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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Reply to Fr. Morgan

In the December Letter from the District Superior of the SSPX in Great Britain, Fr Paul Morgan, (opposite) criticises the community of Papa Stronsay. I make a reply.

1. Father speaks against our 'practical agreement' with the Holy See.

He insists on “a solution to the doctrinal issues before there can be any practical agreement with the Roman authorities.” He says: “The Superior General alludes to the unacceptable situation of those communities who have sought a practical agreement prior to the major issues being addressed. In this regard we cannot but think of the community of Papa Stronsay here in Britain.”

Rather than make his own submission to the Holy See, what Fr. Morgan advocates is to play a waiting game with the Pope, the Church and ultimately with God. This is a dangerous idea full of dangerous possibilities for his own soul and for the souls of those he is leading.

The ambiguities of the Second Vatican Council remain to be clarified, this is certain. But far from denying the bi-millennial tradition of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI is acutely aware of the need to reconcile the Second Vatican Council with tradition. How exactly to do so remains the poignant question of our day. It is a question that will not be solved easily nor soon – this we can gather from the manner in which the Church has dealt with problematic declarations of councils in the past.

We are thinking specifically of the Council of Constance (1414 - 1417) and some of the texts of this council that Pope Martin V could not confirm. Nor did he feel the authority to condemn them. Specifically, these were declarations that a General Council is superior to the Pope, that periodically a General Council should assemble and check on the Pope, etc. The three Popes who followed the Council of Constance had quite a lot just to try to undo this mischief, and the full effect was only felt at the next General Council of Basel / Ferrara / Florence... Only part of the theological problem was addressed at the Council of Florence (25 years later), but the issue was really completely solved only at the First Vatican Council in 1870 - more than 400 years later!

Imagine for a moment that you were a traditional Catholic living in 1418; you disagreed with the teachings of the Council of Constance; and Pope Martin and his successors were not resolving matters...

Taking the SSPX approach you would have to wait 400 years before joining the structures of the Church.

Is that God's will? Does that sound like the Catholic approach?

This idea is a soft introduction to schism.

2. Fr Morgan also reports that I openly claim “that the SSPX and its supporters are outside the Catholic Church and in danger of losing their souls.” This is false.

a. I believe that the SSPX as a group of priests are outside the structures of the Church. This is clear. SSPX priests are not submitted to the Holy See, nor to Local Ordinaries or Ordinaries. Objectively this is dangerous to salvation. Subjectively it is another matter.

b. I do not hold any opinion about SSPX supporters (as a group or as individuals) being inside or outside the Church. I have no set opinion about their salvation.

c. I hold that a person may attend Mass in a SSPX chapel in good conscience if he does it without adhering to any schismatic mentality.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.


Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Michael Mary,

I think that response 2.b. could be elaborated. For to the extent that the SSPX Bishops, priests, and faithful are playing a "waiting game" with the Pope, they are indeed endangering their immortal souls, as you rightly point out earlier in response 1.

Submission to Peter is the right way to go. Keep fighting the good fight. God bless!

umblepie said...

Dear Father, What a shock I had to see Fr Morgan's photograph heading your post! Has he joined the F.SS.R? Is he 'en route' to Papa Stronsay? Sadly neither is the case, but one day who knows? Thank you for these clarifications, it seems all too easy for those who oppose and criticise you to 'muddy the waters of truth', we assume by mistake rather than by malice. God bless you and your community, and may Our Blessed Lady protect and guide you always.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Michael Mary
Well said and congratulations. I cannot help wondering why the SSPX has to keep having a go at you. Maybe they do not want you to be right as that would make their teachings wrong. Lets all keep praying for them to unite with all the Traditional Orders and get the doctrinal issues changed from within.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Michael Mary,

Thank you for your clarifications. It Makes perfect sense to me.

What the SSPX seem to be saying is that until Benedict condemns the council we are not coming back. This attitude leads to a practical rejection of his authority and is not Catholic. On one hand they say they accept the Pope and on the other they refuse ordinary jurisdiction (that the Motu Proprio freely granted). A familiar saying comes to mind " yon can't have your cake and eat it!" I pray that they will eventually be recognised.

