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[Taken from The Recusant, Issue 59. Every once in a while an otherwise well-meaning if misguided soul in the SSPX will attempt to defend Bishop Fellay and his 2012 Doctrinal Declaration. Here is one recent such attempt. The gentleman who wrote this document entitled it “Bishop Fellay Annotated” and the first part is simply the text of the Doctrinal Declaration with his own comments inserted (here in Italics, slightly indented) into that text. Since he had sent it to me inviting me to reply with my own thoughts, I inserted my own response into the text too (here, in bold italics, further indented). The second part, which he has entitled ‘The Case for the Resistance’ consists of him responding to a number of arguments which he imagines someone in the Resistance would make. Again, my own response is inserted throughout. We will refrain from further comment and allow the reader to make up his own mind. Enjoy.  – Editor]

Is the Resistance Justified?

 
(Bishop Fellay's Doctrinal Declaration

Presented to Rome
15th April, 2012)

 

"
We promise to be always faithful to the Catholic Church and to the Roman Pontiff, the Supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter, and head of the body of bishops."

 

May 5th protocol: (We) promise always to be faithful to the Catholic Church and the Roman Pontiff, its Supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Blessed Peter in his primacy as head of the body of bishops.

 

[Although the two documents differ further the further into the text one goes, the May 5th Protocol is, in its opening paragraphs, very similar to the Doctrinal Declaration. Correct me if I am mistaken: you seem to think that both are fine; I think they’re both bad. And yet, despite what you say elsewhere, Archbishop Lefebvre did in fact repudiate the May 5th Protocol. He even went on to blame himself for ever having signed it, saying that he had gone too far. So it would seem that he would not agree with you on this. ]


 

II
"We declare that we accept the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church in the substance of Faith and Morals, adhering to each doctrinal affirmation in the required degree, according to the doctrine contained in No.25 of the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council."

 

May 5th Protocol: We declare our acceptance of the doctrine contained in §25 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium of Vatican Council II on the ecclesiastical Magisterium and the adherence which is due to it.

 

[I notice that your version of the 2012 text is missing footnotes. That is a pity. Footnote 1, which appears at this point, makes it clear exactly what Bishop Fellay has in mind when he says this, i.e. what it is that is being accepted here. It refers to Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1989 ‘Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity’ which Archbishop Lefebvre found so appalling that he dedicated an entire section of a conference to attacking it when it when it first appeared. You should read what he says in that conference, it’s quite good. He shows just what this Cardinal Ratzinger ‘Oath of Fidelity’ really means: in practice it means that you have to accept not only whatever the current Pope thinks or says but also whatever the local modernist bishop happens to think or say “with religious submission of the mind and will” even if it differs from what the bishop of a neighbouring diocese says or even what his own predecessor said. With the addition of that one footnote, this paragraph alone would have sunk the SSPX in practice and has rendered it unfaithful in principle.]

 


"1. We declare that we accept the doctrine regarding the Roman Pontiff and regarding the college of bishops, with the Pope as its head, which is taught by the dogmatic constitution Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I and by the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, chapter 3 (de constitutione hierarchica Ecclesiae et in specie de episcopatu), explained and interpreted by the nota explicativa praevia in this same chapter."

 

May 5th Protocol: Regarding certain points taught by Vatican Council II or concerning later reforms of the liturgy and law, and which do not appear to us easily reconcilable with Tradition, we pledge that we will have a positive attitude of study and communication with the Apostolic See, avoiding all polemics.

 

[You will notice that the May 5th Protocol says nothing about accepting Vatican II’s teaching “regarding the college of bishops” – i.e. collegiality. We declare that we accept collegiality which is taught in Lumen Gentium (not surprisingly, ‘Pastor Aeternus’ has nothing to say about a fabled “college of bishops”). Nor does the May 5th Protocol begin this paragraph with the words “We declare that we accept…” It merely says that we will “have a positive attitude,” whatever that means, and avoid polemics. Which, I agree, is bad enough, even if it is rather vague-sounding. But this 2012 version is noticeably much worse and far more explicit.]

 


"2. We recognise the authority of the Magisterium to which alone is given the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, in written form or handed down in fidelity to Tradition, recalling that 'the Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter in order for them to make known, through revelation, a new doctrine, but so that with His assistance they may keep in a holy and expressly faithful manner the revelation transmitted by the Apostles, that is to say, the Faith.'"
 

