Is THIS now an SSPX position, or another trial balloon?

I call attention to the remark in bold (near the end).


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Lefebvre: love the Church, not controversy

February 13, 2014 District of the US

As defined by Archbishop Lefebvre, the Society of St. Pius X’s resistance to Modernism is not based on the spirit of rebellion or controversy, but upon a love for Holy Mother Church.

We present this editorial of Fr. Michel Simoulin from the February 2014 issue of Le Seignadou, the newsletter of the SSPX’s priory of St. Joseph-des-Carmes in Montreal de l’Aude, France.

The Association of Fr. de Chivre has just published its 39th paper on the topic of “the Church”. These sermons by Fr. de Chivre date back to the time before, during and after the last Council. It seems to me that meditating on them can help us to “remain level-headed”.

For several months now actually, it has seemed that a wind of madness is blowing in our circles, and this wind is so violent and irrational that it has caused some priests or laypeople to fall—too many, but fortunately not as many as they would like you to think. Some fall to the left, finding Bishop Fellay too strict, the others fall to the right, finding him too lax or liberal. Thank God, the great majority continues to walk straight ahead, faithful to the spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre.

But you have to admit that the air sometimes becomes stifling: if you publicly declare your fidelity to and confidence in the Superior General, they will say that you are sowing disorder and making trouble. But if you speak publicly against Bishop Fellay, accusing him of liberalism and of secret maneuvers to bring about a reconciliation, you will have the reputation of being a valiant defender of the Faith and of the spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre. So it is, strange to say!

This has been said and written so many times already that you hesitate to say it once again, but Archbishop Lefebvre never made any claim to “converting” Rome or the Pope. At the very most, he used to say to those who rebuked him for going to Rome: “Who knows? I may do them a little good!” He never rejected contacts or discussions with Rome, in the hope of gaining freedom for his work and for Tradition. He fought and condemned the modern errors, those from before the Council, those of the Council and those after the Council, but he never fought or condemned Rome or the Pope.

And history, in its objective truth—quite apart from all the interpretations that we can give to the facts—tells us that his work was approved and recognized by Bishop Charriere, a thoroughly conciliar bishop, who never bothered His Excellency; and history also tells us that the protocol agreement that he had signed on May 5, 1988 went much further than Bishop Fellay’s proposals of last year. And Archbishop Lefebvre was not the one who put an end to the meetings; it was none other than Cardinal Ratzinger, by refusing what His Excellency requested in his letter dated May 6, 1988 (the consecration of one bishop, as provided in the protocol agreement). These are things that should not be forgotten [as well as the fact that all of this transpired two weeks later and after the Archbishop had made some visits to Rome—so he did not reject the Protocol the next day as has been falsely claimed —Ed].

Some may disagree with Archbishop Lefebvre’s stance (but then they should have said so during his lifetime!), or Bishop Fellay’s (but then they should have said so at the time of the first contacts in 2000!), but it is strange that this reawakening of consciences is occurring only now that nothing was accomplished and nothing is foreseen; and it is untrue to accuse Bishop Fellay of being unfaithful to Archbishop Lefebvre. Aside from differences in temperament or personal experience, the line has remained the same, and there are no indications that it is about to change; quite the contrary.

In all this controversy, what many people lack is quite simply the sensus Ecclesiae, the mind of the Church. I do not claim to be better than those who abandon us, but I wonder: toward what Church are they venturing? The Church of Pius XII? Of St. Pius X? Of St. Pius V? But these “Churches” do not exist, any more than the “conciliar Church” or “modernist Rome” exist—these are merely expressions to describe the state of the Church or of Rome since the last Council, since they have been infested with a “non-Catholic sort of thinking” that tries to give them a more “worldly” face. There is only the Holy Catholic Church and Eternal Rome, to which Archbishop Lefebvre paid a vivid homage at the conclusion of his book Spiritual Journey, and that we desire to serve with all the grace received by the Church on the Feast of All Saints in 1970. They simply forget that the Church is not a “mental object”, as the philosophers say.

To speak about the “Mystical” Body does not mean to speak about an exclusively spiritual reality, but rather about a society that conceals a mystery within itself, which is the presence of its Founder, who is still alive and at work in it. The Mystical Body of Jesus Christ which is the Church is a real, incarnate being that lives in time, with which one can enter into a communion of grace and truth and life only in its present reality, as it lives under the pontificate of Pope Francis. This Pope may be a sinner like each one of us, he may adhere to the same errors as his immediate predecessors, and even to other errors… he may even be unfaithful to the duties of his office, yet he is and remains the Vicar of Christ, and, as Fr. Calmel put it so beautifully:

The Church is not the Mystical Body of the Pope; the Church together with the Pope is the Mystical Body of Christ.”

