16 October 2012

Profoundly Saddening: Bishop Williamson Set to Go Rogue

There is something more than ironic in a schism within a group accused of schism for the last quarter century. I have written on the Society many times; you can search the blog for my essential take. But this development is in no way good.

Bishop Williamson is soon to be expelled from the SSPX, and his supporters indicate that he, like Fr. John Corapi (to whom I'm sure His Excellency would not wish to be compared) will continue his "ministry", a la "the black sheep dog."

Disobedience to proper authority in a religious community is typically dealt with by a process set out by Canon Law, with the ultimate authority resting with the Holy Father. Of course, this assumes there is a regular chain of command where the community submits to the legitimacy of the process. Hence, Bishop Fellay occupies quite the tough spot.

As long as the Superior General could act the sole spokesman for the Society, then with one voice and will negotiations with Rome that would bring the whole group under the same agreement was at least possible, however likely or unlikely.

Bishop Williamson has made this nearly impossible, whether in good faith or not, and whether unfairly treated or not. Gleeful modernists in the official hierarchy were thus able to separate a possible agreement with "the SSPX" and bishop Fellay from any promises to the reluctant three, and especially to the central casting villain Bishop Williamson. Faced with some internal strife and the new CDF leadership changing terms at the last minute, with everyone's hopes raised high, Bishop Fellay had to reject new CDF language or face the destruction of his Society-- or so it seems, as none of us is privy to the actual texts under consideration.

If Rome and all SSPX bishops had agreed, the possible schism would end; regardless of how many priests or laymen followed suit, it wouldn't be macro-important. A real schism requires apostolic succession.

The only winner in this debacle is Satan, and those useful idiots who carry out his will in preventing the restoration of the beauty of the liturgy and the faith it embodies and guards.

If I were a Catholic attendee of the SSPX, I would be sick over this. But then every Catholic should be sick over this. There are lots of villains in this drama, and they can be found in London, Econe and Rome alike-- only the Good Lord knows who they are.

Corapi aborted his "rogue ministry." I can only pray Williamson does, too. Before it starts would be best.

And the Holy Father can end this whenever he wants.

How long, O Lord?

Maria, Mater Eccesiae, Ora pro nobis!


StGuyFawkes said...


Any possible coverage of the local angle. Is His Excellancy BP. Williamson still the local ordinary of the SSPX families here in St. Louis? If so what is their reaction?

Excellent coverage on your part and a very balanced approach.

St. Guy

thetimman said...

Thanks, stguy,
As to the local angle, I know there are some sspxers who read here. Perhaps they could comment.

Forward-Slash S said...

I agree Timman, this is a very balanced article. Bishop Williamson can indeed be compared to Corapi, and whether one makes their home in the Society, or the Institute, or any other community within the Church endeavoring to salvage Tradition from the wreckage, we should all be saddened by the damage he and those like him have done.

Indeed, the Holy Father can end this by virtue of his Office, but one wonders if that will happen in his Pontificate when prelates like Mueller are installed who are adamantly opposed to Tradition in general and the Society in particular. Much prayer needed!


Forward-Slash S said...

@ St. Guy, Bishop Williamson was never the local ordinary of the SSPX families in St. Louis. The answer to that of course is Archbishop Carlson as he is the head of the Catholic Church in the St. Louis archdiocese. All the bishops in the Society are auxiliary only.

But this points to a real misunderstanding between the perceived versus the actual state of the Society in the Church. The SSPX are not separate from the Church but just as much a part of the Church as those who are in full regularization. The SSPX, though irregular, are not outside the Church.


X said...

I don't see any similarity to Father Corapi, nor do I see any damage done to the Church by Bishop Williamson.

Rory said...

Hey Forward-Slash S...


Forward-Slash S,


I knew someone would clear up the question of Catholics in St. Louis whose ordinary is supposedly Bp. Williamson.

Let me just add an anecdote:

"Father," I said a little timidly, as the new guy at our SSPX chapel (not in St. Louis), "This year the Feast of St. Patrick lands on a Friday and Lent and Bp. Not Williamson gives us a dispensation from abstinence." Father said, a little to my surprise, "He's the bishop."

Bp. Williamson has not, is now, and apparently never will be the ordinary for any of the faithful of an SSPX Chapel. A few years later, I have learned how most Society priests well understand the grievous irregular situation as we find it. I have heard words of sorrow, but never of disrespect for the lawful prelates and ordinaries of the Catholic Church. No SSPX bishop, including His Excellency Bp. Williamson, has EVER claimed to be an ordinary bishop.

A very few priests, and a few more of those who attend SSPX Masses are just upset and angry. I get it. But anger blinds and deafens. Those of us who listen know that the Society is not the Church. It is an article of faith with most of us that the Pope and Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. God bless our Holy Father and the bishops united with him round the world.

Rory said...

Bp. Williamson may yet prove to be a sedevacantist. We can all agree that it is saddening that there might be a bishop with real holy orders who is not in communion with Rome.

But sickened? How long have we lived with Eastern Orthodox bishops in a much stronger position than Bp. Williamson if he should choose to align with the so-called SSPX-strict observance?

Are the alarming Messages of Our Lady of Good Counsel, or of La Salette, or of Fatima sickening? The possible defection of one orthodox bishop is profoundly sobering, yes. But God has given us many ways to expect that our dear Church will experience a diabolical disorientation. He will not fail to give those who heed His messages the grace to persevere.

StGuyFawkes said...


Here's a great quote to remember:

"Our Catholic Church here split into three pieces: (1) the American Catholic Church whose new Rome is Cicero, Illinois; (2) the Dutch schismatics who believe in relevance but not God; (3) the Roman Catholic remnant, a tiny scattered flock with no place to go.

The American Catholic Church, which emphasizes property rights and the integrity of neighborhoods, retained the Latin mass and plays The Star-Spangled Banner at the elevation.

The Dutch Schismatics in this area comprise several priests and nuns who left Rome to get married. They threw in with the Dutch Schismatic Catholics. Now several divorced priests and nuns are importuning the Dutch cardinal to allow them to remarry.

The Roman Catholics hereabouts are scattered and demoralized. The one priest, an obscure curate, who remained faithful to Rome, could not support himself and had to hire out as a fire watcher."
–from Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy

Long-Skirts said...

Rory said:

"Those of us who listen know that the Society is not the Church. It is an article of faith with most of us that the Pope and Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. God bless our Holy Father and the bishops united with him round the world."


"We would sign the Credo with our own blood."
(You/Tube - Pater Franz Schmidberger, 18. Sept. 2012)

Many a Convent
Where good sisters pray
Because of vocations
The True Mass each day

Many a school
Which we pay for in tears
But a Catholic culture
Allays all our fears

Retreats, Seminaries
For souls to discern
To hear Jesus call
"Come, it's your turn."

And then there's those prelates
Who stop and deter
Yet worse our own kind
Who ignore and defer

Preserving not
The Whole Truth inherited
Believing the liars
Who assert they've not merited

As souls still drown
In this waterless flood
I stick with the Credo
Signed in Priests' blood!