[Comments by Non Possumus]
Cardinal Müller, like Benedict XVI in 2012, puts a stop to a possible doctrinal agreement with the SSPX
The General House of the Society of Saint Pius X has just communicated to all its members the contents of a letter from Cardinal Müller, which, for the naive, was a bit of a cold shower, a rather icy one. Here are the most juicy extracts:
As you know, Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his benevolence towards your priestly Society, granting in particular to all the member priests the faculty of validly confessing the faithful and authorizing the local Ordinaries to grant licenses for the celebration of the marriages of the faithful who follow the pastoral activity in your Society. On the other hand, the discussion continues on the questions concerning the full restoration of the communion of your Society with the Catholic Church.
On this subject, with the approval of the Sovereign Pontiff, I considered it necessary to submit to the Ordinary Session of our Congregation, meeting on May 10th, the text of the Doctrinal Declaration which was transmitted to you during the meeting of June 13th 2016 [a text that remains secret], as a necessary condition for the full restoration of communion. Here are the unanimous decisions of all the members of our Dicastery:
(1) Members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X are required to adhere to the new formula of the Professio fidei of 1988 (see appendix). Consequently, it is no longer sufficient to ask them to issue the Professio fidei of 1962. [The profession of faith of 1988 allows Rome to force those who formulate it, to abide by Vatican II and the later “magisterium”. “The errors of the Council and its reforms remain the official norm that has been confirmed by Cardinal Ratzinger’s March 1989 profession of faith.” (Bishop Lefebvre, “Spiritual Journey”, Introduction)]
(2) The new text of the Doctrinal Declaration must include a paragraph in which the signatories explicitly declare their acceptance of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and those of the post-conciliar period by granting the said doctrinal statements the degree of adhesion due to them. [For Card. Müller, the SSPX should be required to accept Vatican II completely.]
(3) The members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X must recognize not only the validity but also the legitimacy of the rite of the Holy Mass and the Sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council. [This unacceptable requirement of Rome had already been fulfilled by Bishop Fellay in the 2012 Doctrinal Statement: “7. We declare to recognize the validity of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Rituals of the Sacraments legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. “]
And the dear cardinal concludes, in cauda venenum, that “during the audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect, on May 20, 2017, the Sovereign Pontiff approved these decisions.” [An act that should not be interpreted as definitive or irrevocable.]
In his cover letter, Fr. Thouvenot recalls, very “opportunely”, the words of Bishop Fellay at the conclusion of the meeting of the major superiors in Anzère on 28 June 2016:
The Priestly Society of St. Pius X does not seek above all a canonical recognition to which it is entitled because it is Catholic. The solution is not just legal. It is a doctrinal position that must be demonstrated. (…) Divine Providence does not abandon its Church whose leader is the Pope, Vicar of Jesus Christ. This is why an incontestable sign of this restoration will be in the will of the Sovereign Pontiff to give the means to restore the order of the priesthood, faith and tradition - a sign which will also be the guarantor of the necessary unity of the family of Tradition.
We are far from the “rubber stamp” that some of us had celebrated with splendor and we can only thank Our Lady, in this centenary of the apparitions of Fatima, to have again, after June 2012, rejected the deadly danger of an agreement of dupes.
Let us pray for our superiors who practice a dangerous “tango” - three steps forward, then two steps back - and thank Divine Providence for continuing to watch over the work of restoration undertaken almost 50 years ago by Archbishop Lefebvre who showed the same courage as our seven deans and friendly communities loyal to his fight for the one truth.
Finally, on July 1, allow me to have a thought full of friendship and gratitude for the heroic obedience of our colleague Fr. Patrick de La Rocque who humbly accepted his tranfer-sanction to the Philippines and who was refused to celebrate his 25 years of priesthood at Ecône by the Superior General of his dear Society.