Bishop Fellay spoke with a journalist of the Catholcs News Society, and what resulted is the article you read here. I am not overly fond of this kind of interview, because it seems to me that it can be easily adapted to let the interviewed say what the interviewer wanted him to say. If I want to give a certain “cut” to an interview, I will always be able to let my man talk and then pick and choose what best matches the idea I want to convey.
As a result, the idea which emerges from this interview is a Bishop much different from the Fellay we know (and love), rather resembling one of the many anodyne bishops the CNS interviews all the time. Again, I do not think he has been wilfully manipulated, but rather that the interview was made with a certain idea in mind, and the ready product ended up reflecting that idea.
The questionable part is, of course, the one regarding Vatican II. Please read this words:
Although he stopped short of endorsing Pope Benedict’s interpretation of Vatican II as essentially in continuity with the church’s tradition — a position which many in the society have vocally disputed — Bishop Fellay spoke about the idea in strikingly sympathetic terms.
“I would hope so,” he said, when asked if Vatican II itself belongs to Catholic tradition.
Now, the literal meaning of the words is that:
1) Bishop Fellay would hope V II is in continuity with Catholic tradition; but
2) alas, he does not think so, because he does not endorse the Pope’s interpretation of it being in continuity.
The facts of the SSPX position are still there, but they twisted and turned in such a way as to make Fellay much more doveish than he is.
One is tempted to think Bishop Fellay did not really mince words on this, because the author himself (I think it is fair to say so) must admit Bishop Fellay told him the SSPX will continue to say things as they are concerning Vatican II. Only, this becomes that he bishop “allows for the possibility”. Of course he does: if one asks the bishop “do you allow for the possibility that…” what is the poor chap supposed to answer: “I am certain the Pope will continue to deserve my criticism?”. Not even I would be so ungracious; not in my worst day. Therefore, Bishop Fellay clearly indicates the SSPX will continue to do its job, and the message is completely downplayed.
It goes on:
“The pope says that … the council must be put within the great tradition of the church, must be understood in accordance with it. These are statements we fully agree with, totally, absolutely,”
Of course we do. Of course every Catholic does. Who would ever expect an SSPX bishop say that the V II documents must be read in a progressive way? V II is purely wrong, it is not the Antichrist. Archbishop Lefebvre criticised the V II documents, but he did sign them. He never said the V II must be understood in a way not conform to Catholic tradition; the problem is exactly that when you do so, you discover how mediocre they are, willingly unclear, pandering to the fashion of the day, and in odour of heresy. But this does not mean they must not be understood in accordance with Tradition.
The next one is the most insidious paragraph:
“The problem might be in the application, that is: is what happens really in coherence or in harmony with tradition?”
Give me a break: the poor chap has just gone through the pain of making very clear his position is not the Vatican’s one, and he does not think there is continuity, and now it is suggested he would see the problem merely in the application? How does this square with what the Bishop has just said?
The entire interview is construed in this way: of course Bishop Fellay does not want to be “provocative”; when the SSPX speak, it is merely because they are provoked (Assisi III, say). They never were obnoxious for the sake of bickering, it is truly not their style. But you notice the tone, meant to convey an idea of a Bishop Fellay so near to Vatican II, the reader should not bother to really measure the distance.
I hope this interview does not cause (more) disharmony within the SSPX, and if it does I hope Bishop Fellay requests and publishes the entire text. There are enough problems within the SSPX to allow well-intentioned, but poorly executed propaganda work to add additional ones. This is delicate, and I do not think any one who tries to invent a SSPX made of “friend of Vatican II” is making any service to truth, to the cause of the reconciliation, or to the SSPX itself.
It cannot be ignored – nay, it is altogether striking – that several leading members of the SSPX are intervening to defend the now widely anticipated reconciliation with the Vatican.
When leading SSPX men from Switzerland, Benelux, Germany and the United States intervene to stress in various ways the conformity of Archbishop’s Lefebvre with full canonical status – or I would say: that the SSPX was in nothing less orthodox before the excommunications – it is obvious a coordinated action is taking place to, so to speak, reconcile the members with the reconciliation.
I cannot conceal from you my satisfaction at this development; which, if largely expected, is nevertheless very welcome. It appears clear to me bishop Fellay is not trying to overcome alleged resistance within the SSPX ranks and has not tried to, so to speak, make his own foreign policy; but has acted at all times in agreement with what the other leading members of the organisation think it right for the SSPX and the Church.
