SSPX Superior Bp. Fellay v. SSPX Bp. Williamson

Brian Mershon posted at the site of The Remnant a story concerning the reaction of the SSPX’s Superior Bp. Bernard Fellay to the remarks published (made public) by SSPX Bp. Richard Williamson (which I examined here).

Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.

Bishop Fellay Denies Any Knowledge of New Motu Proprio
Dubs Bishop Williamson Rumor “Gossip” and [NB:] “Unauthorized;” Doctrinal Talks Continue

by Brian Mershon      

August 24, 2010—Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), one of four bishops whose excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2009, today categorically denied any knowledge of an alleged special motu proprio being planned by the Holy See for the SSPX as stated recently by SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson. [SSPX Bp. v. SSPX Bishop.  What is going on?]

 “I’m very annoyed by the whole thing,” said Bishop Fellay. “Bishop Williamson’s statement is an unauthorized statement and is his own personal statement and not that of the Society.”

 “It has never been the policy of the Society to base any kind of action or policy on gossip. I have absolutely no knowledge of any motu proprio.” [That, of course, doesn't mean that there isn't one, or that Williamson hasn't heard there is one from a source he trusts.  The point is that Williamson is out of step with the leadership of the SSPX.]

Earlier this week, Bishop Richard Williamson—who has allegedly been asked to refrain from publicly speaking on matters outside of faith and morals by the SSPX leadership—wrote a letter that was published initially on his website and then picked up by traditionalist internet Rorate Caeli blog. [Not only.]

In the letter, Bishop Williamson warns Catholics about the “danger” of a rumored motu proprio designed to lure the SSPX lay faithful into union with Rome and said, “…there is no way in which the neo-modernist teaching of Vatican II can be reconciled with the Catholic doctrine of the true Church.”

Doctrinal Discussions Continue

Bishop Williamson also said that according to both Holy See and SSPX sources, the ongoing doctrinal discussions have allegedly “run into a brick wall.

However, in today’s interview Bishop Fellay categorically denied this assertion. He said that the doctrinal talks with the SSPX representatives and Holy See theologians are ongoing and proceeding as planned with the next meeting scheduled in September.

 “There is nothing changed,” said Bishop Fellay. “All of this is gossiping and rumors and I’ll have nothing to do with rumors and gossiping. All of this is void—empty.

 “For the time being, everything is fine and everything is going smoothly according to plan,” he said.

[...]

Bp. Williamson is out of step with the leadership of the SSPX and he is not helping the SSPX’s cause.  Is this purposeful?

Most Catholics of good will hope that the SSPX will be able to join the fold formally and, once within, will be able to give their contributions to the whole Church.  This wound must be healed.  As I have written on more than one occasion, I look forward to the day when priests of the SSPX will be attending local diocesan deanery meetings and being elected to diocesan personal boards and presbyteral councils.

Perhaps you might offer for Bp. Williamson a prayer inspired by the psalmist: Pone, Domine, custodiam ori eius, et ostium circumstantiae labiis eius.

And, lest we forget, Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

Technorati Tags: , ,

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Linking Back, Pope of Christian Unity, SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to SSPX Superior Bp. Fellay v. SSPX Bp. Williamson

  1. JosephMary says:

    This bishop is a loose canon and an embarrassment to the SSPX. He is not only NOT in step with the Pope but not even with the SSPX. He refuses to be obedient right down the line.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Sadly, Bishop Williamson, who I have heard speaking in the past and the talk was an invective against the Pope, is usually out-of-step with Bishop Fellay. I feel a bit sorry for Fellay having to keep track of Williamson’s foot-in-mouth disease. Even if the rumors have some basis in truth, Bishop Williamson’s comments are less than helpful for reconciliation.

  3. B.C.M. says:

    I think there’s something deeper afoot here. His Misguided Excellence seems to have gone at least partway around the bend. I, for one, would not be suprised if the Bishop started writing in trochaic hexameter…

  4. becket1 says:

    Father you talk about the Pope of Christian Unity. [And so should you.] But how can we have unity among traditional and progressive Catholics when the high ranking clergy in France and the UK. Are doing all they can to suppress it. And getting away with it!. [I suppose you think they should all instantly be sacked. Then what?]

    From Rorate Caeli.

    Today, Sunday, August 22, Canon Jayr, provincial of the ICRSP in France, visited the faithful of the extraordinary form in Agen to announce the Institute’s withdrawal from the diocese following the deplorable welcome and climate of suspicion which followed the implementation of the Motu Proprio.

