Saturday, June 20, 2009

Breakaway Catholic group to ordain 13 in Minnesota

A breakaway Catholic group in Minnesota plans to ordain 13 priests on Friday, but they won't be recognized by the Roman Catholic church.

The St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, which is part of the Society of St. Pius X, will host the ordinations, the seminary announced on its Web site. It says Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais will ordain the priests.

The Vatican said Wednesday that any ordinations by the ultraconservative group won't be legitimate, even though Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications of the organization's leaders in a bid to bring the dissidents back into the church. The Vatican issued the statement in response to planned ordinations in Germany later this month, reiterating that the society still has no status within the Catholic church and that its clergy do not legitimately exercise any ministry.

Rose Hammes, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona, said the men being ordained by the society on Friday would not be eligible to serve as priests in any Roman Catholic diocese.

"We follow what the Vatican is telling us and they're telling us that all of the ordinations are illegitimate," Hammes said.

The Swiss-based Society of St. Pius X is led by Bishop Bernard Fellay, one of the four bishops whose excommunications were lifted.

Reached at the Winona seminary on Thursday, he said Friday's ordinations are "absolutely not" intended as a challenge to Rome. He said the society has always considered itself part of the Catholic church, and that the planned ordinations are a normal part of the society's life.

Fellay said he viewed the Vatican's statement as a "mild" response to society members in Germany. He said he believes the Germans are indeed trying to provoke the Holy See, questioning why the Germans would try to impede reconciliation "particularly when the pope makes such a kind gesture to us." Society officials there plan to ordain three priests and three bishops in southern Germany on June 27.

Hammes said that "as a general rule" the Winona diocese keeps a distance from the seminary, although retired Bishop Bernard Harrington met with officials there several times.

"The conversations were friendly but realizing the St. Pius the Tenth group was not willing to move into full communion with the church there really wasn't anything more we could do," she said.

In 1988, the Vatican excommunicated the society's four bishops after they were consecrated without papal consent by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who founded the society in 1969 in opposition to the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Benedict's lifting of the excommunications sparked outrage among Jews and Roman Catholics since one of the prelates, Bishop Richard Williamson, had denied the Holocaust. Williamson taught at the southeastern Minnesota seminary for 15 years.

Hammes acknowledged that the rollback of the excommunications had created confusion about the status of the four bishops. She said that even though their excommunications were lifted, they are still not considered bishops in the Roman Catholic church. Star Tribune


Adrienne said...

One of the twits being "ordained" is from our local SSPX church. What part of obedience do these people not get??

Unknown said...

It's my opinion that the primary problem here is "pride." Just like the liberal catholics, they refuse to obey the teaching and regulations of the Pope and the Magisterium.

It would be interesting to see how well both types of dissident work in corporate and other organizations including political parties.

Adrienne said...

Ray - you're dead on. PRIDE!

eric said...

I'm sorry but most of those ordained in the SSPX will be better priests than those ordained by the diocese of winona. I live in that diocese and the masses are horrid. Roman Protestant.
I'm one of those that drive to St. Augustines, from south of Rochester.

Unknown said...


What are you doing to help out the Diocese of Winona?

The rural dioceses have a very difficult time getting priests. Winona is fortunate that they have been getting some good bishops.

eric said...

What would you rather have, 100 weak,semi-protestant priests or 10 strong orthodox priests(irregardless of which Mass was said)?
"they refuse to obey the teaching of the Pope and the Magisterium"
1. They ddidn't like and don't beleive in the ambiguity and protestantism of Vat 2 and the following documents. Also the very clear and non-catholic direction much of the church has taken ever since. Truly how can one disagree?
2. They obey the teachings of the Popes and the Magisterium thru history more than most other groups. Again, where's the fault.
3. Would they,or any, be this strong if they had not 'left' the fold? No
4. Would we today have the EF form of Mass free from restriction today without them, and would this blogsite be advertising it so greatly? No.
5. Ray, the other side of pride is jealousy, you people answer that on yourselves!
6. Me? I'm holding my nose and praying for a miracle.

Unknown said...


I don't even agree with myself from day to day.

Nor do I agree with my governments and sometimes I don't agree with the practices of some of the agents of the Church.

That's because of my pride. Learning to accept the things that I cannot change does wonders for my humility.

eric said...

OK, my basic point was I do not agree either.
Now, am I prideful in this(?)or afraid for my soul.
I cannot change this either, that's why I drive, and probably should move.

Unknown said...


I don't think it's "prideful" to disagree with the actions of a priest or bishop. It's when that pride begins to run your life that you might want to worry.

I was a self appointed "liturgy cop" for a long time. The only effect it had was to keep me from worshiping at Mass. I was more intent on spotting violations.

I still can't help noticing them, but it's like any distraction, I try to get back to the business at hand -- worshiping the Lord.

We are no longer bound to territorial parishes like it was when I was a boy. So if you can find a nearby parish, do so.

If you can't, ask God to grant you the ability to concentrate on what is right with the Mass, the consecration and reception of His Body and Blood.

And pray for your priests. I would bet that most of them are much older than you and they have been in the habit of celebrating the Mass incorrectly for a long time. They're not going to change over night.

But the addition of those two prayers might make a powerful change in your life.

Anonymous said...

Problem is that priding is it so..
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