It is, in fact, true Archbishop Lefebvre never wanted a situation of conflict to, so to speak, show to the men in the Vatican how wrong they were. Lefebvre would have gladly avoided all the mess. He waited for very long before proceeding to the ordination of the four bishops, and whilst he was always painfully aware of the shortcomings of the Church hierarchy, this never diminished his obedience and identification with the Church as such.
It can be stated with absolute certainty Archbishop Lefebvre did not think it was fitting or expedient for the SSPX to quarrel with the Vatican. He never thought this is something the SSPX must in itself desire, or owes to itself. We know this, because the SSPX spent many years without an open quarrel, and the quarrel was avoided by Lefebvre as long as he could. Whilst the quarrel was a painful symptom of the disease in Rom, it is certainly not true Archbishop Lefebvre sought the quarrel to point out to the disease.
Similarly, I find it ungenerous to attribute to Fellay & Co. less integrity now than that which most members of the SSPX have certainly attributed to them for the last twenty or more years. These are the same men who have led the SSPX for a couple of decades: if they had had ideas of “selling out” to the Vatican, they would have tried to put such ideas in practice many years ago, and if they didn’t have such ideas for so many years I do not see any valid reason why they would have them now. They also weren’t among those who went away to create the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, clearly showing reconciliation qua reconciliation was never a priority. They are all people who, just a few years ago, would have been called “hardliners” by pretty much everyone.
And they are not only orthodox, the SSPX leaders. They are smart, and show very clearly the reconciliation will not muzzle them in any way. On the contrary, just in the days of the delivery of their answer to the Vatican they robustly attacked the concept of religious liberty (wrongly) entertained by the US Bishops. I can’t imagine a stronger, or more reassuring signal the SSPX is not trying to silently cave in to the errors of the time, but rather preparing to fight them with the usual necessary.
We do not know, of course, how the “Williamsonite” fraction will react. Already the fact that nothing truly bad was heard – from me, at least – can be taken as an encouraging signal and at this point I dare to hope Bishop Williamson will do the practical thing and accept what has been now offered without asking for immediate and complete reform within the Vatican.
What will – now very, very probably – happen this month will be remembered for decades, and perhaps for century, as the turning of the tide; something so big in its significance that even Summorum Pontificum can be seen as nothing more than a preparation for the main event.
I truly hope the members of the SSPX will understand there’s no particular badge of honour in being considered in “imperfect communion” (whether wrong or rightly), nor is a state of conflict with the Vatican in any way necessary to the SSPX’s work.
I think, rather, the Society will gain a lot from it, as the most prestigious traditionalist shop will now become “mainstream”, encouraging many others to follow them without any fear of canonical sanction, or worse.
By contrast, think of the immense damage for the liberal camp. A SSPX reconciled to the Vatican without any public abiura or admission of error – we’ll have to see, but I’d say it is probably in the cards – would gravely embarrass those who have, for decades, encouraged the theory of the “schism” or “quasi schism”, and would let a lot of people appear rather stupid.
As the Germans say, we must now wait and drink tea.
I think the SSPX will soon serve us an excellent blend.
Now several hours after the first breaking of The News, it is still a savage waiting and repeating of what we already know.
The German site of the SSPX this morning reported (in German, of course) the press was anticipating the agreement. They reported the news without commentary. From that moment, I had no doubts, and if I am proved wrong, blame my innocence and the SSPX naivete’. Mind, though, I can certainly be naive, but the men at the German SSPX are not.
A bit later the news from another SSPX site came, the reality is “different” from the news reporting an agreement is achieved. Well of course the agreement hasn’t been achieved. The Pope must say “yes”, and without his consent this reconciliation will not take place. It’s like a marriage: rejoice as much as you want, but the words will have to be spoken.
Then the Vatican chimed in, and basically said in so many words (from the mouth of one Federico Lombardi, who with a SSPX Pope wouldn’t survive more than fifteen minutes at his place; twenty, tops) that the Vatican will now examine everything oh so very carefully; and it might take oh such a long time; and the signed preambolo is not quite what one would expect; but it is still encouraging, and the reckless children have improved their behaviour; so that, you see, the Pope might, just might, in the end allow them to be reconciled.
