommunication of Bernard Fellay been rescinded?"

I certainly never suggested that the SSPX's irregular status had been lifted.

I also hope you don't think I am playing apologist for the SSPX.

Frankly, I found Archbishop Lefebvre's tendency to "play to the crowd" to be rather revolting. If he was addressing a far right audience, he'd essentially adopt a sedevacantist position to draw them in, and then switch right back to bosom loyalty to the Holy Father when addressing a crowd more to the left.

But I find the hatred and invective directed at the SSPX to be puzzling.

I never see that sort of thing directed at Jews, who lay claim to the vile Talmud, which is perhaps the worst, most grotesque series of blasphemies against the Blessed Virgin and Christ ANYWHERE, nor against the Muslims, whose "holy" book is also full of anti-Christian filth.

But towards the SSPX, a society much, much closer to the Church than any of the pagans or heretics that Pope John Paul so loved to pray with and visit with in their places of worship, there is no such sympathy or "ecumenism."

If one makes the slightest overture towards the SSPX's goal for restoring the TLM, he's "schismatic."

If you doubt me, read about Pope Paul VI's disturbing meeting with the archbishop:


The problem with the events preceding the schismatic act is the following:

Archbishop Lefebvre, for whatever his personal foibles, had seminarians coming to him telling him about the revolting modernist doctrine that all these French priests were spilling out in their priestly formation.

Add that to the incredible amount of change taking place in the 60's and 70's, some of it which UNQUESTIONABLY went way too far into the areas St. Pius X CONDEMNED in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (read it here: http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P10PASCE.HTM), and I could very easily see how the archbishop felt compelled to take drastic measures.

What he did was wrong. But Pope John Paul II never would have given him a traditional bishop. And Archbishop Lefebvre never would have consecrated anyone but the bishops he considered would steer well clear of capitulating to this grotesque "spirit of Vatican II" nonsense.

We can get into all the abuses, the goings on at various NO parishes throughout the country if you wish. The cards are stacked against someone who wants to make the case that these are "abnormal."

The opportunity to abuse the Mass is written into the very rubrics, and Cardinal Ratzinger said as much in his book "Spirit of the Liturgy."

For 2 great articles on this, by a balanced traditionalist who has done his share of defending the NO from charges of invalidity, see:



Check out the Catholic answers forum, where they start 200 post threads about the "most liturgically abused Mass you've ever been to."

I personally see abuses at just about every NO Mass I've been to, some relatively minor, but others of large proportions, possibly even invalidating the Mass. And, as I said, I've been to Masses up and down the East Coast, so my perspective is not confined to a single town or city or parish.

The problem is that many "neo-Catholics," while pandering to "orthodoxy" and vaguely praising Vatican II, make the mistake of lumping all traditionalists together and steering clear. Traditionalism is, as Dave Armstrong erroneously put it, the "dead faith of the living."

He's wrong, and so are otherwise good apologists who stomp on the beautiful and timeless traditions on the Church.

This issue is of such immense proportions and importance that I don't know how much we can accomplish by combox back and forth, although I do wish--and perhaps others will add their voices to the chorus--that Mr. Akin would address some of these pressing questions.

This is one of, if not the single most explosive topic in Catholicism today, and Mr. Akin's blog might do well to take it up in a series of posts.

Brother Cadfael


I will join your chorus and would welcome Jimmy's blog on some of these issues. And I can't help you on italics -- that is a question I have as well.

In the meantime, I will address some of the points in your most recent post, perhaps covering some of your earlier points as well.

I believe that we share a common desire to see some reverence and proper decorum restored to the Mass, and I have no interest in hurling hatred and invective at anyone. I do have a sincere interest in the faithful not being misled into grave errors, and I think there is some serious confusion about what the Church teaches in terms of respect and loyalty to the Magisterium and the Pope.

The bottom line on the SSPX is that they are not -- whatever vocal protestations they make to the contrary -- obedient to the Pope. Contingent obedience (I'll obey as long as I agree with you) is not obedience. And disobedience is a grave matter. What is disobedience? That depends on the level of response called for the magisterial action in question.

