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Creative Minority Reader

The Pope is the Enemy

Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX has written his latest column about the state of the Romans. To make his point, Williamson extols the sagacity of an anonymous email writer. Here is the crux of what Williamson and his anonymous writer say:"...

The churchmen in Rome are battling with us (clergy and laity of the Society of St. Pius X) to bring us around to accepting their Conciliar religion. Cardinal Castrillon and even the Pope are convinced that we are mistaken, and that it is their duty by all means fair and borderline foul to get us to accept the essence of the Second Vatican Council, which has become their Credo. To this end they work on us with determination and patience, but also with authority, always "for our own good".

"On our side, because we insist on sane thinking as an essential precondition to staying faithful to the irreformable doctrine that has been handed down to us, we find ourselves obliged to resist their pressure and so to disobey today's Magisterium in order to obey the God who does not change. However... we must never forget that despite their courtesy and subjective kindness, these Romans are, objectively speaking, our enemies.
So in plain black and white Williamson and his anonymous alter ego declare themselves open enemies of the Magisterium and the Pope. Contrast this to the official statement of 'filial devotion and loyalty' on the SSPX website.
The Society of St. Pius X professes filial devotion and loyalty to Pope Benedict XVI, the Successor of Saint Peter and the Vicar of Christ.

The priests of the SSPX pray for the intentions of the Holy Father and the welfare of the local Ordinary at every Mass they celebrate.
If the SSPX is serious about its statement of loyalty to the Pope, it is high time that the SSPX divorce themselves from Williamson and his ilk. If not, then the statement on the website is a lie and we all know what 'true faith' says about lying.

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29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Lunatic fringe
We know you're out there
But in these new dark ages
There will still be light"

Anonymous said...

sounds like they're as loyal and devoted as the Jesuits -just from the other side. Both think they're the "real" Church.

Anonymous said...

You guys really burn me up. You don't know Bishop Williamson. You don't know his heart. Bishop Williamson and the SSPX may be the only thing standing between the Church and the gates of Hell.
anthony

Patrick Archbold said...

"Lunatic Fringe"

Is that a Red Rider reference? Now that is a first!

Anonymous said...

"You guys really burn me up. You don't know Bishop Williamson. You don't know his heart. Bishop Williamson and the SSPX may be the only thing standing between the Church and the gates of Hell."

Agreed, but with some reservations.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Williamson does say some outrageous things from time to time - I agree. He's a bit too dramatic for my tastes.

However, bashing the SSPX because of one Bishop who a bit off-center is not fair to the SSPX. It would be a kin to bashing the entire Catholic Church based on the comments of X Cardinal or X Curial Official who are off-center as well.

Without the SSPX there would be No Summorum Pontificum!

I think you should provide some balance in your writing and publish some of Bishop Fellay's writings. He better represents the SSPX and I have not to date found anything objectionable to his writings or speeches. Of course, I haven't read everything he's written. The sampling of writings and speeches that I have read are outstanding.

BTW, I've never attended an SSPX Chapel but I have become empathetic and have a certain fondness for these people nonetheless.

I pray that they come into full communion with Holy Mother Church with Godspeed.

Respectfully in Christ,

Mark

Patrick Archbold said...

Mark,
At no time did I bash the entire SSPX. It is precisely because of my affection for those in the SSPX and my belief that many in the SSPX are devoted and loyal to the holy Father that I urge them to cut off Bp. Williamson. He does them no service with his rants. I desire very much that the SSPX be brought back into the bosom of the Church because I think it can do much more good there. Similar to some of the former SSPX groups that have been normailized.

Criticizing Williamson and urging them to separate themselves from his outrageous comments is an act of affection, not bashing toward the SSPX.

Hope that clarifies the issue.

David L Alexander said...

"You guys really burn me up. You don't know Bishop Williamson..."

No, we just know the things that he says. But at least he doesn't hide behind a name like "anonymous." Know anybody like that?

Duh???

Anonymous said...

Some of the reactions here are over the top. I thought that Bishop Williamson's comments were carefully qualified and quite restrained, particularly in his use of "objectively".

On the other side, it is clear that he is staking out ground as an implacable foe to negotiations with the Holy See at this time. He seems to feel that any discussions over doctrine with this Pope would endanger the purity of the faith.

Frankly, if this is the case, I cannot agree with Bishop Williamson. Moreover, I think that his more and more frequent expressions of hostility towards this Pope suggests very much that he is battling moderate forces within the Society. I think that he is using his columns to warn moderates in the Society that he will divide it if they try to reach an agreement with Rome.

I would like to consider his reactions first in regard to principle. As the documents of the Second Vatican Council are not held to be infallible in teaching anything new, and since all but one of them is apparently open to an orthodox interpretation, I see no trouble in signing them. Archbishop Lefebvre signed all of them.

