In January this year, Bishop de Galarreta gave a conference in Bailly, France. In it, he commented on the current status of relations between the Society and Rome and possible eventualities. The following summary is from the FSSPX’s newsletter, DICI.org. I present it in entirety with my emphasis in bold.
In the first part of his conference, Bishop de Galarreta explained that “a will to draw all of the consequences contained in the principles of Vatican Council II” is developing in Rome. Now that the conciliar ideas of ecumenism, religious liberty and collegiality are established, according to the Roman authorities, it is morality’s turn to be infected with a form of evolutionism: “It is already the case with dogma and with the truth (according to the progressivists); it is already the case with ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality, the whole liberal revolutionary spirit… so why not morality, too? In the end, it was incoherent not to apply evolution to morality, too;” it, too, is called to adapt to “man’s life, habits, laws, and the evolution of things…”
Nonetheless, the Argentinian prelate recognized that in the face of this disaster, there is a reaction:
“Now we are starting to see reactions in the actual, official Church. And deep reactions, for some do realize that there is a doctrinal problem, a problem of faith. They realize that there is also a problem in the conciliar and post-conciliar magisterium. They are starting to ask questions and, this is very important, they understand that to oppose this complete rupture with Tradition, they have to react and necessarily oppose the authorities who diffuse these errors. So we see cardinals, bishops, priests and laymen beginning to react, and in the right way, even in an excellent way, sometimes very firmly.”
A double proposal from Rome: Doctrinal and canonical
Bishop de Galarreta then related that in the summer of 2015 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith proposed a personal prelature along with a doctrinal declaration. And he explained that the “Superior General sent both Roman texts to all the major superiors and to some theologians of the Society, as well as to the bishops, so they could analyze them and give him our opinion.”
About the doctrinal declaration, the Argentinian bishop admitted: “What we see in the doctrinal declaration is that there is no longer Cardinal Ratzinger’s profession of faith. The Roman authorities ask us to make Pius IV’s profession of faith, that is, the profession of faith of the Council of Trent. Also, in the previous profession, there was a paragraph on religious liberty. They have suppressed this requirement. Ecumenism has been removed. On the Mass they had asked us to recognize the validity and the legitimacy. Now they ask us to recognize the validity of the new sacraments and the new Mass according to the typical edition, the original Latin edition. The Society has always recognized this. You see, they are taking away their conditions in an effort to succeed.”
Then Bishop de Galarreta explained that the Superior General thought it important to answer the Roman offer to recognize the Society “as it is” with a preliminary answer that was anything but vague: “Bishop Fellay told us, ‘before answering this proposal from the Congregation of the Faith, I am going to write them an exhaustive explanation to make it very clear how we are and how we act, what we preach, what we do, what we do not do, and what we are not ready to do’,” – in order to find out if the Society really is accepted “as it is”.
The Argentinian prelate then voiced his reservations for a profound doctrinal reason: “They still wish above all to make us accept, if only vaguely, if only in principle, Vatican Council II and its errors.” And he added that this Roman desire can be seen on the practical level in the canonical proposal: “There is always, in one way or another, a submission to the Roman dicasteries or to the bishops.” Which leads him to declare that personally, he would refuse the Roman proposals: “For me, an agreement with today’s Rome is out of the question.” He added that this is a prudential refusal, dictated by the circumstances – in the absence of the necessary warrantees for the life of the Society – and he was careful to distinguish himself from those who make this refusal an absolute.
“We do not refuse, you see, in an absolute and theoretical way the possibility of an agreement with Rome. That is what distinguishes us from the ‘Resistance’. For them it is a principle. It is a doctrinal question: ‘You cannot admit the possibility of an agreement with Rome without being liberal.’ Such is not our position. It is important to repeat it: it was not Archbishop Lefebvre’s position. He signed a protocol for an agreement with Rome. And at that time, even when he broke it off after the protocol, the Archbishop said: ‘it is because the necessary conditions for our protection, for our survival, are not there.’ Because they wish to deceive us, because they do not wish to give us Tradition, because they wish to bring us over to Vatican II. It is because the conditions are not there. He said, ‘If they had granted me the conditions, the conditions I had requested, I would have signed.’ Archbishop Lefebvre said that after the consecration of the bishops. And he explained, ‘If I signed a protocol for an agreement, it was because there was nothing against the faith.’ Neither in the contents, nor in the act of signing. This is obvious. So we continue along these lines.”