Infallible teachings of the magisterium require the "assent of divine and catholic faith" (if they are proposed by the Magisterium as divinely revealed) or they must be "firmly accepted and held" if they are strictly and intimately connected with revelation. (Donum Veritatis, 23.) It is, of course, true that not all magisterial teachings are infallible. As Jimmy has pointed out many times, Canon 749.3 expressly states that "No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident." Ordinary teachings on matters of faith and morals such as those found in encyclicals or apostolic letters or other curial documents, are not infallible and do not require divine and catholic faith. Rather, such matters require "religious submission of the intellect and the will on the part of the faithful." (See Lumen Gentium, 25; Donum Veritatis, 23; Canon 725.) "This kind of response cannot be simply exterior or disciplinary, but must be understood within the logic of faith and under the impulse of obedience to the faith." (Donum Veritatis, 23.) In this assent of mind and will, the faithful confesses that the Magisterium's guidance is the most reliable truth in the present historical situation, trustworthy above and beyond the individual person's (or some other source's) own perspective on the matter. There must be genuine assent, even though it is not infallible and might well undergo revision in light of changing historical circumstances.
"Finally, in order to serve the People of God as well as possible, in particular, by warning them of dangerous opinions which could lead to error, the Magisterium can intervene in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements. It often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent. The willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule." (Donum Veritatis, 24).

Judged by that standard, any support of SSPX is a grave matter, and one who culpably does so places the state of his or her soul in grave danger.

As I fear I myself am in grave danger of committing a Rule 3 violation, I will address some of your other points in another post.

Brother Cadfael


You have suggested that SSPX is much, much closer to the Church than Jews, Muslims, or "any of the pagans or heretics that Pope John Paul so loved to pray with and visit with." (Note: you should check Canon 751 for a definition of heresy.)

But my point is this, it is precisely because SSPX holds itself out as Catholic that its willful disobedience is all the more scandalous. It is far more scandalous for one who is a member of one of the three monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, or Islam) to take God's holy name in vain than it is for a proclaimed atheist or agnostic to do so. It is not RIGHT for anyone to do so, but it is more scandalous for one who claims to believe in Him to do so.

It is more scandalous for a Christian to profane the Body of Christ than it is for a Muslim or a Jew to do so, for the same reason.

And it is more scandalous for one who claims to be Catholic to openly defy the Pope and the Magisterium than it is for a non-Catholic to do so.

Scandal is serious business. We can talk all we want about the need to scuttle the NO and return to the Latin Mass. (You would certainly not find me protesting should the Magisterium decide on that course.) But the fact of the matter is, there are thousands of faithful Catholics fighting that battle AND doing so in a way that remains loyal to Rome.

I will address your comments on what the Magisterium has specifically said about SSPX in a later post.

Brother Cadfael


You have provided the following quote from a letter by Monsignor Camille Perl, member of the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission:

"We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin[/quote]"

Immediately above that quote he stated:

"While it is true that participation in the Mass at the chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute "formal adherence to the schism", such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a schismatic mentality which separates itself from the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff and the entire Catholic Church...."

And then:

"It is precisely because of this schismatic mentality that this Pontifical Commission has consistently discouraged the faithful from attending Masses celebrated under the aegis of the Society of St. Pius X." [I would place that in bold italics if I knew how.]

He then noted that "many in authority in SSPX" are in "formal adherence to the schism" even though the Church has not precisely defined what that term means.

And then, a stinger: "We reiterate what we stated above: "The Pope is the Supreme legislator in the Church." Communion with him is a fundamental, non-negotiable hallmark of Catholicism which is not determined by those who set themselves up to judge him..."

We have a duty as faithful Catholics to do more than simply avoid mortal sin. Playing with the SSPX is, simply put, dangerous business. You may believe that my words in this regard are hateful or full of invective. In response, I would hope that they are motivated by nothing more than the charity that should be evident in a post dedicated to the Assumption of our Blessed Lady.