In saying so, Lombardi tries to tell us – obviously, in so many words – we are all idiots; the terms of the signed preambolo has not been examined and agreed verbatim before it was delivered; and we could actually not expect any kind of agreement, unless it was for the benevolence of the Vatican.
Lombardi reminds me of those people who, days before the marriage, still tell everyone the betrothed are not actually married, and the bride (or the bridegroom, if you prefer) could still decide he-stroke-she wants to cancel everything. Yes, we know it. But we know the two want to marry, and are in agreement on this.
We can, now, speculate as to why the Vatican speaks of weeks rather than of, as it would be more natural and more sensible, days.
I will launch here, as it is a beautiful day, my wildest speculations:
1) They want to show to the SSPX he who loves, waits. A squabble of 24 years is coming to an end, and if the bride wants to make herself scarce for some other weeks, fine. In the end, it appears the greatest concessions by far, and I mean by far, are coming from there.
2) Some people at the CDF/Ecclesia Dei are a bit grated the SSPX (in my yes, on purpose) waited for the expiry of the “ultimatum which wasn’t really such” to deliver their answer. If you ask me, the SSPX wanted to give a signal they not are going to be bullied into any kind of undue subservience before, during or after the reconciliation; nor have they liked the undertone of “agree with us, or else…” which have been circulated. Kudos to them, say I. Still, as it is often the case in this kind of semi-diplomatic matters, now the ball is in the Vatican side they return the nicety: I waited for you, now you wait for me.
3) The weeks (if such they will be) of waiting will give both sides (particularly the SSPX) the time to organise themselves internally. They’ll find the way of having the preambolo circulated, explained, and approved. They’ll avoid Fellay exposing himself to the accusation of having put the SSPX in front of a fait accompli in front of the troops, in the face of which only approval or a frightful row with the Vatican are possible. They’ll discuss and agree with Williamson the way he himself will explain to his own aficionados why he can live with the agreement if he can, or to agree ways in which he can express an acceptable dissent if he cannot.They will, in short, prepare the ground for what, for an organisation now accustomed to live in open conflict with the Vatican for almost 25 years, must be an earthquake.
I might be wrong. I am, in fact, more often than I care to admit. But I refuse to be either worried or in any way “concerned” at the news of today.
In the end, the Pope is not a capricious, doting old man, but a smart guy who knows what he wants. If he were to back pedal now, he would stand there as the most cruel of men, and to be easy to manipulate. I don’t think he is either in the least. Besides, he knows the SSPX too well to think he could play games with them, even if he wanted.
It is as clear as the sun the Pontiff has already made his decision, as otherwise the SSPX would never have announced they have submitted a text they knew might be publicly refused.
If you ask me, the rest is entertainment.
Today is the Holy Father’s birthday, and I join all the well-wishers from all corners of the world.
At the same time, I wonder whether the Holy Father might not have chosen this day to make himself a very, very special birthday present…
It would be so beautiful if on this day we could celebrate the Holy Father’s birthday and the reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X.
Yesterday the German SSPX site issued a statement saying the reports from “Le Figaro” and (even more explicitly so) “Der Spiegel” are “rushed speculations”. Well of course they are, aren’t they? Before the official statement the only thing you can do is speculate!
Still, simple people like me can scarcely imagine both these prestigious (at least in the opinion of the world) publications would run the risk of being proved wrong in such a way.
If this happened, this would in my eyes only mean one of two:
a) journalism as an honourable profession is truly dead. I mean, even with the standards of today.
b) Vatican officials have wilfully leaked false news of an agreement, in the hope the SSPX would be considered the culprit when the agreement is not reached.
This has really been a rollercoaster, with news of an agreement leaked or hinted several times and then proved wrong. We will, of course, have to wait and pray.
May God grant this is the last day of waiting, and a day of joyous thanksgiving.
Last days – perhaps hours – of waiting.
And a small question: if the SSPX is fully reconciled, and does not retract, what will all those priests say to us who have always maintained the SSPX was in schism?
Will they say the Pope condones schism? Will they say the Pope has become schismatic? Will they say the Pope has become schismatic, but they obey to the Pope because he is the Pope?
Of course, nothing could happen in the end. Or it might happen in a way which saves face to the V II crowd in some – probably embarrassing, and difficult to fathom from where I stand – way.
But if it happens, I do have this short question…
If you forget for a moment the imprecision of the language used by the French journalist (“schism”, my aunt…) it appears improbable “Le Figaro” would risk such a blunder as to say the agreement is now a matter of days when they are not sure this is the case.
