Tag: marriage

Clash Evolving

Clash Evolving posted in Eleison Comments on August 12, 2017

How is the Society of St Pius X evolving since the spring and early summer when strong tensions arose in it over the participation of Conciliar priests as official witnesses in Society marriages? In brief, relations continue to be strained between Society leaders favouring that participation and those Society priests and laity that condemn it. One can even foresee the Society splitting between the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre and the followers of Bishop Fellay. Such a split was inevitable from the day when Bishop Fellay began leading the Archbishop’s Society in a different direction from the Archbishop himself.

But nothing shakes the determination of Bishop Fellay’s Menzingen to steer away from the line traced by the Archbishop and towards the line of Conciliar Rome. Just recently it is reported that in France a Society couple engaged to be married refused to have anything to do with the Conciliar authorities, whereupon their SSPX priest refused to marry them. Obviously he had his Superiors’ support. Does this insistence upon dismantling the Archbishop’s Society have any rational explanation? Three factors may be at work, amongst others.

Firstly, Providence chose Switzerland to serve as the Society’s first geographical base, and Switzerland has enjoyed ever since a corresponding importance and prestige within the SSPX. Thus its top two officials at present, and many of its priests, are Swiss citizens. Now Switzerland is a country of order which is famous, for example, for how its trains run on time, whereas the lack of official recognition for a truly Catholic Congregation is normally a disorder that will be the more keenly felt by an orderly people. Secondly, SSPX priests can be dreaming of how large an apostolate will open up to the Society if only it can be recognised by Rome. And thirdly, there can seem to be no other solution to the Society’s serious internal strains than its putting itself under the authority of Conciliar Rome – Bishop Fellay does not want to hear of apocalyptic solutions like an intervention of God.

But firstly, the supreme order for Catholics is not the order of the State, however desirable that may be, but the order of God, trampled underfoot by Vatican II. Secondly, modernists by their nature can give every appearance of being “converted” because they see no problem in their own subjectivism. But it is so comfortable that few have any intention of quitting it for any objective conversion involving the Cross. As Fr Vallet said, liberals do not convert. And thirdly, to think that the only solution to the unprecedented problems of today’s world and Church is to go along with the lies, betrays a serious lack of faith, however triumphant those lies may seem. Do we really think that God’s arm is shortened because we men are wicked (Isaiah L, 2; LIX, 1)? God knows exactly how He will deal with the unprecedented lies, as we need only wait to see, but in the meantime He does not want us to be going along with them!

However, there is also good news – some priests and laity refusing to go along with the lies are also resolute. A reader in France tells me that a number of SSPX priests have been woken up by the concrete problem over marriages. The best of the SSPX priests are not resorting to Conciliar witnesses for Society marriages, much to the annoyance of their Superiors. Three of the demoted Deans have written strongly against Conciliar marriage witnesses even after their own demotion, and one has just spoken out strongly against the Personal Prelature, because it is by no means out of the question, even since Cardinal Müller’s damning Declaration of late June. We are by no means “back to Square one,” as Bishop Fellay claimed at that time. “Like a bad business manager at bay,” says this reader, “he has forfeited all trust from any colleagues with a brain in their head, even the most respectful.” What matters now, the reader concludes, is not to save the SSPX as a whole, because that would take a miracle, but to save as many priests and laity as possible from the downward slide of the SSPX.

Kyrie eleison.

Menzingen’s Mistake – II

Menzingen’s Mistake – II posted in Eleison Comments on July 15, 2017

The problem of the June 13 letter from Society of St Pius X headquarters in Menzingen, Switzerland, meant to “set the record straight on marriages” after Rome’s April 4 proposal to facilitate the integration of Society marriages into the Conciliar structure, is no small problem of merely this or that argument or this or that detail. The problem is the total Conciliar mentality of the churchmen making the proposal. In the immortal words of one of the three Society theologians who, led by Bishop de Galarreta, stood up to four Roman “theologians” in the “Theological Discussions” of 2009 to 2011, the four Romans were “mentally sick but they have the authority.” Such is the Romans’ (objective) “mental sickness” that many a believing Catholic is tempted to conclude that they have lost all Church authority. Alas, they still at least appear to have it, so that in the name of “obedience” they are objectively destroying the Church, whatever may be – God knows – their subjective good intentions.