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

I see you have angered the SSPX people. I made a point not to get myself into that debate. Most reasonable Catholics will take the Church's position on SSPX seriously enough to stay away from it.

Getting back on subject, the thing you quoted (way above now) did not say why Mary should suffer any consequences of original sin. I suppose it is true that being preserved from original sin does not by definition mean you will not suffer any of the consequences, that is the only thing that makes sense to me. Mary certainly did not suffer from the tendency to fall into sin, or she could not have lived an impeccable life.

Her son chose to die, there is no evidence that he would have died of old age if he had not been crucified. Why could she not chose to die in a sense too. Not through suicide of course, but maybe choose to become mortal for the sake of her mission as Coredemptrix. This would make sense and in no way make her superior to her son in a human way (except perhaps by living longer than he did but we know that happened in any case).

Any explanation of why God would prevent her from being immortal despite an unfallen human nature? That seems totally unjust.

J.R. Stoodley

Oh yeah, I only skimmed most of the SSPX debate after the first few posts, but was there a question about how to do italics?

Inocencio showed me how to do them but I am not sure how and can't find the post where he told me, so here is my inelegant, partial explanation.

For italics, you type <> with an i in between the bracket-like-symbols, right before the begining of the text you want to be italic, with no space between it and the first word. At the end of the text you want to be italic, with no space between it and the last word, type another <> with a /i in it. This is important because otherwise everything under the <> with i will go italic, including much of the actual webpage. The <> things will not show up in the final text, which is why I cant just type them here.

I believe Inocencio said you can get bold text useing b and /b, and underlined using u and /u, but I am not 100% sure of those letters so I havn't tried them.

On another post Inocencio gave a webpage for how to create links but I went there and couldn't figure it out. Someone less computer-incompetent probably could have though.

I hope that isn't totally confusing.

Brother Cadfael


Thanks for the tip on italics.

On your question, here is the address for the general audience in question. It's a quick read.

Let me know if that doesn't work, and I'll get you the rest.

It really was not my intent to anger the SSPX folks, even though I guess I knew that would be the result. But not everyone is familiar with what the Church has said about SSPX, or about loyalty/obedience in general, and I didn't want somebody reading Augustine's posts and thinking its OK to support SSPX because Jimmy's the Catholic Answers guy and they read about it on his blog site.

Brother Cadfael


I put an < followed by and i followed by an > (no spaces) immediately after the period following italics, but it didn't seem to stop the endless italics problem you warned about. I'll try it again here before the comma.


Brother Cadfael (and others)--

It was my express intention in earlier posts, and one which I will repeat again, that I am not one of the "SSPX folks."

I think the large majority of what you said is true.

My argument is not set up as fronting for the SSPX, but combatting the tendency I see among non-traditionalists to think that an affinity for the TLM automatically equates with support or adherence to the SSPX schism.

As we can clearly see, based on Mr. Stoodley's comments, that has come true in this very thread.

The fact is, Pope Paul VI allowed the TLM to be said only by aged and infirm priests as of 1976.

See the consistory address he gave on May 24, 1976 (in which he called out Lefebvre, the first time in recent memory a pope ever criticized by name a top prelate): http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Apologia/Vol_one/Chapter_9.htm

The adoption of the new Ordo Missae is certainly not left to the free choice of priests or faithful. The Instruction of 14 June 1971 has provided, with the authorization of the Ordinary, for the celebration of the Mass in the old form only by aged and infirm priests, who offer the divine Sacrifices sine populo.

That is a startling statement. How is the above not, effectually, abrogation? The only TLM that could be offered from 1970 to 1984 was a private Mass by an old, sick priest. Imagine, if you would, what St. Pius V would have said of that.

In essence what we have here is the startling and discomfiting fact that, given 10-15 years, all those old and infirm priests would have died off altogether--and then, who would be left to celebrate the TLM?

Until 1984, when Pope John Paul II began his Ecclesia Dei efforts, who was offering the TLM? The Holy Father had to poll the world's bishops to determine if the St. Pius V Missal had been abrogated, and the bishops--falsely, in my opinion--said that it had not been.

