Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the SSPX: “no weighty reasons to deny…..canonical recognition” August 10, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, manhood, Papa, persecution, religious, scandals, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, unity, Virtue.
Rorate Caeli has an excerpt of an interview of Bishop Athanasius Schneider gave with a Spanish site on the status of the SSPX. +Schneider has been assigned a formal role by the Vatican in visiting two SSPX seminaries. Some highly relevant and interesting statements below, I add comments, emphasis from Rorate:
Mons. Schneider: The Holy See asked me to visit the two [seminaries] of the SSPX in order to conduct a discussion on a specific theological topic with a group of theologians of the SSPX and with His Excellency Bishop Fellay. For me this fact shows that for the Holy See the SSSPX is not a negligible ecclesiastical reality and that it has to be taken seriously. I am keeping a good impression of my visits. I could observe a sound theological, spiritual and human reality in the two [seminaries]. The “sentire cum ecclesia” of the SSPX is shown by the fact that I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality. Furthermore, I was glad to see in both places in the entrance area a photo of Pope Francis, the reigning Pontiff. In the sacristies there were plates with the name of Pope Francis and the local diocesan bishop. I was moved to assist the traditional chant for the Pope (“Oremus pro pontifice nostro Francisco…”) during the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.To my knowledge there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition, meanwhile they should be accepted as they are. This was indeed Archbishop Lefebvre’s petition to the Holy See: “Accept us as we are”. [Interesting. There have always been prelates favorably disposed to the SSPX. Cardinal Stickler was one particularly notable example. There have been, and are, others. Their viewpoint, however, is not shared by many other bishops, some of which view the Society as more alien, and with more hostility, than the most extreme sect or foreign religion. My own personal viewpoint aligns, in a hopeful sense, with that of Bishop Schneider.]I think the issue of Vatican II should not be taken as the “conditio sine qua non”, since it was an assembly with primarily [or was it entirely?] pastoral aims and characteristics. A part of the conciliar statements reflects only its time and possesses a temporary value, as disciplinary and pastoral documents do. [Brilliant. And very important] When we look in a two millennia old perspective of the Church, we can state, that there is on both sides (Holy See and the SSPX) an over-evaluation and over-estimation of a pastoral reality in the Church, which is Vatican II. [Bishop Schneider is saying both the Vatican and SSPX have blown VII out of proportion. I both agree and disagree. I think eventually, the only way to “move beyond” VII is to basically ignore all its novel parts and get back to the traditional practice of the Faith. But those novel parts have been so damaging and have affected the understanding and practice of the Faith in such a severe, revolutionary way, that doing so will prove extremely difficult. That’s because for a sizable portion of those who claim the name Catholic, including the large majority of bishops and priests, VII created in their minds a “new church” very different from, and hostile towards, the “old” one. Yes this cohort is dying off very gradually, but not fast enough, and there are not nearly enough of those with a proper, or at least better, understanding of the reality of the Church to replace them/turn the tide. But incorporating the SSPX back into the regular life of the Church would help enormously to that end – while also being a high risk move.]
When the SSPX believes, worship and conducts a moral [life] as it was demanded and recognized by the Supreme Magisterium and was observed universally in the Church during a centuries long period [one might say “always”] and when the SSPX recognizes the legitimacy of the Pope and the diocesan bishops and prays for them publicly and recognizes also the validity of the sacraments according to the editio typica of the new liturgical books, this should suffice for a canonical recognition of the SSPX on behalf of the Holy See. Otherwise the often repeated pastoral and ecumenical openness in the Church of our days will manifestly lose its credibility and the history will one day reproach to the ecclesiastical authorities of our days that they have “laid on the brothers greater burden than required” (cf. Acts 15:28), which is contrary to the pastoral method of the Apostles.