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.
This post has been a long time coming. It recounts much of what ought to be clear to the careful observer, but since it runs contrary to the popular narrative this documentation is in order. I wish to put to rest the fatuous misrepresentations of the dialogue between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X.
My account is by no means complete, but neither does it omit the pertinent facts. A separate analysis could be devoted to the various nuances of positions represented within the Society. The Society is by no means a homogeneous group and admits of degrees of intensity in regard to the “hardline.” It is certainly true that there was more sympathy within the Society towards the Pope Benedict’s efforts at reconciliation than was often manifested in the media. However, for several reasons, I do not think it is necessary to attend to these nuances in order to bring to light the aspects of the history that are often ignored. First of all, this is so because it is what the leaders of the SSPX think that is decisive. The opinions of individual members do not represent the Society per se. On the other hand, what the leaders, particularly Bishop Fellay, set down is policy. Secondly, the nuances are not essential to this account because the position of Bishop Fellay is relatively moderate within the SSPX. In fact, he was greatly criticized by many members for his willingness to consider a doctrinal agreement at all.
Following up on my previousposts concerning Church Militant TV, I want to point out several important developments.
First, Louie Verrecchio has fired back at Michael Voris regarding his manifesto that CMTV will not publicly criticize the Holy Father. It is interesting. I completely disagree with Verrecchio’s rad trad Protestantismideology/propaganda [see] but I think he making the same point that I do in my previous posts.
Next, take a look at the comment section beginning here with a the discussion that has ensued between Terry Carrol, Executive Producer of CMTV, Christine Niles, who seems to have some loose association with CMTV, and myself (look for commenters Christine Niles, person111, and Terry Carrol).
I have been saying for a long time that this is the postconciliar moment, and that Bishop Fellay’s agenda to change the terms of the discussion regarding Vatican II has largely succeeded. Now CMTV is scrambling at the edge of the brink and trying to walk the edge.
Michael Voris has interviewed Pat Archbold about his piece that I commented on here. I have to say that Archbold is completely genuine and motivated by love for the Church. He is clearly moved by deep concern.
Both Archbold and Voris admit that the proposal for Pope Francis to regularize the SSPX without an agreement might be naive, but they believe that there is a greater good to be achieved that is worth the risk, because the marginalization of traditionalists, perceived or real, may end very badly and be irreversible.
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) Continue reading →
More evidence of the wedge being driven between the Benedictine and Franciscan pontificates can be seen in the recent disclaimer/clarification of Michael Voris in which he refuses to publically criticize Pope Francis. In itself this is only a small example of the difficulty, but it is also another instance of a mounting problem manifesting itself at various levels: doctrinal, liturgical, pastoral. Voris knows he is on the cutting edge of the problem.
You might legitimately ask why I think his refusal to publically criticize Pope Francis is a problem. I don’t. But Voris does find himself to be part of the wedge between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, and in my estimation he has not really got himself out of it. Let me explain. Continue reading →
Rorate Caeili posted a translation of an article by Corrado Gnerre from Il Giudizio Cattolico, entitled “Who are the real ‘Christian Ideologues’?”, which addresses Pope Francis’ critique of ideology within the Church. While I do not agree with his conclusions, I think Gnerre helps to clarify the problem that Pope Francis is trying to correct.
Ignoring the Facts
Gnerre defines ideology as a “hypertrophic condition of the intellect” by which one chooses to put faith in one’s “own theoretical and intellectual constructions” rather than to see the observable facts. It is “an enlarging of the intellect in size without an increase in perception and understanding,” resulting in “a blind spot in the intellectual mind itself.” In other words, an ideologue gets so rapt up in his prejudices and pet theories that he is incapable of acknowledging the existence of counterfactuals. And the ideologue’s problem is not emotional bias, but a very rational and systematic presentation and defense of his theory, albeit, a house of cards that cannot sustain a comparison with the facts, because the theory itself demands that the facts be ignored. I believe that Gnerre’s definition is correct. Continue reading →
With the stunning announcement of the Holy Father’s resignation to take place on February 28, the speculation will begin as to his successor will be and as to the direction the new pontificate will take. Of particular interest to me is the “hermeneutic of continuity” of Pope Benedict in respect to the Second Vatican Council. This is a hot issue at the very moment the Holy Father announces his resignation.
The Holy Father’s appeal to a renewal of faith based on the proper assimilation of the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is being rejected, in very the name of the faith, in favor of some “more faithful” and “holier” version of Catholicism. In fact, this is the appeal of traditionalism: it represents a more vital commitment to the faith than can even be mustered by the Vicar of Christ. I am sure we will witness from the traditionalists the hope and prophecy of a more “dogmatic” papacy.
Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain an end of the war.
—Our Lady of Fatima, September 13, 1917
In her spiritual commentary on these words of Our Lady of Fatima, Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the eldest of the three seers at Fatima, states that war can only be brought to an end by prayer and sacrifice. Of, course the “war” Our Lady is speaking of is the First World War. However, Sr. Lucia’s ties the praying of the Rosary to the end of all war. Her reflection about “the end of the war” is a long disquisition on the existence of evil spirits and our combat with them. Salvation is a matter of spiritual combat. Its weapons and tactics are not those of this world. The prayer of the Rosary is, so to speak, the weapon of choice in the conflict at which our souls are at stake.
The Church Militant is the term used to identify the life of Christ’s followers on earth. It is a general term that situates us between heaven (the Church Triumphant) and purgatory (the Church Suffering) in a state of crisis and combat. St. Paul’s exhortation to put on the armor of God urges us to act like we are at war, to be aware of the “enmity” that exists between God and Satan and how that conflict is played out in our souls and in the history of men. St. Paul is clear about distinguishing this war from general human conflict:
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph 6:12). Continue reading →
Recent developments shed light on Bishop Fellay’s inflammatory statements of December 28. The bridge he burned had been carefully reinforced some weeks earlier by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The Holy Father has entrusted to the Archbishop the task of dialoguing with the Society of St. Pius X in the hopes of restoring its unity with the Church.
The letter was sent in French during Advent to Bishop Fellay and the priests of the Society. In the last few days, it was posted on the internet in both French and English. Whether the English is the original of Archbishop Di Noia is not clear, but the version used here is apparently the same quoted in the Catholic News Service article recently published.
I would just like to highlight two points that he makes and leave you to read and reflect on the rest. Archbishop Di Noia suggests charity and discretion as the way forward.