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Appeasement, Fights, And The Unwritten Rules: The FSSP And Traditionis Custodes

The new, environmentally friendly containers for NO Mass (red), ecumenism (green) and inter religious dialogue (yellow).

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (or at least some of his members) have shown very clearly that they like the thinking in the Italian Army.

As I have written here also in the past, the Italian Army has a so-called, not written anywhere, used ironically, but still very real “unofficial first rule”. The rule goes: gli ordini sbagliati non si eseguono, or “wrong orders are not carried out”.

It appears that this is exactly what happened in Kansas City, where the FSSP (or some of their members) showed very clearly and very publicly what they think of the motu proprio mockingly called Traditionis Custodes.

When I read the news of the new consecrations according to the Old Rite, the first thing I thought was “I hope their assets are well protected”. In fact, I cannot imagine that The Frankie will allow this obvious display of Catholicism to “go unpunished”. Therefore, the order – if, that is, the entire order is compact in its defence of the Kansas City consecrations – better be prepared for any of the countermoves coming from Rome, from the seizing of assets to the sudden deposition of the current leadership to a far more innocuous “visitation” to save Francis’ face until he dies (please, God: “soon, soon!”)

My second thought was, instead, “time is a gentleman”. In fact, if the Fraternity decides to resist an unjust order of the Pope, they will be in exactly the same position in which the SSPX was in the Seventies. I must say, I find it ironic, and quite funny within the very sad framework of the events; as if Jesus was telling us that there is no alternative to obedience to Jesus, and compromises in this will never be long-lived.

I will await the next months before I formulate a judgment as to the reaction of the FSSP to Traditionis Custodes, as I don’t remember any statement of the order making clear that Christ comes before Clowns. Still, it seems to me that something is moving, and the order might be put in front of the choice of either be split in two, or face the Evil Clown as one.

But the irony is evident here. Appeasement does not work with any bully.

At some point, there will have to be a fight.



Funny, but truthful, observation from a former LCWR president, who is upset at the fact that Archbishop Sartain, the man with the task of trying to make of them something vaguely resembling Christians, is going to attend to their next meeting in Florida; whereby attending the event here means “following all of it”.

Now, I cannot imagine an orthodox Catholic group having any problem with an Archbishop attending the one or other of their meetings or conferences. It would, methinks, be a good way to show to the hypothetical Archbishop some sound orthodoxy. Just think how much said Archbishop would probably learn from, say, FSSP priests. A win-win, really.

The matter is different, though, when a group of people not even recognisable as Christian – much less Catholic – are informed said archbishop is going to be there during the entire exercise. Clearly, the nuns are afraid the Archbishop could profit from the occasion to tell someone in Rome – not Bishop Francis; “who is he to judge?” – the dykes nuns really do not want to learn and will have to be disciplined a bit more hardly than by flaying them with feathers as happened up to now.

In fact, it’s fair to say the very fact the females dare to openly protest the presence of the Archbishop is the best evidence that the latter is achieving something very closely resembling absolutely nothing.

I also allow myself to notice that the tortoise pace of the Vatican in reforming the viragos of the LCWR is in rather marked contrast to the speed with which real or imagined squabbles inside the FFI have been tackled.

You would have thought the good priests of the FFI would have been also allowed their, say, 40 years of “encouragements” and “suggestions” before getting a Visitation? Alas…

All very strange, in nowadays’ Church.

I can see the day when a Pope will come back from a trip and deposit a… beach ball on the altar. No, seriously. I can.

Ridiculous, you say? Utterly absurd?


I do not think the viragos have anything to fear. Another ten of fifteen years of “encouragements” at the worst; at the end of which most of them will have far serious trouble than Archbishop Sartain anyway. I wouldn’t worry if I were – uurghh!) one of them.

“Lio” seems pretty much in fashion.


The Hermeneutic Of Blindness

Found wanting: Second Vatican Council

Read on the usual Rorate the report concerning a talk held by Father Berg, FSSP superior. Father Berg tries, like the FSSP as a whole, to square the circle, and unavoidably fails to persuade.

The main messages Father Berg sends are in my eyes two: a) the Council radicalised the conservatives as well as it did the progressive, and b) none of the two opposing sides tried to follow the “difficult” path of the much-abused “hermeneutic of continuity”.

As to the first point, we do not have the script, but I would be curious to know whether Father Berg brought some evidence of the supposed “radicalisation”. Unless and until Father provides evidence, I think it much fairer to say the Conservatives haven’t radicalised themselves in the least, but have simply kept the position the Church always had. It is a contradiction in term to accuse he who hasn’t changed of having radicalised himself simply because other people have done exactly the same.

As to the second point, Father puts himself in an argumentative cul-de-sac with his very words: if Vatican II had been the fruit of orthodox thinking, the “hermeneutic of continuity” wouldn’t have been difficult at all; but the Council was exactly that: revolutionary and disruptive, hence the mess that followed it.

