Category Archives: FSSPX
You will remember my corruptio optimi pessima blog post of only some days ago. The main issues there were the following:
- A bishop coming from outside and appointed from the Pope among a terna chosen by the SSPX
- The possibility of this bishop to have sweeping powers concerning, inter alia, new admissions, with a huge danger of infiltration of V II elements.
- The ability of this bishop, which could be reasonably inferred from his extensive powers, to dispose of the assets as he sees fit, with the imaginable consequences.
I had expressed, on that occasion, my hope that this turned out not to be so. Fortunately, it did turn out not to be so.
Louie Verrecchio writes the following on his blog (emphasis mine):
Just to make certain, I reached out to the District House of SSPX here in the U.S. for clarification and was informed that my understanding is correct; i.e., the terna – should it come to this – will not include anyone from outside of the Society.
Point 1. of the above is therefore out-of-the-way. There would be no infiltration even indirectly piloted from the Vatican. The breeze you’re noticing now is my sigh of relief.
But what about points 2 and 3?
Here too, the excellent Mr Verrecchio comes to the rescue.
I was cautioned to keep in mind that the proposed prelature, from the standpoint of the Society, is entirely contingent upon Rome accepting certain non-negotiable conditions; e.g., no doctrinal compromises will be made by the SSPX, and the Society must be entirely free to continue preaching and practicing as it always has.
Note the reference to “practicing”. If we read it together with the above we come back to what I touched upon in another post of mine,
It appears the problem of who controls what, and what the powers of the Vatican after a possible “reconciliation” will be, has been recognised by the SSPX and is being dealt with accordingly: we do not trust you and we want to have total autonomy just as before, is the message. I read this yesterday, and it truly made my day.
In consideration of all this, I think it is fair to give a (provisional) all-clear. There will be other occasions to be worried, but sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Two (or four) words of conclusion. Why, some would ask, has your humble correspondent shot with the Great Bertha at the first sign of danger?
For the following reasons:
- The words in themselves were alarming. The fact that it turned out that the words were actually wrong does not mean the alarm was not justified. The very words were there.
- This was compounded by other very alarming statements of the bishop: “[Francis] wants the good of tradition, he wants tradition to […] spread in the Church”. Really? This can be dismissed as some form of not very clever diplomacy now, but it could not be dismissed so easily then. It frankly had the smell of betrayal.
- The SSPX is the greatest bastion of Catholic orthodoxy remained. It is the beacon that will – God willing – lead a perverted Vatican back to the path of virtue. And Satan is obviously working against it. Allow me to take every signal that the smoke of Satan might be entering it extremely seriously, and to sound the alarm as loud as I can.
- This blog has always believed reality must be seen as it is, instead of fabricating a parallel world to accommodate our illusions. If I see that the SSPX might be giving up, how many times I have said they will never do so it’s irrelevant. If I smell betrayal, I will tell you so. It does not matter how dear the SSPX is to me or to you. Truth first.
Well, this is it then. You can sleep at night again.
The details Bishop Fellay let transpire about the possible new agreement seem, for what we know, a trap only an idiot or a sellout could try to smuggle as anything approaching a satisfactory solution.
Go to Rorate Caeli and listen to the video.
The potential agreement in short:
– A bishop is appointed. This bishop will be picked by the Evil Clown among a terna chosen by the SSPX. As I understand it, we are not talking of existing SSPX bishops, but of people from outside, with the chosen ones becoming members of the SSPX before being made bishops.
– This bishop would then have sweeping, life-threatening powers. He could let in anyone he wants, thus rapidly infiltrating the Order. He could, very possibly, sell or donate or transfer assets. He could, in a way, let the Society live or die, remain orthodox or become FeancisChurch, at his pleasure.
– As the bishop is, so to speak, an “adopted son”, this guarantees his orthodoxy. Therefore, there is nothing to fear irrespective of how vast his power will be.
This. Is. Not. Acceptable.
First of all, a preliminary consideration, and one who requires some strong words. Francis is a slimy, godless rapscallion. No one with a brain trusts a slimy, godless rapscallion. Anyone who tells you – Fellay not excluded – that an agreement must be accepted which is depending in any measure on trusting a slimy, godless rapscallion is trying to sell you out.