[I notice you have skipped over this paragraph entirely. Well, fair enough. There’s not a lot one can say, except to wonder exactly what is meant by the modernists when they talk of “the authority of the Magisterium” and to note that Cardinal Ratzinger made it very clear to Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 that what he considers it to mean is, in reality, the whim of whatever the current Pope and modernist Curia happen to want. So this paragraph is dangerous in that sense, even if it is perhaps one of  the least explicit, least offensive sections of this document.]

 

 

"3. Tradition is the living transmission of revelation "usque as nos" and the Church in its doctrine, in its life and in its liturgy perpetuates and transmits to all generations what this is and what She believes. Tradition progresses in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, not as a contrary novelty, but through a better understanding of the Deposit of the Faith."

 

[Footnote 8, which again you haven’t included, makes clear that the phrase “Tradition progresses in the Church…” is lifted directly from Vatican II’s Dei Verbum. Look it up and read it in its context. Dei Verbum says that this “progression” involves the laity coming to a better understanding through “contemplation and study” and through “the spiritual realities which they experience,” whatever that means. It is straight-up modernism.]

 

 

4. The entire tradition of Catholic Faith must be the criterion and guide in understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which, in turn, enlightens - in other words deepens and subsequently makes explicit -  certain aspects of the life and doctrine of the Church implicitly present within itself or not yet conceptually formulated.
 

[I am more than a little surprised to see that you have nothing to say about this clause. Tradition is how you understand Vatican II… and Vatican II is how you understand Tradition! Can you see a potential problem with this? I think I can… To say that Vatican II “enlightens and deepens” Tradition or the Faith or Catholic teaching, or indeed anything at all for that matter, is just unacceptable. Anyone who declares this needs to stop calling himself a Traditionalist. If there were no other problem in this whole document and every paragraph were fine except this one, that would still mean that the entire document needs to be thrown in the bin and the men who composed it severely disciplined.]

 


"5. The affirmations of the Second Vatican Council and of the later Pontifical Magisterium relating to the relationship between the Church and the non-Catholic Christian confessions, as well as the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, whose formulation is with difficulty reconcilable with prior doctrinal affirmations from the Magisterium, must be understood in the light of the whole, uninterrupted Tradition, in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Magisterium of the Church, without accepting any interpretation of these affirmations whatsoever that would expose Catholic doctrine to opposition or rupture with Tradition and with this Magisterium.

 

Only a person of ill-will would interpret the above clauses as ‘acceptance’ of Vatican II. In any case it is clarified by the next clause:

 

[You just skipped over the previous clause (III,4) entirely and yet you talk about ill will! Good will or ill will has nothing to do with it. And we’ll get to the next clause in a moment. Nor does anyone need to ‘interpret’ this paragraph: just read what it says. It very clearly is an acceptance of Vatican II. It says that religious liberty, ecumenism and all the rest have to be understood as being in line with everything that came before – “in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught” – in other words, you aren’t allowed to say that Religious Liberty isn’t in line with Tradition. It goes on to say that you aren’t allowed to see Religious Liberty (and the other stuff) as being in “opposition or rupture with Tradition”. This is no different to Benedict XVI’s own ‘hermeneutic of continuity’.]

 

 

"6. That is why it is legitimate to promote through legitimate discussion the study and theological explanations of the expressions and formulations of Vatican II and of the Magisterium which followed it, in the case where they don't appear reconcilable with the previous Magisterium of the Church."

 

This was the clause which Rome absolutely rejected. They were behaving as though Vatican II was infallible and not to be questioned.

 

[This clause talks about the need for “study and explanations” of Vatican II and the “Magisterium which followed it” i.e. the teachings of the conciliar Popes. So according to this clause, whenever you come across a teaching of Vatican II or one of the conciliar Popes, and you think it sounds wrong, and you can’t see how it can possibly be in line with what the Church taught prior to Vatican II… the answer is “discussion.” It might as well say “dialogue.” You will also notice that it is presented as being only a question of appearances: “in the case where they don’t appear reconcilable…” – so if you can’t see how the teaching of ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ can be squared with the teaching of ‘Quanta Cura’ and the Syllabus, then that’s just your fault for not seeing things right! What you need is even more “explanations” and “study” and “discussions”! Modern Rome will dialogue you into submission!] 



"7. We declare that we recognise the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention to do what the Church does according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary Rituals legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II."

 

May 5th Protocol: Moreover, we declare that we recognize the validity of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does, and according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Rituals of the Sacraments promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

 

NB: Both statements merely mean that the Society recognizes that Paul VI and John Paul II had the right to promulgate liturgical rites. Hence, it is not a judgment on the Novus Ordo itself. To claim that Bishop Fellay said that the Novus Ordo was legitimate amounts to calumny.

