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Father Kevin Robinson distributes Communion during a traditional Latin Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Farmingville, N.Y., June 17. The chapel is administered by the Society of St. Pius X. RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

Vatican admits stalemate in talks with traditional SSPX group

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A senior Vatican official admitted that years of talks between the Vatican and a breakaway group of ultra-traditionalist Catholics have led to a “stalemate,” and urged a new “spiritual” approach to dialogue.

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Father Kevin Robinson distributes Communion during a traditional Latin Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Farmingville, N.Y., June 17. The chapel is administered by the Society of St. Pius X. RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, the American vice president of the Vatican's “Ecclesia Dei” Commission that oversees relations with traditionalist groups, sent a letter to all members of the Society of St. Pius X before Christmas; Vatican Radio ran an overview of the letter on Sunday (Jan. 20) and published links to its text.

The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told the French Catholic newspaper “La Croix” that the letter was not an official document but a “personal appeal” by Di Noia.

The archbishop wrote that “while hope” for full reconciliation “remains strong,” the Vatican engagement with the SSPX is at risk of becoming a “well-meaning but unending and fruitless exchange.”

Pope Benedict XVI has actively sought reconciliation with the SSPX. The group split from the Catholic Church in disagreement with the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which include acceptance of religious freedom, interfaith dialogue and ecumenism.

In 2009, Benedict lifted the excommunication of four SSPX bishops and opened doctrinal talks aimed at overcoming the theological differences over the interpretation of the council.

With talks essentially stalled, Di Noia called for a new dialogue focusing on “spiritual and theological” themes rather than on the “intractable disagreements over the authority and interpretation of Vatican Council II that now divide us.”

A Vatican reconciliation offer submitted last June hasn't received an answer from SSPX so far, but leaked SSPX documents slammed it as “clearly unacceptable.”

Di Noia admitted that the group's disagreements with the Vatican have remained “unchanged” over the decades.

“Our souls need first to be healed, to be cleansed of the bitterness and resentment that comes from 30 years of suspicion and anguish,” he wrote.

And while theological dissent has its place in the church, he said, it should never become a sort of “parallel” counter-doctrine that defines a group, and should not be aired publicly through the media.

In his letter, Di Noia also called on the group to abandon their “divisive tone or imprudent statements,” as well as their “harsh and counterproductive rhetoric.”

At a recent conference in Canada, SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay blamed “Jews” and other “enemies of the church” for the stalemate in talks with the Vatican.

His remarks reignited widespread suspicion about anti-Semitism within SSPX, especially after one of the readmitted bishops, Richard Williamson, emerged as a vocal denier of the Holocaust. He was expelled by SSPX last year.



    The situation is grave. Ecclesia Dei is giving up correct doctrine to protect itself from the Jewish Left.They are expecting the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to accept it. Archbishop Augustine Di Noia’s call to unity has been posted on Rorate Caeili and now re-reported in other media.The Vatican has sold out doctrine to the Jewish Left and now in the name of unity wants the SSPX to accept all that heresy.

    The SSPX-Vatican talks were kept secret since it was the Vatican-side which had a lot to hide on doctrine.

    Archbishop Di Noia has not quoted passages from the Bible, in the recent appeal to the SSPX, which says Jews need to convert.Neither did he quote passages to the Jewish Left rabbis, which indicate, outside the church there is no salvation.(John 3:5,Mk.16:16 etc).

    Why does the SSPX have to accept Vatican Council II with the dead man walking theory?Why does the SSPX have to assume that invincible ignorance and a good conscience(LG 16), elements of sanctification(LG 8) etc are exceptions to the literal interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus?

    The Vatican will pounce on any priest or seminarian who affirms the dogma on salvation.The Vatican wants to protect its property and privileges against the anti-Semitism law.

    In all the Catholic Churches priests are to say during the homilies,that Jesus is the only Saviour. This is true but it is not the ‘fullness of the truth’. The fullness of the truth is that Jesus is the only Saviour of the world and salvation is there in only the Catholic Church; all need to convert into the Catholic Church, with faith and baptism, for salvation.

    Catholic priests in their homilies, with the approval of the Vatican and the Jewish Left, only say that salvation is available for all, it is universal.They do not say that to receive this salvation all need to be visible members of the Catholic Church.

    Ecclesia Dei wants all the seminarians in the SSPX seminaries, to accept all this false doctrine.It is with such theology that the Novus Ordo Mass is being offered and so Bishop Bernard Fellay said this was all ‘evil’.

