Saturday 1 November 2014

The Bishop of Albano is the newest episcopal Pharisee...

The Bishop of Albano disgraces himself and the Church... 


The following is the recent “notification” to parish priests issued by Rt Rev Marcello Semeraro, Bishop of the Roman Suburbicarian Diocese of Albano.
It claims to ex-communicate anyone in his diocese who merely attends a traditional mass celebrated by the Society of St Pius X ("SSPX") or Sacraments administered by any minister from the SSPX. 

It is an illegal and outright attack on the Pope, the Papacy and the decree of Pope Benedict XVI lifting the ex-communications against the Society of St Pius X. 
This blog carries no brief for the Society of St Pius X but is concerned to draw attention to a bishop who arrogates to himself the right to undermine papal legislation whilst hypocritically complaining and protesting against the SSPX for, as he sees it, doing just the same.
If the Bishop seeks to re-ex-communicate the SSPX then he should start with ex-communicating himself for defying – blatantly and openly and by pretended legal means – the Pope and papal legislation.
However, it is also worth noting:
(1)   Marcello Semeraro, although not a cardinal, is the only non-cardinal on the council of 9 Cardinals in charge of reforming the Curia and the Church and he is secretary to that body. He is thus no ordinary bishop. And yet he is willing to break the canon law of the Church.
(2)   He is also the media spokesman of the Italian Conference of Bishops with particular oversight of the Italian daily Avvenire, in which his note was also published.
(3)   The SSPX was a duly and properly established institute of the Roman Catholic Church, established lawfully in 1970, legally approved by the Holy See and canonically approved in 1971 by John, Cardinal Wright, then Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. The Society was first legally erected in the Diocese of Geneva-Lausanne & Fribourg by his Lordship, Bishop François Charrière on All Saints Day, 1 November 1970. It was approved for 6 years ad experimentum. However: "A congregation founded by a Bishop is and remains a diocesan congregation... until such time as it receives pontifical approbation, or, at least, the decree of praise (can. 492(2))". This is precisely what happened. On 18 February 1971 a "decree of praise" from his Eminence John, Cardinal Wright gave the SSPX formal approval of the Holy See thus removing the SSPX from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Geneva-Lausanne & Fribourg. Further proof of Roman approbation is the fact that in 1972, the Vatican allowed 3 members of religious orders, having pronounced their perpetual vows, to be transferred from their orders into the SSPX. Thus de facto the Holy See recognised and approved the existence of the SSPX. A Dominican religious who, even after the suspensio a divinis of 1976, asked and obtained from Rome permission to leave the Dominican Order to join the SSPX. If the SSPX was really suppressed why would the Holy See allow a Dominican religious to leave the Dominicans to join a suppressed Society? It is said that the approval given to the Society was retracted by Mgr Mamie, successor of Mgr Charrière, by a decree of May 1975. That may be so but once a religious order has been approved by a bishop it can only be suppressed by the Holy See (can. 493 in the 1917 code applicable at the time but also reproduced by can. 584 in the code of 1983). There was thus no legal suppression of the Society and the latest “Note” of Bishop Semeraro is factually wrong. Additionally, it is well known that the Holy Roman Rota receives and accept petitions for nullity from those who have been married in chapels of the SSPX, accepting them as valid until the petition of nullity is proved, not claiming that the marriage is null by virtue of taking place in an SSPX chapel. thus the Holy See does recognise the administration of Sacraments by the SSPX ministers.
(4)   The HQ of SSPX in Italy is located in this Diocese, near Castel Gandolfo. Bishop Semerero is clearly challenged by that fact.
The bishop is a disgraceful hypocrite in a Church which already has far too many hypocritical bishops who ignore, or even defy, the law and who think the law is no more than what they, themselves, say – the mark of every lawless tyrant and oppressor that ever was.
It is also the mark of Antichrist that he will be lawless and yet he will pretend to be a man of religion.
That is why the child abuse scandal in the Church was allowed to happen in the first place – disregard of the law, both civil and canonical.
And now a member of the Council of 9, charged with reforming the Curia and the Church, is himself defying the very law he is charged to uphold.
