It is currently Mon Sep 27, 2021 11:00 am

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
 The April 15 "Doctrinal Declaration" 
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4337
New post The April 15 "Doctrinal Declaration"
This is interesting. Immediately after this text, is posted the text of the 1988 Protocol signed by Archbishop Lefebvre.

Bishop Fellay told me that he did not regard this text as a doctrinal declaration as such, but as a diplomatic text. He entitled it "Doctrinal Declaration" because he wanted to use a title that Archbishop Lefebvre had used, and he was consciously attempting to parallel what the Archbishop had done. Anyway, that's as it may be, here are the two texts.

of Bishop Fellay
Presented to Rome
15th April, 2012

We promise to be always faithful to the Catholic Church and to the Roman Pontiff, the Supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter, and head of the body of bishops.

We declare that we accept the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church in the substance of Faith and Morals, adhering to each doctrinal affirmation in the required degree, according to the doctrine contained in No.25 of the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council. (1)

1. We declare that we accept the doctrine regarding the Roman Pontiff and regarding the College of Bishops, with the Pope as its head, which is taught by the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I and by the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, the chapter (de constitutione hierarchica Ecclesiae et in specie de episcopatu), explained and interpreted by the nota explicativa praevia in this same chapter.

2. We recognize the authority of the Magisterium to which alone is given the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, in written form or handed down (2) in fidelity to Tradition, recalling that “the Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter in order for them to make known, through revelation, a new doctrine, but so that with His assistance they may keep in a holy and expressly faithful manner the revelation transmitted by the Apostles, that is to say, the Faith.” (3)

3. Tradition is the living transmission of revelation "usque as nos" (4) and the Church in Its doctrine, in Its life and in its liturgy perpetuates and transmits to all generations what this is and what She believes. Tradition progresses in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, (5) not as a contrary novelty (6), but through a better understanding of the Deposit of the Faith. (7)

4. The entire tradition of Catholic Faith must be the criterion and guide in understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which, in turn, enlightens—in other words, deepens and subsequently makes explicit—certain aspects of the life and doctrine of the Church, implicitly present within itself, or not yet conceptually formulated. (8)

5. The affirmations of the Second Vatican Council and of the later Pontifical Magisterium, relating to the relationship between the Church and the non-Catholic Christian confessions, as well as the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, whose formulation is, with difficulty, reconcilable with prior doctrinal affirmations from the Magisterium, must be understood in the light of the whole, uninterrupted Tradition, in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Magisterium of the Church, without accepting any interpretation of these affirmations whatsoever, that would expose Catholic doctrine to opposition, or rupture with Tradition and with this Magisterium.

6. That is why it is legitimate to promote, through legitimate discussion, the study and theological explanations of the expressions and formulations of Vatican II and of the Magisterium which followed it, in the case where they don't appear reconcilable with the previous Magisterium of the Church. (9)

7. We declare that we recognize the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, celebrated with the intention to do what the Church does, according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary Rituals, legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II.

8. In following the guidelines laid out above (III,5), as well as Canon 21 of the Code of Canon Law, we promise to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those which are contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by John-Paul II (1983) and in the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Churches promulgated by the same pontiff (1990), without prejudice to the discipline of the Society of Saint Pius X, by a special law.


(1) Cf. the new formula for the Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity for assuming a charge exercised in the name of the Church, 1989; cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 749,750, §2; 752; CCEO, canon 597; 598, 1 & 2; 599.

(2) Cf. Pius XII, Humani Generis encyclical.

(3) Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus, Denzinger 3070.

(4) Council of Trent, Denzinger 1501: “All saving truth and rules of conduct (Matt. 16:15) are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves,[3] the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand.”

(5) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 8 & 9, Denzinger 4209-4210.

(6) Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Denzinger 3020: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding "Therefore […] let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.'' [Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, 23, 3].”

(7) Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Denzinger. 3011; Anti-modernist Oath, no. 4; Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis Denzinger 3886; Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 10, Denzinger 4213.

(8) For example, like the teaching on the sacraments and the episcopacy in Lumen Gentium, no. 21.

(9) There is a parallel in history in the Decree for the Armenians of the Council of Florence, where the porrection of the instruments was indicated as the matter of the sacrament of Order. Nevertheless theologians legitimately discussed, even after this decree, the accuracy of such an assertion. Pope Pius XII finally resolved the issue in another way.

