(Rome) There is a campaign in progress in Italy against the Society of St. Pius X. The reason is there is a bishop's threat that believers who receive the sacraments at the SSPX may be excommunicated. The initiative is in direct contradiction to the recent opening of Rome toward the SSPX led by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Rorate Caeli speaks of "double standards" and "selective compassion."
The media campaign was triggered by a letter from the Bishop of Alban from last October 14th to all pastors of his diocese. Bishop Marcello Semeraro informs his diocese about the SSPX and issued instructions. Albano is one of the suburbicarian bishoprics of Rome, whose nominal owners are the cardinal bishops of the Catholic Church, that is the highest ranking members of the Sacred College. The Cardinal Bishop of Albano is the former Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano.
Bishop Semeraro justified the "notification" because of queries about the validity of sacraments by the SSPX, which were addressed to the Diocesan Curia. The seat of the Italian District of the Society is located in Albano.
"No canonical status", "no lawful exercise" of the priestly office
The bishop refers to the "benevolent lifting of the excommunication" of the bishops of the Fraternity by Pope Benedict XVI. on January 21, 2009. And to the letter to all the bishops of the Church from Benedict on 10 March 2009. Msgr. Semeraro places emphasis on the statement that the bishops of the Fraternity exerts no "legitimate" ministry in the Church (AAS CI, 2009, No. 4, p. 272) and the Society "has no canonical status" in the Church, which is why their priests can not exercise any office "lawfully" (AAS CI, 2009, No. 4, p. 710f).
Furthermore, the bishop refers to a pastoral letter by his predecessor, Monsignor Dante Bernini (1982-1999), which states:. "The Catholic faithful may not participate in the Masses or receive the sacraments provided by the Society. Otherwise, this action would mean to break communion with the Catholic Church."
Faithful of the SSPX Are Not in Communion with the Church?
Bishop Semeraro draws the conclusion: "Therefore, each Catholic, who solicits or receives the sacraments from the Society of St. Pius X, is not in communion with the Catholic Church. A re-admission into the Catholic Church must be preceded by an adequate personal path of reconciliation according to the competent episcopal ordinary".
Finally, the bishop regrets that some "options", presumably relating particularly to children and young people, are "contrary to the pastoral orientation of the Italian Church and the Diocese of Albano."
The pastor should inform the faithful about this episcopal statement.
L'Espresso : "Pope forbids Lefebvrians to celebrate Mass"
The media, especially the weekly magazine L'Espresso, attacked the bishop writing with large headlines: "Pope Francis prohibits Lefebvrians from celebrating Mass". The subtitle: "The followers of an excommunicated, ultra-traditionalist French bishop are now in the sights of Pope Bergoglio: one of his most faithful friends has forbidden the celebratiion of Mass and administeration of the sacraments. Whoever follows them, risks excommunication." The article whirls the truth, canon law and fictional conclusions into chaos.
The Career of the Bishop
Espresso credits a report that Bishop Semeraro is one of the closest confidants of Pope Francis. The bishop was appointed by Pope John Paul II. In 2004, He underwent a major upgrade under Pope Francis. In April of 2013 he was appointed secretary of the new Cardinal Council, to advise the Pope on the reform of the curia and the Church leadership (see Bishop Semeraro, C8-secretary . This C8-Council has been expanded by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to a C9 Council. Bishop Semeraro handles the coordination of the Council. In the Italian Bishops Conference , Msgr. Semeraro performs the function of the media bishop and thus has the oversight of the bishops' conference part of daily Avvenire , the published first the "notification" to the priest.
The relationship between Bishop Semeraro the the SSPX has never relaxed. Last year the SSPX elicited an opinion against the Pope's travel to Lampedusa (see Lampedusa was "Inclined to Progressive Simplification" of a Complex Question ). Similarly, the willingness of the SSPX to hold a funeral Mass for Erich Priebke, because Priebke was for reasons of political correctness, and annoyance for the Diocese of Rome that brought them great embarrassment (see Diocese of Rome Refused Erich Priebke Public Funeral - Political Correctness About Death? out and Priebke Coffin Spat Upon - The Hatred Must Know Boundaries, but Catholic Subservience Also ).
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Wikicommons / NBQ
image: Wikicommons / NBQ