 

[N.B. – What is the difference between the two statements? The  May 5th Protocol talks about the “Roman Missal…promulgated by Pope Paul VI” whereas this new-and-improved 2012 version talks about the “Roman Missal…legitimately promulgated by Pope Paul VI.” Other than that both statements are word for word the same. The only difference is that one word. Do you think that one little word “legitimately” might be significant? Archbishop Lefebvre called it an illegitimate (or ‘bastard’) Mass. Here the SSPX declares that it is something which was “legitimately promulgated”.

 

As for the phrase “legitimately promulgated” meaning nothing more than that Paul VI had the right to promulgate it, that is plainly not what the text says. It describes the new rites, all of them, as “legitimately promulgated.” Note the past participle, i.e. it’s something that’s already been done. If I were to describe you as “legitimately married” to your wife, that doesn’t merely mean that you could have got married had you so wished! If the New Mass has been “legitimately promulgated” then its promulgation was legitimate. Hence this paragraph amounts to the SSPX declaring that the New Mass is legitimate and every honest person can see that.]

 

 

"8. In following the guidelines laid out above , as well as Canon 21 of the Code of Canon Law, we promise to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those which are contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by John-Paul II (1983) and in the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Churches promulgated by the same pontiff (1990), without prejudice to the discipline of the Society of Saint Pius X, by a special law."

 

May 5th Protocol: Finally, we promise to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II, without prejudice to the special discipline granted to the Society by particular law.

 

[Both versions of this clause are no good, but arguably the 2012 version is worse being a more detailed and explicit acceptance of something bad. “The guidelines laid out above” seems to refer to paragraphs 5 and 6, namely that one has to see Vatican II as being in continuity and not rupture with what came before and that where a rupture is apparent, the answer is “discussion” as a means of arriving at “explanations”.

Summary:

Archbishop Lefebvre condemned his own signing of the May 5th Protocol. This document is noticeably worse in a number of ways.

 

The May 5th Protocol does not “declare that we accept” Collegiality; it says nothing about Tradition “progressing in the Church” per Dei Verbum, nor does it declare that Vatican II “enlightens and deepens” Catholic teaching; it makes no suggestion about Vatican II’s teaching being “coherent with the truths previously taught” or that seeing conciliar teaching as a “rupture” is unacceptable. It does not sign anyone up to “discussions,” “study,” “explanations” and “formulations” as a means of explaining away every instance where Vatican II doesn’t “appear” to be “coherent” with Catholic teaching. It describes the New Mass and the other      modernist rites as “promulgated by” and not “legitimately promulgated by” the modernist Popes.

 

The May 5th Protocol does not accept Cardinal Ratzinger’s Declaration of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, which only appeared one year later, the same Declaration of Faith and Oath of Fidelity which Archbishop Lefebvre explicitly condemned in the very strongest terms that same year, given which its inclusion in this Doctrinal  Declaration is egregious. Finally, there is much in a name. The May 5th Protocol was a protocol. The Doctrinal Declaration is a declaration. Its purpose is to declare doctrine, according to the document’s own title. The doctrine that it declares is an acceptance of Benedict XVI’s so-called ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ and thereby a wholesale acceptance of Vatican II, not to mention the legitimacy of the New Mass. ]

 

*   *   *   *   *

The Case for the Resistance

 

“Archbishop Lefebvre disowned the protocol and withdrew it. It is obvious that the doctrinal declaration is in substance the same as the May 5th Protocol and the Arch-bishop wasn’t happy with its clauses.”

 

This is not true, all the Archbishop did was to attempt to add a further clause committing Rome to agree to the consecration of a Bishop for the Society. This was his attempt to test Rome’s goodwill.

This is how the Archbishop described the Protocol afterwards: “Good in itself, it is acceptable. If it were not, I would not have even signed it in the first place, that is sure.”

And even on the evening before the episcopal consecrations, he said that he would have postponed the consecrations until the date selected by Rome if permission for a consecration had arrived that day. (cf. Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican )

 

It is therefore logical that if the Archbishop had no problem with the May 5th Protocol then the Doctrinal Declaration cannot be criticised unless it is asserted that the Archbishop too was somehow straying from tradition.