The Council must, says Father, be interpreted in a spirit of continuity with the past. Of course it must; every Church document must be read in this way, and it would be utterly Un-Catholic to even attempt anything else. But exactly here lies the problem. When examined with a hermeneutic of continuity in mind, the Council documents appear gravely wanting: muddled, duplicitous, wrong, or outright stupid.

There is no way you can reconcile white with black and keep it white. There is no way you can, say, reconcile religious liberty as seen before and after Vatican II and say it is the same. It just isn’t. Therefore, one must read the Conciliar documents in a hermeneutic of continuity and conclude they are seriously flawed documents.

I am all in favour of a hermeneutic of continuity. Again, I do not think any other approach is possible. But exactly for his reason I think all documents produced by that disgraceful exercise in marketing and populism must be put in the attic and substituted for newly written documents addressing the relevant issues without ambiguities, and able to stand the test of being read with a hermeneutic of continuity and found not wanting.

Odd, isn’t it, that by the encyclicals and other documents from pre-V II Popes problems of “hermeneutic” were never a big issue? Perhaps because they were clearly written, and orthodox, in the first place?

Vatican II was the fruit of the flawed (nay: heretical) ideology that took possession of it pretty much from the start of the official works. Its documents are nothing but the unavoidable consequence of this original flaw. Consequently, they must be discarded and their place taken by new documents, which are written in sound orthodox language and transmit sound orthodox Catholic values rather than trying to please everyone, but particularly the wrong crowd.

It’s exactly their reading in an Hermeneutic of continuity that demands it.


SSPX, FSSP And The Fears Of The Post-Reconciliation.

Aaaarrrgghhh! Fundamentalists!!

I am not a friend of the “SSPX will be eaten alive after the reconciliation”-argument. I am not, because it seems to me that what one might call “corporate identity” of the SSPX – based not only on strictest Catholicism, but on the conviction that this should prevail against sabotages made from bishops or Popes – is strong enough to resist any attempt at, so to speak, domestication by the V II crowd.

Still, episodes like the one reported here help us to better understand where the skeptics within the SSPX come from. A French Bishop travels to Germany to celebrate the ordination of six deacons of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (the “reconciled” traditionalists, mind) and the local press shoots at him like it’s grouse shooting season.  You see here the usual vocabulary: “some” in the diocese are “hurt” (how sensitive these manipulative bitches, including males, are will never cease to amaze me) because the Fraternity is “perceived” as a bunch of  “fundamentalists”. Translated: dear bishop, please do not do anything which I might “perceive” to be in some way (I do not hate to explain) “wrong” because I would be “hurt”, and please let me decide who is a “fundamentalist” because I am oh so good. Classic.

Still, I can easily imagine what the skeptical elements among the SSPX will think in reading such news: if a bishop can be criticised because the Fraternity – which has been in good standing every day of its existence – is seen as a group of “fundamentalist”, what will happen to the SSPX, a group which will continue to be far more vocal than the FSSP even after the reconciliation?

One can understand reasonable persons may disagree on this. Still, my take is that:

a) those who have resisted being called “schismatics” for so many years will certainly not care much if someone is “hurt” by whatever they do;

b) Once the SSPX is reconciled, there will be a number of bishop ready to travel to visit them, fully uncaring of the “hurt” of the easily hurt violets.

c) It is not that anyone expected this to be a walk: polemics and accusations were to be expected anyway.

d) Once the SSPX is reconciled, the traditionalist argument will receive much more weight; it will, so to speak, be able to punch much harder. The shrinking violets know this, and their attempt to silence every sympathy for the traditionalist cause is a clear indication they know the punches are coming.

Bishop Castet has been brave. Many others will follow him. I do not see any reason to be worried, provided one is conscious the reconciliation will not be the end of the controversies, merely the start of new ones.


The Thing With The Guts

Around the Catholic blogosphere there is a lot of writing about orthodoxy, and rightly so. Orthodoxy being at the very core of Catholicism, it is perfectly fitting that it should receive the first place in the discussion.

Still, I seem to notice that not every orthodoxy is born equal; that, so to speak, this beautiful quality may be found in a shiny, resplendent way, or in a more opaque one.

In my eyes there are, broadly speaking, two types of orthodox Catholics: the silent and the vocal one.

The first one does everything right; if he is a priest, he can be very conservative in his priesthood, and liturgically unexceptionable; if he is a layman, he is a credit to his religion, and at all times aware of the example he wants to be for others. He is, in a word, perfectly sound, but that’s that.

Then there is the second type, the vocal one. If he is a priest, he is one of those priest who can’t shut up, or one of those bishops who end up in the viewfinder of the IRS; if he is a layman, he is the one likely to take fire every time heresy and negation of Christianity is discussed among his circle of friends or acquaintances.

I do not make any observation here as to the personal quality of the two archetypal “orthodox catholics”; for what I know, it can be those of the first kind are, on average, better able to live a Catholic life than the representatives of the second kind. But the fact remains, the second ones probably do more to advance sound Catholicism among the masses.