    Two leftist rabbis, Rosen and Segni, are on public record announcing their conditions for the SSPX to be accepted in the Church with full canonical status.There was no criticism from the Vatican to these Jewish rabbis telling Catholics what belief is acceptable to them and to be permitted by them.


    The Catechism is being misinterpreted on invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not issuing a correction. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not state that these cases of the baptism of desire etc are explicit for us but yet this is how it is being interpreted by numerous prominent Catholics.

    The Vatican wants to protect its political and economic interests.Now they want to enforce this ‘new magisterium’ on the SSPX in the name of unity.

  2. At the heart of this conflict are the misinterpretations, and applications of those misinterpretations, of Vatican II Documents. The so-called Spirit of Vatican II has been little less than totally iconoclastic, figuratively as well, and the promotion of change for the sake of change, for which none of us asked. Even though the Council is recognized as pastoral rather than dogmatic, those in control at the Vatican will not “un-canonize” all or any part of the radical elements, but instead have themselves hung-up on concepts of no break in the hermeneutic of continuity, pre and post V2 Council, and indeed there would be none of this conflict were the Council to be declared pastoral, and its documents seen only in that light. As a “Novus Ordo” Catholic, I accept the validity of the Catholic Church, and I can only see the SSPX as a valid part of the Catholic Church, nothing less. The SSPX should be given special canonical status, and the Church needs to get on with its primary mission.

  3. Traditionalists still assume that the baptism of desire is an exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus : no canonical status for the SSPX when they are really in agreement with Vatican Council II

    When Jefferey Mirus of Catholic Culture writes a report critical on extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the community of Fr.Leonard Feeney, Brother Andre Marie MICM will respond.

    Jefferey Mirus will assume that the baptism of desire is explicit and known to us in personal cases so it is an exception .Brother Andre Marie Prior at the St.Benedict Center,one of Fr.Leonard Feeney’s communities in the USA, will defend Fr.Leonard Feeney and say historically and theologically the baptism of desire was not considered a Sacrament and so the baptism of water is also needed for those catechumens who have a genuine desire and perfect charity.

    So he will accept the baptism of desire in principle as containing the baptism of water and so it is not an exception to the literal interpretation of Fr.Leonard Feeney.It is that every one needs to be a visible member of the Church with Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation.

    Without the baptism of water there cannot be a catechumen saved for Brother Andre Marie. So in the case of the baptism of desire, God would provide the grace for a preacher to come and baptise the catechumen.

    What Brother Andre Marie and Mr.Brian Kelly on the website have not done is to use another approach . They could simply tell Jeff Mirus that for something to be an exception it has to be known.We don’t know any case of the baptism of desire in 2013.

    So they accept the baptism of desire as a possibility, followed with the baptism of water, and none of these cases are known to us personally in real life. So how can what we do not know be an exception?

    This could be the approach also with the Society of St.Pius X(SSPX).

    If there are no known exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus in Vatican Council II then the Council is in agreement with the SSPX on the subject of other religions and ecumenism.

    So Vatican Council II is in agreement with the traditionalists position on other religions and the SSPX does not know this and the St.Benedict Centers are not helping them to know this. If the St.Benedict Center accepts Vatican Council II and also that non Catholic religions are not paths to salvation then the SSPX could use this model. Since the St.Benedict Centers affirm the literal interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and this is compatible with Vatican Council II.

    The Sisters of St.Benedict Center, in the diocese of Worcester have canonical status. They affirm the traditional interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus according to Fr.Leonard Feeney, and the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance are accepted in principle as possibilities. It is known that they are not explicit for them to be exceptions to the literal interpretation of the dogma. So Vatican Council II is in accord with extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    If any one protests why are these traditonalists given canonical status when they hold the ‘rigorist interpretation’ of Fr.Leonard Feeney they simply explain that what does not exist cannot be an exception.They do not know any one in 2013 saved with implicit salvation which is visible for us humans.

    In general, I notice on forums, Traditionalists still assume that implicit to us salvation is explicit and visible.Even if they do not accept Vatican Council II, traditionalists with the SSPX and St.Benedict Centers could agree that there is no visible baptism of desire and being saved in invincible ignorance and that these cases can only be accepted in principle.