I suspect that, what the Pope has in mind through discussions with the Society on doctrine is as follows:

(a) To restrict the meaning of some conciliar teachings in ways which would satisfy the Society. This process has already begun in the Pope's clarification on 'subsistit in'. The clarification did not go nearly far enough for the Society but it did remove at least some heretical misinterpretations. It is a start.

(b) Where restriction of meaning to satisfy the Society is not possible, the Pope would do what was done for the Feeneyites. He would admit that the Society position on that issue is a position which faithful are free to hold but that it may or may not be the only position which they are allowed to hold, and the entire matter could be decided more restrictedly over a longer period.

I can't really see a problem with this. There might be a problem with "Dignitatis Humanæ" alone but, even here, it is not infallible where it teaches anything new. So the Pope would probably agree that faithful are free to hold fast to the Syllabus of 1864.

One problem for Williamson may be that the Pope's actions reflect an unacceptable ecclesiology or an unacceptable œcumenism the association with which is itself damaging to the Faith. But I think that the Pope will allow the Society to express a respectful rejection of current œcumenical policies.

At this point, the curia is merely asking that the Society co-operate with it in a process of clarification and reconciliation. There is a way foward, which is a provision for an ordinary structure ad experimentum for the Society. This would protect its ability to teach the traditional Faith without interference during a period of discussions over doctrine.

John Paul II offered them an ordinary structure in 2000 and Bishop Fellay admitted that it was "the Rolls Royce" juridical solution. There simply cannot be a case for rightful disobedience when the Vicar of Christ offers a way of protecting the Society's honest conception of the Truth. That means that the Society's argument for a case of necessity and supplied jurisdiction, even if valid before, ceased in 2000. This is 2008 and we now have a Pope who is even more conciliatory than the last one, and the last one offered the Society FAR MORE than Abp. Lefebvre was willing to accept in 1988. And nothing substantial has changed between 1988 and 2008. So where on earth does Williamson get any argument from? Does he also obey his master, Archbishop Lefebvre? He is obliged under Moral Law to cease and desist this instant and, together with the other Society bishops, to request a specific solution in a spirit of filial obedience to the Vicar of Christ. If one continues from a defendable case of rightful disobedience to one which is not defendable, one is not Catholic even in spirit but Protestant entire.


From a practical perspective, Williamson should also consider the following:

(a) he is 68 or 69 years old and has no sure successor and

(b) thanks to S.P., the Society is likely facing decline and then decimation if it continues in disobedience.

At present, the Society is a force to be recknoned with. Now is the time for the Society to ask the Pope, as an impressive sign of charity, for an international diocese for all traditionalists, not just for itself. It could be part of such a structure.

Now is the opportunity to act in a way which will help the Pope combat the heretics in scarlet and purple who are still harming the Church from 'within'. If the Society waits until the provision of S.P. decimates it, it may be too late to have any positive effect.

If the salvation of souls is the highest law, the Society needs to ask how best to save souls. Today, that means is from within the ambit of a regularised structure. How many souls can it save as a declining and then decimated body?

Having said all of this, I agree with Williamson that this Pope is far from ideal. I agree that, in certain respects (e.g œcumenism), he has the mind of a non-Catholic, even though he has the heart of a Catholic. After all, he was a liberal peritus at Vatican II and has never renoucned his earlier beliefs. But this return to tradition is larger than the Pope: God stands behind it. The Pope is His poor servant. And no Pope or anyone else needs to have all the right doctrinal points of view and attitudes in order to be achieve salvation. He needs only to shun any doctrine which, as a Baptized Catholic, he honestly believes to be false. And if he prays with a true Catholic heart and asks Mary to pray with him, will God not provide what he needs?

Other popes will appear in the future, and they will remove the misinterpretations of Vatican II one by one. This Pope Benedict XVI may indeed hold some erroneous views, while certainly not being a formal heretic. That problem does not, in itself, justify a continued disobedience which Abp. Lefebvre would deplore. There is no excuse today for the continued disobedience of the Society of St. Pius X. If Bsp. Williamson stands in the way of a reconciliation needed to save souls, he must be sacrificed. Sometimes, one must cut off a limb to save the body. This is only a small limb; it might only be a finger, perhaps only a hair. I do not mean to demean Bsp. Williamson, and I respect him very greatly for his honesty and forthrightness. But, to make reference to his own terminology, despite his subjective goodness, his objective errors may force the Pope to cut him off for good.

Peter Karl T. Perkins

P.S. At the present amazing rate of success of S.P., there will soon be little support left for the S.S.P.X. That will result in decline. Once its current hardliners die off, it will become only the refuge of contrarians, the eccentric, and the extreme. Something to ponder. Where the Pope is, there is the Church. This is not an absolute principle but it is a norm. Norms are about what is typical.

Let's pray for a rapprochement. The Pope may or may not need the Society but he could certainly use their help. Mahony just will not age fast enough.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Patrick,

If what you say is true, and I will take you on your word and honor, then perhaps you should make this clear when you are calling out Bp. Williamson.

