SSPX reconciliation?

24 01 2009

econe04

As much as I hate to comment on stuff that is too “news worthy”, as one of the only bloggers who has a fairly ambivalent attitude towards the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and who has had some personal history with them, I think it only appropriate to write a few words about the lifting of the excommunications against the four SSPX bishops.

Firstly, I will say that I think Archbishop Lefebvre was not in the wrong for doing what he did back in 1988. Regardless of what I think now of the movement he started, I still feel that his actions were necessary for the preservation of tradition and the well-being of the Church. So as far as I am concerned, any canonical action taken by the present Pontiff is a non-issue.

Secondly, there seems to be some controversy going around regarding Bishop Richard Williamson’s Holocaust denial. I am far from being sympathetic to right-wing quacks, and wouldn’t mind if they locked this guy away in a monastery so that he can bark his conspiracy theories to the walls. He came to La Reja for ordinations the year I left seminary there, and he gave some rather bizarre and apocalyptic spiritual conferences, and I thank God everyday and twice on Sundays that I didn’t have to be a seminarian under him. (He took the reins six months after I left.) Nevertheless, his views do not affect the Holy Father’s canonical decision, as many have pointed out.

Thirdly, I think this really does make the Catholic Church into a case of “here comes everybody”. My own feelings of alienation from the Church often stem from the fact that my experiences of the Catholic Church have been so radically different from the typical American Catholic, liberal or conservative. I was raised in a fairly liberal parish with a heavy dose of Mexican charismaticism and underground folk Catholicism. Intellectually and in terms of piety, I was also heavily formed by the SSPX itself, and the way it and other traditionalists function when compared to “normal” Catholics is basically the difference between night and day. While ideology inevitably turns traditionalists into a sect within a larger Church, at least they still do the same things that were on the books in pre-Vatican II Catholicism. That is worth something, at least in my book.

While Pope Ratzinger cannot help having profound esteem for the Second Vatican Council, it is hoped that some day we will live in a Church where it is but one council among others. While the SSPX may reject most of what has happened in the Church in the past fifty years, let us remember that we dwell in a Church now where large sections of people reject what has happened in the Church in the past 2,000 years. One does not get brownie points for good behavior or “loyal rhetoric” to the hierarchy, but rather for keeping the Faith once delivered to the Apostles that is supposed to be preserved and protected by the aforementioned hierarchy. It is clear that in what was once the homeland of Christendom this is often no longer the case. May the Society of St. Pius X, with all its flaws and nutcases, continue to contribute to the restoration of the Church.


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5 responses

27 03 2009
OliviaB.

Thank you very much for your article. It’s nice to finally see someone who sees what the Society of St. Pius X is working for It has been doing what always has been done before the 1962 Vatican Council. And good move in pointing out that although SSPX is voicing out what the men of the Church are doing right now, there are Catholics out there that are voicing out what the Church has done for hundreds of years. I have high hopes in the restoration of the Catholic Church.
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OliviaB.

