One of the biggest religious news stories in the last month has been the conclusion of talks between the Vatican and the schismatic, break-off SSPX group. Here are my thoughts on the subject.
Before I do I want to make a few things perfectly clear. I love the Latin Mass. In fact, my brother and I serve it. I also believe that the English or Novus Ordo Mass is valid. I also believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ to save souls and Pope Benedict XVI is its head. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to cases.
A lot of the articles I read about the conclusion of talks between the Vatican and SSPX were hopeful and spoke of an imminent reunion. There was one article however that had a more realistic take, which I agree with.
Here are a couple of the ideas from the article.
First, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. This problem between SSPX and Rome has been going on for 40 years. There have been multiple times during that time period when it look as though the SSPX would come back, but each time they turned down the deal offered by the Vatican. For example, back in 1988 SSPX head Lefebvre and Cardinal Ratzinger signed an agreement only to have Lefebvre change his mind the next day because he wanted authority to ordain four bishops instead of just one. Since its been going on for this long, what makes anyone think this will change anytime soon.
Second, Catholics do not dialogue or negotiate with the Pope, they submit to him. Only those who are outside the Church, such as the Orthodox and Protestants, have to negotiate. People involved in the SSPX can call it anything they want, but they are essential trying to talk their way into the Church.
The SSPX (and people like them) are the 21st century Protestants. Just like the 16th century variety, these modern Protestants protest the legitimate authority of the Church because they do not agree with it. Instead of obeying the proper Church authorities (like true Catholics), they chose to do their own thing and even set up their own hierarchy.
In March of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.” Until this changes, the SSPX is not a Roman Catholic organization and should be avoided.
You must deal with the doctrinal differences. You ignore them. If you did, you could not call SSPX protestant. They disagree with Vatican II, St. Athanasius disagreed with everyone. Everything hangs on what is being disputed, now the same as after Nicea, and you put your head in the sand on the issues. Is or is not religious liberty Catholic? Collegiality? Outside the Church there is no salvation? Subsists in? All of the abuses that you appear to hate stem from language of the Council, and yet you ignore what theologians are writing now, and what the Church has always taught, in favor of your own definition of obedience and in favor of a comfortable status quo where you apparently can worship at the Holy Mass, so everyone else can go to hell. Tsk. There’s still time for you to think about it. Join SSPX’s novena for our Holy Father and Bishop Fellay from May 8 to 16, the Veni Creator and the Memorare. May God’s will be done, and that’s for the true teaching of tradition be restored in all things, not for any side to ‘win.’ If the Council loses, Benedict wins, the Church wins, you and I win. May God’s will be done.
Janet, this is were you and I differ. I have the faith that the Roman Catholic Church with Pope Benedict as its head always has been and always will be the true Church of Christ no matter what the men within the Church say. You do not. I believe what Our Lord said in Matthew “That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (St. Matthew 16:18). This guarantee means that no matter what the fallen people with the Church say or do, it is still the only true Church.
There is one simple question you need to ask yourself to see if you are truly Roman Catholic. (It is not enough to say that we are Catholic, because a Protestant once told me “we are all catholic [meaning universal]”) That question is: who is your pope, your sovereign leader? Is it Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Fellay I? Any answer other than Pope Benedict XVI means that you are outside the Church. You can claim that Benedict is your Pope all day , but until you start to give him the honor and obedience due him it is all lies.
My pastor said it best when he said, “SSPX is disobedience disguised as tradition.” I will keep you and all other Protestants in my prayers until you return to the True Fold. All who have been baptized Roman Catholic must die Roman Catholic or they go to hell. (The real meaning of no salvation outside the Church.)