Nonetheless, since I have been frequenting your blog - almost daily since stumbling upon its pages almost 18 months or so, I have not read any positive commentary that would support your 'affection' for the SSPX. Perhaps as a testimony to such 'affection' you may consider publishing some of Bp. Fellay's writings/letters for your readership or perhaps iterate reasons for your ‘affection’ toward them, pointing out examples of their position in faith and morals, etc.

You are a good man, Patrick.

Warmly in Christ,

Mark

Anonymous said...

We still need the SSPX. Where I live, a city of 250,000 in a metropolitan area of around 2 million, you'd never know that SP ever happened. All the Catholic churches are so protestantized that I want to cry every time I go near one of them. I would go to an MP mass in a heartbeat if there were one around here, but there's not. I've made some effort to arouse interest for the TLM in my Catholic acquaintances, but they don't know what I'm talking about -or don't care. If you think the mass will be universally accessible anytime soon, you're dreaming. So in the meantime, God bless the good and faithful priests of the SSPX - they are carrying Catholic tradition one mass at a time and working for the salvation of their faithful one soul at a time - with no time for polemics. I am glad to see so many speak in their support. God bless - Kit

David L Alexander said...

"We still need the SSPX. Where I live, a city of 250,000 in a metropolitan area of around 2 million, you'd never know that SP ever happened..."

We'd never know anyway. Why is it that so d@#$ many of these sort of comments never give the name of the city. I mean, they do have names, don't they?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Alexander makes an excellent point about the name of this anonymous city. I have been watching the statistics very closely for many years and help compile them for the Mater Dei site.

First of all, 95% of Americans now live in a diocese which has the T.L.M. on an every-Sunday basis. We are almost (not quite) at the mopping up point now. The most populous U.S. diooceses--really the only ones--which do not have it are

Las Vegas,

Toledo, Ohio,

and Laredo, Texas.

So it must be one of these!

But the S.S.P.X is only able to provide every-Sunday Masses in a grand total of three U.S. dioceses which do not have a regularised Mass; namely, Winona, Crookston, and Gaylord. I must conclude, therefore, that anonymous is from Las Vegas or else lives outside the U.S.A.

If he lives in Las Vegas, he can attend a Ruthenian Mass or an Italo-Albanian Byzantine Mass. Both are available.

At present, there are 271 regularised every-Sunday Traditional Latin Masses in 136 U.S. dioceses; in contrast, there are only 108 every-Sunday Society Masses in 64 dioceses.

More important is that the Society numbers have hardly changed at all over the last ten years. In stark contrast, 29 U.S. dioceses have gained the old Mass since publication of "Summorum Pontificum". At the present rate of growth, it will not be long before there is a regularised every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in at least 170 of the 176 U.S. dioceses. I believe that we shall eventually gain every U.S. diocese with the possible exception of Juneau, Alaska. In addition to this, reports are coming in of T.L.M.s said by diocesan priests all over the U.S.A. In N.C. alone, fourteen priests are learning how to celebrate the old Mass in their parishes. In Germany, over 150 priests are learning the old Mass as the number of German dioceses having it every Sunday has more than doubled in eight months (to 20 out of 27; and most of the hold-outs [Hamburg, Magdeburg, Erfurt, Essen, Görlitz . . .] are in overwhelmingly Lutheran areas.

Consider also how poorly the S.S.P.X has done in Latin America. That is, in the end, the most important test of all, since half the world's faithful live there. It took the S.S.P.X over twenty years to manage an every-Sunday Mass at Lima, Peru, one of the most populous Catholic cities in the world. The Oratorian Fathers have supplied one there in only the last three months.

Most faithful will prefer a T.L.M. with the Pope's blessing to one without it. Within ten years, the Society, if still not regularised, will be in clear decline (it has only grown very slowly since about 1990). Meanwhile, the regularised Masses are popping up all over the countryside.

I am not making this up. It's called realityville. If the Society does not wake up soon, it will be confined to a handfull of contrarians and eccentrics in a few years. Once its present generation of hardliners has gone, then cometh decimation. It will suffer the same fate as the Liberal Catholic Church, which still survives but is now so small that few people are even aware of it.

This is the time for the Society to accept a regularised structure and become an effective force for good in the world. Different circumstances require different strategies.

P.K.T.P.

kat said...

"In stark contrast, 29 U.S. dioceses have gained the old Mass since publication of "Summorum Pontificum". At the present rate of growth, it will not be long before there is a regularised every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in at least 170 of the 176 U.S. dioceses... In N.C. alone, fourteen priests are learning how to celebrate the old Mass in their parishes."

Yes, but some dioceses are so large that one Mass doesn't serve many people. The diocese of Portland, Maine covers 33,000 sq miles - it is 300 miles from the furthest city to the TLM in Portland. That is like telling folks in Cincinnati not to gripe, 'cause there is a TLM in Chicago.
Also, out of those 14 priests trained in the TLM in the diocese of Raleigh, how many are actually saying the TLM? One. And he is only saying it on a weekday morning and has canceled it more than once.
There are quite a few of us who see the changes coming along, but would like to see it speeded up a tad bit.

