29 June 1988. French Archbp. Marcel Lefebvre consecrated bishops without pontifical mandate. He, thus defied John Paul II who had personally appealed to him, create an ambiguous state for the SSPX which he founded, and incurred with the bishops who participated an excommunication.
This move prompted the creation of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (where I worked 89-97) as well as the foundation of the Fraternity of St. Peter. Some traditional groups who had been hitherto aligned with the SSPX chose to realign manifestly with the Holy See.
The SSPX insists that they have not separated from Rome.
Over the years, talks between the SSPX and the Holy See have followed a sine wave without resolution. Arcbp. Lefebvre, the great missionary in Africa and Council Father, died in 1991. In 2009 Benedict XVI lifted the 1988 excommunications on the living bishops, though in 2012 one of them was expelled by the SSPX. In 2013, Francis became Pope. Francis said that the priests of the SSPX could validly absolve sins during the 2015 Year of Mercy, which was extended by him thereafter. In 2017, the same Pope said that they could witness marriages, with cooperation of the local diocese.
The SSPX has nearly 700 priests worldwide. My personal meetings with them have been nearly always very positive.
30 years on, there are many issues to work through. The SSPX will soon hold a meeting of their members to determine their near future.
The Superior of the SSPX, one of the bishops consecrated in 1988, H.E. Bernard Fellay, recently gave an interview to the Tagespost. German HERE. French HERE.
One of the questions that caught my eye involves something that I have wondered about for years.
Why have you not strengthened the ranks of traditionalists within the Church and fought for the truth in unity with Rome?
This is partly due to the history of the French. Since the French Revolution, a good number of French Catholics have been fighting against the error of liberalism. Therefore, events during and after the Council were perceived there much more acutely and urgently than in Germany. It was not about blatant errors, but about trends aiming at opening doors and windows. The reforms which followed showed this more clearly than the Council itself. The problem crystallized with the new mass. In Rome, Archbishop Lefebvre was told: “Either – or. Celebrate the new Mass once, and everything is sorted out.” Our arguments against the new Mass did not matter. The Missal of Paul VI; written in collaboration with Protestant theologians. If one is forced to celebrate this Mass, then there really is a problem. And we were forced.
Here is another interesting bit…
Do you personally trust the Holy Father, Pope Francis?
We have a very good relationship. If we let him know that we are in Rome, his door is open to us. He helps us on a smaller scale. He told us, for example, “I have problems when I do something good for you. I help Protestants and Anglicans, why can not I help Catholics? Some want to prevent an agreement because we are a disruptive element in the Church. The Pope is in between.
(He smiles and shows a handwritten letter that the Holy Father addressed to him in French, which begins with the greeting “Dear brother, dear son”)
I remain astonished at the lack of generosity and charity that the Left – like Beans and Cricket and crew – show toward the SSPX, towards all Catholic tradition, and, apparently, how they hold Pope Francis’ desires for them in contempt.
I know so little about the SSPX, yet being a fool I’m going to wade into those waters, because we’re all entitled to an opinion.
I do not understand why the SSPX has chosen to remain silent on the deteriorating situation in the church. Actually, maybe I do understand it and really dislike the conclusions that must be drawn by any reasonable person.
“We have a very good relationship”. Really? How so. Does the fact that Catholics are confused and hurting have any impact at all on clerics? Does Truth matter? How can deals be made and a group who has made the upholding of Catholic truth it’s mission possible be making deals. This makes no sense at all.
I won’t even go into why the pope would be busy helping Protestants and Anglicans. …sigh….
So the pope has to answer to some cabal if he is kind to Catholics.
Lord, come and retrieve us, this world is just too weird.
I’m very sympathetic to the SSPX, but their whole situation is so confusing. On the one hand, we have prelates like Cardinal Burke and some priests in the FSSP say that they are still in schism and that we should avoid them at all costs. On the other hand, we have prelates like Bishop Schneider, Ecclesia Dei, and other priests (such as yourself Fr. Z) that say they are not in schism and that one can attend their masses to fulfill the Sunday obligation. And then the Holy Father extends their faculties for confession, but then Church Militant says that doesn’t count. So which is it? It causes scruples.