God Bless you Fr Mary and all the monks at Papastronsay. You have shown how tradition is possible and how is can work within the framework of the Church.

JARay said...

I find this a most enlightening and encouraging declaration. It all makes very good sense to me.


Anonymous said...

Dear father, you talk often about the need to "submission to the Holy See" - it does not sound sound in my ears. Submission, the way yoy put it, is not the language nor the will of the Holy See, I would say, but of islam, which means exactly that.

Pax et bonum!

// Andrew

Anonymous said...

Some people have short memories! Do not forget that long before the so-called excommunications the SSPX was labelled schismatic and outside the Church by the modern bishops. They hated the SSPX then and will always do so. It is though SSPX has become the focus of all the ancient anti-Cathlic prejudices which go back hundreds of years. They are the only group left which can be legitimately despised.
I can absolutely guarantee that the neutralisation of the Redemptorists is merely a stage in a long term war to crush Catholic tradition. The Pope may be on your side, but can you name one diocesan bishop in the UK who agrees with him?

Matthias said...

Andrew, yet does not the latin dogma of Universal jurisdiction talk of the need to sumbit to the Pope? Is not the Pope the vicar of Christ on earth? By what authority does the SSPX continue to remain outside the Church's structure if it accepts all those teachings listed above?

Anonymous said...

To submit to the authority of the Pope is a solemnly declared dogma of the Church (Vatican I). The SSPX line that by doing just that your community is compromising on doctrine is an inherent contradiction. Perhaps a good way to answer your critics would be a post on the teachings of the First Vatican Council (which can’t be dismissed as just a pastoral council). I’m thinking of the teachings regarding the perpetual natural of the papal office, the necessity to submit to the Pope’s authority, the binding nature of the Pope’s disciplinary decisions etc. And what of Pope Pius XII’s 1958 encyclical Ad Apostolorum Principis in which he declared that it was totally forbidden under any circumstances to consecrate bishops against the Pope’s will. When it comes to doctrine, those in the SSPX glasshouse ought not to throw stones!

Anonymous said...

While I do not agree with your stand I have to say that Fr. Morgan is probably the most unpopular Superior the SSPX have had in England. He has done alot of damage to the mission in this country. When he took over the London church had 2 well attended Masses every Sunday, now it has 1 Mass and it is not even full.

Anonymous said...

Dear father, you talk often about the need to "submission to the Holy See" - it does not sound sound in my ears. Submission, the way yoy put it, is not the language nor the will of the Holy See, I would say, but of islam, which means exactly that.

Good grief. Now that's what I call "diabolical disorientation". Clearly the modernists do not have a monopoly on confusion and theological unsoundness of mind.

St. Jude Pray For Me said...

Dear Rev. Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R. ,
may God, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, grant a constructive truce between the SSPX and your community.

To say the truth, I can't understand why the SSPX in the person of the Rev. Fr. Morgan is so ruthless towards your community.
Yours has been a well pondered and difficult decision, not certainly what he describes as a " practical agreement ".
Furthermore, while the policy of your community does not damage in any way the image of the SSPX, the tendentious assertions of the Rev. Fr. Morgan seem to question your belonging to the Traditionalists.

You have my full support
Sincerely Yours
Alessandro Botto

Anonymous said...

... we assume by mistake rather than by malice.

People like Fr. Morgan are on a schismatic trajectory. If they don't pull out of it soon, they will harden their hearts in malice and thus seal the fate their eternal souls.

I oppose false ecumenism and religious liberty, and I believe that the documents of Vatican II should be re-evaluated and, in some cases, revised. However, such doctrinal matters must be worked out in submission to Peter and in God's own time.

Let us pray for Fr. Morgan, that he receives the light and grace that he needs.

Anonymous said...

And another thing....who says the SSPX is outside the jurisdiction of the bishops and the Church? Do not their Priests pay for the local Ordinary in the Canon of the Mass? If the Bishops order something which is completely Catholic then the SSPX obey. But if, as is often the case, the bishops tell us to do something which is contrary to Catholic Tradition then SSPX disobey, it would be sinful not to.

Anonymous said...

We hope that you will be able to post on three up-coming Latin Masses in Ireland:

We also hope that you will put our blog on your list of blogs.

