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SSPX: French Liberal Catholics Meet Trouble Halfway

Too far even for Bl John Paul II: Bishop Gaillot

As we have experienced before Summorum Pontificum, liberal catholics are not weary to prophesy a great catastrophe for the Church is she decides to start taking Catholicism seriously. As if liberal Catholicism wouldn’t be rapidly extinguishing itself already, the French magazine Témoignage Chrétien (one of those rags living on subsidies, informs us Messa In Latino) expresses his concern that the Church in France might suffer oh so much if there is a full reconciliation between the Vatican and the SSPX*. Some of the arguments brought about to justify the alleged haemorrhage of faithful are as follows:

1) France is the “historic cradle” of the “Lefebvre movement” and still today its most important stronghold. It is not clear to me how this should cause people to leave the Church en masse. The SSPX being bigger in France doesn’t motivate one more to leave the Church, if this is what he wants to do. Rather, I’d think that France is the country where the reconciliation will bring the most copious fruits, because the SSPX is more present on the territory.

2) Reminiscences of the war in Algeria play, allegedly, a role. One never ceases to be amazed at what excuses people may find.

3) The “trauma” of the “affaire Gaillot”, the ultra-liberal bishop who was kicked out by JP II. The reasoning here is that if you give the boot to an ultra-liberal bishop, people will defeat en masse if the Church reconciles herself with the SSPX. This would make halfway sense, if the supporters of Gaillot were very many, and very angry. But as they are very few, and very much dying, one doesn’t follow the logic.

Dulcis in fundo, bishop Vingt-Trois – the head of the bishops’ conference – is invited to make pressure on the Pope unless he wants to be considered a lightweight compared to his predecessor, Lustiger. The appeal to the vanity of one man is not likely to obtain much of a result, as here the problem is rather that Pope Benedict would seem to be very interested in a full reconciliation. Témoignage Chrétien admit it themselves when they notice, whining a little, that “the Curia doesn’t seem much interested to the feelings in France”.

One can easily imagine that such “don’t do it or the Church will explode” argument – which very resembles a “don’t do it or the schismatics will make a schism” argument – will be much used by others in France and elsewhere. Thankfully, it may well be that the Holy Father is simply of a different opinion.


* This is FSSPX in Latin, and SSPX in English. I read them around both, and never can decide which one to use.

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