May 5, 1988

Protocol of Accord


I, Marcel Lefebvre, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle, as well as the members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X founded by me:

a) Promise to be always faithful to the Catholic Church and the Roman Pontiff, its Supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Blessed Peter in his primacy as head of the body of bishops.

b) We declare our acceptance of the doctrine contained in §25 of the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican Council II on the ecclesiastical magisterium and the adherence which is due to it.

c) Regarding certain points taught by Vatican Council II or concerning later reforms of the liturgy and law, and which do not appear to us easily reconcilable with Tradition, we pledge that we will have a positive attitude of study and communication with the Apostolic See, avoiding all polemics.

d) Moreover, we declare that we recognize the validity of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does, and according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Rituals of the Sacraments promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

e) Finally, we promise to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II, without prejudice to the special discipline granted to the Society by particular law.


Considering the fact that the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X has been conceived for 18 years as a society of common life—and after studying the propositions formulated by H. E. Marcel Lefebvre and the conclusions of the Apostolic Visitation conducted by His Eminence Cardinal Gagnon— the canonical form most suitable is that of a society of apostolic life.

1. Society of Apostolic Life

This solution is canonically possible, and has the advantage of eventually inserting into the clerical Society of apostolic life lay people as well (for example, coadjutor Brothers).

According to the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, Canons 731-746, this Society enjoys full autonomy, can form its members, can incardinate clerics, and can insure the common life of its members.

In the proper Statutes, with flexibility and inventive possibility with respect to the known models of these Societies of apostolic life, a certain exemption is foreseen with respect to the diocesan bishops (cf. Canon 591) for what concerns public worship, the cura animarum, and other apostolic activities, taking into account Canons 679-683. As for jurisdiction with regards to the faithful who have recourse to the priests of the Society, it will be conferred on these priests either by the Ordinaries of the place or by the Apostolic See.

2. Roman Commission

A commission to coordinate relations with the different dicasteries and diocesan bishops, as well as to resolve eventual problems and disputes, will be constituted through the care of the Holy See, and will be empowered with the necessary faculties to deal with the questions indicated above (for example, implantation at the request of the faithful of a house of worship where there is no house of the Society, ad mentem, Canon 683, §2).

This commission will be composed of a president, a vice-president, and five members, of which two shall be from the Society.42

Among other things it would have the function of exercising vigilance and lending assistance to consolidate the work of reconciliation, and to regulate questions relative to the religious communities having a juridical or moral bond with the Society.

3. Condition of Persons Connected to the Society

1) The members of the clerical Society of apostolic life (priests and lay coadjutor brothers) are governed by the Statutes of the Society of Pontifical Right.

2) The oblates, both male and female, whether they have taken private vows or not, and the members of the Third Order connected with the Society, all belong to an association of the faithful connected with the Society according to the terms of Canon 303, and collaborate with it.

3) The Sisters (meaning the congregation founded by Archbishop Lefebvre) who make public vows: they constitute a true institute of consecrated life, with its own structure and proper autonomy, even if a certain type of bond is envisaged for the unity of its spirituality with the Superior of the Society. This Congregation—at least at the beginning—would be dependent on the Roman Commission, instead of the Congregation for Religious.

4) The members of the communities living according to the rule of various religious institutes (Carmelites, Benedictines, Dominicans, etc.) and who have a moral bond with the Society: these are to be given, case by case, a particular statute regulating their relations with the respective Order.

5) The priests who, on an individual basis, are morally connected with the Society, will receive a personal statute taking into account their aspirations and at the same time the obligations flowing from their incardination. The other particular cases of the same nature will be examined and resolved by the Roman Commission.43

Regarding the lay people who ask for pastoral assistance from the communities of the Society: they remain under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop, but—notably by reason of the liturgical rites of the communities of the Society—they can go to them for the administration of the sacraments (for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage,44 the usual notifications must still be given to their proper parish; cf. Canons 878, 896, 1122).

Note: There is room to consider the particular complexity:

1) Of the question of reception by the laity of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, in the communities of the Society.

2) Of the question of communities practicing the rule of such and such a religious institute, without belonging to it.

The Roman Commission will have the responsibility of resolving these problems.

4. Ordinations

For the ordinations, two phases must be distinguished:

1) In the immediate future: For the ordinations scheduled to take place in the immediate future, Archbishop Lefebvre would be authorized to confer them or, if he were unable, another bishop accepted by himself.

2) Once the Society of apostolic life is erected:

• As far as possible, and in the judgment of the Superior General, the normal way is to be followed: to send dimissorial letters to a bishop who agrees to ordain members of the Society.

• In view of the particular situation of the Society (cf. infra): the ordination of a member of the Society as a bishop, who, among other duties, would also be able to proceed with ordinations.

5. Problem of a Bishop

1) At the doctrinal (ecclesiological) level, the guarantee of stability and maintenance of the life and activity of the Society is assured by its erection as a Society of apostolic life of pontifical right, and the approval of its statutes by the Holy Father.

