SSPX “Resistance”? More Fool You!

From Catholic Family News

Since at least 2011, there seems to be a never-ending stream of reports in the blogosphere and even mainstream media that Bishop Bernard Fellay is poised to sign an agreement with Rome. The most recent wave of alleged capitulation occurred this past summer. Yet here, in the autumn of 2017, Bishop Fellay and the Society of St. Pius X remain in the same canonical posture with Rome. Throughout these years of predicted compromise, a number of priests and faithful have preemptively jumped ship, deciding that a break with the SSPX was necessary before the forecasted compromise occurred. Each time a new individual or group breaks the unity of the Society, such persons claim that Bishop Fellay is walking into a Roman trap – canonical regularization – and they must flee before the trap closes. Rome, they say, wants nothing other than the destruction of the SSPX and the legacy of its founder, and that “regularization” is the bait used to lure the Society into a death trap. 

Bishop Bernard Fellay


Rome’s Real Trap and Bait


Let us posit this claim as true, that the Roman authorities do share a common intention to destroy the SSPX. But what if the trap and the bait are completely different from what the defectors claim? Perhaps it is not Bishop Fellay who is poised to fall into that trap but, rather, the defectors over the years who have unwittingly taken Rome’s bait themselves.

The Modernists are clearly threatened by any attempt to hold fast to Tradition and thus seek its destruction or, at the very least, its containment. However, there are many ways to achieve that end. One way might be to lure the SSPX into a canonical recognition that was designed to subject it to Roman power in order to crush it. Yet we should consider the possibility that their strategy might be a bit more subtle, namely, to force the SSPX into a continual state of division and defections so as to keep its numbers low enough to be ignored, as opposed to luring the Society into the Conciliar Church. If this were the strategy, the Modernists could be using the constant recurring possibility of canonical regularization to divide and conquer.

A review of the past forty years would suggest that a strategy of “divide the SSPX to contain its influence” seems to explain the Roman authorities’ behavior. Although using different instruments, the goal seems fairly clear: Get as many priests and religious to leave the Society as possible so its growth is artificially controlled.

Divide and Conquer

The defection of priests has been the single most destructive blow to the SSPX. Beginning with the defection of nine sedevacantists in the early 1980s, the Society has constantly been fighting a battle to replace lost numbers rather than growing organically with new vocations. A conservative calculation suggests that, were it not for defections over the past four decades, the SSPX would have over 1,800 priests and religious (SSPX proper + affiliated communities). The Vatican would be confronted by a very different reality if Bishop Fellay spoke for so many priests and religious.

The Vatican strategy from 1988 to the early 2000s seemed to be an attempt to break up the SSPX by luring individual priests (or small groups) into regularized situations. In those cases, the bait employed was to start one’s own little SSPX with canonical recognition. The first batch left in July 1988 following the consecrations. A few more priests trickled out due to Vatican luring through the 1990s and early 2000s. The deal with the Union of St. John Vianney in Campos was the most significant success of this strategy to lure away with the carrot of setting up a new regularized group. By 2010 or thereabouts, the success of this strategy was waning. There was not much more movement after the defection of Campos and the SSPX was starting to rebuild. If my hypothesis is correct, the Vatican then changed tactics. They decided to dangle their carrot of canonical regularization in front of the Society itself, crafting the bait to give the appearance that Bishop Fellay might bite it, all the while knowing he would reject their last-minute demands. This new approach has, in fact, produced two detrimental effects: (1) It caused more defections from the Society for fear of compromise and (2) it has kept the SSPX under the stigma of canonical irregularity.

Such a strategy would explain the cycle of “doctrinal discussions” and “rapprochement” witnessed in 2009-2012 and again in 2015-2017. The Vatican makes it appear as though regularization of the SSPX is imminent. They even take some concrete steps to make the story plausible (e.g. the Motu Proprio granting more tolerance of the old Mass, nullification of the 1988 excommunications, conferral of ordinary jurisdiction for Confession and Marriage). They make suggestions that a relaxation of total adherence to Vatican II is possible. As expectations rise, so do fears and conspiracy theories claiming capitulation is just around the corner. As a result, priests and faithful once again start abandoning ship. And then, at the eleventh hour, Rome adds a demand they know Bishop Fellay will never accept and thus ends the cycle with the SSPX still “irregular” and a path of devastation through the ranks of the Society.

