From the "Letter to Benefactors" of the SSPX from SSPX Superior Bp. Bernard Fellay.
Some of the usual stuff, some very good points and finally a great idea.
My emphases and comments.
LETTER TO FRIENDS AND BENEFACTORS – SPRING 2009
Just as we were launching a second Rosary Crusade at our Lourdes pilgrimage last October, we hardly expected such a swift answer from Heaven! As for the Vicar of Christ’s Motu Proprio liberating the traditional Mass, our second entreaty was answered even more swiftly by the Blessed Virgin, because on the very same visit I made to Rome in January to put in the Sovereign Pontiff’s hands our bouquet of 1,703,000 Rosaries, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos put in my own hands the decree lifting the “excommunications” of 1988! [Well… that’s what the "were". But this is how you write to benefactors. So… the first Rosary Crusade was for the Holy Father and Summorum Pontificum. The second was for the lifting of the excommunications. For what will the third be?]
That is something we had asked for back in 2001, as a sign of good will on the part of the Vatican towards the Traditional movement. [And good will is sought from the SSPX… which is why Card. Castrillon gave them some points to sign off on last year.] For, ever since the Council, everything Traditional or seeking to be Traditional in the Church has been undergoing one vexation after another, up to and including our being cast into exile. [Sorry… but that was also partly their choice.] Naturally that undermined partially or even totally, ones trust in the Roman authorities. As long as that trust is not partially restored, as I said at the time, the relations between Rome and ourselves will hardly exist. Trust is not just a nice feeling, it is a fruit that grows all on its own when one can recognize in the Roman authorities shepherds who have the interests of everything Traditional at heart. [And it is a two way street.] That was the meaning of our two preliminary requests. It is impossible to understand our present position and attitude towards the Holy See if one does not take into account the state of crisis prevailing in the Church, which is no superficial matter, nor just a personal opinion. It is a reality quite independent of our way of looking at it, which is admitted now and again by those authorities, [more and more frequently, as a matter of fact] and verified all the time by the facts. There are numerous and varied aspects to the crisis, some profound, some merely circumstantial, but everyone suffers from it. What strikes the faithful above all are the updated liturgical ceremonies—very often scandalous, alas! and the day-to-day preaching from the pulpit of positions on moral questions in direct contradiction to the age-old teaching of the Church and the example of the Saints. Very often parents have been grieved by their children’s losing the Faith, after having been entrusted to Catholic schools, or by their almost complete ignorance of Catholic doctrine, thanks to the lack of any proper catechism. A countless number of members of religious orders, through their Constitutions having been re-written and their minds re-trained according to Vatican II, show that they have lost the spirit of the Gospel, in particular, self-renunciation, poverty and sacrifice. [Don’t forget that there will bea two-fold "investigation" of women religious coming up soon.] This loss has almost immediately resulted in such a falling off of vocations that a number of Orders and Congregations are closing their houses one after another, or disappearing altogether. The situation of many dioceses is just as dramatic.
All of which forms a coherent whole that did not happen merely by chance, [this implies that it was by design] but arose out of a Council setting out to reform everything, and claiming to bring even the Church up to date. [Which has ever been the way the Church has handled herself in the view of the world. The problem comes when what the world has to say is given logical priority over what the Church has to offer.] Yet we are accused of either seeing a crisis where there is none, or of wrongly blaming the Council for a disastrous and enormously serious situation which anyone can recognize, or again of profiting by that situation to justify a wrongful attitude of rebellion and independence. [No one denies that some injustices have been committed, but … I suppose this is how one writes to benefactors.]
On the contrary, pick up the writings of the Church Fathers, or the Magisterium, or the Liturgy or Theology down the ages, and you find a unity of teaching and example to which we cleave with all our heart. This unity of doctrine is in practice heavily contradicted, thwarted and attacked by present ways of doing things. We are not imagining things when we say there has been a break. The break is all too real. To observe how the Bishops of certain countries treat us even after the “excommunications” were withdrawn, is enough for one to see how deeply the up-dated churchmen reject anything that smacks of Tradition. [On the other hand, the lifting of the excomm’s didn’t resolve the other problems of status in the Church. Are all bishops everywhere simply now to see these SSPX bishops as, what… equals in the ministry of the Church? I nonetheless applaud what the Card. Archbp. of Bordeaux did at Holy Thursday. That is the sort of example we need to follow.] The only name that can be given to such an occurrence is a break with the past.
For again, as surprising as was the appearance of the Decree of January 21, just as astonishing was the violence of the reaction of the progressives and leftists in general with regard to ourselves. [Of course. They are terrified by the implications. There might actually be progress toward reconciliation!] By Bishop Williamson’s unfortunate words they may well have been handed a golden opportunity to smear the whole Society of St. Pius X and to treat it as a scapegoat, but the truth of the matter is that we were merely an instrument in a much more important struggle, the struggle of Mother Church, truly called the Church Militant , against the evil spirits prowling through the atmosphere, as St. Paul says. It is no presumption on our part to say the Society has just now been playing a part in Church history, the history of the titanic struggle for the salvation of souls, announced in the Book of Genesis and described so dramatically in the Revelation of St. John. [An apocalyptic view.] Normally this struggle confines itself to the spiritual domain, but every now and again it flows over from words and souls into the bodily domain, and then it becomes visible, as with open persecutions.
