After last week’s presentation of details of the “Marcellus Initiative” set up to facilitate donations to the cause of an « expelled » bishop, a few readers reasonably asked what the “Initiative” would be for. To begin with, it will cover his personal expenses of moving out of Wimbledon, maybe out of London, and then living elsewhere. Over and above those expenses, the word “Initiative” was chosen deliberately to leave options open. However, it is important that nobody should think that their donations will any time soon go to the setting up of a replacement for the Society of St Pius X or a substitute seminary. There are good reasons for not hurrying to do either.
As for an alternative to the SSPX, we must learn the lessons to be drawn from its present severe crisis. The Catholic Church runs on authority, from the Pope downwards, but our Revolutionary world has today so broken down men’s natural sense of authority that few know how to command, and most men obey either too little or too much. We have, so to speak, run out of that peasant common sense that enabled Catholic authority to function. Thus as God alone could establish Moses’ authority by a sensational chastisement of rebels (cf. Numbers XVI), so in our day surely God alone will be able to restore the Pope’s authority. Will it be by “a rain of fire,” such as Our Lady of Akita forewarned in Japan in 1973? Be that as it may, oases of the Faith remain an immediate and practical possibility, and I will do my best to serve them.
Similar arguments apply to the re-starting of a classical Catholic seminary. One cannot make bricks without straw, says the old proverb. It is more and more difficult to make Catholic priests out of modern young men, say I. Supernatural qualities of faith, good will and piety go a long way, but grace builds on nature, and the natural foundations, such as a solid home and a truly human education, are more and more lacking. Of course there are still good families where the parents have understood what their religion requires of them to put their children on the path to Heaven, and where they are doing their heroic best. But our wicked world is set upon destroying all common sense and natural decency, of gender, family and country. With the best of good will, the children of today’s social environment remain in general more or less severely handicapped when it comes to perceiving or following a call of God.
Does that mean that God has given up on his Church, or that he means to leave us without priests for tomorrow? Of course not. But it does mean that no Catholic organisation set up tomorrow to save souls can be allowed to lose its vision of the soul-destroying nature of the Conciliar Church and the modern world. It does mean that priests can no longer be formed tomorrow to have a perfect knowledge of St Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiaewhile having little to no idea of how it applies in real life today.
By hook or by crook, tomorrow’s Congregations and seminaries must keep their grip on reality, and not get lost in dreams of how “normal” they are, or need to be. Can it be done? With God’s help, yes. But God is God, and for the salvation of souls tomorrow it may be that he will no longer resort to the classical Congregation or seminary of yesterday. For myself, I shall attempt to follow his Providence in the ordaining of priests – or in the consecrating of bishops. God’s will be done.