By Eleison Comments in Eleison Comments on August 1, 2015
Good souls regularly wish me to “step up to the plate” and assume a position of authority at the head of today’s “Resistance” movement. Let me propose, without imposing, the reasons for my serious reluctance to attempt any such thing.
Authority in the Church is “shot,” from the top downwards. The present Pope (I am no sedevacantist) is out of his Catholic mind, if ever he had one. But even if his election as Pope was invalid for one reason or another, it was convalidated by his virtually universal acceptance as Pope throughout the worldwide Church. In any case nobody else is Pope, or can be, and therefore he has the supreme authority in the Church. Now the Church was so designed by Our Lord as to be a monarchy, with all authority descending in it through the Pope from God. For by definition authority can only come from above. As Jefferson says in the United States’ Declaration of Independence, authority given from below can always be taken back from below. Authority from below is in fact a contradiction in terms. It is no real authority at all.
Therefore unless this Pope were to give me authority to lead the “Resistance,” which is obviously inconceivable, I will never have official Catholic authority to head up the resistants. Can I have supplied authority due to the emergency? In theory, yes, but supplied authority is relatively weak. It is supplied from above (by the Church) when for instance a penitent asks a priest in unusual circumstances to hear his confession, i.e. when normally the priest would have no jurisdiction to do so. So supplied authority descends from the Church above, but it is triggered only by the demand from below. No demand, no supplied authority.
Take Archbishop Lefebvre’s own case. Firstly, it was very important to him that the Statutes of the original SSPX were officially approved by the diocesan bishop of Geneva, Lausanne and Fribourg. Secondly, for instance, if a priest of the SSPX wanted to quit the SSPX, to right or to left, the Archbishop had no power to stop him or to punish him except by having nothing more to do with him. And if that priest departed towards the Novus Ordo Church, he was often greeted, as one can imagine, with open arms. The SSPX under Bishop Fellay has more and more wanted to be normal and has pretended it is normal, but actually it is a weak structure insofar as it has never had any jurisdiction more than supplied (this is one reason why Bishop Fellay so wants to be re-integrated into the mainstream Church).
Now that was the Archbishop! And I am no Archbishop Lefebvre. Therefore a certain number of good souls can turn to me for guidance, as they do, but it is not in me to claim even a supplied jurisdiction, because of the enormous confusion reigning in the Church. At present I am more and more disinclined to impose even a true viewpoint on anybody, because souls are now so confused that the least imposition is liable to increase rather than decrease that confusion. “I WILL STRIKE THE SHEPHERD AND THE SHEEP WILL BE SCATTERED” (Zachary XIII, 7), quoted by Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. XXVI, 31), and that is how it is going to be in the Church, more and more, until God in his mercy restores the Shepherd, which he will do only when mankind will appreciate a true Shepherd of God. Until then God’s gift of such a Shepherd would risk doing more harm than good. So in the meantime we must all take our just punishment: the universal confusion!
That is why I will give to anybody who asks me my reasons for acting as I do, but I will propose those reasons rather than impose them, and I will not usually object to people disagreeing with me.