Reblog What is the 'Resistance' hiding? Review of "How to see clearly through the current situation of Tradition?" Part 5


The final section of the conference addresses another core 'resistance' tenet:
Relations with Conciliar Rome: can a practical agreement be considered without a doctrinal agreement?
In this section, the author pulls out all the stops and exposes further the differences between their thoughts at that of the SSPX.

Archbishop Lefebvre - Did he say 'no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement'?

The first assertion is that the position of the Archbishop was 'no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement'.  Unfortunately, the Archbishop never actually said these words.  He said words that the 'resistance' construe as having this meaning, but never these words.

However, labouring under their confirmation bias, the resistance ignores the following words uttered in an interview shortly before he died:
Once again, actions speak louder than words. When we open a seminary or when we create priories, or when we open schools, when the sisters swarm and the convents multiply, that is the only way of forcing Rome to negotiate. It's not a question of my being there, it's a question of the works we do. At Rome, they're well aware that what we're doing is not nothing. The bishops get a little annoyed when we implant ourselves here and there, and so they complain to Rome and Rome knows what's going on. ... So I do not think it is opportune to try contacting Rome. I think we must still wait. Wait, unfortunately, for the situation to get still worse on their side. But up till now, they do not want to recognize the fact. (One Year After the Consecrations)
Then a year later (six months before he died) he ended an address in Econe with these words:
However, one day they will be obliged to recognize that the Society represents a spiritual force and a strength of the Faith which is irreplaceable and which they will have, I hope, the joy and the satisfaction to make use of, but when they have come back to their Traditional Faith. (Two Years After the Consecrations)
I am unable to find the words 'no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement' (note: by this the resistors seem to mean that Rome must convert in a public and dramatic manner to the position of the SSPX - nothing else will do!).

What I do find is that by showing the vitality of tradition, the SSPX will 'force Rome to negotiate'.  This is what happened in 2000, so obviously Archbishop Lefebvre's principles were correct.

The second phrase, which the 'resistors' take on its own as meaning 'no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement', likewise does not contain the phrase.  We have two elements in this phrase - first that the Rome will recognize that the SSPX represents the vitality of Catholicism, this is consistent with the 1989 interview.

The second phrase is not as simple as 'resistors' would have us believe.  The phrase 'when they have come back to their Traditional Faith' does not mean 'doctrinal agreement', to make that assertion is simply an example of confirmation bias.  As I mentioned, the 'resistance' wants a sudden miraculous 'conversion' of all of Rome.  Actually, I think they would rather see the hierarchy decimated and the remaining few crawl groveling to the 'resistors' saying "you were right".

God doesn't typically work that way and I can't recall any crisis of the Church (eg Arianism, Western Schism) being resolved over-night.  Eventually, the hierarchy resolves the problem over a number of years or even tens of decades. To want a quick fix is simply the vice of impatience and I would add curiously linked to the fast-food culture.

The second phrase means what?  Actually, it means just what is means that Rome comes back to their Traditional Faith.  It can mean a number of things because the phrase "Traditional Faith" can be taken in a number of ways - in short it is a general statement. Applying these in specific circumstances can be difficult, and if one isn't careful it is possible to fall into the whole to part fallacy.  However 'resistors' are very fond of using sweeping generalizations in this area like " Roman officials, appointees perhaps, apostates certainly". How would a conversion, a change of the mind, be manifested?  Well first off, by accepting Traditionalists as they are,  would be a good indication. Accepting the pre-conciliar liturgy and some core Catholic cultural assumption would also be an indication.

If God follows the same pattern as His solution to the Arian crisis, He will solve this crisis one bishop at the time. Ultimately, the including the Pope, but not necessarily at first.

Where did the phrase 'no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement' come from?

Simply put, it came from the SSPX General Chapter.  This principle was put aside because of True Obedience.  I know that 'resistors' are uncomfortable with this principle but this is what Fr. Pfluger stated:
“No practical solution without doctrinal agreement” – such was the principle upon which the Society had started the talks with the Holy See. But the negotiations of the past years have revealed that the different positions regarding central questions of doctrine cannot be bridged. Recent weeks have revealed that the Pope is so much interested in a canonical solution for the Society that he is ready to seal a deal, even if the Society does not recognize the disputed texts of Vatican II and the New Mass. Would the Society, however, refuse an agreement even under these circumstances, then new excommunications are a possible outcome. ... Under these circumstances the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, does not consider it possible to reject the Pope’s proposal. It would be tantamount to a lapse into Sedevacantism if one would still isolate oneself from the Pope’s wish, if this wish does not entail acknowledging false doctrine. ... It is, of course, a pre-condition that an agreement will cover the assurance that the Society will be able to disagree from Rome’s positions in disputed matters and that it will have the freedom to continue her work in her entire apostolate. Part of an autonomous status would also be the right to criticize the Council and Modernism. (Source: Rorate Caeli)
Here we have the principle of obedience applied in a reality.  The Pope wants to have the SSPX in a canonically regularized situation, without 'acknowledging false doctrine'.  It does not matter that the Pope was unable, for whatever reason, to follow through.  It does matter that at that point in time it appeared that the Pope could be meeting the conditions for true obedience.

