Not everybody is asleep. Somebody in France is watching out for how the liberals are preparing to take over the imminent General Chapter of the Society of St Pius X, where the Society has its last chance, probably its last chance ever, to stand up for the Catholic Faith against Vatican II, as did Archbishop Lefebvre. Whoever it was wrote an excellent article on Fidélité catholique francophone denouncing some sinister words of the Society’s General Secretary, Fr Christian Thouvenot, spoken in an interview with the Society’s German District magazine early this year. What follows owes much to that article.
Firstly, the sinister words: “It is likely that the question of the present status of the Personal Prelature will be raised at the General Chapter (in July). But it is the Superior General alone who is at the head of the Society and who is responsible for relations between Catholic Tradition and the Holy See. In 1988 Archbishop Lefebvre made this point very clear.” These words are sinister because they are wide open to the interpretation that Menzingen, Society Headquarters where Fr Thouvenot works, is preparing members and followers of the Society for the General Chapter to be the time and place where Bishop Fellay will, apparently lawfully, take upon himself to accept Rome’s offer of a Personal Prelature, and by so doing will cripple once and for all the Society’s ability to defend the Faith by resisting the Novus Ordo Mass and the Second Vatican Council. And these words are sinister because they are ambiguous or false.
Firstly, it is not the Superior General who is alone at the head of the Society. By the Statutes of the Society established by Archbishop Lefebvre, it is true that once the Superior General is elected, he has remarkable powers at his disposal and for no less than a 12-year term, because the Archbishop wanted the Superior General to have time and power to achieve something, without being hindered as he himself had been in the Holy Ghost Fathers. But the General Chapter meeting every six or twelve years is above the Superior General, and he must follow the policies decided by it. Now in theory the General Chapter of 2012 decided that any “canonical normalisation” of the Society would require a majority vote of the full General Chapter, but in practice Bishop Fellay has already proceeded to “normalise” with Rome the Society’s confessions, ordinations and marriages. And now his General Secretary is talking as though the General Chapter has nothing further to say, as though Bishop Fellay alone can “normalise” the rest. Are all the forty future Capitulants of July aware of how Menzingen is talking? Do they agree?
Secondly, Fr Thouvenot claims that Bishop Fellay is – alone? – responsible for relations between Catholic Tradition and the Holy See. That is no doubt how both Rome and Bishop Fellay himself would like to see the situation, so that Rome can scoop up all of “Tradition” at one fell swoop and Bishop Fellay can extend his empire. But “Tradition” is a varying and heterogeneous collection of religious societies and communities which certainly do not all want to be scooped up by Conciliar Rome, or headed up by Bishop Fellay. For this reason Archbishop Lefebvre repeatedly refused to be called the head of Catholic Tradition. But both Bishop Fellay and his Secretary are playing the game of Conciliar Rome.
And thirdly, if the Archbishop insisted at the time of the Consecrations in 1988, that he alone was still in control of the Society’s relations with Rome, that was because he knew that the young collaborators around him were no match for the wily Romans, as we have seen to our cost since his death in 1991. It was not because he trusted in the structure of the Society to endow its Superior General with a special grace to match the Conciliar Romans. When men want to go wrong, it is not necessarily a structure that will save them. But what could the Archbishop do? He had to die some time!
Readers, if you know a July Capitulant, ask him if he knows what the General Secretary is saying!