From what I can see from reading reports and some (quotations from) documents, it seems that the vast majority of what Pope Francis says is fairly traditional Catholicism. And I do not intend to “bash” him when I reject other things he says. But I do not trust Pope Francis to advocate for truth. What of the spouse who is faithful 99% of the time?
I have only been seriously involved with the TLM for six years (FSSP, not SSPX), but I am something of a history buff, so probably indulge in a little too much investigation. But the problem is, the more I learn, the more respect I have for Lefebvre’s seemingly extreme position. It seems the rot in the Vatican is generally far, far worse than even we traditionalists are led to believe, and Lefebvre understood exactly what he was up against. Fellay may be (wisely) understating his case. At this point, I think a fairly radical shake up of the entire Vatican hierarchy (hermeneutic of rupture) is required to clean things up. I don’t know how that might come about, but I no longer believe that the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ is going to get us where we need to be. But as a lay-catholic, all i can really do is pray and wait, and I’m not convinced it matters in whose Catholic Church. Our Catholic homeschool group includes NO, FSSP, SSPX and even Sedevacantist Catholics, and I’m pretty sure that all of us are praying for the same thing. . . .
I will wade in a bit, as well.
I used to be uneasy about the SSPX; at one time they were very critical of St. JPII and were not shy about what they saw as error in the Church. But Fr. Z’s charitable opinion of them kept me open minded.
Then came Francis, and not a day passes when I do not thank God for their courage and witness after the Council and up to the present day. It is comforting to know that even if the rest of the Church goes mad, they will NOT.
As to their circumspection about our recent unpleasantness (Amorous Laeticia, etc.), I applaud their prudence. Does anyone doubt the horror with which they must view these current developments ?! But they know that nothing they say will help things; those battles are for those still fully in the heart of things, the Four Cardinals, et al. They are wise enough to stay quiet and keep their powder dry. One thing is true, with metaphysical certitude : there will be no agreement on paper with this pope. They won’t be fooled into that. Better to keep their heads down and wait and see who the next man will be in the Chair of Peter.
God bless and preserve them.
I’m honestly in a pickle when it comes to the SSPX. While yes Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have extended an olive branch to them, they’re being in schism still stands and those granted faculties more or less seem to be encouraged only for situations wherein such are the only options rather than inclusion into the norm. Also my personal experience with the SSPX was far from good. The persons I met at the SSPX church in my hometown subscribed to some rather scary ideas like how the Second Vatican Council is a Masonic and communist conspiracy. An SSPX religious brother I met in my current city and who happens to be from my hometown had the nerve to take a jab at my parish priest after finding out where my parish was; my parish priest who’s orthodox declined their offer to become their chaplain and I believe it ruffled their feathers. The man who even started bringing back the Extraordinary Form in the Philippines was likewise betrayed and ousted from the Latin Mass group he started by ultratraditionalists and SSPX folks who also happen to fit the description of the ones from my hometown. So I don’t think it’s just modernists or ‘libs’ who’re cautious towards them but also a lot of orthodox folks. I truly want to understand them but every time it seems they just ‘other’ themselves by being so insular.
I have never understood why Conservative Catholics are more scrupulous about attending SSPX Masses than they are about attending abusive “approved” ones.
For as long as I can remember, the SSPX has been critical of the post Vat II Church. Priests, including members of the hierarchy, not being celibate? I assume their response would be similar you mine: What do you expect? From the mid 1960s the Church has been Protestantized.
Should be: similar to mine.
Unwilling, I recommend you watch not only what he says, but what he does, who he appoints, who he fires without cause, what he does to faithful communities, right now a French traditional order of nuns are in the crosshairs, who his dearest friends are, who he has put around himself. He has a clear modus operandi of saying two different things to different groups, saying what they want to hear, then turning around and saying the opposite. He keeps everyone off balance, then right after an outrage, says something orthodox. The pattern is so well established now it’s a given. I would also suggest in all friendliness and charity you study the Catholic faith as it was originally taught, using materials not created after 1965 or so, because you are going to get the reformed Catholic teaching, or as it used to be called, error. What we have now can’t be discerned unless someone is familiar with actual Catholic thought and teaching.
but their whole situation is so confusing. On the one hand, we have prelates like Cardinal Burke and some priests in the FSSP say that they are still in schism and that we should avoid them at all costs. On the other hand, we have prelates like Bishop Schneider, Ecclesia Dei, and other priests (such as yourself Fr. Z) that say they are not in schism and that one can attend their masses to fulfill the Sunday obligation.