Any agreement, any agreement at all, can only work if FrancisChurch has no power and no influence whatsoever on the Society. If you say it's unrealistic, I say “who cares”. No doctor has prescribed this medicine. The SSPX will keep thriving without any agreement and without any reconciliation.
Reconciliation can wait. Truth must never be abandoned.
The agreement is fundamentally flawed because of the Trojan Horse it introduces within the Society: a man factually from outside, on whom the destiny of the Order depends. A man who can, alone, make or destroy the Society. The SSPX is too valuable to all of us for a risk like that. This risk would be unacceptable even if the bishop were Padre Pio, because you don't know what would happen after him. This would also be unacceptable because the destiny of the order cannot be put in the hands of one man. Even the saintliest man can be duped by evil Vatican schemers. As it is now, the way the SSPX trains and recruits his priests avoids this risk. Also, there are various safeguards meant to prevent a sellout (see below). But when people start coming from outside, invited by one who came from outside, without further checks and balances, all bets are off.
This solution, as it has been outlined, is not acceptable. It is the work of the devil. If Bishop Fellay dares to present something like that – and there are so further safeguards about the assets, the new admissions, the running of the seminaries, etc. – he has lost face, showed himself as a traitor and sellout, and must be made to go. I am saying here that if the proposal is the one outlined not only the measure should be rejected, but bishop Fellay should be made to renounce his position.
Huge caveat: this presupposes that there are no further guarantees and safeguards than the ones in the video. However, if there are, bishop Fellay should have talked at length about it – again: way of admission of new members; who controls the assets; how decisions are taken, etc. – instead of telling us that rubbish about the good pope Francis who wants the good of Traditionalism.
This little blog has always been extremely appreciative of both Fellay and the society. But not for one moment will I hesitate to attack this man with all the energy with which I attack the Evil Clown himself, if he is truly preparing to sell out in the manner described above.
Every agreement must keep the SSPX utterly and completely immune from every germ coming from the Vatican. If Francis wants this in order to bolster his “diversity” credential, it's his choice. But no Fellay will let us believe that we must trust – let me say this again, because there is an awful lot at stake here – a slimy rapscallion like Francis.
The stakes are immense. The FSSP and the other traditional orders – nay: every Summorum Pontificum mass – exist merely because the SSPX is out there. Once the SSPX has been infiltrated and destroyed or made unrecognisable, all other congregations and simple TLM masses would fall like dominos. Too much is at stake for any idiot – much less a smart guy like Fellay – to bet the farm of Christ on Francis' utterly ridiculous supposed good faith.
We were informed years ago that the members of the SSPX will have to approve with absolute majority any agreement. This is, therefore, not in the hands of Fellay and a few others.
It is now time to sound the alarm on the blogosphere, in newspapers, on Internet fora, in every Catholic outlet. Please contact any SSPX member you know and express your concerns. Please make the ordinary SSPX members know that this is – if no further safeguards are there – an extremely dangerous situation, in no way corresponding to the bishop's very naive – or disingenuous – words.
There should never be any agreement that allow the Vatican any measure of influence or control of the Society. Not until the Vatican keeps resembling a homosexual brothel. Until the situation improves, the only acceptable “reconciliation” is the one by which the SSPX continues exactly as it is now, with no possibility whatsoever of infiltration, and Pope Francis may in return brag about how “diverse” he is. You don't open yourself to even the risk of infiltration, is all.
Pray for the society, that they may not be devoured by the wolves.
And remember the saying: corruptio optimi pessima.
The news that a Personal Prelature in Opus Dei style would have been offered, and the Vatican's demand that the V II documents be considered intrinsically “dogmatic”, or in any way binding, to all Catholics in all their aspects now set aside, clearly show that the controversy – at least the official one – is not about doctrine anymore.
Here is a big Vatican spider, inviting the fly to take place in the inclusive, very merciful net prepared for it, and perhaps expecting the fly to make itself at home in the net in the name of, I don't know, “unity” or “reconciliation”, or however you want to call the fly's assured destruction.
Not going to happen, says the SSPX. We are going to talk to the spider, and all; we are going to even hover near the spider if the spider has this desire. But we are not going to fly in any net, thank you very much.
