December 12, 2016
Bishop Athanasius Schneider has given another interview of importance, this time to a French traditional Catholic journal, Présent. In this new interview, Bishop Schneider makes some politely discerning remarks about the currently considered, formal re-integration of the Society of St. Pius X, and then says that the recognition of the SSPX is an act of “rendering justice – belatedly – for the injustice done to the Society [of St. Pius X] in 1975 on the part of the Holy See.”
In the following, I present a translation from these especially important parts of that French interview – as it has been posted by the website Le Forum Catholique – along with the questions posed to Schneider, which are now placed in italics:
The Sovereign Pontiff has now extended the possibility [for the faithful] to confess [in sacramental penance] with priests of the Society of St. Pius X beyond the limits of the Year of Mercy. Does this seem to you to be an important decision?
Yes, of course, and I am very happy about it! This is a very pastoral gesture, very merciful, and in my eyes one of the most important gestures of the pontificate of Pope Francis which helps the process of canonical re-integration of this ecclesiastical reality which has existed for 50 years and which is producing obvious spiritual fruits. Many young families assembled around the Society of St. Pius X love the Church, pray for the pope, as their forebearers have done before them. The Church contains different houses, different spiritualities. Only those ecclesiastics who are hostile toward the Society present it with exaggerated demands. John XXIII as well as Paul VI always insisted upon the pastoral character of the [Second Vatican] Council. If the Society has difficulties in accepting certain documents of Vatican II, one has to place that into the context of the pastoral objective of the Council. The Dogma has not changed. We have the same Faith. Thus, there is no problem to integrate canonically the Society of St. Pius X.
You have been one of the Churchmen sent by the Vatican to visit the seminaries and priories of the Society. Which solution do you think is possible for resolving its controversial position?
The personal prelature is a position that is very fitting for the reality of the Society of St. Pius X and its mission. I am convinced that Monsignor Lefebvre would have accepted voluntarily and with gratitude this proposed official ecclesiastical structure, the recognition of this apostolate by the Church. This would only be an act of rendering justice – quite belatedly – to the unjust suppression of the Society in 1975 on the part of the Holy See. At that time, Monsignor Lefebvre had also presented a [canonical] recourse. The establishment now of a prelature would in some way accept this canonical recourse after a delay of some 40 years. On the other side, the Society must not demand guarantees of 100% which would be entirely unrealistic. We are still on earth, not in Heaven! It [such an inordinate demand] would be a gesture that would reveal a certain lack of confidence in Divine Providence.
h/t Rorate Caeli Twitter