The Vatican and the SSPX: All over but the recriminations

Pictured: SSPX leader Bernard Fellay, and some children who will have lots of anecdotes later in life about their weird, cultish upbringing.

Pictured: SSPX leader Bernard Fellay, and some children who will have lots of anecdotes later in life about their weird, cultish upbringing.


For months now, we here at Hot Dogma have striven to be your number one source for news about the collapse of dialogue between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, the collection of Latin-loving, Jew-hating odd ducks who broke away from the Church after the Second Vatican Council.

As we’ve been saying, reconciliation between the Vatican and the SSPX appears less likely than Eric Cantor introducing a measure in the House of Representatives to nationalize the oil industry, and today there’s further confirmation of that, in the form of a letter that the Vatican’s top traditionalist-talking official sent to members of the SSPX last month, which has just now leaked out.

In his letter, Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia lays out the essential problem: that the “dialogue” between the Vatican and the SSPX has consisted mostly of the two sides repeating their diametrically opposed positions to each other. Quoth the archbishop:

[A] review of the history of our relations since the 1970s leads to the sobering realization that the terms of our disagreement concerning Vatican Council II have remained, in effect, unchanged. With magisterial authority, the Holy See has consistently maintained that the documents of the Council must be interpreted in the light of Tradition and the Magisterium and not vice versa, while the Fraternity has insisted that certain teachings of the Council are erroneous and are thus not susceptible to an interpretation in line with the Tradition and the Magisterium. Over the years, this stalemate has remained more or less in place. The three years of doctrinal dialogues just concluded, though permitting a fruitful airing of views on specific issues, did not fundamentally alter this situation.

DiNoia essentially calls for the talks to start over from square one, focusing on “spiritual” issues rather than Vatican II, which the SSPX will never accept and the Vatican will never abandon. So what’s the point of resuming dialogue on issues that both sides presumably already agree on?

No public response from the SSPX yet, but presumably they already know who to blame.

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4 Responses to The Vatican and the SSPX: All over but the recriminations

  1. J. Mikaelis says:

    I find your comments to be rather sensationalist and ill-informed. Had you been seriously following the FSSPX from the beginning, you would know that they aren’t some crackpot cult. If they were, Benedict XVI wouldn’t waste his time (1) lifting the excommunications of their bishops (2) permitting their priests to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and other churches and chapels inside the Vatican, (3) emphasizing that the Tridentine Mass has never been suppressed and re-establishing that Catholics have a right to hear Mass according to the 1962 Missal, and (4) holiding intensive theological consultations with the FSSPX for the last three years for the purpose of reintegrating them into the Church’s canonical structure. Finally, this letter didn’t “just now leak out”. It was released by the Vatican. Dismissing the group as “Latin-loving, Jew-hating odd ducks” is not only insulting, it reveals how shallow is your understanding of this organization, the history of the Church itself, and the people in the FSSPX. You will find strands of anti-Semitism throughout the Church, including the FSSPX, as well as throughout European secular society. It is despicable whenever and wherever found, but I dare say it is no more prevalent in the FSSPX than I have seen it throughout the rest of the Church or society at large. I once was part of the FSSPX, I know these priests, and the vast majority of them are not at all anti-Semitic.

    • Tom Breen says:

      Oh, please. The SSPX has anti-Semitism in its DNA; its heresiarch founder was an ardent supporter of the Vichy regime, for crying out loud.

      It is in The Angelus, published monthly by the SSPX press, and on SSPX’s website, that the radical anti-Semitism of the order is most evident today. One example now on the website is a 1997 Angelus article by SSPX priests Michael Crowdy and Kenneth Novak that calls for locking Jews into ghettos because “Jews are known to kill Christians.” It also blames Jews for the French Revolution, communism and capitalism; suggests a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy has destroyed the Catholic Church; and describes Judaism as “inimical to all nations.”

      “I dare say it is no more prevalent in the FSSPX than I have seen it throughout the rest of the Church or society at large.”

      Really? Because half the Econe consecrated bishops have made anti-Semitic statements in the recent past; you think the percentage of anti-Semitic Catholic bishops is that high? Talk about sensational!

      And let’s look closely at Fellay’s “enemies of the church” remarks; recall that he wasn’t only bashing Jews, he was claiming Freemasons were responsible for souring relations with the Vatican (the “intensive theological consultations with the FSSPX for the last three years” you mention stalled over six months ago and haven’t resumed, FYI). In 2012, someone is blaming a Masonic conspiracy for his problems.

      Do you know who’s responsible for capsizing the dialogue with the Vatican? Hint: it’s not World Jewry or the Scottish Rite. It’s Fellay and his fellow schismatics, who have proclaimed, with their spiritual (and anti-Semitic) ancestor Martin Luther, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” They have substituted private judgment for the judgment of the Church. As long as they persist, they will remain outside the Church.

      The atmosphere of the SSPX is a toxic brew of unvarnished hatred and bitter loathing. It’s as foreign to Jesus Christ as Marxism.

      • J. Mikaelis says:

        I don’t contend that anti-Semitism is non-existing in that community. Bishop Williamson was expelled by the FSSPX specifically for his anti-Semitism. A great portion of the French Church, and a number of it’s bishops were indeed sympathetic with Vichy, and had strong anti-Semitic tendencies. The record of the French Church during the war is indeed shameful, and it was not limited to one prelate. So that is really a specious argument against the FSSPX, which didn’t even exist until 25 years after the war.

        I was a member of this community and I found (1) few of the priests and seminarians to be anti-Semitic, and (2) many of them to be genuinely holy and good people. Are there some rotten apples? Yes, to be sure. But look at the church at large and how many rotten priests do you find? They exist everywhere and to imply that FSSPX has some corner on the market is so far beyond the pale as to be ridiculous.

        Your last two sentences are really astonishing. You dont’ know what you’re talking about, or you wouldn’t hurl such ridiculous accusations about people you clearly don’t even know. I have no interest responding further, as you’re not interested facts, just sensational accusations.

        • Tom Breen says:

          The SSPX expelled Williamson not because he made anti-Semitic comments – he had been making them for years. He was expelled because he kept making them after the group decided it was time to whitewash its image. That’s why they scrubbed their website of those documents quoted in the SPLC piece, although the Wayback Machine preserves them in all their glory.

          You’re not interested in a discussion about this, you’re interested in absurd defenses of your “former” comrades. The Internet is full of sites for that. You’re welcome to them.