However, I want to address one minor comment by His Excellency, which really had the character of an aside, which referenced the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. I do not, of course, speak in any official capacity for the ICRSP, but I did want to make a few comments. Here is the relevant question and answer:
Brian Mershon: Some critics say that the Society’s rejection of a canonical or practical solution is a sign of obstinacy or ill will. How do you answer that?
Bishop Fellay: It is very simple. The Holy See has agreed that the doctrinal talks should happen, so that should answer the questions without putting the burden on me. Besides that, it is very clear that whatever practical solution that would happen without a sound doctrinal foundation would lead directly to disaster. We don’t want that. We want and need the security of a sound solution on the level of doctrine to go ahead. So to pretend there is something definitive prior to engaging in the doctrinal talks…
We have all these previous examples in front of us—the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King and all of the others are totally blocked on the level of doctrine because they first accepted the practical agreement.
There is a history, of course, between the Fraternity of St. Peter and the Society of St. Pius X. The Fraternity began its unique existence in 1988, when some members of the SSPX objected to the Episcopal consecrations of the four current SSPX bishops, and received recognition by the Holy See as the FSSP.
And, with respect, just what "practical agreement" did the Institute reach before settling a doctrinal question? Though its antecedents were already there, the Institute was canonically formed in 1990, two years after the consecrations and the formation of the FSSP. It was not an offshoot or remnant of the SSPX. The Institute's priests were formed under the great Cardinal Siri. Its canonical structure was, at first, one of diocesan right, and since 2008 one of Pontifical Right.
The Institute's growth and trajectory were based first and foremost on its own unique charism based on its patrons, its dedication to liturgical tradition and beauty in the spirit of St. Benedict, its Salesian spirituality, and its adherence to Thomistic theology. And it is consecrated to is principal patroness-- Our Lady, under her title of the Immaculate Conception.
Its approach has never involved any doctrinal compromise, and the wisdom of its approach has seemingly been rewarded by the Holy See in that it was elevated to Pontifical Right after establishing a long track record of fidelity to the faith, healthy growth, and proof of the benefit of its mission for souls--not as a precondition in exchange for obedience, but as a recognition of its worth.
I respect Bishop Fellay. I respect the SSPX and FSSP and the other traditional societies. But His Excellency clearly speaks beyond his knowledge here.
What may be most telling about the growth of the Institute is that His Excellency mentions it at all; this is the first time I have personally seen him do so in print. Having fewer priests than the other two societies in question, it probably did not register before. But the Institute has done much to advance the cause of the restoration of Catholic tradition and liturgy, and more people are becoming aware of it.