But given that little clause about old priests, what would Pope Paul VI have said, for example, if he had been around in 1982? All the old and sick priests would have been dead by that time. And no one but old and sick priests were given permission.

What about young, traditional priests who loved the beauty of the TLM? Would they be denied access? Thanks be to God for Pope John Paul's stepping in to do something.

In addition, we have the problem of many U.S. bishops not allowing the TLM.

If we wish to speak about obedience, we can say plainly that no bishop has the authority to deny the celebration of the TLM. It's simply not possible, and if you read Quo Primum, even if we conclude that St. Pius V did not intend to bind future popes, the language very clearly and indisputably binds everyone else, "of whatever ecclesiastical rank" (http://www.unavoce.org/quoprim.htm), to his missive.

Great saints like Saints Pius V and Pius X would have rent their croziers had they seen what these bishops have done to the Mass. Objectively speaking, to deny the 1962 Missal is ludicrous and insupportable; they simply don't have the authority.


Apparently I messed something up with the italics.

But the quoted portion was given by Pope Paul VI in his consistory on 5/24/1976. No more TLM's anywhere, ever, except by sick or old priests in private. Direct from the Holy Father's mouth.

The Novus Ordo Missal stopped printing Quo Primum on the front page, as every other Missal had, perhaps because the prelates in charge of promulgating it did not want to consider that they might have incurred the wrath of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

It is a testament to the Holy Spirit's protection of the Church that, given the personal views of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the main architect of the New Mass (who was FIRED by Blessed John XXIII, then inexplicably restored by Pope Paul VI, who later fired him AGAIN, and who also said, on 3/19/1965 in L'Osservatore Romano that "we must strip from our Catholic prayers and liturgy anything that could provide the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, the Protestants"), that the Novus Ordo remained free of outright heresy.

So, in short, all of the above is what concerns me very deeply, and what endears me, NOT to the SSPX itself or to its views of the pope, but to the fact that they are one of the only groups that still offers a daily TLM.

I think anyone solid in their faith would be well able to AVOID "imbibing the schismatic mentality." The only danger point would be the homilies, and if you go in knowing full well that SSPX priest Joe Schmoe is going to take unwarranted shots at the Holy Father, you can easily brush such remarks off.

Brother Cadfael


Great saints like St. Pius V and St. Pius X would NEVER place the TLM over obedience and loyalty to the Vicar of Christ and the Church that he leads.

"The only danger point would be the homilies, and if you go in knowing full well that SSPX priest Joe Schmoe is going to take unwarranted shots at the Holy Father, you can easily brush such remarks off."

On the contrary, there are many dangers. You minimize the gravity of scandal and the importance of witness. Other less-informed Catholics will no doubt see your attendance at the SSPX Mass as support for SSPX -- not all are as discerning as you. Most who draw the conclusion from you that attendance is ok do not likely notice that you are not receiving the sacraments when you go. Is the TLM really worth leading people into error? And the schismatic mentality develops gradually, over time, as has been pointed out in the SSPX admonitions. That is why the Pontifical Commission recommends against attending any SSPX Masses, despite acknowledging that it is not necessarily a mortal sin to do so.

Trying to convince others that the Magisterium has said it is "ok" to attend SSPX Masses when they have in fact strongly recommended that you do not is dangerous business.

The TLM is not so important that one should suffer through "unwarranted shots at the Holy Father" to experience it, much less at the hands of a celebrant whose first loyalty is to an excommunicated Bishop rather than to the Holy Father and the Church which he leads.


Isn't there some SSPX blog somewhere you all can 'amass' and argue about TLM and hurl Latin insults at each other? For such an infinitesimal minority of Catholicism, you traditionalists sure have a way of mucking up a blog!

About the "dog which didn't bark" theory which is commonly used to argue for the Assumption of Mary: Is there a traditional burial site for St. Joseph which was identified by Emperess Helena and reverenced by early Christians? After all, St. Joseph is considered the greatest Saint on the Calendar, save for the Blessed Mother.

