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.
I think he overlooks a few of the complexities, but agree with him on the three points as to why reunion was not going to happen. It seems Pope Benedict counted on an outpouring of grace through the lifting of the excommunications and the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. As Universal Shepherd he did his job.
I can only speculate what it all means. I am not inclined to think that it means anything juridical is in the works. However, I would hazard to say that it indicates that Pope Francis has no ill will or nefarious plan for undoing the provisions which favor those attached to the TLM. Which is what I have always been saying.
And for this reason the confusion of Damien Thompson as to why then Pope Francis would have placed restrictions on our Institute, might best be explained by considering that perhaps the narrative some traditionalists have spread about my Institute are wrong.
For a group of people who believe that there is no content to the term “crypto-Lefebvrism” those at Rorate Caeli along with Roberto de Mattei devote a good deal of time and space to the question. They also seem to be quite concerned about the criticisms I have been lodging, devoting as much time and energy as they have to the question, while making sure that they avoid linking to my blog.
But I am willing to concede that the crypto-Lefebvrists are ghosts. At least, they sure do behave like them. Etherial creatures they are, lurking in the shadows and working in the dark.
The latest contribution about this matter on Rorate Caeli is from pseudonymous Fr. Pio Pace who claims that the Holy See has been engaged in the “programmed destruction of the Franciscan of the Immaculate.” Not surprisingly, he calls the allegation of “cryto-Lefebvrism” simply the absurd and baseless pretext for the destruction of the FI. All the while he employs a revisionist historical narrative of the dialogue of the Holy See with the SSPX in the service of his allegation of the Church’s attack on traditionalism within the FI. Continue reading →
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 →
The Catholic culture war continues to heat up. John Allen from The Boston Globe has recently noted the that there is a possible “right wing” backlash to the Franciscan pontificate that will pit a majority of “Francis Catholics” against “Benedict Catholics.” I believe he is right, though I would say that the backlash is well underway,
As evidence of this Allen points to the February 12 article of Antonio Socci in the Italian paper Libero, in which he suggests that Benedict’s resignation was very possibly invalid, and that therefore he is still pope. Socci is not even considered a traditionalist, though he has been critical of Pope Francis on various scores. Read the article of Allen. Continue reading →