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Thursday, May 29, 2014

FSSP vs. Women Priests

Many traditionalists are heartened by the "rapid growth" of the FSSP. After all, they have 244 priests now!

Juxtapose this with the fact that those who advocate women priests are similarly heartened. After all, they have almost 200 "priests" in 10 countries now!

So, we are supposed to consider the first a growing, soon-to-be mainstream group, while we know that the second is merely a fringe group of nuts.

And the second really is a fringe group of nuts - there's no question of that.
So, my question is this: if the FSSP represents the real hope of victory on the part of Catholic Faith, then what are we saying about the Catholic Faith?

Whatever it is, it certainly sounds the opposite of heartening. Which is why I find it increasingly hard to believe "traditionalism" can really be the interpretive key to the Catholic Faith. Sacred Tradition certainly is the key, but "traditionalism" ... not so much.


I'm an Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

There are some (like my own self) who think that the existence of the FSSP is not too dissimilar to the situation of Pelayo in the Cave of Covadonga.

It was from that very small group of faithful in that cave that a militaristic movement issued forth and a long and difficult struggle to recapture Spain and liberate it was initiated.

There are some (like my own self) who think that in one of the Apostolates (Caves of Covadonga) of the FSSP a young Pelayo is being formed who will (hopefully it won't take 700 years) lead a restoration of Tradition as the Church is recaptured

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ah! So, you think the gates of hell have prevailed against the papacy. Very nice.

And traditionalists are the Second Coming? Very, very nice.

I'm an Amateur Brain Surgeon said...


I didn't write that nor do I think that is an ontological possibility.

I do think what we have is a shadow church whose happy face is pastoral during this execrable ecclesiastical epoch whereas the essence of the Church ineluctably remains and can be seen in the, relatively few, traditional orders which maintain communion with local Bishop and Pope.

I could be wrong ( I usually am) but I think what is happening is that the Church is recapitulating the Passion of Our Lord and Saviour and while most of the world - and many within the Church - think it is dead and mouldering in the grave,it,like Jesus, did not cease to exist and it will resurrect in all of its Triumphant Glory, Beauty, and Splendor but long after I am dead.

And when the triumphant moment suddenly happens, there will be no question in anybody's mind that Jesus is the head of His Church

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ah, well. That kind of conspiracy thinking is why bishops will never embrace traditionalists in any significant way.

You will continue to be just as influential as the women's priest movement, because your thinking is nearly as kooky.

You are the ONLY TRUE CATHOLICS (tm). Sigh...

Paul Stilwell said...

I agree, but there is no "key". That's precisely the problem with traditionalism: it turns Sacred Tradition into a key, a red pill, a truth injection, etc. In others words, it turns Sacred Tradition into something gnostic. They do it, as can be seen in the comments above, even to the point of holding it against the Church from which they received it, consequently warping it, failing in the first fruit of wisdom.

Doug Pearson said...

Love the site and always enjoy reading your blog... sometimes I think you say stuff just to make me think though, which is ok as I need to exercise the grey matter occasionally.

I think the FSSP is a blessing to the Church... not the only blessing or that the Church could not survive without them. I am very glad that I live close enough to attend Mass at a parish staffed by FSSP priests. I am particularly fond of the Hig Mass but the reason I attend this parish is because they take my sinfulness very seriously.

I have been attending this parish for about 5 years going back to before we actually had a parish. I have met a lot of very faithful Catholics... I am sure their are some folks there that think the TLM is the only valid Mass but I have not met them. I have also not met the folks that think they are the remnant of Israel who will lead the Church out of the catacombs one day... they may exist but the folks I have met seem to be far more concerned about getting themselves and their loved ones to Heaven and realize that the times we live in present many challenges to that goal.

See you in Church Steve ;)

I'm an Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Mr Kellmeyer. The Bishops arrived at V2 completely exhausted by the Roman Rite and ripe for the plucking by the highly-organised modernism-minded.

Of course you will try to dismiss that as a conspiracy theory but, in fact, it was an actual, successful, conspiracy as documented by Prof Mattei in his book.

V2 was a Pastoral Council, a real, legitimate, Ecumenical Council, but unlike all other Ecumenical Councils in history.

It chose to operate on a pastoral level but never defined what pastoral meant nor did the council produce any canons and decrees but it has been treated as an event that changed everything and so one like my own self, born into the Church in 1948, is confronted with the reality that everything has been changed (Mass, Sacraments, Doctrine, Music, Religious Orders etc) but I am expected to concede that nothing has changed.

Everything is different, nothing has changed is the felt banner behind which I am to march, but where?

