Please follow this link and, among the documents therein contained, isolate and read (at least) these:
1. The one dated 7 April 2012 (Three Bishops to General Council).
2. The one dated 14 April 2012( General Council to Three Bishops) .
I have – not for the first time – read both documents and found myself – not for the first time – in full agreement with Fellay & Co.
However, I point out to the following. I will present this as a series of short points in an effort to make my thought linear and easy to digest in short pills. What I lose in prose I hope to gain in clarity and brevity.
1. You could have said that Ratzinger was sincerely interested in healing the riff with the SSPX. You cannot say that Bergoglio is sincerely interested in anything Catholic, at all.
2. This being the situation, mistrust toward any ouverture from the Vatican is more justified, and must be taken more seriously, than this was the case in 2012.
3. There can be no doubt that every agreement, every agreement at all which leads to a big fracture within the SSPX is not worth pursuing, as it is far more important that the SSPX remains a visible instrument of help to faithful Catholics in a time of crisis; a crisis which we see becoming deeper and deeper.
4. From what I can see up to now, the Vatican has laid no obvious traps. The independence of the Order is not threatened. The Order will maintain its own autonomy. The agreement seems to be no – legal – Trojan Horse.
5. However, Bishop Fellay's interview (about which I have written yesterday) indicates that a different price is being requested: the softening of tones against the Conciliar Church. This is extremely grave in light of the fact that this is most certainly not the time to soften any tone.
6. In turn, this softer attitude – now officially proclaimed by Bishop Fellay – reinforces the suspicion, certainly present inside the Society, that this embrace will prove deadly, albeit in several instalments. The recent removal of the eight French SSPX priests, though obviously connected to other controversies, does nothing to assuage the fear that some bullying not from Francis, but from the inside of the Society, in order to make it more agreeable to Francis and thus “deserving” of reconciliation, is in fact happening.
7. This is a destructive way to go at things. Archbishop Fellay should never put the reconciliation with the Vatican in front of the danger of a division within the SSPX. If he did so he would allow the enemies of Tradition to celebrate the tearing in two of the Society. Any reconciliation that causes such a bad outcome can most certainly wait for better times, when more orthodox Popes will allow a rapprochement in a different spirit and with far less divisions. No serious Catholic considers the SSPX one iota less Catholic without reconciliation. The reconciliation in itself is a lesser good than the continuation of the work of the SSPX in favour of tradition, her prestige and powerful voice speaking for orthodox Catholic in a time of heretical Popes.
8. Alternatively – and as others and myself have suggested in the past – a much better way is open to Bishop Fellay: a brutal defence of Catholic Truth, against the Pope and his minions, day in and day out. This would assuage fears that the SSPX is “going native”, which is the most important result. From this position of strength, every proposal of reconciliation – without any do ut des – could be discussed within the Society in a completely different atmosphere. And if, in consequence of this vigorous defence of Truth, no offer of reconciliation comes, so be it. This would be the obvious evidence that the reconciliation had only one aim: emasculate the SSPX and make of it a shark without teeth.
Bishop Fellay undermines the very mission of the SSPX when he states that, in consideration of the process of reconciliation, the SSPX will get softer. He is doing the work of Francis. This attitude can only have as a result a self-imposed obligation to be either silent or very hushed in the denunciation of the thousand evils of the Church. Even if the authority and autonomy of the SSPX should remain complete and unchallenged, this attitude would still be tantamount to a half self-castration for the sake of… what exactly? The approval of the biggest rascal ever elected Pope?
Fellay 2017 seems much different to me from Fellay 2012. I do not trust the motives of anyone who, in the face of unprecedented attack on Christ, invites to be less incisive in its condemnation. The SSPX must go to war full scale against Francis and his heresies, and leave Francis with the choices of whether to play the “inclusive card” for his own motives (which he has, as he could claim a non-judgmental attitude towards both extremes of the spectrum) or go wherever he pleases, sharpish.
What is happening is, if you ask me, very wrong. I hope that this line does not prevail. It would cause immense damage to the cause of Traditionalism exactly in a time of emergency. I would prefer for Bishop Fellay to be made to go first.
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.
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.
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.
Bishop Fellay has met the Evil Clown himself. This is if not historic, certainly important. Methinks, one of the two might be happening.
1) Francis, who is afraid of the damage serious Catholics like the SSPX can do to him, is preparing a reconciliation, which might well look like a simple unconditional surrender: “keep doing your own thing in your own way. You're in full communion. Nothing else changes”. Not very likely, but possible. Upside for Francis: he keeps his most dangerous opponents if not quiet, at least on better terms. Upside for the Society: no compromises and, obviously, no delivering themselves to their executioner. Francis isn't a theoretical man, and he doesn't care for principles of any sort. If there's a pope who can say “who cares, it's expedient, let's do it” it's him.
2) A huge bomb is about to explode on the 8 Aprl. Francis is preparing the defence with 360 degrees “mercy” credentials. “Why do you complain for adulterers receiving communion? I also allow the SSPX priests to validly hear confessions! You see? The “peripheries” are sooo important to me!”.
We will have to wait some more days.
As it is, I smell a big rat. But then again to me hearing from Francis and smelling a rat go together like the well-known horse and carriage.
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.