Unless one is a “sedevacantist”, no one can reject or deny the fact that Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ.

An excellent theologian[1] called attention to this point not long ago:

“Simon, son of John,” said the Lord, “feed My sheep.” He did not say “your sheep”. They will always belong to Him. They will not change their Master. He also said: “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. He calls them by name, they hear His voice, and He leads them out” (John 10). They are therefore Christ’s sheep; they are not the sheep of Simon Peter who will feed them. He will lead them out in Christ’s name and not in his own name.

We should recall all this when we say that Peter is the Vicar of Jesus Christ, since it is generally agreed that authority exercised in someone else’s name is called vicarious authority. Peter is the Vicar of Christ; he is not the vicar of the Church and of the Christian multitude. Jurisdiction does not ascend from the Church to him; it descends from him to the Church. Christ gave it to him directly and immediately; He does not give it to the Church first with instructions to transmit it to him. Furthermore, he gives it to him prior to any choice by the Church of a constitution.”

The First Vatican Council denounces, as contrary to Scripture and Tradition, the error of those who claim “that the primacy of jurisdiction was given immediately and directly not to Peter, but to the Church, and through her to Peter, her minister”.

Therefore it is not possible to think that one is in communion with the Church independently of the Pope, acting as though he did not exist, refusing all contact and all dealings with him, and not seeking to establish relations that enable us to accept his jurisdiction while refusing to compromise with his errors. All this is difficult, delicate, risky, and whatever else you want to call it—granted. But not to desire this, or even to reject it a priori, is to reject communion with the Church as she was constituted by Jesus Christ and as she lives in 2014.

There is no Church of St. Pius V, or St. Pius X, of Pius XII or of Francis; there is the Church of Jesus Christ, which has nothing idyllic about it and is entrusted today to His Vicar, Pope Francis. Not to love this Church, as she lives today, is not to love the Church. To refuse to seek to reestablish canonical ties with the Church, in the state in which she exists today, as she lives and suffers today, whatever pretext may be given, is quite simply to reject the Church, which is not a Catholic thing to do.

Then too, is it not appropriate to recognize at the basis of all these controversies the presence of a very pernicious spiritual evil: the spirit of contradiction? I could speak about defiance, but I prefer to mention this mindset that loves to quarrel, not out of a desire to arrive at the truth, but simply out of a desire to be right. Ernest Hello wrote a whole chapter about this subject, reflections that are too long to cite here. I will quote just a few excerpts:

Since I have been on earth I see men quarreling, and you too, no doubt. The universal face is a universal contradiction. “For I have seen iniquity and contradiction in the city,” Scripture says (Ps 54:10). The juxtaposition of these two words contains a profound teaching.

Iniquity, that is, injustice is the daughter of contradiction. Division covers the earth. Enemies are not the ones who are most deeply divided; friends are. Where unity seems to exist, division exists, more radically and more intimately….

Peter and Paul do not help each other or supplement each other’s views; instead, each one stubbornly denies what he himself does not see…. They were two intelligent men, made to understand each other. Now they are two enemies, stupidly, stubbornly blinded, because the serpent of contradiction raised his ugly head between the two.

This is the spirit of contradiction that shuts eyes and emitters the heart, that blinds and separates souls…. Kind-heartedness would play an immense role in the reconciliation of minds. If you are annoyed at your enemy, who is perhaps your friend, you will never convince him! Let us never forget the profound lessons contained in the human language, in the science of words: to hate, in Latin, is invidere, “in-videre”: not to see. There is perhaps no single truth with a more universal application than this very simple truth: if you want to show someone what he does not see, start by seeing what he sees, and tell him.

However the contrary happens: we start by saying no to each other, and we arrive at that frightful confusion of intellects. The evil that I observe is a terrible, universal evil from which all humanity is suffering horribly. Peter imagines that if he granted to Paul all that he can grant him without lying, Paul would take advantage of that admission. That is diametrically opposite to the truth. Paul will see what Peter sees, when Peter has seen what Paul sees and has proclaimed it.”

Now more than ever is the time for prayer and unity of hearts. No doubt we will experience some difficult, painful months. The Society has experienced others in the past, and it has always emerged stronger and more united, to continue to serve the Tradition of the Church and therefore the Church herself. Certainly this service requires the utmost prudence on our part, both human and supernatural prudence, but prudence never meant rejecting the other, refusing to listen to him, to understand him so as better to convince him; nor finally does it mean refusing to love him.

May Our Lady preserve us from that!