For two score years I have heard Popes and Prelates tell me that they are dialoguing with others in search of unity and the building of a new reality etc.

Charges of gnosis against one who embraces the solidity of substance against such novelties is really a confession that the accuser has no clue.

But such is liberalism in action- I have not done one thing to the Church. I have neither power or authority and so I am a safe man to target, mock and dismiss ,and so who is it really who is claiming to be the true Catholic?

I have thick skin and have heard these things so many times that it is like hearing a weather report...hmm, ok,whatever.

I was thinking you might be open-minded, but, in fact, you do not listen at all but merely employ a haughty heuristic that turns a deaf ear to those who do not agree with your personal opinion and your response is an false summary of what I wrote and, for good measure, you throw-in an accusation of my intent.

You have really made yourself look small but I doubt you can see that.

C'est la vie.

O, and you don't have to tell me that Bishops don't like men by me. I well understand :)

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Doug, I appreciate your input.

I have found the FSSP parish very insular. For instance, I once received an email asking the community to pray for someone "even though they are not part" of the local FSSP community. HUH???? Wow - I'm allowed to pray for people that aren't traditionalist? Who knew?

The same community also frequently e-mails prayer requests that make commentary on the person being prayed for, e.g.: "She (or he) is a good Catholic in a state of grace." Again, WHAT??? How does the parish know this? And what possible difference does it make even if it is true?

There has certainly been a great emphasis on personal sinfulness, but there has been, in my experience, very, very little emphasis on the idea that liturgy is supposed to empower acts of charity in the world.

The sermons are frequently used as a means of adult catechesis, and entirely ignore the readings of the day, even though Church documents are very explicit in saying that sermons are NOT appropriate venues for adult catechesis and should be built around the readings of the day.

In short, I've found the FSSP parish to be just as distorted in its teachings on Catholic Faith as any Novus Ordo parish. It's just distorted in a different way.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Brain Surgeon,

Read more widely. Your premise is wrong.

I think these three essays together show why you are completely wrong.

I'm an Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

I read your first essay which completely misses the point that I made earlier about the Roman Rite.

Modernism had worked as a spiritually debilitating infection in the intellects of those whose conspiracy to institute a revolution predated the opening of the Council.

That had secret meetings, gained control of key committees, etc.

You not only seems woefully ignorant about what happened - and was so well documented in Prof Mattei;s book - you then pile upon that ignorance unwarranted assumptions about the council and which council was a pastoral one, a council whose texts mean different things to different faithful catholics and yet the Popes refuses to rule with Infallibility which texts are binding and which texts are not.

As Msgr Brunero Gherardini observed in his book, we do not need declamations about the council's putative continuity with the content of Doctrine prior to V2, we need demonstrations of such.

I wish you no ill will but it is clear that there is a galactic sized chasm twixt me and thee and which chasm can not be crossed on a bridge built by your personal opinions.

So, I will continue to hide-out in the Cave of Covadonga, maintaining the Bonds of Unity, in communion with my local Bishop and the Pope, and watch as the Franciscan Fathers and Sisters are targeted for adhering to that which came before V2 and which attack is an explicit confession that a rupture has occurred.


Jordanes551 said...

An approved community of Catholic priests cannot be compared with a heretical and schismatic group of non-priests.

The FSSP may be small, and may remain small, but the Holy Scripture says, "Despise not the day of small things." God does not need large numbers to accomplish great things, and to the extent that the priests of the FSSP remain faithful and humble, so great will be the things God will do through them, and through all the faithful.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The FSSP have heretical and schismatic priests in their midst. I know. I've met them.

The comparison made the necessary distinctions and is perfectly apt.

If you want to say the FSSP is and will always remain small, I wholeheartedly agree. Everything brings glory to God, so yes, in that sense, the FSSP brings glory to God.

Dad29 said...

Steve, there are heretics everyplace in the Church. Last week, a local pastor informed his parish that 'Jesus began the Church as a reform Judaism movement [but] gradually it spread...'

Which is certainly a unique interpretation of the Great Commission.

We've had heretics of one bent or the other for 2000 years.


There were 12 Apostles, one-eighth of which apostatized, another eighth denied Christ....


One work out one's own salvation in fear and trembling, with the duty to form a correct conscience. Being mis-led does not constitute guilt, unless one is WILLING to be mis-led (e.g., artificial birth control.)


Steve Kellmeyer said...

"Salvation is from the Jews"
Jesus *DID* establish Catholic Faith as a reform Judaism movement. He said so Himself.

I'm not sure what's so "unique" about that interpretation. It's pretty standard - Paul had the same idea "we are grafted onto the Jews".

