by G. Gilbert
June 27, 2012
I see this matter [of the discussions with the Pope and the CDF] as Bishop Fellay simply trying to do the right thing by manifesting his loyalty to the Pope in practice and not merely in theory.
There is absolutely no incontrovertible evidence (and conspiracy theories by anonymous authors do not constitute evidence) to suggest: (1) Bp. Fellay’s intentions are anything less than honorable and in accordance with what is and should be expected of a truly Catholic bishop; or (2) that he is looking at this problem set in a willfully negligent manner.
Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that Bishop Fellay is acting out of self-interest or out of personal ambition. Bp. Fellay, like his brother bishops, has spent his entire adult life fighting for Catholic truth as a pariah, and who, in my opinion, deserves the benefit of the doubt and the respect of those of us who consider ourselves “friends and benefactors” of the SSPX.
However, there is evidence to suggest that Bp. Williamson and certain individuals close to him have willfully undermined Bp. Fellay’s leadership. (See: angelqueen.org/2012/06/26/what-we-know-about-the-sspx-leakers/)
Furthermore, as much as I admire and respect Bp. Williamson (and I do so sincerely, as I have had the honor to have been confirmed by him, as did my wife), using a military analogy (and I do so because the Church is a hierarchy just as is the military, therefore I think the analogy holds), Bp. Williamson’s actions — over time, and cumulatively — are essentially insubordinate as they pertain to Bp. Fellay’s position as Superior General of the SSPX, and especially now as he treats with Rome.
This would not be as big a deal as it is right now, if we were simply talking about two bishops, each with no expectation of loyalty and/or obedience to the other, voicing their opinions on matters not affecting anyone else but themselves. (As many of you with military experience know, brother bishops, just as brother officers, can disagree on matters of policy up to the point where the commanding officer makes a decision. At that point, it is time to close ranks, keep your opinions to yourself, get behind the boss, and carry out the plan of the day.)
But, that’s not what we’re talking about: Bp. Fellay is Bp. Williamson’s superior general; his, “commanding general”, so to speak. Bp. Fellay has, in so many words, ordered Bp. Williamson to keep his opinions regarding this matter to himself… and Bp. Williamson has refused to do so. And Bp. Williamson’s “disobedience to lawful orders” is having obviously severe consequences not only on the Society’s relationship with the Church as a whole, but internally to the Society itself.
And, for this to happen right now — right at the very moment that the Society is on the verge of bringing the “fight” to “Rome” from “within the walls” — is, in my opinion a shameful disgrace. It makes the SSPX look like a laughing stock. It is “conduct unbecoming” an “officer” of the Church. It shows a lack of discipline, a lack of respect for authority, a lack of a practical understanding of hierarchy, a lack of unity.
In short, it is a repudiation of all of the values that the Society has claimed to defend these past 40 or so years. For, Catholic tradition doesn’t support the principle of rebellion against legitimate authority. Yet, that is precisely what is occurring right now. Although, I suspect that those who are against the Society’s negotiations with Rome are now calling into question Bp. Fellay’s legitimacy.
Without clear and incontrovertible evidence, I do not. There is no reason to believe that Bp. Fellay’s episcopate is illegitimate or that his intentions are evil… unless you want to call into question everything the SSPX has done since Abp. Lefebvre consecrated his successors against the will of the Holy Father. Because that is where this line of thinking leads, inevitably.
I am also reasonably certain that those who support the scuttling of the current negotiations with Rome see themselves as defending Catholic tradition.
I do not.
As I peruse the anarchnet looking for more information concerning these talks, I cannot help but notice that those who are against these negotiations are inching further and further towards a de facto sedevacantist mentality or sedevacantist sympathies, regardless of their protestations to the contrary.
I think this is a negative development.
Perhaps this is much ado about nothing. Perhaps, as is often the case, we are only seeing a part of the situation, being as we are merely laymen with no true inside knowledge of what is really going on. Perhaps, and I hope that is the case. I want to be wrong.
But, viewing this from the outside looking in, from the perspective of a career infantry officer who has experience actually leading men in, shall we say, “very difficult circumstances” (e.g., people trying to kill you), this whole episode — to me — is disgusting.
In Christo per Mariam,