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SSPX leader: 'we have to say no'

February 03, 2012

The head of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has indicated that the traditionalist group remains at odds with the Vatican on key issues regarding the teachings of Vatican II.

In a sermon delivered on February 2 at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Bishop Bernard Fellay said that the unresolved issue in talks between the SSPX and Rome is the Vatican’s insistence that the traditionalists accept the authority of the Council. “And practically, at many levels, we have to say no,” he said. Bishop Fellay elaborated:

The key problem in our discussions with Rome was really the Magisterium, the teaching of the Church. Because they say, "we are the pope, we are the Holy See" – and we say, yes. And so they say, "we have the supreme power," and we say, yes. They say, "we are the last instance in teaching and we are necessary" – Rome is necessary for us to have the Faith, and we say, yes. And then they say, "then, obey." And we say, no.

The SSPX leader said that his group’s latest response to the Vatican is still under study there.


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 07, 2012 3:50 PM ET USA

    Why is the word "salvation" in quotes, Mr. Plick? Salvation is the entire mission of the Church, given to Peter by Jesus Himself. I do not understand the arrogance of disobedience to the Holy See. They are keeping themselves out of the Church, and if they are not careful, out of Heaven.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 05, 2012 11:14 PM ET USA

    Why all the agony here? Would the Catholic Church collapse without them? We would not necessarily be depriving them (SSPX) of their "salvation" but rather not affording them the protection that they would enjoy (even if they could enjoy that protection without submitting) if they were part of the Church. If they (SSPX} think they are wiser than the Council and they are quite sure of themselves why should the Church be so concerned? Let them try... No one is going anywhere.

  • Posted by: oakes.spalding7384 - Feb. 05, 2012 10:57 PM ET USA

    Whatever one thinks of the tactics of Lefebvre or the current leadership of SSPX, it seems to me that their "fundamental approach to faith" was and is the desire to save the Catholic Church in conformity with Catholic tradition and unchangeable Catholic doctrine. The approach of We are the Church and Call to Action is to attack Catholic doctrine and tradition in the hope of destroying the Church. That seems like quite a difference to me.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Feb. 05, 2012 7:07 AM ET USA

    Pope Benedict knows that the work of the salvation of souls is never a waste of time. It is the mission of the Church.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Feb. 03, 2012 7:46 PM ET USA

    Hopefully, Pope Benedict will now stop wasting the CDF's time trying to deal with a group of people whose fundamental approach to the Faith is no different than that of Wir Sind Kirche and Call To Action.

  • Posted by: Antonius86 - Feb. 03, 2012 7:19 PM ET USA

    Then the Vatican says, "You're Protestants." Then, we say, "Yes, we are."

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Feb. 03, 2012 7:17 PM ET USA

    At a time when Anglicans are joyfully embracing the See of Peter, some in our own faith are choosing to remain on the outside. How can (for instance) the Orthodox continue unity discussions with such dissension in our own ranks? Holy Mother Church cannot err and Vatican II is over. The problem hasn't been with Vatican II; it's been the interpretation of what Vatican II intended. Let us close ranks and stand united before the world, particularly now when secular assaults are on the increase.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 03, 2012 7:13 PM ET USA

    Justin8110 writes "SSPX could do the same". The issue is that they felt FSSP was a sellout of tradition. The fact that FSSP was created in part at the expense of SSPX does not help matters. Trads have long memories! Key is the concept of living tradition. Do we view tradition through the prism of the council, or the council through the prism of tradition? SSPX holds to the latter. Rome to the former. Not a brute force contradiction but is very difficult to reconcile. Pray hard!

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Feb. 03, 2012 6:40 PM ET USA

    They should have taken the deal but asked to be directly under the Pope or some really orthodox bishop. I can understand their fear and uncertainty considering the utter devastation that has rocked the Church since Vatican II and the downright unorthodox actions of so many bishops but they ought to take a leap of faith. The FSSP have faired OK overall and they are helping to bring Traditional Catholicism to many from within the Church. SSPX could do the same.