2) But, for practical and psychological45 reasons, the consecration of a member of the Society as a bishop appears useful. This is why, in the framework of the doctrinal and canonical solution of reconciliation, we suggest to the Holy Father that he name a bishop chosen from within the Society, presented by Archbishop Lefebvre. In consequence of the principle indicated above (1), this bishop normally is not the Superior General of the Society, but it appears opportune that he be a member of the Roman Commission.

6. Particular Problems to be Resolved (By Decree or Declaration)

1) Lifting of the suspensio a divinis on Archbishop Lefebvre and dispensation from the irregularities incurred by the fact of the ordinations.

2) Sanatio in radice, at least ad cautelam, of the marriages already celebrated by the priests of the Society without the required delegation.

3) Provision for an “amnesty” and an accord for the houses and places of worship erected—or used—by the Society, until now without the authorization of the bishops.

Notes (by Fr. Laisney, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican):

42. This paragraph replaces the notes in the April 15 minutes. See how this does not correspond to the suggestions of the representatives of the Society, but rather gives full majority to the members from outside Catholic Tradition. This is perhaps the major point of failure in this whole Protocol.

43. This whole paragraph is new. See again how it separates these priests from the moral support they were getting from their connection with the Society.

44. Here they allow the possibility to give these Sacraments.

45. Please note the choice of words! As if the need for a bishop from among Tradition would not be, first of all, for a reason of Faith: to have an authority without any compromise with the errors of the day.

46. Cf. Council of Trent, Deer. de reform., Session V, can. 2, n. 9, and Session XXIV, can. 4; Conc. Oecr. pp.645, 739.

47. Cf. Vatican Council I, Const. Dogm. Dei Filius, 3: Denzinger, 1712 (3011). Cf. the note added to schema I de Eccl. (taken from St. Rob. Bellarmine): Mansi 51, 579C; also the revised schema of Const. II de Ecclesia Christi, with Kleutgen's commentary: Mansi 53, 313 AB. Pius IX, Letter Tuas libenter: Denzinger, 1683 (2879).

48. Code of Canon Law, Canons 1322-1323.

49. Cf. Vatican Council I, Const. Dogm. Pastor aeternus: Denzinger, 1839 (3074).

50. Cf. Gasser's explanation of Vatican Council I: Mansi 52, 1213 AC.

51. Gasser, ibid.: Mansi 1214 A

52.Gasser, ibid.: Mansi 1215 CD, 1216-1217 A.

53.Gasser, ibid.: Mansi 1213

54. Vatican Council II Const. Dogm. Pastor Aeternus, 4: Denzinger, 1836 (3070).

In Christ our King.

Mon May 06, 2013 7:30 am
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 5:55 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
New post Re: The April 15 "Doctrinal Declaration"
John, Do you mind if I copy this and post it to Ignis?

Mon May 06, 2013 7:33 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4337
New post Re: The April 15 "Doctrinal Declaration"
Re-post it anywhere you like. :)

I'm not sure what the interest is, however, surely they have both texts there already?

I put them together because I think the parallels are very strong. When I have more time I intend to add some commentary to bring that out.

For what it's worth, I dislike both texts. But I think JP2 and B16 weren't really popes, and I think that makes a great deal of difference in how the whole thing looks.

In Christ our King.

Mon May 06, 2013 11:47 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 5:55 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
New post Re: The April 15 "Doctrinal Declaration"
Thanks. I just like the way you laid it out and it is all there with no comments.

Tue May 07, 2013 2:00 am
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4337
New post Re: The April 15 "Doctrinal Declaration"
"Note Regarding the Doctrinal Declaration"

(Cor Unum, Easter 2013)

The context is as follows: this text is from 15th April, following the 16th March letter of Cardinal Levada in response to our letter of 12th January. In his reply, Cardinal Levada expressed the refusal of the Roman authorities to our proposal that we replace the Doctrinal Preamble [of Sept’ 2011 – Ed.] with the Tridentine profession of faith accompanied by adhesion to Pastor Aeternus and Lumen Gentium No.25 understood in the light of preconciliar Magisterium (“according to the anti-modernist oath”). Cardinal Levada added that our rejection of the doctrinal preamble approved by Benedict XVI amounted to a rupture of communion with the Roman Pontiff, which would result in the canonical sanctions incurred by schism.

From the start what has guided us in our relations with Rome is the principle of the faith: without the faith it is impossible to please God (cf. Heb.11, 6). We cannot accept what lays waste to, or even weakens, our Faith received from the Church at baptism. If we wish to remain Catholic, it is this principle to which we must be attached and upon which we ground our actions. Putting this principle in danger in order to obtain some practical advantage or other , even a canonical recognition, has always been out of the question.