  4. Mr. Andrades,

    Your response is well reasoned and should be well noted by all at the Vatican and the SSPX. There would still be issues of “tradition,” but the Holy Father has taken care of this in very large measure. Left is the problem of authority which has been given to national groups of bishops, and the extent of what collegiality does in fact mean, other than in the case of infallibility, as defined in Vatican I: look at the fine print! We still have to deal with some liberals who are smitten with the ideas of Episcopal Bishop Spong,
    and who very clearly need to join that extreme group of non-traditional Episcopalians.
    Ardently, I await the correct canonical inclusion of the SSPX, so that the church can clarifyingly go about its primary mission which Jesus gave to it. The SSPX with its great apostolic zeal in its approach to saving souls for Christ, will be invaluable as an intrinsic entity in the church.
    The barque of Peter is on the high seas in great internal crisis, due to Vatican II. Although I am a “novus ordo” Catholic, I am greatly disheartened by the extremes of Vatican II interpretations and their applications. I do not feel completely comfortable in my parish church just yet. The building is little more than a meeting hall in appearance, and Mass seems to be like a high school assembly, and that term “assembly” is bandied about relentlessly. The bishops of the diocese accepted what a few loose cannons wanted to avoid media clash with them, so this is the pickle we’re in. And the priests of the congregation charged with the parish have been carried away with the “spirit of Vatican II.”

  5. Talk about being confused, I got out of the novus ordo church 7 years ago after I saw the heresies and lack of reverence for God and his glorious Son, Jesus, I now attend the FSSP traditional catholic church and I am saddened to see The SSPX and the Sedevacantis and The Vatican unable to come to a mutual agreement. Surely the pastors of this earth should be tending to the flock ,have we not lost enough of the once faithful to the snares and lies of satan , please stop bickering amongst yourselves or more souls will be lost.Please remember of the strict account you must give to the Almighty when your time is called and how much our Lord is offended,saddened by the division .
    es or more souls will be lost.Please remember of the strict account you must give to God when your time comes as all of us will have to. How sad and tearful our Lord must be to see his church being torned

    s or more souls will be lost,do remember you will need to give an account of your life when you meet your maker as all will have to. Vatican2 was a big mistake because it allowed protesta

    or more souls will be lost and remember you will need to give an account of your life when your time has come and how will you state your defence

    u are playing in the hands of your enemies and they are rubbing their hands in glee. I do agree that Vatican 2 was an abomination, even pope Paul vi said so when he said and I quote..The smoke of satan have entered the walls of the Vatican…end quote. The ones who voted for this abomination in the new liturgy were several protesta

  6. One of the major problems in the aftermath of Vatican II has been that the various congregations of priests which were allowed, in the ensuing confusion, following that council, to define things for us, in attempts, i.e., to do their own thing. Things went amuck because these priests developed applications in the so-called spirit of Vatican Council II. One congregation, in particular, was at extremes, and as far as I can see, still is: The Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, ironically not even founded by St. Francis DeSales. Each parish bulletin proclaims that the parish dispenses spirituality in the tradition of St. Francis De Sales. They have established a bandwagon cult of their own. Our spirituality should be noted to come from Jesus, period. The parish mocks our heritage of spirituality and tradition, the parish church is nothing more than a barren meeting hall. The Church needs to have some kind of control over this and other congregations which have run wild with the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II.”

  7. I might add that when the parish was founded and handed over to the Congregation of St. Francis De Sales, there were successions of newly ordained OSFS priests visiting the parish from their assignments of teaching at Paul VI High School. They all had one track minds on promulgating V2 mish-mash and misinterpretations in their so-called homilies, which makes me wonder about the breadth of their seminary curriculum, because each one presented himself as a Vatican II expert. It seemed that was all they were able to preach. In charity, I guess that was what obtained throughout the U.S. Church in those days, but I find it difficult to accept the interpreted aberrations which came out of Vatican II. I shudder to remember the “new Mass” and the cocktail lounge music, and guitar masses we endured. How pitiful! And what a mess we have on our hands now because of the misinterpretations of Vatican II. The window was opened for fresh air, and lo, as Pope Paul VI uttered, “the devil came in.” I will say this, that I have seen emerge a more devout rendition of the novus ordo mass in the parish, but the parish needs to be straightened out by the Bishop. I asked the pastor on one occasion if we could have once each Sunday a traditional Mass; his response with a smirk was that he had conducted a survey in the parish and that the people did not want it. How could they when the priests of his OSFS Congregation brain- washed them for 40 years in their interpretations of Vatican II, and building an assembly hall to pass for a church.

