A Compelling Defense of the SSPX by Fr. Denzil Meuli, S.T.D., U.J.D., Ph.L, LL.B., Advocate for the Roman Rota
Mary Ann Kreitzer, the President of the Les Femmes-The Truth website, gave The Catholic Monitor permission to repost their great piece titled "A Compelling Defense of the SSPX by Fr. Denzil Meuli, S.T.D., U.J.D., Ph.L, LL.B., Advocate for the Roman Rota":
|Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre|
JULY 21 2001
... As it happens, John Paul II has said all that needs to be said concerning the same organization. [the SSPX] He said it in the most eloquent way possible, by actions, not merely by words. He allowed five thousand members of the Society, shepherded by three of their bishops and some number of their priests to make a pilgrimage to the Pope's own church, the Basilica of St Peter. There these thousands assisted at Mass celebrated by their bishops, who preached, led devotions and all this over a period of three days. [You can see photos of the pilgrimage at http://sspxasia.com/Newsletters/2000/July-Aug/Roman-Pilgrimage-of-the-SSPX.htm] They were given a big welcome by the officials of the Basilica including the Cardinal who has charge of that venerable church. It seems from all this that there is an attachment in a marked form and degree on the part of John Paul II and his staff to the Pius X Society....If all that is good, what is wrong with 'attachments in various forms and degrees to the Society of St Pius X concerning which Society Cardinal Ratzinger stated: 'Any problem we have with the SSPX is internal to the Church.'? If the short and exasperated answer to that is 'They are in schism' or 'They are excommunicated' then I affirm that that is no more than an ipse dixit. [Ipse dixit is an assertion made, but unproven.] A rigorous construing of Ecclesia Dei Adflicta (any imputation of crime or application of penalty is to be treated with rigour according to the Regula Juris: 'Odia restringi, et favores convenit ampliari does not lead to the conclusion that they (leaving aside for the moment who they may be) are in schism.
La Repubblica, he states: 'The act of consecrating a bishop (without a papal mandate) is not in itself a schismatic act. In fact, the Code that deals with offences is divided into two sections. One deals with offenses against religion and the unity of the Church, and these are apostasy, schism and heresy. Consecrating a bishop without a pontifical mandate is, on the contrary, an offense against the exercise of a specific ministry.'
'In itself this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated.'
Hence (my emphasis) such disobedience - which implies in practice a true repudiation of the Roman primacy - constitutes a schismatic act.'
Dear Mrs Keenan, I have your letter of January 11th and thank you for it. According to the new Code of Canon Law, 'The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a Catholic rite either on the day of obligation itself or in the evening of the previous day.' (Canon 1248.1) I hope that settles your doubts. In the meantime, I send you and your loved ones my blessing ....etc. (signed: Cardinal Oddi)
So far only a declaratory statement has been issued stating that the men were excommunicated latae sententiae by reason of the violation of penal law forbidding the consecration of bishops without papal mandate. A declaratory statement is no more than that, viz. a statement making an assertion. It doesn't make that which is asserted true. If that which is asserted is true it is true not from the assertion but from some other source of legal consequences. In itself it has no more juridical weight than a similar statement made by the corner grocer. It is its provenance that determines its clout. If it comes from a court in session, lawfully seized of the subject matter and is condemnatory then it is a judicial sentence with consequences, one of which is the right of contestation, that is, the right of appeal.
Odia restringi,et favores convenit ampliari. To complete the picture, let us suppose that consecration without a papal mandate is in very fact a schismatical act and that therefore the perpetrator of the consecration incurs excommunication latae sententiae, i.e. automatically, then it must be ascertained whether the perpetrator is liable to the penal sanction envisaged for the consecration without papal mandate. Canon 1323 states that no one is liable to a penalty who, when violating a law or precept, violates it under certain defined circumstances. These circumstances are contained in seven subsections of which subsections 4 and 7 are relevant. Subsection 4 exempts from penalty, one who acted by reason of necessity. In the common estimation of man, necessity arises when there is a crisis. Cardinal Ottaviani speaks of 'a spiritual crisis without precedent' (Ottaviani Intervention p.54
TAN). Cardinal Ratzinger states that there is 'a crisis of faith and of the Church' (The Ratzinger Report). In his From My Life he writes: 'I am convinced the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part on the collapse of the liturgy.' Paul VI on three separate occasions gave expression to his grief at the collapse of the Church. (If you want details, ring me: 64 9 817 7582) The people who vociferously deny the state of emergency are the very people who brought that state about, the state, to give an example, that sees only 8% of the population of the Pope's own diocese inside a church of a Sunday. The state, to give another example, that sees in the U.S.A. between 1963 and 1993 Mass attendance plummeting from 71% to 25%, a decline of 65%. That means twenty-four million fewer Catholics in the U.S. attend Mass now than was the case before the Council. Seventy percent (70%) of U.S. Catholics do not believe in the real presence. I mention the USA not to single it out but because the statistics of that country are readily available. Subsection 7 exempts one who through no personal fault thought that there was a necessity. It should be obvious - I hope it is - that subsections 4 and 7 fit the case perfectly. But if somebody is of another opinion and wishes to press the matter give me your argumentation in writing, supported by documentation, and I shall deal with it. .....”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. Dr. P.D. Meuli, born 22 September 1926, entered the national seminary, Mosgiel, New Zealand in1951. He transferred to the Urban College for the Propagation of the Faith and to the Urban University, Rome, in 1953 where he obtained a Licentiate in Theology and a Licentiate in Philosophy in 1956 and1959 respectively. December 27, 1956 he was ordained to the priesthood. He secured a Doctorate in Theology at the Gregorian University in 1959, returned to New Zealand to work in parishes in theAuckland diocese. He graduated Bachelor of Laws from the Auckland University Law School in 1976 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand the same year. He