Don Tranquillo will join us once again to look at the question of Canonizations since the time of the Second Vatican Council. Are the New Canonizations infallible? To answer this, we’ll need to see whether or not Canonizations in the past were infallible. It’s commonly understood by most Catholics that Canonizations are one of the things that are infallibly proclaimed by the Pope. How then can we square this seeming infallibility with some of the new saints, who contradict previous saints?
Crisis in the Church Series
Last week, we looked at the status of the Society of Saint Pius X. Given that there is no regular canonical status for the SSPX, how then, can the priests of the Society exercise their functions? Canon Law is pretty clear on this point – for a priest to exercise his ministry, he must be under the authority and direction of the local bishop, or at the least, under the direct supervision of the Vatican. Since that does not exist, how can the priests of the Society justify, in all good conscience, what they do? Are they simply disobedient rebels?
Today we’ll dive into a question that is very confusing for a lot of faithful – and as you’ll see, it’s confusing for some within the Church itself – what is the official status of the Society of Saint Pius X within the Catholic Church? There are accusations that it is schismatic. Or at the least, that it has a “spirit of schism.” Another common accusation is that the Society is not part of the Catholic Church. There’s a lot of misinformation out there – let’s try to clear it up!
He, better than anyone, can help us understand what was happening during those pivotal days, and what was going through the mind of the Archbishop as he wrestled with this momentous decision. But besides having an interesting conversation about Church history with someone who was a part of it, we’re also going to ask His Excellency, how can the Society of Saint Pius X justify what the Archbishop did? On the surface, this was an act of disobedience against the Holy Father. According to the swift, severe response from the Vatican just days after, this was a schismatic act. We’ll welcome Bishop Fellay now to help us understand what happened:
In this episode, we’ll be looking at the history of the Society of Saint Pius X up to the point when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated the bishops in 1988. But it doesn’t seem like history – in fact, some of the events that shaped the SSPX in its early years seem like they are repeated in the 1990’s, in the early 2000s, and certainly in the pontificate of Pope Francis. We’ll also see how another future pontiff, Pope Benedict, was a major influence in the Society, when he was negotiating on behalf of the Vatican, as Cardinal Ratzinger. Through the nearly 20 years, we’ll see how the Archbishop reacted both to trials he faced as the only defender of Tradition in the Church – and to the rapid blessings bestowed on the Society – and we can learn how to face the same today.
Archbishop Lefebvre – the Documentary: https://youtu.be/Cf9oy7wDkms
Biography of Archbishop Lefebvre: https://angeluspress.org/products/marcel-lefebvre-biography
Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre: https://angeluspress.org/products/apologia-pro-marcel-lefebvre-3-vol-set-hb
Vatican Encounter: https://angeluspress.org/products/ebooks-vatican-encounter
Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican: https://angeluspress.org/products/lefebvre-vatican
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Over the last 39 episodes we’ve seen the history of the Crisis, and in the last set of episodes the errors facing Catholics as a result. Now we’re going to get into the response to the Crisis – the traditional Catholic movement. And we certainly can’t talk about this movement without talking about the Society of Saint Pius X. But before we start talking about the history, which we’ll do in Episode 41, we have to look at the mission. What are the guiding principles behind the SSPX? And what led Archbishop Lefebvre to make certain decisions that he did about the organizational structure? He could have done a hundred different things. Why this?
both ceremonies – does that make this sacrament invalid? Are we in the midst of a crisis where all the priests and bishops who were ordained using this rite are not actually priests and bishops? To understand this, we’ll need to look at the form and matter of sacraments and answer a fundamental question – can the Church change the form of sacraments at all? And if the Church is allowed to make these changes, what needs to remain in order for a sacrament to be valid?
First, can a pope abdicate? Second, if he can, did Pope Benedict abdicate properly? What’s required for this to happen? Did Pope Benedict leave us a hidden meaning, or a coded message meant for the faithful to find during this process? And third, if this was all done properly, what do we make of the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis?
We’ll finish our discussion from last week, all leading to the main question – how can the Church, which is indefectible, give us a rite of worship which is defective? Last week we looked at how the Church could, in fact promulgate errors through an ecumenical, non-dogmatic Council. Then we saw how the Church is not always infallible in its disciplinary laws – so today we’ll continue on that same track – looking at Liturgy. Have there been errors in Catholic Liturgy in the past? Were they corrected? What can history, and logic, tell us about the infallibility of the Church in its Liturgy? And can we be 100% certain about any of this, or does prudence have a role to play?
Today we’re joined by Fr. MacGillivray to ask one question: How is it that the Church, which is supposed to be indefectible, can give us a rite of worship, the Novus Ordo Mass, which is, at the least, problematic, if not defective? We won’t be able to answer this specifically today, since this question opens up many other questions we need to answer first, namely, how can the Church, through an ecumenical council, promulgate errors? Then we’ll begin to look at whether or not the Church can be infallible in its discipline – which is where the Liturgy falls.