Taylor, I agree that it is so confusing. I am going to offer some thoughts, but if I get any details wrong I hope more knowledgeable people will correct me.
As far as I understand it, the Society was erected originally with 11 seminarians in 1970 by Archbishop Lefebvre (not acting as an archbishop, though), in Ecole, Switzerland, under the provisional approval of the local ordinary, the bishop of Fribourg. The seminary had an apostolic visitation to evaluate it in 1974, wherein it received high marks – except for the fact that they would not say the Novus Ordo mass. In 1975, the new bishop of Fribourg suppressed the order, without explanation. Lefebvre appealed the act, and refused to close the order down. According to some sources, his appeal received no response. Because he did not obey the suppression, he was eventually suspended from the authority to ordain deacons and priests, and later suspended of all priestly faculties. In 1988, he consecrated as bishop 4 men of the Society, against the specific orders of the Pope. Because canon law and specific law governing says that a bishop may be ordained only at the approval of Rome, many have taken the position that this ordination was necessarily a formally schismatic act. In any case, Rome issued a declaration that it resulted in the automatic excommunication of Lefebvre and the 4 new bishops.
As an order, a specific body of men organized under specific leadership and charter, I am not aware that the order ever took any action – OTHER THAN disobedience to the act of suppression – that would constitute schism properly so called. If that is correct, it would be (I believe) more correct to say that the order is in a state of disobedience rather than schism. Arguably, the ordination of the bishops was not an act of the Order as such, but of the 5 men involved.
On the other hand, individual priests of the order in their own actions may have (in some cases, almost certainly have) gone much farther, and have done things that are specifically schismatic. For example, some of the priests say that they believe that the rite of ordination under the Novus Ordo is invalid, as a result so-called priests who are ordained under the Novus Ordo are not actually priests, and therefore the Society priest will refuse to say Mass with a Novus Ordo priest (even, say, acting as deacon or subdeacon at a EF Mass). The classic (non-formal) meaning of “not in communion” of schism aligns very well with “will not say Mass with nor receive communion with”. Other Society priests have explicitly denied that the Novus Ordo Mass itself is a valid Mass, and therefore reject hosts confected under the Novus Ordo rite. Thus, some Society priests may well be in a state of schism – but they are not so specifically and formally because they belong to the Society.
Lay Catholics who go to Society masses are not members of the Society, and so do not become in schism by assisting at such EF masses – unless, perchance, they know that the priest who is saying the EF Mass is (like the ones I described above) in rejection of Rome, and goes to that mass specifically in order to align themselves with that attitude of rejection of Rome. But this schismatic attitude is not due to being a member of the Society, nor merely on account of going to an EF Society mass. There could be, then, some higher risk of adhering to schismatic (or disobedient) attitudes by closely associating with Society priests if one does not make the effort to discern between them, such that blanket or thoughtless association with the Society could be an occasion of sin for some people. This would be a reason for words of caution by some bishops (like Cardinal Burke) to ordinary lay Catholics about associating with the Society – especially if there are other masses nearby to which one can go without associating with disobedient or schismatic priests.
As for fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation: I have heard the argument that in order to fulfill that obligation, one has to be present (not merely physically but also morally) at “THE” mass. That is to say, (as I have heard it), “the” mass on any given day consists in the mass said by the ordinary of the diocese … and those masses said by all those priests in the diocese who have received from the bishop the right to say mass, whose masses are in a sense the extension of the bishop’s own mass to the rest of his diocese. This implies (so they say) that masses said without permission of the bishop do not fulfill the Sunday obligation. Alternatively, some used to claim (before Summorum Pontificum) that because the Society priests is being disobedient to the local ordinary by saying the EF without permission, the mass is illicit and the lay people assisting at that mass were not fulfilling their obligation. I doubt that these arguments work; for instance visiting priests often say a mass for their family, for example, without receiving explicit approval from the local ordinary, but nobody argues that this does not fulfill the Sunday obligation. And there are other reasons as well.
Now with Summorum, it cannot be argued that using the EF “without special permission” is a reason for the mass to be a problem as far as the mass being licit. But more, by the way Pope Benedict worded Summorum, he seemed to imply that it never was a problem of licitness when a priest said the EF mass without explicit permission.
