When last week’s “Eleison Comments” began by seeming to sympathize with the “sedevacantists” who believe that the Popes since John XXIII have not been Popes at all, and ended by seeming to sympathize with Cardinal Kasper for making fun of the unauthoritative Society of St Pius X, I know that there was at least one reader that was confused, and I suspect that she was not alone. But everything drops into place if one assumes that from Vatican II onwards, Catholic Truth has been split from Catholic Authority.
Now the Catholic Authority of the churchmen should be welded to the Catholic Truth of Our Lord, because that human Authority only exists to protect and teach that divine Truth. But at that dreadful Council (1962–1965), centuries of Protestant heresy and Liberal dissolution of truth had at last so wormed their way into the hearts and minds of a large majority of the Council Fathers that they gave up on the purity of Catholic Truth, and to this day they have been using all their Catholic Authority to impose on Catholics the Council’s new and false religion of man.
Whereupon Catholics have been torn apart, both from one another and in themselves, as was inevitable. For either they have had to cling to Catholic Truth, and more or less abandon Catholic Authority, which is the solution of the “sedevacantists.” And when one looks primarily at Catholic Truth, one may well sympathize with them, so horrible has been the betrayal of Truth by the highest churchmen, ever since that Council began. Or Catholics have chosen to cling to Catholic Authority, and more or less abandon Catholic Truth, which is the solution of Cardinal Kasper. And when one looks primarily to Catholic Authority, one may well sympathize with his loyalty to Benedict XVI, and understand the Cardinal’s smile when he finds himself rebuked for not being Catholic by the wholly unauthoritative Society of St Pius X, still practically excommunicated.
Yet Archbishop Lefebvre chose a third way, in between the two extremes of either Truth or Authority. His way, in which he has been followed by that SSPX, was to cling to Catholic Truth, but with no disrespect towards Church Authority, nor any blanket disbelief in the status of its officials. It is a balance certainly not always easy to keep, but it has borne Catholic fruit all over the world, and it has sustained a faithful remnant of Catholics with true doctrine and the true sacraments for the 40 years we have so far spent in the Conciliar desert (1970–2010).
In that desert we Catholic sheep may have to be scattered for a while yet, as long as the Shepherd in Rome is struck (Zech.XIII,7, quoted by Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane –Mt.XXVI,31). In this Gethsemane of the Church, we do need compassion on our fellow sheep. That is why I can sympathize with “sedevacantists,” and even with liberals (up to a point!). But that no way means that the third way as traced out by Archbishop Lefebvre has ceased to be the right way.
May the Great Mother of God long protect the little Society!