Loyal to the Faith, Not in Schism
Thomas A. Droleskey
A word of two is in order to elaborate on Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos's recent interviews, given to 30 Days magazine and on an Italian television network, in which the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and the President of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has admitted that the Priestly Fraternity of the Society of Saint Pius X is not in schism and that the Society is not "out of the Church," describing the irregular canonical status of the Society as a matter of less-than-perfect communion. In other words, as Cardinal Hoyos admitted, the Society has never had any intention of separating itself from the Holy See, that they have remained Roman Catholic throughout the course of its thirty-five year history. Cardinal Hoyos also publicly admitted what the secret cardinalate commission of 1986 had concluded: the Traditional Latin Mass was not abrogated by Pope Paul VI. In a flash, you see, many of the chief contentions made by the doctrinal/liturgical revolutionaries and by their unwitting allies in the neo-conservative Catholic camp, eager to show their "loyalty" to the recent popes, have been blow to smithereens.
Brief mention was made on this site of Cardinal Hoyos's remarks in The Resistance Must Continue a few days ago. Michael Matt has written an outstanding essay on the matter for the November 30 issue of The Remnant, which has been posted online at www.remnantnewspaper.com, that provides a very cogent summary of Cardinal Hoyos's remarks and the conference given by the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, the Most Reverend Bernard Fellay, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on November 5, 2005. Mr. Matt, who has been castigated even by family members as a "schismatic" for the stands The Remnant has taken over the years, has summarized the matter very, very well. I urge one and all to read his insightful, accurate article. As one who has been accused of joining those "schismatic" ranks in the past five years, I can say that Mr. Michael Matt, whose father, the late Mr. Walter Matt, gave up his birthright at The Wanderer to found The Remnant to be the loyal opposition to the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Missae in 1967, has more right than almost anyone else save for the bishops and the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X--and those other priests exercising their rights under Quo Primum to offer the Traditional Latin Mass without any episcopal authorization whatsoever--to feel thoroughly vindicated in the face of all of the slogans and names and bitter invectives that have been hurled at his late father's newspaper's efforts to present the fullness of Catholic truth without any compromise at all.
The point of this particular piece, though, is to make life very uncomfortable for those bishops and priests who have in recent years dared to assert publicly that the Society of Saint Pius X is a "schismatic" organization and to ask them to apologize to the Society and to those priests they have penalized for offering the Immemorial Mass of Tradition under Society auspices. Batters up, please.
Ah, first up is the Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Your Excellency, Archbishop Fiorenza:
You wrote the following to Father Stephen Zigrang on June 10, 2004:
"Your continued association with a schismatic group which has severed communication with the Holy Father is confusing and a scandal to many of Christ's faithful."
You wrote the following to Father Zigrang on July 2, 2004:
"This action is taken after appropriate canonical warnings (canon 1347) and failure to obey my specific directive that you cease the affiliation with the schismatic Society of St. Pius X and accept and assignment to serve as a priest of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.
"I want to repeat what Have said to you in person and in the written canonical warnings, that I prayerfully urge you not to break communion with the Holy Father and cease to be associated with the schism which rejects the liceity of the Novus Ordo Mass, often affirmed by Pope John Paul II. This schism also calls into question the teachings of the Second Vatican Council regarding ecumenism and the enduring validity of the Old Testament covenant God made with the people of Israel."
Your Excellency, Archbishop Fiorenza, this is what Cardinal Hoyos said when asked by 30 Days to comment on a curial official's demand that the Society of Saint Pius X "recognize" the legitimacy of Pope Benedict XVI:
"Unfortunately that is proof that within the Church, even at high levels, there is not always full knowledge of the Fraternity. The Fraternity has always recognized in John Paul II, and now in Benedict XVI, the legitimate successor of Saint Peter. That is not a problem. That then there are traditionalist groups that don’t recognize the last popes, the so-called 'empty throne' people, is another question that doesn’t concern the Saint Pius X Fraternity."
Furthermore, Archbishop Fiorenza, Cardinal Hoyos gave an interview that aired on an Italian television channel, Canal 5, on November 23, 2005. While noting the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's consecration of bishops in 1988 without a papal mandate was indicative of a schismatic attitude, Cardinal Hoyos undercut your position entirely, Archbishop Fiorenza, by reiterating the point that he had made in the 30 Days interview:
"They [the Society of Saint Pius X] are within the confines of the Church. The problem is just that there is a lack of full, a more perfect--and as it was said during the meeting with Msgr. Fellay--a more full communion, because communion exists."
There it is, Archbishop Fiorenza. You stated on June 10, 2004, that the Society of Saint Pius X was a "schismatic group" that had severed communication with the Holy Father. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has contradicted you entirely. The bishops and the priests and the faithful of the Society of Saint Pius X are not "outside of the Church." Care to apologize to Father Zigrang, Your Excellency? Care to apologize to the faithful of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston for misleading them, for underestimating Father Zigrang's vast knowledge of Canon Law and of the binding nature of Quo Primum, making him appear to be a villain in the eyes of his former parishioners? Do you care to do justice in the case of Father Zigrang, Archbishop Fiorenza?
Furthermore, Archbishop Fiorenza, your insistence that the Society of Saint Pius X's critique of the novelties of Second Vatican Council places itself outside of the pale of the Church flies in the face of Cardinal Hoyos's admission that discussion on these matters must take place in an atmosphere of love for the Church:
Monsignor Fellay, but this was known even beforehand, was able to express his fears on the state of the Catholic Church in the light of the abuses, not only liturgical, that have occurred since Vatican Council II. I believe that critical contributions of that sort that can come from the Fraternity can be a treasure for the Church, when expressed under the charisma of Peter and in charity among brethren. In the Church in fact we are all free to formulate critical observations on what doesn’t concern dogma and the essential discipline of the Church itself. On that subject I can testify that Cardinal Ratzinger was already fully convinced of the need for theological dialogue on the difficult points. In full unity there is more light to be found for studying these sensitive points.