I am, for example, rather impressed by the difference in public behaviour between the Society of St. Pius X and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. I do not doubt the members of the second order are perfectly orthodox Catholics, strictly obedient to the Magisterium and intent on advancing the cause of Catholicism through spotless orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Still, I notice it is rare that priests of this order are in the line of fire when something really controversial happens (like the Assisi gathering, say) and whatever the position of the one or the other of their members might be, their collective profile is far more subdued than the one of the SSPX.

The latter are, as religious orders go, a completely different animal. They do not limit themselves to talking the talk, or to walking the walk. They go beyond these very laudable traits, in that they fight the fight. You see this not only in matters concerning internal disagreements with the Vatican (disagreements on which it is to assume the members of the FSSP must often be of exactly the same mind as their cousins at the SSPX; they just don’t say so), but matters of faith and morals in general. As every blog writer, I roam the internet seeking proper events and news which might make a blog post an interesting and possibly instructive reading, and I must say the presence of the SSPX whenever controversial matters are discussed is far more noticeable than the always unexceptionable, but rather less incisive FSSP. I cannot avoid thinking those members who left the SSPX to join the newly created FSSP knew from the beginning this would be the case, and were happy to proceed on this basis.

I do not think much will change after the Vatican-SSPX reconciliation. I expect the SSPX will proceed to some small adjustment in volume, but without any change in the tone. If you ask me, they will continue pretty much the same battle they have fought up to now, limiting themselves to only those small adaptations dictated by elementary common sense and proper behaviour.

They will do this also because they will be subject to intense scrutiny from their own members, of course. But in the end, I think they will continue to do it simply because they have guts, and see their role in fighting the fight.


FSSP: Two Sung Tridentine Masses Every Sunday in Brussels and Namur.

This press release from the FSSP informs about the start of the FSSP activities in Brussels. This event is important not only for his symbolic meaning (Brussels is one of the hotspots of the liberal disease that has been ailing the Church for so long and is only now gradually being eradicated), but because it clearly shows what a difference a good bishop makes.

The FSSP will celebrate the Tridentine Mass both in Brussels (beautiful church, judging from the photo) and where they are already based, Namur. In both places, sung Mass every Sunday (9am in Brussels, 11:15 in Namur). Further low masses in both places, Monday-Thursday in Namur, Friday-Saturday in Brussels (unless I am mistaken, but I think I take the gist).

Together, Brussels and Namur (around 44 miles distant) will offer to a vast urban population – and to all those who can drive and afford the fuel – not one but two beautifully made weekly Tridentine celebrations.

This is what happens when the (new) Bishop is sincerely concerned about the spiritual welfare of those wishing to attend in the Extraordinary Form. The contrast with his more than questionable predecessor, Daneels, could not be more striking.

Better days ahead.


Bishop Fellay’s reaction to Bishop Williamson and the future of the NO

The current mood within the SSPX

Gun powder smell at the SSPX after the controversial newsletter of Bishop Williamson reported here

The Remnant has an exclusive interview with Bishop Fellay, interesting under several profiles. First of all, Bishop Fellay denies having knowledge of a motu proprio as described by Williamson. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t one in the offing of course and Bishop Williamson’s sources could simply be better informed; still, one doesn’t find it very probable that Bishop Fellay would be kept in the dark whilst he is leading the talks with the Vatican. Bishop Fellay’s dismissal of the rumour as “gossip” shows that he is pretty confident that he is not out of the loop.

Secondly, Bishop Fellay issues a clear advice to Bishop Williamson to, well, mind his own business and not intervene in such a way in matters not concerning him in his duties as SSPX Bishop. Of course Williamson would say that it is his own business, but you get the drift.

Thirdly, Bishop Fellay says that the talks are going “smoothly and according to plan”. One would like to know a bit more about that, though understandably we are not allowed to get further details on the matter. On the other hand, this obviously diplomatic statement would have been issued even if the negotiations were not going absolutely anywhere, so take it with a pinch if salt….

From the Remnant article further interesting elements emerge; I will mention them only briefly.

1) The SSPX needs a new seminary. Vocations continue to be massive, money is clearly not a pressing problem.

2) The SSPX is talking to various Church authorities in the US to sound the possibility of acquiring one of their own unused structures or land (say: a now-closed seminary, or some land they own). It would appear that in the past the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) has encountered refusals to sell property to them because of their “ideological” stance, and besides being in full communion the FSSP are certainly “moderate” compared to the SSPX. I suppose that for many Bishops if you are in favour of the Tridentine Mass you are anathema anyway.

3) Dulcis in fundo: Bishop Fellay confirmed that when Summorum Pontificum was issued, an unnamed “high-ranking prelate” gave the Novus Ordo not more than another 20-25 years. Whilst one doesn’t know how high the prelate ranks, it is highly indicative that he said so to Fellay, clearly sending the message that as soon as the ’68ers have gone the Novus Ordo will follow them rather fast. As we all know that lex orandi, lex credendi the idea that Vatican II ideology may survive after the Novus Ordo has gone is rather naive.

Better days ahead.


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