THE ADVANCE OF THE INDULT PRIESTS AND THE FSSP
There once was a man who had long been an upstanding citizen, well known and widely respected, who suddenly decided to become a very mean and nasty individual. Everywhere he went he began hurting everyone he met. If he saw a person carrying a load down the street, he would knock it out of his hands making the poor fellow have to pick it all up again. If he passed an older lady in the street, he would greet her by saying, "Hello, Mrs. Woodruff. My, you're looking old today! Is that a new wrinkle?" If he passed a child on the way to school, he would say, "Hey pip-squeak! I'm bigger than you! Know what that means?" and then take his lunch money (or his lunch). In general he spent all of his days going around making enemies of everyone he had known and everyone he met. It didn't take long before he had no friends, no respect, and no admiration. People never smiled in his presence except to laugh at him. But mostly they stayed away from him as much as they could.
Sometimes, he got lonely as he wished that someone would be his friend, but he enjoyed his own meanness so much he knew he had no intention of parting with his mean and nasty ways. Then one day he found a mask which he bought so that he could put it over his face and no one would know who he was. It only helped for a little while since his mean and nasty ways would still shine through and people quickly came to hate the face on his mask as much as they hated the sight of his own face.
Then one day he encountered a magician who promised to make it so that he could make friends. The magician put a spell on the mask and made it come alive. It worked! People began treating him with respect and counting him as a friend. The problem he had was the things that this mask did to make it so. Where he wanted to say mean and spiteful things to people the mask would open its mouth and say something nice, cheery, and pleasant. When he saw someone drop a load they were carrying, where he wanted to say, "serves you right for carrying around such stupid things," the mask would say, "may I help you with those?" and next he knew he would actually be helping that person pick the things up.
Sometimes he so hated the way this enchanted mask was forcing him to be kind where he wanted to be mean that he was tempted to rip off the mask so that he could go back to making everyone around him feel miserable and unhappy. But then someone would come along to whom his mask had been particularly kind and would be very glad to see him and he would be glad he had the mask. So it went until one of two endings of this story occurred.
The first ending is thus: Despite his frequent temptation to tear off his mask he kept it on and little by little the mask became his entire self and the part of him that wanted to be mean and nasty faded away as he found great fulfillment in his new friends, the respect and admiration of the community, and finally his place as a great community leader, and so he lived happily ever after, the end.
The second ending is thus: One day it was too much for him. All of that niceness that mask had encouraged in everyone he had met and worst of all the nice person he saw himself becoming made him nauseous as he thought, "how sickening, all of this pathetic niceness!" And so in one angry moment he ripped the mask off his face which was suddenly peeled raw and bleeding and hideous. Once again everyone he met was horrified and disgusted at meeting him, and his rude and cruel treatment of everyone he met rapidly cost him every friend his mask had gained him. He ended up a lonely, horrible monster, ugly inside and out, and so he died miserably ever after, the end.
Vatican II did mandate that part of the Roman Catholic Church would "subsist in" the Vatican institution. The creation of the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter almost immediately after Abp. Lefebvre consecrated those four bishops is so very like having the mask the man in that story wore come to life. What remains to be seen is whether the Vatican will keep this mask known as the FSSP and the other Indult priests and priestly associations until it is converted to the Faith, or whether it will one day rip off the mask and lose even what vestigial claims it as yet retains of having anything to do with Roman Catholicism.
As mentioned several chapters ago, there were three basic ways to continue Catholic worship within the Vatican institution after the changes were being imposed on all of the unfortunate members of what was rapidly becoming a brand new religion, the Novus Ordo. One had been for faithful priests and bishops to "drag their feet" about making any changes to their parish or diocese. The last such bishop had been Bp. de Castro Mayer until his forced retirement in 1981, and the last known such priest was Fr. Schoonbroodt who had been forced out in 1988. The rule had been imposed in some dioceses as early as 1970, many more in 1971, and worldwide by Paul VI on October 28, 1974, when he published a truly reprehensible "note" saying:
This sacred congregation, in a Note published on 14 June, 1971, and approved by the Supreme Pontiff, defined the role of episcopal conferences in the preparation of vernacular versions of liturgical books and set out the regulations for obtaining their confirmation by the Holy See. Gradually, the employment of the vernacular versions spread everywhere to such an extent that, enough time having elapsed, it is clear that the work is almost complete.
With regard to the Roman Missal: when an episcopal conference has determined that a vernacular version of the Roman Missal - - or a part of it, such as the Order of the Mass - - must be used in its territory, from then on Mass may not be celebrated, whether in Latin or in the vernacular, save according to the rite of the Roman Missal promulgated by the authority of Paul VI on 7 April, 1969.
With regard to the regulations issued by this sacred congregation in favor of priests who, on account of advanced years or infirm health, find it difficult to use the new Order of the Roman Missal or the Mass Lectionary: it is clear that an ordinary may grant permission to use, in whole or in part, the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, with the changes introduced by the Decrees of 1965 and 1967. But this permission can only be granted for Masses celebrated without a congregation. Ordinaries may not grant it for Masses celebrated with a congregation. Ordinaries, both religious and local, should rather endeavor to secure the acceptance of the Order of the Mass of the new Roman Missal by priests and laity. They should see to it that priests and laity, by dint of greater effort and with greater reverence comprehend the treasures of divine wisdom and of liturgical and pastoral teaching it contains. What has been said does not apply to officially recognized non-Roman rites, but it does hold against any pretext of even an immemorial custom.
One sees in this horrific "note" part of one and the other of the remaining two of the three ways to sustain Roman Catholic worship within the Vatican institution even under the dark days of Paul VI. One of them was by a special permission of the bishop, or "Indult," at this point officially allowable only to aged and infirm priests who say Mass without a congregation. Although not mentioned within this document, another Indult had been issued to Cardinal Heenan (of parts of England and Wales) in 1971 to allow him the occasional use of the 1967 Missal for public worship. This was sometimes called the "Agatha Christie" Indult, because the famous author had requested it.
The remaining way to sustain Catholic worship within the Vatican institution, as mentioned at the end of that note, was to be a member of the Eastern Catholic rites, whose worship was not in any way legally affected by the promulgation of the 1969 Missal and other new sacraments. Over the years from 1974 to 1984, all but a handful of foot-draggers had been brought in line with the new religion or else forced to continue their Roman Catholic worship outside the Vatican institution, and these severely limited Indults and the Eastern rites were the only remaining bastions of Catholic worship within the Vatican institution.
The negotiations between Abp. Lefebvre and John Paul II did finally bring the latter to rescind that horrible note and introduce the following bit of legislation on October 3, 1984:
Four years ago, at the direction of the Holy Father, John Paul II, the bishops of the entire Church were invited to submit a report on the following topics:
- - the manner in which the priests and the people of their diocese, in observance of the decrees of Vatican Council II, have received the Roman Missal promulgated by authority of Pope Paul VI;
- - difficulties arising in connection with the implementation of the liturgical reform;
- - opposition to the reform which may need to be overcome.
The results of this survey were reported to all bishops (see Notitiae, No. 185, December 1981). Based on the responses received from the bishops of the world, the problem of those priests and faithful who had remained attached to the so-called Tridentine Rite seemed to have been almost completely resolved.
But the problem continues and the Holy Father wishes to be responsive to such groups of priests and faithful. Accordingly, he grants to diocesan bishops the faculty of using an Indult on behalf of such priests and faithful. The diocesan bishop may allow those who are explicitly named in a petition submitted to him to celebrate Mass by use of the 1962 Editio Typica of the Roman Missal. The following norms must be observed:
- There must be unequivocal, even public evidence, that the priests and faithful petitioning have no ties with those who impugn the lawfulness and doctrinal soundness of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
- The celebration of Mass in question must take place exclusively for the benefit of those who petition for it; the celebration must be in a church or oratory designated by the diocesan bishop (but not in parish churches, unless in extraordinary instances, the bishop allows this); the celebration may take place only on those days and in those circumstances approved by the bishop, whether for an individual instance or as a regular occurrence.
- The celebration is to follow the Roman Missal of 1962, and must be in Latin.
- In the celebration there is to be no intermingling of the rites or texts of the two Missals.
- Each bishop is to inform this Congregation of the concessions he grants and, one year from the date of the date of the present Indult, of the outcome of its use.
The Pope, who is the Father of the entire Church, grants this Indult as a sign of his concern for all his children. The Indult is to be used without prejudice to the liturgical reform that is to be observed in the life of each ecclesial community.
I take this opportunity of extending my cordial good wishes in the Lord to your excellency.
As one can see, while the Catholic Mass was at last being permitted on a grudging basis, at least it was being permitted. The conditions imposed were quite unreasonable, from a truly Catholic standpoint, but typical of the way most dioceses were run, such unreasonable rules were seldom followed or taken seriously. In a few early attempts to conduct a Mass on this basis, only those who personally wrote a satisfactory letter to their bishop would be sent an acknowledgment letter admitting them to the diocesan Indult Mass. At the Mass a guard would be posted at the door so as to allow through only those who brought their "Boarding Pass to Tradition."