This is, put in rather blunt terms, the reason why the SSPX is now apparently working on the “clarification” of some points. Points which – you can bet your last shirt on it – pivot around who controls the order and its assets, and in which way.
As they (almost) say, reconciliation is nothing without control. No amount of pretended “autonomy” is worth anything, if this autonomy can be taken away at a moment's notice. No “guarantees” are worth anything, if the Pope retains the factual ability to renege on them. No terms of reconciliation can be accepted, which leave the SSPX in any way, shape or form unable to protect itself from, well, the spider.
The SSPX must keep control of its own hierarchy and of its own assets. It must keep self-regulation independently from a Pope's ukase. Most importantly, it must keep control of its assets in a way unassailable by the Vatican hierarchy.
If these conditions are met, of course the SSPX will obey the Pope. They already do, actually. They are already subject to the Pope in everything that does not undermine Catholicism or their own proper function. Therefore, if the SSPX would become “institutionally” subject to the Pope without losing control of their assets and chain of command, it would be impossible for Francis or any of his successors to subvert the organisation by, say, deposing their leaders, changing their statutes, and taking control of their assets.
Most people forget that the SSPX was, in fact, recognised and in perfect standing for several years, and became “rebellious” only when they were ordered to close their (at that time, only) seminary and – having control of their assets – plainly refused. This episode is far more enlightening than the more famous episode of “disobedience” with the appointment of the bishops, because it shows that if you have control over your chain of command and assets you have nothing to fear from the spider: you can walk away, intact, anytime.
This has happened once, and can happen again. Let the SSPX be formally subject to the Pope, and let them have the factual and legal ability to disobey if the Pope gives wrong orders; for example rescinding their organisational autonomy, ordering them to hand assets to the Vatican, deposing their leaders and so on.
Vatican saves face. SSPX saves autonomy and safety from the spider's net. Everyone is happy.
Or at least, they should be.
I have recently stated that I do not believe in the “peace” between SSPX and the Vatican. However, as I have – on rare occasions… – been known to be wrong in the past, I would like to play some scenario as to what the SSPX will insist in having for any “peace” to be signed.
In my eyes, the SSPX should insist (and I do believe they will obtain) all of what would be, if things were in my hands, my three (let’s say two and a half) necessary conditions:
- Maintain the property of the shop. I mean, by that, the direct legal ownership of everything: the deeds of the seminaries, the churches and other property; the sole ownership of the bank accounts, the investment accounts, etc. Keep everything in your hand, dear SSPX priests, and do not allow the Vatican’s paws to get anywhere near them. You can’t trust V II Popes. Not now, not in ten years, not in one hundred.
- Maintain autonomy from the local bishops. The reason the SSPX exists is to provide an oasis of sane Catholicism in the middle of V II insanity. The idea that the insane should tell the sane where to be active, or could move them from here to there, or could hamper them in one thousand little ways isn’t really appealing, and runs counter to all the SSPX represents.
- (This is, actually, the corollary of two) Maintain the ability to expand at pleasure, in locations of their own choosing, as long as they pay themselves for the relevant expenses (church and ancillary structures, and trust fund for the upkeep of the churches and the priests). “My money, my church, my expansion plans”. Obviously, a formal approval of the Pope might be necessary, but no more than that. This is, again, the other face of 2: if the SSPX takes her mission seriously, she will be interested not only in avoiding retaliation, suffocation and persecution in the dioceses in which they are already active, but they will also be concerned about expanding their activity in places where they aren’t. If you ask me, the one can’t go without the other. To admit any other solution would be to admit the possibility of either a “freeze” of their vigorous expansion activity, or to limit this to those conservative dioceses that have, in fact, the least need for a SSPX presence.
This is, I think, where you tell me: “But Mundabor: if they need papal approval for every new chapel, they will be put in the freezer instantly!”.
Not really. As long as they keep their money and their churches, no dirty tricks will be allowed to either Francis or his (hopefully, better) successors. Please remember that the SSPX was, in fact, fully in communion with Rome for several years before the laceration that happened in the Seventies. They weren’t fooled then, they wouldn’t be fooled now. As long as the Pope plays by the rules they keep – how shall I call it – wonderfully obedient. If the Pope tries to pull some trick, they do exactly what Archbishop Lefebvre did: refuse to obey to wrong orders and, in general, keep doing their Catholic things on their own, as they have done so successfully in the last decades. The owners of their churches, and the owners of their seminaries, they would go on with their work without the Vatican being able to do more than launching those attacks so wonderfully useless in the past.
