The Universal Church

Courtesy of an email from Catholicgauze: It’s a good day for Catholics all over the world, as Pope Benedict XVI has lifted the excommunication of several bishops in the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X… a group of catholics that until recently was schismatic.

Some breaking news on the even, from Damian Thompson:

Other schismatic churches, not yet reunited, include the Chinese Patriot Catholic Association (an open letter to congregates of which is on the Vatican web site) and the Church of England.

9 thoughts on “The Universal Church”

  1. Short answer: Yes.

    A bit longer answer: The Priestly Society of SSPX [1] is a group that split off following the decisions not to allow the traditional Tridentine latin mass, nor to allow the Tridentine mass to be celebrated in the vernacular, nor to allow the Novus Ordo mass [2] to be celebrated in Latin. The name indicates that it originated as a collection of priests objecting to an overly radical interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

    The full history is complicated, but SSPX is a Franco-American concern, with leaders coming from both communities. However, while the ‘traditionalist’ Catholic movement in America is associated with rather stern form of American cultural conservatism, the ‘traditionalist’ Catholic movement in France is also associated with the Vichy regime, antisemitism, and the rest of that garbage. The reason for this is that the founder of SSPX was a French Archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre [3].

    The schismatic nature of the SSPX this is not just a theological harm: it allows some really strange people from France to have a leadership position in what is otherwise a coherent rejection of the worst of Vatican II overrreach. Previous attempts at reconcilliatoin between SSPX and Rome were consistently sabotaged by Lefebvre or the worst of the Vichy faction.

    (Analogously, the last time Iran tried to open up its economy, Revolutionary Guard fighters started mysteriously ‘escorting’ flights of European investors. Connectivity kills, so some try to sabotage the connectivity.)

    Pope Benedict has built on John Paul the Great’s reforms, encouraging Bishops to allow the Latin mass and also forming the FSSP [4] (the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter) as a home for SSPX priests who wish to return to Rome. The reconciliation with SSPX — if it happens — builds on these efforts to provide a home for those who were denied the traditional mass because of overenthusiastic bishops, and also further marginalize those who have been leaching off the SSPX movement to further their strange idea.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_St._Pius_X
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novus_Ordo
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Lefebvre
    [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_Fraternity_of_St._Peter

  2. Dan, good to see this.

    It is overdue.

    Benedict may also be trying a more or less unilateral announcement that the schism is over as a road test for a reconciliation with the Orthodox, or some of them, or those who were willing to accept it. THAT could be world-historic. 2054 would be a good year for it, but sooner would be better.

  3. The Orthodox Church (Constantinople) was briefly reunited in communion in Rome in the last days of the Empire, when the Empire was ironically deeply in need of Italian soldiers and engineerings to defend the remnant of the last city.

    The Sultan disagreed with such universal orthodoxy, however,

    Lady of tdaxp and I were married, by the way, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing. The Archbishop, Joseph Li Shan, is one of the few Chinese bishops publicly recognized by both CPCA and the Vatican!

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