Sunday, 22 March 2009

Latin American Bishops Reaffirm Confidence in Pope

Thank Pontiff for Letter Explaining Lefebvrite Situation
BOGOTA, Colombia, MARCH 21, 2009 ( Thirty bishops sent Benedict XVI a letter of solidarity, expressing support in response to the criticisms against him in recent weeks, and thanking him for his letter to worldwide prelates.
The bishops, general secretaries of bishops' conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, sent the letter while meeting in Bogota.

They expressed gratitude for the Pope's March 12 letter sent to bishops worldwide, in which he explained the reasons and facts regarding the lifting of the excommunication of four bishops illegitimately ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
The message of support to the Pontiff was signed by Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the Latin American episcopal council, and by Archbishop Victor Sánchez Espinosa of Puebla, Mexico, the council's secretary-general.

The letter stated: "What His Holiness wrote has moved us and reinforced our profound ecclesial communion.

"We have also regarded it as an example of a merciful and transparent spirit, motivated by the unforeseen echo of the events, but also trusting that what has occurred is moreover a positive design of the Lord for his Church at this moment of history."
It continued: "Your letter traces a path for us of truth, love and unity necessary for each one of us, called to the apostolic succession for the ministerial service.
"Your Holiness describes very well something that is not far from our own pastoral experience: in fact persons and groups that claim tolerance for themselves, can arbitrarily deny it to those who seek an approach in truth.

"Most Holy Father, as a representative group of our Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, with these lines we wish to add ourselves to the renewed expressions of affection, confidence and communion with Your Holiness in our prayers and service to the Churches entrusted to us, and in responsibility for the great universal Church that the Lord has commended to you."

1 comment:

Avanus said...

Actually, the so called 'ex-communication' of SSPX has never existed. On June 30, 1988, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer consecrated 4 SSPX priests to the episcopacy. Archbishop Lefebvre publicly stated clearly on several
occasions that he undertook this act out of necessity due to the crisis in the Church. Canon law was cited as having ipso facto (on its own power) excommunicated the bishops, not the authority of the pope. So it is not accurate to say that “the pope excommunicated them” as he never used his solemn papal authority for this act (even this could be illegitimate, as was the famous case Pope Liberius’ illicit solemn excommunication of St. Athanasius). Canon Law then must be examined to determine if any penalties were ever incurred by the bishops, or the SSPX. According to the 1983 edition of the Code of Canon Law:
1. A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (Canon 1323 §4).
But even if no state of necessity existed:
• if one inculpably thought there was, he would not incur the penalty (Canon 1323 §7),
• and if one culpably thought there was, he would still incur no automatic penalties (canon 1324 §3; §1, 80).
2. No penalty is ever incurred without committing a subjective mortal sin (canons 1321 §1, 1323 §7).
Archbishop Lefebvre made it clear that it was his duty before God as a bishop to perform the episcopal consecrations to ensure the
continuance of the Catholic priesthood. Even if he had been wrong, there would still have been no subjective sin.
Consequently, the accusations of excommunication were illegitimate and thereby always null and void.
Was the SSPX ever in a State of Schism? 1. The mere deed of consecrating bishops without pontifical mandate does not constitute a schismatic act.
The Code of Canon Law itself lists this type of offense under Title 3 (abuse of ecclesiastical powers) and not under Title 1 (offenses against religion and the unity of the Church) of its penal section (Book 6). So at worst, the episcopal consecrations was one of disobedience.
2. Disobedience does not amount to schism. A state of schism requires that the recognition of the pope’s authority is denied. Archbishop Lefebvre always recognized the pope’s authority, as has the SSPX until the present.
3. Consecrating a bishop without a papal mandate would be a schismatic act if jurisdiction (e.g., a territory to govern) was given to the newly consecrated bishops. But Archbishop Lefebvre never did this, and made it clear that he was only consecrating “sacramental bishops” to perform such episcopal duties as administering confirmations and ordaining priests.
4. The concluding evidence is from Rome itself. As noted above, supposedly anyone who supported the SSPX would be automatically
excommunicated. However on June 28, 1993, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), as Prefect of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, overturned a decree of excommunication that Bishop Ferrario of Hawaii had sent on May 1, 1991 to six Catholics
of his diocese. Their “crime” was attending Masses celebrated by priests of the SSPX, and receiving a bishop of the Society to confer
the sacrament of confirmation.
This case alone should be ample proof that what was asserted about the six bishops and the SSPX in 1988 was without validity.