I thought the SSPX were supposed to behave themselves, now that they are back in the Church.
Catholic bishops had urged the Vatican to warn the SSPX not to go through with the ordinations, a plan seen as the SSPX’s latest attempt to challenge Vatican authority.
The Vatican has made several concessions to the SSPX, the biggest being the lifting in January of the 1988 excommunications of its four bishops.
This meant they were back in good standing as Catholics, but they had no official function as bishops and therefore should not use their Episcopal privileges without Vatican permission.
The Vatican warning to the ultra-traditionalist SSPX not to ordain new priests this month without Roman approval had no discernible effect on the rebel Catholic group. Soon after the Vatican declared the ordinations would be illegitimate, Father Yves Le Roux, rector of the SSPX’s St Thomas Aquinas seminary in Winona, Minnesota, said the ordination of 13 new priests there would go ahead on Friday.
“Absolutely. We are doing it,” he told our Vatican correspondent Philip Pullella by telephone. “This is something the Vatican feels it has to say. It’s a political statement but the reality is totally different.”
The SSPX seminary at Zaitzkofen, in the German state of Bavaria, declared its intention to go ahead with its June 27 ordinations in a statement posted on its website on Monday (here in German original and in English). It argued that Pope Benedict’s decision in January to lift the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops was a “confidence-building measure for the coming theological discussions with representatives of the Holy See” meant to thrash out an official position in the Church for the SSPX.” Further ordinations are due at the SSPX headquarters in Écône, Switzerland on June 29.
Defying a papal warning against ordaining new priests before its official status was clarified seems to be the opposite of a confidence-building measure on the SSPX’s part. As the BBC’s David Willey put it in his report from Rome tonight, Pope Benedict “gave them an inch and they took a mile.”