David L Alexander said...

"There are quite a few of us who see the changes coming along, but would like to see it speeded up a tad bit."

So would I. Read this...

man with black hat: Life After "Te Deum"

...and you'll know what's taking so long.

Anonymous said...

Message from Kit - I said there was no TLM in my city - not in my diocese. There is ONE in my diocese (it's a geographically very big diocese), but it is too far and at a bad time for me. This situation is probably the norm, despite your three diocese observation. The reality for most Catholics in any area of the country, is that there is no easily accessible TLM in a regular parish. I just happen to live near an SSPX chapel with two conveniently scheduled Sunday AM masses. So it doesn't matter what city it is - this situation is not unique. Of course, that is not the reason for me not providing particulars about where I am. That is because I want to feel as much distance as possible between myself and the hostility that tends to emanate when a statement of any substance is made on any blog. Yeah, yeah ... sticks and stones etc. and names will never hurt me - but on the other hand, they wouldn't help either. Kit

David L Alexander said...

"That is because I want to feel as much distance as possible between myself and the hostility that tends to emanate when a statement of any substance is made on any blog."

So, how is not disclosing the name of the city going to stop them? I don't get that.

Here's what I do get, though. You wanna know why these things don't happen right away. Someone is telling you. Read what they're tell you. You won't like it -- hell, I don't either -- but at least you'll know.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous mentions that cases of Maine (D. Portland) and Raleigh, N.C. I am glad that he has done so. In the case of Maine, the Bishop there has recently erected a chaplaincy to cover the entire State. The priest assigned to it will soon be celebrating old Masses all over the State, in addition to the one every-Sunday Mass they still have.

In the case of Raleigh, there is so far only one every-Sunday Mass at any one location but another spread over several locations, with more to come. I have been in direct contact with most of the fourteen priests mentioned. Most of them are right now in training. There is a learning lag; hence the delay before they are celebrating every Sunday. Many of them are already celebrating publicly on a lesser basis.

What I had written about numbers of every-Sunday dioceses also applies to every-Sunday Masses per diocese. These have also increased dramatically in number since publication of S.P. last July. In contrast, there have been almost no improvements for the S.S.P.X.

While the anonymous blogger may very well just happen to live near a S.S.P.X chapel and nowhere near a regularised one(although one does exist in his diocese), that is becoming a rarer and rarer situation. At present, one is three times more likely to live near a regularised Traditional Latin Mass than near an S.S.P.X one. And that ratio is likely to grow larger over the next year or so.

Of course, some young priests will try the T.L.M. and then find that they don't want it; others will cancel owing to lack of interest. Over time, the T.L.M.s will tend to become concentrated in larger centres of population. But communities will also grow around these Masses, and they wiil keep them going.

If you look at S.S.P.X statistics, it is clear that the Society had enormous growth between the time of the suspension of Abp. Lefebvre in 1976 and the unapproved 1988 consecrations of bishops. Those twelve years were the age of glory for the Society. After 1988, given the effect of "Ecclesia Dei", the numbers of Indult Masses mushroomed (from 9 in the U.S.A. to over 70 in 1993), and the rate of increase for the S.S.P.X slowed to a crawl. After 1993, the Indult increase also slowed substantially, and they flatlined from about 1998 to 2004, and then increased slightly to 2007. We are now seeing an enormous growth--far greater than that from 1988 to 1993. In fact, more every-Sunday T.L.M.s have been gained in the last nine months than in the previous ten years. During this period, the S.S.P.X continues to grow at a snail's pace.

But there is more. Owing to the learning lag, there are still many more regularised T.L.M.s to come. And there are now very good signs for regularised Masses in Latin America, where the S.S.P.X has done so poorly over the years (except in Argentina). The regularised Masses have arrived in Peru, in Colombia, in Brazil (thanks both to Campos and the I.P.B.), and in Chile. Regularised Masses every Sunday have also arrived in three Czech Dioceses, in nine Polish Diocese, in the Slovenian Archdiocese of Ljubljana, in Hungary, and even in Luthern Sweden and 'no-Catholics' Estonia. The S.S.P.X has done very poorly in those areas over the years.

When S.P. was published, based on my vast knowledge of these statistics, I made a public prediction that we would gain 40 U.S. dioceses for every-Sunday celebrations over two years. We have currently gained 29 in less than one year (perhaps only 27, since two cases are problematical for the time being). Still, I think that my prediction is largely on track because the rate of increase will slow, and we shall see more and more Masses per diocese and not as large an increase in numbers of dioceses. When you reach a certain point, hardline bishops use their influence against you in some places (I predict resistance especially in the Dioceses of Las Cruces and Alexandria, La.) and, in some thinly- and under-populated places dioceses, there is little demand.