 

[I would be very interested to see the source for that Archbishop Lefebvre quote of yours, and in particular, when he said it. In the meantime, nobody should have any difficulty in criticizing Archbishop Lefebvre for signing the May 5th Protocol because, after all, Archbishop Lefebvre would later criticize Archbishop Lefebvre for signing it. And whereas there were priests at the time who voiced their opinion about the May 5th Protocol and his signing of it, I don’t recall Archbishop Lefebvre throwing a single one of them into the street without a penny to his name. Furthermore, as we have shown above, the Doctrinal Declaration is significantly worse in a number of ways.]

 

“The Archbishop said that it was a pre-condition for talks with Rome that Rome should convert. Bishop Fellay has ignored this stricture and has accepted Modernism.”

 

This is admittedly true but his words must be seen in context. He was saying something which he, and many others believed to be true. It was not in any sense a ‘pre-condition’, a lawyer might term this opinion as ‘obiter dicta’. Besides, if Rome converted there would be no need for an agreement with the Society.

 

  • July 14, 1987 Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger: “eminence, even if you give us everything—a bishop, some autonomy from the bishops, the 1962 liturgy, allow us to continue our seminaries—we cannot work together because we are going in different directions. you are working to dechristianise society and the church, and we are working to christianise them.”

 

  • Do not forget that he called the Vatican authorities antichrists before negotiating and signing the Protocol.

 

[…and then what happened? You seem to be missing a few extra bullet points here - reading your words, one might be forgiven for thinking that Archbishop Lefebvre suddenly dropped dead on 6th May 1988! As for his words about Rome needing to convert being ‘obiter dicta,’ if that is so then surely his entire sermon on 30th June 1988 must be regarded as obiter dicta, as also his actions on that historic day. As indeed his words and actions from that moment until his death three years later. Absurd.]

“Bishop Fellay knew that the contents of the doctrinal agreement of 2012 were ‘dodgy’ which is why he kept it secret.”

 

But he had no reason to keep it secret apart from the usual one: no sensible religious or secular leader ever releases the contents of an agreement which has failed. To do so would cause divisions and over-speculation. This has been borne out by subsequent events.

 

[How interesting. The title of the document is “Doctrinal Declaration”. I am still trying to wrap my mind around this concept that one can declare something in   secret. Or for that matter, that one can keep one’s doctrine a secret. “No sensible religious or secular leader” - if by “sensible” you mean conniving and dishonest, then I agree with you; and by “religious or secular leader” you perhaps mean Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Justin Welby…? That is the standard which we can now expect of the SSPX? I see. Also, you don’t appear to have noticed the irony in your own words: you say that Bishop Fellay kept his “Doctrinal Declaration” a secret for a year because otherwise it would have caused “divisions and over-speculation.” I seem to remember quite a bit of division and speculation during that time, so clearly this “sensible” tactic didn’t work, did it? It’s almost as though one ought instead to be open and honest about one’s doctrine and confess Christ  publicly…]

 

 

“But the other 3 Bishops severely reprimanded Bishop Fellay in a letter to him which was leaked to the Internet.”

 

The Bishops were objecting to matters of procedure and tactics. They were certainly not objecting to doctrinal concessions. In any case they resolved their difficulties except for Bishop Williamson. Many things are said in private, good, questionable and downright bad. It is not for us to make assumptions on the basis of a private letter which lacks any context.

 

[“They certainly were not objecting to doctrinal concessions?” Are you saying that there were in fact doctrinal concessions? Or are you saying that they didn’t object to doctrinal concessions because there weren’t any to object to? In any case, their letter existed prior to the Doctrinal Declaration, so arguably there wasn’t any concrete evidence of doctrinal concession for them to object to yet at that stage.

 

What they very much did object to was the Superior General disobeying the one SSPX authority higher than him, namely the clear decision of the most recent General Chapter (2006), which I notice you seem to have forgotten about. And it wasn’t really a private letter: its contents dealt with the common good directly affecting every priest and faithful of the Society concerning matters which were being played out in public. Has it occurred to you, by the way, that there could have been no such letter had those three bishops been treated properly and at least kept in the loop? People don’t as a general rule go writing joint letters of protest to their superiors unless the feel that there is no other recourse. And I don’t know what you mean by saying that the letter “lacks context”. The context is as plain as the nose on your face.]

 

 

 

“Bishop Fellay dealt too harshly with dissenting priests and a bishop who tried to openly criticise the Doctrinal Declaration.”

