More Evidence of the “Wedge”

Pat Archbold of Creative Minority Report has published another “open letter” to the Holy Father, like the one he published about my community.  This time it is an appeal to regularize the SSPX without requiring from them any agreement whatsoever.  His post was up on The National Catholic Register website, but the editors there removed it.  (In my estimation, a wise choice.)  He has now posted it on his own blog.

Archbold argues that the generosity extended by Pope Francis recently to a group of charismatic Protestants ought also to be extended to a group of Catholics who hold no doctrinal errors.  I do not understand this logic, since while Pope Francis encouraged unity he did not invite these Protestants into full communion or suggest that they enjoyed it. (My bad. See comments: 1, 2)

Archbold also invokes the exemplary generosity Benedict XVI toward the SSPX, suggesting that Pope Francis ought to follow the example of his predecessor. Unfortunately, the dialogue with the Holy See broke down while Pope Benedict still reigned, and by all evidence (contrary to the claims of Bishop Fellay) precisely because the SSPX refused to sign the doctrinal preamble, which Archbold believes is now superfluous.

What is most problematic with Archbold’s piece is what he does not say, or perhaps does not remember, which I would guess is the reason why he is “still in shock” that The Register pulled his post.  To be fair, he is genuinely concerned that traditionalist Catholics are on the fence, both because he believes they are being marginalized and because their leaders are becoming more and more strident and disrespectful.  And he thinks that the situation is so bad that the SSPX and some of their sympathizers are almost beyond recall. So what he does not say is exactly the reason why regularization without an agreement would be disastrous.  The SSPX is wholly committed, heart and soul to resisting and declaring the “errors” of Vatican II and the “evils” of the Novus Ordo.

Here is Bishop Fellay around the time that the dialogue with the Holy See came to an end:

We have many enemies, many enemies.  But look . . and that is very interesting.  Who during that time was the most opposed that the Church will recognize the Society? The enemies of the Church:  the Jews, the Masons and the Modernists.  The most opposed that the Society would be recognized as Catholic:  the enemies of the Church.  Interesting, isn’t it?  More than that, what was the point?  What did they say to Rome?  They said:  “You must oblige these people to accept Vatican II.”  That’s also very interesting, isn’t it?  People, who are outside the Church, who clearly during centuries are enemies of the Church, say to Rome, if you want to accept these people, you must oblige them to accept the Council. Isn’t that interesting?  Oh, it is!  I think it is fantastic, because it shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the Church’s.  They see—the enemies of the Church—their benefit in the Council.  Very interesting!  So, I may say, that is the kind of argument we are going to use with Rome, trying to make them reflect, trying to make them reflect.

Then on October 12 of last year:

The situation of the Church is a real disaster, and the present Pope is making it 10,000 times worse. . .

What Gospel does he have? Which Bible does he have to say such things. It’s horrible. What has this to do with the Gospel? With the Catholic Faith? That’s pure Modernism, my dear brethren.We have in front of us a genuine Modernist.

And finally as recently as November of last year:

The new pope arrives with different positions, attacking almost everything. Everyone understood: Benedict XVI is forgotten! It was useless to say: “But no! This is the same combat, Benedict and Francis, the same combat!” Obviously, the attitude is not the same at all. The approach, the definition of the problems that affect the Church is not the same! This idea of introducing reforms that are even more extensive than anything that has been done thus far. In any case, you don’t get the impression that they will just be cosmetic, these reforms of Pope Francis!

Pope Francis is not going to regularize the SSPX without an agreement for the same reason Pope Benedict would not do it before he ended his pontificate.  What Pat Archbold and others need to understand is that this “wedge” even if unintentional and even if the result of genuine desperation is not helping the traditionalist cause.

14 thoughts on “More Evidence of the “Wedge”

  1. I just wish we would extend as much generosity to the SSPX who reject only one council as say to the Eastern Orthodox who reject 14 Councils.

    Yes, the SSPX leadership can be stubborn and obstinate, but from what I have read the Vatican was not professional in these dialogues. As Bishop Fellay tells it, at one point he had three different Cardinals telling him three different things and was not allowed to meet with the Holy Father personally. How do you conduct such discussions without the Pope and the SSPX actually meeting?!?!?!

    Let’s face it, many in the official Church worked very hard to short circuit this dialogue. We know that many betrayed and undermined our beloved Pope Benedict prior to his resignation. There is plenty of blame to go around.

    While I disagree with the stance of the SSPX, I respect them as brother and sister Catholics. Yes, they are disobedient in a certain sense, but then again in the past 4 weeks in a nearby “obedient diocese” a speaker was invited to speak on how one can and should dissent from Church teaching at a local Catholic university and a priest was found guilty in for raping children. I say leave the SSPX alone, we have more than enough problems of our own. Maybe God is using them in ways we have yet to fathom.

  2. @Andrew, I wonder if you read Father’s post? And do you know the history of the SSPX? The bishops were excommunicated when they deliberately disobeyed a direct command of Blessed (soon to be Saint) Pope John Paul II. They were not asked to go against their own personal beliefs in any way. Archbishop LeFebvre was told do not ordain any bishops. But he thought he knew better than the Vicar of Christ and did it anyway because he felt threatened. He not only showed complete disobedience to the Pope, he displayed a complete lack of trust and faith in Our Lord to take care of the situation. Pope John Paul II had no choice but to excommunicate the SSPX.

    As Father Angelo has shown in his post , the SSPX, through Bishop Fellay, openly speaks out against the present Holy Father and disavows Church teaching, rejecting the Mass and also rejecting Church teaching on religious liberty and other major parts of Vatican II. If they are allowed back into communion with the Church, then anyone who rejects any Church teaching would be allowed back in, thus effectively destroying the authority of the Pope and the entire Magesterium, and destroying the Church herself.

