At CMR Pat Archbold offers that, if Pope Francis can reach out so cordially to Protestants gathered at a conference, even send a video, then why shouldn’t he reach out to the priests and bishops of the SSPX.
A darn good question.
The Protestants, doctrine-challenged as they are, are much more distant from us than the SSPXers – who still are us, until some time when the Holy See officially declares them to be in schism.
It is interesting to note that Archbold had originally posted this at the National Catholic Register. But the Register removed the post. That’s something you might expect of the Reporter (aka Fishwrap), but of the Register? Pat Zummo described what happened at American Catholic HERE.
I don’t understand what the problem was. I am left scratching my head: does the Register not want greater unity of Catholics in the Church if that unity includes the SSPX?
Here is what Archbold wrote:
I have great concern that without the all the generosity that faith allows by the leaders of the Church, that this separation, this wound on the Church, will become permanent. [He is right to be concerned about the SSPX. I think that a lot of the priests would welcome greater manifest unity (and faculties). But now there are children of SSPX followers growing up who have never known clear union with their local churches.] In fact, without such generosity, I fully expect it. Such permanent separation and feeling of marginalization will likely separate more souls than just those currently associated with the SSPX. I have also come to believe that Pope Francis’ is exactly the right Pope to do it. In his address to the evangelicals, he makes clear his real concern for unity. So here is what I am asking. I ask the Pope to apply that wide generosity to the SSPX and to normalize relations and their standing within the Church. [Is that what got Archbold’s post removed?] I am asking the Pope to do this even without the total agreement on the Second Vatican Council. [Right! If the Fr. Feeney and followers could be reconciled, why not the SSPXers?] Whatever their disagreements, surely this can be worked out over time with the SSPX firmly implanted in the Church. I think that the Church needs to be more generous toward unity than to insist upon dogmatic adherence to the interpretation of a non-dogmatic council. [Is that what got Archbold’s post removed?] The issues are real, but they must be worked out with our brothers at home and not with a locked door. Further, Pope Francis’ commitment to the aims of the Second Vatican Council is unquestioned. Were he to be generous in such a way, nobody would ever interpret it to be a rejection of the Council. How could it be? This perception may not have been the case in the last pontificate. Pope Francis is uniquely suited to this magnanimous moment.
I don’t see anything wrong with this desire. Do you? Of course the SSPXers would need to cooperate. They would need to submit to the Holy Father’s authority. But were the Pope to reach out to them, directly, in the manner in which he reached out to that Protestant group… what bad could happen?