Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Historical Artifact UPDATE

Here is an episode of a television program from 1988 that I am almost sure none of us has ever seen before. It was recorded shortly after Msgr. Lefebvre consecrated four men to the episcopacy without the Papal mandate and left us with the "Lefebvre vs. John Paul the Great" or "the Archbishop vs. Modernist Rome" narratives we hear today, both of which miss the point.

What interests me is that Fr. Kelly JENKINS gives a biography of Lefebvre in the first half of the video and then discusses the liturgical changes that figured in the expulsion of the Nine (sedevacantists, not the Nazgul). At 16:00 he talks about the fallout, at 17:00 the Holy Week changes and the Dialogue Mass, and 20:00 how Pius XII had no control over what was going on, and at 22:00 a [probably unintentional] mis-telling of the schema that passed in the Council in 1963.*

All very interesting to look back upon this twenty-six years later.

*= the schema that were prepared were several dozen documents. Both Lefebvre and Giovanni Battista Montini were on the commission that crafted them. All of them, save one, were thrown out during the first session, the only one over which Papa Giovanni presided; it was also, we must remember, the only session not to approve any documents. In 1963 the surviving document, Sacrosanctam Concilium, written by Msgr. Bugnini, gained approval and resulted in the 1964 Inter Oecumenici.


  1. Mons Lefebvre's title of Archbishop is a mite troubling; he wasn't one but was allowed personal use iof the title after he was demoted in Africa and sent back to France.

    He wasn't even a Bishop in the sense he had no jurisdiction and, as he his own self used to argue; No Jurisdiction, no Ministry.

    As an aside, one of the men he consecrated, didn't think he was a Bishop owing to the circumstances...

    None of this is meant to diminish his many favorable qualities (he was 100 x's holier than ABS) but the myths about him do none of us any good

  2. It is contra Tradition to approve the consecration of Bishop against the will of the Pope. His praising of schism is wildly wrong.

    It isn't arguable for a Catholic

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  4. The show was called "What Catholics Believe" which aired on BET (of all stations) on Sunday afternoons in the late'80's and early '90s. Pat Buchanan was a guest once or twice. This show is what lead my father (and by extension the rest of the family) to ditch the Novus Ordo and go Trad back in 1990, but to the SSPX and not the SSPV despite the latter's introducing us to Tradition.

  5. As to the point of this post - were the episcopal consecrations of 1988 justifiable or not? I'm grappling with this issue but leaning more to the justifiable "disobedience" conclusion, but I would like to get your take on it.

  6. Here's my take on it.

    Abp. Lefebvre's act was done at the last minute. He waited for years to be given the clear to ordain a promised bishop, but Rome kept delaying. He realized they were waiting for him to die and went ahead, though he didn't want to. Even then, the act was meant to cause a brief break that would be subsequently resolved. Indeed, if you watch the video of the consecrations he says something to the effect of, "They will call us schismatics, but eventually they will thank us."

    His great mistake was ordaining 4 bishops instead of 1 or 2. He should have stopped with Fellay and maybe De Galeretta. Having so many bishops has assured that the SSPX can never get all of them on board with reunification. Then there's Williamson....

    There are so many myths about the Archbishop, it's ridiculous. He was neither the "Champion of the Faith" (he told people to stop calling themselves Lefebvrists) neither was he some "Protestant" (those who say he was have no idea what that term means). I think he acted on his conscience, for better and for worse. Heck, Fr. Kelley says it best in the video: He was torn.

    By the way, Fr. Kelley's viewpoint is so absurdly ultramontanist. He acts as if the pope is the end-all be-all of everything to argue JPII can't be pope. Hence lies the problem.

    LOL... The Nazgul. Does Cekada or Dolan take the title of Witch King?

  7. I actually posted this because the discussion of the liturgy is a snapshot in time how traditionalists before 2007, when discussion became a bit more sophisticated, considered the liturgy. Kelley refuses 1962 because, supposedly against Pius XII's wishes, the Roman rite was tampered by Bugnini who in turn was experimenting for the Pauline Mass. The "mixing" Kelley mentions is concerned with the people involved and their eventual role in the completely retooled liturgy. It has little if nothing to do with the content of the old rite itself (really the omission of the Confiteor before Communion was among the least important changes). The arbitrary dates (1948, 1956, 1962 etc) all suggest the liturgy was used as a political banner. It still is in some groups today, but I cannot help but think the trend was stronger then.

    Lefebvre is a loaded topic that I do not feel comfortable discussing at length here. I think, right or wrong, he acted in good faith. I also think he was a far better priest than the formation process at Econe or anywhere in the FSSPX usually churns out. Time will tell if he was right in doing what he did. The Church in the 1980s was a complete and utter mess with no visible life anywhere, whereas there are at least some communities doing well today. On the downside his Society slips further and further from reality, as five decades of Society clergy have never had a normal relationship with Rome or their local ordinary. I hope I am wrong, but the ship for reconciliation may have passed when Benedict XVI reneged on their agreement and demanded full accepting of SVC (perhaps he called their bluff?). Hard to tell....

    1. BTW, the priest on the clip is Fr. Jenkins, not Kelly, though both subscribe to the same positions and are two of three of the original Nine still in the SSPV.

    2. They are a permanent schism and they re never coming home for they are quite happy in their petit ecclesia.

      There is never an acceptable reason for schism - that is Catholic Tradition.

      Mons Lefebvre concluded a agreement with the competent authorities and he was given a specific date for the time when he could consecrate a Bishop but he welshed on the deal, reneged on his word, and entered into schism.