    [...]

    From the Daily Telegraph (Damian Thompson)

    [...]

    Monsignor James Curry, parish priest of Our Lady of Victories, Kensington, one of the capital’s oldest Catholic churches, is short of curates and so has decided to merge the Sunday Solemn Sung Mass with the Filipino Folk Mass. And guess who loses out? Inevitably, the professional choir so carefully assembled over the last few years, which will now be required only once a month. On all other Sundays, the newly formed Filipino Folk Group will be singing the liturgy at noon. Meanwhile, the informal 10 am Family Mass moves to 10.30.

    [...]

    [Yes, sad cases. In the meantime, good things are happening elsewhere. The revitalization of our Catholic identity is not going to be easy.]

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Another interesting tidbit from the Remnant story:

    “In related SSPX news, RealCatholicTV’s Michael Voris today broke a story that Bishop Fellay had recently visited eastern Pennsylvania prospecting for a new potential seminary—a former Vincentian seminary in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that could hold up to 160 seminarians. The former seminary is now called Mary Immaculate Center.”

    Mr. Voris speculated that the fact — if indeed it is a fact — that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia would consider selling this former seminary to the SSPX might another indication that some sort of reconciliation could be near.

  6. becket1 says:

    Who Hooooo!!!. I live in the Archdiocese in Philadelphia!

  7. becket1 says:

    Glad to hear it!!. Hopefully this is true.

  8. GirlCanChant says:

    I actually went on retreat at the Mary Immaculate Center when I was in high school.. It was shut down in July 2009. I have been wondering how it could be put to use. It has an absolutely beautiful chapel. Some of the stained glass windows are in Latin, if I remember correctly.

  9. asperges says:

    Prospecting for a new potential seminary.

    It also goes to underline that the one consolation of the modernist movement is that is is auto-destructive: no continuity, no vocations, whereas the traditional movements are bursting at the seams with vocations (cf trad Benedictines in Eu and the US, and other priestly groups).

    To God, this (for us) slow, but corrective, time is just a flicker in eternity. Good will prevail.

  10. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Poor Bishop Fellay. He has to dispatch not one, but two, negotiating teams. One to deal with Benedict XVI, the other to deal with Bishop Williamson. The harder negotiations, it seems, are to be had with the latter, not the former.

  11. robtbrown says:

    And, if rumours are correct, he may soon have even greater authority to influence the diocese, for the Congregation for Bishops – whose members, quite coincidentally, include one Cormac Card. Murphy-O’Connor – is thought to have considered forwarding Mgr Curry’s name to the Pope as an auxiliary bishop for Westminster.

    Bishop Jim Curry. With several Westminster vacancies coming up over the next year or two, I’d place a bet, if I were you. What do they call this system of appointments in Rome? Ah, yes. Il cerchio magico inglese.
    Comment by becket1

    It’s not that simple. The preference of Abp Nichols, the Apostolic Nunzio, the Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation all will have more influence on decisions than M-O’C will have. And let’s not forget the possibility of good old fashioned political duplicity. Abp Nichols and Card M-O’C could agree on one candidate, but the Abp and the nunzio could agree on a different one.

    It’s also well known that when Cardinal Bernardin was in his hey-day, he wanted Abp Kelly for NY–it didn’t happen. I also know for a fact that despite Cardinal O’Connor’s influence (also on the Cong of Bishops), all his candidates didn’t become bishops.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Two other points:

    1. The Vatican has lots of power if it wants to use. It is possible that word goes out from the Sec of State to every nunzio–no candidates who have stymied implementation of SP.

    2. I don’t know who is on the GB desk at the Cong of Bishops, but it’s also possible that the article by Damien Thompson could go into the Curry dossier.

  13. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I have had a theory for some time, here it is:

    Once a group splits off (I’m not making a canonical assertion, so no need to get into that), and then there are attempts to heal that, there will be a resistance to that–this is not about theology, it’s just the nature of the thing. An entity that is “on its own” is going to resist no longer being “on its own.”

    As the original motives for the split either are dealt with, or cease to be relevant, new ones will materialize. Individuals who have responsibility within the group will find reasons–almost always seemingly very good ones–for why “now is not the time,” or why a reconciliation is not to be trusted, etc.