It is also interesting that although Benedict lifted the excommunications of the 4 bishops who were ordained by Lefebvre, he did not say that their act of receiving said ordination was not a schismatic act. Presumably, they still need to confess and be absolved for any sin applicable to that ordination. Effectively, Benedict was pointing out that excommunication is a tool the Church uses to bring a person back to the fold through repentance, and it was clear at that point (almost 20 years later) that the ongoing state of excommunication was not going to achieve any further good, but the act of lifting it might.
I would love to see a good canon lawyer explain the details ins and outs of the Society’s status. As far as I can tell, it seems to me that when the bishop of Fribourg suppressed the order, that should have made the Order a non-entity as far as the Church goes. But such acts can be appealed, and usually when such acts are appealed, (at least in civil law, I don’t know if canon law is the same) the EFFECT of the ruling is suspended until the appeal is decided. If neither the bishop of Fribourg nor Rome ever responded to the appeal (as is claimed), then… is the appeal still pending? Or, even more interestingly: under Canon Law, there are some acts that one can request of the local ordinary which, if he does not respond within 30 days, are automatically approved. I don’t know if the appeal to the suspension would fall under that category, but I suspect not. Probably the reverse – if no action, then the former act (the suspension) takes effect, is my guess.
To my mind, Rome is missing out on a fantastic opportunity: to appoint a new bishop as the head of the order, to erect the Society as a formal and permanent order and give it canonical status, to give “personal prelature” status to the “parishes” that are in good standing other than by not being under the direct authhority of the local bishop, and thus to unleash the potential of the Society priests as a force within the Church. The bishop so chosen would have to have 2 qualities: (1) be totally devoted to the EF (so, maybe a priest of the FSSP), and (2) be totally obedient to Rome and in some way able to bring along recalcitrant priests of the Society into a new attitude of submission to their new bishop (and thus to Rome) while at the same time remaining within the EF community. Once the priests of the Society no longer have to expend energy on trying to thread a needle between caving in on whether the right to use the EF depends on special permission while not going off the deep end in to schism, and once they are officially within the approved fold of the Church, that energy can be released to fight other evils in the Church like relativism and moral laxity. Of course, a pope would have to WANT to harness that energy, which is a doubtful prospect for the current pope.
The end does not jusitfy the means.
This was published on the 50th Anniversary of Solemni Hac Liturgia, issueed Motu Proprio by Paul VI on the Feast of Peter and Paul in 1968. I am quite sure it would be an appropriate document for the Society’s members to sign to effect their reconcilliation with the Hierarchy, the need for unity with which it itself urges lovingly. It would be acceptable, I think, to them, and would quiet those who would claim that the Society rejects the Magisterium of Paul VI and his successors so completely that they are extra fanum.
Perhaps Father Zuhlsdorf could bless us with a reading of the document, which distills the thought of the council fathers so adroitly as to provide a powerful remedy to those who would abuse that thought, preserved from error as it was, as a pretext for promulgating their own perfidious agendas.
I was once told by a religious that His Holiness was very amicable towards the Society in Argentina, successfully arguing that they be listed as part of the Catholic Church (at least legally speaking) so they could operate freely. My guess is that the Society has a very different face in different locales.
By their fruits shall you know them. Would we have the Mass of Ages anywhere if we did not have the Society of St. Pius X? Haven’t all traditional groups stemmed from the society? Is there any future in the church outside of the Mass of Ages? Is there any better way of worshiping God? Why wasn’t the Society of St. Pius X required to do something to be brought back into the fold? Could it be because they didn’t do anything wrong in the first place?
Disobedience to man, in the person of a superior, is permissible when God’s will is clear. The devil appeared to Padre Pio as his spiritual director and ordered him to leave the monastery, Padre Pio refused. God may have made His will clear to the holy archbishop. At least if we forgive Father for not stopping Brenda from dancing on the altar steps or Father Me from drawing attention away from God and to himself, we can forgive the archbishop for ordaining men to carry on his work as he saw his death on the horizon and the continuation of the Mass of Ages as indispensable.
And can we blame priests and faithful from wondering about anything the ‘spirit of the council’ promotes? It’s a mess. By their fruits you shall know them. “insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.” Matt 25;25
I was wary of the SSPX for a long time, but when Williamson was expelled, he seemed to take the craziest element with him. I do hope +Fellay remains at the helm.
