terça-feira, 14 de abril de 2015

A Legal Analysis of the Recognition of the SSPX


translated by Michael Fuller
The notes in red are the translated notes from Non Possumus


(Note:  The source of this legal analysis is a friend site of Rorate Caeli cited by them, Adelante la fe. Most of its contributing authors are priests, some of them being priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter.  The source is entirely credible and well-respected.  The Argentinian lawyer's claims have been verified and you will find links to the government forms mentioned in order to verify for yourself as well. It has been speculated that Rorate Caeli did not translate this article because it proves that Menzingen is lying.  The most serious claim, near the end, is that it would be a very serious situation if the SSPX in Argentina received benefits for being Romans, as the Catholic religion is supported by the Argentine constitution (link also provided), benefits even such as immigration documents(!), and in receiving these benefits not then be in communion with the Roman authorities.  Although John Vennari and others have stated that this is "no big deal", it seems that the SSPX in Argentina has been duly checkmated, and as this lawyer points out, with the compliance of Menzingen.  The SSPX in Argentina is now placed in a situation where they must comply with the modernist Roman authorities and Argentine authorities or possibly be forced to leave.  Those who understand the precarious situation of the La Reja seminary of the SSPX understand the risks involved.  Also, it is worth noting that for the first time, we have a source with authors from the FSSP which proves and agrees to Menzingen's treachery.  At this point, those who rally behind Menzingen falsely attributing them of being the SSPX are clearly in denial or deluded.- Michael Fuller)

The news of the recognition, by the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Argentine Nation, of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X as part of the Roman Catholic Church is a very important legal act because of the implications that it entails.

In no way does this analysis deal with the issues that arose since the consecrations of the four bishops by Archbishop Lefebvre, nor the subsequent rapprochement with the Holy See, and it does not refer to all the questions that have been debated in recent decades about the inclusion of the SSPX into the Roman Catholic Church.  It is a strict legal analysis of the Resolution of the Ministry of Religion depending on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religion of the Argentine Republic. I will try to be as schematic, clear and concise as possible.

1) In the domestic law of Argentina, the Catholic Church has a very special status: it is a Legal Person of Public Law under Art. 33 of the Civil Code, a legal nature which it shares with the national state, provinces, municipalities and autonomous entities.  It is the only juridical person of non-state public law, enjoying a hierarchy greater than any association or society imaginable (banks, multinationals, soccer clubs, etc.).

2) Constitutionally, the Argentine state is obligated to support the Apostolic Roman Catholic Religion ( see Art. 2and it is the official religion of the country, which implies that the Argentine Bishops enjoy an identical compensation to that of a federal judge, in addition to tax exemptions. There are also multiple connections between Church and State, like chaplains in the army, police, prison service and provincial police who are paid by the State, re-labeling the priests into categories of agents of Public Administration (national, provincial or municipal, as appropriate).

3) The Holy See and the Argentine Nation have a Concordat approved by Law 17032 which regulates the international relations between the two states, constituting an important source of public law. From this concordat originates law 24.483, which in its article 1 ° granted civil legal personality to the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life who enjoy a public legal personality status in the Catholic Church, with its single inscription in a register which it will convey to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4) Based on the Law 24.483, and its regulatory decree 491, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Aurelio Cardinal POLI requests that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is classified in the terms of said law and that it is granted recognition by the Argentine government as an Institute of Consecrated Life.  The application dates from February 23, 2015 and the Resolution 25/15 that grants this is dated as of March 17 of the same year, in an extremely rapid process.

5) According to the fundamentals of the decree published in the Official Gazette of the Argentine Republic, Cardinal Poli maintains in his petition that until the SSPX finds the final framework of the Universal Church, that it shall be taken into account as an Association of Diocesan Right in the terms of art.298 of the Code of Canon Law, and also adds that in the process of formation (in fieri, in the course of execution) as a Society of Apostolic Life.

6) If you access the official website of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Argentina there is a register of recognized religions in the country (Protestants, Buddhists, Africanists, etc.) and a Register of Institutes of Consecrated Life in the terms of Law 24483.  There is a unique register for the Catholic Church and forms (with instructions) for its processing are on the web.

7) For its constitution it must be accompanied with, among other things, the decree of establishment of the association, the Constitutions, the consent of ecclesiastical authority, the Memorandum (with structure of the institute, governance, universal supreme Authority and local Authorities, date of installation in the country, main activities that it works out), the appointment of the Main Superior in Argentina, legal venue, etc. The papers must be presented, translated into the national language and the copies duly certified by the Nunciature, or by the Argentine Embassy to the Holy See, or the General Secretariat of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, or by the competent Diocesan Curia by reason of residence (Buenos Aires in this case).

