As I See It
Come Holy Ghost…
By now most of the readership of Catholic Rural Solutions knows the latest status of the SSPX talks with Rome. Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, was summoned yesterday to Rome to receive the Pope decision on the final disposition of the priestly fraternity from Cardinal Lavada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, (CDF). He, Bishop Fellay, is expected to respond within the coming days.
Refer to one of the many reports issued on this below:
The Pope’s decision is now in Fellay’s hands
From the nature of the definition of a personal prelature, the collegiality of the bishops of the Catholic Church as established by Vatican Council II, and the unofficial but strategically released reports, here is the projected path the agreement will take over the next several weeks and beyond.
To begin with this agreement was unofficially decided in principle as early as mid-March of this year, 2012, with two to three months given to Bishop Fellay to prepare his priestly membership and indirectly his lay adherents. With the release of the internal letters, it was necessary to take the extra month before the Pope could respond. Now Bishop Fellay will be given until the end of the month to sign the agreement so that the implementation of the personal prelature might occur in the upcoming July Chapter Meeting of the SSPX. So it now seems that, as they say: it is all over but the shouting; and in this case the shouting has been quite literal and vociferous with the various sermons and talks of both priests and bishops in the two opposing camps within the SSPX.
It is important to realize that any agreement is with Bishop Fellay only. The other bishops will have to now come to terms with Rome separately and individually. This means that Bishop Fellay’s agreement will determine the legal status of the SSPX, while the other bishops will only determine their personal regularization within the Church and have no effect on the legal status of the Society. Also the Pope, according to some sources, will have the right to pick out a replacement bishop for those of the three opposing bishops who don’t seek reconciliation with Rome. There are some unofficial reports that the Pope has before him the names of three likely candidates from among the SSPX priests from which to choose.
Waiting for the Other Shoe to Fall
So what is to be expected now that the agreement seems to be a foregone conclusion? Well, here is a likely extrapolation of just how any agreement will play out in practical terms. In an immediate sense, based on the collegiality of the bishops, permission of the local Ordinary, i.e., bishop is required for the Society to function within any diocese or archdiocese of the Catholic Church worldwide; this would mean any Mass center, chapel, school, seminary, etc. It is unclear if this would be so for existing or future structures, but likely a compromise would be for any chapels, etc. built or setup within the past 3 to 6 years. It is clear however, that any expansion of the SSPX facilities within dioceses will be at the whim and modification of the local bishops. One such modification, not beyond reality, is that the local bishop might suggest that since there will certainly be redundancies of the so-called Latin Mass Centers within a diocese that the bishop’s secular priests be allowed to also conduct Latin Masses within existing SSPX chapels alongside the SSPX priests. Another scenario is that with so many diocesan churches closing and many parishes being merged we, the Society, may be asked to close some of our chapels and schools and utilize diocesan parish facilities either already closed or those with limited attendance. In any case the local Novus Ordo bishops will now have a say in how the SSPX is run even if initially only a limited say.
It is also foreseeable that with this agreement there will be dissention in the ranks of the Society both priestly and lay. The lay attendance or at least the lay collections will be curtailed to one degree or another, in which case the local bishops can offer to subsidize any loss in the collection plate. This would then put the Society further under the sway of the local bishop, as the Golden Rule, (he who has the gold makes the rules), will become operational.
While it is true these are just speculations, certainly they are likely extrapolations based on what we know of the various dynamics involved, as well as, the operations of the local ordinaries in past situations where a traditional group has capitulated to Modernist jurisdiction. Certainly, we will no longer hear any forceful or meaningful criticism of the Ecumenical fiascos of Assisi, the railing against Religious Liberty, and we will see the gradual modification of the Tridentine Mass as it morphs into a new melded version of the New Mass; a classic Hegelian dialectic. How long will it be before we are told that our adherence to the Tridentine Mass is not just passé but counterproductive to the progression and expansion of the new springtime of the Church? How long before our seminaries are told that they must incorporate the Catechism of the Catholic Church in their curricula, as has recently happened to the Institute of the Good Shepherd? … And how long before our children receive their First Holy Communion in the hand? Again mere speculation but not out of the realm of reality based on the history of Modernist Rome in relation to other traditional groups.
This agreement is a mistake, without doubt! Hopefully, His Excellency, Bishop Fellay, like his founder and teacher, Archbishop Lefebvre, will back out of it at the eleventh hour and we can continue unabated to preach the uncompromised Faith, in season and out. This would appear unlikely, however, and so a high noon approaches as we, each of us, laity and clergy alike will have to make a decision. As the folk / protest song of the 1960’s asked; which side are ya’ on, boys; which side are ya’ on? At this juncture we must bear in mind, no matter how we choose we do not follow a man, or a group, or a religious order; as Catholics we follow a Faith, the traditional Catholic Faith. Where lies the Faith so should our decision be. We will have to take a stand, but as a sober reminder we will have to someday stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and make an account of not only our actions but on how we protected, promoted, and passed on the Faith to those in our charge. The excuse of saying that we listened to our Pastor, District Superior, or Superior General will not wash. In the end WE are responsible for our actions, not the Pastor, District Superior, or Superior General. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves does this or any other agreement conform to the traditional Catholic Sacred Magisterium, or is it just another ruse of the Modernists? Think well on it before you chose; the fate of your immortal soul and that of your families rests on it!
Now more than ever, continue those Rosaries for the Conversion of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, all depends on this.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.