It is, therefore, very reasonable at this point to think the historic agreement is de facto reached.
Please read on the always excellent Rorate Caeli the text of the translation.
As I try to digest the latest news in this very turbulent matter, I make the following considerations:
1) I do hope the protocols of the meetings will be made public soon. They must make an extremely interesting and highly enjoyable reading. I hope they won’t prove too embarrassing for the Vatican side.
2) We might never fully know what happened between September and now, and ho wit came to pass this agreement seemed reached, then gone, now reached again. My personal impression is the Pope feels he does not have much time left and has decided than on the balance of things it is better to allow the SSPX in with full status and without trying to muzzle them, than to keep them with a foot out and see how the times move, irresistibly now, towards them anyway.
3) Perhaps, the decision to – more or less – break negotiations caused a reaction within the Vatican, and many sincere friends of the SSPX inside persuaded the Pope the line of the CDF had been too intransigent? One is reminded of Monsignor Bux’ intervention.
4) The author of the article is, in my eyes, absolutely right when he says Pope Benedict has decided to reconcile the Church with herself, and in fact it is difficult to see this agreement as being anything else than the Church reconciling herself with the fact the SSPX is, and always has been, 100% Catholic orthodoxy.
We will have to wait for the announcement, the statements that will be released, and hopefully the background documents about the discussions. It will make for exciting days.
For conservative Catholics, at least.
Prayers for all involved at this point, but particularly for Pope Benedict, who allowing a full reconciliation with a group criticising his entire life work shows true greatness of mind, and love for the Church.
You would expect the tambourine-plagued sectors of the Church would not be pleased at the prospect – in which I still do not believe, and let us hope I will be proved wrong – of a full reconciliation between the SSPX and the Vatican.
Punctually, a French daily near to the French bishops, La Croix, examines the situation as follows:
Among the possible scenarios, one or several Lefebvrist bishops could refuse to join, in which case they would be excommunicated once again.
The absurdity of the assertion is breathtaking: it is as if a bunch of three-and-a-half year old would decide that either you play with me, or I do not talk with you anymore. Really? Seriously? Of course, this is portrayed as one among “possible scenario”, basically an excuse to spread around some legends. Congratulations.
Not more intelligent are the reported assertions from the French vice-Dean of the University of the Holy Cross in Rome:
“If they say no, it will be necessary that they explain why not and, in such case, their refusal will involve doctrinal questions. They thus risk not schism anymore, but heresy,”
One is tempted to despair at such superficiality, unless of course the words of the vice-dean have been willfully misrepresented by the usual suspects. In this scenario the SSPX “would have to explain” why they oppose a reconciliation, as if they had not been screaming this (in charity, of course) in the deaf ears of the Vatican for many decades. The one with the doctrinal questions is also very funny: yes, of course there are doctrinal questions, it’s not that the SSPX doesn’t like the colour of the Pope’s shoes. And yes, of course the differences in the interpretation of Catholic doctrine are rather well-known to everyone who took the time to examine them, and it is not known to me the SSPX was ever shy in explaining them or refused any possibility of doing so. What is still not clear is how an organisation so orthodox that it is not possible to even declare it schismatic without, in fact,declaring two thousand years of Church “schismatic” should now, for reasons not explained, be declared “heretic”. Throwing around adjectives will certainly not help anyone to be taken seriously.
Be it as it may, it appears clear to me the mainstream French episcopacy is rather nervous at the prospect of what might happen on Sunday, particularly if the SSPX will be offered reconciliation without any substantial concession on their part. The blow for the tambourine men – who have, no doubt, slandered the SSPX in every possible and impossible way, as is the usual way of the tolerant V II crowd – would be a rather painful one. I can imagine Bishop Nourrichard in great distress, asking his favourite Buddha statue what to do (see above).
I say it once again: if years of doctrinal discussion have not brought to an agreement, I cannot see why three weeks should now solve every problem. On the other hand, it is barely thinkable – as the protocols have not been made public – the differences were not so relevant as hinted by both sides, so that a positive conclusion might now be near. Don’t hold your breath, of course, but please do not fall into a girlish fear the Vatican could now become seriously nasty to the SSPX (which, cela va sans dire, would not have any consequence on them, and would probably cause their ranks to increase).