God bless you!

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

Anonymous said...

Thankyou dear Fr Michael Mary for your continued wisdom. Thankyou for the clarity and truth with which you teach. May God bless you with all the graces and holy courage you need.You are as ever in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I can absolutely guarantee that the neutralisation of the Redemptorists is merely a stage in a long term war to crush Catholic tradition. The Pope may be on your side, but can you name one diocesan bishop in the UK who agrees with him?

Anon, you just don't get it, do you? Who cares if every modernist bishop in Great Britain is against Fr. Michael Mary? Who cares if the revolutionary Trad-Leninists send their (character) assassins for him? Did not our Lord Jesus Christ know that the Pharisees meant to neutralise and eventually crush him? Did not the devil tempt our Lord to refuse the cup that his Father gave to him? Our Lord was not to be diverted from the path laid out for him, and neither is Fr. Michael Mary.

I'll say to you what Fr. Michael Mary is probably too polite to say on this blog:


Don't take it in a bad way. The words are our Lord's, after all. He loved Peter even as he rebuked him.

Anonymous said...

I think it is sad when you see traditional priests attacking the integrity of traditional priests. Where on earth is the logic. Couldn't the SSPX channel their criticisms in a more constructive way, at the modernists for instance, instead of adopting this attitude that everyone is wrong except us. There is the same attitude with the SSPX in France toward the Institute of the Good Shepherd. This narrow-mindedness is noticed and that's why people are reluctant to attend their Masses. Also I think the SSPX have enough problems on their own plate to solve before making unfair, biased and ridiculous comments about other communities.

Anonymous said...

Martin, how right you are! The SSPX waste far too much time in criticising fellow Traditional Priests, I say God bless Fr.Michael Mary and the FSSR, for having the courage to take the stand that they have, I shall continue praying for them, I shall even carry on praying for Fr. Morgan! All Priests need the prayers of the Faithful, we must not fail them
Lizann Marie

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Michael,
Thank you for a clear, concise, charitable and CATHOLIC response to the accusations at hand. You admirably answered the "objections" (accusations?) honestly and without Animosity. Bravo!!! Let us all pray for an outpouring of charity among all Catholics, even when such powerful issues as those at hand, tend to polarize us. (So clear the need for the legitimate authority of Peter, and clear and undisputed communion with him.) Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. God bless you and the Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay. You are remembered daily in my prayers and Masses, and those of my Augustinian Confreres.

In Christo,
Fr. John, S.S.A.

Anonymous said...

Who can forget that famous quote of St. Thomas More- "I die the King's good servant, But God's first?" The same principle could be applied to Catholics who rather not give their implied consent to ecumenism etc by a truce with those in authority, preferring instead matyrdom and being able to say, " I die the Pope's faithful servant, but God's first."

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love these anonymous naysayers and backbiters?

Latest in the long list of anons, how, pray tell, has Fr. Michael Mary given his "implied consent" to false ecumenism etc.? What does that "implied consent" look like? Do you have concrete examples at hand? I'd love to see the evidence. Please be so kind as to produce it.

Anonymous said...

So now according to one person prefering to comment under the couageous title "anonymous" (I wonder why!), has said that Fr. Micheal Mary has engaged in some sort of truce with the Roman authorities. Even the word ecumenism is mentioned.

Dear Anonymous,

Although I admit my amusement at reading your comment, regretfully the lack of intellectual clarity has a lot to be desired. Please, save yourself the blushes and take your comments elsewhere...

Anonymous said...

Who are you, Confiteor? A cheerleader for Modernist Rome no doubt. I am tired of your comments and degrading remarks to those who wish to remain anonymous, and to those who will defend Tradition and the truth come what may...I see no problem with anonymity at all, in this vicious world, to remain anonymous is sometimes a wise idea.

Anonymous said...

I am always amused by the appeal to "ambiguity" as a pretext to ignore the magisterium. Is there really such an ambiguity for those who have ears to hear? Do the many CDF instructions amount to nothing? Does the December 22, 2005 Address to the Roman Curia on the "Hermeneutic of Continuity" count for nothing? Is there really any ambiguity when the Council is taken as a whole and in the context of its own Tradition? Ambiguity only remains for those who would manipulate texts by ripping them from their proper context. Do those who shout "ambiguity" really wish to see things clearly or do they really just prefer the status quo?