Should the Society refuse reconciliation with Rome in this pontificate and over the next fifteen years and then continuing, I predict the following:

(a) The present increases for Society celebrations will slow for the next five years and then flatline.

(2) The rate of Society ordinations will slow but only slightly for the next five years. After that, the increase in Society priests will flatline as deaths start to catch up to new ordinations.

(3) Attendance at Society Masses will shift more and more to regularised Masses. Within ten years, even the overall number of Society supporters will start to decline. This will take longer because Society supporters have very large families on average.

(4) Once the current generation of Society hardliners dies off--give this forty more years, the decline of the Socity will quicly turn into a decimation.

All of this is resulting from the Pope addressing the Society's first pre-condition. Be careful what you ask for: you just might get it.

If, on the other side, the Society reconciles with Rome, it will still only increase at a slow rate because of the distrust and hostility of both bishops and many laics. But it will at least increase. A small increase per year is immeasurably better than decline and then decimation.


Peter Karl T. Perkins
Victoria, B.C., Canada

Ave Maria! said...

Now Bishop Fellay is someone I can sort of listen to but Bp. Williamson is not someone I would ever, ever follow! Not ever.

I do understand the history of the SSPX; it may be that a debt of gratitude is owed there for preserving what might have been lost forever--maybe.

But I will not go into schism. And I do hope that most, if not all, the SSPX will be officially reunited with Rome. Personally I do not think all will return but remain outside. But the successor of Peter is the Vicar of Christ on earth, not any one of the excommunicated bishops of the SSPX.

Anonymous said...

My diocese was not mentioned. To the best of my knowledge there was not an indult Mass nor is there presently a TLM--this is the diocese of Pueblo, Co. which is about 460 miles from east to west and over 200 miles south to north with some places being as far as 370 miles from Pueblo. Even if there were a TLM there, folks cannot easily drive hundreds of miles over the mountains to get there! Next closest FSSP is Denver as well as the SSPX there too.

Anonymous said...

To the last comment:

I did not write that Las Vegas, Toledo, and Laredo were the only U.S. dioceses without every-Sunday Masses; I suggested that only those three have large Catholic populations (over 200,000) or cities in them. There are presently about 40 U.S. dioceses not having the old Mass every Sunday, but only about 5% of U.S. faithful live in those 40 (out of 176) U.S. sees.

It is true that Pueblo has never had an every-Sunday Mass, but does it have a S.S.P.X one? Not. Ditto for the nearby dioceses of Gallup, Dodge City, Salina, Grand Island.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Note from Kit - Dear David (et al.)It's simple. It's just my innate horror of any sort of publicity or public exposure of any kind. I have avoided it all my life to the greatest extent possible, and see no reason to change now. But I do want to participate in these discussions because they are so important. The only reason that I check these comments is to learn what others think. The majority of the comments are quite encouraging and give me reason to hope for the future of the Church. I understand why people don't like the fact that a group like the SSPX exists. I don't hold it against them: I don't like it either. However, I believe that the SSPX is largely responsible for 1) preserving the TLM to the extent that it has been preserved 2)causing the Vatican to return to tradition to the extent that it has. So when dismissive and derisive comments are made about the SSPX, I want to defend it. It deserves it. The Society is not perfect by any means, but what on earth is? As far as why things don't change faster? Of course I want to know why, that's why I'm here. Hopefully fora such as these can educate us and change hearts and minds, including mine. There is much inertia (mea culpa), but that can be overcome too, if we keep trying. Sorry to go on so long, but this is really important to me. Kit

Anonymous said...

The last writer defended the S.S.P.X. I agree with much of what he or she has written. It is true, in my view, that, without the S.S.P.X, there would be no 1984 Indult, no "Eccesia Dei", no thirty-some regularised traditionalist societies of apostolic life and institutes of consecrated life, probably no Campos arrangement, and certainly no "Summorum Pontificum". I also agree that the position of the Society between 1976 and 2000 was not only plausible but, in my own judgement, also correct, although it was possible to be faithful to the Church without supporting the Society at that time too.

As for Bishop Williamson, he is a man of logic and is to be lauded for his honesty and forthrightness, but I question his judgement.

The Society's position has been that, since the salvation of souls is the highest law, the grave danger posed by liberalism and Modernism at every level of the hierarchy in recent decades caused a state of necessity which justified 'rightful diobedience' to legitimate authority and which invoked supplied jurisdiction. I agree.

But, in 2000, Pope John Paul II, whom the Society recognised as the true Pope, suggested a form of juridical protection for the Society which would have allowed it to carry out its divine mission safely. Soon thereafter, the S.S.P.X declined this jurisdiction, while the Campos accepted it (albeit, in the latter case, for a small territory). The structure suggested for the Society would have been international, ordinary, exempt, and personal, and was FAR MORE than what Archbishop Lefebvre was prepared to accept in 1988.

