As it is now known, the CDF has recently (that is: when still badly led by Cardinal Müller) sent a letter to the SSPX in which the Vatican states exactly the same conditions for the reconciliation with the SSPX that caused the last attempt to fail. Besides secundary matters, the crux of the question was the acceptance of V II from the part of the SSPX, an acceptance on which the Vatican now officially still insists.
Predictably, the SSPX has refused, and this is the end of that.
One would be tempted to think that the Vatican had no intention to allow an unconditioned reconciliation with the SSPX in the first place, and Francis may well have had this intention from day one. However, it would be naive to think that the SSPX embarked in the new negotiations without a reasonable hope of success.
What I think gas happened is that a not irrelevant franction of Vatican functionaries and dignitaries has been pushing for an unconditioned reconciliation with the SSPX, prospecting to the Unholy Father its advantages in terms of “diversity acceptance” and with the possible further benefit of the now “reconciled” SSPX avoiding calling Francis “Modernist through and through”. Francis has either weighted his options during this time or, more probably, told his people that he was doing so in order to enjoy a more prudent SSPX for as long as practicable. This is a Jesuit, which in modern parlance is synonymous with “atheist, possibly homosexual, church-hating devious liar”. It is, therefore, more reasonable to assume that Francis was lying all the time rather than to charitably imagine that he really gave the thought of unconditioned reconciliation a honest chance and the benefit of a long reflection.
So: what changes now? I don't know because I don't know to what extent the upper caeli said of the SSPX believe – at this point naively, if you ask me – that some small door could still be open.
In my eyes, however, something very important should change.
1) The SSPX should stop focusing on a reconciliation that will clearly not happen during this pontificate at the very least, and start firing from all cannons at the heretical work of subversion we are witnessing every day.
2) In a less immediate perspective, the SSPX should wonder whether the times do not call for a more aggressive leadership than the one of Bishop Fellay. I am not doubting the personal integrity of the Bishop, but one who states that a reconciled SSPX would avoid criticising too loud or too harshly (I have written about it) is just too much on the soft side, and in my eyes not good enough for the present time.
There is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war.
I am not sure Bishop Fellay is the best man to lead it.
So, will Cardinal Müller, now that he has been very unceremoniously been kicked out, be “unleashed”?
Come on. Be realistic here.
Firstly, the man has shut up when he had the greatest duty to speak. Any criticism of AL now will expose him to the very justified accusation of being a weathervane.
Secondly, the man has already given an interview downplaying his disagreements with the Evil Clown. Not only is this in accordance with the previous point, but once again shows that under that red cassocks no reproduction organs are to be found.
Thirdly, Müller could appear as conservative only when compared to Francis. His theological credentials when he was chosen for the job were horrible (I have written many times about this). This is not a man who can serve as the spearhead of seriously intended orthodoxy. By the way, he was appointed by Benedict for being the editor of his own books, another confirmation that career by incompetence and personal proximity has not started with Francis.
No, what the man will do is what all V II ominicchi do: shut up, promise allegiance, tell the world what a wonderful papacy this is, and hope in some other satisfying appointment. This is the behaviour that brought us to this situation in the first place, and Müller never gave any indication of being part of the solution rather than of the problem.
However, I can guarantee you this: that if he now sneezes when asked about Francis there will be no lack of people claiming that the sneeze is a clear, obvious criticism of Francis.
We are in trouble because the clergy is cowardly, and the laity asleep.
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.
What is happening in the last days reminds one of Stalinism.
Cardinal Kasper accuses the five Cardinals behind the book about to be published to stage an “attack on the Pope”; which, in a Stalinist regime, is clearly unthinkable even the Pope is worthy of frontal attack every day of the week, festivities not excluded.
The five Cardinals, it is said in their defence, do not attack the Pope. They praise him. In a Stalinist environment, everything is said with reference to Stalin. In this case, Francis is praised specifically with reference of a couple of occasions when he did not feel like blathering, and therefore read the script, and therefore managed to say something Catholic. But it seems no word can be uttered nowadays without reference to what the man has said.
