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.