Some interesting comments here. I am very familiar with both the SSPX and the FSSP. I began attending the SSPX back in the late 1970’s in Post Falls Idaho. That was just before they joined the SSPX. The priest at the time was a retired priest from eastern Canada, who had permission from Bishop Topel to say the 1962 Mass in his basement chapel. Then some folks from Post Falls found him and asked if he would come over to say the Mass on Sundays if they bought him a church. He said yes. So these folks completely outfitted the old church in the best Catholic things they could find.
After several years, the old priest new his time was nearing an end so he began a search for a group that could provide Traditional priests for many years. He found the SSPX. The Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre came out in the spring of 1980 for Confirmations and First Communions. I still have photos of that day. But in 1988 we came back to the mainstream church. And sadly agonized until 2008 when our local Archbishop gave us permission to hold a monthly TLM, IF we could find a priest. We did, a Dominican, came up to say a Dominican Low Mass once a month. Several things have happened since 2008 and in 2012 Fr. Ken Baker started saying a Sunday low Mass for us. Then in 2015 the Archbishop gave us a church and the FSSP sent out a priest. In 2016 we had grown so much that they sent a second priest. So now we have Masses 7 days a week.
So would I ever go back to the SSPX? Yes, if necessary. Without hesitation. I see them as the anchor to Traditionalism. So why doesn’t the SSPX give in to pope Francis? They don’t trust him. They insist on having one of their own as a Bishop, not one chosen by Francis. Check the Knights of Malta or the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
If we were to embrace that logic, then we should canonize Martin Luther for ushering in the Council of Trent.
St “Padre” Pio may have rightly disobeyed his “spiritual director” who was the devil in disguise (a story of the holy stigmatist that I have not heard before), but he always obeyed Holy Mother Church. Always. St Pio often said, “The hand of the Church is sweet, even when it strikes, because is the hand of the mother.”
Obedience is what makes saints, never disobedience.
So which is it
Anyone who states that the SSPX is in schism is either badly misinformed, or a malicious liar.
The Church authorities have never formally declared the society to be in schism and have even stressed the contrary on multiple occasions, due to the persistence of scurrilous rumours to the contrary. The late, great, Cardinal Dario Castrillion Hoyos famously said “they are not schismatic” repeatedly in one interview, until he was blue in the face.
The reason why negative rumours persist is because there are elements in the Church, including powerful ones, who have always lusted after the death of tradition and, with this Catholic obstacle removed, the complete protestantisaton of the Church.
Keeping people fraught about the Catholic SSPX is also one way of distracting from the heterodoxy the modern hierarchy presides over, from Jim Martin promoting homosexuality, to German Bishops issuing communion to heretics.
There are many good priests and lay people in the mainstream Church, but the public face of the mainstream Church is one of division and heterodoxy and this indicates who has their hands of the levers of power.
The SSPX have never repudiated the authority of the Church and Pope, but they do take a stand when required. The SSPX has never set itself up as a separate body. Every SSPX chapel displays pictures of the Pope in the sacristy or elsewhere.
Ultimately, when someone says “schismatic” in relation to the society, its just a cheap way of trying to scare people off and shut-down the discussion, without dealing with the salient points. Its exactly like when someone says “racist” whenever anyone has a reservation about immigration, for example.
It is disappointing and confusing that even people who should know better, such as Cardinal Burke and Michael Voris, attack the SSPX as “schismatic”. Would that they had such harsh words for the real schismatics of our time, such as the bulk of the German Bishop’s conference, for example.
Imo internal division is the great weakness of the traditional movement. It manifests by e.g people saying the SSPX is schismatic, or SSPX-supporters attacking other traditionalists as somehow “not good enough”. Whatever, the source, it keeps tradition weak and liberal orthodoxy strong and it must stop.
As for fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation:
Canon law only requires that the faithful “attend mass in a Catholic rite” to fulfill their sunday obligation. It really is as simple as that, because any additional hoops to jump through only makes the lives of the faithful more difficult.
In nay case, the Ecclesia Dei authorities have long since signalled that an SSPX mass is sufficient to meet the obligation, precisely because such a mass satisfies Canon law.
