Author Topic: N.O. Brother Defends FSSP Priests Disobedience to ABL  (Read 755 times)

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Offline stevusmagnus

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N.O. Brother Defends FSSP Priests Disobedience to ABL
« on: April 05, 2010, 09:35:58 PM »
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    It really does not need justification. A bishop may not disobey the Pope when given a direct command. There is a difference between a direct command and a universal statement. If the Pope speaks to the whole world and says, "This should be this way." That is not a direct command. It's not a command at all. He is expressing his wishes.

    In the case of the Archbishop, may he rest in peace, the law says that a bishop cannot ordain other bishops without the pope's permission. When the Archbishop disobeyed the law, he disobeyed a direct command, meaning a command that is directed at him and every other bishop.

    What happens to the priests under his jurisdiction? If they follow, they become complicit in the disobedience. Therefore, they can either be suspended or excommunicated. In this case the priests of the SSPX were suspended.

    No one may become complicit in disobedience to the Pontiff. Therefore, these priests were not disobeying their bishop. They were refusing to be complicit in an illegal act. Whether the Archbishop felt justified in doing so or not, the act remains illegal. We can debate whether one can commit an illegal act for all the right reasons; but that's not the topic here. The question is whether the founders of the FSSP were disobedient. Morally and canonically speaking, no they were not.

    The question about loyalty . . . the first loyalty of every priest and every religious it to God and the Church, then to his superiors. When the superior acts contrary to the Will of the Church, the priest and religious may not obey him. The Church always overrules, because the power of binding and unbinding rests with Peter, not with a single bishop or a single religius superior, unless they speak according to the mind of Peter.

    There is another detail here. The priests of the Society are not consecrated religious. They are secular men: secular deacons, secular priests, secular bishops. Therefore, they do not make a vow of obedience as do consecrated religious. Before they are ordained to the diaconate they make a PROMISE of obedience to the bishop. A promise is not a vow and does not have the same binding effect. They are not allowed to make a vow, because their call is to be clerics, not consecrated men. That would be a brother, friar or monk who make vows.

    The promise to obey the bishop binds the person to everything that is pastoral, not to his personal life. Unlike the consecrated religius vow of obedience, which binds the person to obey even in matters regarding his personal life.

    For example, the Archbishop had made a promise of obedience to the pope. The Archbishop was a secular priest. The promise bound him to obey the pope in all pastoral matters. The ordination of bishops is a pastoral matter. The priests of the Society were bound to obey the superior of the society on pastoral matters, not on personal matters. However, when a pastoral decision is made that is overruled by a pope, the pope's position trumps that of the bishop. Therefore, the men involved are not being disloyal. Actually, they are choosing their loyalty very carefully. They chose to be loyal to the Chair of Peter.

    All of us who are either consecrated religious or ordained clerics or both are bound to obey Peter over our superiors. In the rule of my Franciscan family, St. Francis spelled it out very well. "The friars are to obey the Gospel, the Lord Pope, me (Brother Francis) and all of my canonically elected successors until death." That hierarchy applies to everyone. St. Francis simply put it in writing for his friars.

    There is a technicality here. Even though all Christians must obey the Gospel first, the rule and tradition has always been that the Pope is the one who tells you whether or not your understanding and application of the Gospel is correct. He is the ultimate authority in interpreting the Gospel.

    What these men did was go to the ultimate authority in the Church. They knew that if they followed Peter, even if Peter made a mistake, they would not be held morally accountable for it. Peter's mistakes are his not the whole Church's. His office is not reduced because of his mistakes, nor is his authority. The first FSSP priests understood this. They preferred to remain under the safety of the Chair of Peter than take their chances outside of the Catholic Church.

    It was a horrible position for them. Their bishops were outside the Church, because of the excommunication. But they were inside, because they were suspended, not excommunicated. This raised a dilemma for them. Do you take your lead from a bishop who is excommunicated? It was very painful for them. When you speak to them you can hear the pain their narrative, especially the older priests.

    You see, their choice is canonically correct. It does not need justification, because it is the lawful choice.


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