A reader asks what were the circumstances behind the writing of the letter of April 7, 2012, addressed to Bishop Fellay and his two Assistants, by the three other bishops then of the Society of St Pius X. The letter is fast becoming ancient history, but readers may remember that the letter played an important part in making Traditional Catholics aware of the significant change of direction of the Society that had been surreptitiously taking place over the last 15 years, and which many of them had not noticed. But in March of 2012 the animal had just broken cover, or come out into the open.
In that month in “Cor Unum,” the Society’s magazine appearing three times a year for priests, the Superior General (SG) wrote that it was time for the Society to change Archbishop Lefebvre’s policy of no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement, because the hostility of the Roman churchmen towards Catholic Tradition was growing less, and so the Society’s trust in the Conciliar Romans should grow more. In fact since the early 2000’s, more and more priests and laity of the Society had been suspecting that the Society was being led in a different direction. Now the SG himself was confirming those suspicions. That “Cor Unum” caused quite a stir within the Society.
At the dinner-table in the Society’s Priory in London, England, the editor of these “Comments” wondered aloud about writing to the SG a letter of protest against the change of direction, and about sending it to Bishop Tissier for him to check the contents. A priestly colleague at table asked if the letter should not be submitted also to Bishop de Galarreta, in case it could go to Society Headquarters as a joint protest against such a serious departure from the Archbishop’s constant preaching and practice of “Doctrine first.” The colleague was right, and so the idea of a letter of the three bishops was born. When consulted on the project, Bishop Tissier recommended that a draft of the letter be written, and when a draft was submitted to him he gave to it his enthusiastic approval. The draft was then submitted to Bishop de Galarreta who also approved, but reinforced considerably the draft by rewriting the last part of it. A final text was then signed by all three bishops and posted to Headquarters in Menzingen with copies for the SG and his two Assistants.
Their reply came just one week later. Not for nothing had Headquarters been changing the Society’s direction while disguising the change. They genuinely thought that Conciliar Rome was becoming more Catholic, to the point that the Archbishop’s grave reservations as to co-operating with the Neo-modernists in Rome were in effect out of date. To Cardinal Ratzinger in 1988 the Archbishop had said that co-operation was impossible, because the SSPX and Rome were working in directly opposite directions – Rome wanted to de-christianise society while the SSPX was striving to re-christianise society. But in 2012, SSPX Headquarters were adamant that the situation had changed, and so by opposing the three bishops they were not opposing the Archbishop. But what would the latter have said about the shenanigans of Pope Francis? What would he not have said? Yet in a recently appeared book-interview of the now former SG, Bishop Fellay vigorously repudiates even the least criticism of Pope Francis.
And so on a pre-arranged date in June of 2012 the latter presented himself in Rome with a trusted adjutant to put the seal on an agreement with Rome which would at last put an end to what SSPX Headquarters must have considered was an unnecessary 37-year squabble between the SSPX and Rome. Unnecessary? Squabble? Conciliar Rome is at war with Catholic Tradition! And the Romans had obviously learned of the three bishops’ letter. In which case what use would it have been for them to trap the Society’s official leadership if the other three of its four bishops avoided the trap? Tradition risked starting up all over again. And so the SG in 2012 was sent away from Rome, empty-handed. He would have to get to work on those bishops to bring them round. He wasted no time . . .