SSPX update

28 01 2009

williamson

As you all know, the whole SSPX controversy is making the rounds with the secular and religious press. Now, Fr. Schmidberger, former Superior General of the SSPX, has come out denouncing Bishop Williamson’s views on Holocaust revisionism. While such things are not indicative of an immediate surrender of the SSPX into the embrace of Rome, I find at least the idea that two important figures in the SSPX coming out and openly denouncing one of the bishops that Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated to be unthinkable when considering my experiences with the SSPX. Before, at least in my perception, these bishops were untouchable, and almost treated as “primes inter pares”. Now, it seems, that is no longer the case. Does this mean some sort of change has occurred within that organization?

To those of us with a history of deep involvement with the SSPX, Williamson’s remarks were far from surprising, and we are almost scratching our heads over the whole hubbub. I entered the scene of the SSPX in the late 1990’s, when the powerful triumvirate of Fr. Peter Scott, Father Ramon Angles, and Bishop Williamson ruled the United States District turning it almost into a far right wing cult. (Stories of such behavior are legendary around the SSPX compound of St. Mary’s, Kansas.) Those were the days when the SSPX was having its crusade against television, women’s pants, and the time that they were saying that even going to any Novus Ordo Mass was a sin. Those days apparently are over, though their imprint still remains, I believe, in the SSPX.

The recent events, then, give me pause. Does this mean that the SSPX is turning around? I have to say that one weird part of me is a little sad to see them “going soft”; even if I don’t like fanatics, I wish the world had more of them, at least at the very margins to remind us that the “normal way” of doing things may not be so normal after all. Nevertheless, I would never want them to have any real power. I guess I’ll wait and see.


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11 responses

27 01 2011
Jerry

I realize that the SSPX has had their fair share of issues, especially in the 90’s, when extremism apparently reigned. I think Bishop Williamson should be immediately expelled from the SSPX. No questions asked.

18 05 2009
Jeff

This is a clear media attack against the Catholic Church! I agree with Leah and David’s comments 100%. Unless you know anything about the SSPX situation which most do not, one will be in a position to “just believe what the media says” which is dangerous. Let’s not forget the devils best plan is to divide the Church-the Pope is trying to “unite” the Church-think about it!

29 01 2009
gary

In the final analysis, PR doesn’t matter, truth matters. If adverse PR causes discomfort for the Church, then Catholics should be willing to bear the brunt. Were not Our Savior’s sufferings occasioned by His being misunderstood?

(…and I sure hope I can live up to those ringing words. Gulp.)

29 01 2009
The Shepherd

But you can’t really expect the press to get a story about religion, especially the Catholic church, anywhere close to being right anyway.

29 01 2009
David

Just as Leah said. Last night I heard a report on the lifting of the excommunications on NPR’s BBC news broadcast. All they talked about was the holocaust denial, played some choice quotes from Williamson, and how angry Jews everywhere are that the pope would welcome such a person back into the fold. There was no mention of why the excommunications were lifted (or why they happened in the first place), or the overall situation of the SSPX. It really made me mad.

29 01 2009
Leah

The way the media has spun this issue is that they’re making it sound like the reason the excommunications occurred is because of Holocaust denial and other far-right positions. The average person have no idea who Bishop Williamson is or what the SSPX is. Most people don’t know the differences between the Tridentine mass and the Novus Ordo mass (aside from the fact that one is in Latin and the other isn’t), or understand the controversy over ecumenicalism/inter-religious dialogue. Unless you have some background information to put the lifting of the excommunications in context, the whole thing makes no sense. I think in many people’s minds, this episode reinforces the belief that the Catholic Church just a hotbed of repressed inquisitors and crypto-fascists. I really think the Vatican really mishandled the PR on this, and there are going to be major repercussions.

28 01 2009
The Shepherd

This Williamson guy seems like a real character…

28 01 2009
Arturo Vasquez

It takes a real man to wear lace.

28 01 2009
diane

Ewwww. What’s with all the lace (or is it just particularly elaborate brocade?)? I hafta say that the post-VCII move away from lace was a Good Thing, IMHO. Real Men do not wear lace. Well, OK, maybe the Scarlet Pimpernel did, but that was a long time ago.

28 01 2009
Arturo Vasquez

I think it is a good thing. And to be specific, I don’t think Bishop Williamson is an anti-Semite, even from seeing this interview. I think he is eccentric to the point of mild insanity, but that’s about it.

28 01 2009
Mack Ramer

I’m lost. How can a condemnation of Holocaust-denial be anything but a good thing?

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