(Source: Le Seignadou, 2-2014)


1 Cardinal Charles Journet in L’Eglise du Verbe Incarne (1955), Tome I, p. 541-142.

2 From the chapter, “L’Esprit de Contradiction” of Plateaux de la Balance. Hello (1828-1885) was a French philosopher and essayist who was mentored by Bishop Baudry (when he was a professor at St. Sulpice). Hello founded Le Croise, a daily that was devoted to defending the Catholic cause which included such collaborators as Louis Veuillot. His literary contributions were printed not only in his native country of France, but even in the United States. His expert grasp of philosophical principles made him an exceptional author of which his most famous work perhaps was the posthumously published, Philosophie et atheisme, though he may be more familiar to English audiences through his translated work, Studies in Saintship (London, 1903) and some essays from Plateaux de la balance printed in The Catholic Review (St. Louis, MO).

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28 comments on “Is THIS now an SSPX position, or another trial balloon?

  1. This has always been the SSPX’s position. Keeping the balance amidst the storm.

  2. Then, how to account for Abp. Lefebvre’s documented statements, repeated to even then-Cd. Ratzinger, that there could be NO agreement with Brave New Church until it returned to the traditional teachings and condemnations – from which it departed step by step as it TAUGHT ecumenism (a condemned heresy), the destruction of the Mass (against Quo Primum), the open embrace of talmudists, etc?

    And, very seriously, I am just asking.

    As Romano Amerio wrote, there has been a grave change of “essences” since that infamous Council which, by every one of its papal apologists, now defines Catholicism (sic!)

  3. Revised response:

    Then, how to account for Abp. Lefebvre’s documented statements, repeated to even then-Cd. Ratzinger, that there could be NO agreement with Brave New Church until it returned to the traditional teachings and condemnations – from which it departed step by step as it TAUGHT ecumenism (a condemned heresy), the destruction of the Mass (against Quo Primum), the open embrace of talmudists, etc?

    And, very seriously, I am just asking.

    As Romano Amerio wrote, there has been a grave change of “essences” since that infamous Council which, by every one of its papal apologists, now defines Catholicism (sic!)

    Take another look at the SSPX cleric’s letter, where I emboldened the phrase using the term “pretext”.

    If holding the line, according to what the Archbishop himself stated, is now a “pretext” for insistence on orthodoxy as a condition of “reconciliation” (and I point out that the officials now in charge, as have their predecessors since the Council, are the ones who need to “reconcile” with the dogmatic and disciplinary traditions of the Church, officially recorded, and not the other way around) then how can it not be the case that the SSPX is officially turning is back on its own founder?

    If Abp. Lefebvre’s stance is now a “pretext” for upholding the very “essence” of his own Society, then just what has the Society become under present management, which, I reasonably presume, gave its own imprimatur to the letter published on its own official website?

  4. I can’t speak for this cleric, or for the FSSPX, but maybe this was just a PR move for people inside and outside of the SSPX. Again this is just my humble and lowly opinion, but maybe this was directed at modernist Rome, and many in the SSPX that the fraternity isn’t some schismatic group separate from the Church but a group WITHIN the Church who have always been loyal to the pope and the Church, even though many in the conciliar church think otherwise, and unlike the SSPX, it’s the conciliar church that has gone astray for the last fifty years. Or it could be something as simple as a rogue cleric writing this stuff on his own without the leadership being aware of it.

  5. St. Francis – The superiors would have to be aware of it as it is on the official SSPX site.

    The Archbishop while he said many hard things always kept a clear balance. The SSPX is a work of the Church started with the approval of the Church.

    The Archbishop was always first and foremost a man of the Church.

  6. True. And also true that the Abp. wasn’t shy about saying that HE never left the Church while the conciliarists most certainly did and were dragging the entire people along with them!

  7. gpmtrad –

    The reality is this; ultimately Rome always will save face. – Such is the political nature of the situation throughout the history of the Church.

    The Archbishop or the SSPX are not above the Church or outside the Church. Their loyalty and work is in and for the Church. Those who want to hold a contrary opinion hold a truly Schismatic mindset foreign to the Church.

    Granted the Archbishop often had some hard things to say, but for all that if ever saw an opportunity to resolve things without having to compromise the faith, he was always willing to do so. The History of the SSPX has always shown this fact very clearly.

  8. I think the situation in the Church for all who hold fast to the traditions handed down from the apostles is this: How does one negotiate with those who are in favor of making one extinct? It is not possible IMO to negotiate under such circumstances. So it is that we withdraw into enclaves and hold fast to Tradition while waiting for the Modernists to come to their senses.

