SSPX-Vatican: The Worst Might Be Avoided

I still can’t imagine he would have refused the 2012 deal: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.



On Rorate Caeli, another excellent blog post about the difficult (well, no; not really…) decision the SSPX must take in the next weeks, and which might lead to a dangerous, expensive, and rather damaging split.

I leave it to you to follow the article in its many interesting points. I limit myself to comment on a couple of points:

1. The split itself: the author of the article points out disagreement doesn’t mean disobedience, and in the end one or more of the bishops may well decide that much as they disagree, they will obey. The example made is Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. The evidently well-informed author states ” These last few days, even after the reception of his superior, he has called the faithful to unity in several different places”. This is extremely good news, though if the disagreement was not so serious as to cause a split I can’t avoid considering the words in the response letter rather on the harsh side.

2. The author also points out to “the predators coming from Sedevacantist mini-chapels that have, as their main sign of charity, the fact that they hate one another”. One could make the obvious observation that perhaps more attention should have been paid to these communities before accepting them as part of the Society, but I assume such distinctions are not always as easy to make beforehand as they appear after a division has occurred.  Up to a certain extent, such influences and questionable strains – possibly kept under the radar screen when absolutely necessary – are unavoidable in an organisation like the SSPX. My take on this is that rather than hoping in an illusory unanimity in favour of the reconciliation, the latter should be seen as a welcome opportunity to force the enemies of the Church – because if we look at things rationally, this is what they are – to come out in the open and admit their hostility to Rome qua Rome. The reconciliation will unavoidably lead to disagreements, and the disagreements will happily lead to a cleansing.

On a separate note, I notice up to now and apart from the leaked letter the three bishops have not issue any public statement against the agreement, let alone an open threat of splitting the Society into two. Whilst it might be said that they will do it the moment the reconciliation is announced, I wonder whether it is possible to reach in a forceful manner the more the hundreds of priests and seminarians without stating publicly what the consequences of a reconciliation would be. I might be too sanguine here – I rather often am, thank God – but in my eyes if the three were determined to go on with the split in case of reconciliation, than it would make sense to openly and publicly threat with the former in order to try to prevent the latter. 

We will see how this evolves, but we are approaching one month from the SSPX letter to the three bishops and such a split has not been publicly announced.

I invite to continued prayers that this situation might come to a positive end soon.


Posted on May 13, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else but my understanding is that any agreement would have to be put to an extraordinary General Chapter. Apparently this was agreed at the previous General Chapter and minuted. This would mean that any anything the Pope offers will be voted on at an EGC and as a result any agreement signed would be the result of a consensus. I think this preferable for the long term strength of the Society.

    • I think it probable something like that will happen, and if I remember correctly in September it was told this is what would happen.

      Again, the idea Fellay has just lost his marbles or has decided to sell off doesn’t seem very credible to me.


  2. Mundabor,
    slightly off topic:
    Reading Tornielli on Rorate, I’m growing more and more confused. Bishop Fellay is running around assuring everybody that the FSSPX will have full freedom. But if Tornielli is right, they will have to sign something like LG25* which would pretty much force the FSSPX into silence as they will have to “submit” and even “assent” to non-infallible teachings and judgments of the Pope and bishops. In other words, if the Pope fallibly “judges” Assisi to be a good thing, the FSSPX will have to “assent” to this “judgment”? If he “speaks”, as he sometimes does, in a subjectivist “manner”, the FSSPX will have to “sincerely adhere to” subjectivism? If, say, Nichols, Schönborn or Zollitsch speak about faith or morals, for example about homosexuality, they “speak in the name of Christ” and the SSPX has to “adhere to it with a religious assent”? But how can you adhere or assent to error, known to be error, even if said error does not rise to the level of heresy, but is just plain wrong?

    If true, the other three Bishops appear to have a real point… Even if another interpretation of LG 25 is possible, leaving open some undefined small amount of timid criticism, they could never continue to freely act and criticise the Council or the Pope, Assisi, ecumenism etc. as they are doing now. I have to hope that either Tornielli is wrong (best case), or Bishop Fellay takes the fastest way out of Rome and returns when the Curia gets serious about Catholicism. But if something like the text of LG 25 has to be signed by the FSSPX in order to return to “full communion”, a perfect instrument for their enemies in the Curia will have been created in order to hammer the Fraternity into submission.

    *Quotes directly from LG 25.

    • Catocon,

      in my eyes, Fellay would never be so stupid as to “commit suicide” in such a manner, nor has the Pontiff ever expected him to do so.

      The entire matter relies on there being NO TRAPS in the Vatican’s proposal. I believe Fellay when he says there aren’t, and I believe him when he says fine tuning is still necessary to provide for a solution that give sguarantees of working.

      The CDF (people like Schoenborn, imagine that…) will probably try to make the agreement more difficult, but in the end who cares? It is the Pope’s decision and the Pope’s responsibility. If he chooses to back pedal on the reconciliation because Schoenborn persuades him the SSPX would continue to be critical of V II (which they would; no doubt about that) than the responsibility for the failure would be his much more than the CDF’s.


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