    Also, as the move to split off approaches, and once it takes place, those who advocated must justify–before, during and after–what they are calling for. The tendency will be to amplify the grievances, and minimize any arguments or facts that weigh on the other side. After all, the move to break off is traumatic, risky and so–quite apart from actual merits of the case–a fair amount of inertia must be overcome. Also, along the way there will be strong arguments presented against breaking off, and the pro-secession arguments must be compelling enough to keep the momentum going, especially as the decisive moment approaches, to see it through.

    Afterward, all this has to be justified; and–if there was anything about which the secessionists might have a bad conscience, then all the more reason to sustain–or create new–rationales for the original trauma.

    After all, once there is a move to reconciliation, this opens the door to a powerful criticism: were we wrong in the first place?

    Now, none of this may seem particularly insightful, but understanding the human forces at work, including original and actual sin, then it seems to me that one can fully expect things like what we’re seeing to play out.

    Mark me, I am not making any moral assessment of anyone; I’m describing a general thing about how people are, how organizations work. It would be wholly unreasonable to think that the good people of the SSPX are somehow exempt from these influences and factors.

    So when the first moves toward reconciliation began, I wondered what sort of resistance would emerge, and whether there would be an increase in shrillness in opposition, from within the SSPX ranks. I wondered if at some point, there would develop a set of true believers who would threaten to hold back, and thus paralyze things. I wondered if an alternate leader, who represents the “real deal,” might emerge.

    None of this may explain what’s happening–but then again, it may, at least to some degree.

    If the SSPX comes back largely intact, that will be a marvel. Not saying it can’t happen, but it’s a lot to expect.

  14. SonofMonica says:

    I am truly ignorant of the subject, so forgive me, but where does the SSPX get all the money to build seminaries and pay all these new priests and what not? I was under the impression that the Society was pretty small…

  15. becket1 says:

    I hope and pray that if the SSPX are reconciled. That they are placed in Dioceses and Arcdioceses where they will be welcomed, rather than chastised. The Diocese of Agen in France and the ICRSP is a good example of what I am talking about.

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    “If the SSPX comes back largely intact, that will be a marvel.”

    I wouldn’t bet a lot against Pope Benedict’s ability to work just such a “marvel” if he views an SSPX in from the cold as a solid counterbalance for the reform of the liturgy and–ironically, considering the SSPX’s attitudes about the Council–the interpretation and implementation of Vatican II consistent with tradition.

  17. becket1 says:

    And yes Father I do talk about the Pope of Christian Unity. God Bless Him!!

  18. Geoffrey says:

    If the SSPX isn’t regularized and returned into the bosom of the Church soon, I think it runs the risk of being destroyed from within.

  19. big white van says:

    @sonofmonica
    The SSPX has been around since the late 70′s. While in comparison with the “Novus Ordo” they are quite small, about 400 priests and about a million faithful around the world they have plenty of money. While only a small fraction of the worlds billion Catholics donate to their parish/diocese let alone donate a significant amount, the regular Joe in a SSPX pew is giving every week and often giving generously. While the majority of parishioners are poor to lower middle class there are enough well to do ones that keep things going and build and buy new facilities.
    Don’t think that money and property aren’t motivating some of the in-fighting within the SSPX. Who holds the keys and checkbook to these properties? In most places, the Superior General which is currently Bishop Fellay.

  20. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Martin Fox:

    I think the dynamics you raise about separation and return in any group explain well what is happening with the SSPX. Perhaps this was also implied by the Holy Father when he stated that the EF Mass was not the only issue to overcome in reconciling with the Society.

  21. This comment is going to be almost too simplistic but… I feel the need to express this idea:

    I know that there is more too it than the SSPX just saying: “Alright, lets rejoin.” But if they did… wouldn’t it improve both “sides”? You would instantly give credibility and growth to the SSPX “side” of things. Seminaries would pop up left and right and traditional parishes and priests would be around every corner.

    You would also revitalize the somewhat marginalized traditional wing of the Roman Church. You would have people that would finally have access to traditional Mass, more traditional priests, and the “flavor” of the American Church would be positively changed.

    Again, I know it isn’t that easy, but maybe the SSPX’ers are looking at their “ROLE” in all of this the wrong way. Maybe they shouldnt ask: “What can the Church do for us” but instead ask “What can we do for the Church?”

    I see a great opportunity for all involved to grow and prosper if the SSPX could figure out a way to take the plunge.

    I know it is very simplistic to view it in this manner, but ultimately, if they don’t try and change their perspective a little bit, they might implode or permanently break off, neither being much good.

  22. JonM says:

    I think Fr. Fox identified precisely the group dynamics occurring, at least to some degree.

    There are of course issues even more essential than liturgical change that will have to be addressed for a full normalization.

