SSPX’s Roads Leading To Rome
Read on the Eponymous Flower about the new real estate purchases of the SSPX in the Esquilino hill (this is one of the seven hills, a very central and prestigious location, though yours truly prefers the Aventino by far). As always, I read these news for signs of “ceased alarm” (it’s not that I am really worried; it’s that we live in times when even organisation endowed with Sovereignty poop their pants at the first sign of FrancisAnger). The translated article has two messages for me, one good and one bad.
The good one is that the SSPX is buying the real estate. This is clear sign of, cough, independence from a rich and self-assured order. Instead of asking the Vatican “could you allow me to rent, for a very low price, some nice structure?” the approach seem to be “hhmmm, the agreement is approaching. We’ll need a pad in Rome with all the accoutrements. Let’s go shopping!”
The less good one is that Matzuzzi seems to consider it a given that there will be a cost in the form of “painful losses” among his “faithful and priests”, and I wonder what this means.
Firstly, is this a generic expression of things that might happen, or direct knowledge of things that will happen? Of course some isolated Williamson-style hardliner will walk, but does this qualify as “painful”?
Secondly, last time I looked the situation was that any agreement would have to be approved by the General Chapter of the SSPX. Not only this is an extremely strong guarantee that the order will not be sold, as you can’t this is also a strong indication that the agreement will be approved by a vast majority of the priests, it being inconceivable that a cabal of, say, 21 or 22 people decides to split the SSPX into two on this. Rather, the 40 voters will only support the agreement if they are aware of vast support among the ranks and files. I even seem to remember Bishop Fellay promised a direct vote on this, but I might be wrong.
A last point that I think should mention: whether the SSPX is incardinated in the Vatican hierarchy as a Personal Prelature or Apostolic Administration is not as important as the actual legal situation the SSPX will find itself in. It would appear a Personal Prelature would give the SSPX complete freedom from the authority of the bishops, but this is a moot point as every Personal Prelature could be shaped as the Vatican sees fit.
The important thing is to keep the control of a) the hierarchy and b) the assets. This way, in case of bullying the SSPX could walk away from the paws of the Pope en bloc, intact, and with the coffers full.