The attempts to follow such ridiculous rules were so farcical that by the end of the first year they were no longer followed or taken seriously. Some bishops who had allowed this Indult Mass simply stopped allowing them any more; other bishops continued the Indult Mass but stopped bothering about who may or may not attend. In 1986, a committee of cardinals was called together to review the results of the application of the Indult to what few places it was granted. They unanimously decided that the restrictions were much too limiting and should be relaxed. Even so, on the eve of the Lefebvre consecrations in 1988 only a dozen dioceses in America had Indult Masses on a weekly or better basis. Throughout the rest of the world there were fewer than that regular Indult Masses. The problem here was that it was up to the diocesan bishops, nearly all of whom had fully converted to the new religion, to allow the Catholic Mass if they so choose.
Certainly, such permission was a great source of rejoicing among those conservatives who were still Catholic at heart. They saw in this new Indult a beginning of a return to common sense. Those who were in a position to attend these Masses were even happier. For many, it had been a long time since they had felt truly at home in their worship of God. Still others merely took advantage of these Masses to show their children the Church they grew up with, the Roman Catholic Church. At a January 19, 1985 Mass in Louisville, a mother was seen, "huddled with her two daughters in the back corner of the Church, following along the Latin in her missal with her finger, guiding her young daughters."
There certainly were problems, mostly resulting from the many years that so very many of those attending had been kept away from Catholic worship and had grown unfamiliar with the Tridentine rite. Women came in dressed much as they had come to dress in the Novus Ordo, with their heads uncovered; many others repeated the altar boys' responses aloud, and the priests showed signs of being quite rusty at doing the old rite. On the greater front, many liturgists (whose job it was to invent new material for Fr. Bozo's sing-a-long stand-up comic act) reacted almost violently against the new Indult. To them it was as if the Pope was letting them down, and the fear the old rite inspired (despite the extreme restrictions placed upon it) was quite well founded. In the Indult Mass (the Vatican approved Catholic Mass), they saw the end of their little mad kingdom of darkness. Instinctively, these liturgists all know that they and their works are the kind that will get swept up in the morning with the trash, and the 1984 Indult was like the first glints of the morning sun.
The traditional Catholics outside the Vatican institution also rejoiced at the new Indult, even though few of them were in any position to take advantage of it. At long last, the Pope was publicly stating that the Tridentine Mass was not evil or forbidden. This even brought a small number of people to the traditional chapels operating outside the Vatican institution. Probably about the same number of people transferred from long standing traditional Catholic chapels to their local Indult Mass. Many other persons who had not gone to Church at all for years and years returned by attending the Indult Mass. But, in many respects, it was business as usual for the traditional priests operating outside the Vatican institution.
Finally, while the Indult Mass was a cause of rejoicing among the Catholics-at-heart who were trapped in the new religion, many of them deeply sensed that more was needed. In particular no priests were being trained to say the Tridentine Mass (at least within the Vatican institution) and those capable of saying the Mass in accordance with the Indult were all old-timers whose days were numbered. For nearly four years, this was all they had to make do with, and then came the Lefebvre consecrations.
Meanwhile, other events were happening in the arena of the Lay Faithful who wanted the true Catholic Mass, but were for the most part unable to get it from their local Vatican representatives, and unwilling to get it from their local Catholic parish outside the Vatican institution. When (in 1967) Walter Matt departed from the editorial staff of The Wanderer and founded The Remnant, he soon found himself speaking for a truly vast number of Faithful who were quite determined to bring the Vatican institution back to its senses and back to the Catholic Faith and Worship. In time, these Faithful began to organize into groups, such as Una Voce.
In 1982, a group of traditional Catholics made the pilgrimage on foot, a distance of about 70 miles, from Paris to the Cathedral in Chartres. The doors of the Cathedral were barred shut and the pilgrims had to celebrate their Mass (with the help of an SSPX priest) somewhere outside nearby. This pilgrimage came to be repeated each year, with more and more participants each time. Even more impressive, a significantly high percentage of the participants are young people, teenagers, and young adults both with and without families and small children.
On account of the new Indult, starting in 1992, the Bishop began opening the doors and letting the traditional Catholics come in and have the Tridentine Mass. The pilgrimage continues to this day, starting on the Vigil of Pentecost at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and going all 70 miles on foot. Many other pilgrimages have taken place, some such as the pilgrimage to Rome to ask Paul VI to bring back the Catholic Mass were unique occurrences, but others taking place at regular (usually yearly) intervals, such as the Corpus Christi processions started by Abbe Louis Coache (the suspended village curate), and the annual Pilgrimage for Catholic Restoration which is made to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York, each autumn. Yet another such pilgrimage is the "Spirit of Chartres" Phoenix Pilgrimage from the State Capitol (in Arizona) to St. Mary's Basilica, in which all sorts of traditional Catholics participate
A number of great laymen, such as Hamish Fraser, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and Michael Davies also rose to the occasion. Hamish Fraser, having converted from Communism to Catholicism in 1945, became one of Communism's most articulate opponents, and in that, an opponent of the Spirit of Vatican II. Dietrich von Hildebrand, called a "Twentieth Century Doctor of the Church" by no less than Pope Pius XII, wrote a book in 1965 titled The Trojan Horse in the City of God which predicted in great detail the logical consequences of Vatican II. When, by 1973, the nightmare scenarios he had described had all taken place, he then wrote a follow up volume titled The Devastated Vineyard in which he analyzed in detail the philosophical weaknesses of the new Church.
Michael Davies is also a convert, in his case from the Church of England. Educated at London University and St. Mary's Catholic College, Twickenham, and a very intelligent and erudite scholar and speaker, he entered the fray in 1976 with his book, Cranmer's Godly Order, the first of his Liturgical Revolution series (See Bibliography). Being very familiar with both the Catholic and Anglican Churches, he was in a position to document the striking parallels between the liturgical changes Thomas Cranmer made to those of Annibale Bugnini. After that followed numerous books, booklets, articles, and public addresses devoted to the traditional Catholic cause. In every case, his scholarship is reliable, his logic impeccable, and his gentlemanly politeness almost relentless. Next to the eight or nine other books I most recommend within my Bibliography, I would recommend the books and booklets of Michael Davies.
His Liturgical Revolution series continued with Pope John's Council and Pope Paul's New Mass, and meanwhile he began his next series, his Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre books in which he explains to the world what Abp. Lefebvre was doing and why, and also a book on the Priesthood, The Order of Melchisedech: A Defense of the Catholic Priesthood. His later works include the classic titled The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty.
In the beginning, Michael Davies pretty much spoke for all traditional Catholics, but in 1981, sedevacantism began to express itself in the public forum in the form of Dr. Coomaraswamy's book, The Destruction of the Christian Tradition. In a review of that book published shortly thereafter in The Angelus, Mr. Davies slammed that book, having discerned its sedevacantist leanings, by comparing the sedevacantists' attempt to explain the current Church crisis to an attempt on the part of a High School Science teacher in Arkansas to build a moon rocket. Regrettably, The Destruction of the Christian Tradition actually did possess a number of scholastic weaknesses which made it an easy target for the great scholar, Michael Davies. Coomaraswamy's book had been based on his correspondence with Mother Teresa and notes taken and used for that correspondence. At times, his notes had failed to delineate where some pope's words stopped and some commentator's (such as Patrick Omlor's) words began, and similar mistakes. The good doctor was to do much better next time with The Problems With the New Mass.
As if to balance that off, Michael Davies also similarly slammed a conservative Novus Ordo publication, The Pope, the Council, and the Mass, by James Likoudis and Kenneth D. Whitehead, at about the same time in a review published in The Remnant. That book, a compendium of almost every known complaint against the traditional Catholic Faith, is totally deficient, both scholastically and theologically. In it, every unverified rumor against tradition (such as Cardinal Ottaviani's supposed "letter to Dom Gérard Lafond") gets free rein. (Against the "Lafond" letter in particular, Michael Davies wrote an excellent response in his booklet, The New Mass (See Bibliography).) Michael Davies shows that the Likoudis & Whitehead book is little more than a point-by-point attempt at refutation of some of his own earlier works, even though his name never occurs in it even once, as if Likoudis and Whitehead were afraid their readers might learn who Michael Davies is, read his books, and see the strength of his arguments and the weakness of theirs.
Having then expressed for the first time, and repeatedly sustained ever since, his disagreement with the sedevacantist position (he had long since disowned the conservative Novus Ordo position), Michael Davies became at that point a speaker only for the SSPX and the (as yet to appear) Indult crowd. A long stream of erudite articles on various liturgical and historical topics written by him appeared on the pages of The Angelus and The Remnant in roughly equal numbers over the next eight or nine years, and in other periodicals as well. When Abp. Lefebvre consecrated the four new bishops in 1988, Michael Davies began to distance himself from the SSPX, although he continued to hold Abp. Lefebvre himself in high esteem and to defend his 1988 consecrations, albeit primarily from the standpoint of Lefebvre's legitimate desire to protect the traditions and priesthood of the Church.
In more recent years, his defenses of the SSPX continue to grow more sparse as he now focuses his attention almost exclusively on the concerns of the Indult Catholics. In 1994, Dr. Saventhem stepped down from his long-held post as President of Una Voce, and Michael Davies succeeded him and continues as President of Una Voce to this day. This new role of his as President of Una Voce places him in a diplomatic position in which he frequently meets with various high officials of the Vatican institution, and that is another reason he has further distanced himself from the SSPX. While many traditional Catholics fault him for being too soft on the Novus Ordo, the diplomatic necessities of his present position allow him little choice, so there really isn't much room to blame the man. Also, unaware of Paul VI's lack of universal jurisdiction when the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated, he has made the all-too-common and understandable mistake of concluding that the Novus Ordo must somehow be a valid (although manifestly inferior) and Catholic (although very ambiguous) Rite.
