Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The SSPX growls in the direction of the Church

Courtesy of Rorate Caeli, here's Bishop Fellay:

The purpose of the Society of Saint Pius X is chiefly the formation of priests, the essential condition for the renewal of the Church and for the restoration of society.

In the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church, the proclamation of Catholic doctrine requires the denunciation of errors that have made their way into it and are unfortunately encouraged by a large number of pastors, including the Pope himself.


The Society of Saint Pius X, in the present state of grave necessity which gives it the right and duty to administer spiritual aid to the souls that turn to it, does not seek primarily a canonical recognition, to which it has a right as a Catholic work. It has only one desire: faithfully to bring the light of the bi-millennial Tradition which shows the only route to follow in this age of darkness in which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the Church.

The “restoration of all things in Christ” intended by Saint Pius X, following Saint Paul (cf. Ep.h 1:10), cannot happen without the support of a Pope who concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition. While waiting for that blessed day, the Society of Saint Pius X intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the means that Divine Providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Society of Saint Pius X prays and does penance for the Pope, that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety. In this way he will hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we earnestly desire as we approach the centennial of the apparitions in Fatima.


Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X
EcĂ´ne, June 29, 2016
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Now, here's the million dollar question.

What, exactly, does the SSPX have wrong here? I don't mean in their history. I mean in this particular statement.

You can say that they're arrogant. They're disobedient lecturing.  'More Catholic than the pope', and I grant you all of that.

But what's the penalty for arrogance in the Church again? What's the penalty for flagrant disobedience? Apologies, apparently.

People can defend those apologies. We are to be merciful! Okay. We should reach out, we should be tolerant, we must not dictate - we must say, come come, however you are, join us as you are and we'll work with you! Take that line.

But when you take it, you can't put the more stern believers aside and use the lash on them when -they- step out of line. Or at least, if you try, the hypocrisy becomes obvious. Which means that if the Pope is going to sob and cry 'Forgive us for offending you!' at the Pride Parade, the SSPX isn't unjustified in wanting a bit of contrition sent its way too.

I'll see your 'faggot' and raise you a 'rad trad'.

11 comments:

Craig said...

That statement is in fact admirably restrained in its phrasing, particularly the verb choice "encouraged by", which is weaker than "committed" or "spread" -- I assume deliberately so.

Crude said...

I agree. I think a lot of orthodox Catholics use the SSPX as their kind of 'evidence that I can't REALLY be extreme, because there's always the SSPX' blockade. A way to prove they're reasonable, namely by beating on the SSPX.

Me? I'm less concerned about such things nowadays.

Mr. Green said...

But when you take it, you can't put the more stern believers aside and use the lash on them when -they- step out of line. Or at least, if you try, the hypocrisy becomes obvious.

I wouldn't be that surprised if Pope Francis were to reconcile with the SSPX. (I'd be somewhat more surprised if they reconcile with him.) He already granted them faculties to hear confession during the Year of Mercy, which would be less likely to come from a "stricter" (i.e. SSPX-style) Pope. Anyway, the question is whether a double standard here is a problem — but there are many cases where, for example, we hold men and women to different standards because, well, men and women are in fact different from each other, and therefore the standards that apply to them should be too. So first we would need an argument showing that the different parties are in fact the same in the relevant ways. Some people are superficial and childish and egotistical, and love apologies and touchy-feely making-nice and hate rules and organisation. But there are other people who can't stand disorder and schmaltz, and would be offended (if I may use the term) if you tried to foist it onto them. Don't SSPX types by definition fall into this latter camp? They are sometimes criticised because "they should know better", and that's a relevant point: some modern liberal heretic who thinks rules just don't matter is in many ways in quite a different position from someone who thinks the rules are too lax. So, both theoretically and pragmatically, why shouldn't we treat them differently?

Crude said...

So first we would need an argument showing that the different parties are in fact the same in the relevant ways.