 

We have only anecdotal evidence for this but in a few cases some of these priests had a history of ‘doing their own thing’ and defying those put in authority over them. Fr Joseph Pfieffer, for example, ran his own private fiefdom in India and completely disregarded the authority of the district superior.  The same was certainly true in the case of Bishop     Williamson, who started all this trouble in the first place. It is quite obvious to anyone who knows the Bishop that his personal animosity for Bishop Fellay is plain to see. SSPX is no different to any other religious order in the Church and it requires obedience from its members. The exception, of course, is if the authorities were demanding sinful actions of their subordinates, patently not the case here. How could Bishop Fellay realistically hang on to Williamson when the latter was holding anti-Fellay seminars in St Saviours, Bristol? It is on Youtube! As is commonly recognised: ‘if you want to criticise the government you do it from the back benches.’

 

[I am no fan of Bishop Williamson, as I think you know, but you are being unfair to him here. I attended most if not all of those seminars and they weren’t all “anti-Fellay.” At the last one, the one which took place in 2012 and which I also attended - I think that is the one on youtube to which you refer - yes, the subject came up right from the start and was dealt with quite extensively. There was no way it wasn’t going to come up, everyone in the District seemed to be talking about it as were the secular media. Bishop Fellay by his words and actions had already ensured that. The other seminars I attended were, I seem to recall, in 2011 and 2010. Possibly even 2009, I forget now. I attended them and yet - you might also recall - I was   regularly publicly defending Bishop Fellay on ‘Ignis Ardens’ and elsewhere   roughly until a little way into 2012. In fact I felt then that some more solid evidence of his alleged betrayal was needed and that, like everyone, he deserved to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. That evidence first appeared in the March 2012 Cor Unum and kept appearing all the way through April, May and June 2012, in public interviews with the press, public sermons and the like. Given which, these “anti-Fellay” seminars must have been remarkably ineffectual. Whereas, in fact, they were seminars discussing all sorts of other topics. The misconception is not your fault: not having attended them yourself, you can’t be expected to have been aware of that.

So much for Bishop Williamson, with whom, as I say, I have very little in common.  When it comes to the other priests who were thrown out, their treatment and the supposed “crimes” which led to it, were often a fact made public before the whole world. To take just one example, Fr. Hewko’s offending sermon is still on youtube. Listen in vain for any reference to Bishop Fellay, Benedict XVI, Rome or an agreement. He never mentioned it once. He also submitted the sermon to his superiors beforehand and obtained their explicit permission to preach it. But that still didn’t stop them from treating him little better than a child molester afterwards. To take another example, Fr. Patrick Girouard was punished for reading out loud some passages from the book “Catechism of the Crisis in the Church” by Fr. Gaudron, which was then on sale in the repository and on the Angelus website. Again, the offending sermon was recorded and put on the internet by the SSPX itself. With relatively little time and a little patience you could verify for yourself that what I say is true, instead of attempting to dismiss it in all as “anecdotal”. You then proceed immediately to talk about these priests having “a history” of “doing their own thing” whatever that means, as though that isn’t anecdotal at all! They had it   coming, your honour. I heard it from someone who heard it from someone that Fr. Pfeiffer had a little bit too much apostolic initiative and that he didn’t always get on with the District Superior. So there! ]

“Bishop Fellay always wanted an agreement with Rome at any price.”

 

Then why did he send three of the most outspoken and hard-line theologians to carry out the doctrinal negotiations?

 

[This is a curious defence. The interesting thing about the doctrinal discussions is that they were subsequently ignored: Bishop Fellay proceeded immediately with the intention of reaching a formal, signed agreement with Rome in the spring of 2012, despite the result of the doctrinal discussions at the end of 2011 being a clear and unbridgeable gulf between Rome and the SSPX. That is what one District Superior, Fr. Paul Morgan, reported in the district newsletter before he was slapped down by Menzingen for talking out of turn and revealing too much information to the plebs. Bishop Fellay’s only justification for why he had gone ahead despite the failure of the doctrinal discussions was to say that although he personally “would have liked to wait,” “the Holy Father wants it to happen now.” Hence, given the way in which the doctrinal discussions were totally ignored in the aftermath and appear to have had no bearing whatever on the attempt to turn the SSPX into the latest iteration   of the FSSP, I think it hardly matters which theologians were appointed. As for whether Bishop Fellay “always” wanted to do this, I honestly don’t know and I’ll leave speculating about that to you. What matters is that by the start of 2012 he very much wanted it. ]

 

“The doctrinal declaration says that Bishop Fellay accepts all the errors of Vatican II such as religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality.”