The key is, I think, who owns what: firstly, because it would be fairly expensive to rebuild hundred of chapels and some big seminaries; secondly, because it is very questionable whether the necessary money would be given to people so dumb to lose everything the first time in the first place; thirdly – and obviously – because direct ownership and ability to get one’s own way is the best, if unspoken, deterrent from the playing of dirty tricks from the Vatican side.
The canonical way how this is done is, provided the result is achieved, irrelevant. Call it Personal Prelature. Call it Ordinariate. Make of it a hybrid of the two. Make something entirely new. It does not matter. The possibilities of a bespoke solution are vast anyway because in the same way as the first Prelature was a new solution, so this one could be another new, never seen before arrangement, of whatever canonical flavour the two parties may choose.
The problem isn’t how the legal frame is called. The real key is whether Francis can put his socialist hands on the vast patrimony of the SSPX and rob them, oppress them, or both.
I trust the good men at the SSPX are acutely aware of all this. But I wanted to have a go at it anyway, just in case…
Cardinal Mueller – extremely silent concerning Amoris Laetitia, but extremely chatty concerning the SSPX – has given an interview stating that no, the SSPX will not be allowed to “reconcile” without offering to the gods of Vatican II.
My forecast? That's it, folks.
Mind, I do not think this development bad. Whilst I do not think that the SSPX should refuse a “reconciliation” that is simply given to them – and that requires neither doctrinal concessions nor the endangerment of their autonomy – I am also not eagerly awaiting, either. To every sound Catholic the SSPX must surely appear more Catholic than the Vatican, and therefore in no need of any reconciliation. It it falls on their lap, so much the better. If it doesn't, amen to that, too.
However, the Yogurt Offensive means that Francis would have to go, if he really wants the reconciliation, against his theologian in chief. Now, Francis is certainly ready to walk all over his Cardinal when he wants to be blasphemous and heretical. I very much doubt he will even eat a bit of yogurt in order to promote a Catholic organisation which, whilst certainly feared, represents all that he hates.
Far more probable is that Francis had another “soon, soon!” moment, sending signals he would do something he had never intention to deliver, but trying to look good in the process.
How are these people called? Oh yes…
Enjoy the SSPX's wonderful moral and doctrinal integrity. Thank the Lord everyday for this precious gift. Do not be worried whether this “recognition” comes or not.
We do not get our doctrinal teaching from yogurt cans, but from the bimillenarian teachings of Holy Mother Church.
Bishop Fellay has given a sermon on occasion of the opening of a new church (V II nincompoop bishops are all busy in managing decline; meanwhile, the SSPX thrives).
The sermon is interesting for several reasons, and I might write more than one blog post on it. Here, let us reflect on this phrase:
[…] even a pope is now saying unbelievable things on morality and trying to tell us that sin is the state of grace – what we are hearing today is unbelievable, unheard of! [..]
The Bishop is here making the point that we must not give up on the Church and plunge into that pit of self-righteous arrogance called Sedevacantism. But the way he makes his point is telling: he chooses to level an extremely strong criticism at Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia even as Francis is clearly trying to have them if not as friends, at least as silent adversaries.
Not going to happen. The SSPX will keep the course, and whatever the Vatican wants to unilaterally concede to them (or better said: whatever truths the Vatican decides to finally live with) it will not move the SSPX to become silent in their criticism of all that is wrong.
Also note that Francis’ antics are taken as the epitome of what is wrong with the Church. The Bishop could have used a different example. He could have recalled the corruption of past ages. He could have generically criticised V II. But no: he chose to point his finger exactly in the direction of Pope Francis.
Admittedly, this isn’t as beautiful as the image of the Pope making a hole on the bottom of the Barque, and I think the latter will stick when this sermon is long forgotten. But it goes to show that the SSPX will not be mollified by any cajolery coming from the Vatican.
Francis fears the Society. They do not fear him. It’s as simple as that.
