By Eleison Comments in Eleison Comments on January 24, 2009
As of course a large number of readers already know, a Decree dated Jan. 21 from the Congregation of Bishops in Rome (not Ecclesia Dei) “remitted” the “excommunicating” Decree of July 1, 1988, so that the four Society of St. Pius X bishops, then declared to be “excommunicated,” are now “re-incommunicated.” In my opinion this latter Decree is a great step forward for the Church without being a betrayal on the part of the SSPX.
It is a great step forward for the Church because if the Church’s problem ever since Vatican II has been a separation of Catholic Authority from Catholic Truth, with this Decree Catholic Authority has taken a decisive step back towards their re-union. Just as after the Motu Proprio of July, 2007, nobody could any longer say that the true rite of Mass was banned by Rome, even if they can still behave as though it is, so too now nobody can any longer say that Catholics holding to Tradition are “outside the Church.” Certainly a number of Conciliarists will go on behaving as though they are, but they clearly no longer have the Pope on their side only. The difference is enormous!
Of course there is still a long way to go before the neo-modernists in Rome, conscious or unconscious, realize – if ever! – how they mistake the Faith, but as the old proverb says, “Rome was not built in a day,” and it will not be repaired in a day. The fact is that “Half a loaf is better than no bread” – ask a hungry man! – so meanwhile let us know how to thank God for this major shift of the rudder of the Conciliar Church. Let us then thank the Blessed Virgin Mary whose intervention will have been decisive, thanks to the nigh on one and three quarter million rosaries offered to her for this intention, by a number of yourselves amongst others. And let us thank and pray for Benedict XVI and all his collaborators who helped to push through this Decree, despite, for instance, a media uproar orchestrated and timed to prevent it.
However, by asking for and accepting such reconciliation with the Conciliar Church, is not the SSPX threatening to lead the way back into Conciliarism? In no way! No doubt some Conciliarists in Rome are hoping that the Decree will serve to draw the SSPX back into the fold of Vatican II, but the Decree itself, as it stands, commits the Society to nothing more than to entering into those discussions to which the Society committed itself in 2000 when it proposed the liberation of the Mass and the ending of the “excommunications” as pre-conditions in the first place.
Then are such discussions without danger? Certainly not! But St. Peter says we should always be “ready to satisfy every one that asks you for a reason of that hope which is in you” (I Pet. III, 15). How can the SSPX not rejoice in the opportunity to lay out in Rome, before the Roman authorities themselves, the profound doctrinal reasons which we believe to be at the root of the Church’s present distress? Woe unto us Catholics of Tradition if we were not ready to give reason for that hope which is in us for the rescue of the Church! So continue to pray the Rosary, dear Catholics, for the possible realization and outcome of such discussions, so that they may serve first, last and foremost, the interests of God, of God, of God.