Anonymous said...


If you really want to stand up and be counted be proud of who you are. Name yourself. Stop hiding behind anonymous. At least Confiteor has a name. You maybe tired of its comments but I am so impressed. Their comments are honest and unbiased. Unfortunately it is getting to the stage that some of the SSPX faithful and clergy do not have a schismatic mindset but are actually schismatic. The Archbishop must be looking down and be extremely upset at the way his beloved Society has gone. I beg the SSPX - please show some Charity.

Anonymous said...

My name is Joe Sixpack.

I see that the Sons of the Redeemer website has now become the focus of all the old anti-SSPX complaints. What a great photo of Fr Morgan! We are lucky to have him.

Anonymous said...

Joe Sixpack,

You are imbued with the spirit of schism. I am tired of your lack of charity.


Anonymous said...

Why don't you answer my question, Joe Sixpack? What is your evidence of Fr. Michael Mary's "implied consent" to false ecumenism, religious liberty, etc.? Stop flinging accusations and produce some facts.

Anonymous said...

Joe Sixpack writes:
Confiteor: Of course Fr Michael doesn't imply consent to any of the things you mention. However given time that will be the price he has to pay. History tells us this. The Vatican wants his silence.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Michael Mary and his conferees are working out their salvation in fear and trembling according to the austere and traditional rule of St. Alphonsus.

Perhaps you nattering nabobs of negativity (you know who you are) should try something along similar lines.

Anonymous said...

Joe Sixpack writes:
Confiteor: Of course Fr Michael doesn't imply consent to any of the things you mention. However given time that will be the price he has to pay. History tells us this. The Vatican wants his silence.

Joe Sixpack - What a dreadful thing to say. That is rash judgement. You have no idea what will happen in the future and what is more whether the Vatican wants his silence or not, knowing Father Michael Mary they will not get it if it is not God's will. He serves God first.

thetimman said...

Fr. Michael Mary,

Still keeping you in my prayers. Keep up the good fight.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in an honest and clear analysis of Fr. Morgons remarks should check out the Sensible Bond blog. An excellent article on the SSPX and Papastronsay is a must.

Anonymous said...

I don't wish to attack the SSPX. It has many good priests and I will attend an SSPX chapel when there is no "regular" traditional mass that I can go to. However, for a long time , and I can pretty much date this to time of the regularisation of the priests of Campos, it has seemed clear to me that many of those in positions of authority in the SSPX think that Rome has lost the faith and that the SSPX, its supporters and affiliated communities are the remnant of the true Church.

The words of Father Morgan remind me so much of the attacks on Bishop Rifan and his priests. I still hope and pray that the SSPX will be fully regularised but at at the moment,I can't see how this is humanly possible.

Anonymous said...


Do you really believe that saying your name will matter in all of this? And whether you post as Confiteor or anonymous....guess what? You are anonymous. Confiteor's answers are honest and unbiased ONLY if you agree with him, and he is not the last word, not by a longshot.

I would rather remain anonymous standing behind the TRUTH, than boastfully backing error.

Anonymous said...

I would rather remain anonymous standing behind the TRUTH, than boastfully backing error.

Anonymous whoever you are (as if I care), why don't you please list the SPECIFIC ERRORS that we who defend the F.SS.R. are "boastfully backing" according to your accusation?

Anonymous said...

Call me "Worried."

We live in unprecedented times. Never before in history has so much power been concentrated in the hands of the enemies of Christ. The New World Order is on the march. If you think this is conspiratorial, you are not reading the front-page headlines. The U.N. very shortly is going to be RUNNING your life. Anybody holding on to traditional religious beliefs is going to be persecuted. I don't care if you're from the SSPX, FSSP, or Papa Stronsay.

This bickering between traditionalist factions is missing the bigger point. We're all in grave danger. Engage in tit-for-tat all you want - Satan's locomotive is barreling down the tracks at full speed, and we're at each other's throats. Perfect.

St. Jude Pray For Me said...