8) In conclusion we can say that: a) There is no doubt that both Cardinal Poli (as Archbishop of Buenos Aires) as much as the Argentine Nation recognize the SSPX as a constituent part of the Roman Catholic Church; b) From the reading of Resolution 25/15, of the domestic legislation of Argentina and the official forms from the website of the Ministry of Religious Affairs there is also no doubt that the process has the express agreement of the SSPX, the only one who can give each and every one of the necessary bureaucratic requirements, mainly the constitutions, governance and authorities; c) The SSPX was registered under n ° 381 between the Institutes of Consecrated Life which are dependents of the Catholic Church. None of the other non-Catholic Christian religions recognized by Argentina are part of the Catholic Church and therefore they do not enjoy the benefits that the law provides to its official religion, beyond the treatment and assistance that the administrations provide for the fulfillment of their purposes.

It is possible to interpret that this legal act of the Argentine State, besides the symbolic value as the land of His Holiness Francis, has a legal effect of great proportions whose consequences extend to the Universal Church. Cardinal Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is providing, directly and indirectly (through the Argentine state) legal status under the terms of the Universal Code of Canon Law.

I reiterate that this means an advance beyond Benedict XVI. According to ACI Prensa, on June 27th, 2013 in its article "Lefebvrians reaffirm schism and end the dialogue with the Catholic Church", Father Lombardi (who referred to Pope Benedict XVI) is cited saying that "as long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church". And in the same note in a statement from the Holy See from February 2009 was cited warning that: "Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church."   

Legal Reasoning must be nourished on Logic. Something cannot "exist and not exist" simultaneously. The Res.25/15 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina has definitely changed the situation. Today the SSPX -by the initiative of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires- is an association of the faithful under the terms of art.298 of the Code of Canon Law and is on the track to being an Institute of Consecrated Life, enjoying full recognition within the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church.

H.T (Argentine lawyer)


UPDATE (14/04) At Adelante la Fe we have asked that this prominent lawyer make an assessment of the various information, from both sides, which tries to downplay this news indicating that it is something merely "administrative". This is his response:

"After the news of the recognition of the SSPX by the Argentine State, communiques have been released from both parties, that obscure rather than clarify.

"I reread the relevant parts of the Code of Canon Law and am even more convinced that there is no way to consider the SSPX part of the Church in Argentina and not in the rest of the world. It violates any legal logic.

"Regarding a purely administrative process -in order to freely exercise the apostolic life-, it has no basis because for decades they have been in our country with a seminary, churches, schools and other property that could have well acquired a non-profit civil association. What is the administrative improvement? Evade Income Tax? To obtain wages and subsidies?

"There would be a very serious situation if they are not in communion with Rome but receive benefits in Argentina as "Romans".

"The procedure took about fifteen business days, unfit for any bureaucratic procedure, unless a very tedious application was made, without missing anything and was negotiated in advance with the authority. The record is slash fifteen (/ 15) which shows that it started this year and is not merely a note from Poli accompanying a process from 2011, as stated by the Agency DICI.

"It is impossible that this was reached without the agreement of Rome and Ecône."


* Note:  DICI seems to be on a roll as far as making false statements.  Just this month, already, a list of faslehoods seems to have accumulated.  Some of these include:  

1) Bishop Williamson and Bishop Faure do not "recognize the Roman authorities, except in a purely rhetorical manner".

Everyone who reads what the bishops say knows that this is false, but here DICI says don't worry they really don't, and if they do it isn't really so.  I have not yet spoken with a single soul that believes this false allegation of DICI.

2)  Bishop Williamson was expelled from the Society for because of his "violent criticisms of any relations with the Roman authorities".

For years we have been told that it was for disobedience, namely his unsanctioned visit to Brazil and refusing to shut down the Eleison comments.  Now we are told a different story.  "Oh what a terrible web we weave when first we manage to deceive."  With falsehood after falsehood, the errors cannot contain themselves and they are revealed, even if several years later.

3)  And now finally, DICI is telling us that this appeal was made in 2011 and the process has just finally finished, but a prominent Argentinian lawyer, not affiliated with the resistance, has now publicly stated that DICI has again responded with another falsehood.  The process was started and ended very rapidly with a date of this year and Menzingen and Rome would both had to have been involved.  

Regardless, if this is a small detail that doesn't show much or if it lends support to the evidence of a unilateral recognition (which I am not claiming it does), it does indeed show that DICI is providing false information, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and cannot be considered anymore a reputable source of information. 

SEE the lawyer's follow up response here

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