Another prominent Catholic who was all too ready to jump into the arms of the Vatican institution once they would be allowed to keep the traditional Rites was Dom Gérard Calvet, Superior of the Benedictine Monastery in Le Barroux, France. Even before the Lefebvre consecrations, he had approached Abp. Lefebvre and told him that he and his monks were not overly concerned about the Vatican II documents, ecumenism, and religious liberty, but were primarily concerned with being able to continue their Benedictine traditions and liturgy. He discussed the possibility of accepting the hand of the Vatican, should one be offered, with the Archbishop who had formed and ordained his priests and performed many other episcopal functions for the brothers. Lefebvre advised against it, however conceding that the danger was probably a great deal less for a religious order because their subjects were grouped together. Dom Gérard wanted that admission published, but Lefebvre never saw any need to do so. It remained a private understanding between the two men.
There were certainly reasons to be concerned, even for the future of a religious order. In 1985, Dom Pére Augustin had made a deal with the Vatican to be recognized, after years of running his monastery outside the Vatican institution. He gained it, only to be told that the Indult (of 1984) would not be applied to him. Prior to his agreement with the Vatican, they had promised that he would be granted it. Again, on October 15, 1986, the Vatican institution had opened a seminary in Rome called Mater Ecclesiae for those seminarians who dropped out of Ecône and others who thought like them. Although promised that they would be allowed the Latin Mass and a sound priestly formation, the Modernist staff and faculty there treated the Catholic seminarians with such contempt that the situation had quickly deteriorated and the seminary had to be quietly abandoned and closed down less than two years later. Such precedents did not bode well for those Catholics who threw themselves into the arms of the Vatican institution.
Despite those events, Dom Gérard felt that the risk was justified and began negotiations with the Vatican leaders shortly after Lefebvre changed his mind about having signed the May 5th Protocol. In June, several secret discussions took place between the Vatican (in the person of Cardinal Augustin Mayer and Monsignor Camille Perl) and his monastery. Dom Gérard's presence at the 1988 consecrations was his last public show of unity with Abp. Lefebvre.
On July 7, the Commission spoken of in the Protocol was officially set up, with Cardinal Mayer (not to be confused with the heroic Bishop de Castro Mayer of Brazil) as its President, Camille Perl as its secretary, and seven other faceless bureaucrats none of whom were known for having any particular sympathy for Catholic tradition, nor for any other reason to have any business being on such a Commission. On July 8, Dom Gérard wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger formally requesting to be granted the new Indult, and placing his order at the feet of the Vatican leadership. Two conditions he imposed, however, were that the Vatican leadership not consider this reconciliation as a discredit to Abp. Lefebvre, and that they would not be required to make any doctrinal nor liturgical concessions nor be prevented from preaching against Modernism.
On July 23, the decision was made by Cardinals Ratzinger and Mayer to accept Dom Gérard's offer and grant full "regularity" to his monastery and yet also permit them the use of the traditional liturgical books (of 1962) for both private and public worship. When asked why he was willing to do this, Dom Gérard gave as his main reason that he felt that fearful Catholics might prefer to attend the Masses of his monastery if they were "approved," and thereby more Catholics could be returned to their roots by being exposed to it again. This is what he felt his own contribution to the restoration of Tradition could be. Thereafter, the monks of Le Barroux no longer had the services of Abp. Lefebvre.
The new Indult given in Ecclesia Dei was actually quite impressive in its generosity. The key parts are the portions which read, "To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition I wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations. In this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and of all those engaged in the pastoral ministry in the Church," and "respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See, for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962."
On the 5th and 6th of July, eight priests from the SSPX paid a visit to the Vatican. They were quite keen on founding a society modeled on the SSPX, but in a modified form to represent the vision offered to them in the May 5th Protocol, and answerable to the Commission so being set up. The society they had in mind was officially set up and founded as a Society of Pontifical Right on July 18 with 12 priests and 20 seminarians at the Cistercian Abbey of Hauterive in the Canton of Fribourg. It was called the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter, or FSSP for short.
Fr. Joseph Bisig, a Swiss who had been the Rector of the SSPX Seminary in Zaitzkofen and First Assistant to the Superior General of SSPX, was elected to be the Superior General of the FSSP. His assistants were Frs. Gabriel Baumann, a Swiss who had been the Vice-Rector of Zaitzkofen, and Denis Coiffet, a French priest who had also been a member of the SSPX. Before long, the FSSP opened its first seminary in Wigratzbad, Germany. All in all, about 25 priests ordained by Abp. Lefebvre had joined the FSSP by the end of 1988. Certainly, the FSSP faced a number of risks. Would the diocesan bishops allow them in? One of the first invitations came from Cardinal Decourtray of Lyons, France, one of the many French modernist bishops who had long been hostile to Lefebvre, and who believed in teaching out of the heretical French Catechism, "Pierres Vivantes," (which means "Living Stones"). They would be allowed to say Mass in a few locations, and to hear confessions of anyone who might collar them in the street, nothing more.
But they had their seminary in Wigratzbad, and many other young men eager to be trained in the traditional manner. Given time, they did grow, and would even come to have opportunities to administer the other sacraments at the various (Novus Ordo) parishes at which they were permitted Masses. In 1991, the FSSP first entered the United States in Dallas, Texas. Before long, with Fr. Arnaud Devillers as the District Superior for the United States, they would come to be accepted in over 15 American Dioceses, be able to open and run three traditional Catholic schools, and even have an order of nuns, the Oblates of Mary Queen of the Apostles.
In 1994, Bishop James Timlin of Scranton, Pennsylvania, allowed the FSSP to open a seminary in Elmhurst, called Our Lady of Guadalupe, for English speaking candidates. More recently, there has been talk of opening a third seminary in France. Even Tridentine ordinations of their priests happen on occasion. For example, on June 15, 1996, Charles Van Vliet was ordained by Archbishop Marcel Gervais (Ottawa Archdiocese) using the traditional Ordination Rite. Fr. Vliet presently ministers in a "quasi-parish" called St. Clement's in Ottawa, Canada. In this true parish (by all real Catholic standards), all sacraments are routinely given in their traditional forms!
The Fraternal Society of Saint Peter is the first, but by no means the only traditional order of priests allied with the Vatican institution. As the new Indult became common knowledge, many approached Fr. Gilles Wach, a member of the Opus Sacertodale, an association of diocesan priests approved many years previous by Cardinal Siri, to draft a constitution for what would become the Institutio Christi Regis (Institute of Christ the King), a Society of Apostolic life when given final approval and recognition on September 1, 1990. Starting in the diocese of Mouila in Gabon, Africa, and extending soon to Florence, Italy, the ICR is a missionary order devoted to spreading the Catholic Faith through the traditional sacraments and other missionary activities. So far, two American dioceses and one in Canada have welcomed priests of the ICR. Other more recent orders include Opus Mariae founded by Fr. William Ashley, Servi Jesu et Mariae which is also a Society of Pontifical Right just like the FSSP, and the Society of St. John the Evangelist, based in the diocese of Scranton.
On May 12, 1991, a Mass was said in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia which officially inaugurated the first traditional Catholic parish in union with the Vatican institution. Saint Joseph's Villa, technically an "affiliate" or "ministry" of the Novus Ordo parish of St. Benedict, was primarily brought into existence through the efforts of two laymen, Charles Furlough and Michael Reardon. They had organized an "independent" Catholic parish, utilizing the priests of the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement, until that support was unaccountably withdrawn in the Summer of 1990. After a failed attempt to bring in a priest of the SSPX, they took the radical step of approaching the liberal (to the extreme) diocesan bishop, Walter Sullivan.
To their immense surprise, the arrangement worked, and this bears some explanation since Bp. Sullivan is probably one of the most radically liberal Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual bishops there are. He also tolerates all of the most unbelievable liturgical abuses, including a "Wizard of Oz Mass." Why should such a raving liberal be suddenly willing to go to such lengths on behalf of true Catholics? What it comes down to is that there are two basic kinds of liberal. One kind is the "agenda liberal" whose agenda is to eliminate the truth and spread any heresy he can. Such liberals are only generous in any effort which is based on, or which supports, errors and confusion and disarray. These liberals often pretend (but the disguise is necessarily a very thin one) to be the other type of liberal, the "consistent liberal," or the "sincere liberal." This second kind of liberal, a rare breed indeed, is everything all liberals pretend to be.
Bp. Walter Sullivan is truly this second kind of liberal.
To him, all persons have rights, whether they want truth, falsehood, or
anything else. If Fr. Holy at St. Joseph's Villa wants to teach that
2 = 4 in his Catholic parish while Fr. Bozo teaches that
2 + 2 = PURPLE in his
Wizard of Oz "Mass," that's all perfectly fine with him. In his
diocese, Anything Goes, even the Truth! The agenda liberals are not like
that. For them,
2 + 2 can equal anything (sotto voce:
4!) that anyone wants.