31 01 2009
Johannim

AS SOMEONE WHO SEE’S THE PARIDYMS CHANGING RAPIDLY SINCE THE ASCENTION OF POPE BENEDICT 16TH TO THE SEE OF PETER, FIRST WITH THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TRIDENTINE DIVINE LITURGY IN 2007 AND NOW WITH THE ERADICATION OF THE REACTIONARY EX-COMMUNICATION OF THE BISHOPS OF THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X, THE DAYS OF THE CUMBYA 60’S SOCIALIST DEGRESSIVE PRELATES IS COMING TO A SCHREECHING HALT (AS NEW, YOUNG AND ORTHODOX PRIESTS AND BISHOPS) ARE BEING ORDAINED AND CONSECRATED WORLDWIDE. THE POST VATICAN 2 CATHOLIC CHURCH AND IT’S NOVUS ORDO SERVICE WERE AND ARE A SICK MIMICKRY OF THE WORST OF PROTESTANTISM, CLOWN MASSES, COOKIE MASSES ,DORRITI CORN CHIP MASSES, HALLOWEEN MASSES ARE RAPIDLY BECOMING A FARCE OF THE PAST. MILLIONS OF ROMAN CATHOLIC YOUTH (POST VAT 2) ARE CHOOSING WITH THEIR HEARTS AND FEET AND RETURNING PERMANENTLY TO THE 1600 YR OLD ANCIENT CATHOLIC WORSHIP CODIED IN THE 16TH CENTURY AT THE COUNCIL OF TRENT. PRELATE LIKE THE CHIEF PRELATES IN LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, OAKLAND AND ORANGE COUNTY ARE RUNNING SCARED AFTER THEIR ANTICS OF THE LAST 2 DECADES. IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE ANCIENT LITURGY IS SUNG IN EVERY CATHOLIC CHURCH AROUND THE WORLD, AFTER ALL IT TOOK ALMOST 50 YRS TO TRY AND DESTROY THE ANCIENT LITURGY IT IS A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE OF PAUL 6TH AND ANNABALE BUGNINI FADE INTO OBLIVION. AS AN ORTHODOX ROMAN CATHOLIC AND JUDOPHILE I ADHOR THOSE BISHOPS, PRIESTS OR LAITY THAT DENIED THE MURDER OF 6 MILLION HUMAN BEINGS, OUR SENIOR BRETHREN IN FAITH, THE JEWS, I REMIND THOSE SHOAH DENIERS THAT THE MESSIAH WAS A JEW, HIS MOTHER WAS A JEW AND ALMOST ALL 1ST CENTURY CHRISTIANS WERE JEWS, TO HATE JEWS IS TO HATE THE MESSIAH “PERIOD”. IF YOU WANT TO HATE JEWS THEN TAKE YOURSELF TO THE NEAREST MOSQUE, ISLAM WILL ACCOMODATE YOUR HATRED. AS TO THE RECINDING OF THE EX-COMMUNICATION OF OUR BRETHREN IN THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X, IT COULDN’T COME SOON ENOUGH, AS SSPX SLOWLY RECONCILES, NOTHING BUT GOOD CAN COME FROM 800 ORTHODOX CATHOLIC PRIEST, BROTHER’S AND SISTERS WORLDWIDE BEING INCARNATED IN EVERY CATHOLIC DIOCESE WORLDWIDE–THANK YOU POPE BENEDICT BY THE GRACE OF THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE.

25 01 2009
Fr. Anthony

See http://pagesperso-orange.fr/civitas.dei/sspx.htm

It’s not easy for a European not to get emotional about all this. However, I would say that if you’re not emotional enough, look at the horrible pictures of Auschwitz, etc.

All the same, I try to stay rational. All the Pope has done is to remove the excommunications. If the SSPX want to be in the Church, they will have to change a lot of things. They are not Anglicans or Orthodox. They have no special identity. They have only to fit in (even though they continue to use the EF of the Roman rite).

I think it is likely that the Vatican will renew its condemnation of Holocaust denial and antisemitism and make it clear that the SSPX has a long way to go and much progress to make before they start lording it over the rest of us.

I hope my article proves helpful.

Fr. Anthony

24 01 2009
Leah

I’m not very optimistic about what a regularization of the SSPX might mean for the future of the Church. The vast majority of people, Catholic and non-Catholic, don’t have a clue what the SSPX is. All they’re going to see are the headlines that say, “Pope Lifts Ex-communication of Holocaust denier” and get freaked out. The fact that the pontiff was a German solider during WWII will certainly complicate matters.

As far as helping to reconcile the Church with the other 1,950 years of her history, I’m also rather pessimistic. Most parishes today are segregated by liturgical preference. The people who like the Novus Ordo with guitars go here, the people who like the Novus Ordo with organ but no Latin go there, the people who like the Novus Ordo with Latin go somewhere else, and the Tridentine mass people are across town and none of these groups ever interact with each other. Maybe this is an over-generalization, but in order for the SSPX and other supporters of Tradition to be good influences, they would have to interact with the rest of the Catholic hoi polloi. Remember, most Catholics don’t even know that they should be concerned about liturgical matters and I imagine most bishops don’t think they ought to be.

24 01 2009
FrGregACCA

I think it is important to bear in mind that +Williamson is NOT +Fellay and vice-versa. The closer that +Fellay and the rest of the SSPX get to Rome, I fully expect +Williamson to bolt into full-blown sede vacantism, taking a portion of the SSPX with him.

If I am wrong, that monastery thing would be the best way to proceed; unfortunately however, guys like Williamson have a knack for always landing on their feet. He reminds me of a certain former Continuing Anglican bishop who is now functioning as a priest in The Episcopal Church.

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