Muller’s Farewell Gift…
“Cardinal” Müller throws Monkey Wrench into SSPX-Rome Reconciliation: Vatican now demands Full Acceptance of Vatican II and Novus Ordo “Mass”
Although he has just been relieved from his post as Prefect of the Congregation for the Destruction of the Faith and the Ecclesia Dei Commission, “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Muller was certainly still in charge back in May of this year, when, as it has just been made known, the then-head of the CDF called a plenary session of his congregation to discuss once more the doctrinal declaration the Society of St. Pius X will be required to sign as a condition for full reconciliation with the Novus Ordo Sect.
In a nutshell: All members of the CDF agreed unanimously that in order to enjoy “full communion” with the Vatican, the SSPX would have to meet the following conditions:
- Adherence to the Professio Fidei (Profession of Faith) of 1998, not merely that of 1962, which was promulgated with John Paul II’s motu proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem
- Explicit acceptance of the teachings of Vatican II and the post-conciliar magisterium according to their required degrees of adherence
- Recognition of the validity and the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo Missae (“New Mass”) of Paul VI
Best of all, not only were these requirements decided on unanimously, they were also approved by “Pope” Francis!
In other words: Muller and Francis have stopped any SSPX-Rome deal dead in its tracks, for it is obvious that the SSPX could not possibly agree to these three conditions without entirely and quite openly betraying everything it stands for.
“Cardinal” Muller informed the Lefebvrists of these decisions on June 27 in a letter sent to the SSPX headquarters in Menzingen, Switzerland, where Bp. Bernard Fellay, the Superior General, is stationed. Bp. Fellay just forwarded this letter to all SSPX clergy, according to a report published by Christian Lassale of medias-catholique.info, which quotes from Muller’s letter and provides additional details.
The following text in blue is our English translation of this report.
Cardinal Müller, Like Benedict XVI in 2012, Halts a Possible Doctrinal Agreement With the SSPX
The General House of the SSPX just relayed to all its members the contents of a letter from Gerhard Cardinal Müller which, for the naïve, has the feel of a cold, even freezing, shower. Here are the most “delectable” of the main excerpts:
As you know, Pope Francis has expressed time and again his good will towards the Priestly Fraternity, in particular by granting to all its priest members the faculty to validly hear the confessions of the faithful and by authorizing local ordinaries to grant licenses for the celebration of marriages of the faithful who follow the pastoral activity in your Fraternity. On the other hand, the discussion continues regarding questions relating to the full reestablishment of your Fraternity’s communion with the Catholic Church.
Regarding this subject, with the approval of the Sovereign Pontiff, I judged it necessary to submit to the Ordinary Session of our Congregation, gathered this past May 10th, the text of the Doctrinal Declaration that was given to you during the meeting of June 13, 2016, as a necessary condition in view of fully reestablishing communion. In this regard, here are the unanimous decisions of all Members of our Dicastery:
1) It is necessary to require members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X to adhere to the new formula of the Profession of Faith dating from 1988 [sic — should read 1998] (see attachment). Consequently, it is no longer sufficient to ask them to profess the Profession of Faith of 1962.
2) The new text of the Doctrinal Declaration must include a paragraph in which the signatories declare, in an explicit manner, their acceptance of the teachings of the Vatican II Council and those of the post-conciliar period, giving the said doctrinal statements the degree of adherence that is due to them.
3) The members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X must recognize not only the validity but also the legitimacy of the Rite of Holy Mass and of the Sacraments, according to the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council.
And the dear cardinal concludes, in cauda venenum [“the poison being in the tail”], that “during the audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect on May 20, 2017, the Sovereign Pontiff approved these decisions.”
In his accompanying letter, Fr. Thouvenot recalls, most “opportunely,” the words of Bishop Fellay at the end of the meeting of major superiors in Anzère on June 28, 2016:
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X does not seek foremost a canonical recognition to which it has a right, because it is Catholic. The solution is not simply juridical. It pertains to a doctrinal position which it is imperative to manifest…. Divine Providence does not abandon the Church, the head of which is the Pope, the Vicar of Jesus Christ. That is why an incontestable sign of this restoration will be in the Sovereign Pontiff’s manifest desire to give the means for reestablishing the order of the priesthood, of faith, and of Tradition—a sign which will be, moreover, the guarantee for the necessary unity of the family of Tradition.
We are quite far from the “stamp” that some had been celebrating with fanfare, and we can only thank Our Lady, in this centenary year of the Fatima apparitions, for having again, after June 2012, saved us from the deadly danger of a fools’ agreement.
Let us pray for our superiors who are engaging in a dangerous “tango”—three steps forward, then two steps backwards—and let us thank Divine Providence for continuing to watch over the work of restoration taken up close to fifty years ago by Archbishop Lefebvre, who showed the same courage as our seven deans and friend-communities, faithful in his fight for the one truth.
Finally, on this July 1st, allow me to express a sentiment full of friendship and recognition for the heroic obedience of our confrere Fr. Patrick de La Rocque, who humbly accepted his punitive transfer to the Philippines and was denied the opportunity to celebrate his twenty-five years of priesthood at Ecône by the Superior General of his dear Fraternity.
[Source: Christin Lassale, “Le cardinal Müller, comme Benoît XVI en 2012, met un coup d’arrêt à un possible accord doctrinal avec la FSSPX”, medias-catholique.info, July 1, 2017; our translation; some formatting changed.]
It is too early, at this point, to give a full assessment of this latest development. It certainly seems to fly in the face of all the recent über-conciliatory efforts on the part of Rome, such as the concessions on confessions and marriages — so much so that some people are already speculating that this may only be a trick to temporarily pacify those in the SSPX who oppose a reconciliation with Rome, until a more opportune time.
In any case, this is a fitting farewell gift from “Cardinal” Muller, who has always been hostile towards the Lefebvrists even at the diocesan level back in his Regensburg days (the SSPX seminary in Zaitzkofen is located in his former diocese). With great amusement we can now recall what “Cardinal” Muller said to Bp. Fellay earlier this year about their impending reconciliation with the Vatican: “We wait for you so that you may help us fight the Modernists.”
We told you back then that it was bovine manure, and we were right.
And so, at least for the time being, we seem to be back to square one. The SSPX will have to give some sort of a response, so surely we will hear more about this soon. Stay tuned.