  9. canadian.tradical on said:

    … To refuse to seek to reestablish canonical ties with the Church, in the state in which she exists today, as she lives and suffers today, whatever pretext may be given, is quite simply to reject the Church, which is not a Catholic thing to do…

    The author is correct. The sspx was founded as a regular congregation within the Church. That it was forced to operate without ordinary jurisdiction is a result of people within the Church rejecting what the sspx represents.

    To not desire to be able to submit to the Pope is not Catholic.

    However, one cannot desire this to the point of compromising the faith.

    once the Pope is ready to accept the sspx as they are, then the sspx must be ready to accept a canonical mandate.

    This is nothing more than the constitution of the Church.


  10. If you are a Catholic, how can you refuse to talk to the Pope? Doesn’t mean you have to agree with him on everything. My opinion is that official Canonical regularization without requiring any significant change to the Society could not be anything other than good. I’m not holding my breath until it happens.

    • Nor am I. As the Abp. stated frequently, the Society is NOT the Church but rather exists solely to train priests the right way that they might tend to the flock until it is restored.

      My concern is a premature “agreement” which would only precipitate exactly what Lefebvre encountered personally, time and again, deception and betrayal.

      Alexander VI’s ascendancy, just as Spain was finally resolving its own massive anarchic problems, the result of Talmudic revolution all over the kingdom, was not dissimilar to what we see today – a Talmudic-friendly papacy that could easily tank the intellectual and spiritual infrastructure of the universal Church to a degree that, in Alexander’s case, freed the enemies of the Church to co-opt Catholics and form the eventual protestant Deformation.

      In the present day, the result would be much worse insofar as there are so few observant Catholics left anywhere in the world compared to the end of the 15th Century.

      • And, following the FFI’s experience, it may be argued that no pope has a right or any authority to DESTROY any traditionally Catholic institution, although exactly that began under John XXIII and went to afterburners under Paul and JPII and has now resumed under Francis 0.

  11. I guess it all depends on what the purpose of the communication is. IMO no one should unilaterally deny the possibility of communicating with the pope. But to communicate with someone out to make one extinct is probably not a good idea. Nevertheless, the pope is an exception and we’ll never get anywhere if we don’t talk with him. I believe the FSSPX should talk with the Roman authorities when there is at least the possibility of progress. But who am I to judge?

  12. gpmtrad –

    The text doesn’t speak about an agreement, but simply re-states the solid principle upon which the SSPX has always operated, namely that the SSPX is not averse to the Pope and the Holy See in all things that are lawful and in conformity with the faith. To claim that the Pope is the Pope and then to affirm he has no (binding) authority is Schismatic-all and heretical, which as far as I am concern is the position now embraced by the so called ‘resistance’.

  13. A good talk that highlights the clear position of the Archbishop is summed up in his 1982 ordinations sermon:

  14. gpmtrad –

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, no matter how you want to twist it. The Modernists being Modernist heretics doesn’t justify a Schismatic approach to the issue of authority and the Pope.

    The Popes abuse of authority doesn’t take away his authority or his legitimate use of it. The Archbishop was always clear on that point (see the previous link to the sermon I gave).

    At the end of the day, the prudential decisions made by the superiors are their decisions. Even under the Archbishop’s time. It was he, who went in to speak/deal with Rome. And for all that non of the resisters are going to claim he abandoned the faith on that account. – The principles remain the same. The human element in all this is secondary. It is the solid principles that I am talking about.

    One thing I can’t understand is that the last few things you wrote. If you believed them as you claim then you wouldn’t have made an issue of the article you cited. The SSPX is criticised by the resisters for precisely being a balanced voice that is willing to deal with the Conciliarists, without fear of going forward.

    For the SSPX to be that voice it has to have an open mind and go forward with zeal, confidence and due discretion. Let us pray for that !

  15. Well, you get points for your loyalty to the standing Menzingen “obey or go to hell, you schismatic ingrate” line, that’s for sure. That sure makes it tough to point out facts intended to stop the bleeding being caused by Society management.

    The use of the word “pretext” in the OP is what triggered this exercise. If combat against defined heresies (ecumenism, liturgical insanities, religious liberty, etc.) is somehow a “pretext” for refusing what countless Saints, Popes, Doctors, Councils and Fathers have uniformly made abundantly clear, since the beginning, MUST be combatted, wherever, whenever and from whomever it arises, then the argument is certainly not against what I’ve presented but, instead….

    …. against the Catholic religion itself, as faithfully handed down, since the beginning.

    NO ONE is refusing ANY canonical agreement consistent with the Catholic Faith and which does not denigrate or outright destroy Tradition… EXCEPT Bergoglio himself and Volpe… and Mueller… and Maradiaga.