This was the very first of what is now six known Catholic parishes (Western Rite) inside the Vatican institution. At this parish, all teaching and sacraments are performed according to the Catholic (Tridentine) forms. This same bishop would soon bring about the second Indult parish. In 1992, St. Benedict's Chapel in Chesapeake was acquired by Bp. Sullivan after existing for years as a parish ministered to by priests of each of the SSPX and SSPV in turn. For his own curious reasons, Bp. Sullivan prefers not to have his traditional parishes serviced by the FSSP, but merely by older Benedictine priests to whom he has granted the Indult.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta introduced its traditional Catholic parish in 1995. Archbishop John Donoghue granted full permission to traditional Catholics to have their very own parish, not merely an "affiliate," or "ministry" of some nearby Novus Ordo parish, but free-standing. It is serviced by priests of the FSSP and called St. Francis de Sales. The next traditional parish which was to appear is the one previously mentioned in Ottawa, Canada. Next, Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio took over a parish which had functioned outside the Vatican institution since its founding in 1979, and brought in a priest of the FSSP to provide for the needs of that flock. Finally, Bishop Thomas G. Doran of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois allowed his growing indult community to take over a dying parish, St. Mary's Catholic Church, and put Fr. Brian Bovee of the Institute of Christ the King in charge as parish priest.
Why all this emphases on Indult parishes? Because outside of these six Indult parishes, only the Mass has been made readily available using the Indult. While there have been some weddings and funerals according to the Tridentine Rite in other places within the Vatican institution, such instances are as yet still extremely rare. What the devout Catholic truly needs is not merely the Mass, although that is what he needs most frequently, but an entirely Catholic community in which all teaching and sacraments follow the Catholic norms. Apart from these six Indult parishes and the Eastern Rites, that is simply not available anywhere else within the Vatican institution.
Further difficulties of the FSSP are that while the Order has staunchly maintained a firm commitment to using the traditional liturgy exclusively (despite rumors to the contrary), pressure continues to be put on them to go to Bi-ritualism, namely that they would be open to both the Catholic Mass and the Novus Ordo "Mass." In theory they are Bi-ritualists since their membership in the FSSP does not place them in a position to criticize the Novus Ordo. They are forced to pretend that the Novus Ordo is all right, and that it is only the rules of their own Order which forbid them to do it personally. Although performing the Catholic Mass has made Cardinal Decourtray far more sympathetic, he was still circling around out there like a vulture saying, "I would like all the priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter to have the authorization to celebrate both Rites, that of Paul VI as well as that of Pius V, and that the seminarians of the Fraternity might be equally prepared to celebrate in the Rite of Paul VI." With a little time and patience he would get his wish.
Notice that this statement carries with it an admission that the priests of the Fraternity had no authorization to "celebrate in the Rite of Paul VI." That should put to rest the rumor spread by some their rivals that priests of the FSSP sometimes said the new "Mass." However, a number of German diocesan "bishops" have given priests of the FSSP an ultimatum: Either say the new "Mass" at least once in a while or else I don't let you in my diocese at all. As a result, while the FSSP itself did not operate in those dioceses, a tiny handful of its priests have left that order so as to meet that unreasonable demand and enter those dioceses. Since priests of the FSSP only enter into dioceses to which they have been invited, it will be interesting to see what will become of their excess priests when they run out of friendly dioceses.
An important point must be made here. Many within the Indult crowd make the mistake that by coming under the auspices of the Vatican institution they are returning to the Church. If it is a question of having not bothered to attend Church at all since "the changes" until hearing that the Mass of their youth is being offered once again, that could be a fair enough assessment, albeit somewhat oversimplified. But if the individual is already attending a traditional Catholic parish operated by a priest of the SSPX, the SSPV, the CMRI, or any other "independent" Catholic priest of the traditional Catholic movement, such a transfer to the Vatican institution at best gains that individual precisely nothing. Indeed, he actually distances himself from the Church somewhat if he transfers from a full fledged Catholic parish to a mere Indult Mass sponsored by some Novus Ordo parish.
A layman contemplating such a move ought to consider: Is the priest of the traditional Catholic parish he presently attends validly ordained? Does he perform all the sacraments in accordance with their Tridentine norms? Does he teach out of all the standard catechisms of the Church and adhere to the entirety of the Magisterium? If so, then his priest is as regular as any priest could ever be so long as Vatican II remains on the books. A person who transfers from a parish, say of the CMRI, to (let us suppose the best possible scenario) one of the few Indult parishes, is making a mistake if he thinks that such a move is a return to the Church. In truth, he was already fully in the Church and fully in union with the Pope before his move, and he simply continues to be so after his move.
Many still do not realize that Vatican II moved the visible boundaries of the Church so that they no longer coincide with the boundaries of the Vatican institution. Being inside the visible boundaries of the Church is essential for all Catholics; being inside or outside the Vatican institution is entirely immaterial, from the standpoint of a soul's individual salvation. It is ironic to see the way God works here. Many in the Vatican institution fondly imagine in their ignorance that the Indult is bringing traditional Catholics into "the Church." But actually, God is using the Indult to bring many who are already inside the Vatican institution into Tradition, and thereby into that which is really the Church.
That being the case, is there any reason that an offer made to a Catholic parish to enter into an Indult basis with the Vatican institution should ever be accepted? Actually, there is. While a parish stands to gain absolutely nothing from a doctrinal, spiritual, or canonical standpoint by accepting such an offer on the part of a diocesan bishop to be "regularized," the bishop himself stands to gain a great deal. Take Bishop Sullivan for example. His open toleration and even advocacy of Abortion, Homosexuality, and liturgical abuses of every kind means that he is going to have a great deal to answer for when he goes to meet his Maker. His creation and generous support of the very first two Indult parishes in the whole world could very likely be the beginning of the salvation of his soul. Might not God grant the Grace of final conversion to a soul who, despite being in mortal sin, does such a great and heroic deed?
What price is a human soul? Pope Pius XII surrendered many treasures of the Church to help rescue as many Jews from Nazi Germany as he could. As a result, Eugenio Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome (and many other Jews) converted to the true Faith. Who could deny that his soul (and theirs) was worth more than all those treasures? If a bishop has the generosity to extend the Indult within his diocese, then that could be Grace at work in the heart of that bishop, which may lead him back into the Church.
Regrettably, that is not always the case. Some Indult Masses are simply opened up so as to try to put some local Catholic priest out of business. If enough of his parishioners stop attending his Masses and go to the Indult Mass under the mistaken impression that they are "returning to the Church," the priest may indeed be forced to close his doors, fold up shop, and go away. But after that, the Indult Mass may then be stopped since it has done its job and is "no longer needed." In many cases, it may be hard to tell what the diocesan bishop's intentions are. The best response would be that enough parishioners remain with the "independent" priest to keep him going, and yet some few others should go to the Indult so as to make it worth the bishop's while. As long as there is a balance, both those who stay with the "independent" priest and those who transfer over to the Indult are doing good.
Sometimes it's quite obvious that the bishop has no good intention. For example, diocesan bishops have been known to offer "regularization" at an enormous cost, as follows:
Obviously, such a list of rules is intolerable, and a Catholic parish can by no means be obligated to accept such an offer, even in the off chance of the hope of saving the bishop's soul. However, it so happens that the fifth of those Indult parishes, the one in Ohio, did just that, and so far, to good effect.
Other problems with the Indult Mass are that some of them are not full Tridentine Masses, but a mixture of Tridentine and Novus Ordo, such as by using the Novus Ordo readings of the day, or even being a Latin Novus Ordo done with Tridentine rubrics. Such admixtures of the Tridentine and Novus Ordo Rites violate even the rules published in the 1984 Indult which state that "In the celebration there is to be no intermingling of the rites or texts of the two Missals." Sometimes the Indult Mass gets used as a place to preach "What a wonderful thing Vatican II is!" There may even be a mingling of hosts consecrated at the Tridentine Mass with those hosts doubtfully consecrated in the Novus Ordo "Mass."
Many of the new priests training for the Indult Mass are getting ordained with the doubtfully valid Novus Ordo ceremony, or else ordained by bishops whose episcopal consecration is equally unreliable. One might allow that a priest being ordained for the purpose of saying the Indult (Catholic Tridentine) Mass instead of the Novus Ordo may have better chances of obtaining a valid ordination because the intent in that case could still be to confer priestly powers where in the other it is not. Even so, a number of these priests (as led by the Holy Ghost) have secretly approached traditional bishops outside the Vatican institution for a conditional ordination, in case the Novus Ordo "ordination" they received already was not valid. In many cases those bishops are very accommodating, despite their leadership of rival groups. Worst of all, though I have every confidence the Indult shall continue for the immediately foreseeable future, it is my observation that particular Indult situations often prove to be rather fleeting, and at times, even "fly-by-night."
Despite all of these problems, a vast majority of Indult Masses are performed in a very reverent manner by priests who obviously care about what they're doing. Such Masses frequently have the added blessing of having very high quality Gregorian chant used for the music, as sung by professional choirs, and they might even take place in beautiful and large Churches and Cathedrals. Oftentimes, the presence of a Novus Ordo supper table poses some minor inconvenience for the priest as it may keep him from using the high altar, and that he may have to walk some distance around it to get to the tabernacle. A lay association known as the Coalition in support of Ecclesia Dei does much to promote the spread and use of the Indult Mass by publishing informational materials on the Tridentine Mass and by listing all Mass locations approved by the Vatican institution.