I'm as much opposed to artificial contraception as any man alive, but that problem is a consequence, not a cause, as I've pointed out here.

Patrick Thompson, Esq. said...

First...great blog! Very thought provoking.

I think any Catholic who considers his faith seriously has to wrestle with the experience of Vatican II. The traditionalist case on its face has a lot to be said for it....almost every metric of participation in Catholicism.....from the tangible such as the number of religious, priests, the number of attendees at Catholic schools etc. to the less tangible including Catholic cultural pull and the Orthodoxy of the laity went into heavy decline after 1965. Traditionalists will then see the council celebrated, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, and start to question the sanity of the leadership. This leads in turn to a good deal of conspiracy issue that the fairly inexact definition of Modernism doesn't help.

However I am no Traditionalist....but I am grateful to them for challenging my assumptions. I think we need to get the history of the past half century right. There really were Modernists who tried to take advantage of the confusion following the reforms of Paul VI but the vast majority of those who pray with the newer books are not Modernists (I would define a Modernist as one who ultimately wants the Catholic community without all that pesky business about God and His will...and rules.). The argument may in fact be made that the period after the council disrupted the Modernists and took away their ability to cast the Church as an institution left over from the Middle Ages. A series of papal pronouncements from St. Pius X onward indicated a crisis of faith among the ordained...but that does not seem to be the case now and the number of priests worldwide has now recovered. So....any chance that the council started a process of the Church getting its own house together...kind of like a medicine that makes a fever worse before it breaks?

Dad29 said...

"Salvation is...." is a self-reference.

Further, a NEW covenant is hardly necessary if one is merely reforming the OLD one.

Jordanes551 said...

"The FSSP have heretical and schismatic priests in their midst. I know. I've met them."

Which FSSP priests have been disciplined by the Church for heresy and schism?

To my knowledge, none of them have been, whereas women who simulate reception of Holy Orders are automatically excommunicated.

"The comparison made the necessary distinctions and is perfectly apt."

No, it didn't, and no it isn't. If you'd made the necessary distinctions, you wouldn't have compared an approved and established community of Catholic priests with heretical and schismatic non-Catholic non-pseudo-priests. The influence that small non-Catholic groups might have inside the Church is bound to be very different from and likely less than the influence of a small community of faithful Catholic priests.

"If you want to say the FSSP is and will always remain small, I wholeheartedly agree."

I don't want to say that, because like you, I cannot foretell the future. I'm content to let God show us what He has in store in His own good time.


Dad29 said: "Salvation is...." is a self-reference. Further, a NEW covenant is hardly necessary if one is merely reforming the OLD one.

No, Jesus' words "Salvation is of the Jews" isn't *just* Jesus referring to Himself, though it is that. It's also a reference to Christ's Bride, the Body of Christ. The Old Covenant is described in the Prophets as a marriage covenant between God and Israel -- but Israel was unfaithful to her husband, and God and Israel "separated," God sending Israel into exile. Zechariah speaks in prophecy of God "breaking" His covenant, but the Prophets also affirm that God would again choose Israel. And so we find that when God came in flesh to propose a New Covenant, it was to a restored and regenerated and purified Israel to whom He proposed and with whom He entered into a new marriage covenant, sealed with His own blood. The Church at Pentecost began with 12 Jewish apostles and about 110 other Jews, and Jesus and the Apostles preached first to the Jews and only then to the Gentiles, who were grafted into the olive tree of the Church, the Israel of God, Jerusalem Above the Mother of us all.

All that said, yes, Jesus did NOT establish the Catholic Faith as a reform Judaism movement. It was obviously meant to be far, far more than that. As you said, merely reforming Judaism would not have required a New Covenant, nor would the Messiah's suffering, death, and resurrection have been needed, as Israel's prophets and priests and kings had previously implemented reforms without all that messy business of the Incarnation and Atonement.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Catholicism is the perfection and completion of Judaism. In that sense, it is perfectly correct to speak of it as a reform of Judaism because it is in continuity with Judaism.

This completion and perfection required a new covenant precisely because the previous covenant was incomplete and imperfect. It is somewhat similar to the fact that the US Constitution is both a break from the earlier Articles of Confederation and a perfection and completion of those same Articles. The United States existed continuously, but the contract the people made with themselves changed. So, too, the covenant changed, but the people-God relationship perdured.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

As for the heretical and schismatic priests, Martin Luther was both long before Rome declared him so.

Insofar as any one of us holds a conception of Catholic doctrine different from what the Church actually teaches, we are heretical/schismatic in our conception of the Faith.