  8. One simple question and there is no answer:MHFM,St.Benedict Centers,SSPX

    On Dec16,2012 I asked Peter and Michael Dimond, sedevacantists of the Most Holy Family Monastery(MHFM) to answer just one question.(1)

    Do we know any one saved with the baptism of desire?

    They still will not answer it. There is also no reply from Fr.Leonard Feeney’s communities in the USA, to the same question, asked months back.It has been as long now and there is no formal reply to the letter I e-mailed to the District Superior of the SSPX in Italy. Though priests with the SSPX community in Albano,Italy with whom I have spoken to in Rome, have acknowledged there is no visible case of the baptism of desire or being saved in invincible ignorance.
    One simple question and they will not formally answer it!
    If there is no visible salvation then there are no exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus .Then it means Vatican Council II is traditional on the issue of other religions and Christian communities.LG 16 is not the usual exception it is made out to be of AG 7 which says all need ‘faith and baptism’ for salvation. It would also then mean that it was the Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing who was in error and not Fr.Leonard Feeney.
    So if they honestly answered this question they would have to review their apologetics, or a part of it, especially on Vatican Council II.
    Vatican Council II is a break with the past only if there is visible- to- us cases of persons saved in invincible ignorance etc.
    Vatican Council II is a continuity with the past if those saved in invincible ignorance etc are invisible for us.
    There is no ambiguity or two positions.
    Since one of the two views is irrational and contrary to the Principle of Non Contradiction.
    So rationally we are left with only the traditional interpretation of the Council.
    -Lionel Andrades
    I would like to quote you. Please answer this question it is related to your book and the subject you write on often.
    Do we know any one saved with the baptism of desire?
    (In other words can we see someone on earth saved with the baptism of desire?

  9. Please don’t mix up Mr. Dimond with the sspx. He is not a part of that august group.

  10. That august group is not answering that simple question and neither are the other traditionalists or even the sedevacantists.

  11. SSPX (USA) falls for the Cardinal Kaspar canard
    Here Cardinal Kasper is saying that the documents themselves were constructed in such a way as to permit progressive interpretations when put into the hands of progressive theologians or bishops. Here the cardinal agrees that the conflict is inherent to the texts themselves produced by the Council and not due to some later wrong interpretations of it. Contra to the conservative mantra of “perfect documents – imperfect implementation”, Kasper affirms the traditionalist critique of “imperfect documents lead to imperfect implementation.” In other words, there is an intimate and logical connection between the documents and their implementation.-SSPX,USA

    The conflict arose because of the active influence of Cardinal Richard Cushing and the Jesuits at Vatican Council II. They were citing the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 of Pope Pius XII as if it was a break through, something new in the Catholic Church. Since this was a magisterial document for them, they wanted its message also included in the Council.

    The problem was that the Letter of the Holy Office only mentions being saved in implicit desire and in invincible ignorance. This is nothing new. This is traditional. However the Cardinal and the Jesuits interpreted being saved in invincible ignorance etc as being explicit, visible to us in the present times and so an exception to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    So when the conservatives accepted Lumen Gentium 16, for instance which says that a person can be saved in invincible igorance etc they understood that these were implicit cases known only to God and so were irrelevant to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Syllabus of Errors.

    Cardinal Kaspar and the liberals, like the Jesuits and the Archbshop of Boston, assume that LG 16 refers to visible, instead of invisible salvation and so the confusion arises.There is ambiguity. There are two positions to a simple text. One can interpret LG 16 as referring to known exceptions to the dogma or as referring to invisible cases and so irrelevant to the dogma.The text is neutral.One uses a rational or an irrational premise.It can be assumed that we can see the dead saved in invincible ignorance or that we cannot see them. This is the premise which will influence theology and the interpretation of a traditional Councl.

    When it is realized that LG 16 etc can rationally only refer to cases invisible for us we are left with only one rational interpretation of the Council. This is the traditional one.

    So when Cardinal Kaspar etc say there is a progressive interpretation with regard to other religions and ecumenism they should be asked to name someone in 2013 who is a visible exception to the dogma. Also they should be asked to cite text in Vatican Council which says these cases are visible to us or that they are exceptions to the dogma on salvation.
    -Lionel Andrades

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