The SSPX And Pope Francis:What Now?

The new Pope’s old neighbours…

I am not one of those people happy to have problems come to them before they deal with it. I always want to know how to cross the bridge before coming to it. As a result, I cannot avoid thinking what will happen in the troubled relationship between the Vatican (make no mistake, they are the ones who are troubled) and the SSPX.

You only need to look at the then Cardinal Bergoglio’s “Pinocchio Mass” (provided it was a validly celebrated Mass, about which I have my doubts) to understand that an almost sidereal distance separates, at least as per yesterday afternoon, the Society from the new Pope. At the same time, the Pinocchio Mass very well explains why the SSPX will never renounce to speak out loud against such liturgical abominations, and could never be persuaded – much less threatened – to an arrangement which in the end would mean to abandon and betray the very mission of the Society. It can, therefore, be excluded the SSPX will “approve” or “renounce to disapprove” of such irreverent, impious antics.

A different matter altogether is, as I see it, the posture the Vatican will take towards the Society. As per today I think it might be one of the following:

1. Business as usual.

The Society remains in what the Vatican calls “imperfect communion”. No rapprochement, no open conflict, things remain as they are waiting for better times or, rather, better Popes.

2. Nuclear Conflict

In this scenario, the Pope will let the Society know that unless they like his Pinocchio Mass – or renounce to state they don’t – terrible things will happen to them, like for example 2000 years of Christian liturgical tradition being declared “schismatic”. Should such an unthinkable event take place, Pope Francis will take the place of honour near Pope Liberius amidst heretical Popes, the SSPX will happily ignore his diktat and carry on as usual, and their prestige as beacons of orthodox Catholicism will be immensely increased.

3. Guerrilla warfare

In this case, the Vatican would try to weaken the Society according to the Ratzinger/Mueller schema already observed in 1988 and 2012: stick and carrot, with no open war but insisted criticism of the Society’s position, perhaps a re-excommunication, and a prolonged attempt to divide them luring away some of their elements with the promise of a kind of “FSSP status”, perhaps with some privileges added. Predictably, this strategy wouldn’t work more now than it did in 1988 and 2012. Every SSPX priest is aware he could defect to the FSSP, if he so wished, anytime, so if they stay it is for well pondered reasons. Therefore, in this case I see another “business as usual” scenario, though rather more heated at times.


In all cases, I confess myself unable to see what damage the new Pope could do – if he wanted, which we don’t know and I don’t think  – to the Society. Besides having a liturgical credibility slightly below zero, the new Pope is certainly smart enough to understand every attack on the SSPX would be nothing else than further justification for the Society’s existence.

The SSPX exists for one reason only: because the Vatican is drunk with Neo-Modernism. The idea they should be wiped out if the Vatican becomes even more Neo-Modernist is totally unrealistic, completely illogical and fails to recognise the society’s very raison d’être, their way of thinking, their motivation, their loyalty to Christ.

I think it’s fair to say scenario 2 is improbable, and we will rather have a mixture of 1 and 3.

But even if it should be open war, I can’t see why the SSPX should be scared.


Posted on March 14, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. ” And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
    And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross. ”

    Exchange ‘Pope’ for ‘Bishop Fellay’ and one has exaclty what will happen. The Society will ednure, the Catholic Faith will endure. We will remain, faithful in our manors and houses and cottages, like the recusants before us, faithful to the Mass of Ages against New Theology, Modernism, Atheism. The sanctuary lamps will stay burning, Mundabor. We will not ‘win’ in terms of men, we will survive and pass on the Faith to your sons and if they come to mine, Tradidi quod et accepi, pass on the faith to our sons and daughters. We will outlast them.

    • I have no sons, Patrick ;), though I do hope when I kick the bucket I will be able to say that I have passed on the Faith…

      I am perfectly satisfied that the Church will endure, too. But how long this drunkenness will go on, I have now no way of saying.

      If the right Pope had been selected, we would now be here talking of the time, that we would be able to dimly see in our future, in which the Cardinals are all solidly on the right side, and things can only improve. But it remains to be seen which kind of cardinals Pope Francis will appoint, and what they will do when the time comes…

      Pope Benedict has a wonderful occasion to appoint sound Cardinals who would ensure the little of reform he has dared to put in place would continue to be developed from his successors; I must say he has failed in that, too…


  2. Quick question not directly related to this post. IMHO, Mundabor, Rorate and Ars Orandi are providing the best rational analysis of what’s going on. The media keeps talking about the critical priority of “cleaning up the Curia”. While the Curia may nhave many problems, didn’t most of the sexual abuse scandals, as well as other scandals (e.g., liturgical) occur in Dioceses? Since Francis appears to be positioning himself as an equal among peers, and in the spirit of collegiality, is this meme of “Pope Francis will clean up the Curia” just propaganda to distract from what’s going on at Bishops’ Diocese?

    • The Curia can be cleaned by good functionaries, if the Pope is intentioned in cleaning the Curia.

      A Pope isn’t a broom.

      I think Bergoglio was chosen because our old Politburo-Cardinals think they can get away with the “Che Guevara” Pope they can put on the t-shirts, and who will clean up the Vatican whilst NOT cleaning up the dioceses.

      We shall see.

      It seems to me I am living in the Seventies again…


  3. Please remember that this is the “Pinocchio Mass” Archbishop, now become pope.

    In Argentina, the SSPX has a huge presence. They have a seminary there, for heaven’s sake. Google searching for Latin masses in Argentina, one can find literally dozens of SSPX masses. The EF has less than a handful.

    Wouldn’t one think that, if the Archbishop and the bishops of other dioceses in Argentina had a strong concern about attracting the “disaffected” SSPX crowd in Argentina (which, judging by the number of masses and a seminary, is very strong), they would have actively attempted to foster the EF in every area that the SSPX has masses? Yet, zero, zip, nada, niente, rien.

    Yet, let’s have a “Pinocchio” mass, which to me is utterly beyond ridiculous, even bordering on sacrilegious. The Liturgy is not Sesame Street, for goodness sake. Can a liturgy be any more ridiculous? Don’t answer that question, because I did view the “rock” mass from Spain that you posted.

    My point is that the EF is the last thing on this man’s mind, and, given his decided lack of EF masses and lack of strong efforts to counteract the SSPX and bring back the SSPX attendees in his own country, it is unlikely he cares the least about a deal with Fellay. Perhaps he might offer a “take it or leave it” deal, but nothing more.

    Please also keep in mind that his only dealings with the SSPX were probably with Williamson, who was at the seminary in Argentina, and who is hardly indicative of the rest of the society. That might have been enough to give him more than a sour taste, as I am sure, knowing Williamson, he was not kind in his homilies regarding Bergoglio and other bishops in the country.

    Best wishes!

    • I think he will simply let Summorum Pontificum and teh ordinariate wither.
      The local Novus Ordo hiearchies, who have already ignored SP when benedict was there, will drive over it with the steamroller now.
      He won’t even need to do anything.

      The SSPX will be rather more difficult to let wither.. 😉


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