Very simply, the SSPX is nothing else than the Church before V II, looking critically – in obedience to the Pope, as long as practicable; and to the Church, when the first is no longer practicable – at the antics of the Church post V II. I can’t see how the SSPX could be declared schismatic, or heretic, more than S. Pius X could be declared schismatic or heretic himself.
“What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now”.
The head of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is exhorting members of the traditionalist group to “redouble their fervor in prayer” during Holy Week, as a deadline approaches for the SSPX to respond to a Vatican offer.
The rest (not much) here.
I’ll do my best, and I hope you will, too.
Note Bishop Fellay asks to pray “that the Divine Will may be done”; which is beautiful and realistic at the same time.
Reading around about the SSPX-Vatican talks, I can’t avoid making a couple of small considerations as follows:
1) It would seem there are some people who think if the SSPX does not agree with the Vatican, they will be declared schismatics.
This reasoning – very similar to those of the cave-in Catholics, though in this case some might be in good faith – is in my eyes fundamentally flawed. Being schismatic or orthodox is not something depending from the humour of the Pope of the day, much less – if we have a modicum of esteem for the current Pope – a matter object of emotional handling: if you do not agree with me now, I’ll declare you schismatic. Thank God, even the post-Vatican II Church is much better than this.
The Vatican cannot and will not declare the SSPX schismatic, because the Church cannot declare Herself schismatic. You won’t find any other “flaw” in the SSPX as the iron will to be as the Church always was. No amount of V II blabber can ever go over this point, and the talk of the SSPX beig “schismatic” is, in the essence, V II blabber.
The argument that the SSPX be “disobedient” is also a rather shallow one: the SSPX is obedient to the Magisterium, and obeys the Pope only in the measure in which the latter is faithful to the Magisterium. If the Pope is imperfectly faithful to the Magisterium, he will have to live with the consequences. This has always been so in the past and will always be so in the future: dissolute and greedy Popes have to live with the damage they create, and weak Popes unable to enforce orthodoxy must do the same.
Every properly instructed Catholic (not many of those, I admit) knows a Pope is not infallible, and not even orthodox, qua Pope. A Pope is orthodox in the measure in which he follows orthodox thinking (which is variable), and he is infallible only in certain very limited circumstances.
If you ask me, the talk of schism is pure fantasy thinking, and a comfortable excuse for the friends of the appeasement.
2) Msgr Bux speaks eloquently and at times movingly, but one wonders how representative he is of the real mood within the Vatican. His invitation to join the battle would be flawless if the battle had been successful in the past decades; nay, if the battle were not the disaster which prompted Msgr Bux’s letter in the first place. As it is, the appeal is more of a beautiful call to arms and a rather vague hope things will work out in the end, than a fair assessment of the present situation. As things stand, my impression is the SSPX should, in the end, join a rather drunken army but not be allowed to thunder against alcoholism. I think past the emotional assessment of Msgr Bux’s letter, the SSPX sees this clearly.
3) Personally, at this point I am persuaded the differences are not so much theological as practical. Will the SSPX, after a theoretical reconciliation, be able to be as critical of the V II praxis as it has been up to now? Msgr Bux says, emphatically, “yes”, but one wonders whether this is the case; then were this to be the case, the impotence of the Church towards the forced secularisation of once Catholic masses – people who 100 years ago would have been very well instructed and today can’t even recite the Commandments – would not be so painfully obvious. To persuade yourself of the failure of this conservative battle you need to look no further than at Summorum Pontificum, a beautiful document now a dead letter in vast parts of the planet. Alas, the reality on the ground is that if the SSPX joined the battle inside the Vatican today they would find some Buxes, and an awful lot of Nicholses and Schoenborns. I even wonder if they would be allowed to wage this battle in the first place. Can we really say, for example, that a battle is raging for Summorum Pontificum?
In my eyes, the problem is very simple: what happens after the reconciliation. Look at the FSSP and tell me whether you can say they are as effective as the SSPX in defending traditional Catholic values. I never ever read of FSSP priests taking a courageous stance against some modern error of the Church. I might be wrong, but my impression is on the whole they are content with being allowed to do their own thing, without “meddling” in the matters of the broader Church; and I do not doubt if any FSSP priest would take a courageous public stance against V II the press and blogosphere would adequately amplify his declarations. The fact is, the FSSP has lost in bite (many of them are, I think, ex-SSPX) what it has gained in “official” recognition. They are, so to speak, in full standing but factually not allowed to stand against V II. This is in my eyes not really good (we all agree, I think, the SSPX stance of aiming at the restoration of traditional Catholic thinking is the better, more Catholic approach than the narrow view of being just content with having the Tridentine Mass and being free from the NO) and might well prove their doom in just a couple of generations, whilst the SSPX is thriving and, it seems to me, gaining prestige and recognition as the decades go by.