 

This is an outlandish and uncharitable statement which I have often heard. It is not only at odds with everything the bishop said during the negotiations it also contradicts clause 6 of the declaration which insists that the Society should be free to openly criticise Vatican II and the New Mass. A demand which was rejected out of hand by the Vatican.

 

[No, it may appear outlandish to some, but it is not in the least uncharitable and furthermore it is most certainly true.

 

“It is at odds with everything the bishop said during the negotiations…”

 – See below for a very, very limited list of some of the things the bishop said during the negotiations. Very limited.

 

“…it also contradicts clause 6 of the declaration which insists that the Society should be free to openly criticise Vatican II and the New Mass.”

  – I think you need to go back and re-read this clause: it doesn’t say what you  think it says or want it to say. The words “free,” “openly” or “criticize” do not   appear anywhere, nor do their synonyms. What it does talk about is discussions, appearances, formulations, and explanations. And in the same breath it mentions Vatican II and “the Magisterium which followed it” together with “the previous Magisterium” as though the two were of equivalent value or consistent with one another. Which is surely the whole point of that clause.]

 

 

"Aha! What about the visit of Bishop Egan to St Michael’s school? Doesn’t that show that SSPX is embracing modernism?”

 

 The Bishop asked for a visit and came in for a lot of hostile press coverage afterwards. I ask you, is having tea with the priests and joining the children for rosary really so evil? Again we cannot judge motives and are obliged to be generous.

 

[“They seek to ingratiate themselves with the local bishops, praising them for the least sign of Catholic spirit and keeping quiet on their modernist deviations (unless perhaps it is a question of a diocese where they have no hopes of starting up), even though by doing so they end up encouraging them along their wrong path.”

– (‘What are we to think of the Fraternity of St. Peter,’ 

http://archives.sspx.org/SSPX_FAQs/q13_fraternity_of_st_peter.htm ]

     

 

 

“And what about the ‘concessions’ to SSPX regarding marriages and confessions?”

 

Much is made of the SSPX accepting permissions from Rome to hear confessions and perform marriages in conjunction with the local diocese. Other permissions may be in the pipeline – who knows?

 

Suppose a resistance fighter is languishing in a Gestapo cell and starving to death. One day a guard passes by and chucks a morsel of bread through the bars. When the prisoner gobbles up the bread, does that make him a Nazi sympathiser?

 

It is easy to point the finger at SSPX and perhaps mistakes have been made in the past. Rome has 2000 years of diplomatic expertise which it can use to further the interests of Holy Church. When such resources are now used to destroy the Church everybody must take care and try to see the bigger picture. The permissions granted by Rome regarding confessions and marriages were designed purely to make mischief and sow division in the ranks of the SSPX faithful. In that they were successful. SSPX never asked for these so-called concessions and it is only people of ill will who point the finger and accuse SSPX of doing a deal with Rome. As Bishop Fellay said; “if you can’t get permission from the local Bishop for a wedding, adopt plan B.”

 

[“As Bishop Fellay said; ‘if you can’t get permission from the local Bishop for a wedding, adopt plan B.’ ”

  – Yes. I think that what a lot of people - rightly - have a problem with is the very idea of seeking permission in the first place: “getting permission” to be a    Traditionalist, “getting permission” to use the Rites which have always been in use by Holy Mother Church and which are the birth right of all Catholics; worse than that, “getting permission” from the very people who are busily destroying the Church, who regularly profess all kinds of heresies and who can usually be found giving their “permission” for LGBT drag queen story time Mass or other such horrors.

To answer your question about the Resistance fighter, no, that doesn’t make him a Nazi sympathiser. However, your analogy is flawed. The SSPX surely is not in any kind of metaphorical prison, nor is modern Rome the jailer of the SSPX. Is the SSPX really at the mercy of modernist Rome in the way that your Resistance fighter is totally at the mercy of the jailer? What’s more, for your Resistance fighter to find himself in jail in the first place, he presumably would have to have been captured   at some point. Which means that either he surrendered, or one of his superiors surrendered on his behalf. Is that really where we want to go with this analogy, that the SSPX was surrendered to modern Rome and has been captured by it? I would say that that is true now. Whether it was already true back in 2011 or 2012, I’m not so sure, I think I’d have to answer ‘no’. A more apt analogy might perhaps be to ask whether every single soldier in General Franco’s army, for the duration of the Spanish Civil War, had to ask permission of the Republican government before every action: permission to draw their pay; permission to wear the nationalist    uniform; permission to sing the Marcha Real; permission to open fire on the enemy. It’s absurd. Are we at war with the modernists or are we not? Are they the enemy that we are trying to overcome, or are they not? 

