This 1993 landmark canonical case in the United States proved that attending Mass or receiving the sacraments at an SSPX chapel was not considered a schismatic act, let alone worthy of excommunication.
(The image above, taken circa 2002, shows the surviving Hawaii Six members with the then USA District Superior, Fr. John Fullerton. Mrs. Patricia Morley had passed away just 3 years after publication of the so-called "Ratzinger Decree).
It was nearly 20 years ago in January of 1993 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (then Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and future Pope Benedict XVI) instructed the United State's Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, to inform the Bishop of Honolulu, Joseph Ferrario, that his decree of excommunication against six Catholics was invalid. The supposed crime of the "Hawaii Six": attending Mass at a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X and obtaining the sacrament of confirmation from one of its bishops.
The "Ratzinger Decree" (as it became known) should have been the end of the matter, but the Apostolic Nuncio decided to insert further intrigue into the matter—forcing the cardinal to intervene again.
We offer here a webpage comprised of two articles:
- The Hawaii Six: In Memoriam, commemorating in 2011 the recent passing away of several of the Hawaii Six
- The Hawaii Six and the Ratzinger Decree, the original article on the topic which includes a PDF of the various documents
This canonical case and its implications has particular importance in light of Archbishop Muller's recent comments concerning the SSPX.