Bishop Williamson Spreads Some Rumours.

In one of his eleison editorials, (it's number 355; no independent link) Bishop Williamson states that the Vatican is thinking of doing what, in fact, Benedict should have done in 2012: recognise the full legitimacy of the Society without any condition or demand.

The statement seems absurd, and it probably is. One simply struggles to see why the Bishop of Rome would do something like that, and at the same time persecute the FFI. Yes, Francis might try to spin this as a move toward “inclusiveness”, particularly if he plans something very scandalous on the other side of orthodoxy, like paving the way for sacrilegious communion. A way to, so to speak, try to make everyone happy and show he is the Saint Protector of Absolutely Everyone: Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Heretics, Sodomites, even Catholics.

One could think he might make such a move, but let us reflect: is this the way he has operated up to now?

No. What he has done up to now has been consistently belittling, insulting or persecuting decent Catholics whilst he panders to the emotional needs of all kind of wrong people, who in turn build his personality cult. Why would he change direction now? Has there been a scandal too big for him, short of officially overturning Church teaching? Does he think if he gives the SSPX a “certificate of conformity” they will stop their rather ferocious, if always respectful, criticism of him? Has he been persecuting the FFI for, basically, no reason at all? Is he not afraid that this might backfire mightily, destroying the image of liberal icon he has been building for himself?

No, I cannot see this working. Rather, it seems to me that the Bishop is receiving third-hand rumours from sympathisers within the SSPX, and that he tries to make the argument of how little orthodox the SSPX must be, if Francis is even thinking of receiving them into his ample, inclusive, Catholicism-free bosom.

Don't believe the rumours.

Believe the facts.



Posted on May 6, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, FSSPX, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. It is invraisemblable, as the French would say…

  2. I heard a rumour myself, that Pope Benedict XVI wanted to do precisely that. But he was impeded. Essentially, the paper the society was given was not the one Benedict wanted them to get.

    • I heard a rumour myself ( 😉 ) that Benedict wanted to do just that and had even given the SSPX a draft of the agreement, but he caved at the eleventh hour to the pressure of the Tambourines.
      Search this blog, and you shall find.


  3. He might do so in order to be able to persecute them like the FFI, in some years time

    • I can, I think, safely exclude that the SSPX would allow him to do so. No concession would clearly also mean complete freedom in their seminaries, in their chapel, in whatever they do, just like now.

      The SSPX freedom from the Franciscan tentacles is a great blessing. The SSPX would never give it away.


  4. I am also skeptical. From one perspective it does make sense, however. Perhaps the Holy Father is serious in his dislike of finance capitalism. Perhaps all this prattle about the poor and about the evils of capitalism is not mere prattle. Right now the loyal opposition he has, the conservaCatholics, are really pro-laissez faire crypto-Protestants. Maybe he wants the official opposition to be as suspicious of Lloyd Blankfein as he is?

    • But what is the upside?
      What would he legitimise in front of all Catholicism those who can ridicule him day in and day out?

    • The upside would be to de-legitimize and humiliate the conservatives. In the US, at least, a unilateral regularization of the SSPX, complete with granting jurisdiction to SSPX priests, would be a heavy blow to the current Catholic right. How would they stop people from migrating over to the Society? There are many people, I think, kept from the Society by its irregular status.

      Why would he want to delegitimize and humiliate the conservatives? Recall that the way Evangelii Gaudium was received on the respectable Catholic right was via condemnations of the Pope’s alleged ignorance on economic matters. Maybe the paragraph they went berserk over was HH’s favorite paragraph. Maybe that paragraph is something he wants as a theme of his papacy?

      Now, I’ll admit that there are some glibertarian Thomas Woods types amongst traditionalists. But, by and large, traddies are much more comfortable with Rerum Novarum and its progeny than are the conservatives. Perhaps he wants to send the message “If you want to be on the loyal opposition, do it like Fellay, not like Pell.” Or, maybe he just hates the Catholic right so much that anything which sows chaos there makes him happy. Or maybe the fact that Burke and other conservatives dare to correct him in public has made him very angry. He can wave away Fellay’s criticisms by saying that he criticizes every Pope.

      I don’t find this explanation all that convincing myself, and I believe the rumors are false. OTOH, if we allow ourselves to believe that HH cares about one thing other than himself, perhaps it would be his opposition to finance capitalism.

    • I can’t imagine he would have staunch allies in the SSPX in his Chavez-like enthusiasm.


  5. It all sounds a bit unlikely to me….but just suppose it were true….wouldn’t it be a good thing?

  6. greatpretender51

    Sorry, Bp. WIlliamson is making a fool of himself (again) and trying to attract more attention to his “resistance.”

  7. “Will you walk into my parlor said the spider to the fly.” It doesn’t do to underestimate the shrewdness and sophistication of the Vatican. It will reel in Bishop Fellay and the organization he heads under the guise of a “no-strings” recognition, and the SSPX will go the way of all nine of the other regularized societies.

    Is the SSPX of today a real tiger or a paper tiger? One test is to compare the volume and directness of broadsides against Francis launched by the essential Mundabor to those launched by the SSPX. This reader must come to Mundabor to know what Francis is up to.

    Please sign me Monica.

    • The SSPX is a religious organisation. As such, it can be not only expected, but demanded that they express themselves in a way different from, say, Mundabor.

      This here is a layman’s blog, and it can be expected – if probably not demanded – from an emotional Southerner that he expresses himself in a very robust way. But one cannot run a religious order – or simply wear the habit – without realising that this brings the obligation of some special regard to the man who is, besides being the head of the Church, their own ultimate boss on earth.


  8. Bishop Williamson has this paranoid obsession that Fellay is hell-bent on selling out the society to ‘modernist Rome’. He has been going on about it for ages. Whoever he has heard this rumour from, he wants to believe it, it confirms his paranoia.

  9. felicitasperpetua

    Very unlikely. First of all, Francis wouldn’t have the guts to do anything that would remotely upset his worldly friends. Second, even if the SSPX hierarchs were willing to strike an agreement with the current pope, most of the rank and file would not touch it with a ten foot pole.
    However, the paranoia is not without reason. The Vatican has always intended to “reconcile” with the SSPX in order to contain it and neutralize it. The Society is the nagging Catholic conscience in the Church, spoiling the party for the neo-modernists and Roman protestants. It would be unrealistic to expect anything but trouble from a “regularization” in our lifetime. Remember the Transalpine Redemptorists and the IBP? Haven’t heard from them in years. They’ve been effectively neutered, de-clawed and muzzled.

    • If it were as Williamson says, there would be no need for the SSPX to accept anything.

      If I say to you “you are perfectly fine”, your approval of my statement does not change anything in my statement.

      For the Redemptorist it is different. They have knocked and have been admitted, obviously on the condition of being muzzled. if the SSPX had wanted something like that, they’d have done it already.

      Summa summarum, I think there’s nothing in it, and Williamson is simply pushing the “they are going to sell themselves” agenda.


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