SSPX Institute in Paris

Agreement Here

Agreement Here posted in Eleison Comments on July 12, 2014

On December 13 of last year, in St Martha’s House in Rome where the Pope is currently living, the Pope met briefly with Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St Pius X. The Society officially denies that the meeting had any significance, but an Italian commentator having some familiarity with how Rome operates, one Giacomo Devoto (G.D.), argues that the meeting was proof that a Rome-SSPX agreement has been reached. See http://​www.​unavox.​it/​ArtDiversi/​DIV812_​Devoto_​Notizia_​intrigante.​html. In brief:—

On the morning of the 13th Bishop Fellay and his two Assistants at the head of the SSPX met in the Vatican with the heads of the Ecclesia Dei Commission at the invitation of Monsignor Guido Pozzo, restored to the Commission by Pope Francis to deal with the problematic relations between Rome and the SSPX. An official publication of the SSPX, DICI , claims that this meeting was merely “informal,” but G.D. says that even being informal it cannot have taken place without there having been beforehand a series of discreet contacts to repair the public breach of relations in June of 2012. Also, says G.D., such a meeting is the necessary preliminary to any “formal” meeting.

In any case after that meeting Msgr. Pozzo, Msgr. di Noia and the three heads of the SSPX repaired to St Martha’s House where the Pope also happened to be lunching. When the Pope stood up after the meal to leave, Bishop Fellay went over to him, they exchanged a few words in public view and the Bishop kissed the Pope’s ring (or knelt down for his blessing, according to Rome’s Vatican Insider ). DICI again minimised the encounter as nothing more than a chance meeting with a spontaneous exchange of courtesies. On the contrary G.D. reasonably maintains that even such a “chance” encounter cannot have taken place without the Pope’s previous knowledge and approval.

Moreover, says G.D., in the art of diplomacy such a meeting is a finely calculated ice-breaker, of elastic interpretation, designed to mean as much or as little as one wants. On the one hand the courteous contact was there for all to see in a public place frequented by important Newchurch officials, and it could be seen as papal support of whatever had gone on at the morning’s meeting with the Commission. On the other hand both Rome and the SSPX could plausibly deny that the encounter had any real significance beyond an exchange of courtesies.

Thus when rumours began to circulate in the new year, for months the SSPX denied that there was any question of a Rome-SSPX agreement. Only on May 10 did DICI admit that there had been any contact at all between the Pope and Bishop Fellay, and then DICI so minimised the event that G.D. takes it as a sure sign that an agreement has been reached in private. (In modern politics, as the cynical saying goes, nothing can be taken as true until it is officially denied.)

In fact the main problem, for Pope Francis as for Bishop Fellay, is not how to come to an agreement which they both want, but how to get their left and right wings respectively to accept an agreement. However, the problem is being solved for them day by day as the Society, once glorious for its defence of the Faith, becomes the inglorious Newsociety. For indeed how many Newchurch bishops can still be fearing the Newsociety as a threat to their Newchurch? And how many SSPX priests are still convinced that any agreement with Rome would be a disaster, especially if they are promised that “they will need to change nothing”? Such an agreement will hardly need to be announced. In many minds and hearts it is already here.

Kyrie eleison.

GREC – III

GREC – III posted in Eleison Comments on April 6, 2013

Wishing to put himself in the place of God, modern man seeks to replace God’s order of the world with his own. But God’s order is real, outside of and independent of man’s mind. So modern man unhooks his mind from that reality, and selects from it only such pieces as he wishes to build into his own fantasy. Now the highest order of God’s Creation is best expressed in his Church’s doctrine. Therefore all churchmen or laymen today undergoing the influence of everything “normal” in the world around them suffer from a deep refusal or ignorance of the nature and necessity of doctrine.

Here is the essential problem of GREC, as presented in two previous issues of “Eleison Comments” (294 and 295). The Groupe de Réflexion Entre Catholiques was founded in 1997 in the salons of Paris to promote friendly meetings and exchanges between Catholics of Tradition and Catholics of the mainstream Church, in order to create a climate of mutual trust and respect which would facilitate a reconciliation between them, and an end to their unnecessary estrangement. Such a purpose gravely overlooks the importance of doctrine, not necessarily with malice aforethought, of which God is judge, but whatever foolish men may think, doctrine can no more be left out of account than can reality.

In Fr. Lelong’s book on GREC, For the Necessary Reconciliation, he tells how two Society of St Pius X priests and its Superior General “made a decisive contribution to the launching and continuance of GREC.” Even before it was launched, Fr. Du Chalard gave to Fr Lelong a friendly reception in his SSPX priory, and “in following years never ceased to support GREC in a discrete and attentive way.” At the launching of GREC, Fr. Lorans, then Rector of the SSPX Institute in Paris and exercising from Paris a decisive influence from then until now on SSPX publications, welcomed the idea of “dialogue between Catholics,” and very soon obtained from the SSPX Superior General in Switzerland approval for his participation in GREC. From then on Fr. Lorans played a leading part in all of its activities.

Those activities began on a small scale and in private. In May of 2000 was held GREC’s first public meeting to which Fr. Lorans contributed, with 150 people attending. Meetings became more and more frequent, with SSPX priests participating. Church authorities at the highest level were regularly consulted and kept informed. Fr. Lorans for his part made possible “a contact of deepening trust” and friendly exchanges with the SSPX Superior General. From 2004 GREC meetings were opened wider still to the public, and in September of that year a “theological working group” was set up with Fr. Lorans participating, and another SSPX priest and a theologian from Rome, both of whom would later be taking part in the Doctrinal Discussions between Rome and the SSPX from 2009 to 2011. GREC may well have seen in these Discussions the realization of its fondest hopes – at last the theologians were meeting in a climate which GREC had done so much to create “for the necessary reconciliation.”

Thanks be to God, the Discussions gave back to doctrine its proper primacy. They demonstrated that between Catholic and Conciliar doctrine is an unbridgeable gulf. But was GREC’s way of thinking then blocked within the SSPX? Far from it! SSPX Headquarters switched overnight from “We pursue no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement” to “There can be no doctrinal agreement, so we pursue a practical agreement”! Alas, the springtime uprising of protest last year from within the SSPX was smothered and confused again at the General Chapter of July, but SSPX HQ’s continued pursuit of a practical agreement has hardly been smothered.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,” in particular in the Consecration of Russia. Nowhere else.

Kyrie eleison.