    Pat Archbold, without realizing it I’m sure, is arguing for the destruction of the Church. The devil can so easily make us into his pawns and we don’t even know it. The only way to remain is to remain securely in the bosom of the Church, and that means loyalty to our Holy Father. Any other way, and you are putting yourself on a very dangerous path.

  3. “Archbold argues that the generosity extended by Pope Francis recently to a group of charismatic Protestants ought also to be extended to a group of Catholics who hold no doctrinal errors. I do not understand this logic, since while Pope Francis encouraged unity he did not invite these Protestants into full communion or suggest that they enjoyed it.”

    Only I didn’t say that. I said that his comment reminded me of the letter by Pope Benedict. the post follows from there I never said it was the same thing.

    I may be wrong, but I didn’t say what you allege.

  4. Patrick,

    You are right, I apologize. I just criticized Jay on another post for not reading my it carefully and then I did it to you. Shame on me. I will update the post.

  5. Andrew @February 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Re Fellay’s account of the dialogue:

    Vatican intrigue is nothing new and certainly was not invented by Vatican II. There are always high ranking “officials” in the Vatican, who say the Pope is going to do this or that because that is what they want him to do. But that Pope Benedict was going to regularize the SSPX without an agreement is absurd. According to Fellay, Pope Benedict was prepared to abandon the Council in order to reconcile the Society.

    One of the last acts of Pope Benedict was to draw a distinction between the Virtual Council and the True Council:

    It seems to me that, 50 years after the Council, we see that this virtual Council is broken, is lost, and there now appears the true Council with all its spiritual force.

    Not a man who appeared to be ready to abandon the Council.

    On the face of it, the whole thing is absurd: years of dialogue, a proposed preamble to sign, an offer for regularization and canonical status. And then, after all that, they will only have to sign something that means nothing because the Pope has abandoned the Council.

    BTW see that Pope Benedict XVI himself refutes the myth that he was forced to resign. Another of the great trad conspiracies bites the dust.

  6. Mary: I know the history of the SSPX. No one is defending the consecrations, but we are far past that now. The bottom line is that the SSPX hold no heresy. The excommunications of their bishops have been lifted. Yes, their situation is still irregular but because they hold the Catholuc Faith we must be open to them and generous with them. I mean if JP 2 was willing to reimagine the Papacy to appease the Orthodox, then surely we can discuss Vatican 2 with the SSPX who agree with us on every major and essential pillar of Catholicism (heck, our bishops tolerate left wing dissent all the time).

    Father: I didn’t say Vatican 2 invented intrigue in Rome. But if what Bishop Fellay says is true, I could see it very difficult to negotiate with multiple people telling you different things. That’s just bad form on the part of Rome.

    As for a trad conspiracy of the Pope being forced to resign, I said nothing of the sort.

    What I did say was that there were forces in the Church that opposed the Holy Father’s gestures toward the SSPX and made things very difficult for him. Benedict himself references this in his March 10 2009 letter to Bishops regarding the lifting of the excommunications on the SSPX bishops.

  7. The Church has been VERY generous with the SSPX. They choose to be in schism.

    I still find this fascinating –

    The leadership of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X has expelled British Bishop Richard Williamson from the society, saying he distanced himself from them and refused “to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors.”

    How much respect and obedience has Bishop Fellay shown to his lawful superiors?

    In Christ,

  8. Interesting that Father Z thinks that Archbold is on to something, and Father Z can’t understand why the Register pulled this article. From Father Z:

    “I don’t see anything wrong with this desire. Do you? Of course the SSPXers would need to cooperate. They would need to submit to the Holy Father’s authority. But were the Pope to reach out to them, directly, in the manner in which he reached out to that Protestant group… what bad could happen?

    I say:

    ¡Vaya lío!”

    Here is the link:

    This is Reason #2551 why I give little credence to much of anything Father Z says. Father Z thinks that someone who calls the Holy Father a “modernist” and accuses Pope Francis of making the “mess” in the Church “10,000 times worse” should be approached and allowed back into full communion? Seems to me that Father Z is just playing to his base.

  9. Pingback: More on Patrick Archbold and Michael Voris | Mary Victrix

  10. I’ve been doing more research on the SSPX. While I think one can have a good debate on the implementation of Vatican 2, I believe the SSPX is wrong in its separation from the Church.

    I also found that the SSPX has a long history of anti-Senitism and Holocaust denial and other disturbing trends like denouncing parishioners from the pulpit etc. In fact a huge libel lawsuit was launched by a former parishioner in the USA and won against the Society.

    I am sure there are many good and sincere people in the SSPX who are rightly scandalized by what may be happening in their Novus Ordo parish, but there are enough troubling things in the SSPX for us to be very wary. This also includes how the Church handles discussions. Yes, talk and welcome them back but also be firm that anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and cult like intimidation practices are not acceptable or welcome.

    Go to an FSSP parish or other traditional community if you want the old Mass. There you can be in full union with the Church, have valid sacraments, live the traditional Faith and be free of hate, anti-Semitism and cult like behaviour.

    And for those who say they booted Bishop Williamson for his anti-Semetic comments, please note that he was booted for questioning the Superior NOT his vile comments thus suggesting his anti-Jewish rants were not the problem for the SSPX. And it would seem this is so because he was allowed to print and say these horrible things for decades. The SSPX should be handled like toxic waste.

  11. Pingback: Why Those Who Publicly Attack Bishops Are Wrong | Mary Victrix

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