Vatican warns traditionalists not to ordain priests

Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:25pm EDT
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican warned a rebel ultra-traditionalist order on Wednesday not to go ahead with plans to ordain new priests this month, saying the move could incur disciplinary action.

The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), in the headlines for having a Holocaust denier as one of its four bishops readmitted to the Roman Catholic Church, plans to ordain 21 new priests in three countries on June 19 and 27.

A statement said that if the ordinations go ahead "they are still to be considered illegitimate" despite an uneasy rapprochement under way between the SSPX and the Vatican.

It cited a letter by Pope Benedict in March in which he explained his decision to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops and start a dialogue aimed at full re-integration of the rebels.

But the statement said disciplinary questions regarding the SSPX "remained open," a clear warning that if the ordinations were ahead they would have repercussions on negotiations to bring the traditionalists fully back into the Church.

The SSPX plans to hold the ordination of the traditionalist priests in Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

Father Yves Le Roux, rector of the SSPX's St Thomas Aquinas seminary in Winona, Minnesota, said the ordination of 13 new priests would go ahead despite the Vatican warning.

"Absolutely. We are doing it," he told Reuters by telephone. "This is something the Vatican feels it has to say. It's a political statement but the reality is totally different."   Continued...