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SSPX will proceed with ordinations despite Vatican warning

Catholic World News - June 22, 2009

The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has indicated that the group will go forward with priestly ordinations despite a warning from the Vatican that the ceremonies would be "illegitimate." Bishop Bernard Fellay told Die Presse that only the German bishops saw the ordinations as "a provocation." In spite of the cautionary statement from the Holy See, he claimed: "In Rome, there is sympathy for these ordinations."

"These ordinations have been done annually for 30 years in the same form," the SSPX leader said. The Vatican had not previously objected, he said, nor had the topic arisen in recent talks with Rome. "For us it is a question of life, just as breathing is, we need these priests."

Questioned about the broader question of reconciliation between the SSPX and the Holy See, Bishop Fellay said that doctrinal questions still must be resolved. "And it is not our problem," he said, "but one of Church leadership." He explained:

The Holy Father had to condemn already the interpretation of the Council as discontinuity and a break with the past. But 80% of bishops and theologians want this fracture. In this matter, we are not the problem.

The first of several SSPX ordination ceremonies took place on schedule in Minnesota, where 13 new priests were ordained this weekend. (The AP coverage of the ordination may be misleading insofar as the story says that the newly ordained traditionalist priests "won't be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church." They will be recognized as validly ordained priests, but they do not have proper faculties and will be recognized as priests in good standing.)

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