Towards a unilateral recognition of the Society?
In the second part of his conference, and beyond the proposals of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishop de Galarreta publicly confided that he thinks the pope may soon confer a status on the Society of St. Pius X:
“I think, and this is the other aspect of things, that this pope who tells anyone who will listen that we are Catholic, who says and repeats that the Society is Catholic, that we are Catholic, will never condemn us, and that he wants our ‘case’ taken care of. I think– and he has already started down this path – that when he sees that we cannot agree with the Congregation of the Faith, I think that he will overreach any doctrinal, theoretical, practical condition, or any condition whatsoever… He is going to take his own steps towards recognizing the Society. He has already begun; he is simply going to continue. And I am not saying what I desire but what I foresee. I foresee, I think that the pope will lean towards a one-sided recognition of the Society, and that by acts rather than by a legal or canonical approach.”
Bishop de Galarreta admitted that “this de facto recognition would have a good, a beneficial effect: it is a rather extraordinary apostolic opening, and it would have an extraordinary effect.” But he adds that there would then be two risks: that of creating an internal division and that of conditioning our preaching in certain circumstances. And he wondered: “It would take an extraordinary wisdom and prudence, a very great firmness and clarity. Are we capable of this?”
The Argentinian prelate answered by asking his audience to keep a supernatural confidence in the face of these eventualities: “If that is what Providence sends us, then we will have the necessary graces to overcome the difficulties and deal with them as we should, but of course, only to the extent that it is not produced by our will but imposed upon us. If our ideas are clear, we can always take advantage of it and draw the good from it. But in this hypothetical case, – I am giving you my opinion based on conjectures, right? – in this case I think we will have the necessary graces to persevere and do the good we must do in our Holy Mother the Church. God will never deny us or stop giving us the means to persevere in the faith and in the good fight, if we always remain in the faith, in hope, in charity, in the strong confession of the faith, in our daily sanctification.”
Fear of risks and trust in Divine Providence
And he concluded after raising an objection: “So you are going to tell me: ‘In these cases there is a risk!’ – Yes, of course. In life there are many risks; in war there are even more. We are at war. So it will be as God wishes. But I have trust in Providence; I have complete trust in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ for His Holy Church. So as long as we do not seek it, even if it happens, I think we must not panic. Nothing changes. It is the same fight that goes on, the same lines. We must simply take advantage of these areas of freedom that are left to us. In a war, if the enemy abandons the trenches, we have to take them over; if the enemy falls back, we must go forward. You don’t stay home because there are risks. We must act prudently, and we must take courage. And above all, we must have trust in God. It is the fight for God. Our trust is in Him and in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Personally I am not at all worried about the future of the Society or Tradition; however, for the future of society, of our nations that were once Catholic and even of the official Church, yes, I am worried and pessimistic. We can foresee that things are evolving for the worst. And it is when we are coming to a much more desperate, extreme situation that Divine Providence intervenes; God, who always uses divine means, intervenes. Our Lord is always the master of events and of history. And not only in general, but also in particular. So if the Gospel tells us that not one hair of our head falls, that all the hairs on our head are counted, that not a sparrow falls without the permission of God, I think we must remain peaceful. That is how we maintain an equitable judgment on objective realities and preserve an attitude that is not only balanced, but also Catholic, Christian and holy. That is the wisdom Archbishop Lefebvre passed on to us, this Catholic attitude. We can certainly continue along these lines in the present situation of the Holy Church today, and in the face of all the eventualities that will soon present themselves.” (source: FSSPX/MG – DICI no.331 dated Feb. 26, 2016)
Comment: For my part, I trust the Bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, and moreover, trust completely in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary who never fail us. However, these are such perilous times, and I cannot help but be awed by the responsibility the Society has, especially Bishop Fellay. In an earlier post, “A Win-win for the Humble Pope“, I wrote of my misgivings,
“Remember when Pope Francis announced his “Year of Mercy” in September, he said that he intended it to be for every believer, “a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God,” Pope Francis then announced he was allowing the “faithful who for various reasons choose to attend [SSPX] churches” to receive the sacrament of penance from SSPX priests.
“This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” he said. “From various quarters, several brother bishops have told me of their (the SSPX) good faith and sacramental practice, combined, however, with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the fraternity.”
