Francis: Schismatics Have Valid Ministry (But SSPX Only Kinda)?

The Roman Trainwreck continues.

In his customary St. Andrew’s Day letter to the schismatic Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Pope Francis wrote yesterday:

“We can thank God that relations between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate [a branch of the Orthodox schism] have grown much over the past century, even as we continue to yearn for the goal of the restoration of full communion expressed through participation at the same Eucharistic altar. Although obstacles remain, I am confident that by walking together in mutual love and pursuing theological dialogue, we will reach that goal. This hope is based on our common faith in Jesus Christ, sent by God the Father to gather all people into one body, and the cornerstone of the one and holy Church, God’s holy temple, in which all of us are living stones, each according to our own particular charism or ministry bestowed by the Holy Spirit.”

The rest here.

Francis wants participation at “the same Eucharistic altar” with the Orthodox – you know, the crew that has been in formal schism and denial of Petrine supremacy for around a millennium.

He goes so far as to affirm their ministry as something “bestowed by the Holy Spirit,” and exercised by members of “the one and holy Church.” In Francis’ mind, schismatics exercise a legitimate ministry in the Church – a divinely bestowed one, at that.

Meanwhile, folks can still be found wondering about the 2009 letter of Pope Benedict XVI that said priests of the SSPX “do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.” Fast accusations of schism still abound (although perhaps Fr. Z’s latest “evolving canonical anomaly” seal of approval will help)… but maybe now they will grow quiet.

After all, it seems that under this Vatican, one has a better chance of exercising a “legitimate ministry in the Church” as a formal schismatic than as a traditional Catholic!

Veni, Emmanuel.

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