In all that has happened these last few months we should see a particularly intense moment of this struggle. [We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. But this is how you write to benefactors.] It is clear as clear can be that the main target being aimed at is the Vicar of Christ as he attempts to undertake a certain restoration of the Church. [Note that qualification of "certain". I wonder if they couldn’t actually give the Holy Father even more and manifest support.] A coming together of the Head of the Church and the Traditional movement is much feared, [As the old phrase goes "Rem acu tetigisti", or as ICEL would have put it "Winner winner, chicken dinner".] as is any going back on the novelties of Vatican II, so everything possible is done to prevent it. What does the Pope truly think? What position is he taking? Jews [Some… not all…] and progressives [All… not some…] want to force him to choose between Vatican II and ourselves…. to such a point that to re-assure them, the Secretariat of State could find nothing better than to lay down as a necessary condition for our canonical re-instatement the complete acceptance of what we consider to be the main source of the current problems we have always been opposed to!…. [Yah… that wasn’t a good moment for the Secretariat of State. The enemies of a future reconciliation are very well placed, after all.] Yet those churchmen are bound, as are we all, by the Anti-modernist Oath [those old enough to have taken it… and many did…] and all the other Church condemnations of modern novelties. [This is a very sloppy phrase. He qualifies it as you read on, but it wasn’t well phrased. But this is how you write to benefactors.] Thus we refuse to approach Vatican II from any other angle than that of the Solemn Declarations (Profession of Faith and Anti-modernist Oath) drawn up before God and the Church. And if the Council is incompatible with such Declarations, then it is the novelties that must be wrong. We are relying on the up-coming doctrinal discussions to clarify these points as much as possible. [Indeed, this is our great and sincere hope.]
Profiting from the new situation arising from the withdrawal of the “excommunications” which has actually left the canonical status of the Society unchanged, several Bishops try to square the circle by demanding that we obey Canon Law to the letter on every point, as though we were perfectly in order, at the same time as they declare we have no canonical existence! [Hmmm… wait a minute. Just because they are not in a good canonical situation doesn’t mean that the Church’s law doesn’t apply to them.] One German Bishop has announced that by year’s end the Society will once more be out of the Church… Nice of him! In fact the only possible solution is the one we already asked for, namely an intermediary status, necessarily incomplete and canonically imperfect, but generally accepted as being intermediary, without our having to be constantly accused of disobedience and rebellion, without our having ridiculous prohibitions thrown at us. [Ridiculous prohibitions? Was it a ridiculous prohibition for a local bishop to say that there could not be ordinations within the confines of the diocese entrusted to his care by Supreme Pontiff? What it was – impolitic, etc. – it wasn’t "ridiculous". The fact remains that the SSPX bishops are suspended a divinis. They should not ordain without faculties, with dimissorial letters (which won’t be coming from any bishops for men who aren’t part of an approved group. So… it wasn’t ridiculous, though it may have been inflammatory to make such demands public.] When all is said and done, one more proof that the Church finds itself in an abnormal state, which we call a state of necessity, [Ah… the famous "state of necessity" which is the justification for their lack of obedience to the Roman Pontiff.] is the present words and deeds of certain Bishops with regard to the Pope and Tradition.
So how will things develop from here? We have no idea. We stand by our proposal to accept our present imperfect situation as being temporary, even while we enter into the doctrinal discussions that have been announced, in the hope that they will bear fruit.
But on this difficult path, in the face of such violent opposition, we ask you, dear faithful [here we finally get to the meat] , once more to resort to prayer. It seems to us that the moment has come to launch a major offensive, firmly anchored in the message of Our Lady at Fatima, where she promised us success, announcing that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. This is the triumph we are asking her for by the means she herself requested, namely the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Supreme Pastor and all the Bishops of the Catholic world, [An awful lot of well-informed people have not been able to square the claims of other that this was actually performed. I say… even if it wasn’t…. even if it was… couldn’t itbe done again? I suppose the Russian Orthodox would have something to say about that. I suppose one could argue that the repetition undermines the previous acts and therefore credibility of the previous efforts. But… well.. why not just remove the doubt?] and the spread of the devotion to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. So for this purpose [HERE IT IS…] we wish to offer her by March 2010 a bouquet of 12 million Rosaries, like a crown of 12 million stars all around her, to be accompanied by a similar quantity of daily sacrifices to be drawn above all from the faithful accomplishment of our duty of state, while we promise to spread the devotion to her Immaculate Heart. We are firmly convinced that if we take care to do what she says, we will obtain much more than we could ever have hoped, and above all we will make sure of our salvation by benefiting from the graces she has promised us. [I think this is a good approach. God will not be outdone in generosity. If we pray, each according to our state in life and zeal, God will give us graces.]
So we ask also of our priests a special effort to make this devotion easier of access for our faithful, [and there is no reason why regular diocesan priests and religious can’t do this too…] by putting the accent not only on the Communion of Reparation of the first Saturdays of the month, but also on living very close to Our Lady through the consecration to her Immaculate Heart. It would also be good to know better and to deepen the spirituality of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, the great herald of the Immaculate.
Our Society was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart 25 years ago this year. We wish to renew this happy initiative of Fr. Schmidberger by wholly devoting ourselves to that Heart and by reviving our own hearts in this spirit. Obviously we are not going to tell Providence what it should do, but we have learned from the examples set by the Saints and in Scripture itself that to have great desires can bring forward the designs of the good Lord in a remarkable way. [Sincere prayer according to the mind of the Church is never raised in vain.] Thus today we make bold to entrust this intention to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by asking her to take you all under her motherly protection. May God bless you abundantly!
On the feast of the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Winona, Easter 2009
Good points, interspersed with the usual pep-talk points for the holders of the check-books.
But that aside, the project proposed is a good one.
Whether or not there is an explicit consecration along the lines Fellay describes, who can say that 12 million rosaries for this intention wouldn’t be a splendid accomplishment and motive of graces.
I will leave the combox open with a cordial and sincere warning to anyone who might lack self-control in speaking about the consecration requested by Our Lady, about the Holy Father or his predecessors, or about the righteousness of the SSPX.
Go over the line… what you can probably guess my line is, not yours … and I will lock you out. Your choice.