You say the FSSP priests are faithful. Some are. Others, not so much.

Dad29 said...

Jordanes has it right.

Steve Dalton said...

When you say "Catholicism is the perfection and completion of Judaism", what "Judaism" are you talking about? If your talking about the Old Covenant, the purpose of it was to point the Israelites to Christ. It was a pedagogue, (literally, a child-leader) that would lead us to be justified by faith. But after that happened, we no longer need it. The Mosaic Law couldn't make anything perfect, it could only point to what was perfect. So your argument that "Catholicism is the perfection and completion of "Judaism" (actually the law of Moses)falls flat on it's face.
If we're talking about the religion that passes as "Judaism" today, your case is even weaker. That religion is merely "the traditions of the (Pharisee) Elders" that Jesus constantly lambasted in the Gospels. That religion is Anti-Moses and Anti-Christ. It makes of no effect the Mosaic Law, so it leads to nowhere, except to the Rabbi's and their Talmud.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

I would recommend those of you who reject the fact that Catholic Faith is the completion and perfection of Judaism should repent of your error, study the documents of Vatican II, especially Nostra Aetate (quoted below) as Pope Benedict XVI requested, and express humility before the teaching of the Catholic Church:

4. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock.

Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham's sons according to faith (6)-are included in the same Patriarch's call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people's exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)

The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: "theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church's main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people.

Steve Dalton said...

Steve, the Judaism of today is a man-made religion that rejects Jesus Christ. It has no connection with the Mosaic Law as Jesus made plain in the Gospels. It's Phariseeism, the traditions of the elders, as Christ, the Apostles, and all of the Post Apostolic Fathers have pointed out.
The Mosaic Law can't make anything perfect, could only point to perfection, as Galatians and Hebrews points out. Heb. 10:1. Only Christ's work on the cross, The New Covenant, can perfect things.
As for the ties to Abraham's stock, the statement in NA must be interpreted in the light of scripture and tradition. We're tied to the stock of Abraham who have his faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles who have taken the faith.(Rom.9:6-13,25-26)not to those who don't believe. (Rom. 10:19-21)

MatheusFT said...

For the record, regarding the thread's latest subject, Steve has talked about the subject before.

Doug Pearson said...

Steve, I wonder if there are valid reasons that they don't preach about the readings... being a convert I don't have a memory of the liturgy before the reform but have heard that a homily at a ordinary form Mass should be built around the readings. But I seem to remember hearing that in the "old days" this was not the case. Everything about the liturgy at an FSSP parish is from the "old days" and I presume that the way they do things is approved.

I guess that I am presuming that they preach the way they do with approval and not in disobedience to what is expected of them.

I am not a liturgical expert in any sort of setting so I could be off base but that is my sense.

Thanks again for the thought provoking and interesting work you do with the site and the blog!


Steve Kellmeyer said...

It is, in fact, exactly as you say - the Baltimore Second Plenary Council gave exactly the erroneous instruction you describe, as I point out in my book, Designed to Fail:

"The sense of the American conciliar documents demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the decrees of the Council of Trent. The American conciliar discussion of preaching, for instance, clearly indicated that the priests were to give homilies that focused on delivering doctrine and that this doctrinal series could be broken only occasionally and only to comment on the Gospel reading and/or the current feast. That is, the American bishops considered the homily not only the appropriate means of adult instruction, but the sole, or at the very least primary, means of adult instruction." (p. 40)

But, ironically, this violates the teaching of Pope St. Pius X in Acerbo Nimis, #11-12: "…Perhaps there are some who, wishing to lessen their labors, would believe that the homily on the Gospel can take the place of catechetical instruction. But for one who reflects a moment, such is obviously impossible. The sermon on the holy Gospel is addressed to those who should have already received knowledge of the elements of faith. It is, so to speak, bread broken for adults. Catechetical instruction, on the other hand, is that milk which the Apostle Peter wished the faithful to desire in all simplicity like newborn babes."

So, the very Pope which the SSPX (and in consequence, the FSSP) laud as the Pope to imitate is also precisely the Pope who told priests to STOP using the homily to preach doctrine.

asiering said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
asiering said...

How do know "priests who are heretics and schismatics" do you have the authority to make this determine yourself?

If you are fortunate enough to attend a New Order Mass where the Priest actually speaks about the readings then I am impressed--in fact I am just impressed that there are actually Roman rite priests who know anything scripture left in the Church at all, as this is has been a weakness of the Roman Church for along time, and this is true among priests who celebrate the Roman Mass and those you celebrate the New Order Mass