SSPX Mark II?
I have already reported about the circumstances and the implications of Bishop Williamson’s exclusion from the Society of St Pius X. On that occasion, I had imagined that he might create a separate group, though due to age consideration he might have preferred to simply retire. Rumours of an alternative “SSPX Mk II” had briefly circulated in the few days after his exclusion, after which the matter had remained rather silent.
It would now appear a new organisation of priests alternative to the SSPX is being created, and you will find the details on a sedevacantist site here.
It is early days to see what line the new organisation will fare. For the moment it seems it will not even be able to dent the SSPX; of course things might change in the next months or years, but I wouldn’t bet my pint. Hopefully, the new group will not slide into sedevacantism, and will in fact constitute merely a more aggressive version of the SSPX. As I cannot imagine this initiative will seriously harm the SSPX either in vocations or funding, I am still unable to see any big downside from this new creation. What might well happen is that conservative Catholics will get, so to speak, two for the price of one, but with a bigger presence of traditional Catholicism particularly on the Internet. The SSPX also achieves the aim of getting rid of the very smart, but at times frankly embarrassing Bishop Williamson and of some of his most colourful followers, without selling out to the Neo-modernists in the Vatican.
This new group, if it survives, will also be not without some irony as the clear manoeuvring of the Holy Father to plunge the SSPX into disarray by splitting them down the middle would fail twice, and instead of a weakened SSPX he will now be confronted with a SSPX as strong as ever, and a second (if small) thorn on the Vatican’s VII side as a very special “thank you” from the Members of the Society.
If, on the other hand, the new organisation will slide into overt or covert sedevacantism, it is not difficult to predict it will soon – at the latest a few years after the death of his rather litigious but always entertaining founder – sink into irrelevance and then oblivion; which would be a pity, because I cannot avoid thinking two SSPX-like organisations (though the first will remain the truly important voice) shoot better than one. Let us hope they do not start quarrelling with each other, though, and that the new organisation takes a name acceptable to the SSPX and does not make of criticism of the latter the main reason of its existence.
For the moment, it looks they are so few (they talk of around twenty members, with hopes of enlarging the group; the SSPX alone has more than 500 priests) the SSPX might even afford the luxury of ignoring their existence, but again you never know how these things evolve.
I wish those who felt they could not remain under the banner of the SSPX well, though I cannot say I approve the decision or the thinking behind it. They will have some trouble in creating a strong organisation, as most people will see the SSPX as strong and uncompromising enough for any reasonable human standard; therefore, this new organisation runs the risks of becoming a refuge for cranky priests at war even with the SSPX – and then they will very probably slide into sedevacantism, and won’t live long – or a slightly more aggressive but loyal to the Papacy alter ego of the SSPX, and then the pressure to the reunification will become strong when they have understood the SSPX has no intention whatsoever to sell out to the VII troops and Bishop Williamson has died.
What, I think, is the interesting news is that at the moment it appears certain that the Vatican attempt to split the SSPX in the middle has failed parlously now, as it did when the FSSP ( a sound organisation, no doubt, but created with the aim of maiming and possibly killing the SSPX) was created.