Tag: Personal Prelature

Sliding Still – I

Sliding Still – I posted in Eleison Comments on November 2, 2019

There have been signs to give one hope that the official Society of St Pius X is no longer sliding under the power and control of the Conciliar churchmen in Rome, but such signs are overwhelmed by the evidence to the contrary. For instance, on September 12 the new Superior General (SG) who was voted to take over from Bishop Fellay in July of last year, Fr Davide Pagliarani, made public an interview in which he said many good things, enough to make at least one reader of these “Comments” rejoice that the Society’s slide was being thrown into reverse. Alas, a recent report from Society HQ in Switzerland gives us to fear that Fr Pagliarani is being directed to say such conservative things in order to fool all Traditionalists who are not watching his actions. Here is the background and the report –

Catholic Tradition has houses in France of three outstanding Orders of monks and friars from the Church’s past: the Benedictines in Bellaigue, the Dominicans in Avrillé, the Franciscans in Morgon. All three were encouraged and helped to start in their day by Archbishop Lefebvre, but never did he claim authority over any of them, in fact he positively refused to do so, because he did not see the Society as having any mission to monopolise Tradition or to control all Traditional initiatives. Since their founding, all three independent houses have, relatively speaking, flourished, and in 2019, as is normal for monks and friars, all three exert a special influence over Traditionalists, all over the world one might say.

However, with the Society’s major change of direction which became public in 2012, relations of these houses with the Society have become problematic, because its leaders have naturally wanted these influential religious to change direction also. Several years ago the SSPX broke off relations with the Dominicans of Avrillé who were considered to be too independent, while the Franciscans have needed over the same period of time to adopt a policy carefully balanced between co-operation and independence. And as for the Benedictines, their young Superior from Brazil, Dom Placide, came last August under particular pressure from the Society.

Summoned to Menzingen by Fr Pagliarani, he was rebuked for his lack of co-operation with the Society, and a piece of paper was put before him by which he was to sign over to the Society all control over the Benedictine Monastery! When – to put it politely – he declined the offer, he was threatened that the whole world would be told that the SSPX was cutting off all relations with the Monastery. Dom Placide replied that it was up to the SG to do what he thought best, whereupon the threat changed. Now the threat was that all priories of the Society would be ordered to send no more vocations to Bellaigue. And this threat has been carried out. Dom Placide declined the offer to stay for lunch in Menzingen.

We are entitled to speculate upon such a conversation. If we wish to keep up our hopes for Fr Pagliarani personally, we might speculate that he himself was directed to use such bully tactics upon the relatively young head of the Benedictines. But he cannot avoid the responsibility for at least consenting to act the part of the bully. More seriously, the bully tactics suggest that Rome and Menzingen are plotting jointly to sweep together under the Society all presently independent Traditional groupings, and then to restructure the Society and replace it by a Personal Prelature under Conciliar Rome’s complete control. This would have two advantages for Rome’s war on Tradition: firstly the independence and last traces of Archbishop Lefebvre in the structure of the Society which he designed would disappear, and secondly Rome could then gently strangle, together with the Society, all Traditional groupings and initiatives in one fell swoop. Nor would the Society’s present leaders disapprove of the fell swoop, on the contrary, because as they gently dropped dead of the strangling they would at least have the official recognition for which they have striven for so long.

So much for the misleaders of the Society. But what about its followers, priests and laity?

Kyrie eleison.

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.

Benevolent Ally?

Benevolent Ally? posted in Eleison Comments on January 28, 2017

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, originally from Germany but now a Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, has made himself known to Traditionalists in recent years for his many statements at least apparently sympathetic to Catholic Tradition. For instance last year he associated himself publicly with the four Cardinals’ questioning of Pope Francis’ doctrine in the papal document, Amoris Laetitia. When he himself does so much to criticize the Church swinging “left,” he may not understand or appreciate coming under attack from the “right,” but it is the Truth which is at stake, not our little personalities. Your Excellency, thank you for much truth that you have had the courage openly to defend, but do understand that the full Truth is much stronger, and more demanding, than you think. You gave recently an interview to Adelante la Fe. Please do not take it personally if I quote (in italics) a few of your answers and criticize them:—

I am convinced that in the present circumstances, Msgr. Lefebvre would accept Rome’s canonical proposal of a Personal Prelature without hesitation. Your Excellency, that is impossible. Archbishop Lefebvre believed, and proved by argument from Church theology and history, that Vatican II was an unprecedented betrayal, by the highest authorities in the Church, of 1900 years of unchangeable Church doctrine. But official Rome is still following that objectively treacherous Council. Therefore to put the SSPX under this Rome will be to put the fox in charge of the hen-coop. The Archbishop always hoped Rome would come right. It has still not done so.