I'll wait for the Pope to make that argument, then. But to make the argument would be to cut his own throat.

They are sometimes criticised because "they should know better", and that's a relevant point: some modern liberal heretic who thinks rules just don't matter is in many ways in quite a different position from someone who thinks the rules are too lax.

Ah, I see. God is Loki, then. Piss on the cross, mock Christians to misery, and you're wonderful - you didn't know any better, we can be sure, and you deserve apologies for the offense you were no doubt caused. Struggle to live a moral life, struggle to defend and adhere to Church teaching and encourage others to - be mocked, deservedly, because you fell short of perfection. God commanded the disciples to preach, then had a laugh as every convert meant one more person was damned to hell. It was the people who laughed at Paul who were saved.

No, I reject that. I raise another possibility: it is cruel, it is wrong, and it is immoral to heap praise and compliments and sweet talk on celebratory sinners - while obfuscating their sins - especially while at the same time heaping scorn, ridicule and mockery on people trying to uphold the faith.

This all feels like empty intellectual debate just to see if a sophistical hat trick can be pulled off. Tell me how abortion may, in fact, be a holy sacrament next. 'Well if one considers that all love comes from God (see Aquinas) and that an act of abortion is, minimally, an act in the pursuit of a kind of good, one may rightly see it as a kind of expression of the Holy Name, and so we must honor it as noble on pain of calling God Himself immoral.' Fascinating, I'm sure. Somehow, I am both unmoved and uninterested.

Mr. Green said...

Struggle to live a moral life, struggle to defend and adhere to Church teaching and encourage others to - be mocked, deservedly

Mockery? Certainly not deserved. But I have no evidence that Pope Francis has ever laughed at the SSPX; if anyone does, I'm eager to see it. Criticism? Sure. But then the question is what sort of criticism or to what degree is it deserved; and to be able to answer that question, we need an accurate understanding of the situation. I didn't advocate either strategy, or claim it was effective; my point is that we are dealing with different situations, and if the criticism turns out to be wrong, it won't be wrong because of hypocrisy but because of some other reason.

Crude said...

That's fair, Green. Pardon my short temper, it gets ahead of me at times.

If your point is just that different situations merit different responses, that's fine as far as it goes. However, I think you're incorrect when you say that hypocrisy can't be the issue. I don't think 'the situations are different' is enough to establish that hypocrisy isn't in play.

I'm not talking about Francis' relation with the SSPX either, partly because the SSPX isn't who I'm concerned about in this situation. In fact, Francis himself is only part of my concern. Put simply: there are clergy and Catholics both who more or less despise the socially conservative (aka, 'actual defending the Church's teaching') Catholics. They can't outright attack them for defending Church teaching, so other ways are found. Demoralizing works wonders.

Mr. Green said...

However, I think you're incorrect when you say that hypocrisy can't be the issue. I don't think 'the situations are different' is enough to establish that hypocrisy isn't in play.

OK, you're right — it can be something else and hypocrisy too. I guess I was thinking more explicitly about the SSPX than you, because it's quite relevant in regards to the view they present of themselves: they complain about being treated differently, but never connect that with their own claims to be different or special that supposedly justify their position in the first place. I don't think their situation can be properly addressed without addressing that aspect of it.

They can't outright attack them for defending Church teaching, so other ways are found. Demoralizing works wonders.

I can't disagree with that in principle; and if we're not focussed exclusively on Pope Francis, I can't even disagree that it actually happens a lot. Heck, I even agree that this is an actual result of much of what Francis says; but I don't believe that this is a deliberate tactic, not when it comes to Francis. It's worth noting the flip side of this coin too: all the Pope-bashing (not raising specific individual points, but the constant negativity from some quarters) can also be demoralising.

Crude said...

It's hard for me not to have increased sympathy for the SSPX, when A) the very problems they've been talking about for ages have become so prominent in this papacy, and B) dissident Catholics of a left-wing bend are not just tolerated, but celebrated by that same papacy.