What possible justification can there be for the Society's refusal? Bishop Fellay once said in response to this argument that much has changed since 1988. But has much changed for the worse? The worst event for the Society was Assisi, which occurred TWO YEARS BEFORE 1988, in 1986. What has been worse since 1988? Mainly, there has been more of the same, except for the truly abominable seminary document, about which the Society has (quite wrongly) said little.

Once the Church suggested protection for the Society and then actually conferred it on the Campos, to show her good faith, all claims of rightful disobedience, cases of necessity, and supplied jurisdiction ceased. Some in the Society have realised this; hence the Institute of the Good Shepherd.

Since the election of Benedict XVI, the situation, if anything, has improved for tradition as a result especially of "Summorum Pontificum". Would Archbishop Lefebvre still refuse an international diocese for itself under present conditions? Not a chance.

Bishop Williamson and other hardliners, I opine, have largely prevented a rapprochement with the Society by threatening to divide it. He did this publicly in the pages of "The Remnant" in the period 2000-2001, when Rome was proposing the ordinary structure for the Society. Recently, he has been doing it in his columns. He has been pointing out the indisputable fact that the Society, unlike the Church, is not indefectible, and that the S.S.P.X is just one possible vehicle in which the Church may operate. In other words, he, Williamson, and those who agree with him, are where the Church is. Since they are now in the S.S.P.X, the Church is to be found in the S.S.P.X (but not exclusively). If the S.S.P.X makes a deal with 'Conciliar Rome', then the S.S.P.X will cease to be a vehicle in which the Church 'subsists' (ironic, eh?) and Williamson will have to find a new vehicle by leading a revolt out of the Society.

Mr. Archbold asked how the Church can be indefectible if neither Rome nor the Society is indefectible. Williamson has made it clear that the Church is larger than any one group and that she subsists in both the Society and among many who are regularised, and perhaps in other unregularised independent priests.

Let us assume that Williamson's analysis is correct, and that faithful are given by God the requisite means of discerning where the Church is, for they are inspired by faith to pray for such knowledge. Still, if Benedict XVI is the true pope, which the Society has recognised him to be, it does not follow that regularisation with the true Pope must jeopardise the mission of the Society or of the Church within the Society.

Indeed, the Society was regularised in the period 1970 to 1976. It is true that any rapprochment with Rome at least indirectly threatens the Society, since, over time, there will always be a tendency to remain reconciled and since Rome is not yet purged of the heretics in her hierarchy. But there must always be some threat to the Faith as long as we have the devil with us and, as Williamson has pointed out, the Society is not the Church. The Church will not fail because Christ has promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against her. The question, then, is whether or not current conditions and opportunities afford the Society a reasonable opportunity to safeguard and advance her mission. They do. There is no longer a case of necessity, only a case of risk. In a case of necessity, there must be an honest belief that disobedience is the only reasonable way to protect the true and the good. It no longer is. There is really only one way one could come to refuse Benedict XVI under current conditions. That would be if he were an anti-pope. Is that what Williamson reaally thinks? It is frequently alleged that there are many sedevacantists in the Society. If so, they will obviously never accept a jurisdiction from one they consider to be an anti-pope!

It is true that Pope Benedict XVI poses a threat to the Faith. The idiotic papolaters known as 'conservatives' or 'neo-conservatives' are living in a fantasy world. They think 'my Pope right or wrong' and defend the author of "Summorum Pontificum" even when he does something truly objectively evil, like signing the seminary document he signed. These twits can be found everywhere on blogs such s this. They are the sort of over-emotional fools who would have supported Liberius over St. Athanasius. Real traditionalists must be more circumspect. This Pope was a liberal peritus at Vatican II who wore a business suit in place of the cassock and who wrote a book whom many traditionalists have said is "full of [material] heresies". He cannot be trusted. However, he has also done very good things, and the structure his predecessor offered really would afford the Society the protection it needs. We shall never get the 'perfect pope': the Pope is the successor of St. Peter, not the successor of Jesus Christ.

A real traditionalist, while he must revile the positions of the neo-conservative papolaters, must also do that which is reasonable; he must recognise the dictates of right reason. Williamson is a man of high intelligence, honesty, and, I assume, goodness. But he is not balanced; he has poor judgement. He has misjudged how best the Society may fulfil her mission. Under current conditions, it may best do so by protecting its real property and then accepting a de facto international diocese.

Peter Karl T. Perkins
Victoria, B.C., Canada

David L Alexander said...

"This Pope was a liberal peritus at Vatican II who wore a business suit in place of the cassock and who wrote a book whom many traditionalists have said is 'full of [material] heresies.' He cannot be trusted."

I've read about Benedict's life, in particular the effect the campus riots in 1968, when he was a professor, had on him. He thought of his speculations as having at least some grounding, much like a kite tied to a string no matter how high it goes. The tumultuous events of that year gave him considerable pause, and he has been identified as a "traditionalist" in his theology ever since.

