SSPX: Accept Them as They Are?

The lightning rod of the SSPX is getting hit from various angles these days. Michael Voris thinks the Society is still schismatic, but Bishop Athanasius Schneider believes there is nothing seriously preventing the SSPX from being fully reconciled. In the middle, Bishop Morlino states there is very good reason why the Society finds itself in an ambiguous situation: they are not excommunicated but they have no ministry because they have chosen “to work outside of—and sometimes against—the hierarchical Church and its structures.”

The members of the SSPX are not being prevented from believing what they want about Vatican II and the new Mass. They remain without a ministry because their own definition their ministry is to expose the Council of Freemasons, Modernists and Jews and oppose the New Mass, which they believe is valid but evil.

Bishop Schneider thinks that both the Society and the Holy See overestimate the importance of Vatican II and regard it in isolation from the other Councils of the Church. But is not the solution he proposes a hermeneutic of continuity, and is this not what other traditionalists priests like those of the Fraternity of St. Peter have agreed to in order to have a ministry?

It seems to me the matter is not simply a question of charity and of stopping the infighting. With all due respect to Bishop Schneider, no matter how Bishop Fellay phrases himself the Holy See is very unlikely to give him a ministry to oppose the Council and the New Mass. And it is very unlikely that Bishop Fellay, a moderate in the Society, will agree to anything less.

Even if there were no doctrinal preamble to sign, in order to give a wider allowance for personal conscience, the Holy See would assure that the Society’s rules reflect the same kind of agreement made by the Ecclesia Dei communities. But the preamble helps to assure that members of the Society know clearly that their personal opinions and what they are permitted to do with the Church’s sanction are two different things.

And lets be Frank. The Holy See has every reason to believe that a mandate given to the SSPX ministry on a “as they are” basis would be considered a blessing on the Society’s mission to oppose Vatican II and the New Mass.

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