If the Church is going to avoid the charge, in the public media, of being run by Pharisaical hypocrites, then men like this bishop must be disciplined and removed.
But will it happen?
 The letter of Cardinal Wright formally approving the SSPX on 18 February 1971
Suburbicarian Diocese of Albano
In the past few weeks, requests of clarification have reached the Diocesan Chancery regarding the celebration of Sacraments at the "Society of Saint Pius X" of Albano Laziale.
Regarding this, it is right and proper to point out that the above-mentioned "Society" is not an institution (neither parish, nor association) of the Catholic Church. [THIS IS LEGALLY FALSE]
This applies even after the decree of the Congregation for Bishops of 21 January 2009, by which the Holy Father Benedict XVI, reaching out in good will in response to reiterated requests by the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, revoked the excommunication which the four Prelates had incurred since 30 June 1988. [THIS IS ALSO FALSE]
This was highlighted by Benedict XVI with his Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church of 10 March 2009: "the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church” (in AAS CI [2009], n. 4, p. 272). [THIS IS A DISHONESTLY INCOMPLETE QUOTE OF WHAT POPE BENEDICT SAID. HE SAIDuntil the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church” AND THIS IN A PAPAL DOCUMENT THAT IS NOT A LEGAL OR DEFINITIVE DECREE BUT MERELY A LETTER, ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST PERSON, TO BISHOPS. IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO HAVE THE EFFECT OF A LEGAL DECREE. IN TREATING IT OTHERWISE, BISHOP SEMERERO IS BEING, AGAIN, DISHONEST.]
The same Benedict XVI, in the following Letter m. p. Ecclesiae Unitatem, of July 2, 2009, added: "the remission of the excommunication was a measure taken in the context of ecclesiastical discipline to free the individuals from the burden of conscience constituted by the most serious of ecclesiastical penalties. However, the doctrinal questions obviously remain and until they are clarified the Society has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers cannot legitimately exercise any ministry." (in AAS CI [2009], p. 710-711). [AGAIN, ALTHOUGH THIS LETTER HAS A HIGHER STATUS THAN THAT OF 10 MARCH 2009, IT DOES NOT PRESUME TO MAKE A DECREE ON THE STATUS OF THE SSPX AND CANNOT BE READ AS SUCH. IT MERELY REPEATS THE 10 MARCH LETTER. ITS LEGAL EFFECT IS TO RE-STRUCTURE THE ECCLESIA DEI COMMISSION AND PLACE IT UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE CDF. THAT IS ALL. BISHOP SEMERERO AGAIN DISHONESTLY TREATS IT OTHERWISE.]
As a consequence of the above, it is right and proper to restate what had been formulated in the Pastoral Note on the Society of Saint Pius X of [former bishop of Albano] Dante Bernini, in which it can be read:
‘The Catholic faithful cannot participate at Mass, neither request and/or receive Sacraments from or in the Society. Acting otherwise would mean to break communion with the Catholic Church’.
Therefore, any Catholic faithful who requests and receives Sacraments in the Society of Saint Pius X, will place himself de facto in the condition of no longer being in communion with the Catholic Church. A re-admission to the Catholic Church must be preceded by an adequate personal path of reconciliation, according to the ecclesiastical discipline established by the Bishop.
It is sincerely saddening that such options, particularly when in reference to the Christian Initiation of Children and Adolescents, must be undertaken in contrast with the pastoral orientations of the Italian Church and, consequently, with the choices of the Diocese of Albano, where formative paths for the growth and maturation of the life of faith are favoured.
To the Parish Priests, remains the duty of providing adequate information to the faithful.
From the Albano Chancery, 14 October 2014, Prot. 235/14.
+ Marcello Semeraro, Bishop.
The pharisaical hypocrisy of this purported and illegal decree is at least three-fold:
(1)   First, in its naked, impudent, disobedient and schismatic defiance of the 21 January 2009 decree of the Holy See remitting the Ex-communication latae sententiae of the bishops of the SSPX;
(2)   Secondly, in its imposition of a ludicrously un-pastoral, unjust and oppressive penalty upon those who wish to worship as their ancestors did and who, by virtue of the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II, ought not to have their religious freedom thus shamefully, immorally, unnaturally and illegally curtailed and restricted;