To say that about a man -- for that matter, to defend any man -- does not presume to make an idol of him. The "papalotry" charge is quite a leap in this instance.

(By the way, Perkins, it's time to stop being just another lurker in the comboxes and start your own blog. I think you could do a pretty decent job. That's why I wanted you to contact me directly, so I could talk you into it. Now I've gotta do it here. See what you made me do?)

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Alexander's last comments.

First of all, I agree that it is not fair to tarnish someone owing entirely to past views. Those of us who are sensible are always willing to change our views, and I agree that Joseph Ratzinger has apparently changed some of his. However, it remains the case that Benedict XVI has never repudiated past opinions or tendencies, and there is evidence that he continues to hold some liberal views. I cannot imagine a Pope St. Pius X praying with Muslims in the Blue Mosque, for example. Can anyone? Pius would have preferred death to that.

I wish to steer between the two extremes of unquestioning papolatry, on the one side, and wild attacks against the Pope as a formal heretic, on the other. Both, in my view, are radically mistaken. On this blog, at least, there is an unfortunate attempt by some to idolise this Pope as a future Benedict the Great. The cause is fanstay, emotion, and an over-reading Summorum Pontificum. S.P. is an excellent document. No question. The Pope is also doing other wonderful things. He is setting a superb liturgical example and restoring real music to the Church--all by his example.

I wish to add that he has quite often safeguarded doctrine and protected the tradition of celibacy in the priesthood. But bad things have also happened in this pontificate, and we must not be unrealistic. The seminary document was the very worst thing this Pope has done, removing the title 'Patriarch of the West' was very bad, assuming an Anglican heralidic achievement sans tiara was unthinkably bad. He has also prayed in synagogues and mosques, something every real traditionalist will abhor. Some of his appointments have been superb or, at least, good in the circumstances, but he has also appointed the liberation theology (i.e. communist) Cardinal Hummes to the curia, and one of his very first appointments, in Brazil, was of a Capuchin priest who had been a birth control advocate. And then there is this Pope's absolute refusal to deal with the very worst case of scandal in the history of the Church. I am referring to the case of Fr. Raymond Gravel, M.P., in Québec. The case is too shocking for words. This man dons a collar to promote abortion and inverted marriage on television and breaks Church law to run for political office--successfully. Before he entered seminary, he was a male prostitute.

There is also the failure of this Pope, so far, at least, to deal with the Marcial Maciels who seem all too common in the priesthood. How many innocent children will be buggered before this Pope defrocks them? And how many politicians will be allowed to receive Holy Communion while they promotion the butchering of children by abortion? One is too many.

I believe in giving every man his due and I confess that I love this Pope and jumped for joy when he was elected. But I absolutely will not confuse fantasy with reality and think of him as what he is not. He is definitely not another St. Pius X or another Pius XII. We can hope that, given the change in direction under this Pope, future popes will continue the difficult task of pulling the Barque of Peter back on course. I am sanguine about the prospects.

My own blog? I am not computer literate enough to pull it off. I am a man of letters, not of all these infernal machines.

P.K.T.P.

David L Alexander said...

Mr Perkins, thou hast writ:

"[R]emoving the title 'Patriarch of the West' was very bad, assuming an Anglican heralidic achievement sans tiara was unthinkably bad."

He could change his mind about either one of those, and probably would, but he's a pretty busy man. The coat of arms thing is one of those things you take care of at the beginning, and assume you don't have to hear about it again. My God, man, is that the worst thing he's done? Our first Pope denied Christ three times, and he turned out good enough, didn't he?

Is something "Anglican" just because it's short? Are we attaching a type of phallic significance to the height of a bishop's mitre? (Just something that occurs to me.)

I think that cleaning house and improving administration, as well as speaking more forcefully on issues than his predecessor, will go a long way towards resolving the Scandals. He's only had three years at this job, remember, and he's only as effective as the people around him.

As to praying "with" Moslems, I will grant you, he was in a mosque, and he was standing next to Moslems while praying. He was also holding on to his pectoral cross. If you or I had tried that, we would have been beheaded on the spot. For all we know, he might have risked ticking them off. That makes it a pretty gutsy move. No, Pius wouldn't have done it. Then again, he was never asked.

Finally, let's not hear any of that "I'm not computer literate" stuff. Sites like Blogger make it all too easy to create something from a template. You have to be able to follow instructions.

You can do this.

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Alexander's comments:

(1) No, Pope St. Pius X would never have prayed in a mosque even if he had been asked. Benedict XVI prayed there while Muslims prayed there at the same time. It is true that he has not crossed the ultimate line, which would be to pray the same prayers together with them. John Paul II didn't do that either, but some bishops have. This post-conciliar mispractice of praying in mosques and synagogues while infidels and heretics pray there at the same time is probably the major reason for the rift with the S.S.P.X. Popes in the past would have preferred death to such practices.

