Plus Ça Change....
In a move deemed "illegitimate" by the Vatican that especially raised the ire of the German bishops, the Society of St Pius X completed its global cycle of ordinations earlier today with the making of eight priests and ten deacons at the fraternity's home-base of Econe in Switzerland.
Earlier in the week, the SSPX -- whose four bishops were recently de-excommunicated by Rome, but remain barred from ministry in the Catholic church -- ordained 13 at its seminary in Winona, Minnesota, and another three at its German house near the pontiff's hometown of Regensburg. In the latter instance, Society leaders lamented the "bullying" of the German bishops,
The ordinations brought the number of SSPX priests over 500 -- in its announcement, the group maintained that the clerics "hand down the Catholic priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in all its doctrinal purity."
While the SSPX claims "emergency" faculties to carry out its ordinations, by accepting the sacrament outside the bounds of canon law, all the ordinands are automatically suspended.
With the lead traditionalist group soon to undertake reconciliation talks with the Holy See, the Society's German superior, Fr Franz Schmidberger, recently said that the Lefebvrites would likely enjoy a "personal prelature" status following its readmission to full communion.
Presently enjoyed only by Opus Dei, the unique canonical status would render the SSPX independent of any local church in which it chooses to operate, answerable only to its superior and the Vatican.
Despite the Holy See's clarification on the recent rites, the Society's top prelate recently turned aside the German bishops' view that the move was "a provocation"; in an interview with an Austrian newspaper, Bishop Bernard Fellay said that "in Rome, there is sympathy for these ordinations, even if they say it is illegal."
The move comes on the 21st anniversary of Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre's ordination of Fellay and three other prelates to the episcopacy -- the act that garnered the now-revoked excommunications.