SSPX regularization: Is it worth the risk?

SSPX RomeLast week, I commented upon an article written by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, SSPX, an English translation of which was published online by the Remnant under the title:

A MAJOR SSPX CLARIFICATION: Towards a Doctrinal Agreement?

In the article, Fr Gleize articulated his objections to any possible agreement with Rome that would result in its canonical regularization apart from “a correction of the Council’s errors.”

Prior to publishing my post, I requested confirmation from my contacts at the SSPX District House here in the U.S. as to whether Fr. Gleize’s statements reflect the official position of the Society itself, or if they stand in contrast to it; i.e., against the position currently held by Bishop Fellay.

Thus far, I’ve received no response, which seems to all but confirm my initial impression that it is the latter and not a “major clarification” from the Society itself.

If anything changes in this regard, I will let you know.

At this, I’d like to take a closer look at certain of the propositions that Fr. Gleize set forth in support of his argument to see just how reasonable they are, or not.

Perhaps the most critical point; the one upon which his entire argument rests, is the following:

“As we have already explained, our goal is for Tradition to recover all of its rights in Rome. This goal is first in our intention…”

I’m not so sure that the primary “goal” of the Society is the conversion of Rome.

Certainly, the conversion of Rome is a goal, but at least insofar as I am aware, the SSPX has never articulated this as its raison d’ê·tre.

On its website under the heading, What is the Society of St. Pius X, we find:

“The Society of St. Pius X is an international priestly society of common life without vows, whose purpose is to train, support, and encourage holy priests so that they may effectively spread the Catholic Faith throughout the world … Together they seek the goal of the priesthood: the glorification of God, the continuation of Our Lord’s redemptive work, the salvation of souls. They accomplish this by fidelity to Christ’s testament, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Indeed, striving for Tradition to recover all of its rights in Rome is intimately related to the Society’s mission, but the bottom line purpose of its existence is the salvation of souls.

This also happens to be the supreme law of the Church and the very reason why the SSPX can legitimately lay claim to supplied jurisdiction.

In support of his position, Fr. Gleize provided the following quote of Archbishop Lefebvre:

“What interests us first of all is to maintain the Catholic Faith. That is our combat. So the canonical question, which is purely exterior and public in the Church, is secondary. What is important is to remain in the Church… in the Church, that is to say in the Catholic Faith of all time and in the true priesthood, and in the true Mass, and in the true sacraments, in the Catechism of all time, with the Bible of all time. That is what interests us. That is what the Church is. To be recognized publicly, that is secondary. So, we mustn’t seek secondary things by losing what is fundamental, what is the primary object of our combat.”

First, let me say that I am not a proponent of proof-texting with quotes lifted from the Archbishop’s various statements (an attempt to play the WWMD card that I wrote about some time ago).

That said, I find this citation rather odd given that it in no way supports Fr. Gleize’s argument.

If, indeed, what interests the Society “first of all is to maintain the Catholic Faith,” including all of the things Archbishop Lefebvre listed, how exactly is regular jurisdiction opposed to it?

Obviously, it is not; that is, not directly so.

Fr. Gleize, however, would argue that it does so indirectly as follows:

“The bad effect [of accepting a canonical recognition] is itself double: firstly, the risk of relatavizing Tradition, which would thenceforward only appear as the particular good and the personal theological preference of the Society of Saint Pius X; secondly the risk of betraying and abandoning this particular good because of the ambient favens haeresim which characterizes the Conciliar Church per se.”

Let’s look at these two risks separately.

Question: To whom would Tradition “appear” as little more than a matter of personal preference as opposed to the Faith of all time?

Answer: The ignorant.

Let’s be honest, there are numerous ignorant persons to whom, thanks to the status quo, the SSPX appears to be rebelling against the Church, and even as “schismatic” and somehow less-than-Catholic.

Is it really the case that one form of ignorance is preferable to the other?

Sorry, I’m not buying it.

The second risk, on the other hand; namely, that of the Society somehow “betraying and abandoning” Tradition deserves consideration.

Until rather recently, I had no reason to question the Society’s resolve. Today, however, I must admit that I am deeply concerned about it.

Let me be clear: I do not believe for a moment that Bishop Fellay will ever allow the SSPX to adopt the modernist mindset of the “Conciliar Church;” e.g., positively arguing in support of the Novus Ordo, ecumenism, religious liberty, inter-religious dialogue, etc.

There is, however, more than one way to betray Tradition, and one of them concerns the failure to condemn blasphemy and heresy for what they truly are – loudly, clearly and plainly.

Ironically, it is thanks to Fr. Gleize and his series of articles presenting the official position of the SPPX on Francis and Amoris Laetitia  that I am no longer convinced that the Society has the resolve to speak with clarity and conviction moving forward.

Unless they do, being regularized would be like going on a bear hunt while leaving the rifle at home.

I have always maintained that the granting of regular jurisdiction to the SSPX is a matter of justice; one that boils down to the fundamental question:

Is the Society of St. Pius X Catholic?

The truth is they are, and Rome has an obligation to acknowledge as much and to treat them accordingly.

While I still believe this, I also believe that it is reasonable to wonder whether or not the Society has the wherewithal to uphold their own obligation to the truth.

In other words, if already the SSPX is treading lightly in the face of the unprecedented danger to souls represented by Amoris Laetitia and its “humble” author, how can anyone be confident that they will do any better if regularized?

aka focus

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