    Not even…

    …. the….


    It’s the Revolutionary hijackers running the Vatican who insist on the FULL acceptance of Vatican II as a CONDITION for canonical re-regularization.

    Which is, as Abp. Lefebvre put it, theological “suicide”.

  16. Btw, amigos, I am not trying to raise a ruckus with Vincen in particular.

    It may not be clear because I have been writing these comments in something of a hurry just to get thoughts down before they escape.

    My NUMBER ONE concern here is that the Society revive and take up leadership again. That there are so many sub-groups in the Trad movement indicates that what the Society once was it is no more at that existential level.

  17. gpmtrad –

    Regardless of how you want to put it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
    If you wish to hide your position behind some false slander of the SSPX – as though it was not simply continuing to do, what it has always done.

    I think your own words betray you. A basic lack of logic seems to be the main problem here.

    No one is against attacking the Conciliar errors, but you can’t attack one error with another. – There has to be a solid Catholic guide in the principles we follow, when working for the restoration. The present situation isn’t a free for all to do and say what they want under the guise of ‘resisting modernism’.

  18. Your tendentiousness is EXACTLY why people are abandoning ship, pal.

    And there wasn’t a hint of slander in anything I reported or commented on. It’s all out there in public. And there are multiple sources backing it up.

    Reading comprehension is good. Try it sometime.

    Try reading up on the history of the FSSP and their “own bishop” or take a look at the Campos crowd. Then check out the hilarious happenings in Italy with the FFI. It’s just joy, joy, joy 24/7 for those folks, too.

    EVERYBODY who “takes a deal” ends up taking it right in the labonza.

    I’m calling a halt to any further exchange with Vinent, but this may exemplify to others some of the problems implicit in the disastrous course change observed over the past two years.

  19. Gpmtrad –

    The article doesn’t speak of a deal.

    As if the slander of others some how makes yours justifiable. Two wrongs don’t make a right. One day you might grasp that point.

    You want to take a cheap shot at the SSPX. Just take your trash elsewhere.

  20. Gpm,

    I’m sure you won’t take the bait. But if I were Louie de Palma and our friend were ted danson playing a flamboyant hair dresser, he’d be wearing a bowl of red dye, well, right about now.

    Shame on him.

  21. Thanks, Quo! It was tempting but it would have been pointless.

    I spent decades dealing with executives and their underlings who were not very happy when I held up a mirror to the actual results their own pet theories were producing. My sole criteria for doing so was my client’s balance sheet, P&L and cashflow statements. Without positive results on those, none of them would even have a job.

    Which, of course, was why I raised the issues I did on this thread.

    Were I not concerned about the future of the Society (the importance of which I’ve made very plain in my remarks) – and in the objective as well as subjective sense – it would have been pointless for me to even bring those issues up.

    However, and I hope “our friend” might come to see this at some point, my questions and deductions attempted to deal with specific ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT issues with which most of us are familiar. As well, pointing out time-tested, long-proven NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES should have been helpful.

    I’ll leave it at that, collect my “trash” and go sit on the park bench awhile, to meditate on the old saying: “Re vera est canis”.

  22. With the SSPX continuing to grow – gmptrad – you haven’t really an argument to stand on.

    De facto – even by the time the Archbishop died, a good number of the priest he ordained had left. Does that mean that he was unfaithful to himself? That the SSPX had stopped being faithful to it’s mission?

    The whole resistance nonsense which you want to push is based on pure subjectivity. One day you might grasp that point, till then I think some time on the park bench might do you some good.

    Cheers !

  23. My friend,

    You are arguing points our esteemed–and patient–gpmtrad has never made.

    You are urged to go back and reread his posts. He states quite clearly, uncategorically, his position.

    And you ain’t gettin’ it right friend.

    And please don’t waste anyone’s time asking to explain it to you. It’s right above in black and white–literally.

    You might not agree with his points–I don’t always– but dolphin clicks and squeaks don’t flow from his finger tips onto the keyboard.

    It appears that those may be all you’re hearing.

    In the spirit of friendship and fairness, reread his posts. Please.

  24. Just for everyone’s edification this Sexagesima Sunday, it might be helpful to remember the “circular firing squad” analogy coupled with the thread “What it means to be a Traditional Catholic” on this forum. Certainly, it does not mean referring to another member’s posts as “trash” especially when it has no bearing in fact at all.

  25. Phaley,
    As always, you put forward a calm, rational and traditional Catholic approach to the topic in discussion.

  26. I finally got logged in and forgot what I wanted to say. In any case I don’t believe the SSPX has changed its position at all and the statement surely doesn’t indicate that it has.

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