It’s just a little nagging thought, but what if the “God of Surprises” decides to extend to the SSPX full recognition to administer all the sacraments? Would it not be completely in character for this Most Merciful Pope® to simply wave his magic wand and make all that bothersome “irregular canonical status” disappear? Think of the possibilities for offending Cardinal Muller, the entire Curia, Ecclesia Dei, why, the possibilities are endless. And he gets to proclaim in his endearingly humble way that he is able to do this because as he reminds us, he is “– by the will of Christ Himself – the ‘supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful’ “. And that he enjoys, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”.
Also, consider that by reaching out and enfolding the Society in a great big merciful bear hug, (you know, the suffocating kind), our beloved Pontiff will be effectively preventing an escape route for priests and laity who do not accept the new merciful theology of Francis. Thus, leaving those who choose to be faithful to Christ no alternative; Bergoglio’s new church or flee to the desert as foretold in the Apocalypse.
And if the Society refuses to take the bait, what then will be their status? What does a “loyal son of the Church” do when the Vicar of Christ on earth summons them to obedience?
What happened to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, who had taken an extra vow to be loyal to the Pope?
If they dare to refuse the command of this “supreme Pastor”, what then?
Seems like a win-win for the humble guy …
Just a thought …”
In another post, I spoke about the agenda of the current Vatican in all this.
For the Vatican, it can only be a matter of money and power. Or, if you will, power and money. When faith is gone, there is naught else. The persons who are presiding over the demise of the Church do not give a fig for dogma. They are not therefore, concerned about any actual schism. If the dogma of the faith were the important thing, why would Pope Francis kneel to receive a “blessing” from a heretical minister of some protestant sect?
The Post-Conciliar Church possesses one marketable item, the brand name: “Catholic”. If the Society only identified itself as the “Lefebvrian Traditional Church” or some such, Rome would probably want to dialog them to death and pander shamelessly to them, as they do with the Jews and Muslims. But for the Society to claim that it is truly Catholic, well that will not do. It damages the brand, doesn’t it?
Regarding the money component, Rome was shortsighted and overconfident in the Springtime effect they were anticipating. Rome’s attempt to nip Archbishop Lefebvre’s budding traditional movement backfired. Far from stopping the Archbishop’s new movement, the attempted excommunications freed Archbishop Lefebvre to seek and receive funding, quite generous funding from supporters. Many, many supporters. Just in the United States, the Society has grown far beyond expectations. The resultant foundations are completely beyond the reach of the Vatican. Understandably, neither the Vatican nor the Society would want to discuss the financial aspects of their negotiations. But clearly, official reunion with Rome will entail control of not only dogma and practice, but also finances.
This has been borne out in many parishes in the country, when the Bishop’s efforts to sell off church properties were contested by groups of parishioners who wanted to retain the churches. Often, the parishioners demonstrated that they had significantly contributed to the maintenance of the disputed properties. But nevertheless, the Bishop always wins, because the Church owns the property no matter how much parishioners donate.
Should the SSPX allow the Vatican to assume control over their foundations, their properties? Think about the Franciscans of the Immaculate before you answer. Money. Power.
The Society of St. Pius X has one purpose and that is to sustain the faith, sustain the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by raising up priests to offer it faithfully. They haven’t showed much interest in politics and their interest in social welfare seems to have been limited to nurturing healthy, faithful Catholic families, that is, in growing the Faith. The Society’s constant need for money appears due solely to the ever-growing demand for their services, which requires continuous fundraising for their building needs. Even as the Vatican II Church diminishes, the Society is growing exponentially.
And so the interests of the Society of St. Pius X and those of the conciliar Church are not congruent; on the Vatican side, power and money; on the Society’s, maintaining the traditional dogma and practice of the Faith and perpetuating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Any resolution with Rome would need to respect the valid interests of the Society. It seems unlikely that the Society would risk what they have in their current “irregular” state for whatever Rome could give them, since as Rome admits, they are Catholics, after all.
As I said, I do trust the Society in this matter, and intend to support them to the best of my ability with prayers and penances, trusting in Our Blessed Mother to brings all this to the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
† Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests!
† Queen of the Holy Rosary, establish the reign of thy Immaculate Heart in our hearts and in the Church.
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!
† St. Joseph protector of the Holy Family, protect the Society of St. Pius X, protect the Church!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculata