The Apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera was released today, and it did not contain the huge bomb of the regularisation of the SSPX. However, it still contained a controlled explosion: the Vatican recognises the sacramental validity of SSPX confessions beyond the Year of false Mercy and, this time sine die.
This is not huge, but it’s big. It seems clear to me that such a decision is clear indicator of a situation like the one I have tried to describe yesterday: the SSPX and the Vatican already have an agreement in the pocket and what is happening now is the preparation of the ground, the “framing” of the reconciliation in a big “Project Mercy” to be used by Francis as an alibi to pursue his heretical agenda.
If this were not the case, it would be difficult to understand why Francis would not take this carrot (admitting for a moment the SSPX cares for it) away from the SSPX and send a message on the lines of: “I have given you something, but now it’s your turn to make a step towards me”. On the contrary, today’s announcement makes sense only if it is the prelude to bigger things to come.
What has not happened is what I had considered, yesterday, also a possibility: that Francis is so scared of the dubia-Cardinals that he needs to push the button of the reconciliation now. This is clearly not the case. However, one can say that in this perspective it makes even more sense to wait for such an announcement around the time the cardinals do accuse him of heresy.
I think this development is 100% positive, at least from what we can see at the moment. The SSPX does not give an inch, but they get a lot of credit and credibility even among the V II movers and shakers, who will now have a great deal of difficulty in explaining to their V II-ing sheep what is, exactly, so wrong with an organisation by which everyone can go for Mass, Communion and Confession without even the Vatican having to say a word. If this is not a formal recognition, it is certainly an informal one, as the SSPX is now meant to have these faculties in permanence as opposed to a special concession limited in time.
I am, personally, not interested in Francis recognising the SSPX, exactly as I am not interested in Francis beatifying Pius XII. I could not care less about what Francis says whether I can confess, make communion or (in hypothesis) marry in a SSPX chapel. But again, he is the Pope, and if the Pope says that you are right you don’t go to him and say that he is wrong in saying that you are right. You might as well say that two and two is five because Francis happens to say that it is four.
Let Francis concede to the SSPX all that he thinks useful to promote his agenda, and let faithful Catholics (starting from the same SSPX) oppose his obvious Modernism with the same energy with which they have done it up to now (I remind my readers that the only bishops openly accusing the Pope of being a Modernist through and through are, to date, the SSPX ones).
Francis’ little Spiel is obvious enough, nor can it be avoided.
But it does not mean that we should not make the most of it.
As the last hours of awaiting begin, I would like to make some short considerations for my concerned readers (who might be many).
Firstly, the SSPX exists just in order to offer an alternative to the horrid developments of V II. The refusal of Archbishop Lefebvre to close his first seminary, which he was ordered to do in 1975, was obviously meant to have consequences. Archbishop Lefebvre knew it, and did it nevertheless. Not for one day in the history of the SSPX being in “full communion” has been more important than, or even equally important as, existing.
Secondly, the idea that the SSPX would, on demand, simply walk toward the executioner, safe in the knowledge that at least (and at last) they will die in “full communion” is absurd. If it were so, it would have been the dumbest thing for several V II Popes not to have “recognised” them.
“Please come here, I want to slit your throat”.
“Certainly, Holy Father. How can I say ‘no’?”
Thirdly, the SSPX does not exist primarily for you. It exists primarily for Christ. I cannot imagine that the majority of the SSPX priests (who, as we have been told, must approve the deal) will just say: “hhmmm, this is good for me; it certainly increases my chances of being bishop one day; yep, I will throw away all that I have been and thought up to now and sell the Society to the likes of Francis. Fidelity to Christ is overrated!”
Fourthly, these are people ready to accept suspension a divinis the day they were ordained. They think of the V II church even less than you do. The word “trust” does not exist in their vocabulary in conjunction with “V II Church”. Of course the society will officially talk of “trust”. This is standard diplomatic language. But they don’t trust either Francis or his successors one bit. As well they should.
Fifthly, it’s not that the FFI treatment has escaped them. They would have been extremely mistrustful of any V II Pope even without the FFI episode. But this Francis here, they must know he is pure poison.
I can only imagine one scenario in which things go wrong, and it is one in which the Vatican lawyers are smarter than the SPPX ones, and manage to arrange things in a way that screws them in a way they cannot even see. An improbable, but thinkable scenario.
As I have written in the past, the matter of who controls the assets is the real pivotal point. If the SSPX keeps controlling the assets they will be able to walk away from any order to – in any way, shape or form – comply, submit or disband in a moment. Archbishop Lefebvre could refuse to close the seminary exactly because the seminary belonged to the SSPX. He could go on with his own assets, his own churches, his own seminaries exactly because everything belonged to themselves.
Keep control of your name and assets and you will keep control of your destiny. Lose control of your name or assets and you will be forced to start from ground zero when the Vatican strikes. And I wonder how many donors will give money to a new “SSPX Mk II” if they know everything will be transferred again to the Vatican by the next trap in which the SSPX priests stupidly fall. Again, this is an improbable scenario. I am sure the SSPX respects their donors more than that.
We should now, as the Germans say, wait and drink tea. I do not think fear that the SSPX will willingly walk toward an executioner they know to be the worst pope in 700 years and one of the worst in the history of the Church is a rational attitude.
Pray, hope, and don’t worry.
I have this from Father Z’s blog. Rorate Caeli also mentions, and confirms the letter will have something about the SSPX in it. As Rorate is clearly well connected to the SSPX one can be sure something is brewing. It’s not clear to me whether the Eponymous Flower has its own sources or is reporting external ones; but clearly, this is more than rumour.
Before anyone panics, let me remind you of this: Bishop Fellay stated in the past that no solution/reconciliation/arrangement would be accepted from the SSPX, that has not been approved by the majority of the SSPX priests.
One can, therefore, be reasonably confident that whilst Francis might have fooled the one or other, he could not have fooled the majority of these good and faithful priests.
We shall see how this pans out. It can be an attempt to prepare a trap. It can also be that starting from last September (when he received the Dubia letter), Francis felt so much in a corner concerning his own orthodoxy that he now has desperate need of conservative credentials. This would, of course, contradict the insults to the supporters of the Traditional Mass made earlier this week. But again, this is Francis for you.
Imagine the irony: a V II Pope compelled to regularise the SSPX to counter accusations of heresy. You couldn’t make it up. Divine Humour at work.
Prayers and confidence in the Divine Providence are in order.