Pater Knittel, Ad Quid Venisti?

During the tenure of Fr. Francois Knittel as District Superior of Mexico, I spent a month at the district priory in Mexico City.
He impressed me as a very straightforward, apostolic man; a hard-headed realist, not in any way politically correct. One of the priests there agreed with this assessment, even to the point of characterizing him as a “bull in a china shop”, since in his opinion Fr. Knittel was a little too eager to do certain things which, though they needed to be done, he thought should be done more slowly and tactfully.
That is why I was surprised to see this:
sspx.org/en/news-events/news/situation-sspx-marriages-today-part-3-canon-law-series-marriage

Wherein, at the end, can be read the following:
In order to respond to the state of necessity that was thus created [in the wake of Vat II], a substitute apostolate was set up by the priests for the benefit of the faithful. This state of necessity started to recede with the Motu proprio dated July 7, 2007, in which Benedict XVI acknowledged that the Traditional Mass had never been abrogated. The decisions by Pope Francis relating to the apostolate of the priests of the SSPX accentuate this trend. Logically, the state of necessity is destined to disappear.
Nevertheless, the crisis raging in the Church is far from finished. The question of the degree of authority of the conciliar documents has not been resolved. The responsibility of Vatican Council II in the acceleration of the crisis remains to be evaluated. The reform of the liturgical reform is not yet in sight. And the apparent authorization to admit divorced-and-remarried persons to Holy Communion under certain circumstances only increases the confusion.

To say that the state of necessity is tending to disappear does not mean that the crisis in the Church is over. The transmission of the faith is still problematic, the liturgy—mutilated, confession—neglected, Holy Communion—demeaned. Moreover, contraception is still practiced, preaching is weak, the priesthood and religious life are anemic. In this regard, the priests of the SSPX—whose apostolate is now recognized—have a position and a know-how that could prove to be invaluable in renewing the Christian spirit throughout the Church.

Though of course I can’t say that I knew Fr. Knittel extremely well after only a month’s acquaintance with him, It is still hard for me to imagine this kind of talk coming from him.

Fr. Knittel, is it really you who say: This state of necessity started to recede with the Motu proprio dated July 7, 2007, in which Benedict XVI acknowledged that the Traditional Mass had never been abrogated.? For you have to know that, objectively, BXVI was a heretic in a number of different ways. You have to know that it was the Cardinals operating under his reign, most of whom are objectively heretics, that elected his successor Francis, who is far more heretical than BXVI was. You have to know that, according to common sense and the standard SSPX line (up until recent times), the crisis in the Church is primarily a crisis in *doctrine*, and the new liturgies are simply the vehicle to inculcate the new heretical doctrines. What could possibly make you think that a mere pious permission for the Traditional Mass indicated a recession in the state of necessity, since this permission has no necessary connection at all with a return to Catholic doctrine on the part of the hierarchy?

Fr. Knittel, is it really you who say: The decisions by Pope Francis relating to the apostolate of the priests of the SSPX accentuate this trend. Logically, the state of necessity is destined to disappear.?
Because there is no logical connection between apparently favorable pastoral decisions by Francis vis a vis the SSPX and the disappearance of the doctrinal crisis. It is not only possible, but nearly certain that these concessions are mere cold calculations designed to cause the SSPX to drop its guard, so that it can be sucker-punched later. Have you forgotten that this pope has very recently made the doctrinally totally ridiculous statement that “we can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible”? What does this say about Francis’ attitude to the Traditional liturgy? But even if he did have a few pious sentiments toward the Traditional liturgy, as BXVI did, what would this avail if he is even more doctrinally corrupt than BXVI? Can you have had your head so firmly planted in the sand since Francis’ election that you can be unaware of the truly huge number of doctrinally anti-Catholic and anti-Christ statements and actions this hell-bound pope has perpetrated? By exactly *what* logic does Francis *accentuate* the trend to the *disappearance* of the state of necessity? By the “logic” of Francis himself? In that case it is the logic of a madman. Do you truly think that the crisis disappears solely to the extent that the SSPX is allowed to carry on its apostolate? In that case, you are a madman. The true logic here is the logic of Modernist heresy, which allows anyone to do anything…except insist on the Truth.

And how can you say: that the state of necessity is tending to disappear does not mean that the crisis in the Church is over.? It is *obvious* that the state of necessity is a *result* of the crisis. Therefore, if the state of necessity is tending to disappear, that can only be because the crisis is also. But the crisis obviously is not disappearing. Rather, it is getting far worse. Therefore the state of necessity is increasing, not decreasing.

And you end by saying: In this regard [of the manifold problems in the Church], the priests of the SSPX—whose apostolate is now recognized—have a position and a know-how that could prove to be invaluable in renewing the Christian spirit throughout the Church.

Perhaps you could explain the “logic” by which the SSPX will help renew the Christian spirit throughout the Church, when the hierarchy of that Church is very largely anti-Christian? Perhaps you could explain the “logic” by which the SSPX can be said to have “know-how”, when you and so many of the hierarchy of the SSPX evidently no longer know how to do logic?

Adjuva nos, Deus!

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2 comments on “Pater Knittel, Ad Quid Venisti?

  1. I’ll take a stab at a plausible interpretation. The key, I think, is in this sentence: the priests of the SSPX—whose apostolate is now recognized …. Fr. agrees that there yet exists a state of necessity, but that it is starting to “recede.”

    We need to define “state of necessity” and what that entails and how it changes with circumstances. I think it can be stated that, in general, a state of necessity always exists, wherein it is always necessary that we remain faithful to Christ and the Church no matter what. This requires that we buck social conventions and even laws that go against us.

    More to the point here, it even requires us to withstand evil and faithless priests and bishops and popes. For example, priests must (should) continue offering the Traditional Mass, to maintain the traditions, and to satisfy the needs of the faithful according to their birthright.

    The phrase “state of necessity” means more in the present context, of course. It speaks of necessity of offering the sacraments without the normal authorization, and even against the desires and orders of the rightful superiors, and specifically, the pope. I think it is this latter issue, operating against the superior’s wishes, that Father is getting at. The big watersheds were the lifting of excommunications (regardless of how one viewed their validity), the motu proprio, but even more, the de facto regularization accomplished in the year of mercy, wherein the pope granted blanket faculties to the SSPX priests. Currently, the SSPX is operating within a papally supplied jurisdiction (or recognition, as Father said), however unusual, but without canonical standing.

    In other words, the era of operating under “supplied jurisdiction” is done, for now. This, I think, is what Father is saying. And this is a good thing. But it is yet an uphill battle.

    • I find your take perfectly plausible, and I surely hope it is true. If so, however, I wish that Fr. Knittel, instead of saying “state of necessity” had said “necessity of supplied jurisdiction”. The two expressions aren’t synonymous.

      Thanks for the contribution.

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