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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SSPX and German Bishops exchange blows

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Battle between SSPX and German bishops
The traditionalist SSPX has frontally attacked the German Bishops' Conference. "We are particularly disgusted by the attitude of the German Episcopacy, which has not ceased to show uncharitable hostility and with its continious imputations, treating us with 'hatred, without fear or reserve'," reads a statement published on the Internet by the Superior General Bernard Fellay of Tuesday. Some episcopal conferences have been using the controversy surrounding the SSPX to lead "open rebellion" against the Pope. The German Bishops' Conference rejected the accusations.

The Superior General with his statement had shown his real attitude said spokesman Matthias Kopp said on Tuesday in Bonn. This was "marked by an unfortunate one-sidedness". The Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller asked the SSPX to undertake self-criticism. He described Fellay’s communiqué as "attempting to drive a wedge between thePope and the German bishops." In this "however they will not succeed," said Muller to the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Regensburg.

Ordinations now in Switzerland
The occasion for Fellay’s declaration is the relocation of SSPX subdiaconal ordinations originally planned in Bavaria. The Rector stated that the ordinations planned for Saturday of sub-deacons in Zaitzkofen will be moved to the motherhouse of Econe in the Swiss Valais. The SSPX understand this as a "a peacemaking gesture." The change of location corresponds to the wish of Rome. A cancellation was not considered at any stage. All other ordinations, including those of priests planned for the end of June were unaffected.

The latest SSPX statements were met with indignation by the German Bishops' Conference. Their spokesman Kopp refused to tolerate the statement that the bishops are in open rebellion against the Pope. Bishop Muller said that all the German bishops were appointed by the Pope and were in full communion with him. The SSPX bishops, however, had been illegally consecrated, and therefore should be "clearly be restrained in their remarks." He urged the

SSPX to consider "how their conduct has harmed the Pope and the Catholic Church."
Mueller called again on the SSPX, "to renounce ordinations until its ecclesiological status is clarified." At the same time, the Regensburg bishop did not rate as too important the subdiaconal ordinations. This was not yet a sacramental action. Crucial is whether at the end of June the planned ordinations to the priesthood proceed.

The question whether the SSPX plan the ordinations is of great importance within the Church. The Regens of the SSPX seminary had initially declared that the ordinations to be part of the normal life of the seminary. Also, the Vatican in no way requires suspension of its activities or to refrain from ordinations.

The Bishop of Sitten, Norbert Brunner in whose Diocese Econe lies, said through the Swiss Bishops' Conference that regarding the SSPX ordinations nothing had changed with the lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops. The dispensing of sacraments was further unlawful. The SSPX must wait for clarification of their status by the Catholic Church before further ordinations, said Brunner.
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