Tag: Bishop Charriere

Authority Crippled

Authority Crippled posted in Eleison Comments on June 1, 2013

A number of good souls wish that a Congregation were founded to replace the Society of St Pius X. But while I share their fear that the SSPX is presently well on its way to disabling its formerly glorious defence of Catholic Faith and life, and while I therefore sympathize with their desire to see another Congregation like it to take its place, I do not believe that that is possible, and I think it is worth explaining why.

When in 1970 Archbishop Lefebvre wrote the charter of principles in line with which the future SSPX would be founded and would function, namely its Statutes, it was for him of great importance to obtain the official approval of them by the bishop of the Catholic diocese in which the original house of the SSPX was situated. As far as he was concerned, obtaining or not obtaining that approval meant all the difference between founding a Congregation of the Catholic Church and launching a private association of his own. He had every interest in founding a Catholic Congregation, far less interest in launching a private institution.

In fact when he went to see Bishop Charrière of the Diocese of Geneva, Lausanne and Fribourg to obtain that approval, he was not hopeful. The Conciliar Revolution was by then well under way, and it was directly contrary to what the Statutes projected. Providentially however, Bishop Charrière gave his approval, perhaps because he knew he was to retire soon afterwards. In any case the Archbishop returned exultant to Écône, and one report even tells of him waving the Statutes triumphantly in the air.

What that meant to him was that from then on, as far as he was concerned, he had the Church’s authority to build a Congregation of the Church, and while a few years later Rome might attempt to take back that authorisation, the attempt was so intrinsically unjust according to Church law that the Archbishop never hesitated to continue exercising inside the SSPX all the authority of a classic Superior of a Congregation. That classic Catholic authority has such power that by harnessing it to lies the Conciliar Popes have been able virtually to destroy the Universal Church, and by its being harnessed to a practical agreement with Conciliar Rome it is now virtually destroying the SSPX. On the other hand, as for authority over priests, nuns and laity outside the SSPX, Archbishop Lefebvre never arrogated to himself any other than that of a father, adviser and friend.

But the days of a Bishop Charrière are long since gone. How many sane bishops are there left in the mainstream Church? And how could any of them today approve of Traditional and anti-Conciliar Statutes? It is as though, just after the Archbishop got out of the Catholic castle with the Catholic Statutes in his hand, the Conciliar portcullis crashed down behind him. “They are mentally sick, but they have the authority,” as one of the four SSPX theologians said about the Roman theologians after the Doctrinal Discussions of 2009–2011. The SSPX is surely the last in line of the classic Congregations to be founded, at least until after the Chastisement. And it has not lasted long.

That is why, in my opinion, “What cannot be cured must be endured.” And that is why, right now, I envisage being little more than father, adviser and friend for any souls calling for a bishop’s leadership and support. Even that is task enough. May God be with us all.

Kyrie eleison.

Fortieth Anniversary

Fortieth Anniversary posted in Eleison Comments on November 6, 2010

Last Monday was a moment to be immensely thankful, and somewhat wary. It was the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Society of St. Pius X, when, on behalf of the Universal Church, Bishop Charriere of Geneva, Lausanne and Fribourg gave his official approval to the Society’s Statutes, submitted to him some months beforehand by Archbishop Lefebvre.

To anybody striving to keep and to live by the Catholic Faith amidst today’s soft global apostasy, the occasion for thankfulness is clear. Ever since Vatican II, the official Church has been in a state of collapse which is still going on, because the leading churchmen are clinging to the novelties of that Council by which man is to be put in the place of God. So the Catholic people are still being misled, and the pyramidal structure of God’s Church is crumbling from top to bottom.

Therefore for a devout but pyramidally-minded churchman to see the need for a minor counter-pyramid to be constructed within the falling ruins of the major pyramid was a first miracle. For him to succeed in erecting that minor pyramid beneath the papal weight of the collapsing major pyramid was a second miracle. And for the Archbishop’s successors to have upheld the minor pyramid for nearly 20 years since his death, is a third miracle. Now the SSPX has no monopoly on the defence of the Faith – God forbid! – but it has for many years up to today been the backbone of that defence. We owe boundless thanks to God for his goodness to every one of us that understands what a gift the SSPX has been.

But we must also be wary. Father Barrielle (1897–1983) was the Spiritual Director at the SSPX’s first seminary at Econe in Switzerland from its early days, and I can remember how often he quoted words of his beloved master, Father Vallet (1883 -1947), great preacher of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, and moulder of them in that five-day form so profitable to followers of the SSPX all over the world – through their transmission to SSPX seminarians by Fr. Barrielle. Fr. Vallet studied the Exercises and their history deeply, and one thing he observed was that if any Congregation was founded to preach the Exercises and did so successfully, then within a certain space of time the Devil would succeed in diverting, distracting or destroying that Congregation. What space of time, according to Fr. Vallet, as quoted by Fr. Barrielle? “Forty years”!

Now preaching the Exercises is not the SSPX’s only apostolate, so it may hope to be spared that concentrated attention of the Devil? On the contrary! If that minor pyramid is still the backbone of the defence of the Faith amidst the ruins of the Church crumbling all around, it can only be the object of his super-concentrated attention! Let all of us beware, and – because of that pyramidal structure of the Church – let us especially include in our gentle prayers the leaders of the SSPX.

Kyrie eleison.