New Strategy Proves Successful

From the perspective of the enemies of Tradition, this new strategy has been more successful then luring away individual or small groups of priests to regularization, as with the FSSP founders and the priests of Campos. This “scare and disperse” tactic has resulted not only in the loss of individual priests and religious but also high-ranking and internationally respected figures of the Society. It has also driven a wedge between the SSPX and several previously affiliated religious orders, resulting in entire monasteries and orders breaking from the Society. Even better, from the enemies’ perspective, it does not result in these priests who favor Tradition and the traditional Mass coming into the Conciliar Church. The defectors in this new wave have not founded or joined Ecclesia Dei communities; rather, they have gone truly independent, scattering to the four winds.
Although it is true that the price of canonical recognition for Ecclesia Dei communities has been compromise and silence, their presence within the Conciliar Church is still a thorn in the side of the Modernist destroyers. Even if they are silent about the illicit nature of the New Mass, they spread awareness of the ancient liturgy and preach some traditional doctrines. These “troublesome” conservative or traditional-leaning priests would be less trouble if they were both outside the Conciliar Church and separate from the SSPX. That would diminish the influence of Tradition within the mainstream Church as well as weaken the witness and position of the SSPX by constantly reducing its numbers (notwithstanding the flourishing of new vocations). It would also result in the continued marginalization of the Society in the Modernist twilight zone of “less-than-full communion.”

Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469-1527

Perhaps the Modernists are not so Machiavellian or organized enough to come up with such a grand scheme, but the results of the past 10 to 12 years are consistent with such a plan. The latest cycle seems to have fizzled out in familiar fashion, with Cardinal Müller demanding use of the post-Conciliar Declaration of Faith and adherence to all the documents of the Council and post-Conciliar papal teachings. After six years of talks with Bishop Fellay, the Cardinal had to know these demands would seal the fate of the latest talks in a rejection by Bishop Fellay. Yet the cycle has yielded more fruit for the enemies of Tradition. The unilateral conferral of jurisdiction for Marriage, the last salvo before killing the prospects of recognition for now, yielded more defections and divisions in the heart of the SSPX in France.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

If my theory is correct, then in the early 2000s the Vatican authorities changed their strategy from luring individuals and small groups into regularization to causing division within the SSPX by creating the appearance of a regularization that would never actually happen. If this is true, then it is not Bishop Fellay who has fallen into their trap but, rather, the priests who abandoned him and the Society to which they made promises. By their defection, they have weakened the single most effective force for Tradition the post-Vatican II Church has ever seen, all for fear of a theoretical compromise with Rome that has never happened. Rather than confronting the Modernists with thousands of priests and religious, the clerical and consecrated souls of the Society numbers less than 700 while the ranks of defectors suffer further ruptures and isolation. The enemies of Tradition could not have hoped for more.

In the Gospel, Our Lord tells us: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). May all the members of the SSPX – priests, religious, and lay faithful – take His words to heart and strive “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).   Source

Title at source:  A Society Divided Against Itself: SSPX Ranks Must Preserve Internal Unity by Brian McCall.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Catholic Family News. 


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SSPX: Priest Resigns – Is Former UK Superior Plotting Trouble Ahead?

Translation of text of the above interview follows…

Introduction

I am Father Paul Morgan, ordained by Bishop Lefebvre at Ecône in 1988. After that, I was 4 years in the district house in London as an assistant. Following this, I was the 1st Superior of the Society of St. Pius X in the Philippines for 4 years, until 1996. Then 2 years as a school principal at St Mary’s School in England and then 5 years as a prior at Post Falls in Idaho, USA. And then 12 years as district superior of Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia, until 2015. Then sabbatical year at Montgardin, which I had asked for. And then 2016-2017, Prior in Vancouver, Canada.

Current situation…

Right now, I am outside the Society, since I resigned on August 9 of this year [2017] because of the marriage affair.

The Marriage Affair…

It seemed to me, it always seems to me, that it is an essential compromise to accept the principle that priests representing modern dioceses come to us, in the bastions of Tradition, to receive the promises of the bride and groom. Even if in practice we are a little restricted in such things, we have accepted the principle. And that’s why, in concrete terms, I wrote my letter of resignation.

Timing of resignation…

I think there were many of us, quite a few priests and superiors themselves, who had reacted against the new way of doing things, even before the 2012 chapter. There were many of us in Albano in 2011 to say to Bishop Fellay, very respectfully, that these steps should not be continued in order to reach an agreement with modernist Rome. So, we have already done a great deal in the Society, among ourselves, with the superiors to denounce and oppose these approaches. For example, in 2012, the district of Great Britain was ready, in its entirety, to break away if they made a false agreement with modernist Rome. So it is not just this year that we have begun to react, but we have already for years.