Heck, I even agree that this is an actual result of much of what Francis says; but I don't believe that this is a deliberate tactic, not when it comes to Francis.

There's a prevailing notion that Francis is, at best, clueless about how his words and acts are being used. I can't really buy that anymore, as there hits a point where the 'he's just not aware' excuse folds into 'well he's actually kind of retarded'. I think the most recent case was his address to Argentina, where suddenly nationalism, protecting one's country from foreign influence and 'colonization' is treated as this great noble thing. That's not a line he's delivering anywhere else.

It's worth noting the flip side of this coin too: all the Pope-bashing (not raising specific individual points, but the constant negativity from some quarters) can also be demoralising.

I agree entirely. And I personally try to be fair and reasonable with him. I do not like the thought of upsetting people with my posts about him, which certainly has happened. But the most prominent alternative thus far is to either plead ignorance to an implausible, or celebrate the worst aspects of his papacy. The situation is made more awkward by the fact that dissidence and resistance to Church teaching is, by this Pope, treated as not-a-big-deal. Okay, well if that's the case, then people having an attitude eerily similar to the SSPX's is apparently fair game after all.

Mr. Green said...

I can't really buy that anymore, as there hits a point where the 'he's just not aware' excuse folds into 'well he's actually kind of retarded'.

Sure, just as "he is aware" folds into "he's a deliberate heretic out to wreck the Church". Since I find either extreme not plausible, there must be another explanation.

And I personally try to be fair and reasonable with him. I do not like the thought of upsetting people with my posts about him, which certainly has happened.

Well, I have to insist on context in your case as much as anyone else’s. That means not just the context of a particular post, but overall, including the times when you defend Francis, or just the general context of being an orthodox Catholic. The Internet probably makes it easier to treat you or me or Francis as a bunch of isolated statements, but that doesn't reflect anyone's actual mindset.

well if that's the case, then people having an attitude eerily similar to the SSPX's is apparently fair game after all.

And so it is — disobey the Pope and not only do you not get kicked out, but you get private meetings with him! How many times has an FSSP bishop got to meet with the Pope they are loyal to? Oh, that's right, the FSSP doesn't have any bishops — only the SSPX, because they were disobedient. Not only do the dissidents get invited to regularise their position and get authorised to hear confessions without any concessions on their part, they apparently get to keep their bishops too. So yes, their resistance clearly is not "that big a deal" to Francis either.

Crude said...

How many times has an FSSP bishop got to meet with the Pope they are loyal to?

I recall the Pope showed up to personally discipline some FSSP priests - or at least FSSP-like - and talk about how the traditional mass gets used to promote disunity in the Church.

Not only do the dissidents get invited to regularise their position and get authorised to hear confessions without any concessions on their part, they apparently get to keep their bishops too. So yes, their resistance clearly is not "that big a deal" to Francis either.

And they're rather pointed with their criticisms of Francis, even if they use more gentle language than myself.

I've heard they may get a personal prelature. If they manage to get that, without concessions regarding the Novus Ordo or Vatican II, I look forward to seeing a lot of previous defenders of this Pope turning red-faced with rage.

I look forward to requesting they give the explanations for their displeasure in latin.

Mr. Green said...

I recall the Pope showed up to personally discipline some FSSP priests - or at least FSSP-like - and talk about how the traditional mass gets used to promote disunity in the Church.

I don't recall that, I'll have to look it up. Certainly, it can be used to promote disunity (I'm thinking of some of the more outrageous statements I've seen from SSPX-types), but I have to admit it also is unfairly used to bludgeon non-heretical non-schismatic non-sedevacantists who appreciate the Extraordinary Form for perfectly good reasons. (And they are the majority, of course, even though the crackpots get more attention, as in most areas of life.)

I look forward to requesting they give the explanations for their displeasure in latin.

Heh!