SSPX, Vatican impasse continues following November 22 meeting

Society of St. Pius X: the fundamental problem is "irreducible doctrinal divergence"

Fr. Davide Pagliarani (SSPX) shortly after his election as superior general of the Society of Saint Pius X. July 11 2018 (Photo courtesy of FSSPX NEWS CNA)

After a meeting between the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the canonically irregular priestly society said the problem in its relations with the Holy See is fundamentally doctrinal.

Fr. Davide Pagliarani, superior general of the SSPX, met for two hours Nov. 22 with Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, the CDF prefect, at the Vatican.

Cardinal Ladaria was accompanied by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and Fr. Pagliarani by Fr. Emmanuel du Chalard.

In a Nov. 23 statement, the Society said Fr. Pagliarani had been invited by Cardinal Ladaria “to meet for the first time and together to take stock of the relations between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X” since Fr. Pagliarani’s July election as superior general.

During the meeting “it was recalled that the fundamental problem is actually doctrinal … Because of this irreducible doctrinal divergence, for the past seven years no attempt to compose a draft of a doctrinal statement acceptable to both parties has succeeded. This is why the doctrinal question remains absolutely essential.”

According to the SSPX, “The Holy See says the same when it solemnly declares that no canonical status can be established for the Society until after the signing of a doctrinal document.”

“Therefore, everything impels the Society to resume theological discussions with the awareness that the Good Lord does not necessarily ask the Society to convince its interlocutors, but rather to bear unconditional witness to the faith in the sight of the Church.”

The priestly society said its future “is in the hands of Providence and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,” and that its members “want nothing else but to serve the Church and to cooperate effectively in her regeneration … but they can choose neither the manner, nor the terms, nor the moment of what belongs to God alone.”

Full story at The Catholic Herald.


  1. Your Fellow Catholic says

    No, the moment does not belong to God alone. God requires the cooperation of the SSPX. So long as they remain obstinant children, Mother Church and God can only do so much.

  2. What is the doctrinal difference, in plain American English [preferably fifty words or less]?

    • mike: Pope Benedict back in 2009 had said the same thing in his Letter to the Bishops concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by Lefebvre: that the difference is doctrinal, namely “the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes.” Check it out from Benedict’s letter. The beloved SSPX because they refuse to accept the Council and the magisterium of the popes since Paul VI are not in communion with the Church. Let me tell you, the beloved SSPX is saying that they “bear unconditional witness to the faith” is a lie; and the sad thing is that they believe their own lie. If you stray from the true shepherds of the Church–the Pope and the…

      • bishops–then you are not giving authentic witness to the True Catholic Faith. Sorry.

        • Jon, I will believe you are serious when you tell the one who calls himself YFC that his encouragement in the past of so called “same-sex marriage” is wrong too, so far I have never ever heard you tell him he is wrong about that. He who calls himself YFC’s hypocrisy is so thick one could cut it with a knife. He has never taken back his previous statements as far as I know. Why do you correct one and not the other?

          • Dear Anne TE: YFC has enough people in this here blog to correct him. I am here to correct you people.

          • Dear Anne TE, I don’t call myself YFC, YOU do. My handle: Your Fellow Catholic. I go along with YFC becaus It’s cute and innocuous & Given this forum, it’s better than what most on here call the Bishops and Priests.
            On your prior point, CCD didn’t publish my response. All it said was that You are absolutely right when you said we should clean up our own houses first before criticiing others, and I offerred you an opportunity to tell us how your housecleaning is coming along.

          • I am not SSPX, Jon, but I certainly have sympathy for some of their causes, especially with all the molestation going on and it being swept under the table in many cases.

          • Okay, I am sorry I made a mistake about you calling yourself “Your Faithful Catholic”, but what you have encouraged before — and I assume still do — is by no means Catholicism, so “Your Fellow Catholic” does not ring true either. Thank you for the correction. I will take it into consideration next time.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says

            Thank you Anne TE. On your opinion that you have sympathies for SSPX because of the clergy sex abuse crisis, you might want to take into consideration press accounts like this one:

          • I am sure there are such cases in all orders and religions that need to be weeded out. I have watched the authorities catch rabbis red handed seducing under aged girls in documentaries on stings for such crimes. Nevertheless, that does not make what you advocate right either. Each of us will answer for our own sins.

