Not all readers of these “Comments” may appreciate their regular return to what can look like mere “quarrels between priests,” but let such readers recall – or learn – that the Catholic Church exists as the one and only sure means of saving souls for eternal Heaven, while the Devil exists as a first-class agent for sending souls to eternal Hell. If then Our Lord chooses priests to be the agents of His Church, the Devil will attack them, and one of the best means to attack priests is other priests. In fact easily most of the Church’s arch-heretics have been priests, e.g. Bishop Nestor and Fr. Martin Luther. “Quarrels between priests” are only unimportant if nobody still wants to go to Heaven, but then the Devil has really won!
So let us look at the 20-page document put out on June 13 by the priests of SSPX HQ in Menzingen, Switzerland, to defend their having welcomed Conciliar Rome’s April 4 document which proposed more or less close participation by Conciliar churchmen in the celebration of SSPX marriages. Menzingen’s Letter to Clarify and Rectify Marriage Questions is well put together and quite persuasive if one does not notice the special pleading, but it suffers from the crippling defect of the Society’s present leaders in Menzingen, namely it mistakes Conciliar appearances for Catholic substance. In words the “Letter” condemns repeatedly Conciliar errors in general and on marriage in particular, but in action it treats the Conciliar churchmen as though they are normal Catholic churchmen, when in reality they are profoundly abnormal churchmen – they are modernists. In St Paul’s words for the last times, they have “an appearance of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (II Tim. III, 5). And he adds, “Now these avoid.”
Thus the whole first part of the Letter presents the involvement of the diocesan bishop or the parish priest or their delegate in witnessing Catholic marriages to ensure their validity, as classic practice of the Church and part of its law since the Council of Trent. Who disputes that? But the application of this law has been since Vatican II in the hands of churchmen who have had a steadily more abnormal view of Catholic marriage. The Church today is no longer in normal times! Has Menzingen not noticed? Or chosen to notice no longer? It took a few centuries for Protestantism to break the universal grip of the Catholic Church. It took a few centuries more for liberalism to work its way upwards inside the Church’s hierarchy, but once God allowed, as a just punishment, the elections of John XXIII and Paul VI to prevail, then the highest Catholic authority became liberal, and ever since then never has it been easier for all Catholics under authority to convince themselves, even sincerely, that they are remaining Catholic even while they are destroying the Church.
When in 1987 Archbishop Lefebvre called the Conciliar churchmen “antichrists” (Letter to four future bishops), he was by-passing their possible subjective sincerity and keeping a firm grip on their certain objective destructiveness. When in 2017 Menzingen highlights the normalcy of hierarchical Superiors’ involvement in Catholic marriages, it is taking for granted the hierarchs’ sincerity and by-passing their ruinous liberalism. But liberals they remain, with a concept of marriage that includes easy annulments, and so on. If once they get their foot in the door of Traditional marriages, what stops them tomorrow or the day after from applying even the Church’s Traditional law in accordance with their “renewed” idea of marriage? In fact, how can they not, tomorrow or the day after, apply their own sincere convictions?
For tens of years since Vatican II, according as Catholics have realized what was happening to the Church and become “Traditionalists,” so they have put a distance between themselves and the Church’s official authorities. Without necessarily lacking in courtesy or respect, they have moved away in order to protect their Catholic Faith and morals. Now comes Menzingen moving towards these authorities and wanting all Traditionalists to follow! Menzingen has forgotten the famous quote from Virgil’s Aeneid: “Whatever it be, I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts.” Menzingen trusts the Greeks!