      The entire Church has been infected with the spirit of the age and that includes many who call themselves trads.. There is no way in hell that fifty years one could identify even one trad who would claim a schism is defensible whereas uncountable are the numbers of trads who not only are willing to make that claim but who do so with pride.

    3. Amateur, everything you say is true if, in fact, there is a schism, but I am not so certain that what Lefebvre did was, in fact, schismatic and/or that the SSPX is in schism. The fact that canonized saints lined up on different sides of the Great Western Schism gives me pause that there are far more shades of gray to the current situation (which is far worse than the GWS in my opinion) than the Ultramontanists, both of the Trad and Neo-Con variety, want to see. If it can be proven, highly difficult, that +Lefebvre acted in justifiable disobedience in order to obey the first law, the lex salutis animarum, then schism is not applicable.

    4. Before I post this I need to post a disclaimer to the Brain Surgeon: my swipe at neocons below is not pointed at you, because I don't consider you one. I wouldn't put the disclaimer there, but I've had too many people in the past take some of my comments as a personal attack (they're never meant to be, but my tone can be quite provocative).

      Cardinal Hoyos: "Unfortunately Monsignor Lefebvre went ahead with the consecration and hence the situation of separation came about, even if it was not a formal schism."
      "Of course the Mass and the Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid... With the Episcopal consecrations, Archbishop Lefebvre was by no means creating a schism." Professor Geringer, Canon Lawyer at the University of Munich
      Cardinal Ratzinger, when examining the case of a bishop who excommunicated some people who attended an SSPX mass:"From the examination of the case, conducted on the basis of the Law of the Church, it did not result that the facts referred to in the above-mentioned Decree, are formal schismatic acts in the strict sense, as they do not constitute the offence of schism; and therefore the Congregation holds that the Decree of 1 May 1991, lacks foundation and hence validity."
      Cardinal Castrillo Lara:President of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, explained that, "The act of consecrating a bishop (without the Pope's permission) is not in itself a schismatic act" and so no excommunication applies.

      I am someone who happily bolted from the SSPX (the American ones are stark raving mad Williamsonites) but I admit they are valid and not in schism officially, even if a lot of them are there mentally. What cracks me up are the neocons who claim the SSPX confessions (or even confirmations) are invalid. Apparently, they know more than the theologians and authorities in charge of the issue:
      "We completely follow the teachings of the authority, but we know better than them."


  8. In his 1998 public speech to the Bishops of Chile, the then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ,identified the schism as a schism:If once again we succeed in pointing out and living the fullness of the
Catholic religion with regard to these points, we may hope that the schism
 of Lefebvre will not be of long duration.” and he did that following Ecclesia Dei in which the Pope identified the schism as a schism

    Today, Mueller of the CDF also publicly identifies it as a schism


    40. And when We later addressed to you the letter Ad Sinarum gentem, We again referred to this teaching in these words: The power of jurisdiction which is conferred directly by divine right on the Supreme Pontiff comes to bishops by that same right, but only through the successor of Peter, to whom not only the faithful but also all bishops are bound to be constantly subject and to adhere both by the reverence of obedience and by the bond of unity."

    41. Acts requiring the power of Holy Orders which are performed by ecclesiastics of this kind, though they are valid as long as the consecration conferred on them was valid, are yet gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious

    Give the Devil his due; he has cruelly used the Holy Mass to cleave Catholics away from the Church and to cleave them to him outside of the Church.

    Until this execrable ecclesiastical epoch arrived, there was never a time in the history of the Catholic Church where there have been men willing to not only publicly defend a schism but to call that schism good; calling an evil good is a sign of diabolical deception.

    And one can not grant the subjectivism of Mons Lefevbre (about the putative necessity of his action) trumps Canon Law for BEFORE he consecrated those clowns, he was told his attempted justification of necessity had no merit.

    As to how it was he thought he could create Bishops and place them in the jurisdiction of already existing Bishops and claim the Church supplies is a sign of his mental status ( ABS thinks he probably want culpable for his actions owing to his obvious labile psychological stateO ) that is anybody's guess but, long ago, the Abbe de Nantes helped expose his secret tribunals which supplanted the universal Jurisdiction and authority of the Pope; that is, he clearly established a petite ecclesia.

    When the time of the revolution within the form of Catholicism can to be, there was aught that could be done by the laity other than to suck it up and offer it up; there was nowhere else to go.

    St Augustine, and many others, taught there was never, and could never, be a reason to justify a schism and as bad as the best and the brightest have been, that Tradition remains.

    O, and be very cautious when it comes to the propaganda arm of the schism; they have a LONG history of falsifying quotes which they refuse to correct even after the party offended against pleads with them to make a correction.

    That is true of Cardinal Lara and the case you cited of the Hawaii six is immaterial to the sspx

    Under a different S/N, ABS specialised in exposing the lies of the SSPX at Free Republic (but then he received the sacramental of defenestration for making mincemeat of Dubya's Just War Claims)

    1. In the case of those who had to deal with Clown Masses, better to have valid sacraments than invalid ones. Legality is trumped by validity. I don't accept propaganda from either the SSPX or the "complete obedience is the highest virtue, even over morality" crowds.

      The best way for the faithful to react would have been to leave in droves to the Eastern rites (a decent minority did). They would have remained in full communion and still gotten the message across that something was wrong. Unfortunately, the EC churches have long been the best kept secret of Catholicism.

  9. I think this sort of this can be discussed over at Rorate or Fisheaters, don't you, gentlemen?