          • Correction: his/her own sin.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says

            You take care of your sin, I’ll take care of mine, Anne TE. Please don’t denigrate me because you imagine that you are more blameless than I am.

          • The point is that you push a particularly serious sin. It is one thing to sin and repent and another to declare it all right and a good thing to do, especially on a Catholic website.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says

            This conversation never had anything to do with anything about being gay. You have to interject the subject into every conversation. You reduce me to my sexual orientation instead of treating me as a whole human being.

    • Gary E Walterscheid says

      Good question, Mike. Nobody seems to be able to answer that. Especially not in 50 words or less! But I’ll try…
      “Vatican II endorsed the principles of the French Revolution — liberty, equality, and fraternity. It brought Liberalism and Humanism (the cult of man) into Catholicism. Not supposed to do that.”

      • Monarchy? Do they really believe that in the 21st Century we should dump democracy and return to absolute monarchies and the divine right of human kings?

        • Well, if the French do not stop rioting over the fuel tax, the latest king — Macon — just might lose his head too, and with all the Muslims taking over and wanting Sharia in parts of France, the French might just be very happy if God sent another Joan of Arc and a king, preferably one like St. King Louie, to restore order. (Lots of laughter.) The French do have a way of overdoing revolutions.

        • Correction: Marcron.

    • Vatican II started a new, modernized kind of church. That’s what the cardinals and Popes of today wanted.

  3. Vatican II started a new, modernized kind of church. That’s what the cardinals and Popes of today wanted.

    • Right. Did you know that disparaging any of the Councils of the Church is a heresy? This is the MO of the beloved SSPX. If by “modernized” you mean “relativism” then you’re wrong.

      • Jon, Pope St. John XXIII called it “aggiornamento”– in Italian, and he desired to modernize, and update his church.

      • Sorry, Jon — Pope Saint John XXIII declared to all the world, his desire for “aggiornamento” (Italian)– to update, to modernize the Roman Catholic Church! And he did! He called for the Second Vatican Council!

        • Anon’s use of “aggiornamento” puts words in the mouth of Pope Saint John XXIII, making the Saint mean what he didn’t say. This is the tactic of many a dissenting traditionalist, folks. Rather, Pope Benedict XVI correctly interprets what “aggiornamento” means in his remarks back in October 2012l: “It does not mean reducing the faith, debasing it to the fashion of the times using the yardstick of what we like and what appeals to public opinion. Quite the contrary, just as the Council Fathers did, we must mould the ‘today’ in which we live to the measure of Christianity.”

          • Your Fellow Catholic says

            jon, I like that quotation. The first New Testament I ever read myself cover to cover was “Good News for Modern Man”. A truly horrendous translation, but it’s intent was noble: To leave behind anachronistic verbiage in a way that allows Jesus to speak to us today. The Gospel must always be proclaimed to people in language that they can understand and inculcate in their lives, otherwise it is seed sown among thorns.

          • Jon, Good Pope John meant well, with his progressive ideas of “aggiornamento”– in his own words– to “update the Catholic Church” and “throw open her doors to dialog with the outside world.” He also sought to revise the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Many prelates disagreed with him. Abp. Lefebvre was one prelate who did not like the results of the Council. So he formed the traditionalist SSPX.

          • I seriously doubt that St. John XXIII every uttered the phrase you are claiming he said: “update the Catholic Church.” Therefore, if Anon. insists that St. John XXIII said this, identify where and when the words were said. However, I will tell you what in fact the Saint said at the Opening of the Council concerning this “aggiornamento”: “The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy.”

          • Jon, this is all very simple! Good Pope John– a very popular Pope!– publicly stated that he felt the need to “update the Catholic Church,” and “open her doors to the world!” He felt that his church was out of step with modern times! If you cannot recall this– perhaps you were not even alive, during that era, eh? YFC– by the way– pointed that out, in his reply to you– he was so glad to finally be able to read and understand the New Testament, in that modernized version! It was desired that religion be available to all– and in their own tongue! (A Reformation idea, too!)

