The latest press release coming last week from Society of St Pius X Headquarters concerning the meeting held on the previous day between the Society’s Superior General and the head of Rome’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, gives rise to a guarded optimism. Guarded certainly, because as the proverb says, “The scalded cat fears (even) cold water,” and Traditional Catholics have been scalded for the best part of the last 20 years by the treacherous politics of Menzingen, putting Conciliar approval above the Catholic Faith, while always pretending to do the opposite. However, there is room for a glimmer of optimism, because this press release puts the doctrine of the Faith back in first place where it belongs.
Two more proverbs say, “Handsome is as handsome does,” and “Actions speak louder than words.” And so Catholics doing their best to keep the Faith are going to be wary for a while, even for a long while, at least until they can see actions and not only good words coming from Menzingen, especially when the practical conclusion of the press release is that doctrinal discussions between Rome and the Society need to be re-opened. Doctrinal discussions? But they have been held already, between 2009 and 2011, long enough to discuss all the main issues, and clear enough to show the impossibility of any doctrinal agreement between Catholic Tradition and Vatican II. Upon which Menzingen abandoned in 2012 the sanity of Archbishop Lefebvre – “No practical agreement WITHOUT a doctrinal agreement” and replaced it with the insanity of his successor – “No doctrinal agreement; THEREFORE, a practical agreement,” which is the direct opposite! And that treacherous lead was docilely followed by the large part of what had once been the Archbishop’s Society . . .
In this switch between the two formulae lies the essence of the treachery, which is not too strong a word, because the Archbishop’s formula puts the doctrine of the Faith in front of approval by the Roman Conciliarists, whereas one may say that the second formula puts the Faith in second or third place. Thus for several years now the Society can be accused of having pursued as its priorities, firstly official recognition by Conciliar Rome, secondly unity within the Society and with Rome, and thirdly the Faith. But what is the Catholic worth of recognition by non-Catholics, e.g. followers of Vatican II, and what is the use for Catholics of unity in any shape, size or form with Conciliarists? What was disappointing in 2012 was the lack of sufficient reaction on the part of so many priests trained under the Archbishop. But we all of us live in a world in which “indoctrination” has become a dirty word, and in which most people want in their heads Masonic mush because it frees them from all ten Commandments . . .
Notwithstanding, Catholics who still want to get to Heaven still want the Faith, because as Almighty God tells us in Holy Scripture, without the faith it is impossible to please Him, and how can one get to His Heaven without pleasing Him (Hebrews XI, 6)? Then such Catholics, scalded in the all-engulfing apostasy which surrounds them, might take at least a glimmer of hope from the press release mentioned above, because at least in words it announces the intention of Menzingen to put the doctrine of the Faith back in first place, as these “Comments” will quote next week. (Meanwhile one act that the new Superior General could immediately put in place is to make public a clear and just summary of the record of the 2009–2011 doctrinal discussions, which was promised to us at the time, a promise never fulfilled.)
However, will Fr Pagliarani have the vision and fortitude to put in place the acts corresponding to his words? Time alone will tell. In fairness, he still needs to be given time if he is to turn around a great oil-tanker at sea, and in the opinion of these “Comments,” he surely – or in any case – needs our prayers. May Our Lady be with him if he truly means to take on the heavy task in front of him of straightening out the Society. It risks being a fight!