“It is easy to point the finger at the SSPX and perhaps mistakes have been made in the past…etc.”

 – My sentiments exactly. Nobody’s perfect. Indeed, if anything, the historical    mistakes made by the SSPX are what help to show that its growth was the work of the Holy Ghost, precisely because that growth happened in spite of the all-too-common human stupidity present in any organisation.

 

“The permissions granted by Rome regarding confessions and marriages were   designed purely to make mischief and sow division in the ranks of the SSPX faithful.”

 – No doubt you are right, though the SSPX itself doesn’t seem to agree with you there. Perhaps the SSPX shouldn’t have welcomed these bogus “permissions” with quite such warm-hearted enthusiasm?

 

“The SSPX never asked for these so-called concessions…”

 – As far as we know! But if it were to one day come out that they had asked for them… would you be so very surprised? If it turned out that the SSPX had, in fact, been the ones to ask for these things and had been keeping that fact a secret, would it not be another example of the “sensible approach” of “every religious and      secular leader” which you mention above? And to return to your own analogy, I find it difficult to imagine the Nazis unilaterally granting concessions to a still-hostile, still-armed-and-dangerous French Resistance. 

 

“…It is only people of ill will who point the finger and accuse SSPX of doing a deal with Rome.”

 – Speculation about whether this person or that is “of ill will” I will leave to you. What I, together with many others, accuse the SSPX of having done is something far worse than a mere “deal.” The danger was always that practical agreement would lead inevitably to doctrinal agreement. What the SSPX has, er, accomplished is doctrinal agreement without first settling the practical details of what you call a “deal.”]

*   *   *   *   *

CONCLUSIONS

 

1) The members of the Resistance take it as an objective truth that the Society of St Pius X has embraced modernism. This is why they cling to one or two Priests whom, they claim, are the only ones in the whole world who are truly Catholic. In this way they miss out on the sacraments including Holy Mass for weeks on end. If the SSPX was in heresy then the resistance members would be entirely justified. However they cannot prove this and have not, to my knowledge, attempted to.

 

 

So we are left with the doctrinal declaration of 2012 which, they claim, is now the official policy of the Society. They have confused principle with prudence. On no occasion did Bishop Fellay compromise on principles but only an apology and a recantation will satisfy the resistance now.

 

2) Knowing full well that an apology is neither necessary nor realistic they have battened down the hatches and are content to live in isolation, relying on each other for comfort and support. In doing so they are effectively a cult which feeds on its own circular        arguments and thrives on anti-SSPX stories which are deliberately and laughably exaggerated for their delectation. I know from having met some of the members of the         resistance that they loathe the Society of St Pius X and this is the real reason why they will never listen to reason and be humble enough to reconsider their position.

 

3) Membership of the resistance is completely self-serving and does nothing to alleviate the crisis in the Church. It represents a bomb shelter and, being a cult, cannot spread  outside the ‘cognoscenti’ and certainly cannot be carried on by future generations.    Nothing puts children off religion more than infrequent masses, few catholic friends, home-schooled teenagers and disrespectful comments about Catholic clergy. Children hate  isolation.

 

JHCB Holy Week 2022

[CONCLUSIONS

 

1) Despite introducing the question of “heresy” right at the very end of this document, in the conclusion – this is the first time that word has appeared, it doesn’t even get a mention up to that point – the question is not, nor has it ever been, whether the SSPX can be convicted of straight-up formal heresy.

 

The clear implication being made here is that in order for the Resistance faithful to be justified in avoiding the SSPX, the SSPX needs to be “in heresy.” Anything less than that simply won’t cut it. But in fact, that is raising the bar very high, suspiciously high some might even say, conveniently high! Far higher than the Church has ever required historically. The 1917 Code of Canon Law (Canons 2315 & 2316) regards even those who are suspect of heresy as being off-limits, to give just one example. And even that is not where the matter ends. In practice, the Church has always told her children to avoid compromise or even the mere appearance of compromise, when it comes to matters of doctrine, even at the expense of more frequent access to the sacraments.