(3)   Thirdly, by the sheer and brazen hypocrisy entailed in showing such oppressive intolerance whilst, at the same time, talking about tolerance, equality, non-discrimination, liberty and freedom, extending the hand of friendship to any other group but denying it to those who wish harmlessly to worship as their ancestors did; and
(4)   Apparently claiming even to punish with ex-communication of children who attend mass in an SSPC church and requiring them to under go a “special penitential path” which is not applied even to those who blatantly and openly defy the Pope or Catholic doctrine.
It is only fair, I believe, to post the following statement in reply of the local district of the Society:
ALBANO, ITALY – 10-31-2013
In a notification dated October 14 of this year, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, Ordinary of the Diocese of Albano Laziale (Italy), made particularly odious statements about the Society of St Pius X, for the purpose of keeping the faithful away from masses celebrated by our Society and from the religious instruction given to young people, declaring that the Society was not “an institution of the Catholic Church”.
Bishop Semeraro cannot be unaware of the fact that the Society of St Pius X was erected with the approval of the Bishop of Fribourg (Switzerland) on 1 November 1970, and that this establishment was ratified by Rome with a decree issued by Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy on 18 February 1971.
The house itself of the Society in Albano, with its semi-public oratory for the administration of the sacraments, was canonically erected by the decree of Bishop Semeraro’s predecessor, Bishop Raffaele Macario on 22 February 1974 (Protocol n. 140/74).
Despite the problems with the ecclesiastical authorities that developed following the deviations in the Faith and the liturgy brought about by the Second Vatican Council, and notwithstanding the illegitimate attempts to suppress our Society because of its fidelity to the Tradition of the Church, the Holy See itself, through the Roman Ecclesia Dei Commission, affirmed that one can perform one’s Sunday duty “by attending a mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St Pius X” (18 January 2003) and, as everyone knows, it no longer considers the bishops of that same Society to be out of communion with the Catholic Church.
It is very odd that Bishop Semeraro should intervene in this way when he has made himself the champion of ecumenism in his diocese. In 2009 he granted the Church of San Francesco in Genzano, which was built with the labours and sacrifices of our ancestors for Catholic worship, to schismatics and heretics. On 28 January of this year he organized an ecumenical vigil in the cathedral to pray with persons who are certainly not “in communion with the Catholic Church”, such as an Evangelical Lutheran pastor and an Orthodox bishop.
In the month of November alone, three [ecumenical] meetings are scheduled in the diocese, and the bishop will preside at one of them, thus supporting religions that deny truths of the Faith that have been defined by the Church and spreading the false doctrine of indifferentism, which says that every religion is sufficient for salvation. He does not seem to care that this openly contradicts the teaching of the perennial Magisterium of the Church, in particular of Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Mortalium Animos.
Moreover from 26 to 28 March of this year the house of the Somaschi Fathers in Albano hosted the First Forum of Christian Homosexuals, at which the practice of sodomy was defended in principle as an act of true love!
All this is possible in the diocese... but not attending the masses or classes of those who hand down the Church’s Tradition in doctrine and the liturgy!
This blatant inconsistency is an obvious symptom of the terrible crisis that is affecting the whole Church and that was manifested again recently in the last Synod, in which, under the pretext of mercy, there was discussion of the possibility of changing the Sixth Commandment of God and of abandoning the indissolubility of Christian marriage!
The Society of St Pius X, following the example of its founder, will continue to transmit in its entirety the deposit of the Catholic Faith and morals, openly taking sides against all the errors that try to distort it, without fear of threats or of unjust canonical sanctions, because neither Bishop Semeraro nor any other member of the ecclesiastical hierarchy will ever be able to change this deposit. As St. Peter said, “It is better to obey God rather than men”.
All who wish to receive the sacraments as the Church has always administered them, or to receive authentic catechetical instruction for their children, adult formation, spiritual direction and comfort for the sick will always be welcome in our chapels.
Society of St Pius X, District of Italy