    For example, the lax approach to Baptismal validity is incredible. Sure, a Protestant might have used the right formula- but why not be sure by administering a conditional Baptism? Are the feelings of schismatic heretics more important than being sure Step 1 is done?

    But why look to other communities when in our own family Priests are conducting invalid Baptisms?

    A major root branch in this whole this is the hydra monster of ‘religion as sociological’ and ‘there are billions of ways to Heaven.’

    These evil lies lead to either universalism or nihilism.

    I don’t thin rumor is appropriate conversation pieces. But as far as sins go, if only Bishops gossiped…I’d take chatty prelates any day over those who praise Mormomism, award openly heretical Priests, or present offerings to pagan gods.

  23. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    Any thoughts on the comments at the bottom of the Remnant article: “Bishop Fellay today confirmed that after Summorum Pontificum was issued, ‘the high-ranking prelate [with whom he'd had a conversation following the release of Summorum Pontificum] thought we would have 20 to 25 years before the New Mass would disappear.’”? Seems far-fetched to me.

  24. robtbrown says:


    The SSPX has been around since the late 70’s.

    Much sooner. They were going great guns when I was in France in 1972. I think the SSPX was formally founded in 1970.

    While in comparison with the “Novus Ordo” they are quite small, about 400 priests and about a million faithful around the world they have plenty of money. While only a small fraction of the worlds billion Catholics donate to their parish/diocese let alone donate a significant amount, the regular Joe in a SSPX pew is giving every week and often giving generously. While the majority of parishioners are poor to lower middle class there are enough well to do ones that keep things going and build and buy new facilities.
    Comment by big white van

    Agree about plenty of money, but it’s more than just the average Joe. The wealthy French nobility, which can be very Catholic, are often oriented toward the SSPX.

  25. Tom Ryan says:

    It’s the beginning of the end of Dialogue and the beginning of
    Catholic Unity.

    http://www.culturewars.com/Reviews/Unity%20Conference%20CDs.htm

  26. jlmorrell says:

    We need the SSPX regularized in the Church. If they are provided a structure (ordinariate?) in which they can operate free of the liberal bishops, they’re numbers will explode over the coming 10-20 years.

  27. Jason says:

    I agree very much with jlmorrell with the exception that I don’t think it will take 10-20 years for the SSPX numbers to explode once they are regularized. I think there are very many Catholics chomping at the bit to embrace them but are waiting because of the Society’s irregular status.

  28. MargaretC says:

    “All of this is void—empty.” Shades of Ecclesiastes…

    I found Fr. Fox’s analysis very plausible. For Bp. Williamson, and probably others in SPPX, being a “remnant” is now part of their identity. Giving it up would be extremely painful.

    Let’s continue to pray for their reconciliation. They have a lot to offer.

  29. Athelstan says:

    While in comparison with the “Novus Ordo” they are quite small, about 400 priests and about a million faithful around the world they have plenty of money.

    The number of lay followers is hard to pin down – I have seen estimates of anywhere from 400,000 to a million.

    But at present the FSSPX has 510 priests and a little under 300 religious brothers and sisters.

    As for where they get the money – their lay faithful certainly are generous, and include at least a few well off families have have been especially generous.

  30. lux_perpetua says:

    becket1,

    you’re going to have quite a commute, as the Mary Immaculate Center is in Northampton and I have no idea why Philadelphia had jurresdiction over it instead of Allentown. i seriously hope this is an accurate story as it is an absolutely beautiful place both inside and out.

  31. big white van says:

    @ geoffrey

    THe massive upheaval that will occur within the SSPX if/when it is regularized is significantly more frightening than if nothing changes.
    Change is hard, as we well know.

    There are pretty much three options in regards to the SSPX:

    1) They are regularized. A significant number of priests and laity will see this as a ‘sell-out’ and go sede or form yet another breakaway group. In time the ranks will come back up and eventually surpass where there were before but it will take quite a bit of time.

    2) They are officially declared schismatic. A significant number of laity and some priests leave because their hope that eventually all the “little technicalities” would be resolved is gone and the idea of being 100% no doubt about it excommunicated is too much.

    3) Nothing changes. Their irregular status remains irregular. No one gets worked up and leaves, no mass exodus….keep the status quo.

    I think it is safe to say the majority of SSPX adherents, priests and religious want #3.

  32. Jason says:

    It’s “safe to say” that the “majority of SSPX adherents” “want” to remain irregular?