If we invoke the "dog which didn't bark" theory for Mary, don't we have to grant it to Joseph as well?


Brother Cadfael--

Great saints like St. Pius V and St. Pius X would NEVER place the TLM over obedience and loyalty to the Vicar of Christ and the Church that he leads.

On what do you base your statement?

The Blessed Sacrament is the source and summit of the Catholic Faith, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is His essential means of giving Himself to us.

Do you mean to say that the source and summit of the Faith and the means by which He is conveyed to us comes second to obedience to the Holy Father?

Hopefully not.

Further, a false dichotomy is being set up here.

Obedience to the Holy Father is not somehow in opposition to the TLM's offering. I cannot understand what the root issue here is.

The SSPX has certainly disobeyed the Holy Father.

We have established this.

So what is the problem?

I think, also, that you might wish to read Pope Saint Pius X's Pascendi Dominici Gregis (http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P10PASCE.HTM) to understand why I believe your statement is at least misinformed, and likely wrong.

St. Pius X was ordering obedience to himself and his predecessors and successors on the apparent assumption that they would repudiate modernism just as vehemently.

I can tell you this; if you read that encyclical, as well as Mortalium Animos, and absorb some of those points about the "poison of Modernism," the absolute hatred St. Pius bore for that doctrine infecting Catholic thought, and then Pope Pius XI's rejection of those ecumenical gatherings which he said no Christian should take part in, and then consider that Hans Kung, Rahner, Congar, etc. were pals with Cardinal Ratzinger way back when, and that Pope John Paul II convened the very sort of meetings Pope Pius XI condemned, you can see where obedience to Church teaching is and where obedience to imprudent and possibly erroneously personal decisions and choices by the Holy Father is unwarranted.

I cannot obey, as a specific point, the idea that we should create a common martyrology for Protestant "saints as presented in Pope John Paul II's encylical Ut Unum Sint (see point #84), nor can I obey the idea that the urgent, dire need to convert non-Catholics is part of an "outdated ecclesiology" (http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx)

To pave the way for future relations between the two Churches, passing beyond the out-dated ecclesiology of return to the Catholic Church

Now, the pope gave his approval to this document. How is that possible?

The Orthodox, lest we forget, are in schism.

Why do you not rise up against the Orthodox, who, in an equally scandalous manner, term themselves Catholics and have valid sacraments and a valid priesthood? They meet your definition, which is an apt one, about a believer's transgression being more scandalous than an unbeliever's.

Why do you push that sort of thing aside and ignore it, preferring some mystical sort of "obedience"?

Simply put, that is error. The blood of martyrs attests to the Truth of the True Faith. How can a pope approve the idea that the efforts of bringing schismatics back into the fold is an "outdated ecclesiology"?

You are free to consider me some sort of radical SSPX sympathizer if you wish.

I am not. My question is sincere and, like others regarding the Koran, the revocation of the Old Covenant, Assisi (the latest version of which, in Washington DC, I personally attended), I have never seen convincingly answered.

That Balamand statement I linked to is full of such duplicitous language, with all of the warm and fuzzy conciliar type lingo ("Vatican II has helped us adopt radically altered perspectives...in a certain way...in some sense" before going on to present diametrically opposed doctrines and call them one and the same).



"Isn't there some SSPX blog somewhere you all can 'amass' and argue about TLM and hurl Latin insults at each other? For such an infinitesimal minority of Catholicism, you traditionalists sure have a way of mucking up a blog!"

Perhaps you can clarify your statement above.

I have already said, and repeated, and will repeat now yet again, that I am not an SSPX member, nor do I sympathize with any aspect of the group's stated beliefs beyond their affinity for the TLM.

Therefore, I am having trouble understanding why you would refer me to an SSPX blog.

The sarcasm of your statement seems to imply some sort of distant distaste for the TLM and for the unversal language of the Church, Latin, and it is comments like that which provoke these long replies.

I must conclude from your reply that you need to delve into Church history a bit more, paying particular attention to the reasons given for changing the Mass, whether those are valid reasons, who was in charge of changing the Mass, what their stated aims were, and what the Old and New Mass look like side by side. If you can do that and return with the same attitude, I would be very, very surprised.