Dave Heath said...

Excellent commentary with much reason and intellect throughout. Thank you.

However, I must disagree with one item: " is well known that the Holy Roman Rota receives and accept petitions for nullity from those who have been married in chapels of the SSPX, accepting them as valid until the petition of nullity is proved, not claiming that the marriage is null by virtue of taking place in an SSPX chapel. thus the Holy See does recognise the administration of Sacraments by the SSPX ministers."

My marriage of 22 years and 10 children was annulled via C. 1108 Lack of Form decree: "Sign here on the dotted line and your free. Thank you and pay on the way out." No hearing, no tribunal. Appealed all the way to the ROTA. Everyone simply signed off on the previous document, with a few platitudes as justification. No Mercy, No compassion, no thoughts to the devastating affect it would have on the children involved. No investigation as to the illicit internet relationship of a discontented spouse. No counseling to see if the marriage could be preserved by convalidation. Ignoring of Canon Laws concerning reconciliation. I neither wanted nor promoted divorce and annulment, yet was totally left out of the devastating affect on our children still ongoing on after almost 5 years of this tragic comedy of errors.

The Church and the ROTA may pay lip service to "...all marriages are presumed valid until proven otherwise", but they in no way truly believe that the case with SSPX marriages, for no effort whatsoever is made or will be made to preserve their marriages when one spouse seeks annulment.

All talk of Mercy and Compassion towards divorced and remarried catholic's pale in light of the lack of the same in regards to handing out annulments, whether stemming from the SSPX or not, and the affect it has on children. The annulment tribunals, except in rare cases, cater to the wants of the one (spouse) at the catastrophic expense of the needs of the many (family).

I would have willingly had our marriage con-validated by a diocesan priest, no questions asked. But I was never given the choice. The fact I have chosen to continue to honor my vows - and the Love still retained for my one and only wife - and wear the ring on my finger, is proof enough of that.

I continue my prayers for the Pope that he truly does uphold the Sanctity of Marriage and does reform the annulment process to rid it of specious annulments that decimate good Catholic Families, not to make the process easier for one spouse to eradicate a first marriage to seek their own fulfillment.

Mercy and Compassion are, unfortunately, simply subjectively-used buzz-words of the modern church, that ignore the third leg of the triumvirate that gives it its moral foundation - Justice.

Tribunus said...

Dear David,

Unfortunately that is the experience of many people in the Annulment process as a whole - not just those married in SSPX chapels - the officials are NOT interested in preserving the bond, children or no children, but only in finding ways to annul.

It is an utter disgrace and one of the biggest in the Church today.

As far as the Can.1108 Lack of Form decree is concerned, my point is that for everyone treated as you were, there are dozens where the Rota treats them as valid in form.

Inconsistent? Yes! But that does not surprise me either.

I repeat my first point: the Church's marriage tribunals are a disgrace and are in a state of lawless chaos.

Does anyone care?

Does the Pope care?

I wonder.

And yet they keep talking about freedom, rights, justice, love, kindness, charity and so on.

It's just blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, for the media.

And is little more than the same old Pharisaical hypocrisy.

We must, I suppose, pray for them, as they are on the road to Hell where I would not wish my worst enemy to go.

But may I conclude by saluting you with the highest praise that I can muster for being faithful to your vows in the face of such appalling injustice.

The example given by people such as yourself is of the highest and shows a legacy of charity, patience and forbearance that only the great saints demonstrate.

No-one knows it here below, save your family and friends (and readers of this blog, I guess!), but in the next life you will wear all the crowns available for your faithful testimony to the Sacrament and will be rewarded for your fidelity in ways not imaginable in this tawdry life.

Easy for me to say, I know, but I say it nonetheless.

Dave Heath said...

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words of encouragement...they are much appreciated.

I share and have written about many of your thoughts about the current status of things in Rome and the Church, as well as the Tribunals. But especially about praying, for the Pope and all involved. Whatever else they are, they are still in need of prayers. It's a given all will come full circle, for the foundation of last 50 years cannot long sustain what is being done today. It will eventually fall of its own weight, of that much I am certain.

God Bless!

Tribunus said...

Well said! And bon courage. I agree.

Tribunus said...

I should add that I've seen the civil divorce courts in a professional capacity and it's a scandalously anti-family system. For the Church to do the same is beyond words... you say, we must pray!