With great surprise I read around that some bloggers are afraid that the SSPX may deliver themselves to their executioner in order to… Well I don't even know: to be allowed by Francis to listen to confessions, which they do anyway and ever did anyway?
Do not be afraid and sleep soundly. I know we live in times of widespread betrayal and mass flight of supposed faithful pastors, but it is utterly unrealistic to think that this would apply to the SSPX, too.
Let us see why.
1. These are people ready to be excommunicated the day of their consecration. Everyone of them. They don't look to me like the ones eager to get the approval of a lewd heretic. They look to me, actually, like pretty tough guys.
2. Fellay told some years ago (when there was the provisional agreement with Ecclesia Dei, reneged by Benedict at the eleventh hour) that any deal with the Vatican would have to be approved by the majority of the SSPX priests. Therefore, even if you do not trust Fellay (very wrongly, I add) you can sleep soundly.
3. The SSPX has enough financial support to finance a massive growth, and their seminaries attract enough candidates to fuel this growth. The Society goes on like clockwork. If they were in dire financial straits one might understand a degree of fear; but they are in rude health both spiritually and financially.
4. Every SSPX priest has certainly been told, and has present at all times, the duplicitous attempts to neutralised them perpetrated by JP II and Benedict. That they would trust, of all people, Francis is simply beyond belief. Within the SSPX there is a culture of deep mistrust in the Vatican hierarchy. You can't undo such a situation so easily if you are a saintly Pope who is a friend of truth and tradition, much less if you are a dirty old man with a satanical attraction for Judas' character.
5. The treatment or the FFI must have opened the eyes even of those, say, three Pollyannas within the SSPX ready to trust Francis. But three seems a big number to me.
6. Two words: Amoris Laetitia.
No. The SSPX simply delivering themselves to a V II pope's mercy is just not going to happen.
What can happen, however, is that the Vatican surrenders unconditionally to their requests, creating a situation of de facto “pacific convivence”. We are pretty much there, in fact, when you think that Francis has just decided – as largely expected – to extend sine die the faculties of the SSPX to listen to confessions. This certainly authorises to think that the SSPX will keep doing their thing and the Vatican will simply look the other way, with nothing more than a mild meow of disagreement for their refusal of V II.
Stay calm and trust the Society.
They aren't the guys to be conned by a simpleton like Francis, or by any V II pope come to that.
It is difficult not to be impress by the numbers, or pleased at what they mean.
It is not only that the Traditionalist plant is strong. It is, more tellingly, that these young seminarians know that they are choosing to be priests in a much different environment that it was thinkable only one decade ago. To them, persecution is more than a vague possibility. It is, if things continue to go on this way, a factual certainty.
And yet, God inspires them to give their lives to Him, uncaring of consequences, and very probably the more motivated because of them.
The good tree gives good fruits. What is Francis' tree producing besides a fluffy new world religion, environ-mentalism, socialist kindergarten talk and illegal Muslim immigration?
As the corrupted mainstream V II withers and dies, the remnant grows strong and ready to give battle.
In your charity, consider saying your rosary of today for these brave souls.
You really should (I mean, I cannot force you to; but I encourage you to see this as a must) head to father Z and read the beautiful exchange he had with a SSPX priest about not only the Mass, but the V II Sacraments in general.
(Now I will patiently wait a couple of minutes until you have read all of it…)
I allow myself to notice the following:
- The SSPX speaks, very boldly, for the entire Society. And says, very boldly, that strange “attending the new Mass is a sin” talk is not the SSPX line, and would have caused a frightful shampoo even in the “old bad days”, when certain elements were still around.
Yours truly remarks that this has always been his position, too, and the way he has always understood the SSPX’s position; and that the occasional unfortunate, or very unfortunate, remarks coming from some corners of the SSPX must be read cum grano salis, and put in the context of an organisation that feels, not without reason, under siege by those who should defend the common faith. Besides, there is no denying until some years ago there were elements within the SSPX that were pushing a Rome=evil agenda, which is also not the SSPX position and sounds very Protestant to me. Whilst there is a lot of evil in Rome, it’s not Satan’s HQ, nor will it ever be.