What applies to Archbishop Fiorenza applies to any number of others, including the Bishop of Lincoln, the Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz, who in 1996 "excommunicated" the priests and laity in his diocese who belonged to the Society of Saint Pius X. What applies to Archbishop Fiorenza applies also to the Most Reverend Robert Vasa, the Bishop of Baker, Oregon, who wrote in 2004 that the Society of Saint Pius X was a "schismatic" group that was not in communion with the Holy Father. What applies to Archbishop Fiorenza applies to a handful of those in Una Voce International and its disparate chapters whose smugness and arrogance in asserting the purity of their own motives as "approved traditionalists within the good graces of the Church"--in contrast to the dastardly "schismatics" who assist at Masses outside of those "approved" by diocesan authorities--borders on the insufferable at times. What applies to Archbishop Fiorenza applies to the diocesan authorities in Fargo, North Dakota, and Crookston, Minnesota, who recently issued stern warnings against the faithful assisting at Masses offered by Father Paul Kimball of the Society of Saint Pius X.
What applies to Archbishop Fiorenza applies also to the Norbertines of Saint Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California, who have gone to extraordinary lengths in recent years to intimidate people to avoid assisting at the Immemorial Mass of Tradition at Our Lady Help of Christians in Garden Grove, California, or at chapels administered by the Society of Saint Pius X, saying in sermons that those who assist at such Masses are "leaving" the Church. Well, good Norbertines, Cardinal Hoyos says otherwise. Will you stop browbeating people who are simply trying to save their souls from the rot of the Novus Ordo Missae and the novelties of the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath? Canonically irregular situations? Yes. Outside of the Church? No. Do any of you Norbertines want to assert with a straight face that Bishop Tod Brown or Roger Cardinal Mahony are completely faithful sons of the Catholic Church? Yes? No?
Then again, the Norbertines are doing the bidding of the Most Reverend Tod Brown, the Bishop of Orange, California, who has presided over a series of monstrous scandals involving perverted priests in his diocese, indicating his own "tolerance" of perverts in the priesthood,
costing the faithful there millions upon millions of dollars as he spends yet more millions to enshrine the ethos of the new religion in a new cathedral to rival the newchurch deformity to his north alongside the Hollywood Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Bishop Brown has insisted that "warnings" be placed in parish bulletins to keep people from assisting at Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians, saying that they are "not Catholic." Very interesting considering that Bishop Brown himself told a prominent Baptist minister five months ago that he, Bishop Brown, gave his "permission" for a Requiem Mass to be offered for the minister's late Catholic wife, who had died on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, at Our Lady Help of Christians Church. How can Our Lady Help of Christians be non-Catholic all of the time and then be deemed Catholic enough for Bishop Brown to give his approval for a Requiem Mass? The answer is simple: let the petitioner be a prominent Protestant minister and the answer will always be in the affirmative. Let the petitioner be a poor Catholic trying to flee from the rot of Bishop Brown's parishes and the answer is in the negative. Bishop Brown must face the same reality as his colleagues: Cardinal Hoyos has said that those offering the Mass of Tradition are not outside of the Church, just in a situation of less than perfect communion. Will he stop his bullying tactics?
True, as I noted in The Resistance Must Continue, not even Cardinal Hoyos's recent remarks indemnify those diocesan priests who want to assert their rights under Quo Primum to offer only the Traditional Latin Mass. That admission will have to come on another day, although it should be clear from Cardinal Hoyos's 30 Days interview that the Traditional Latin Mass has never been abrogated, which is an important step in that direction:
"The mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished."
If the Mass of Tradition has never been abolished, well, then the right of the priests to offer it exclusively has not been abolished. Once again, it is necessary to turn to Quo Primum for emphasis on this point:
“Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us.
I must admit, obviously, that I was blind to the truth of these matters for a long time. I read Quo Primum. I knew in my heart of hearts that Pope Saint Pius V meant :in perpetuity" to mean forever. I just refused to let myself admit the fact publicly. It was only slowly, after listening to over fifteen years of arguments, sometimes intense, made by stalwart traditional Catholics that I began to shake off the blinders that I had refused for so very long to take off of my own eyes, blinders that I had placed there myself and really did not want to be removed. The promptings of Our Lady's graces moved me gradually to come to accept the truth that was there all along to be seen but that I was unwilling to admit. I am ashamed that it took me so long to see the truth about the necessity of the complete and unfettered restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass and that the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, whose one hundredth birthday is about to be commemorated, had presented the strongest organized force in the Church to protect the Mass of all ages and to preserve the integrity of the Faith without any taint of compromise with the novelties of the recent past. I was but a dumb sheep who hid behind the protestations of the shepherds, which is why I am pleading with the shepherds not to reaffirm others today in the way that I had been reaffirmed for so long in my own erroneous views concerning the absolute right of all validly ordained priests of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church to offer the Traditional Latin Mass without any permission at all.
Nothing in this vale of tears is perfect. The Society of Saint Pius X is made up of flesh and blood human beings, who exhibit both virtues and vices. The same is true of other traditional priests and members of the laity who assist at "unapproved" chapels. When all is said and done, however, the Society of Saint Pius X and those courageous priests, some of whose work predates that of the Society by several years, who have risked all of their canonical safety and personal esteem to offer the faithful that which is their due, the Traditional Latin Mass, have been loyal to the Catholic Faith, not "schismatics" who are a threat to the Faith. It is time for more prelates than Cardinal Hoyos to admit this publicly and to start acting accordingly.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint Rita, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, pray for us.