Msgr. Lefebvre was a man with a deep”sensus ecclesiae,” or sense of the Church. That is true, because above all he had a deep and clear grasp of Catholic doctrine, or teaching, which is at the heart of the Church. “Going, TEACH all nations,” was Jesus’ last instruction to his Apostles (Mt.XXVIII, 20). Vatican II betrayed Catholic doctrine, so the Archbishop’s very sense of the Church made him repudiate that Council. Today’s Conciliarists in Rome can never rebuild the Church.

He consecrated four bishops in 1988 because he was convinced that there was a real state of necessity. It was the objective crisis that gave rise to the subjective conviction, and not the other way round. Our modern world is mentally sick with subjectivism. The Archbishop was an objectivist.

If the SSPX remains canonically independent for too long, its members and followers will lose their sense of the need to be subject to the Pope, and they will end up ceasing to be Catholic. The Pope is Pope in order to “confirm his brethren” in the Faith. See Luke XXII, 32. If he is a Conciliar Pope with his faith corrupted by Vatican II, he can no longer give what he has not got. It is by being subject to Conciliar Popes that countless Catholics since the Council have lost the true Faith.

No Catholic can pick and choose which Popes he will or will not be subject to. God guides His Church. The present crisis in the Church is unprecedented because never before in Church history has there been a series of Popes out of line with the true Faith as we have seen since Vatican II. This means that Catholics must – exceptionally – judge their Popes, bishops and priests. By this crisis God is purifying His Church, and when the purification is complete, He will grant to His Church a great and truly Catholic Pope.

I have told Bishop Fellay, we in Rome need the SSPX in today’s great battle for the purity of the Faith. Your Excellency, do believe that Conciliar Rome will do its best to complete the SSPX’s corruption of the Faith. Already the official SSPX has slidden far from the Archbishop’s objective Faith.

Kyrie eleison.

Discussions’ Aftermath

Discussions’ Aftermath posted in Eleison Comments on June 18, 2011

As the doctrinal Discussions which were held from the autumn of 2009 to the spring of this year between the Society of St Pius X and Rome drop back into the past, the question naturally arises of future relations between the two. Among Catholics on both sides there is a wish for contacts to continue, but since such pious wishes for union easily give rise to illusions, it is necessary to keep one’s grip on reality if one is not to join the whole modern world in its anti-God fantasy.

Originally the Discussions were wanted not by the Society but by Rome, as it hoped to dissolve the Society’s notorious resistance to the Neo-modernism of Vatican II. The great obstacle was doctrine, because the Society is well protected inside the fortress of the Church’s age-old and unchanging doctrine. It had to be lured out of that fortress. Now for Neo-modernists, just as for Communists, any contact or dialogue with an adversary in a secure position was – and remains – better than none, because he can only lose by it while they can only gain. So Rome agreed even to doctrinal Discussions.

Alas for Rome, the Society’s four representatives believe clearly and held firm. As one of the four Roman theologians taking part in the Discussions was overheard to say afterwards, “We do not understand them and they do not understand us.” Of course. Unless the Romans abandoned their Neo-modernism or the Society priests betrayed the Truth, it was bound to be a relatively fruitless dialogue. But Rome cannot stand its own betrayal of the Truth being shown up by the paltry Society, so it is not likely to give up. That is why we already hear of an Ecclesia Dei spokesman telling that Rome will very soon offer an “Apostolic Ordinariat” to the Society. Of course such a quote may be merely a trial balloon to test reactions, but it is also a tempting idea. Unlike a Personal Prelature, an Apostolic Ordinariat is independent of the local bishops, and unlike an Apostolic Administration, such as Campos in Brazil, it is not confined to just one diocese. What more could the Society ask for?

It asks that Rome should come back to the Truth, because it knows, as do Communists and Neo-modernists, that any practical co-operation which would skirt around doctrinal disagreement leads eventually, for all kinds of human reasons, to absorbing the false doctrine of the enemies of the Faith, in other words to betraying the Truth. Here is why the Society’s Superior General has in public more than once repudiated any canonical agreement with Rome that would precede a doctrinal agreement. But the Discussions have served at least to demonstrate the depth of the doctrinal disagreement between the Society and Neo-modernist Rome. That is why Catholics should be prepared for the Society to refuse even the offer of an Apostolic Ordinariat, however well-intentioned the Roman authorities may be.

But why is doctrine so important? Because the Catholic Faith is a doctrine. But why is Faith so important? Because without it we cannot please God (Heb.XI,6). But why must it be the Catholic Faith? Will no other faith in God do? No, because God himself underwent the horror of the Cross to reveal to us the one true Faith. All other “faiths” contradict, more or less, that true Faith, with lies.

Four future numbers of “Eleison Comments” will show, with all due respect, how disoriented in this respect is the way of believing of the present Pope, however well-intentioned he may also be.

Kyrie eleison.