    If the status they currently hold is the status they desire, why exactly would they bother with doctrinal discussions?

    With respect, your three options reflect a misunderstanding of what is going on here, and of Who is actually at work. These are not just the garden variety renegades that, unfortunately, pervade Holy Mother Church.

    The Holy Father is engaging them for a reason.

    I agree with you on one thing. Their regularization will produce upheaval.

  33. annieoakley says:

    Jason,

    “These are not just the garden variety renegades that, unfortunately, pervade Holy Mother Church. The Holy Father is engaging them for a reason.”

    Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the huge debt we owe the SSPX for keeping the Latin Mass alive. Without Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society he founded the Tridentine Mass would, imho, be a forgotten footnote in the Church’s liturgical history.

  34. big white van says:

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, the change the SSPX in entirety would love is for Rome to renounce Vat II, abolish the NO and appoint +Fellay as a cardinal among many other things. That is the whole reason they are engaging in these doctrinal discussions. I’m not an idiot to think they would prefer to remain irregular to ‘the conversion of Rome’ but I am a bit of a realist/pessimist and really don’t see that as a real possible option #4 at this time.

  35. J Kusske says:

    When the Hidden Christians in Japan were finally able to rejoin the universal Church, there were some who could not bring themselves to give up their unique traditions that had crept in over the 250+ years of being underground and cut off. To this day there are isolated communities of them on outlying islands. But thanks be to God most of the faithful were eager and overjoyed to be able to rejoin Holy Mother Church, for which their faith had been burning through all the persecution. So may it be now, by God’s grace, and may as many as possible heed the call.

  36. big white van says:

    ps. the whole ‘+fellay as a cardinal’ was a lame attempt at a joke. No one need think that the SSPX is praying or hoping for such a thing officially or unofficially.

  37. I think people want to be in union with Rome.

  38. Sixupman says:

    A npted SSPX cleric said two things to his congregation – in response to murmurings:

    You have the Pope you have, live with it!

    and,

    You cannot be in dispute with Rome indefinitely, such leads to separation from Mother Church.

    I can attest that many SSPX clergy hold +Williamson in scant regard, though sycophants abound. Covert Sede-vacantists.

  39. jrotond2 says:

    “I think there are very many Catholics chomping at the bit to embrace them but are waiting because of the Society’s irregular status.”

    As one who was reared in the SSPX as a teenager and has since left them, the above statement reflects my sentiments exactly. The SSPX is full of vitality as evidenced by their liturgical life, the average age of their priests (I’m guessing about 35), the plethora of spiritual “extras” like public Divine Offices, spiritual conferences, regularly scheduled 5-day Ignatian retreats, summer camps, and some very top-notch (and some not so) schools. I look forward to the day that I can avail myself of what they can bring into the Church. It is a rare diocesan parish in the US that has all of the above; the SSPX brings in an invigorated, classical European Catholicism (i.e. Medieval Catholic Triumphalism) that this country has never fully experienced even before V2.

  40. RichardT says:

    Where do they get the money from?

    I suspect they aren’t wasting it on lay administrators, liturgy experts, social policy advisory groups, fairtrade coffee, commissioning new music, giant puppets, useless press officers and so on.

    Yes, I’m sure a seminary or new chapel needs a few generous, and reasonably wealthy, donors, but without all the waste I suspect you can run a church on relatively little money.

  41. mark1970 says:

    !I think people want to be in union with Rome.” Father, I don’t want to be arguementative, but I know one or two people who attend SSPX Masses occasionally. They often come back with the story of the laity making comments like “We don’t want to get back with ‘that lot’” i.e. Rome/the Vatican/the “mainstream” Church. Their reason is that they view us as virtually heretics who have abandoned the true faith. These ones may not be the majority, but they are there, so there are definitely some who don’t want to be in union with rome.

  42. Fr Martin Fox says:

    RichardT:

    “I suspect they aren’t wasting it on lay administrators, liturgy experts, social policy advisory groups, fairtrade coffee, commissioning new music, giant puppets, useless press officers and so on.

    Yes, I’m sure a seminary or new chapel needs a few generous, and reasonably wealthy, donors, but without all the waste I suspect you can run a church on relatively little money.”

    I got a laugh from your comments, so I’ll give you your due; however, I can tell you it takes a lot to run a parish and a school, without those other things you mention that I agree we don’t need.

    We do need lay employees. I cannot keep the books and make sure we comply with all reporting requirements and employment laws. We do need people to make sure our computers work properly. You might be surprised how many hours a week it takes to comply with child-protection requirements. We need lay teachers; the parish office needs a secretary to answer the phone. You’d be surprised how much time that takes every day.