2. The Novus Ordo mass is certainly valid, and it is certainly not a sin to attend it; but the entire “Spirit of V II” that goes with it – and which influences both the way the Mass is celebrated, and the way the priest steers his congregation – is such that it puts souls in danger, as (this is mine), they get exposed to a Kindergarten Mass together with Worse Than Kindergarten Theology, and the results are in front of all of us. Yours truly feels, in a word, vindicated from the accusation of “not caring enough for truth” raining on him every time he says to his readers that whilst it is much preferable to attend a TLM if they can, the NO Mass is certainly valid and they are not exempted from mass obligation merely because the priest is an idiot of dubious virility.
3. The SSPX recognises all of the other Sacraments, too. This means – shocking! – that they even recognise absolutions given by Jesuits!
All of the above must, as always, be read with a brain. It does not mean that the SSPX recognises the validity of a NO mass in which such abuses take place, that it is legitimate to doubt that the mass is valid. But your garden variety NO Mass is valid.
You will, however, notice this: that a conservative V II priest and a SSPX priest are, undoubtedly, both united on the same side; and whilst they might differ on a couple of issues, they recognise this reality in the same way as they recognise the distance separating both of them from heterodox or utterly heretical priests, bishops and cardinals.
The NO is not invalid, nor is it evil. But when the Church goes back to sanity, the NO will most certainly go.
Most of my readers are certainly familiar with the concept of supplied jurisdiction, so I will waste time on this. I would like, however, to make some considerations for the “legalist” crowd.
So, you think the SSPX has no supplied jurisdiction, and any confession or marriage celebrated by them is not valid. Why would you, then, go to confession by them after the 8 December and for around one year afterwards? Why would you go to confession to people you consider abusing their priestly role by doing things they are explicitly not allowed to do, and even deceiving the sheep about the validity of their confession or their marriage?
Apart from very rare, rather extreme examples, in which I believe the SSPX priest has jurisdiction even for the Vatican (say: man about to die, no Novus Ordo priest around for the Last Rites) the answer can only be one: because they are so beautifully, authentically Catholic.
Which, truly, answers the question about the supplied jurisdiction once and for all. These are perfectly Catholic priests doing nothing else than perfect (ahem, almost perfect if you ask me) Catholic work. There can be no doubt on their being 100% orthodox. There can be no doubt on their obedience to ecclesiastical authority whenever this does not contravene to a higher loyalty, the one to God. There can be no doubt the metre with which the SSPX measures this higher loyalty is nothing else that Catholic tradition in its purest form, as opposed to the orgy of Neomodernism (or worse) en vogue in Rome.
How can you, therefore, say that these disobedient people are your example of Catholicism, which is, in the end, obedience to the Lord? Are they being obedient to the Lord? Then they most certainly have supplied jurisdiction. Are they not obedient to the Lord? Then you should not approach them during the Year of False Mercy.
Ecclesia Supplet. When a Catholic is not allowed by his bishop or his Pope to do the Catholic thing, he does it nevertheless, with many greetings to the Pope or bishop. Athanasius did it, Eusebius did it, and Marcel also did it. I am pretty sure many others simple priests found themselves in similar situations and did the right thing, particularly during the Arian troubles, because I can't imagine that there weren't many priests ready to say exactly this: Ecclesia supplet. If you are a truly Catholic priests, and your bishop tells you that you must recite a different Creed at Mass – because some of the pewsitters might be offended by the old one – you know exactly what directions you will give to him, and that's that.
The SSPX have supplied jurisdiction, or they haven't. If they have, you certainly don't need Francis to tell you what they can or cannot do. If they cannot they are at least disobedient and probably gravely sinful people, and then you should avoid them anyway.
Athanasius was excommunicated. He continued his job, uncaring. More than that – and something I seldom read about – he and St. Eusebius started appointing bishops of their own, again ignoring the Pope. The bishops they appointed – and I read about that seldom, too – were not bishop without territorial jurisdiction, like the SSPX one. They were bishops in charge of a diocese all right. Nor can it be said that in that world of difficult communications the Pope might not have had control of certain territories. Firstly, it is poppycock (communications in the Roman Empire were, like all the rest, stunningly efficient), secondly it is neither here nor there, because the fact remains that Athanasius and Eusebius clearly appointed those bishops without caring a bit of what the Pope thought about it. He could approve them if he wanted to. If he did not like them, though luck.
