By Eleison Comments in Eleison Comments on April 2, 2011
If, as seems to be the case, the doctrinal discussions over the last year and a half between Rome and the SSPX have persuaded neither Rome to convert nor the SSPX to betray, then the question arises, where do we go from here? Surely the crisis of Vatican II proved if anything the need for Catholics to do some thinking for themselves on such a question, and not just follow their leaders blindly – are not millions of Catholics still being softly led into apostasy? That is why to the bishops of the SSPX a fighting Gaul puts a threefold question, surely serious enough to deserve an answer (his questions are abbreviated and adapted):—
In your opinion, does the recent announcement of Assisi III, solemn commemoration of John-Paul II’s ecumenical encounter of various religions held in Assisi 25 years ago, add anything new to what we already know of the ecumenical course being followed by Benedict XVI? Answer: It is one more proof that the Church leadership in Rome is intent upon persevering along the disastrous path of giving official Catholic approval to all sorts of false religions. “I do not think we can say,” Archbishop Lefebvre once said, “that Rome has not lost the Faith.”
In your opinion, does this announcement prove or disprove the opportuneness of doctrinal discussions being undertaken between the SSPX and Rome? Answer: It surely proves the opportuneness of their coming to an end. While they were going on, they did have collateral advantages, well enumerated by Bishop de Galarreta (see EC 156, July 10, 2010). However, their mere taking place at all also had the disadvantage of creating in souls either false hopes or true fears of a pseudo-reconciliation between doctrinal positions which are, in reality, absolutely irreconcilable. The announcement of Assisi III has helped to put an end to such hopes and fears, at least for the moment – but dreamers cling to their dreams!
Just as Assisi I was a major incentive for Archbishop Lefebvre to consecrate four bishops in 1988, should the announcement of Assisi III be encouraging the SSPX to consecrate more bishops? Answer: The SSPX’s Superior General answered this question two months ago in the USA. He said that if the circumstances of 1988 which drove the Archbishop to consecrate were repeated, then there would be more bishops. The question then becomes: are the circumstances of Assisi III repeating those of Assisi I? One can only reply, opinions vary. Many serious Catholics think the circumstances have grown much worse, but that is not necessarily the opinion of Bishop Fellay, who as Superior General is responsible for such a major decision for the SSPX.
Then back to our original question: where now for the SSPX? The answer is clear. It must continue along the path set for it by its Founder, namely firm resistance to the (at least objective) apostates in Rome, making known as widely as possible the Archbishop’s diagnosis of the otherwise insoluble problems of Church and world. His solution is simply to maintain Catholic life in accordance with the pre-Conciliar Catholic doctrine and morals of all time, for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of as many souls as possible.