Regula Sancti Benedicti
LXXII - De zelo bono quod debent monachi habere

1. Sicut est zelus amaritudinis malus qui separat a Deo et ducit ad infernum,
2. ita est zelus bonus qui separat a vitia et ducit ad Deum et ad vitam aeternam.
3. Hunc ergo zelum ferventissimo amore exerceant monachi,
4. id est ut honore se invicem praeveniant,
5. infirmitates suas sive corporum sive morum patientissime tolerent,
6. oboedientiam sibi certatim impendant;
7. nullus quod sibi utile iudicat sequatur, sed quod magis alio;
8. caritatem fraternitatis caste impendant,
9. amore Deum timeant,
10. abbatem suum sincera et humili caritate diligant,
11. Christo omnino nihil praeponant,
12. qui nos pariter ad vitam aeternam perducat.

To all the blog posters: please, adopt a policy of peace and irreproachableness

The R.Rev. Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R. is a person of great sensitivity and a charismatic Spiritual Father and for him I claim respect

Sincerely Yours
Alessandro Botto

Anonymous said...


Point well taken. It is time to stop bickering. We must watch and pray. Mark well the eschatological meaning of the Advent Gospel readings.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the differences are not going to be settled by polemics.

Perhaps a duel could be arranged between the Rev Morgan and Fr Michael? Give each an axe and the one who butchers the other to a bloody death will be on the side of Christ. After all this methodology has historically been good Catholic practice - ask the Albigensians.

Anonymous said...

The proposed duel has already been arranged and settled:

Poor Fr. Morgan, he did put up a valiant fight! :-)

Anne said...

THis SSPX lot know exactly where they stand. That is, in the wrong time and the wrong place, outside of Rome is a lamentable place to be. You cannot pick and mix what you want in the Church or you will end up like Woolworth's...a huge collapse of their own making.

You are on the right road, carry on God Bless you all abundantly in this life and the next.

Anonymous said...


Surely, you will not argue that the church is free from the errors of ecumenism, of modernism, of collegiality and certainly then it follows that to align oneself with these errors is not correct, and is but an additional error, heaped upon error.

The doctrinal issues must be dealt with, you don't need me to tell you that. To think that it is acceptable to live among the wrong as long as you have the Mass is childish, and will not solve the problems. That is nothing more than accepting and blessing the errors and continual problems which plague the church. It is compromising the truth.

Transalpine Redemptorists said...

The problem with comment boxes is that they often degenerate into arguments and worse.

This post is to reply to two of Fr. Morgan's statements simply to put the record straight.Viz.

1)Reconciliation with the Holy See is not a dismissal of problems.

2)The SSPX should reconcile with the Holy See since waiting for theological problems to be resolved has taken as long as 400 years in the past. This is a fact that the Catholic faithful should know about since many think that a reconciliation is only a few more years off; but in reality it could centuries. Therefore this waiting game is a very dangerous, and quite unnecessary, option.

3) Fr. Morgan misrepresented my opinion about SSPX members and the Faithful who are attend their Mass centers. I gave my true opinion in this post and I hope that it will become known. Unfortunately many people who will have already read Fr. Morgan's letter will not have access to the internet.

The above were my reasons for posting "A Reply to Fr. Morgan."

No further comments will be posted.

Devotedly in Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

Anonymous said...

Both Frs. Morgan and Scott should have better things to do with their times than pen anti F.SS.R articles in their journals, etc.
SSPX UK is not what it was under Fr. Black and the days when they had cordial relations with the 'Trad' elements of the diocesan clergy, particularly in the North West. Instead we are presented with an element of Americanised Post Falls bigots - where everyone is wrong except themselves and no one is allowed to inform their Conscience unless such aligns with their thinking. There are SSPX clergy who are most concerned what is taking place.

+Miguel Vinuesa+ said...

Dear Father Michael Mary,

Please know that you are still in my prayers in this wonderful time of year.

Miguel Vinuesa
Juventutem Madrid

Philip Gerard Johnson said...

May God bless you and your community!

Philip Johnson

sirhair said...

Praise the Lord for your faithfulness. May our Lord continue to use you to reunify our wounded Mother.

Blessings and prayers,
Edward Alonzo

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