To make a modern comparison, it is as if the SSPX appointed the new archbishop of Chicago without either asking or caring for what Francis says, and the Catholic faithful of Chicago accepted this appointment as a matter of course, fully uncaring of Francis’ more or less sensible thought on the matter.
Let us, then, now pose the “Athanasius question”: did those Bishops have jurisdiction? Could they hear confession, administer the Last Rites, marry their sheep? And could the priests appointed by them do the same?
If yes, why? If not, why not?
It is very tricky, the Athanasius question. There is no doubt whatever Athanasius was a Lefebvre on steroids. There is also no doubt there was no precedent for the situation in which Athanasius found himself, whilst the SSPX has the shining example and illuminating precedent of… Athanasius. We know as a fact that Athanasius refused to obey to the point of incurring excommunication, did not recant after receiving it, appointed bishops of his own, and really did not care what Patheos would have said.
Therefore, if you follow modern mainstream V II conservatism Athanasius and his brave men had no jurisdiction, those sacraments were not valid, etc. If, however, we accept the principle that when those at the top behave like heretics the tough Catholics begin to play then we must apply the same reasoning to the 100%, 2k years-certified SSPX.
There is no doubt in my mind that the second applies. Every now and then, the Church loses her mind from the very top. It is then the task of a handful of very tough Catholics to simply keep doing what they have always done, safe in the certainty of their orthodoxy because… they do what Catholics have always done. There is no better guarantee of orthodoxy, and no better litmus test of Catholicism.
Athanasius did not know when sanity would come back. Nor did he ever care. He kept doing the Catholic thing and if the entire world derides him, so be it. Athanasius knew he might have to die in the middle of rampant, apparently triumphant heresy. He did not care for that, either.
Truth is truth. How many people refuse to follow the truth is ultimately irrelevant. If the Pope sabotages the truth, then he will be punished more harshly unless he repents, but sabotage it still is.
Truth is truth. It does not depend of from the rank of those who spread lies.
So: Athanasius disobeyed to the Pope. What say you? Athanasius appointed bishops, and bishops with territorial competence, fully ignoring the Pope. Schism? Athanasius decided to disobey and to die, if needs be, excommunicated for being (far) more Catholic than the Pope. What is the difference with Archbishop Lefebvre?
Why, why all those semi-conservative legalists apply all their clerical rigidity to Archbishop Lefebvre, and forget all of it when they speak of Athanasius? Was Athanasius schismatic in the moment, and Catholic only after victory? Or was he, as logic commands, 100% Catholic all the time?
The Athanasius question cannot be easily avoided. It stares at us straight in the face every time we compare Athanasius’ “disobedience” to Lefebvre’s. It has no other answer than this: no heresy can be acceptable because it’s promoted or protected or encouraged from the very Pope, and those who defend orthodoxy are right even when the pope excommunicates them.
In times of great turmoil, God sends us great men.
Thank God for Athanasius, and for Archbishop Lefebvre.
So, should we attend a SSPX Mass? Most people (even conservative ones) say “no”. Other people say “of course”. I personally say “by all means, but paying attention it does not lead you culpably go down the wrong path”.
The short, but already meaningful history of this little effort shows than not a few are the cases of people who start attending a TLM – which can easily be in a SSPX chapel – and after a while throw away the child with the bath water and become either Sedevacantists or so venomous against the Church that one does not understand what their understanding of Catholicism is.
I cannot – in the same way as Bishop Schneider – detect any area in which the SSPX are not Catholic. It is, therefore, a mystery to me how this previously unknown concept of “imperfect communion” may work. The SSPX are as Catholic as they come, and infinitely more Catholic than the Pope – as every good Catholic is, by the way – and they merely refuse obedience to the pope on matters in which a sound Catholic has always been entitled to refuse obedience. You can’t be half pregnant, and you can’t be in imperfect communion. Most of all, you can’t be something that never existed before, and the fruit of a verbal gymnastics invented after V II to describe someone who does not want to give in to Neo-Modernism (or outright Modernism) when the hierarchy in Rome does just that.
By all means, go to a SSPX mass if you can. Only pay attention, if you want my advice, that this does not create in you a siege mentality, according to which only a little moat separates the SSPX from the Whore of Babylon.