Thus the first major part of Menzingen’s Letter on Marriages (see last week’s “Comments”) argued that Rome’s April 4 proposal was merely to bring Society marriages back into line with the Church’s ancient and reasonable practice since the Council of Trent. Yes, Menzingen, but what is reasonable law worth when it is to be applied by “mentally sick” administrators? A profound scholastic axiom says, “Whatever is received is received in the manner of the receiver.” Sane Tradition in the hands of (objectively) insane churchmen is liable to become insane. For instance in the third part of the Letter Menzingen claims that to officialise Society marriages will make them more secure. Secure, did you say? When today’s Church officials are virtually turning official annulments into “Catholic divorce”?

The second main part of the Letter sets up eight main objections to Rome’s proposal in order to refute them. The essence of most of the objections is that, in context, to accept Rome’s proposal means going along with the Conciliar betrayal of the Faith: with the Conciliar theory and practice of marriage (1,2), with the Conciliar condemnation of previous SSPX marriages (3), with the new Code of Canon Law (8), and so on. Menzingen’s answer is that taken merely in itself, abstracting from its context, the Roman proposal is doing no more than to make available to Society couples an extra way of getting married in harmony with the official Church. Yes, Menzingen, but how can a marriage be celebrated in real life without a context? And how can any official Church context be anything today other than Conciliar?

The fifth objection is a classic example of Menzingen’s Cloud Cuckooland reasoning which separates the inseparable: to the objection that Rome’s easing of access to the officialising of Society marriages is merely the cheese on a Personal Prelature mousetrap, Menzingen replies that “in itself ” cheese is only cheese! Menzingen even recognises that Rome’s proposal itself mentions that it is a step on the way to the Society’s eventual “institutional regularisation,” in other words that the cheese is, objectively, part of a trap. Menzingen’s answer is that to avoid all such traps, the Society would have to cut all contacts with Roman officials, which Archbishop Lefebvre said in 1975 that he would never do.

Yes, Menzingen, but that was before another 13 years of contacts and negotiations with the Romans finally proved to the Archbishop that they had no real intention of looking after Tradition. Then and only then did he consecrate four bishops to look after Tradition (as they did until 2012), but never did he refuse all future contact with the Romans. He only said that henceforth doctrine had to precede diplomacy, so that contact could only be resumed when the Romans returned to the great Papal condemnations of liberalism and modernism. And since 1988? Menzingen pretends that Rome has changed for the better, so that a trap is no longer a trap! Oh, Menzingen! You have caught the Romans’ “mental sickness”!

Kyrie eleison.

Menzingen’s Mistake – I

Menzingen’s Mistake – I posted in Eleison Comments on July 8, 2017

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!

Kyrie eleison.

Marriage Background

Marriage Background posted in Eleison Comments on July 1, 2017

Given original sin, holding together in marriage one man and one woman until death do them part is no easy matter, yet that was God’s original design for human beings from the beginning of Creation, and such it remains. However, by the time He instituted through Moses the Old Testament Law, allowance then had to be made for some divorce, “because of the hardness of men’s hearts” (Mt. XIX, 7–8). But that was not how God meant marriage to be, and so when Our Divine Lord instituted the New Testament, on the one hand He abolished all divorce, while on the other hand He made Marriage into one of the seven special channels of sanctifying grace, one of the supernatural Sacraments, so that all souls entering His Church would have access to special supernatural help in the holding of their marriages together.

Nor are merely the man and woman involved in their marriage. The proper upbringing of children calls for both their (biological) father and their (biological) mother, and normally it requires that the two stay together to provide a complete and stable home. Moreover the health of society as a whole requires that healthy children be able to grow up into healthy adults. Thus if Christendom ever achieved unprecedented heights of civilisation, it was much due, if one thinks about it, to the strength of Catholic marriage. It would follow that the Devil is constantly attacking natural and Catholic marriage as a major means for him of breaking down Christendom and of sending all souls to Hell.

