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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Re: SSPX condemnation

by Catherine Frakas 18 Aug 2001

Re: SSPX condemnation QUESTION from Peter Gentry January 13, 2001 While I agree that the SSPX shot themselves in the foot, so to speak, with the episcopal consecrations of 1988, I take issue with statements like, and I paraphrase,..there are groups like the FSSP and the Institute of Christ the King that remain loyal to the Holy Father... I believe it should be noted that neither of these groups existed before 1988, and to say that they remained faithful is confusing at the least. These groups, and all other sanctioned traditionalist groups, owe a debt of gratitude to the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for continuing to adhere to the traditions of the Church at a time when NO-ONE ELSE did.There simply would not be any such organizations without the SSPX as their predecessor - Ecclesia Dei was a DIRECT result of the late Archbishop's disobeidience, before which - 1984 Indult notwithstanding - there was no tolerance whatsoever shown to those who counted the Church's traditional liturgy as one of their rightful aspirations.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on March 19, 2001 Dear Mr. Gentry:
You are misinterpreting the phrase, remain loyal.... This phrase does not refer to pre-1988 or post-1988 situations. It means that these groups formed with the emphasis on the Tridentine traditions WHILE remaining loyal to Rome. The SSPX formed with an emphasis on the Tridentine traditions WITHOUT remaining loyal to Rome, and are still not loyal to Rome as they believe the Roman Missal of 1970 and 2000 are invalid.
As for as owing a debt of gratitude to the schismatic Bishop Lefebvre I think we need to be cautious as such thinking implicitly condones rebellion as a means to an end. However, in Catholic moral theology the ends NEVER justified the means.
It is interesting that this argument is also made about Martin Luther. I suppose we could say that the the Bishop and all those Tridentine traditionalists owe a debt of gratitude to Martin Luther and all the Protestants. If it weren't for Luther's rebellion the Council of Trent would not have convened -- some people imply -- and thus the Tridentine Mass would not exist. This kind of thinking implies the Church will not act unless a rebel breaks that law and flips his nose at Church and God.
I think the reforms that were needed in the 16th century would have happened eventually regardless of Martin Luther. And perhaps the indult for the Missal of 1962 would have been granted eventually regardless of Bishop Lefebvre.
I think it is more appropriate to say that rebellion is wrong on all counts and in all situations. There is NEVER a time that rebellion is justified -- EVEN IF it results in a positive end.
As for the effects of Luther that led to Trent, and the effects of Bishop Lefebvre that led to the indult? Well that is merely God being God. God can take a lemon (Luther and Lefebvre) and turn them into lemonaid (Trent and the Indult) vis-a-vis, All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28).
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