As for your comment about traditionalists being an "infinitesimally small minority," I'm afraid you are simply mistaken.

In additiom to the term "traditionalist" being a fairly malleable description, there are no numbers available for you to make such a claim, and your statement is far more antagonistic than it seems to need to be.

I don't wish to corrupt Mr. Akin's comment box with my raving SSPX tirades any longer, so I depart with the hope that he will open up the discussion of his own volition in the blog proper.



The "sarcasm in my statement" is due to the fact that this and so many other threads seem to get hijacked by SSPX and/or TLM concerns. I've seen this on other Catholic Blog sites as well. In many cases, it is the very same people promoting the same tired old SSPX and/or TLM websites and the same disgruntled, pessimistic point-of-view.

In the context of a billion or so Catholics celebrating the vernacular Mass, Novus Ordo, how many "ad orientem" Catholics are we talking about, a few thousand?

As for me, I've been a daily communicant most of my life and celebrated it in many different contexts, with pomp and circumstance or bone simplicity. I love the beauty, simplicity and clarity of the vernacular mass with every fiber of my being. There's plenty of room for Gregorian chant and use of Latin (the mother tongue as I experienced at Lourdes) within the Novus Ordo but I don't expect to be switching to TLM anytime soon.

Thanks but no thanks, I'm happy where I am!

Brother Cadfael


I suspect that there is far more on which we agree than on which we disagree. I do not consider you to be a "radical SSPX sympathizer," and I do not equate the TLM with SSPX.

I would not counsel anyone to stay away from the TLM, but I would counsel everyone to stay away from the TLM being said by SSPX.

Allegiance to the Magisterium should not be blind, but it should be loyal, and I believe that you have wrenched Ut Unum Sint (and specifically the section you reference), out of context. With respect to the Balamand text you reference, perhaps you are confusing proselytizing with evangelizing. They are at times used by some interchangeably, and much confusion has been the result.

I will take you up, however, on your suggestion to re-read Pascendi Dominici Gregis.



First things first... italics be gone!!

Just a couple of quick comments..


The latest estimate I have is that 1 million Catholics regularly attend SSPX masses (2002). The number of priests aligned to SSPX is growing steadily. This is not a fringe minority, but perhaps the last refuge for a lot of Catholics fleeing the innovations and sacrilege prevalent in the Church today. The first thing I noticed when attending the SSPX chapel for the first time was I was expecting it to be a lot of old worshippers and an 80-year old priest. I was surprised to see actually quite a young priest and I'd place the median age of the worshippers at around 25. This is a healthy and growing movement. With the aging episcopacy and the fact that the only places in the Church which are not experiencing sharp declines in religious and priestly vocations are those few dioceses that remain loyal to Catholic teaching, chances are that in 20 years, you will be worshipping in a parish led by a "Traditionalist" priest, perhaps even someone who is today in an SSPX seminary.

Brother Cadfael:

You see SSPX as schismatic. I see them as being in resistance, not to papal authority, but to papal error. Christ is the King, not the Pope. The Pope is merely his governor. The law flows from Christ. If the Pope cannot or will not uphold the law of Christ, then it is the duty of the faithful to obey Christ whenever the two are in conflict. Unfortunately, if you polled 1000 Catholics at random and asked them who the head of the Church is, 998 of them would say "the Pope." The answer is actually "Christ." Likewise, I think the vast majority of Catholics don't even realize they're being fed false doctrine and false worship. They don't even recognize liturgical abuse or aberrant teachings. This is why we need resistance and why we need to protect the faithful from spiritual harm done to them by their bishops, including, I'm afraid, the Bishop of Rome when he errs.


One more try...


I think I got it... no more italics..

Brother Cadfael

The Catholic Church sees SSPX as schismatic. To deny that doesn't leave us much of a starting point for a discussion.

Brother Cadfael

And thank you for banishing the italics to ... whereever bad italics go. How'd you do that?


I used a bunch of [/i] and [/em] tags and even a few [/div] for good measure.. I have no idea what it was, but I figured I'd try them all. :)

Actually, I don't even think that that's the starting point of the discussion. The problem is really that some cardinals are throwing around the word "schism" without even knowing what it means. SSPX does not claim any jurisdiction nor do they look to any other man, but the same HH Benedict XVI as the Supreme Pontiff. But they will not follow the bishops, even the Pope, in error when they teach it or command it.

Now sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God; therefore, superiors are not to be obeyed in all things. -- St. Thomas Aquinas, Supreme Doctor of the Church, Summa Theologica IIa-IIae, Q.104

Was it wrong for St. Catherine of Siena or St. Athanasius to criticize the Pope? In Athanasius' case, he was initially excommunicated, but later restored when the Pope realized his error.

A Pope does not cease to be Pope even though he may teach error or command others to sin. But it does not mean that the faithful ought to consider the error as Truth or practice the sin commanded by the Pope.

A true schismatic would be someone like the sedevacantists who deny the Pope or the conclavists who elect antipopes. Also the so-called "Orthodox," who deny the very office of Pope and insist that he has no more authority than any other bishop.

There is a huge difference between denying the Pope and lawfully disobeying him because he teaches error or commands sin. Those who like to paint all of SSPX as schismatic are misguided, even those cardinals who have done so. There probably are some schismatics in SSPX. But they are not in harmony with the Society's mission.

To be quite honest with you, I don't have a lot personally invested in the TLM. I would be quite satisfied with a few minor alterations to the NO. The vernacular does not bother me at all, either. I am more bothered by the reasons behind changing the mass, by the complete lack of decorum displayed surrounding the mass, by the openness and audacity of the abuses that persist in the masses being offered by diocesan and religious priests and bishops, and the complete failure of Rome to sufficiently address any of it.

The only organized group that is visibly and audibly fighting this campaign against this twin demon of modernism and hyperecumenism without resorting to sedevacantism, conclavism, or accommodationism is SSPX. As long as they continue to resist the innovations coming out of Rome, I will support them. The moment it ceases to be about resisting innovation and it becomes resistance to the papacy itself, I will no longer support them.

But I cannot stand idly by while demons from hell disguised as bishops and cardinals attack and assail my Lord by mocking his sacrifice in the Mass!



There's a big difference between orthodoxy and traditionalism. Most of the 20 and 30- something generation of energized Clergy, Seminarians and rank-and-file Catholics you reference are orthodox Catholics and not traditionalists and SSPXers. Many of them - don't swallow your gum here - have been influenced by prophetic movements within the Church like Medjugorje, Charismatic renewal, theology of the body, and the Right-to-Life movement.

Among "the new faithful" (see book by same name by Coleen Carol), some have reacted so radically to the culture of materialism and egoism that they have developed a nostalgia for 1940's style Catholicism but without the optimism of the radical orthodox.

One distinguishing feature of the new orthodox generation is an ebulent, wholehearted love and admiration for Pope John Paul the Great. Get used to it, you're going to be hearing a lot more of it!

The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy by Colleen Carol



JPII probably did more harm to the Church than any other Pope in modern Church history, second possibly only to Paul VI.

The very fact that millions of supposedly "orthodox" Catholics describe him as "the Great" is proof that the Church is in serious trouble!

The funny thing is that these people are so hyped up and "energized" about all of these things, yet not about the sacrifice of the Mass, the sacrament of Penance, or proper forms of worship and piety. In other words, they're not really "orthodox," now are they?

Popes St. Pius V and St. Pius X would be turning over in their graves right now if they weren't watching with horror and disgust from Heaven at what the Church has disintegrated into.

If JPII ever gets canonized, they might as well canonize Benedict IX, Leo X, and Boniface VIII too!

Brother Cadfael


SSPX may not regard itself as schismatic, but the Magisterium certainly regards SSPX as schismatic.

The main problem with SSPX (or at least one of the main problems) is that it has set itself up as the arbiter of Tradition, over and against the Pope. Tradition itself assigns that role to the Pope, as does the Magisterium. SSPX has coopted that role for itself.

Your resistance movement, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger noted, is premised on a logical fallacy.


Now how did I know that the wheels were going to come off the bus when I mentioned Pope John Paul the Great?!

That is exactly what I mean about you TLMers being an infinitesimal minority of Catholics. The vast majority of Catholics LOVE Pope John Paul (and the vernacular liturgy).

Those weren't your fringe traditionalists gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Holy Father's passing by the hundred thousands. Those were the face of tomorrow's Church: the singing, hugging, Kiss-of-peace offering, Pope-loving majority Catholic! And they're the ones filling novitiates and seminaries who will be teaching and nursing and saying mass for your grandchildren!

Brother Cadfael

Just to stoke the fire some more, he will very soon thereafter be named a Doctor of the Church for his Theology of the Body!

What kind of footing are you on if your leader has been excommunicated by a Doctor of the Church? :)


Mark, the majority of the WORLD loved JPII, and that right there should be an indication of something wrong since Christ is at variance with the world! The Papacy is not a popularity contest. In reality, the Pope who is most faithful to Christ should be hated by the world. Look at St. Leo the Great, he stood fast for the True Orthodox Faith in the face of many heresies when probably most Catholics were under the sway of one heresy or another. And yet he did not bow to heresy to be popular. He stood firm on the Faith of the Apostles. Now, there's a true Saint and Magnus!

Not JPII who advanced the causes of hyperecumenism, indifferintism, pentecostalism, and modernism because he was more anti-Marxist than he was pro-Catholic. Opposition to materialism doesn't make you a Catholic. It could just as easily make you a New Agist. JPII's theology is completely flawed as it elevates man to the position properly occupied by God.

I have great faith that this Pope, HH Benedict XVI, will show greater obedience to the Holy Ghost and will undo a lot of the harm done by his predecessor. I also believe that the Holy Ghost will not allow the canonization nor the formal appellation of Magnus of JPII, to the surprise of many. I am very optimistic that Rome is starting to swing back in the right direction. But that doesn't mean that I cave in to the charismatic hippie lunatics in the meantime.

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

It sounds like what you did wrong is put another i instead of a /i in the last < >. Thus two ones with the /i were needed to stop the italics, since there were now two i ones.

J.R. Stoodley


I certainly don't equate love for the traditinal Latin mass with SSPX or schism. I mistook you for an SSPXer because, as I think I said, I only skimmed all but the first two posts of this controversy and I thought you were taking Augustine's side on the issue.


Um, this combox is off-topic now. A discussion about the Assumption turned to a debate on the SSPX. Can someone email Mr. Akin to make a discussion about this one? Though the debate is rather old in the sense that every now and then, something similar to this debate appears on other sites. I just hope it doesn't escalate into World War-esque violence. Wishing you all a good day. God bless You.

Brother Cadfael


Thanks -- I'll try it again and see if it works.


I'm going to repeat an Assumption related question that didn't get picked up (an inquiring mind wants to know):

About the "dog which didn't bark" theory which is commonly used to argue for the Assumption of Mary: Is there a traditional burial site for St. Joseph which was identified by Emperess Helena and reverenced by early Christians? After all, St. Joseph is considered the greatest Saint on the Calendar, save for the Blessed Mother.

If we invoke the "dog which didn't bark" theory for Mary, don't we have to grant it to Joseph as well?

I'm not really arguing for the assumption of St. Joseph (although Elijah was assumed; God could grant it to St. Joseph if it was fitting), I'm just playing DA on the DWDB theory ...

Brother Cadfael


I don't know the answer to your question.

But while St. Joseph is certainly one of the most important saints in the Church's history, I don't know that it is true that he was revered to the same degree that the Blessed Mother would have been, particularly given that he died some time before Christ's passion, death and resurrection, and before the birth of the Church. Mary as present for all that, and would have been personally beloved by Christ's closest disciples.

So, while your question is valid, I don't think you could necessarily draw the same inferences from the absence of any traditional burial site for St. Joseph.

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