Why no public reaction…

I think the manifesto, the statement of the 7 deans and superiors of friendly communities in France, was very, very well put. So publicly, that was already explained. And I can also say that I have done things in order and according to the rules, by sending a manifesto signed by several priests from Canada to Bishop Fellay and to Menzingen, explaining quite simply, the serious problems with these new directives for receiving marriage vows. So right away we talked about it on the Internet, so it became public, etc.. So, I chose to do things that way. Now, I speak more publicly, since I’ve had a little time to organize myself – and we left Canada with a suitcase in our hands, not knowing where to go because we never thought of being alone, on the outside like that.

What prospects for the 2018 General Chapter?

Unfortunately, I do not have much hope in the general chapter next year. It seems to me that with the change of minds that has been taking place for several years now – so that we think that Rome is now kind, Rome loves us, we can make an agreement or do more good saying inside the Church, as if we were outside the Church until now, it’s unbelievable, isn’t it – so I don’t have much hope. And we can see that good priests like the 7 deans, for example, who have made a very good document – and a special hello to Father de la Rocque in exile in the Philippines, a country that I like very much but which is still in exile – we see what happens to priests who denounce problems respectfully and rightly: we punish them! So I think the superiors in the chapter will simply do what Menzingen tells them to do.

What about your apostolate?

At the moment, I have no official apostolate. I am in contact with a lot of priests, in France and abroad, as well as with the faithful, encouraging and supporting them. Aslo with priests who have left [the SSPX] already a few months or a few years ago, for reasons that are in the end quite similar.

It is very encouraging to see the strong religious communities in France, religious men and women. I am in contact with them but I understand that this is a difficult situation for these communities, which may be at risk of sanctions if they show themselves too publicly in agreement with priests like myself.

Nevertheless, we celebrate Mass, we pray, we visit confreres, we have been able to preach a retreat already, we have made visits on the right and on the left. I get a lot of invitations from other countries to come and help. But at the moment, for rather practical matters we have to organise ourselves before embarking on any future activities. But I think, it seems to me that in June-July 2018, we are going to shoot into action. I think there will be more positive reactions in the coming year.

In connection with the bishops consecrated by Bishop Williamson?

Yes, if need be, of course, since we need bishops for Sacred orders and confirmations. Consecrating bishops in this emergency, as Archishop Lefebvre himself had said, can be repeated. This is not something reserved exclusively for Archbishop Lefebvre. And yes, we are quite willing to collaborate with the faithful, with faithful Catholics.

In conclusion…

I conclude by saying that we always have hope in the Good Lord. I think of Archbishop Lefebvre who was alone. He resigned some the Holy Ghost Fathers so as not to have any part in the destruction of his congregation. So priests like him and certainly many others, did this for important reasons. Let us try to make contacts, to gather together in order to help other priests who, for the moment, remain within the Society, hoping to organize something to help them as also [to help] the sound faithful. There’s a lot of work to be done. We have hope.

And then, finally, Our Lady of Fatima spoke about diabolic disorientations. It seems to me that what is happening here is an example, right here in 2017, [an example] of this confusion of mind. So, as Archbishop Lefebvre said, we must remain faithfully, we must keep the principles of the fight for the faith, the good fight and then, if we have to suffer by doing this, God’s Holy will must be done.   Source

Statement from Canada on Fr Morgan’s departure from the SSPX here 

Comment: 

What on earth does “shoot into action” [in June-July, 2018] mean?  Is Fr Morgan intent on acting to divide, further, the SSPX faithful? 

This is very disappointing coming from a former Superior of the SSPX GB district.  Very disappointing indeed. 

I could write a book about Fr Morgan and it would be less than flattering but I would ask all bloggers who choose to comment on this subject to be restrained and stick to the issues.  Please avoid any temptation to personal criticism of Father Morgan, or citing examples of what we considered to be lack of pastoral care affecting the Scottish faithful during his years as Superior in the UK;  instead, stick to the facts relating to his decision to resign from the Society, apparently unaware that he is now part and parcel of the very diabolical disorientation to which he refers in the above interview. 

Might his reference to “shooting into action” next summer be interpreted as a “plans afoot” to further divide the Society or is there another more innocent explanation?