SSPX: Decision Before Summer?

It would appear the moment of truth (better: of not having the nerve to say the Truth) is rapidly approaching for the Society of Saint Pius X, with the Vatican expected to end the matter before the end of June.

Those who have followed the discussions up to here will know that very probably, at this point not much is going to happen, at least for this round of discussions. The SSPX have been offered golden bridges if they accept to compromise on the role and reach of Vatican II, and implicitly accept the muzzle in the matters related to the Council. They have gently but clearly answered this is not going to happen, but have presented a document asking the Vatican to clarify some of the statements therein contained, for the case a common position which does not compromise the SSPX could be found.

But with the progress of the talks, it seems to me the issue looming in the background was less and less the doctrinal differences – which would probably be rapidly worked out with the more conservative elements of the Curia – and more and more the matter of the new role which would be expected from the SSPX in case of full communion. I do not doubt that, if this is wished from both side, an agreement can be found. What I doubt is the SSPX will be able to renounce to the full freedom in criticising the ruptures with the past represented by Vatican II, and the ability of the Vatican to accept they do not want to silence their criticism.

What I think is easily neglected, is that the reigning Pope is – though certainly from a conservative point of view – through and through a VII man. Whilst he has the best intention towards the SSPX, it appears to me less than probable he will allow them to continue to drive the hardline position that VII be – together with its orthodox parts, which are in harmony with the Magisterium and therefore not the work of VII itself – at times not better than a homily in the Sixties, and a very bad one at that.

In my eyes, I think we enter here the inscrutable workings of our deep nature, with men in perfect good faith able to disagree on such momentous matters because of their past history and cultural heritage. It shouldn’t happen, though. Goes to tell you what damageVII still continues to inflict on the body of the Church.

I am, as always, a long-term optimist. It seemed to me this things might have had a happy end, but I am now much more cautious on the matter (remember the text itself was never published, so the room of manoeuvre was never to be fully gauged) as it seems to me the unread preambolo was worded in a way which made the agreement not really acceptable for the SSPX. A pity, because the initial joint communique’ about the preambolo itself  was certainly encouraging.

It seems to me this matter will approach solution only when the VII generation has, literally, died.The fact people like Vincent Nichols continue to be called in good standing whilst Bishop Fellay is not in full communion really demonstrates the size of the problem.


Posted on February 23, 2012, in Catholicism, FSSPX and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. But there is another problem named Williamson. This man, consecrated by the SSPX founder, not only denies the holocaust but supports all sorts of insane and discredited conspiracy theories. To accept the SSPX appears to involve accepting this man as a bishop in good standing and would make the Church a laughing stock as well as causing grave scandal to many. Bishop Fellay is rightly embarrassed at many of the pronouncements of this foolish man who has merely been instructed to remain silent when much else needs to be done to protect Catholicism from him. His views also prompt the question: who else in the SSPX shares his demonstrably idiotic worldview?

    • I do not see the problem, Steve.

      To not believe the Holocaust (which he doesn’t, byt the way; he merely says the dead were far less than assumed. I do not agree with him, but I disagree that he is an holocaust denier) is not a matter of religion, but of history and politics. If Pope Benedict would let the reconciliation depend from reason of political correctness he would be betraying Catholicism rather than defending it. And I still think the little finger of Williamson is ten thousand times more Christian (let alone Catholic) than Archbishop Nichols.

      I Personally think Pope Benedict cannot throw V II into the dustbin without losing face and will therefore remain on a position inconciliable with the one of the SSPX. His successor will be the first one in decades not having been a conciliar father. This might prove a game-changer.


  2. There is nothing on earth or in heaven as critical to human souls and future as those elements of doctrine.

  3. Mundabor,
    yes Pope Benedict is a strong supporter of Vatican II. At the Council, he was a moderate progressive in his alliances. He remains basically in the same position today, having moderated his positions even more over the years, while the mainstream drifted rapidly towards explicit progressivism. (This accounts for the appearance of Benedict having moved into a conservative direction – he stayed the same, slightly more moderate with age, the mainstream became ever more radical)

    Increasingly, I have the impression that any doctrinal differences whatsoever could be worked out with the Vatican, as there seems to be very little actual doctrinal content to be unconditionally defended. You can nowadays believe practically anything – you can have an “atheistic understanding of God”, as some Jesuit Theologians express it – as long as you don’t think your beliefs are objectively, really true. Vincent Nichols can believe homosexual acts are fine, and many priests and probably bishops follow his theory with their practice. You don’t need to believe in the Real Presence, you can invent your own Mass, you can practice intercommunion, you can refuse to baptize anyone (see Rorate Caeli for a shocking example of this) – you can do and believe nearly anything without consequences, remaining in “full communion”, as long as you don’t say, “this is the Truth”.

    As long as you are “tolerant” the Vatican loves you. But question subjectivism and you are accused of schism and possibly sedevacantism.

    Everything the Vatican says and does in this affair confirms what the FSSPX has always believed about the “postconcilar Church”. They don’t trust Rome. And, really, why should they?

  4. Williamson has been quoted by several sources as saying during the interview that caused the trouble, “There was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel…. Jews made up the Holocaust and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism.” “Bishop Williamson claims that there is a Jewish plot for world domination as outlined in the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”.

    I hope that he has been misquoted but these comments are being used by some of his supporters so it seems that he has not.

    • Steve,
      I remember myself an interview (video interview) where he has said this was not the case, and he says the victims were not more than 300,000. I am not surprised at all when someone says such things there will be an army of people ready to brand him as “holocaust denier”.

      Be it as it may, one can be an holocaust denier and a perfectly good catholic in my book. I will disagree with him on this historical matter, but this will never influence the opinion I have of him as a Catholic.

      Williamson is smart Catholic and an orthodox one (if you use the search function you’ll find a useful video of his lessons), but he certainly doesn’t do himself any favour with his cantankerous personality.


  5. I have just watched a Youtube video of Bishop Williamson being interviewed by a Swedish journalist. He appears to admit that he said what was quoted above but ‘many years ago in Canada’ he does not attempt to revise that statement. He goes on to state that not one Jew did die in a gas chamber but that, according to the evidence he has seen from ‘revisionist’ sources, perhaps 2 to 300,000 Jews died in the camps. He offers no opinion as to how they might have met their end, perhaps he believes that they were accident prone! If you consider this a mere matter of numbers, you really need to consider this matter again.

    • Steve, the matter of the gas chamber is nothing to do with denying the holocaust. It was the clear policy of the Holocaust to destroy the prisoners by way of hard work; this being the obviously pursued intent, whether they were, to put it very cynically, finished in the gas chamber or not is not the crux of the matter, and denying the gas chamber being used does not mean denying the Holocaust. For comparison, it is now accepted historical truth that in Dachau (an Arbeitslager, as opposed to Vernichtungslager) the ovens were never used (not even for their intended purpose: rubbish incinerators), but if one had said as much sixty years ago he would have been very near to be considered a revisionist.

      Either way, one can deny the Holocaust out of pure – and very probably, confused – historical arguments. This doesn’t make of him a nazi, or a supporter of the Holocaust. This we must always have in mind.

      Like a couple of other strange old people, Williamson seems to think the Jewish lobby has ridden the Holocaust train to an excess. I disagree, but if you read this blog you’ll see I am very much on the other side than Williamson. Either way, tell me where I have to sign to have him as my bishop, strange old man or no strange old man.


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