Beautiful as Msgr Bux’s words are, in my eyes there is a lot speaking for letting things stay as they are. The SSPX should, I think, accept a full reconciliation only of they are allowed to continue their work exactly in the same way as they are doing it now. Until this is the case – and this seems at the moment not to be the case – I would rather prefer to see the SSPX continue the battle than being reconciled but, in the end, silenced.
Archbishop Lefebvre would not have wanted to stay out just for the sake of “staying out”: he signed the V II documents, but he also tirelessly warned about the need to improve them and the danger they represent.
What I think he would never have done is to accept to shut up in exchange for privileges for his order.
Monsignor Bux, CDF, wrote a letter to Bishop Fellay about the present situation. Rorate Caeli has the story, and an English translation of the letter.
Msgr Bux’s statement are, in places, nothing less than stunning. I had to stop and read twice, to be sure I had read correctly.
You can (and should) click the link to Rorate to read the entire letter. I will limit myself, here, to comment on what I find the most important statements. Emphases always mine.
It is undeniable that numerous facts of Vatican II and of the period that followed it, related to the human dimension of this event, have represented true calamities and have caused intense pain to many great Churchmen.
There are four statements of barely believable vis polemica here:
1) Vatican II itself (not the “spirit”. The Council itself) was, in part, an utter disgrace.
2) The “Spirit of Vatican II” which followed continued the work of destruction.
3) This is nothing to do with the Holy Ghost. This was a purely man-made devastation.
4) The mess caused many great Churchmen to suffer whilst the destruction went on substantially unchallenged in Rome. I personally believe this is a personal tribute to Archbishop Lefebvre.
If we except statement 2, I’d say the other three are a frontal attack to the “moderates” within the Vatican, and an open declaration of support for fundamental SSPX tenets.
But God does not allow His Holy Church to reach self-destruction.
The V II crowd would have, left to itself, utterly destroyed the Church. But God would never allow it. The devastating force of these words cannot be put in doubt: Monsignore says self-destruction, in the same breath as he talks of the “true calamities” of V II.
[…] we believe that God has prepared and continues to prepare, throughout these years, men who are worthy of rectifying the errors and the ommissions we all deplore.
Make no mistake, among the men God prepares are the priests of the SSPX, to whom the letter is addressed. They are among the men God trains for the good fight, and to whom He gives the task to put things right. Again, read the letter in its context and tell me whether this is not a reference to those who have made “resistance” in the past (in general) and to the SSPX (in particular). It doesn’t mean, of course, these men only come from outside of the Vatican.
These divine interventions seem to grow in proportion to the complexity of the facts. The future will make it clear, as we are convinced, and it seems dawn is almost at hand.
The V II-induced darkness is almost at hand, but it’s there still.The Church is still enshrouded in V II darkness, but dawn is near. And we are not even sure of this, because still it is dark.
With Saint Catherine of Siena, we wish to say: “Come to Rome in complete safety,”
This seems to me to echo what I have written just some days ago: that the main obstacle is now the fear of the SSPX of being muzzled after a reconciliation. Msgr Bux seems to me to lean out of the window and say: “come in, dear friends; let us fight together. You’ll be fine; you’ll have allies in the Vatican only waiting for you to come in to fire from all cannons”.
Your refusal would increase darkness, not light. And yet the sparks of light we can already admire are numerous, beginning with those of the great liturgical restoration effected by the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”. It stirs up, throughout the whole world, a large movement of adherence from all those who wish to increase the worship of God, particularly the young.
This is, I think, the core of Monsignor Bux’s sales pitch: the movement has already started and it will soon become unstoppable. You’ll help it by getting in, you’ll damage it by staying out. Not sure about that personally, but one gets the drift.
How not to think of the contribution you could give to the welfare of the whole Church, thanks to your pastoral and doctrinal resources, your capabilities and your sensibility?