          • Anon. because you have not given us the exact occasion and the quote in whole for the phrase “update the Catholic Church,” one has no choice but to think that you are making it up. I have provided the exact quotation for John XXIII’s concept of “aggiornament” in his Opening Speech before the Council. And based on the Saint’s words, he wanted to “update” the language with which the Church communicates to the wider world without changing the substance of the faith. Therefore, what you are alleging John XXIII meant by “update” is WRONG.

          • Jon, you are an extremist who misinterprets the most simple things! Not worth any further discussion!

  4. There is freedom and diversity in the Catholic Church. We have the Dominicans, Salesians, Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustians, etc. There are different styles but One Holy Catholic Church. So it could be with the SSPXers. They can have the Traditional Latin Mass, etc., however, they cannot proclaim and teach that the Popes since Pius XII are heretics. If one wants to be Catholic, follow the teachings of the Church; if one wants to be an SSPXer, go and be one…but do not claim to be a Catholic when one is not!

  5. What does it mean, to be a Catholic? Or an Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, or many other denominations?? Each has two churches, under one name— as they all have undergone vast modernizations! And by the way—- what is a Jesuit? A follower of St. Ignatius of Loyola? The Pope?? Too confusing!

    • Jesuits follow Jesus

      • Ask Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., if Jesuits today, follow Jesus! Many Jesuits left theur Order, right after the Council! Including the late, excellent Bishop Robert Morlino, of Madison, Wisconsin! He became a diocesan priest, at that time, due to many evils of the Jesuits!

  6. St. Jamie Schmidt, you who recently died for purity, pray for us and the purification of our Church.

    • Anne T. thank you for acknowledging the martyrdom of Mrs. Schmidt but we cannot yet call her St. Out of obedience and charity we still need to pray the requiem for her. You can still ask her to pray for the purification of the Church.

      • Thank you for your correction. I admitted my mistake in another post, but forgot I had failed to have it posted. I have prayed for the repose of Mrs. Schmidt’s soul and will follow your good advice.

  7. Peoples, all of the sacraments administered by the beloved SSPX is invalid, save for the sacrament of reconciliation and matrimony (under certain conditions).

    • Let me correct myself here: Peoples, all of the sacraments administered by the beloved SSPX is illicit, save for the sacrament of reconciliation and matrimony (under certain conditions). Illicit means illegal, illegitimate. Their sacraments may be valid, but they are not lawful.

    • No they are valid but not licit. Due to the charity of Pope Francis, SSPX priests may now absolve sins in confession and, if a representative of the local Bishop is present, a valid marriage may be contracted in their chapels.

      • So, we can turn over control of the church and appointment of Bishops to the Chinese communists, but God forbid we allow Catholics to participate in the life of the church through SSPX.

        • The SSPX is not currently participating in the life of the Church because it is outside of the Church’s communion. They have removed themselves from communion in a very hurtful, intimate, and grave way because it is doctrinal and because they were once intimately involved previously in the life of the Church and turned their back away from that. This is a grave betrayal (think Judas Iscariot). This pales in comparison to what the communists in China wants to safeguard in their country. Theirs is not doctrinal.

  8. Sorry, Jon — Pope Saint John XXIII declared to all the world, his desire for “aggiornamento” (Italian)– to update, to modernize the Roman Catholic Church! And he did! He called for the Second Vatican Council!

  9. Dave Dayanan says

    Morality must be administered by them,

  10. There were many extremely progressive intellectuals– including in the field of religion– both Catholic and Protestant– in the late 19th and early 20th centuries–and this school of thought, was collectively known as “Modernism.” Quite destructive to Christianity. Pope St. Pius X condemned it. And the SSPX agreed. Among Protestants, Billy Graham also rejected these ideas, when young, as evangelicals do — while other influential Protestant clergy embraced it– and their churches eventually fell to pieces! Many of these progressive ideas made their way into the Council. Maybe some progressivism is good— but extremes are not so good.

  11. William Robert says

    Anon: Yes! Extreme reactionary conservatism and extreme left ideologies are both contrary to the Gospel!

  12. To explain what Gary E. Walterscheid mentioned — During the Age of Enlightenment, the French battle cry, when deposing the monarchy, was “liberty, equality, and fraternity!” Liberalism, humanism, equality for all– no king, no ruler, no snobbish superiority of the aristocracy, nor of the “gifted!” Equal places in society, and total equality, for all.

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