I find it a useful experience to also attend at NO Mass. It teaches me obedience. It tells me that the Church is my mother even when she nourishes me badly, and at times seems to hate me. It helps me to avoid the moat thinking, and the siege obsession. It reminds me that horrible as her state may be, this organisation that celebrates these NO Masses all over the world is, in fact, the Only Church; and I prefer to bring this kind of sacrifice as a penance rather than run the risk of slowly persuading myself I am too good for the Mass the Church gives me.
By all means, attend Mass at an SSPX Chapel. But do not think that there are too churches, of which the Vatican is the wrong one. There is only one Church, and he who does not see that the SSPX is 100% part of it probably cannot be helped anymore.
And it came to pass Bishop Schneider gave a wonderful interview to the Spanish version of Rorate Caeli, stating that the SSPX are not in any schism whatsoever, praising their orthodoxy and wishing that they were brought again (I use Vatican terminology here) in “full communion”. Your humble correspondent reported.
After which, Michael Voris embarrassed himself once again with a series of “improvements” of the Bishop's thoughts. The manipulations and misrepresentations were painful to behold. Your humble correspondent ignored them, and so should you. Spend your time on Rorate, not on Voris' outlet.
Now Bishop Schneider has addressed Michael Voris with a very dry clarification on Voris' misrepresentation of his interview. There are no open criticisms and no emotional tones in the Bishop's answers, but as they say, intelligenti pauca.
Now, if Voris were one of the many wannabe “c”atholic incompetent hacks who go around writing rubbish about Catholicism (or about me) I would, life being too short for hacks, simply ignore the whole thing. But the problem here is that Voris is – and there is no doubt about this in my mind – a good and sincere Catholic soul who has been led on the wrong path, if you ask me, on three issues: the matter of criticism of the Pope, the position of the SSPX, and the shameful attacks to great Catholic writers – and true Catholic men – like Vennari, Ferrara, Matt, and Verrecchio. A great shame, because the man has heart and talent, and he is wasting his credibility away.
I understand Voris has his set opinions on a couple of matters, as I have mine. Reasonable people will also be able to disagree in matters that have no sure answer in the history of the Church. The situation of the SSPX (sidelined for being pure Catholics as the Vatican smears itself with Protestant thinking) and of the actual papacy (too atrocious for words, and absolutely unprecedented in 2,000 years of Church history) are two rather obvious points in case. But when Voris looks at the matter coolly, he will see that he has misrepresented a bishop in a way that moved this bishop to correct him in a very decided way. All this, because his emotional investment in the jihad against the SSPX has now gone out of control, and the man just can't think straight whenever the issue is touched.
I wish Voris would stop embarrassing himself, and free himself from the influence of horrible priests and misleading, if very probably good intentioned, donors. If an interview of a bishop goes against his grain he can, in my eyes, do one of the two: openly criticise the bishop, or simply ignore the matter. He does the first all the time with the other bishops, and he does the second all the time with the pope. Therefore, it should not have been too difficult.
A great pity. We have a very sincere Catholic soul here, misled by people he should do without.
It astonishes me how, time and again, people read imminent good news in “business as usual” announcements.
Bishop Fellay (may the Lord protect him always) has given an interview, and he has stated within it a lot of things we knew already:
-The SSPX is healthy and strong. She is, I add myself, very rich. Long may it last.
– Many within the Vatican truly like the Society (hint: that's because they are honest-to-God Catholics), and Bishop Schneider and Cardinal Brandmueller are only the most recent examples. Many others do not, because they are of the devil or very, very stupid.
– The followers of Williamson have proved a limited group of nutcases; it is good to have lost them.
-We are “on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define”. What this means is everyone's guess. I think it means “we might have to call for the deposition of this pope in October, and we have many bishops and cardinals on our side already”. But the truth is: I do not know. To interpret this statement as the announcement of a reconciliation would be, in my eyes, reckless, because that event we could define extremely well.
Summa summarum: there's nothing explosive, or even new, in the Bishop's interview. Whilst repetita iuvant, we knew all already. The sibylline statement at the end could be a veiled threat to Francis to very much pay attention to what he does or not, as the case may be. We don't know.
What I personally know is that I am so glad that the Society exists.