Another Society of St Pius X priest (Fr. PR, for public relations) has descended into the arena to defend his Superiors’ pursuit of official recognition of the Society by Rome. Fr. PR’s defence is also well presented, but again it suffers from the same essential fault as does the pursuit of the recognition which he is defending – a lack of realism. Principle is one thing, practice is another, even if it is governed by principles. To be a master of principles is not to be a master of practice, and vice versa. It is noteworthy how Fr. PR’s defence of his Superiors’ pursuit of recognition starts out by saying that in this defence he, Fr PR, is only interested in the principles: firstly, whether one can in principle accept recognition from a modernist, and secondly, just how far one can in principle collaborate with a modernist.
To prove that one can accept recognition from a modernist Pope, he argues that Archbishop Lefebvre sought it from Paul VI until the latter’s death in 1978, and in 1988 he only refused collaboration with John-Paul II in practice, but not in principle. Nor did the Society’s General Chapter of 2012 demand of Benedict XVI a profession of Catholic Faith, to do which betrays at any time a schismatic spirit. But, one replies, the clash between the Archbishop and Paul VI from 1974 onwards is well-known, and behind the Archbishop’s refusal in practice of the Protocol of 1988 were the principles of his Faith. 2012 was just the moment when the Society abandoned the Archbishop by abandoning his stand on the Faith in principle, and as for a schismatic spirit, who was in reality in schism? – the Archbishop or the modernists? As for Pope Francis, Fr PR argues that he is the Pope; that the Church is what not he, but what Our Lord, made it; that collaboration with him is with him only as Catholic Pope. But, one replies, in real life, as the rot of an apple is and is not apple, so the Conciliar Church is and is not the Church. In real life, the Society is not dealing only with the Catholic Church or a Catholic Pope, but directly with Conciliar rot.
Thus when Fr PR, examining secondly how far one can collaborate with a modernist, answers that one can do so insofar it is for the good of the Church, he constantly abstracts from today’s reality. Thus:—
* The Church is indefectible – Sure, but Conciliar churchmen are defecting all the time.
* The Society is serving the Church, not churchmen – Sure, but it has to go through false churchmen.
* A Catholic prelature could not be refused – Sure, but not if it is managed by false churchmen.
* The Pope need only stick to its terms – Sure, but what protects a piece of paper from such managers?
* The Pope’s authority is from God – Sure, but not in order to destroy the Church (II Cor. XIII, 10).
* The Society was right to accept jurisdiction for confessions and marriages – Fr. PR, are you so sure? What if that was just the cheese on a mousetrap?
* Such a practical question as this last question on our situation right now “is not in the power of this article to judge,” replies Fr. PR, but the very possibility that it might not be a trap proves for him that accepting or not Rome’s canonical recognition “should not be judged only on the basis of one’s unity with the Pope’s faith.” And so he concludes that “canonical recognition should be accepted if it is for the good of the Church and rejected if it is not, regardless of the Pope’s faith.”
But, Father, ask yourself – this Pope’s “faith” being what it is, would or would not a canonical recognition bring the Society under mainstream, i.e., modernist, Superiors? Yes, or no? In real life, do you really think that this Pope would grant a prelature which would not bring the Society under Rome’s control? In other words, under the control of people who no longer believe in objective truth? There is much beauty in Catholic principles, but they have to be applied in a real, often all too real, world.