I have been attending the SSPX for 6 years now, as well as supporting traditional priests in the diocese etc. At first I was way of the Society too, but with research and – primarily – experience of them, all those fears quickly washed away.
A few things I have learned since going to the SSPX: (list is far from exhaustive).
– that the mass represents the bloodless re-enactment of the sacrifice of calvary, so we can all benefit from it. Prior to this, I had no idea the mass was supposed to represent anything. I can now see the point of mass. I was actually quite thrilled by the notion that what we were doing had a point, and an important one at that.
– about the problems with the new mass and why they exist. And accordingly, why the traditional mass is much superior.
– all about Fatima and its importance and relevance today, especially regarding the state of the Church. Prior to this, I had never heard about Fatima and its importance. (I had heard about a protestant minister who did good work with gangs in NYC though and I also knew what a Bar Mitzvah was.)
– (directly related to the above) I now know how to pray the rosary and about the first saturdays devotion. Previously I held that rosary beads were a quaint left-over from medieval times and would have died at the suggestion of mass on a saturday.
– that there is *much* more to the Catholic faith than simply the modern “God loves us all, we are all nice and the protestants/jews/muslims are all brilliant”. I now see that the Church is not an empty vessel.
– all about the Saints and in particular their magnificent writings which are of immeasurable benefit to us. Prior to this, I had never even heard of names like Bellarmine or Neri. I had heard plenty of toe-curling “Christian rock” though.
– about doctrine and encyclicals. I was amazed to learn that the Church had stuff written down and that Bishops actually gave us food for thought. Before, I thought the purpose of Bishops was limited to confirmations and to pose for annual, meaningless photo-ops with the local protestant ministers.
– about fasting / abstinence / penance. Again, I had vaguely heard of such things but only in the sense of “this is what we did in the dark times 100s of years ago. Now we sing, dance and clap about how brilliant the protestants are”.
Since finding tradition, its clear I was raised in a faux-Catholic environment, where the puerile ideology put forth was very far removed from the Catholic faith indeed.
The end does not jusitfy [sic] the means
For the past two generations, Modernists have not shrunk from using almost any means to justify their unjust end, the bundling of the Bride of Christ with the spirit of the age. One would have to be a bit dull-witted not to realize how that adulterous quasi-union is working out.
I’ve watched the situation closely and have the following HOPEFUL insights I would like to share. First, the leadership SSPX is preparing to enter into a General Chapter and will be potentially electing new leadership and meeting about important other things regarding the SSPX (note lay people are not members of the SSPX, though there is a third order). This interview by +Fellay comes right before the general chapter this month. Interestingly, the topic of the interview is about recognition and answering other important questions for the record about the SSPX’s position on hot button issues.
Early 2017 there was talk of imminent recognition of SSPX, which set off a flurry of worry from the Right in the SSPX and then the Leftist media started to publish its usual smear about Fellay (this is SOP for the media, just look at Benedict’s trouble for lifting the excommunications). I think, as a result, or perhaps according to plan, this helped to flush out the schismatics that were hiding out in SSPX, but also was a trial ballon in the media regarding official recognition (e.g. smoking out anti-SSPX stories). This also, if I am not mistaken, preceded the ousting of +Mueller – who ironically is the “bad guy” in the +Fellay interview about last years movement toward formal reconciliation (now a Jesuit, appointed by modernist Francis, has the authority over SSPX recognition… interesting)
Thus, ahead of this month’s General Chapter the above interview is published, in which I think +Fellay is again preparing the members of the SSPX and the faithful that attend SSPX masses/parishes, for the reality of an imminent recognition and agreement. He has also sent a call for prayer to all parishioners of SSPX masses for those in attendance at the General Chapter given the gravity of the selection of new leadership, and IMHO, a potentially acceptable agreement for full recognition of the SSPX as a personal prelature.
I think that this is also +Fellay’s swan song, the man (if you watch his interview and listen to his talks is just a joyful very engaging and attractive Catholic Bishop – for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0eTadAYK6o) deserves a rest from years a slings and arrows. And second, it allows SSPX to select a leader that is not as susceptible to the guilt by associate with Williamson, and further, one that the SSPX can ensure has never had any whiff of any sexual abuse scandals (last year, when recognition appeared imminent, there was some of those very accusations leveled against +Fellay as a purported basis that would force Rome to avoid formal recognition of SSPX). Though I have nothing but high praise for +Fellay (whose leadership has given me great comfort in trusting my soul to SSPX priests, and whom I know to be faithful sons of the Church, and no schismatic pastors), practically speaking, he is too easy of a target for the media.