It is a cause of scandal that a Pope should pray in a mosque, a temple, a synagogue. And we can see the dangers this example sets, and what it can lead to. For example, last week, the Diocese of Trento (yes, that's Trent, the famous one), contributed its Sunday collection to the building of a mosque in that city.

It is scandalous for a pope to pray in a mosque or a synagogue because it could lead those with weak faith to think that erroneous faiths are respectable. They are not; they are false and abominable. (The situation was different in the Apostolic age because the Jews had mostly not been preached to, and Christianity grew out of Judaism as its fulfilment. No Pope has prayed in non-Catholic places from the third century to the twentieth. When St. Augustine of Canterbury found that Celtic Christians were praying in the same buildings as pagans, he ended the practice immediately.

(2) Yes, it's true that the Pope needs more time to correct some errors, and I do think that the arms and the title fiascoes were done mostly without his approval. But they need to be corrected. Heraldry is extremely important because it is pure symbol. It says, This is who I am. Catholic bishops have not used the mitre as the crest in centuries: this is now accepted as the mark of an Anglican bishop. Most prelates in the Catholic Church, which is the only real Church, use prelatical hats. The Pope is supposed to use a tiara, not a mitre. This is a terrible scandal. I says, symbolically: I am only a bishop, and an Anglican one at that. There are signs it may be corrected. When the Pope visited Brazil, I noticed that several official renderings had the mitre put back. But I know of no official actions on this yet.

(3) The seminary document is a huge mistake and it is indeed scandalous in the extreme that we have not seen any real action taken yet to purge the clergy of sodomites. What could be more important than the welfare of children?

The Pope needs to do the right think even when this is not expedient. Ridding the Church of the priest-predators is not expedient in the short term during a shortage of priests. But it would restore respect and confidence to the Church.

I think that Benedict XVI is a much better Pope than was John Paul II, and that John Paul II was considerably better than Paul VI. But that's not saying all that much, really. None of them are of the same calibre as St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, or Pius XII. A balanced view is needed here. Benedict XVI is a conservative, even an archconservative; but he is no traditionalist. However, his papacy is definitely a turn in the right direction.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

CMR said:

"If the SSPX is serious about its statement of loyalty to the Pope, it is high time that the SSPX divorce themselves from Williamson and his ilk. If not, then the statement on the website is a lie and we all know what 'true faith' says about lying."

>>>>> If the Holy Father was serious about Summorum Pontificum, he would tell his bishops to get with it and begin the implementation of the Motu Proprio in a serious manner. As it is since Vat2, Rome talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.

How about the bishops who LIED about hiding the molesting priests? If Rome was serious about these scandals, then the offending bishops should be ditched also.

How about whack jobs like Greeley and McBrien, etc.? Shouldn't the same thing be done you claim SSPX should do with Williamson? C'mon, no one-sided finger-pointing.

///////////////

Mark said:

"Without the SSPX there would be No Summorum Pontificum!"

>>>>>This is not true at all, Mark. The Holy Father issued the Motu Proprio to repair the hermaneutic rupture of the past and to reverse the liturgical chaos gone unchecked since Paul VI. The SSPX may have been a consideration but they were not the sole motivation for Summorum Pontificum. ;)

///////////////

IMO, I think we should be grateful for the SSPX. At least they have made a concerted effort to uphold Roman Catholic values and principles and to try to preserve Sacred Tradition as much as possible. Everyone spazzes over them but nothing is said in objective criticism of our so-called separated brethren--the Orthodox and whomever else falls into that catagory. All laud and honor over them but spit at the SSPX? Yeah, right. One can get clearer points of Church teaching from them than the average parish priest. I may not attend an SSPX Mass due their sacerdotal irregularity with Rome, but I sure as sh't wouldn't even show up at an Orthodox anything also.

Anonymous said...

Mark is correct that, without the S.S.P.X, there would be no S.P.

It is true that the Pope himself, as a member of the 1986 Commission of Cardinals, favoured the declaration made in S.P. However, the convening of that commission in the first place came about owing to the continued opposition of the S.S.P.X; in fact, it was part of a negotiation with the S.S.P.X to bring it back into the fold after the suspension a divinis of 1976 and the continued growth of the Society.

While the Cardinal Ratzinger of that time certainly did come to favour the finding that the old Mass had never been abrogated, there is little evidence from before 1986 that he would have made this finding as a matter of policy. Only Carinals Oddi, Palazzini, Stickler, and Mayer really promoted the interests of the old Mass. Ratzinger was (and still is) and advocate of a reform of the New Mass in the traditionalist direction.

At any rate, even if the pre-condition of the Society was not the sole cause of the change, it was the sole *adequate* cause, meaning that the two years of stick-handling by the Pope to get this through the curia simply would not have happened had he not been determined to reconcile the Society.

No, it's not a 'post hoc'.

P.K.T.P.

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