This seems to me to reinforce the point made above: we don’t want you muzzled. We want you barking, and biting. Come to us, o hounds of the Lord, and join us in this glorious run that will end with the killing of the cunning fox of Vatican II.
There are some other elements which I consider rather secondary, like the invitation to consider how good the Pope has been to them and how much he suffered (erm… all the way back from Assisi… but I digress…); but in general, I’d say this is the most explicit statement of admiration and support for the SSPX I have ever read from a papavero of the Vatican.
Will this dispel the SSPX’s reservations? I doubt it. But it could give them a big hand inside the Vatican in this delicate phase, and in my eyes it shows that within the Vatican there is a “right wing” not ready to see the SSPX being refused admission without putting up a fight to allow them to get in in the proper manner.
We shall see. For sure, this is a surprise.
From Rorate Caeli, the most clearly formulated explanation yet of why the talks between the SSPX and the Vatican failed.
I have never read anything so movingly beautiful from the SSPX than this intervention. There is no animosity there, and no acrimony. Bishop Fellay simply explain where things stand, why the proposal is not acceptable and how things could – but probably won’t for the time being – progress further.
I have read and re-read the message and could find nothing even remotely linked to the “Taleban attitude” so often moved as accusation against the Society. Once again, they might have their fair share of nutcases in the pews, but the clergy and the top brass are not irrational or fanatical – if we except Williamson, in part – at all.
This is so beautiful that is best understood if read in its entirety. I therefore invite you to click the link and make an idea for yourself on Rorate Caeli.
Next time you pray for Hitchens, think whether at that point the SSPX doesn’t deserve the same treatment, at the very least.
Father Niklaus Pflueger, First Assistant of the SSPX, has said that an agreement with the Vatican will be “very, very difficult”.
Let us read and examine his exact words:
“Assisi III and even more the unfortunate beatification of John Paul II but also many other examples make it clear that the leadership of the Church now as before is not ready to give up the false principles of Vatican II and their consequences […]. Therefore, […] any ‘offer’ made to Tradition must guarantee us the freedom to be able to continue our work and our critique of ‘modernist Rome.’ And to be honest, this seems to be very, very difficult. Again, any false or dangerous compromise must be ruled out.”
It seems to me that this is a bit of a message in preparation of the meeting next week in Albano. Basically, Father Pflueger seems to send the following messages:
1) we are strong enough not to be in need of any agreement, and there will be no agreement for the agreement’s sake;
2) we are ready to achieve full communion, if this means that no limitations to our criticism of the “V II Church” will be imposed on us afterwards. The criticism of V II will go on unabated with or without agreement; and
3) if the Vatican can’t live with this, though.
Honestly – and setting aside for a moment the ascertained inability of most SSPX officials to speak with a modicum of diplomacy – it seems to me that there is nothing new here, beside the further confirmation that the SSPX in not in the mood for autumn sales. They are ready to accept the doctrinal preamble, unless its acceptance means feeling that one has received a practical muzzle. The “very, very difficult” seems therefore to me rather a warning of what the Vatican can expect from the SSPX than a refusal.
Fair enough, says I. The Vatican will certainly emit the right sounds as to whether they can live with it. If you ask me, they would be wise to.
I have the impression that in the weeks leading to the Assisi III trouble – and perhaps, catastrophe – such messages will certainly not become more infrequent.
After the end of my pressing engagements 😉 , I notice that the usually very well informed Messa in Latino informs us of the following:
1) The SSPX has been given ample time to answer. This is very good as it prevents the SSPX internal debate occurring in the middle of the predictably torrid weeks leading to and – hopefully not – perhaps following the Assisi-III initiative.
2) It would seem that a personal prelature in Opus Dei-style is being considered instead of an Ordinariate; but Messa in Latino points out that it would have to be an organisation sui generis to avoid the SSPX pastoral activities being controlled by the local bishops, a solution which not only will never be accepted, but is very probably not desired by the Vatican, either.
I cannot avoid a certain sense of euphoria, I admit. It’s not the evening whiskey, either. It seems to me very clear that the Vatican would not have released such an invitation, and handed such a document, without an agreement with the top echelons of the SSPX having been reached beforehand.
Of course, it will now be the SSPX’s job to persuade their ranks; but again, if I am right and they have already deemed the document acceptable this is a clear sign that they already know that they will have a clear majority of the SSPX with them, and no one seriously doubts that a minority of professional grumpy men would have never been satisfied anyway.
Better days ahead.