It's Stalin here, and Stalin there. Who has, then, the heart of Stalin?
It's Cardinal Kasper, of course. He says explicitly that he has spoken “twice” with The Most Astonishing Hypocrite In Church History and has “arranged everything with him”!
Can the five Cardinals say the same?
Can any of them say that their defence of the Most Holy Sacrament from mass desecration has been praised by TMAHICH as “profound and serene theology”?
No. They can't.
Cardinal Mueller has, it is reported somewhere (I forget the source; might well have been Rorate) even been rapped because of the book. No doubt the others have been too, but the fact wasn't “leaked”. This Francis is a phone maniac, and a first-class bully. I doubt he can resist the temptation to play Peron with a handful of Cardinals.
The game here is very clear. Francis sides with Kasper, but he tries to be seen as “neutral” as much as he can. He is, however, betrayed by the leaks continuously exposing him, and by his delirious wannabe off-the-cuff bull's excrement theology showing to everyone he is every bit as bad as Kasper, and very probably worse.
TMAHICH sides with Kasper against Catholicism. If the Cardinals defend Catholicism, well then obviously they are attacking him in so far as he attacks Catholicism. It stands to reason. There is no way around this, and it must be said out loud.
All the rest is Stalinism.
And it came to pass the SSPX announced – after leaks in a French blog – that there will be an informal meeting between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Müller in the Vatican.
I am, personally, unable to see that anything at all may come out of it. In my eyes, this is nothing more than an informal meeting asked by Müller because of the job he occupies; nothing more, nothing less.
It is not realistic to think a man who does not even get what “ever Virgin” means will seek a rapprochement to the Society; particularly after the harsh words he spoke in the past.
It is also not realistic to think that Müller may try to intimidate the SSPX into submission with the threat of declaring them “schismatics”, or “Martians”, or “Blue Elephants”, or the like. Fellay would eat him for breakfast, and no sound Catholics will believe the SSPX are Blue Elephants, Martians, or Schismatics, whatever rubbish Müller may, in hypothesis, declare.
The positions are, as we all know, even more distant now that a clown is running the show in the Vatican. Mistrust runs deep on both side. The SSPX has no interest whatever in showing itself an accomplice of the clown, and they have already branded him in strong enough terms.
Nor have we had signs of a devilish offensive of the Unholy Father against them. Francis is weak with the strong, and does not look for conflicts. He never picked a fight with the SSPX in Buenos Aires, it's not clear to me why he would want to pick it now. He would be ridiculed and exposed as utterly and completely incompetent. He would have nothing to gain as the leftist, socialist, dissenting side is already supporting him. There is no upside.
Therefore, I think that nothing will happen.
Tea and scones, rather; “touching base”; a friendly meeting between opposing sides like countless of them happen in diplomatic circles.
In order for anything in this matter to change we need for the Pope, the CDF and the entire Vatican attitude to change.
The SSPX will, for sure, not change in the least.
I have read around some rather astonishing comments, that might confuse if not solid Catholics at least doubting ones, and certainly Protestants who are perhaps thinking of conversion. The argument goes along the lines of “if the CDF, which are the guardians of the Faith, are proved to be in error, why should we believe in the inerrancy of a Church who can't even prevent their very own watchdogs from getting it wrong?”.
This statement shows a dangerous confusion between the Truth and the organisation meant to protect it. The Truth comes from God, and the Church is run by men. The Church is Indefectible as an organisation, but Her organs are certainly not infallible in their actions; not even those who pertains to fundamental questions of truth and lie, orthodoxy or heresy.
St Joan of Arc was sent to die at the stake. Athanasius was even excommunicated. The Templars were disposed of with charges of heresy. There are, in the history of the Church, countless examples of wrong judgment or compliance to political pressures. The Church is not run by angels, and the actions of the men who run Her are liable to make pretty much all mistakes caused by their human nature, from ignorance to corruption to weakness to outright evil intent, with as only protection the very special one given to one man, the Pope, and in very exceptional circumstances only.