In our own time the breaking down of Christendom by the weakening of the Church took a huge step forward with Vatican II (1962–1965). Before that Council, Catholic marriage annulments were strictly regulated. They were not divorces, because it had to be proved in front of Church officials that for some serious reason the marriage contract had been invalid from the very beginning, so that a valid marriage had never taken place. But ever since the Council, that strictness has been making way for laxity, so that from exceptions annulments have now become in some countries the rule, i.e. “Catholic divorce.” Therefore when Archbishop Lefebvre founded his Society of St Pius X to resist the decadence let loose by Vatican II, naturally his Society shunned easy annulments and did all it could to help Catholic couples in today’s dissolvent society to forge a marriage which would hold together.

Alas, the successors of the Archbishop at the head of his Society have worked now for 20 years in disguised but tenacious fashion to join the Conciliar Church, by abandoning his resistance to Vatican II. This means that when three months ago the Conciliar Pope authorised Conciliar bishops to delegate their Conciliar priests to take an active part in marriages celebrated within the Society, then on the one hand Newsociety Headquarters greeted the decision as a great gift from Rome and announced that this papal decision would change the Society’s marriage practice, while on the other hand seven senior priests in the Society’s French District protested publicly against Rome’s Conciliar interference in Catholic practice. Headquarters promptly degraded all seven protesters and also dismissed the author of the protest.

Thus the war between liberalism and Catholicism rages on. Three of the seven protesters are reported to be standing their ground. In brief, as one of them has written, any Conciliar bishop can now send a priest to a Society marriage – and how can any such priest be sent back, after he has been so welcomed by Headquarters? Or the bishop can refuse a priest – but that is only a fortunate accident, leaving intact the dangerous principle of Conciliar interference. Or the bishop is allowed to delegate a Society priest – but that is liable to give rise in any Society Priory to marriages both Conciliar and non-Conciliar, with falsified, not to say, warring, relations between the two of them. Conciliarism and Catholicism can be neither mixed nor reconciled with one another.

Kyrie eleison.

Defending Marriage

Defending Marriage posted in Eleison Comments on May 27, 2017

Many of you must already know of the Open Letter of seven senior priests of the Society of St Pius X, a Letter co-signed by Superiors of three other Traditional Congregations, in which all ten protested three weeks ago against an attempt by Roman authorities to interfere in marriages celebrated within Tradition by Traditional priests. As usual, Society authorities have taken the side of Conciliar Rome, and are in the process of punishing their seven “subversive” priests. But the true subversion is coming from that Rome which is subverting Christian family and marriage, for instance by Amoris Laetitia. Society leaders are giving yet another proof of their suicidal blindness. Here is the gist of the well-written Letter:—

Addressed to Society lay-folk to prevent them from being confused by Rome’s interference, the Open Letter begins by establishing that marriages celebrated within the Society for the last 40 years have been and are certainly valid. This is because, to strengthen marriages, the Council of Trent decreed that they must be witnessed by a parish priest or his delegate to be valid. However, if for 30 days it is not possible without “grave inconvenience” to find such a priest, then the couple may marry validly in front of merely lay witnesses, by what is known as the extraordinary form of marriage (Canon 1098, Old Code).

Now for 40 years the Society has been fighting the neo-modernism of Vatican II which is poisonous for the Faith and highly infectious, and which has infected almost the entire Church since the 1960’s. So the Society has instructed souls to stay away from the Novus Ordo Church and its clergy, as a whole. For instance in Amoris Laetitia the Pope himself made statements and proposals directly harmful to families and Catholic marriages. Here is the “grave inconvenience” for the Faith which is why for 40 years, when couples have wished to get married, the Society, seeing the danger for their Faith, has steered them away from Novus Ordo parish priests and towards the extraordinary form of marriage, usual within the Society and certainly valid.

