What Does It All Mean?
Needless to say most, if not all readers of Catholic Rural Solutions have heard about the “positive” response from the Superior of the SSPX to the Vatican. The headlines are rife with details, yet there is nothing concrete emerging from either side in this internal dispute. In fact, even the details of the Preamble have not been released either in full or in intriguing bits and pieces, which is unusual for the Vatican Modus Operandi.
Meantime, the general scuttlebutt of what the media is reporting is pure unadulterated speculation. Much of this speculation is nothing but harmless curiosity, yet some of it is malicious contrivance designed to orchestrate a preemptive split in the SSPX. As an example, one report speculated that at least one of the SSPX bishops would not sign on to any agreement and has been planning to leave the group and become independent. This, however, is pure nonsense as the alleged bishop in question has repeatedly called for unity because this is where the strength of “tradition” lies. The most he has voiced is caution which all the Society bishops have expressed. Clearly this is meant to put a wedge within the bishops and also among the Faithful adherents and MUST be ignored as malicious propaganda by those attending the traditional Tridentine Mass and Sacraments under the SSPX.
To clarify some of the reporting, I wish to point out that to date our good bishops, all four, have led us with the greatest of pastoral care. They have provided our access to the Mass of the Apostles and the Sacraments; they have provided Mass Centers and chapels, schools, and most importantly seminaries where our priests continue to emerge. They also have provided a framework of Catholic society in each and every chapel and Mass center where like-minded traditional Catholics can associate and build a strong social network. For us to fall for the undermining speculation of the media at this point would put all this in jeopardy. Let us continue to trust in not only the loving concern of our bishops but also in the Holy Ghost who, without doubt, has guided their every move to date.
Meantime, as a guide I wish to point out something that is largely misunderstood by the Faithful Catholic in the pews. A Personal Prelature and an Ordinariate are not the same things. The best way to describe it is by way of example. A personal ordinariate is a canonical structure within the Roman Catholic Church enabling former Anglicans to maintain some degree of corporate identity and autonomy with regard to the bishops of the geographical dioceses of the Catholic Church and to preserve elements of their distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Its precise nature is described in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of 4 November 2009 and in the complementary norms of the same date. They are for all intents and purposes independent of the local Catholic Ordinaries, (bishops) and will carry on as if still independent of Rome, yet are under the Catholic umbrella, so to speak. Personal prelature is an institutional structure of the Roman Catholic Church which comprises a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities. Personal prelatures, similar to dioceses and military ordinariates, are under the governance of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. The Personal Prelature while it reports directly to the Pope, must first be cleared by the Ordinaries within whose diocese they have a Chapel or Mass center; an example of such an arrangement is Opus Dei, whose superior is appointed by the Vatican. This is not to say that our bishops will agree to such appointments, but obviously the best situation would be a Personal Ordinariate in which we would be free to operate as we have since the founding of the SSPX by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of happy memory. That said, only time will tell what God has willed for tradition, but let us at least give all our confidence, support, and trust to our good and loyal bishops. Now more than ever redouble our Rosaries in the SSPX’s Rosary Crusade for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for more and more this appears to be our last recourse.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.