Cardinal Mayer did not remain President of the Commission founded in 1988 for very long. In 1991 he stepped down and was replaced by Cardinal Antonio Innocenti, a man who obviously didn't want the job. Cardinal Mayer had been a man who went to bat for all of those groups and individuals who sought Tridentine worship, regardless of whether they had been affiliated with any traditional order, or even whether their diocesan bishop approved. He would grant "celebrets" to priests wanting to say the Indult Mass, even over the bishop's head. He saw the 1988 Indult as being a right granted to the faithful who desire it, where the 1984 Indult had been merely a right extended to what few diocesan bishops desired it. Unfortunately, Cardinal Innocenti had no such zeal. For him it is all he would do to rubber-stamp an approval for an Indult Mass where everything else had already been worked out. Nonetheless, the Indult continued to be extended during his term. Some attribute this to some amount of behind-the-scenes activity on the part of Cardinal Innocenti. In 1995, Cardinal Innocenti was replaced by Cardinal Angelo Felici, who was later succeeded by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who has been the first openly active President of Ecclesia Dei since Cardinal Mayer. Cd. Hoyos presently serves as the Commission's President. Monsignor Perl still remains as its Secretary.
So far, I have focused almost exclusively on events in the Western Rite of the Church. The Eastern Rites have had a very different struggle throughout this same period. Unlike the Western Rites, extremely little Eastern Catholic worship takes place in the Church and yet outside the Vatican institution. Some few Uniate priests have joined (and a few others even been ordained by) the Transalpine Redemptorists, who are in league with the SSPX. With regards to the Eastern Rites the overlap between that part of the Vatican institution and that part of the Church is as yet much larger, but they too are slowly becoming different. New liturgies have been prepared but not as yet universally imposed on the Eastern Church, but they are slowly increasing in number. It has not been as yet studied as to whether the changed rites being introduced to the Eastern Rite Churches have as yet imperilled the validity of their sacraments. The Eastern Rites have by and large far better kept their valid, Catholic, and historic traditional sacraments and sacramental forms, but serious abuses and compromises to the integrity of the authentic Eastern traditions are becoming more frequent.
As a result of this, the Eastern Rites are ceasing to be the safe haven they had so far proven to be. Already, there is pressure being put on them to revise their liturgies. Some Schismatic East Orthodox Churches are already revising their liturgies, making such a practice seem all the more acceptable. Liturgical abuses are spreading throughout many of the Eastern Rite Churches. Much of this seems to be spreading from the sorely abused Western Rite. The difference to keep in mind is that in the Eastern Rites, such abuses are the entire problem with the Liturgy, but in the (Novus Ordo) Western Rite the abuses are merely another layer of trouble heaped on top of the fact that the Novus Ordo liturgy is fundamentally non-Catholic even when performed without any abuses.
Persecution continues to be a major problem. The liberation of Russia in 1991 brought about only a very temporary reprieve. Already, what was once the Soviet Union is once again deporting Eastern Rite Catholics to the Gulags of Siberia. Adding insult to injury, the Vatican institution is already beginning to put pressure on Eastern Rite Catholics to just go ahead and join the Schismatic East Orthodox. They are being told to quit the good fight and join ecumenical hands with the Schismatics, as if all the suffering they have endured to remain loyal to a "Rome", which no longer wants their loyalty, has been for nothing.
Already, Eastern Catholics are having to disobey their leadership in order to remain Catholic. In the Declaration of Balamand, their leadership has formally relinquished their apostolic mission to the Schismatic East Orthodox, and one only keeps their Catholic Mark of Apostolicity by disobediently continuing to proselytize among the Schismatics. To some as yet limited extent, this necessary disobedience puts all true Eastern Rite Catholics just a little bit outside the Vatican institution. I would not be surprised to learn some day that the Schismatics should come to be counted as being in full union with the Vatican institution while those "rebellious" Uniates are formally kicked out of that institution on account of their desire to be loyal to Rome and the Pope.
Before long, Eastern Rite Uniate Catholics, who already suffer heroically under Communism, but who at least had been spared having to know about Modernism, in the 90's, finally encountered Modernism's left foot of fellowship. Father Stehlin (of the SSPX) reported 12 parish priests and seven Basilian sisters, who have been persecuted by their own hierarchy, on account of their refusal of any kind of ecumenism with the Orthodox, and of the "renewal" of the liturgy, with the use of the vernacular and shortened prayers, etc. In October of 1999, one of these priests was thrown out of his parish and suspended a divinis. The next Sunday, together with five other priests and 500 faithful, this priest entered the church from which he had been ejected, occupied it, celebrated the three hour long traditional liturgy, and left in a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament to a small chapel, where the banished priest now celebrates the traditional Byzantine liturgy. And so with cooperation between these and other faithful Uniate clergy and the priests of the SSPX, the order known as the Transalpine Redemptorists was founded for the preservation of the authentic Eastern Rites and beliefs, and thus was the traditional movement officially born in the Ukraine.
The stand is becoming clear, and even showing the true strength of the real Catholic Church to the Eastern schismatics. Several such clerics, seeking finally to re-unify themselves with the Church approached the Vatican asking to be received, and all were turned away, with a statement to the effect that "We prefer that you remain with the schismatic East Orthodox, since we need more of their kind to reach out to us and participate in our ecumenical agenda." Very disgusted with this, one such bishop, Yuri Yurchyk of Donetsk, Ukraine, came to realize that if he wanted to return to the Catholic Uniate Church, it is to the traditional Church he must go. But going to the SSPX would accomplish nothing since all they could do is refer him back to the Vatican. So Bp. Yurchyk took the extraordinary step of approaching the sedevacantist Bishop Piverunas of CMRI and MSM fame, and on October 24, 2002, he formally abjured the errors of East Orthodoxism and became reconciled to the Church. He was the first Uniate sedevacantist cleric. When he returned to his own country, the persecution was turned on and he was not permitted to speak again since. But from whatever place they have imprisoned him, his prayers carry much force for the conversion of Russia, as our Lady promised.
In India, Fr. Blute reports of a certain Fr. Pancras Raja, of the city of Periasamipuram (meaning "Big Priest Town") who refused to perform the Novus Ordo. For this he had been forcibly retired and he lived a monastic existence, saying Mass by himself, for many years. When however, a new bishop of the (Novus Ordo) "diocese" of Tuticorin desired to put an end to a longstanding tribal feud in that town, Fr. Raja was the only person they could find who had gained the trust and admiration of all sides of the feud. However, they so hated the Catholic Mass that even though they finally agreed to make him the regular parish priest in Periasamipuram, it was with the unique and previously unheard-of proviso that he does not say Mass for anyone in his own parish. Instead, an ill-trained young pup Novus Ordo presider was sent in to keep the Novus Ordos going while Fr. Raja was supposed to deal with the individual citizenry and their quarrels and feuds. Before long, the young pup gave up and abandoned the town for "greener pastures," and after a brief period of borrowing a Novus Ordo presider from a neighboring town (which spread that man far too thin), finally consented to allow Fr. Raja to say Mass in his own parish Church for his congregation.
As the priest (presider?) from the neighboring area became less and less able to fill in, Fr. Raja's Catholic Masses became seen more and more frequently by the town's populace, and before long, attendence grew mightily. Whole youth gangs were converted, with a gang leader now becoming the lead altar boy. Attendance continued to grow, as did lines at the confessional, and the common people were even learning all their prayers in Latin! With consummate skill and diplomacy, the "Big Priest" (Fr. Raja was large in stature, beard, and legend) earned the esteem of all the police chiefs, and political leaders of the District. He put in motion the starting of a High School, so the children of the village would no longer have to go to Tuticorin where so many lost their faith. Programs are being started for a water supply, and for employment for the handicapped. Needless to say, the Novus Ordo "bishop" could tolerate none of that, but so severely outvoted by the village citizenry, there is nothing he can do but permit Fr. Raja to continue doing his job there. At one point, Fr. Raja explained to the bishop's face that, in his opinion, "the new sacraments are invalid, give no grace, and are incapable of sanctifying souls." The Bishop "was left blinking." The fruits which the traditional faith can bring forth in that place are evident: virtue and vocations abound.
In China, the situation had grown truly bizarre. The Chinese Patriotic Church, a product of that nation's Communist government, and utterly beholden to it, had remained traditional in their liturgical manner despite their schismatic condition, while those Catholics of the underground had (for the most part) gone Novus Ordo. At first, they thought they were merely being obedient, and that such a different rite would also distance them from the Patriotic Church. For a season, saying a Novus Ordo was itself a kind of protest against the Chinese government, and almost enthusiastically engaged in on that basis by many who were nevertheless truly "Catholic-at-heart," while the schismatics had, ironically enough, the blessings of the authentic Catholic sacraments.
This was too much, even under the present confusing times, for Providence to permit. Over the course of the 1990's and into the early 2000's, the issues again became clear. First, in the early 1990's, the Chinese government finally "Novus Ordo-ised" their services. They did this, because they had come to realize what a disaster to the Catholic Faith of the people the Novus Ordo is, and so this was a technique for them to begin killing off Catholicism. Next, the new Vatican began to "recognize" the Chinese Patriotic Church bishops and clergy, even seeing to their "training" and "formation" and even, at times, their "ordination." Needless to say, the Chinese underground Catholics, finally seeing the truth of their situation, have been returning to the authentic traditional Mass of the Church, while the Vatican institution and the Patriotic Church waltz off into the sunset together, arm-in-arm.
