19 July 2012

Statement of the SSPX General Chapter and One Blogger's Take

The following is the English translation (thanks to Rorate Caeli) of the joint statement of the Society of St. Pius X at the conclusion of its Extraordinary General Chapter.

It has been made public and sent to Rome as a response to the recent disturbance of the waters by the CDF. This is my own take, of course, but by "disturbance of the waters" I mean that it seems to me that to head off any reconciliation of the Society, as the Pope and Bishop Fellay have sought, some modernist elements in the Curia again revised the famous-though-unpublished Preamble that was to be signed by the SSPX and which was to be the precursor to canonical regularization by the Holy Father. This last-minute feint put Bishop Fellay in a very tight spot, as he seemed to be bringing the Society to this agreement by the force of his will, carrying along a large portion of his members who feared it (and many who welcomed it, to be sure).

Again, I stress that this is my opinion based on the record made public, the past history of the negotiations, and some (hopefully) reasonable speculation. If you disagree, I certainly get that; feel free to state your case in the combox.

How do we get to a situation where the Holy Father and the Head of the SSPX desire a reconciliation and have agreed to terms (at least general terms), yet are thwarted by the machinations of bishops and others who are below their authorities?

In any event, the elements of the SSPX who wait for "Rome to convert" (as if that were possible for a Catholic to seriously maintain) are delighted to bring out the "I-told-you-sos" and faithful Catholics inside and outside the Society are left to wonder when the Pope will ever enforce his will and authority given him by Christ.

This statement can be spun any way you like. It forebodes both reconciliation and continued resistance. After the situation clears, the victors will point to the language in it that supports one or the other. Initially, some will spin it as a negative, as all of the communications of the past few months have been undoubtedly pro-reconciliation. It is refreshing to read some parts of it that clearly state elements of our Catholic Faith (contrast that with your parish's RCIA program!).

This thing stands on a knife's edge. Prayer is needed:

As announced in the press communiqué of the Society of St. Pius X’s General House on July 14, 2012, the members of the General Chapter sent a common statement to Rome. It has been published today.

During the interview published at DICI on July 16, Bishop Bernard Fellay stated that this document was “the occasion to specify the (SSPX’s) road map insisting upon the conservation of the Society’s identity, the only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom”. “For,” he said, “doctrinal mutism is not the answer to this “silent apostasy”, which even John Paul II denounced already in 2003.”

At the conclusion of the General Chapter of the Society of St. Pius X, gathered together at the tomb of its venerated founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and united with its Superior General, the participants, bishops, superiors, and most senior members of the Society elevate to Heaven our heartfelt thanksgiving, grateful for the 42 years of marvelous Divine protection over our work, amidst a Church in crisis and a world which distances itself farther from God and His law with each passing day.

We wish to express our gratitude to each and every member of our Society: priests, brothers, sisters, third order members; to the religious communities close to us and also to our dear faithful, for their constant dedication and for their fervent prayers on the occasion of this Chapter, marked by frank exchanges of views and by a very fruitful common work. Every sacrifice and pain accepted with generosity has contributed to overcome the difficulties which the Society has encountered in recent times. We have recovered our profound unity in its essential mission: to preserve and defend the Catholic Faith, to form good priests, and to strive towards the restoration of Christendom. We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization. We have decided that, in that case, an extraordinary Chapter with deliberative vote will be convened beforehand.

We must never forget that the sanctification of the souls always starts within ourselves. It is the fruit of a faith which becomes vivifying and operating by the work of charity, according to the words of St. Paul: “For we can do nothing against the truth: but for the truth” (cf. II Cor., XIII, 8), and “as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it… that it should be holy and without blemish” (cf. Eph. V, 25 s.).

The Chapter believes that the paramount duty of the Society, in the service which it intends to offer to the Church, is to continue, with God’s help, to profess the Catholic Faith in all its purity and integrity, with a determination matching the intensity of the constant attacks to which this very Faith is subjected nowadays.

For this reason it seems opportune that we reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the unique Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation nor possibility to find the means leading to salvation; our faith in its monarchical constitution, desired by Our Lord himself, by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth; our faith in the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of both the natural and the supernatural orders, to Whom every man and every society must submit.

The Society continues to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, and also in regard to the reforms issued from it. We find our sure guide in this uninterrupted Magisterium which, by its teaching authority, transmits the revealed Deposit of Faith in perfect harmony with the truths that the entire Church has professed, always and everywhere.

The Society finds its guide as well in the constant Tradition of the Church, which transmits and will transmit until the end of times the teachings required to preserve the Faith and the salvation of souls, while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities.

We wish to unite ourselves to the others Christians persecuted in different countries of the world who are now suffering for the Catholic Faith, some even to the extent of martyrdom. Their blood, shed in union with the Victim of our altars, is the pledge for a true renewal of the Church in capite et membris, according to the old saying sanguis martyrum semen christianorum.

“Finally, we turn our eyes to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is also jealous of the privileges of her Divine Son, jealous of His glory, of His Kingdom on earth as in Heaven. How often has she intervened for the defense, even the armed defense, of Christendom against the enemies of the Kingdom of Our Lord! We entreat her to intervene today to chase the enemies out from inside the Church who are trying to destroy it more radically than its enemies from outside. May she deign to keep in the integrity of the Faith, in the love of the Church, in devotion to the Successor of Peter, all the members of the Society of St. Pius X and all the priests and faithful who labor alongside the Society, in order that she may both keep us from schism and preserve us from heresy.

“May St. Michael the Archangel inspire us with his zeal for the glory of God and with his strength to fight the devil.

“May St. Pius X share with us a part of his wisdom, of his learning, of his sanctity, to discern the true from the false and the good from the evil in these times of confusion and lies.” (Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre; Albano, October 19, 1983).

Given at Ecône, on the 14th of July of the Year of the Lord 2012.


Ambrose said...

My opinion, ( and I haven't read any more about it than you ) is that the Holy Father would like to see a reconciliation happen. Some in the curia would not. The SPPX is only marginally interested in a reconciliation but are satisfied, for the most part, with the status quo.
I don't see the two sides getting together for many years, if ever.

Anonymous said...

@ Ambrose. Though I agree that the Holy Father would like to see full reconciliation in his Pontificate, I cannot take such a hopeless view that no reconciliation will soon or ever take place. Most who follow the ancient Traditions of our Faith (whether Society or not) that have even an ounce of humility, long to have this resolved for the increase and strength of the Church. In truth, there are elements on both sides who wish this to derail into wreckage and attempt that at every turn. If the Holy Father wished, he could by virtue of his office, cut to the chase and deal directly with Bishop Fellay but hasn't as of yet or has chosen not to. It's the job of the faithful therefore to continue in prayer and sacrifice for Our Lord to make clear the way of reconciliation and render sterile those who labor towards the opposite.

An Act of Hope
O my God, relying on the infinite goodness and promises I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, help of thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.