Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lefebvrians: The internal battle


Andrea Torniellivatican city
A website has reported on the letters exchanged a month ago between bishops Tissier de Mallerays, Alfonso de Gallareta, Richard Williamson and the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, Bernard Fellay. The letter which the three bishops sent Fellay on 7 April contains a final appeal asking the superior not to sign the doctrinal preamble or accept the agreement proposed by the Holy See. As readers will recall, the agreement aims to assign the Lefebvrians a personal prelature.
The three bishops wrote against Fellay: “Doctrinal discussions have proven that it is impossible for an agreement to be reached with Rome at the moment” because “after the Second Vatican Council the Church’s official authorities  separated themselves from the Catholic truth and now they seem determined, as before, to remain faithful to conciliar doctrine and practice.” Tissier, de Gallareta and Williamson recall that during a conference a few months before dying, Mgr. Lefebvre said the problem is not with single errors on individual conciliar documents, but the complete perversion of the spirit, of an entirely new philosophy based on subjectivism.”
The three bishops also pointed out that “the Pope’s current thinking is steeped in subjectivism. It is full of the subjective fantasy of man instead of God’s objective reality. The entire Catholic religion has been subdued by the modern world.
How can we believe - they asked themselves - that a practical agreement will resolve this problem?” “They accept us in the name of a relativist and dialectical pluralism; - the three prelates continued - Rome can tolerate the Fraternity continuing to teach Catholic doctrine but they refuse to condemn conciliar doctrine.”   In their letter, the three bishops also referred to an expression used by Lefebvre, claiming that “it is dangerous to put oneself in the hands of conciliar bishops and modernist Rome.” They concluded with a warning to Fellay: “You are leading the Fraternity to a point of no return, a deep division,” claiming that the agreement would end up destroying it.
Ten days later Fellay responded with an equally long and articulate letter. The answer he gave was very interesting and significant in understanding what is about to happen to the Society of St. Pius X now that an agreement with the Holy See is just around the corner. The Fraternity’s superior recalled that “today’s Church still has Jesus as its head. You give the impression of being so scandalised that you can no longer accept this is still true.” Fellay’s question to the three bishops who, like him, were consecrated illegitimately by Lefebvre in 1988, was: “Do you still see Benedict XVI as the legitimate Pope? If he is, can Jesus Christ still speak through him? If the Pope expresses a legitimate wish that is relevant to us, that is good and does not order us to do anything that is contrary to God’s commandments, do we have the right to return this wish back to its sender? Do you not believe as our guide the Lord will give us the means to continue our work?”
“The Pope has let us know that legitimising our position for the good of the Church is a concern that lies at the very heart of his pontificate,” the Fraternity’s superior wrote. Benedict XVI “was well aware of the fact that it would have been easier for him and for us to leave things as they were.”
“Your conception of the Church – Fellay went on to say – is too human and fatalistic; you see the dangers, the scheming and the difficulties but you no longer see the help offered by grace and the Holy Spirit.” The Fraternity’s leader invited his three fellow bishops not to transform “some of the mistakes of the Second Vatican Council into super heresies, turning them into absolute evil, in the same way the liberals have dogmatised a pastoral council. The “nevers” that have already been pronounced are already dramatic enough and we should not blow them out of proportion.”    
Finally, Fellay invited Tissier de Mallerais, de Gallareta and Williamson to admit that the proposal put forward by the personal prelature is very different from the agreement proposals received by Lefebvre in 1988: “to pretend that nothing has changed would be a mistake.” He asked them to take into account that problems in the Church, including serious ones cannot be resolved from one day to the next, but slowly and gradually.

What is the significance of these letters and, above all, can they interfere in the process that is currently under way? It would seem not. Instead, they illustrate the well known fact that profoundly different positions exist within the Society of St. Pius X. The decision has been made but it will take another day or so before the cardinals’ and the Pope’s final decisions are announced. Everything, however, points to the likelihood of an agreement being announced by the end of May. Only then will it become clear as to whether and in what way other bishops will comply.

1 comment:

  1. SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2012
    Koch’s SSPX must accept Jews do not have to convert to receive canonical status talk reported by Catholic News Service downplayed on Rorate Caeli

    Comments from eucharistandmission pulled down (1) related to Koch’s Wednesday speech and CNS report.(2) Rorate Caeli now says ‘The complete text of the lecture, delivered in English, and of its Q&A follow-up session are not available at the moment’ disregards Catholic News Service report.

    Even Rorate Caeli cannot carry reports on the Catholic Faith because of foreign pressure.Mentions '[Update, also for the record of events:] Jack Bemporad, a Reform Judaism rabbi, is the president of the "Interreligious Dialogue" Center at the Angelicum University and he also had some words to say regarding the decisions of Pope Benedict XVI (3)
    -Lionel Andrades