Bishop Fellay – I
Did the Society think it would save all?
That was the pride which goes before a fall.
After the June 26–28 meeting of SSPX Superiors in Switzerland, the Superior General made not only for the general public the Communiqué of June 29, already examined in these “Comments” three weeks ago, but also a Statement on June 28 for the benefit of SSPX members, i.e. primarily SSPX priests. The Statement is in itself cryptic, but once deciphered (with the help of Fr Girouard), it is heavy with significance for the future of Catholic Tradition. Here is the merest outline of the first six paragraphs of the Statement, and the full text of the seventh:—
(1–4) Church and world are in crisis, because instead of turning around the Cross of Christ, they turn around man. The SSPX opposes this “deconstruction” of the Church and human society. (5) God’s own remedy for this disorder was to inspire an Archbishop to found a hierarchical Catholic Congregation turning around the sacrament of Holy Orders – Jesus Christ, his Cross, Kingship, sacrifice and priesthood, source of all order and grace, are what the Society founded by the Archbishop is all about.
(6) So the SSPX is neither Conciliar (it turns around Christ) nor rebellious (it is hierarchical).
(7) “Has the moment come for the general restoration of the Church? God’s Providence does not abandon God’s Church whose head is the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. That is why an indisputable sign of the general restoration will be when the Pope gives a sign of what he wants by granting the means to restore order in the priesthood, Faith and Tradition. This sign will in addition guarantee the Catholic unity necessary to the family of Tradition.”
Clearly the first six paragraphs lead up to the seventh. And it is not unreasonable to take the seventh to mean that when Pope Francis gives official approval to the Society, then that will be the proof that the moment has come at last for the whole of the Catholic Church to g et back on its feet, for the Catholic priesthood, Catholic Faith and Catholic Tradition to be restored, and for all Traditionalists to join with the Society of St Pius X behind its Superior General. Bishop Fellay would seem to be repeating here for the benefit of all Society priests his steady vision of the Society’s glorious role, because at the Swiss meeting, as we hear, at least some of their Superiors had just questioned that glory coming in the form of reunion with official Rome. But those Superiors in opposition were right, because Bishop Fellay is here dreaming! It is a noble but deadly dream.
The dream is noble, because it is all to the honour of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of his Church, of his sacrifice, of Archbishop Lefebvre, of the Catholic priesthood and so on. The dream is deadly because it turns rather on the priesthood than on the Faith, and while it credits quite correctly Pope Francis and the Romans with being the holders of Church Authority, it takes no account of how far they are from holding the Catholic Faith. If Archbishop Lefebvre can be said to have saved the Catholic priesthood and Mass, that was for him only as a means of saving the Faith. The Faith is to the priesthood as end to means, and not as means to end. What would the priesthood be without the Faith? Who would believe in the Sacraments? Who would need priests?
And as to that Faith, the present Pope and the Roman officials who hold sway around him have lost their grip on Truth as being one, objective, non-contradictory and exclusive, and therewith they have lost their grip on the true Faith, not to say, lost the true Faith. That means that if Pope Francis did indeed approve officially of the Society, it would by no means be a sign of the Society restoring the Church to sanity, but rather of the official Church absorbing the Society into its insanity.