In 1994, Fr. Schmidberger's twelve-year term as Superior General of the SSPX came to a close, and Bp. Bernard Felay, the only one of the four original Lefebvre-de Castro Mayer bishops who was neither a consecrator nor a co-consecrator of Bp. Rangel of Campos, Brazil, was elected to succeed him as Superior General. As the SSPX maintains its delicate balance between the Indult crowd and the sedevacantists, they place the Vatican institution into a rather strange position. On the one hand the Vatican leaders want to write the SSPX right out of the Church, but on the other they wish to be able to treat the SSPX problem as an internal matter. They can't have it both ways.
In 1991, Bishop Joseph Ferrario of Hawaii attempted to excommunicate six prominent members of a small SSPX chapel in Hawaii. The six parishioners (sometimes called the "Hawaii 6") appealed to Rome, and "Rome," in the person of Cardinal Ratzinger, responded in 1993 that the Hawaii 6 were in no way schismatic, and that there were to be no penalties applied. Bp. Ferrario backed down, retreated in disgrace, and retired soon after.
One would think that should be enough. But in 1996, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska attempted the very same thing with the parishioners of St. Michael Archangel Chapel, along with a host of other groups which really are properly condemned by the Church. Once again, there was an appeal to the Vatican and once again the erring bishop was told (albeit this time privately) to back off. In reality there is nothing he can do. Deprive the SSPX parishioners of the (Novus Ordo) "sacraments?" Even if any real Catholics who attend the SSPX parishes should desire to receive such Novus Ordo "sacraments," the rules for "Eucharistic Ministers" voted on at bishops' conferences render withholding them totally impossible by requiring that such "Ministers" give them to all who come forward, even notorious sinners. In reality, all Bp. Bruskewitz did was lose a great deal of face in public.
In 1998, with the quarters for the FSSP in Scranton getting more and more cramped for the increasing number of bright young seminarians, Bp. Bruskewitz, perhaps in a gesture to make up for his former public mistake, invited the FSSP to begin construction of a new seminary in his diocese, so that their seminary is now based in Denton, Nebraska rather than Pennsylvania as before. Certainly, this is a commendable action on his part. Even more to his credit, when Fr. Devillers of the FSSP actually went so far as to deny that the administration of the minor orders, tonsure, and Subdeaconate carried any validity (since the Novus Ordo had swept them all away), Bp. Bruskewitz continued to administer all degrees of Holy Orders on his FSSP seminarians, making it abundantly clear at the ordination Mass that the minor orders, tonsure, and the Subdeaconate most certainly do carry force and validity.
Yet another flap occurred when Fr. Gerald E. Murray, a priest from the Archdiocese of New York who was working on his doctorate in canon law at Rome's Gregorian University, prepared a licentiate thesis titled The Canonical Status of the Lay Faithful Associated with the Late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X: Are They Excommunicated as Schismatics? In it he concluded that the 1983 Code of Canon Law did not actually cause them to be excommunicated, according to a strict and literal application of that Code. All of those Vatican liars who wanted to deceive many into thinking that the SSPX is schismatic, or that anyone involved becomes excommunicated were in a total uproar.
He was interviewed by The Latin Mass and quoted in the literature published by the SSPX. His case had been absolutely devastating, an open and shut proof fit to lay to rest once and for all the claims made by those vocal liars at the Vatican (and other places) who say that those of the SSPX are schismatic or excommunicated. Unfortunately, the man himself has since refused to stand by his own work. In a letter to The Latin Mass (and published therein) he stated that he had changed his mind. The reasons he gave were stupid ones which any first-year student of canon law would at once see as fallacious. He got away from the literal meaning of the text of the law and went into the dark and murky territory of speculating on the intentions of the lawgiver, and attempted to reinterpret the 1983 Code of Canon Law in terms of these mysterious and undocumented "intentions."
Perhaps they threatened him. Perhaps he was bought off. Perhaps he is simply very ambitious, his thesis being written so as to show that he knows precisely where the Vatican institution's Achilles' heel is, and his subsequent backing down done so as to show that he is willing to play political ball with them. He is just like a surgeon who successfully performs open-heart surgery (and the patient lives), but who subsequently expresses remorse over having used a knife during the surgery since "knives are dangerous things which can hurt people."
As the SSPX continued to expand into many other countries, another event in 1996 was the conversion of Bishop Salvador Lazo of the Philippines. Kept incessantly busy by his diocesan duties clear up until his retirement shortly before that year, he had never before questioned the guidelines by which he had run his diocese and brought it in line with the new religion. Once he retired however, he finally had time to do a lot of reading and research on the issues. Once he had read a number of the books listed in the Bibliography of this book, he at last came to understand the need to take a stand for the Tridentine Mass.
Bp. Lazo soon exclusively said the traditional Mass in the SSPX parishes, primarily the Chapel (and priory), Our Lady of Victory, located in the metropolis of Manila. With his help, the SSPX has opened a house of Formation for priests, a place where seminarians receive the first part of their training for the priesthood. On April 11, 2000, Bp. Lazo passed away and was given a traditional Catholic funeral by the priests of the SSPX in the Philippines. It was only after his death that his bishop friend Bp. Manat of Thailand finally found the time to read the same books Bp. Lazo had read and come to the same conclusions. Bp. Manat regularly brought in SSPX priests for retreats and similar functions and encouraged a return to tradition within his diocese. Sadly, the man soon reached the age of 75 and had to retire.
The Indult is increasingly being used for various special event public Masses which have drawn yet more attention to the traditional Catholic movement. In 1995, Cardinal Ratzinger visited the Monastery as Le Barroux and celebrated a Tridentine Mass there, and yet that was nothing compared to the Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York celebrated in 1996. Cardinal Stickler had come to perform this Mass himself, and the Cathedral, despite its enormous size, was absolutely packed, with hundreds more standing outside. Many of those present, and the Cathedral itself, had not seen a Catholic Mass in over thirty years. Abp. O'Conner of New York declared that he would "never again" permit such a Mass in his Cathedral, and he never did. He did not live very long after. Sadly, the piety and enthusiasm he saw not only failed to impress him, but even offended him.
In the first half of the 1990's a number of much needed things came from the pen of John Paul II. In 1992, there was the new catechism, which despite its theological weaknesses in the areas of Ecumenism and Religious liberty, its extreme verbosity, and underdeveloped Sacramental Theology, was nevertheless in many ways a good thing because of its firm stand in many controversial areas of public morality. In 1993 came the great encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, in which the heresy of moral relativism was condemned.
Veritatis Splendor proved to be a source of seeming trouble for the SSPX. Some anti-traditional publications were claiming that this encyclical had split the SSPX, with one bishop agreeing with it and another rejecting it. The truth was far more innocuous than that. Bp. Felay read Veritatis Splendor and commended John Paul II for at last taking a stand against a heresy which was tearing the Church (or actually the Vatican institution) apart. His praise for it was based strictly on its contents, which certainly provided a real basis to applaud John Paul II. Bp. Williamson on the other hand commented rather cynically that this worthwhile encyclical was merely a bone being thrown to the traditionalists in order to pacify them, and that its fine counsel to forbid moral relativists to teach in the seminaries would never be enforced. As it turned out, Bp. Williamson's assessment proved correct. Its provisions were never carried out.
As can also be seen, there never was any real disagreement between the two men. One commented strictly on its contents and praised it on that basis; the other commented strictly on the way it was being used merely to pacify traditional Catholics but not for any real reform and spoke against it on that basis. The next major document from the pen of John Paul II would prove to be even more significant. In 1994, as if to balance off the new permission he gave to have Altar girls, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was published on May 22. Unlike almost everything else the man has written, this document is extremely short, succinct, and bases its evidences directly on Scripture and Church Tradition.
The orthodoxy of this document was so complete and stunning that even the sedevacantists stood up and took notice of it. For five minutes, it was as if the whole Church had a Pope again. Hear what a leading sedevacantist publication, The Reign of Mary, has to say about it: In an article exposing the heresies of the Ste. Jovite Church (the followers of the "Pope" of Canada) it says, "As we set about the task of rebutting the claims of Ste. Jovite to a female priesthood, it is interesting to note that the very arguments of the modernist, John Paul II, could be used here to accomplish the task. Before turning to more traditional sources, let us - - for curiosity's sake anyway - - sum up his arguments (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, May 22, 1994) regarding the impossibility of a female priesthood. Among his arguments are references to Paul VI's own opposition to it.
"a. It is the constant tradition and teaching of the Catholic Church, observed also in the Eastern Churches.
"b. Christ chose His Apostles only from among men and this choice 'did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to the time.' The Church must conform to the Lord's way of acting.
"c. Not even the Blessed Virgin Mary herself was admitted to the mission of the ministry of the Apostles. This in no way lessened her inherent dignity, nor does the non-participation of women in the priesthood detract from their inherent dignity or role in the Church.
"John Paul II concludes: 'Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren, I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.' Well said - - this time anyway - - John Paul! With this proclamation we wholeheartedly agree." - - Reign of Mary, No. 81, Summer 1995, page 9.