However, how could neo-modernist Rome see a “grave inconvenience” in exposure to their neo-modernising priests? Therefore in future, says the Ecclesia Dei Commission, as one more step in Rome’s absorption of the Society into the Newchurch, the extraordinary form of marriage is no longer to be used by Society priests, and instead Society marriages are to be witnessed by a Novus Ordo priest appointed or delegated for that purpose by the local Novus Ordo bishop, without whose participation Society marriages will continue to be judged invalid by the Newchurch authorities. This means bringing the extraordinary form of marriage under the local bishop’s control. But after repeated bitter discussions, even the framers of the New Code of Canon Law (1983) judged that such a measure was too opposed to the natural right of couples to get married, and New Canon 1116 maintains the extraordinary form. That is why the ten senior priests who signed the Open Letter conclude that they will continue to use the extraordinary form, without resorting to any Newchurch bishop. Nor, they add, will they resort to Newchurch tribunals to judge of marriage cases, because these tribunals all too easily grant annulments for inadequate reasons. All ten priests who signed the Open Letter are to be congratulated!

And the Society’s reaction? On April 4 the document of the Ecclesia Dei Commission on SSPX marriages became known, spitting in effect on the Society. Immediately Society Headquarters in Menzingen welcomed the document, treating it in effect as rain from heaven. On May 7 the ten senior priests made public their protest against the Ecclesia Dei interference. On the same day the Society’s French District Superior branded their protest as “subversive,” and on May 10 the seven Society priests who signed the Open Letter he stripped of their senior rank within the District, and Fr. de la Rocque, pastor of the Society’s flagship parish in Paris, St Nicolas du Chardonnet, he gave three days to clear out.

Such leadership proved that the Society is sinking. The Open Letter proved that it is not yet sunk.

Kyrie eleison.

Two Journeys

Two Journeys posted in Eleison Comments on January 19, 2013

Journeys since mid-December, to North America and France, have enabled me to observe within the Society of St Pius X a dangerous state of indetermination. Where the District Superior is not blind, the danger is for the moment held back somewhat, so that resistance is puzzled. Where however the District Superior is a willing servant of SSPX headquarters, there the movement towards the Newchurch forges ahead, but also the Resistance is taking shape. What is at stake?

Ever since the breakout of Protestantism, the world has been sliding further and further away from God. Thanks to the Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Catholic Church held firm, but thanks to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) the official Catholic Church joined in the slide. Then thanks mainly (but not only!) to Archbishop Lefebvre (1905–1991), relics of the Church of Trent gathered themselves together to form amidst the desert of modernity a Catholic oasis, the SSPX. But where the mighty Church had not been able to resist, it was, sure enough, merely a matter of time before the puny SSPX would be tempted in its turn to join in the slide.

However, just as at Vatican II the Church’s official leadership was obliged to pretend that it was not breaking with the Tridentine Church (such is, for instance, Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity”), so the SSPX’s official leadership is now obliged to pretend that it is not breaking with Archbishop Lefebvre. Thus, like most politicians of the last 500 years, these SSPX leaders are talking to the right while walking to the left, because that is what a large number of people want, namely the appearance of Christianity without its substance (cf. II Tim. III, 1–5, especially verse 5). Like Descartes, such leaders “advance behind a mask,” seeking to disguise their move to the left beneath words to the right, or words clearly ambiguous.

What happened in the SSPX last spring, as Fr Chazal says, is that the mask came off, because the SSPX leadership must have calculated that the time had come for it to make its open move back into the mainstream Church. Alas for these leaders, there emerged between March and June enough resistance to block at the SSPX General Chapter in July any immediate attempt to join the Newchurch. And so from that Chapter onwards, the mask has gone back on. But liberals do not convert, short of a miracle of grace, because leftwardness is their real religion. That is why the SSPX leaders are surely waiting for the modern world, flesh and devil to continue their work of pulling SSPX clergy and laity to the left so that within a few years at most there will no longer be any significant resistance, as there was last summer, to the SSPX rejoining the Newchurch.

This leaves the SSPX betwixt and between. However, as the common sense of Archbishop Lefebvre remarked, superiors mould subjects and not the other way round. That is why, unless the present SSPX leaders are displaced by a miracle, the SSPX is doomed to be dissolved within the Newchurch. One can hardly say the punishment would not have been deserved. But let us pray to the Mother of God for some miracles of her Divine Son’s mercy.

Kyrie eleison.