I am not saying that the announcement of a formal structure for SSPX will occur this month, but I do think that they will be both electing a new leader to handle this new phase to finally study and develop a plan for formal integration of SSPX as a person prelature during the General Chapter. Then, later in the year, probably in connection with the Synod of the Youth, under cover of its likely scandal, will also be a recognition of SSPX by Rome.
While Pope Francis has been a real challenge for the Catholic faithful to understand and interpret, he is, by way of +Fellay’s statements clearly a friend of the SSPX, which is a very good sign (he supposedly read Lefebvre’s Biography TWICE and did make sure SSPX is a recognized CATHOLIC organization in Argentina). Interestingly, today some news of the scandal of sexual abuse in Argentina has just broken about Pope Francis. If there’s a sure way to see that Pope Francis may be engaging in operation RESTORE TRADITION, it is the fact that the media may soon be calling for his ouster due to this new scandal.
What is operation RESTORE TRADITION? To me, Pope Francis is a horseman of the apocalypse. He is a great destroyer in essence, maybe even unintentionally. That is to say, he is leading the whole Vatican II crowd into formal apostasy and splitting off from the Church — good riddance. For the year of mercy ended a while ago, and since then, Francis has been in overdriving giving the unfaithful their cake and letting them eat it, and then seeing them uncloak as the goats that they are.
“If we were to embrace that logic, then we should canonize Martin Luther for ushering in the Council of Trent.” I am going to completely ignore this comment because Martin Luther was a bad bad man and he’s most likely in Hell. Evil man.
“Obedience is what makes saints, never disobedience.”
Obedience to God is what makes saints. If the Bishops knew that implementing the new Mass was to empty every convent and seminary and result in vast apostasy and loss of souls. If a Bishop, in this case Archbishop Lefebvre, saw that the result of implementing the new Mass was to decimate the church, if God made it known to Bishop Lefebvre that it was His will that he ordain priests and bishops even against the will of the Pope, I argue that it would be a mortal sin for that bishop to obey the Pope.
I’d say the separation is due to many layers. The Holy Father desires union, but cannot force union. It seems the HF does not care one way or the other about the Liturgical matter, only that unity is preserved. Certain elements with the Curia detest the thought, probably the majority. The SSPX prefers a certain standard of Liturgy and catechism, but is not as rigid as some hardliner faithful (and some clergy in its ranks) would prefer. This indicates a certain element (faithful, clergy, maybe even a bishop or two) will schism either to the Williamson branch, to SSPV types, or to their own independent vagante groups.
“Obedience to God is what makes saints. If the Bishops knew that implementing the new Mass was to empty every convent and seminary and result in vast apostasy and loss of souls. If a Bishop, in this case Archbishop Lefebvre, saw that the result of implementing the new Mass was to decimate the church, if God made it known to Bishop Lefebvre that it was His will that he ordain priests and bishops even against the will of the Pope, I argue that it would be a mortal sin for that bishop to obey the Pope.”
Obedience to the Pope does not require one to submit to evil. One must show respect and civility but not groveling subordination. Truth is Truth even in the eyes of the sinner.
“Although obedience is precious because it places our whole life in God’s will, nevertheless, in practice it has its difficulties and these arise chiefly because the command itself does not come directly from God but through His representatives. Thus it often happens that we fail to see God in our superiors and to recognize His authority in them” (Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy).
@Geoffrey, I am not arguing against holy obedience but we must obey in all things except sin, and considering the fruit of obedience in this matter (mass apostasy and loss of souls) , it could be argued that if someone had a vision of what was about to happen were he to obey, it can be argued that to obey would be to sin.
I sometimes wonder if Archbishop Lefebvre waited a little longer if the Pope would have caved since he was not against the ordinations but against the ordinations in the ancient form, which had never before in history been outlawed. I wonder if it was a test sent by God to the holy Archbishop. But you can see that the marxists within the ranks of the Church herself had weaponized obedience. Old ladies handed over their rosaries out of obedience. What is it when the devil appears to you in the person of a superior and orders you to do something contrary to what you know is the will of God? Padre Pio said, “no.”