If John Paul II is truly a pope, and if ever there was a time he resorted to the Extraordinary and Infallible Magisterium of the Church, it was in that document. The very next year, he used the same strong language in the long and verbose encyclical Evangelium Vitae: The Gospel of Life, in his formal condemnation of abortion and "mercy-killing." The new catechism was finally translated into Latin, and a slightly revised edition (the biggest change seems to be the addition of a very large and detailed index) based on that Latin edition was finally published in 1999. While one would have hoped that it might fix some few small details, as could have been readily predicted, the fundamental theological weaknesses of the original edition were largely unaffected.
In the 1980's and 1990's, another important trend which has appeared is the publication of directories of traditional Latin Masses. For quite some time, both the SSPX and the SSPV had been publishing listings of Mass locations in their magazines, The Angelus and The Roman Catholic, but of course only the Masses which each respective society approved. The Coalition in support of Ecclesia Dei also began publishing their own listing of "approved" Indult Masses. Mr. Radko Jansky first pioneered a directory for all Mass locations, regardless of affiliation. After 1989, Fr. Francis LeBlanc, of Our Lady of the Sun International Shrine, in El Mirage, Arizona, took over the preparing and publishing of this directory. Unfortunately, in Fr. LeBlanc's version, the SSPX and the SSPV listings were omitted since they both had declined to allow their Mass locations to be published in the directory. In order to fill up space and provide more Mass locations, Fr. LeBlanc made the mistake of including the locations of Old Catholic parishes. That mistake is significantly mitigated by his having included information in each listing information as to whether the Mass is Indult, sedevacantist, some other Mass somehow in union with "Rome," or Old Catholic.
In 1994, Fr. M. E. Morrison of the Fisherman's and Seaman's Memorial Chapel in San Francisco, California, picked up the ball by publishing a directory of his own. In it, he excluded the Old Catholics, but included the SSPX and SSPV Mass locations despite their opposition to being listed. In September of that year he inaugurated the first traditional Catholic Website. Like Fr. LeBlanc's directory, Fr. Morrison's directory, the Official Directory of Traditional Latin Masses (See Bibliography or On-Line) also indicates the affiliation (if any) of all the Mass locations listed. This is now the official directory of the Catholic Church today.
At last, a single volume managed to lay out with an explicit list all Catholic parishes truly in union with Eternal Rome. This lended a tremendous amount of visibility to the real Roman Catholic Church as She exists today, and as a result of that great service, it was only a matter of time before Fr. Morrison would come under the most vicious attack. He had always had the policy of never discussing personalities (other than public figures in the news) by name, neither members of his e-mail list nor anyone else. As a result he never mentioned the name of the bishop who had ordained him, and with time it emerged that this detail was not for public consumption. Eager to attack him, some clever rumor monger invented the fanciful claim that Fr. Morrison had been ordained by some shady Old Catholic bishop. Conveniently, some such Old Catholic bishop in the area had just passed away and so was therefore in no position to deny being the bishop who ordained him (as he doubtless would have, had he still been alive). Despite such unjust treatment, the always noble and gentlemanly Fr. Morrison continues to publish and update his directory to this day. Basically, the directory has only gotter bigger and bigger as new traditional priests are ordained, others join in, or are found, and as other information about religious orders, publications, suppliers, and even foreign countries are increasingly being included.
The traditional Catholic movement continues its exponential expansion in all its various groups and Orders. In the United States, the seminaries Immaculate Heart, Most Holy Trinity, and Mater Dei, operated by the SSPV, the IR, and the CMRI, are all training sedevacantist priests, to be ordained by Bishops Kelly, Sanborn, Dolan, and Pivarunas. Already, a small trickle of priests have begun to emerge from these new seminaries, beginning with Fr. Cyr ordained by Bp. Dolan and Fr. Santay ordained by Bp. Kelly. These few priests were transfers from other seminaries who merely completed their training and formation with the IR or the SSPV. Soon there will be priests coming from these seminaries who have been there since the beginning of their priestly formation and at that point the pace of ordinations will greatly increase. Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary continues to turn out priests for the SSPX, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary (now relocated in Nebraska) turns out priests for the FSSP. Even "independent" and Indult priests are becoming more numerous. The Indult priests are easy enough to explain since more and more diocesan bishops are learning that the best way to raise money is to grant an Indult to some old priest in their diocese and start having Latin Masses.
The growth of the "independent" priests may seem a bit mysterious, but they are also becoming more numerous through several means. Many of the new "independent" priests were trained and ordained by the traditional Orders described in this book, but eventually left their Orders for various reasons. Priests often transfer in many different directions. For example, Fr. Gregory Foley who was trained and ordained by the SSPX now continues no longer as a member of the SSPX serving his parish in San Jose, California. Another priest trained and ordained by the SSPX, Fr. John Rizzo, transferred over to the FSSP in 1992. Another source of "independent" priests is regular diocesan and religious Order priests who are returning to the traditional Mass in their old age. A good example of this category is Fr. Frederick Schell who says Mass in quite a number of locations in the Southern part of California. Fr. Schell, originally a Jesuit, had to leave that order in 1967 when it became too liberal to qualify as Catholic anymore. After serving in a variety of diocesan positions for a number of years, he simply began saying the Tridentine Mass for those who need it.
This wholesome trend has continued with more priests leaving the Novus Ordo, or at least refusing to do the Novus Ordo, and then letting what happens to them, happen. Fr. Zigrang, once the Saint Andrew's Church in Channelview, Texas (Novus Ordo), decided on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29, 2003) that he would cease offending those two great saints by saying a ruined "Mass" and instead began saying the Catholic Mass exclusively. Needless to say, he was soon put out and now serves with the SSPX. Not long after, another priest, Fr. Lawrence C. Smith made the same decision, and others are beginning to follow suit, all to God's glory. At last united to the Church, they are "sacerdos vagus" no longer!
In 2003 and into 2004, a particular traditional Catholic layman, Mel Gibson by name, after a richly successful career in the movie industry, came to be known for his authentic traditional Catholic beliefs, and in union with these beliefs he produced and released a movie called "The Passion of the Christ" which for the first time truly shows the Divine cost incurred by our sins. Instead of doing the usual Hollywood "job" on it, he decided to follow the Gospel texts carefully and literally, and take the account seriously and reverently. This was the first time since the 1988 consecrations by Apb. Lefebvre that traditional Catholicism became an item for the daily news.
Suddenly, people wanted to know about him and the private chapel he had built on his property for the Mass, his own rejection of Vatican II, and his father's well-known sedevacantism. Almost immediately, certain self-appointed movie experts were falsely accusing him of being anti-Semitic. His movie was originally to include the line (taken from the Gospel of Matthew) "His blood be upon us and upon our children." Under popular pressure, he added subtitles (since it was filmed in the original Biblical languages used at the time), but left this particular line untranslated (it can still be heard in the original Aramaic).
So once again, traditional Catholics find themselves the victim of calumny, but at the same time, a surprising number of others came to stand behind him and his film, including many Protestants. When John Paul II viewed an early cut of his film, his only response was "It is as it was." There was a bit of a flap when this was at first officially acknowledged, but then denied by the Modernist Vatican. The film itself however proved truly moving and profound, and with that traditional Catholicism has also moved into the limelight. Most of all, with this movie, Mel Gibson truly stood up to be counted with the true Church of God.
The Home-aloner group has gone through an extraordinary (and very bad) transition from trying to create popes to giving up and declaring that Jesus Christ is shutting down His Church. For a number of years, prominent Home-aloner and Conclavist Ken Mock had travelled the countryside seeking some sufficiently untainted clergyman to be made into a pope. After one failure with Michael Bawden ("Pope" Michael 1), he had moved on to making another with Fr. Lucien Pulvermacher (a brother of Fr. Carl Pulvermacher and other priests), who declared himself to be "Pope" Pius XIII. Since he was not a bishop, rather than await the arrival of some bishop (somehow), he invented a way (so he thought) to make himself a bishop, so that he could then be a "Bishop of Rome." He had found some rare case when a mere priest had successfully ordained another man to the priesthood, and somehow thought that perhaps under such extraordinary circumstances a priest might already therefore have the episcopal mark on his soul. Apparently, a priest could make another priest, but for a priest to make a bishop means that he is attempting to give that which he does not himself possess, something which is theologically impossible.
After this failure, Ken Mock began scouring Europe and the rest of the world seeking his "untainted" bishop, and as it has become clear to the Home-aloner community that there remains none such to be found who would also be willing to reconstitute the Church, this is why Home-aloners now claim that the Priesthood and the Sacraments (other than Baptism and Marriage which can be done by laypeople) are simply scheduled to disappear. They have closed in on themselves and vanished into heresy. As for the new "popes" themselves, their universal failure to provide credible alternatives to John Paul II has quite well demonstrated that the Conclavist approach will not work. But of course that stands to reason. With Vatican II on the books, it is impossible for any bishop to possess universal jurisdiction and with that the Papal charism of Infallibility. Some of them might possibly have made good popes had the office really been attained by them, but lacking Infallibility they have vanished into errors themselves, albeit far less serious ones than those held at the Vatican.
