01 July 2008

A tale of two letters...

Have a look at these two written statements. Here’s the first one, from the Transalpine Redemptorists:

1 July, 2008
Feast of the Precious Blood

My dear friends,

I am happy to inform you that last June 18th, before Cardinal Castrillon and the members of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in Rome, I humbly petitioned the Holy See on my own behalf and on behalf of the monastery council for our priestly suspensions to be lifted.

On June 26th I received word that the Holy See had granted our petition. All canonical censures have been lifted.

Our community now truly rejoices in undisputed and peaceful posession of Communion with the Holy See because our priests are now in canonical good standing.

We are very grateful to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for issuing, last July, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum which called us to come into undisputed and peaceful Communion with him.

Now we have that undisputed communion! It is a pearl of great price; a treasure hidden in the field; a sweetness that cannot be imagined by those who have not tasted it or who have not known it, now for many years. Its value cannot be fully expressed in earthly language and therefore we hope that all traditional priests who have not yet done so, will answer Pope Benedict's call to enjoy the grace of peaceful and undisputed communion with him. Believe us, the price to pay is nothing; even all the angry voices that have shouted against us and calumniated us are as nothing when weighed in the scales against undisputed communion with the Vicar of Christ; others have died for it; what are raucous voices?

We publicly thank all those souls who have prayed for us over the last months; some of you have truly stormed heaven for us. You have kept us afloat. We are deeply grateful. Especially we thank that priest who was unknown to us, until June 16th when he wrote in fraternal support. Where did he come from? Why us? But he told us of the number of Masses, Offices, prayers and sacrifices he had personally said for us; he had also enlisted the prayers of contemplatives and Third Order societies and had a great number of people fervently praying for us with an abundance of prayers. We were amazed! Thank you Father! Thank you also to that brave person who, so kindly wrote to us to say that if he said any more prayers for us he would be floating! What wonderful people! Thank you!

Looking to the future, the next stage will be to have our community canonically erected. So please, dear friends, keep praying for us, there will be many crosses to bear; but they will be yokes sweetened by the grace of these last days.

We assure you all of our very best wishes.
Your devoted servant,

Fr. Michael Mary, C.SS.R.
Vicar General

Here’s the second, from the SSPX:

of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos

Released on July 1, 2008 from DICI.

On June 4, 2008, at the request of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, His Excellency Bernard Fellay, went to Rome accompanied the Second Assistant General, Fr. Alain-Marc Nely.

During the interview, he was given a memorandum in the form of an ultimatum, demanding an answer by the end of the month of June. On June 23, contrary to the established custom, the Italian daily Il Giornale revealed the existence of the ultimatum and, the next day, published its content in its online edition. In the days following, the information was broadcasted by all of the international press. Thus, to the urgency of the ultimatum was added media pressure.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ document expressed five demands: besides a positive answer requested before the end of June, the Society of St. Pius X, in the person of its General Superior, had to commit itself (1) “to give a response proportionate to the pope’s generosity”; (2) “to avoid any public comment which would not respect the person of the Holy Father and would have a negative impact upon ecclesial charity;” (3) “to avoid claiming a magisterium superior to the Holy Father’s and not to set the Society in opposition to the Church;” (4) “to demonstrate its will to act in all honesty and ecclesial charity, and in the respect of the authority of the Vicar of Christ.”

We must observe that the very general — not to say vague — character of the demands singularly contrasts with the urgency of the ultimatum. The conditions seem to be meant to obtain an atmosphere favorable to a further dialogue, rather than imply any precise commitment on definite issues. The Society of St. Pius X wishes that the dialogue be on the doctrinal level and take into accounts all the issues, which, if they were evaded, might jeopardize a canonical status hastily set up. The SSPX considers that the preliminary withdrawal of the 1988 decrees of excommunication would foster serenity in the dialogue.

The SSPX does not claim the exercise of a magisterium superior to the Holy Father’s, nor does it seek to oppose the Church. Following in the footsteps of its founder, it wants to hand down what it has received, namely “what has always been believed everywhere and by all.” It claims as its own the profession of faith addressed by Archbishop Lefebvre to Paul VI on September 24, 1975: “Jesus Christ has entrusted to His Vicar the charge of confirming his brethren in the faith, and has asked him to make sure that every bishop faithfully keep the deposit of the faith, according to St. Paul’s recommendation to Timothy.”

In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, dated June 26, 2008, Bishop Fellay answered in this sense. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos acknowledged receipt of the letter the next day.

Until further details are available, we will make no comment.

Notice any difference in attitude between the two?