SSPX: What Might Have Been.
It is a mild day in September 2012. The SSPX has decided the post-Conciliar Church has now become trustworthy, and under the lead of the wise Pope Benedict XVI is going to progressively mend Her ways. Yes, they have been asked to “accept” Vatican II; but in the end, what is the risk of that? It is clear the worst excesses are behind us, and the situation will in time adjust itself by its own dynamic. They have also been asked not to publicly criticise those manifestations of Vatican II they consider questionable, but why would this be so important? If one is satisfied that a self-healing process is already at work, does it make sense to insist in accelerating this process at the price of a painful laceration within the Church? Is it not so, that the advantage of being able to gain influence from the inside vastly overweights the small disadvantage of not being able to openly criticise the mistakes of Vatican officials and other influential prelates? Furthermore, would this silence not be more then compensated by the rapid increase in followers and weight a regularised SSPX would now have?
The SSPX priests then decide that the price is worth paying: they accept the Preambolo dottrinale as modified by Pope Benedict at the last minute, and decide the price to pay is high, but the rewards for the Church will be much higher. A sizeable minority thinks this is madness, but the majority of the moderates carries the day.
Fast forward to April 2013. Benedict is not the Pope anymore; in his stead, an Argentinian obsessed with social issues Is now in charge. This man never picked a fight with the SSPX in Argentina and on many issues appears to be fairly orthodox; but liturgically speaking he is, compared to Benedict, like Donna Summer compared to Schubert. He is not new to Pinocchio Masses, and doesn’t even think he is bound by the Church’s liturgical rules, which he evidently considers stuffy and of archaeological rather than pastoral value. Around him, there is open talk of destruction, and an almost revolutionary ferment is clearly perceptible.
The SSPX priests think of the September decision, and reflect on what has become of their hopes.
The liturgical abuses are not behind them. On the contrary, they are now coming from the very top, with Muslims or women put in the place that is properly reserved for bishops, or priests, or at least laymen. Our friends cannot say anything, as this would be seen as grave insubordination; particularly so, because coming from those who were long seen as disobedient.
The wreckovation is now going on in full force, and the Society is silent. With the most prestigious and influential voice for Tradition falling away, they notice they have become accomplices of the upcoming devastation, then their silence now makes them accessories in the same sins they have been denouncing for decades.
But what about their influence? Did they have even one Cardinal in the Conclave? No, they hadn’t, and for good reason. Utterly isolated and seen as dangerous hotheads, the SSPX have no friends in the Vatican, and the Curial knives are out for them; the more sharpened, because the Society would now not be able to resist their slaughterers without losing her face and reputation.
Perhaps there are good news from the front? No, there aren’t. The reputation is gone, because there is no reason anymore to be a priest or supporter or donor of the Society. Those priests who have recognised their mistake, or had voted against the agreement but did not want to abandon ship, are now going in droves. Why should they remain, when the SSPX is not anymore what moved them to join in the first place? Then, they might as well have joined the FSSP, who will now, so much is clear, better face the wrath of the Vatican corridors.
The priests of the SSPX sit in front of the ruin of a once proudly Traditionalist organisation, reduced to self-castration, humiliation and perhaps annihilation. They have lost face, and they know it. If they were to re-rebel now, no one would give them any credibility: like virginity, credibility is lost only once, and once gone there’s no way to have it back.
It’s too late now. The ship has sailed for the wrong destination, and there’s no hope she will be able to make it to a safe heaven. The voyage begun with such high hopes and confidence in the future has now proved to be a safe recipe for shipwreck.
They realise only now that their hopes, and their delusion, was exactly the same of Vatican II.
Fittingly, The punishment also looks the same.