Very, very interesting… The Society of the Cross and the Traditional Anglican Communion (the emphasis mine):
From the Office of the Superior General
Lancashire, United Kingdom
23 July 2012
Recently I have been in warm communication with both counterparts and superiors of the Traditional Anglican Communion. It has been my stated intention never to be a party to the appearance of division in that wing of the Catholic Church which holds Christ alone as the exclusive means and Saviour of Humanity, through whom a public and genuine faith will bring salvation.
Clearly, due to our nature as a faithful religious society and no more, the 1917 Code of Canon Law prevents us from juridically establishing formal ecclesial relationships. We can nonetheless serve one another as needs may require.
However, for the good of the Body of Christ, and after much reflection, the SSJC is committed henceforth to cooperating to the utmost with the hierarchy and members of the Traditional Anglican Communion.
To borrow from the incisive summary of the realities on the ground by Vicar General for the UK, the Rev. Fr. Ian Gray, with which we entirely agree and whose motives we endorse and in action support, “We all share the very same foundation of Faith that binds us as one in Christ Jesus. I am certain that we can work together in these difficult, challenging and dangerous times. The enemy is at the gate and seeks to devour by exploiting division and dissent.”
If there are any questions, please contact my office directly.
Yours Forever in Christ
V. Rev. Gregory. Bellarmine, SSJC+
Superior General, Secundus
Now if you, like me, are wondering just what the Society of St John of the Cross is?
The Society of St. John of the Cross (SSJC) is a clerical society professing pre-Vatican II beliefs and practices, but who condemns no other traditional catholic group for their views of the changes. They are in no way associated with the mainstream Roman Catholic Church.
When Lawrence Miller was a young man, he witnessed the changes in the Church during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In turn he approached the North American Old Roman Catholic Church under Archbishop Marchenna and was later ordained to the priesthood, so he could continue with his pre-Vatican II practices while he pastored St. Michael the Archangel’s Mission.
After Archbishop Marchenna’s death, the NAORC splintered into separate jurisdictions, and shortly thereafter, Fr. Lawrence’s parish diminished. But Bishop Robert Bowman of the United Catholic Church approached Fr. Lawrence and consecrated him a Bishop on July 22, 2002 with the Costa and Old Catholic lines of apostolic succession. A lifelong dream to establish a traditional order, he later broke with the UCC and established the SSJC as a Traditional Catholic priestly fraternity.
Thus together Bishop Lawrence and the new priest repudiated their ties with the UCC and founded the Society of St. John of the Cross – with a province in Canada and the United States.
Both the young priest and Bishop Lawrence made the Oath Against Modernism as well as the Profession of Faith before the Blessed Sacrament. Additionally they posted a formal abjuration of error on the internet for all to read.
November 18, 2002, Bishop Miller publicly resigned from the Society. On this date he handed over the office of Superior General to Fr. Gregory Bellarmine, saying “With your dedication to the Tridentine Mass and the old ways of the pre-Vatican II church, you are ideally suited to be Superior General. I look forward to hearing great things concerning the Society as you take the reins.”
Since that time the SSJC has expanded to the UK and continues to concentrate on spiritual means rather than political ones to deal with the crisis of conscience for many tradition-oriented Catholics.
The SSJC are the only Traditional Catholic Society publicly to condemn the SSPX Bishop Williamson for his deplorable stance on the holocaust.
The special charism of the SSJC is a reliance on the Pre Vatican II Code of Canon Law, such that the Church requires the protection of the Jewish people.
Latin Rite Priests who are openly affiliated with the Society are listed in Fr. Morrisson’s Worldwide Latin Mass Directory. However, the majority of others are either retired or inactive due to laicization due to factors other than moral laxity…
Our position is that although the Chair of Peter is materially occupied, an unrepentant heretic is automatically suspended from his or her Office in the Church. This is true according to Canon Law, the declarations of Church Councils and a brilliant letter by one of the Holy Fathers.
We cannot disobey what isn’t there. We conclude as with others that the Vatican and its hierarchs are no longer allowed to act as though they represent the Catholic Church. They may have the buildings but we have the Faith, and thus they are outside and we still within until they repent of Assisi 1, 2 and 3 as well as a variety of local ecumenical activities that caused their “suspension a divinis.” Thus we remain in obedience to the Faith. This is why we were active during the reign of Paul II and why we chose to become inactive during the first part of the reign of Pope Benedict XVI but have restarted out ministry…
Please, someone, tell me: What is the TAC doing with this Old Roman Catholic group, when the possibility of union with the One Holy Catholic Church proper was (is) open?!
We believe that the Chair of Peter remains occupied, but that the last truly loyal Pope was Pius XII, and that the rest have departed dramatically from the Traditional faith given to Peter by Christ. Their illicity commands ought to be resisted: attendance at the new mass, teachings that non-Catholics are saved, that dogma can change etc…
And just let me add here, in conclusion, something that Msgr Jeffrey Steenson once said, that seems to keep coming up in my mind:
“I don’t have any interest at all in the extraordinary rite,” the Latin liturgy often referred to as the Tridentine rite, “or in any move of retrenchment against the Second Vatican Council. Vatican II is the reason I was able to become a Catholic.”
“I am extremely happy with the church as I find it,” he said.
Instead, we are now unhappily told there is cooperation with pre-Vatican II schismatics who have separated themselves from the One Holy Catholic Church? And learn of it over on their blog? Unacceptable.
UPDATE: Fr Bellarmine writes:
Fr Bellarmine here. Permit me please to offer a response.
Correct, we in no way support the behaviours of the Vatican hierarchy, nor could we be in communion with their clergy given the multifaith Assisi events 1, 2 & 3. Christ is the only way to salvation. Full stop. And no, we cannot help build up or support any group that works against this public faith. But the TAC expresses our faith on this cornerstone belief, which many large modernist churches in practise do not.
We also are NOT in communion with ANY group but are open to all Catholics, including the TAC. What we are doing is cooperating and yes I initiated contact, because I believed that working together to build the Church locally would be better for Christendom in a hostile secular age than working apart.
So we are “traditionally-ecumenical.” This position is clearly stated on our website.
That means when we come across Anglo-Catholic faithful the TAC have graciously offered to supply sacramental services such as confirmations. The order of communication was the Rt Rev Michael Gill, after which Bishop Botterill and finally Fr. Ian Gray.
By cooperation the sense is similar to that of “Churches Together” but for the conservative Catholic, Roman, Anglo, etc
I fail to see the storm this cooperative relationship has raised? Should we not work together?
V. Rev. Gregory Bellarmine SSJC+
V. Rev. Gregory Bellarmine
I have nothing more to say.