    Paying something close to a fair salary and benefits is the vast bulk of parish and school expenses. The cost of paying people to maintain extensive property is considerable. I don’t know about other places, but here, tuition nowhere near covers the cost of educating each child, although our costs are a bargain compared to the government schools.

  43. lizfromFL says:

    Father, please be patient with me – I was not sure where to post this. If I attend an SSPX mass is that okay? I am interested to attend an old form mass as I have never been to one. There is an SSPX chapel near to me; but no regular churches celebrate it near to me. Would it be okay? Grandma says no but I would like to have it official. Thank you.

  44. Hristoroquen says:

    See the following blog for a defense of the Truth and His Lordship, Bishop Richard ‘the Lionheart’ Williamson:
    http://middan-geard.blogspot.com/2010/08/fr-z-vs-sir-wolfram.html
    http://middan-geard.blogspot.com/2010/08/idle-gossip-or-duty.html

  45. hollingsworth says:

    You say (Fr.Z?) that “Bp. Williamson is out of step with the leadership of the SSPX and he is not helping the SSPX’s cause.”
    I am a lay participant at an SSPX Mass center. I think you correctly observe that +W is out of step with the leaders. You are incorrect, in my opinion when you state that “he is not helping the SSPX cause.” I believe he is helping to refocus the “SSPX cause in the direction it should be going, and that, furthermore, he reflects more faithfully than any of the current leadership the thinking of the Society’s founder, Abp. Lefebvre.
    I’m not sure to whom you refer by “Most Catholics of good will.” Would those be Catholics exclusive of SSPX Catholic faithful? I can assure you that any misguided, formal reconciliation with Rome will not be met with approval by many, many SSPX laymen. In fact, it would be the signal to abandon ship for many! “This wound must be healed,” you write. Yes, but not at the price of reuniting with apostate, Conciliar Rome. If you look forward to the day when priests of the Society “will be attending local diocesan deanery meetings,” and seeking elected offices on diocesan boards, then you look forward to the day when SSPX will no longer be SSPX.

  46. hollingsworth: he reflects more faithfully than any of the current leadership the thinking of the Society’s founder, Abp. Lefebvre … reuniting with apostate, Conciliar Rome … you look forward to the day when SSPX will no longer be SSPX

    Your zealous defense of Archbp. Lefebvre and Bp. Williamson reminded me of a story told by St. Jerome in one of his letters (ep. 22).

    St. Jerome had a feverish nightmare one night in Antioch, while recovering from an illness. In his dream, Jerome – this great scholar and lover of ancient pagan Latin literature – was brought to his judgment. The Judge asked Jerome who he was, and Jerome answered “I am a Christian!” The Judge responded: “You lie! You are a Ciceronian! Where your treasure is, there is your heart.”

    You, dear hollingsworth, are certainly a follower of the late Archbp. Lefevbre, who in so many ways was a great man and praiseworthy, and a defender of Bp. Williamson.

    I do indeed look forward to the day when the SSPX is no longer the SSPX … that is … an SSPX separated from Rome.

    I look forward to the day when the Catholic Church is simply and merely the Triumphant Church before the throne of God, and there is no Roman Catholic Church or SSPX.

    I believe that Christ knew what he was doing when he gave us the Petrine Ministry. We cannot set up the SSPX as the authority above Peter.

  47. hollingsworth says:

    “I look forward to the day when the Catholic Church is simply and merely the Triumphant Church before the throne of God, and there is no Roman Catholic Church or SSPX.”
    The Church Triumphant is yet to come. Since Her inception, She has always been the Church Militant. It goes without saying that there will be no apostolate formally designated “SSPX” when the Church is finally triumphant.
    “I believe that Christ knew what he was doing when he gave us the Petrine Ministry. We cannot set up the SSPX as the authority above Peter.”
    I do not believe that Abp. Lefebvre, whom you apparently admire, ever disputed the “Petrine Ministry.” But he did find it necessary, in a great crisis, not to submit in total obedience to the one conducting that Ministry at a particular point in time. Many other Catholics have been forced to that same position, as well. You are altogether right that the authority of SSPX can not be place above Peter. But when a presently reigning “Peter” deviates sharply from the teaching authority, and imposes views upon the faithful which are totally foreign to the grand majority of his predecessors, then a case can be made for a temporary act of practical disobedience in an era of extreme emergency.