 

If the Resistance have not attempted to prove that the SSPX is “in heresy” then that is perhaps because none of us regard it as necessary to do so. The old SSPX used to tell people to avoid the sacraments of the FSSP and other Indult / Ecclesia Dei priests, not primarily due to doubts surrounding the validity of their holy orders, or because of questions about the mixing of Novus Ordo hosts in the tabernacle, but because these priests were guilty of compromise in accepting the orthodoxy of Vatican II and the legitimacy of the New Mass:

 

“…Attending their Mass is:

 

- accepting the compromise on which they are based,

 

- accepting the direction taken by the Conciliar Church and the consequent destruction of the Catholic Faith and practices, and

 

- accepting, in particular, the lawfulness and doctrinal soundness of the Novus Ordo Missae and Vatican II.

  

That is why a Catholic ought not to attend their Masses.”

 

(http://archives.sspx.org/SSPX_FAQs/q13_fraternity_of_st_peter.htm)

 

 

Without wearing Bishop Fellay’s famous “pink spectacles,” anyone who reads the Doctrinal Declaration cannot help but see that same compromise made in the name of and on behalf of the post-2012 SSPX.

 

It is not necessary that the SSPX be “in heresy,” only that it have compromised on a doctrinal level with the modernists. The Doctrinal Declaration provides irrefutable evidence of this many times over. The continuing rapprochement between the SSPX and modern Rome, at a time when Rome, under the reign of Pope Francis, is far more modernist that it ever was in Archbishop Lefebvre’s day, does nothing to dispel this.

 

“So we are left with the doctrinal declaration of 2012 which, they claim, is now the official policy of the Society.”

  -  Thus far, nobody but the author of the quoted words has managed to conflate doctrine with policy. Policy is what you do, doctrine is what you believe and profess. A Society of priests and religious can survive changes in policy, even if it involves particularly bad policy. What it can never survive is the slightest change in doctrine.

 

“On no occasion did Bishop Fellay compromise on principles.”

 – That is most reassuring to hear! But then, if it wasn’t Bishop Fellay, perhaps you can tell me who it was that said the following?

 

· “Many people have an understanding of the Council which is a wrong understanding. And now we have Authorities in Rome who say it. We, I may say in the discussions, I think we see that many things which we would have condemned as being from the Council are in fact not from the Council but the common understanding of it.”

 

· “Religious Liberty is used in so many ways and looking closer, I really have the impression that not many know what really the Council said about it. The Council is presenting a Religious Liberty which is in fact a very, very limited one. Very limited.”

 

· “The question is not the Society vs Rome, I think if you see the whole thing like that it is a wrong understanding. I definitely don’t look at it this way.”

 

· “ ‘I would hope so,’ he said, when asked if Vatican II itself belongs to Catholic tradition.”

 

· “ ‘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,’ the bishop said.”

 

· “It is still true - since it is Church law - that in order to open a new chapel or to found a work, it would be necessary to have the permission of the local        ordinary. We have quite obviously reported to Rome how difficult our present situation was in the dioceses, and Rome is still working on it.  Here or there, this difficulty will be real, but since when is life without difficulties?”

 

· Question: If there is a canonical recognition, will you give some cardinals in the Curia or some bishops the opportunity to visit our chapels, to celebrate Mass, to administer Confirmation, perhaps even to ordain priests at your    seminaries? 
“The bishops who are in favour of Tradition and the conservative cardinals will come closer. … There is no doubt that people will come to visit us, but as for a more precise collaboration, such as the celebration of Mass or ordinations, that will depend on the circumstances.”

 

· “It is true that our enemies may plan to use this offer as a trap, but the pope, who really wants this canonical recognition, is not proposing it to us as a trap.”

 

· “To His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Most Holy Father, … I must admit to no longer knowing what to think. I had believed that you were disposed to leave till a later date the resolution of outstanding disagreements over certain points of the Council and liturgical reform…and I committed myself in this perspective despite the fairly strong opposition in the ranks of the Society and at the price of substantial disruption.”

 

We could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea. And perhaps it would be best to try to keep this list very, very limited. Very limited.

 

2) How dare they rely on each other for support! And really, “a cult”..? Surely any fair-minded reader of this exchange will have had more than ample evidence by now to determine for himself which side “feeds on its own circular arguments” and likewise, which of the two sides: “will never listen to reason and be humble enough to reconsider their position.”

 

3) So to summarise: according to the author of these words, to claim that the     Doctrinal Declaration accepts the teaching and fruits of Vatican II is “uncharitable,” but accusing your fellow Catholics of being “a cult” on the       flimsiest anecdotal evidence is just fine. Got it. As to whether the Resistance will be “carried on by future generations” – time will surely tell!

 

GJXT October 2022 ]

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