Ironically, though the home-aloner position is most often associated with sedevacantism, one of the main, if unacknowledged, intellects behind the home-aloner group is neither a sedevacantist, nor (strictly speaking) a home-aloner himself. This would be the Abbé de Nantes. Despite the value of some of his works in demonstrating the heretical nature of the new religion and its main proponents, the man himself has inexcusably become critical of Abp. Lefebvre and all other bishops and clerics who have heroically sustained the valid and lawful apostolic succession. Taking a grotesquely overscrupulous and pharisaical stance against performing any clerical function without Modernist Vatican approval, a number of young men in his group, though eminently qualified to serve as priests, go unordained. Thus his followers have been effectively neutralized against taking any positive constructive action in this crisis. If it were up to him, the very future of the Church itself would be held hostage by the Modernist heretics.
Far better news in France is that on an unidentified Sunday somewhere in the year of 2002, the total number of Faithful in attendance at traditional Masses in that country finally surpassed the total number in attendance at Novus Ordo services on that given Sunday, and pretty much every Sunday ever since, excluding only certain high holy days and weddings and funerals. The total number of Novus Ordo believers there still outnumbers the number of Catholics by quite a bit, but far, far fewer of them (percentage wise) care enough to bother to show up to church on a typical Sunday than do traditional Catholics.
The traditional Catholic community has produced a number of significant books which have further defined the traditionalist cause. The first of these, by Romano Amerio, is Iota Unum which is a most detailed study of the changes made as a result of Vatican II itself. Several authors, Atila S. Guimarães, Michael J. Matt (of Remnant fame), John Vennari (publisher of Catholic Family News), and Marian T. Horvat, got together and assembled a tour de force work entitled We Resist You to the Face, which does what only the Abbe de Nantes has ever done before, namely confront the present Vatican leadership with their errors and demand an answer. So often we talk about them behind their back so to speak, but how seldom we think of what we would want to say to him. Atila S. Guimarães also began a series of books entitled In the Murky Waters of Vatican II and continued his series with two volumes of Animus Delendi which works reflect fifteen years of research on his part and again examine in detail the damage done to the Faith and Church as a result of Vatican II.
In 1999, the "In the Spirit of Chartres" Committee finally produced and began distributing its tour de force film, "What We Have Lost," which both exposes the Novus Ordo religion for the non-Catholic religion that it is, but also shows where the true remnant of the Church is to be found today. "What We Have Lost" is quite literally the movie to which this is the book. Another event of interest in this year (at least to this writer) is that "the-pope.com" finally went on-line, including the entire text of this book and many other articles dedicated to helping people understand what is going on and to take the right action.
The FSSP came under a terrible attack and compromise to its integrity. Sixteen of its priests had somehow converted to the new religion and desired "permission" to say the Novus Ordo "Mass" on at least some few rare occasions. Rather than simply leave the order and found some new bi-ritual order, they wrote some letter exaggerating the FSSP's hostility for the modernism at the Vatican, and that resulted in the infamous "1411 Protocol" document which effectively mandated that the FSSP give tolerance to all its members to do the Novus Ordo, at least for the yearly chrism "Mass" performed by the local bishop. Cardinal Hoyos had arrived in his new office at Ecclesia Dei with a spirit of great friendliness towards traditional Catholics, and yet one of his first official actions was this shameful protocol (and another less well-known one, numbered 512, as well) which did much to make the SSPX fear to have any dealings with the present Vatican.
As part of this change, Fr. Joseph Bisig, who had faithfully served as Superior General of the FSSP for almost twelve years, was ousted from his post a mere six months prior to its natural termination, and an American, Fr. Arnaud Devillers, one of the sixteen priests who had pushed for having a "Protocol 1411" (and the only American among them) was installed in his place. Fr. Bisig had always maintained that the FSSP was a mono-ritual order, that is, ordained only to do the Traditional Mass and Sacraments. Fr. Devillers on the other hand had pushed the idea of saying a Novus Ordo at least once a year in one's local bishop's Chrism "Mass." Obviously this is the camel's nose in the tent, and if I had been an FSSP priest at the time, my response to any local bishop requesting that I join him in such a sin would be "Tell you what, do the Chrism Mass using the 1962 Missal and I will be most honored to participate in it with you." This is again to emphasize that we are to be traditionalists, NOT separatists. Invite us to help you feed the hungry and we accept. Invite us to help you rob a bank and you do that alone without us. We avoid sinful actions (such as the Novus Ordo), not sinful people. Alas, no FSSP priest seems to have thought of that, and many Traditional Catholics saw this as signalling the possible end or termination of the Indult. However, since the Vatican II document mandated that a part of the Church would in fact "subsist in" the Vatican institution, the Indult will not be terminated that easily, and such we have seen as it continues to expand and extend itself along with the other Traditional groups.
However, come the Jubilee year of 2000, the SSPX made a great pilgrimmage to the Vatican to pay homage. So impressed by their devotion and seriousness and piety, Cardinal Hoyos quickly invited Bp. Fellay to come and begin negotiations about trying to end the separation between the SSPX and the Vatican institution and so some major negotiations began. Bp. Fellay decided that all he would ask for would be a formal lifting of all seeming "penalties" supposedly imposed on the SSPX, permission to operate in any diocese regardless of whether permission was granted or not, and for all priests to be formally permitted to say the Mass. It was this last point which became the occasion for the termination of the negotiations as the SSPX could never compromise on this point, and the Vatican institution's recognition of the fundamental right for all priests to say the Mass (as promulgated as eternal law by Pope Pius V) would (correctly) be seen as the beginning of the end, or even removal of, Vatican II. Unfortunately, Vatican II is such a sacred cow of the Vatican institution that they utterly refused to permit anything that even looked like its (in fact inevitable) revocation.
In keeping with that attitude of treating Vatican II like some sacred cow, they went through the motions of pretending to release the famous "Third Secret of Fatima" which unfortunatly is not the Third Secret which John XXIII read in 1960, at which point the seer had claimed it would be clearer. That latter document consists of a single page (unlike the new one released which is four pages long), and begins with the phrase "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved..." Because it went on to warn the Pope against holding a Council, one can see why that document shall never be released so long as Vatican II continues to be their sacred cow. Indeed, it was the children of Fatima who were the main "prophets of doom and gloom" that John XXIII was talking about in his opening remarks at Vatican II.
When Bp. Rangel's health began to give out, the Saint John Vianney Society of priests in Campos elected to continue the negotiations with the Vatican which the SSPX was unable to consummate, and the Vatican offered them quite a deal, which they finally accepted. In January of 2002, Bp. Rangel became (officially in the Vatican institution's eyes), the auxiliary bishop of Campos. Apparently, several of the Saint John Vianney priests were able to strike up quite a friendship with the recently appointed new bishop of Campos, Roberto Guimarães, who labored to secure as good a deal as they were willing to extend to the much larger SSPX. As of this writing, we have yet to see where this will lead, but everyone is watching it quite closely.
One welcome start for Campos came on August 18, 2002 when Cd. Hoyos consecrated Fr. Rifan to the episcopacy. In case there are any questions of its sacramental validity (the traditional rite was used, but the validity of Cd. Hoyos' consecration could be challenged), one of the co-consecrators was the ailing Bp. Rangel (who then passed away on December 17, 2002). The other co-consecrator was Bp. Guimarães. At last, there is that "traditional bishop" promised in the original 1988 protocol that Abp. Lefebvre had decided against. Now, if only Bp. Rifan could be elected to be the next Vatican leader! He is only one truly Catholic bishop in their organization, against thousands. Can he win? Only if he has the strength to stand his ground and not be led into the sin of the Novus Ordo by the new "bad companions" he has surrounded himself with. If so, then God Himself is with him. And if not, then God help him.
The SSPX are watching to see how their "deal" might have worked out, and even the schismatic East Orthodox (who were scared off from joining the Vatican despite their generous offers due to the liturgical and spiritual ruin imposed by them) have also taken a keen interest in seeing just how the situation with the priests of Campos works out. I wonder if any of the old parish churches have escaped being sold off to keep the diocese solvent (almost nobody ever attends their services), and if they would consider allowing them to be restored to the way they had been constructed in pre-Vatican II days, for the use of the Campos priests, who alone have a congregation.
John Paul II's health also continues to decline as he grapples with increasing age and advancing Parkinson's Disease. Several modernist cardinals, acting like vultures in my opinion, and led by Cd. Lehmann (whom he had just made a cardinal), began pressing for his resignation, but he has refused to entertain that request. I think it is interesting and worthwhile to point out that not one traditionalist, even any sedevacantist, has ever applauded this request. This is because we do know that the problems are bigger than merely the man himself, and furthermore we know that Cd. Lehmann and his cronies want someone quite a bit more to their liking, something which does not bode well for the Vatican institution's future or rehabilitation.
Now that the traditional Catholic movement has grown so strong and aware of itself, it should be ready to cope with the many changes that are bound to come with the passing of John Paul II. As of this writing, he is getting up there in years and not expected to live much longer. Already, speculation is rife as to who will succeed him and what that person will do. Will he be a conservative who is sympathetic to the traditional Catholic movement, such as Cardinal Thiandoum or Cardinal Ratzinger, or will he be a raving liberal, and if that, a consistent liberal like Bp. Sullivan or an agenda liberal, or what? Who knows? Perhaps there may come a time when the Vatican institution is unable to agree upon anyone to lead them, and they just decide to get along without any "pope" at all! That might be a good time for traditional Catholics to select their own pope. Then, who would be most obviously in union with the Pope? The same people who were truly in union all along.
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