The CDF is not infallible. How could it be, it the men running it aren't the Pope and do not speak ex cathedra?
To idolise the Church to the rather, on reflection, extreme point that Her infallibility is extended to everything she does in matter of doctrine is to take Truth away from God, and to trust it in the hands of a bunch of men of more or less undeveloped moral integrity, doctrinal wisdom and, perhaps, intelligence. This thinking denies the very meaning of eternal Truth as it deifies the opinions of men. It just does not square with Catholic thinking.
The Church has given us a deposit of faith, accessible to pretty much everyone according to his lights, and such that if this person is honest with himself and, if necessary, seeks the counsel of wise priests or scours the Internet with sincere intent, he is pretty sure not to fall into grievous error.
Countless generations of simple, perhaps even illiterate Catholics could smell a doctrinal rat from rather far away, as they compared what they heard from, say, a strange preacher with the simple but coherent truths learnt from their parents and grandparents, heard in countless homilies and sermons, and integral part of the very culture in which they were immersed. They might not have been able to formulate why the rat was there; but the smell they could, as a rule, sniff rather fast. During the French Revolution, or in Italy in those same years, it was among illiterate peasants that you could find the staunchest defenders of the Faith.
Nowadays, admittedly, there aren't many priests around making instructive homilies and building people in the faith. But the nature of Truth is still such that no progressive priest can spread only half of it without devout and thinking Catholics realising the other half is unmitigated rubbish. The Internet gives access to a wonderful, endless list of orthodox priests and lay bloggers, whose truth will immediately resonate with the reader because it is not their individual truth, but the same Truth of our grand-grandmothers. The Internet and the now spread literacy will also give cheap access to a virtually unlimited quantity of Catholic treasures of the past, such that in former ages such a knowledge would have been accessible only to the most educated and, if laymen, to those from rather wealthy families.
We have, therefore, less good priests than our forefathers had, but more instruments at our disposal to discern with reasonable security whether, say, the CDF is making a mistake or not. We are also, as good Catholics, aware that worldly pressure and political thinking may corrupt every organisation made by humans, and that – particularly in these disgraceful times – this can very easily be the case for the CDF. We do not entrusts these mere humans with something that is simply not within their remit. Particularly if we know who their earthly boss is.
The CDF have made many mistakes, and many more will they make. But we do not start the Creed saying “I believe in the CDF, the Watchdog Almighty”. Truth rests with God. He gives us ways to avoid serious errors, and demands from us that we, according to our lights, instruct ourselves so that these errors will have it very difficult to enter our minds. He sends us people, situations, circumstances, and various graces allowing us to see when Truth is being betrayed.
We do not need to get excited and start to doubt because, say, a head of the CDF expresses himself in favour of communion for adulterers – which the next one will probably do – or subtly doubts the physical Resurrection of our Lord and the physical Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady – which the present one already does -. We know Truth is Truth. We measure those in charge of the CDF according to their adherence to Truth, not the other way round.
Fidelity to the Deposit of Faith is the first and foremost. Our Catholicism literally hinges on it. All the rest, from the Pope to the CDF, from Cardinals to Catechisms, is seen and judged – yes, judged – according to how smoothly it revolves around the hinge.
This is how our forefathers thoughts, and this is how we do it now.
St Paul wouldn't have moved one inch if an angel had come down from heaven and had started to proclaim some novel idea; it is not clear to me why a modern Catholic should plunge in a major crisis because of Cardinal Müller, or any of his successors.
We truly must start to think of these things – to think in terms of hinge – more often, because we will be forced to recur to this thinking more and more frequently in future.
Let us strenghtem our faith and our allegiance to the immortal Truths of the Church now, because we may have need for them before long.