Some people have clearly not been paying attention to the fact that I have always said that a practical agreement would not take place if the sine qua non conditions set out by us several times, as much in the different positions as in the reply to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (12th January, 2011), which were a reiteration of the very words of Archbishop Lefebvre, were not met. And therefore that, even if the April document had been agreed to, that would not have been enough for the conclusion of a canonical normalisation. One of the capital points of these sine qua non conditions was and is still the freedom to attack and denounce errors in the Church, including those that come from the Council.

When he handed over his letter of 16th March, Cardinal Levada gave us to understand that the Roman authorities thought that the Society completely rejected the Magisterium of all the Popes, as well as all the acts of the Magisterium, since 1962. Because, according to him, we don’t recognise any force whatsoever in these acts in the facts, in spite of everything which we could say. This accusation is false, and it was important that it be refuted, since just as we allow ourselves to be unjustly condemned for our fidelity to 2,00-year-old Tradition, so also we will not allow ourselves to be accused of a rupture with Rome, something which our founder always refused. That’s the ridge line that he fixed for us, above the temptation of a ‘ralliement’ (false compromise) with the conciliar errors (which we rejected with the 12th January letter and which has not escaped Cardinal Levada) but also above the temptation to sedevacantism (which is what we have attempted to do in this Doctrinal Declaration).

This context shows that the Doctrinal Declaration never claimed to be an exhaustive expression of our thoughts on the Council and the present-day Magisterium. It did not replace our doctrinal position as it has been laid forth during the two years of doctrinal talks; it was only intended to supplement it regarding a particular point: the accusation of schism. That’s why this declaration strove to ^give examples of our submission to the magisterial authority in itself (in se), whilst maintaining clearly our opposition to lots of acts of the Magisterium today (hic et hunc). In order to show our recognition of the Roman authorities, concerning the conciliar reforms, we went back to several points of the text which Mgr. Lefebvre said he could sign (Letter of 15th April, 1988). The title “Doctrinal Declaration” is likewise borrowed from Mgr. Lefebvre, in 1988, for we did not want to reuse the title of the “Doctrinal Preamble” whose contents we rejected in our reply of 12th January as Cardinal Levada noted in his letter of 16th March.

Our position is certainly delicate, since we wish neither to be heretical nor schismatic also we proposed a text divided into two parts, the first part enunciating the general principles and laying the conditions totally, absolutely for the second part which touched on particular points of Vatican II and the main reforms which came from it. In order to avoid any kind of ambiguity in this second part – ambiguity which we already denounced in our reply of 12th January – (see Cor Unum No.103, p.52ff.) – it seemed sufficient to strongly recall that the Magisterium could not in any way rely on itself or on the assistance of the Holy Ghost to teach a novelty contrary to the constant Magisterium of the Church.

Having excluded the possibility of novelty or contradiction with the previous teaching authority, by that same fact all ambiguity was rejected, as regards our judgement of the Council, including the famous an unacceptable “hermeneutic of reform in continuity”. With the withdrawal, we are stating that our thoughts have not been understood in this sense by several eminent members of the Society, who saw in it an ambiguity, or even a false compromise with the idea of the hermeneutic of continuity, which we have, however, always refused.

The Roman authorities for their part did not see in this declaration a compromise with the hermeneutic of continuity. That’s why, having established in a working document a precise comparative table of the differences between the 14th September 2011 Preamble and our Declaration of 15th April 2012, they altered and changed the meaning of the adjustments which we had made and which we judged indispensable, then they added passages which we had removed and which we judged inacceptable. That’s the text which was handed back to us on 13th June, 2012.

We might also note, amongst the things which were altered: in No. III, 6 at the place where we recognised the validity of the NOM and the legitimacy or legality of its promulgation (as Mgr. Lefebvre did in 1988), we find in the 13th June text a recognition of the validity and liceity of the NOM and the sacraments of Paul VI and John-Paul II.

Amongst the things which were added one might note multiple references to the new Catechism and also to the hermeneutic of continuity; thus in No. III,5 what we wrote about religious liberty “whose formulation is with difficulty reconcilable with the doctrinal affirmations of the previous Magisterium” becomes: “whose formulation could appear to some people to be difficult to reconcile”. With the same No.III,5 the theological explanation of expressions of the Council which didn’t appear reconcilable with the previous Magisterium of the Church becomes an explanation “notably to help people understand their continuity with the previous Magisterium of the Church.”

After sending to Rome the texts of the General Chapter of last July, I met Mgr. Di Noia on 28th August 2012, and I informed him that I was withdrawing our April proposal, which could no longer serve as a basis from which to work. There remains the Doctrinal Preamble of 14th September, 2011, whose substance was taken up again on 13th June, 2012, and our double response: the letters of 30th November, 2011 and 12th January 2012 on the one hand; on the other, the 14th July 2012 Declaration of the General Chapter with the conditions required for any canonical recognition.

+Bernard Fellay.

Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:11 am
Profile E-mail
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forums/DivisionCore.