In short, an order from the Pope trumps a negotiation principle of a congregation's General Chapter.

Is there a 'Change of Orientation'

The author eventually turns to a change of orientation where the SSPX recognized the 'legitimacy of the promulgation of the New Mass, the new sacraments, and the new Canon Law; implicit recognition of the new Profession of Faith".

As a lay-person who has only been intently studying these matters for four or five years, I am surprised that a Dominican would write these words as, under the Archbishop, the SSPX acknowledged the new code of Canon Law (in fact they based their defense of the Consecrations on it), and the validity of the Sacraments as they were promulgated by the Authority of the Church.

Even more important is that the author of the conference does not realize that his thoughts appear to be in contradiction with the doctrine on the indefectibility of the Church as it applies to the discipline of the Church.

In short, the Church cannot in its discipline or laws, of which the liturgy is a part, explicitly lead people into error.  While the new rites are definitely ambiguous, they are not explicitly heretical as promulgated.
... we assert both her imperishableness, that is, her constant duration to the end of the world, and the essential immutability of her teaching, her constitution and her liturgy. This does not exclude the decay of individual "churches" (i.e., parts of the Church) and accidental changes ... Indefectibility

So, although I doubt he realizes it, the author is simply echoing the arguments of the sede-vacantists and on that grounds alone I would issue a cautionary warning.

So it is not a question that the SSPX is willing to consider a canonical regularization without 'doctrinal agreement' as originally foreseen in 2000 or 2006.  It is a question as to whether or not the principle of obedience to a superior overrides such a prudential decision.

The answer for any Catholic is yes.  

The author then makes the assertion that the 'desirable' condition of exemption from the bishops is 'astounding'.  As Bishop Fellay already noted, the Canonical Structure proposed already contained that exemption so they put it as the lesser level.

I would add that part of the constitution of the Church is the geographically bounded jurisdiction of the Bishops.  Traditionalists need to be careful that they don't go against Tradition in their distrust of the hierarchy.

Connecting the dots ...

The author then jumps into conjecture by 'seeing ... already in the Society symptoms of a lessening in its confession of the Faith'.  Tied to this he makes a large number of assertions that are effectively food for conspiracy thoughts.

Then he arrives at this thought:
Such a recognition [of tolerance] ... would result little by little in the dissolution of Tradition into the conciliar Church, in the gradual dissappearance of what Archbishop Lefebvre described on May 30, 1988 as "this family that represents what remains of the real Catholic Church
So, if Rome were willing to 'accept us as we are' (to quote Archbishop Lefebvre) the 'resistors' would say 'non serviam'.

Not a really good example to follow.

The author offers this conclusion:
It is certain that this painful crisis if God's punishment for Tradition that has become worldly and soft these past few years, and which now seeks a recognition so as to no longer be persecuted, so as to lead an easier life where the official authorities will accept us "as we are", opening their churches to us for our ceremonies.
Frankly, the author didn't jump to this conclusion.  He climbed on an airplane, flew from France to England, drove to Bishop Williamson's doorstep and then jumped across the threshold.

The first two-thirds of the conclusion are insinuating that after 50 years of persecution at the hands (and feet) of fellow Catholics, that the SSPX is seeking a recognition.  This is a falsehood.  That Bishop Fellay is considering such a recognition is fact.  That assertion that it is because 'someone' is worldly and soft is nothing more than a judgement and imputation of motives. Something that the author stated it is "not for us to judge people and to impute motives".

The last third of the conclusion is, unwittingly, criticizing the author of the words 'as we are' - Archbishop Lefebvre.


Series Links
Part 1: Background
Part 2: Introduction and Heart of the Fight
Part 3: Distinction between "eternal Rome" and "the Rome of Neo-Modernist ..."
Part 4: Silence regarding the Roman scandals
Part 5: Relations with Conciliar Rome: can a practical agreement ...


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