Saturday, June 16, 2012


...that the Lefebvrists have been summoned to the CDF, had a lengthy discussion, and been offered a Personal Prelature. Will they - or some of them - swallow pride and submit to Rome? They could do so, as they have been announcing that they "don't need to accept all of Vatican II" and will probably stick to that claim to save face, and can then go ahead. Once back in the Church, the struggle will be to adapt from the "non serviam" approach of the past few decades to "serviam", but that is certainly possible. And they will find that being in the Church changes them, and that as the years go by, they will not mind...and may some day wonder why they made all that fuss.


Alenka said...

Yes, true but I still worry about the "small print". If they have a personal prelature, they will presumably have their own churches in which they will be able to impose their own rules. Will they, for example, still insist on the 12 hour or 3 hour fast before Communion? Will they insist on headcoverings for women? Will they forbid women to wear trousers? Whatever the rights and wrongs of these things, they are not currently required by the mainstream Church. Much more important, will what they preach in their homilies be in line with current Catholic teaching? Do they share a common vision of what the Church should be with orthodox mainstream Catholics? So far as I know, they have still not adequately repudiated the vile anti-semitism of "Bishop" Williamson, not to mention his view that women should not even go to university. Williamson's views are extreme but they are shared to some extent by not a few other Lefebvrists. Have they actually ironed out the whole issue of relations with other faiths or are they leaving this vague? Have the SSPX actually accepted that the Ordinary Form of Mass is valid? Beautiful liturgy is important but there is far, far more to being Catholic. I fear how all this will work in practice. Will it lead to a further-divided Church? What sort of image will it project to the rest of the world? What sort of message will it send? We don't want a repetition of the Williamson PR debacle. Recently, the SSPX Superior, Fellay, talked about changing the Church from within, or words to that effect. Well, excuse me, how about a little humility? Who is he to decide what needs changing? I think that the SSPX have good things to offer but they must come in on the Church's terms, not theirs.

johnf said...

Whether the SSPX do all these things or not, you've got a choice Alenka to attend a Church which celebrates the spirit of V2.

The 3 hour fast was established by Pius XII in 1953, long before V2. I would be surprised if the SSPX had a view on this. I personally have no problem with fasting from midnight from food. I welcome a cup of tea though! It wakes me up.

As for questioning whether SSPX will preach homilies in line with current Catholic teaching, I am puzzled to understand what outrageous homilies you are thinking of. The real outrageous teachings are coming from the likes of Fr Richard MacBrien SJ and the behaviour of certain US Nuns who escort young women into abortion clinics and those in positions of Authority who generally question the Church's teaching on Conctraception, Abortion and Homosexuality. All these people are still nominally orthodox; no-one has attempted to excommunicate them. Wolves in sheep's clothing.

If Archbishop Fellay decides to accept the prelature, it is by no means certain Williamson will follow. He doesnt seem minded to do so. History shows the end of the Western Schism in 1415 ended messily with at one antipope setting up his own Church and excommunicating the rest of the world.

With Williamson's views I cant see how he can find a home in any agreement between Fellay and the Vatican. Mind you there are still antisemites (hopefully only a tiny tiny few) in the Church today, certainly among the faithful. It seems to be a virus which you cant eradicate completely.

John McAuley said...

The term 'Lefebvrist' is a nonsense. It was used a lot by modernist journalists in the 1970' and 1980's, I think. Archbishop Lefebvre did not ask for followers. I have never heard one of his priests refer to himself as a 'Lefebvrist'.

The body whose superior general had a meeting with Cardinal Levada is called The Society of St Pius X, a priestly fraternity founded in 1970. Indeed, other groups of priests, religious and laity whom Joanna would call 'Lefebvrist' are opposed to Bishop Fellay's talks in Rome, or at least to their direction.

Could Joanna please start referring to the Society of St Pius X (or SSPX for short) and stop using the term 'Lefebvrist'? Does Benedict XVI say 'Lefebvrist' or Society of St Pius X?

The thing in this entry to which I took greatest exception was the use of 'non serviam' to describe SSPX's attitude to date. Does anybody seriously think that the cry of Lucifer is appropriate in this context? Its use was an insult to those of us who support SSPX. Given Joanna's efforts to avoid causing offence to protestants and Jews, I assume she will regret this (I assume unintentional) insult.

People who write about Archbishop Lefebvre and SSPX on the Internet (and so reach a potentially vast, worldwide audience) need to inform themselves about the man and his society. The C.T.S. published the untruthful 'Light on Archbishop Lefebvre' in the 1970's. Michael Davies (a man for whom I assume Joanna has some admiration) was so angered by the C.T.S. pamphlet that he wrote his Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre. Better than the Apologia is Bishop Tissier de Mallerais's biography. For people reluctant to fork out for a book, there is plenty of free material available on the Internet.

I recall that Joanna wrote Hamish Fraser's obituary for 'The Times' in 1986. Hamish referred to Mgr Lefebvre as a 'distinguished churchman'. I seem to remember that he even described His Grace as the epitome of the true Catholic spirit of France. Hamish Fraser attended the last Sunday Mass of his life at the SSPX church in Glasgow.

I could write for longer. I just ask that the 'non serviam' words are withdrawn. A bit of reflection will, I think, convince Joanna that they were inappropriate.

Joanna Bogle said...

If some of Archbishop Lefebvre's supporters cease to follow his initiative and return from schism, it will be appropriate to cease calling them Lefebvrists.

Alenka said... the Lutherans are called Lutherans. The Lefebvrists thought and many still think, that they know better than the Pope too. Joanna is quite correct. Just look up their UK website. Whose is the first photo on it? Not Jesus Christ, no. Certainly not Pope Benedict XVl. It's Archbishop Lefebvre of course. And, incidentally, when we express concerns about them it does not mean we are in support of the crazies on the "other" side either! That's not the point here.

Lamentably Sane said...

The Holy Father has never said the SSPX is in schism, and neither has the Vatican in general. What gives you the right to say so? I would add that the Holy Father removed the excommunications from the four bishops in 2009, which makes the situation even clearer. They are not in schism; they are in a canonically irregular situation. Why do you continue to look down on them and treat them as pariahs?
And Alenka, your comment about the photo of Archbishop Lefebvre on the SSPX website is quite laughable. The prejudice obviously runs very deep here. I worked for an SSPX school in France which had pictures of the Holy Father John Paul II and Archbishop Lefebvre hanging in the staff dining room. Also, try a little experiment. Hunt down the websites of the religious orders. You may be scandalised to see photos of all sorts of worthies of their own orders with nary a pope in sight.
Go to the Jesuits' site: and see Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., the Superior General - Shocking! The Dominicans: - Shocking!
Franciscans: - Shocking!
Salesians: - Don Bosco setting himself up as a pope! Shocking!
Come on, get a grip, the lot of you. If you are going to criticise the SSPX, you're going to have to find some new stuff. Or, better still, try to learn from the Holy Father's great respect towards them and just stop carping altogether.

Joanna Bogle said...

Dear anonymous "Lamentably sane"

The Lefevbvrists went into schism in 1988 as you very well know. The concern about having poor Archbp Lefebvre promoted so enthusiastically on their website is precisely because it was he who took them into schism. This is not the case with other founders or leaders of religious orders. Do think things through before rushing into an angry comment on my Blog.

The excommunications were lifted in 2009 - not for Lefebvre who had already alas died excommunicated and, apparently, unrepentant. It now seems possible that some of the Lefebvrists may return to the Church. No one is asking them to eat humble pie and grovel about it - they can be glad that in the Church today the mood is rather more generous than perhaps in times past and the Holy Father has been very patient and understanding. If they are prepared to return and accept the gentle discipline of things, they will find there is food for their souls and mercy in abundance.

BTW, I don't always ban all anonymous or pen-name comments, but in general if you want to write anonymously or under a pseudonym, I prefer that you send me a private note (which obviously I won't publish) telling me who you are.

Joanna Bogle