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 The deal, reactions etc. 
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New post The deal, reactions etc.
A few thoughts about the current situation within SSPX circles (i.e. the laity, not the priests), arising from a period on Ignis Ardens. For those not familiar with it, it's a forum run by British and Irish SSPX people, and used to be very informative and good-humoured. Unfortunately the "deal" has led to its effective takeover by non-SSPX people and it now resembles Cathinfo, although still with a little more intelligence and less direct name-calling and other ugliness. The most prolific contributors are now partially disguised "home-alone" or "anti-una-cum" types. They have no dog in the fight, of course, but for example one of them is audacious enough to claim that she is motivated by overweening love for her SSPX brethren. The older members have fallen silent, and some of them have posted that they no longer feel comfortable there. The mods are clearly disturbed, but they have no idea how to handle these new people, I suspect partly because they don't realise quite how irreligious some of them truly are. We tend to think of traditional Catholics as people who escaped the New Mass and the heresies and horrors of the Conciliar church and who are grateful to have the goods of the true Church. These types are of an entirely different stamp. We all know the syndrome. No gratitude, a judgemental attitude towards priests particularly, and a fanatical view of the pope question, so that everything ends up hanging off that, rather than being focussed on Our Lord and His divine revelation. This becomes crystal clear when they spout some heresy or error of their own - all attempts to correct it fail. No love for sacred truths, just a political attitude to religion. Likewise Christian moral doctrine is trashed and no correction is possible. All this is covered in some cases by a kind of extroverted piosity (it isn't piety!), which only compounds the ugliness of the impression.

My view has been for some time now that the "deal" is dead in the water. Unfortunately, the effects that the devil wants from the deal are not over. They are continuing apace. Chiefly, these are distrust, enmities, contentions, etc. The truly disturbing aspect of this, however, is that some people are clearly aiming at fostering these things, under cover of a posture of "fighting Modernism." This is never defined, of course, but we are supposed to believe that if enough horrible things are written on Web forums, the Modernists will be "defeated." Truly. It's a primary school mentality. Cathinfo is its natural home, and Traditio its best representative, but it's sad to see IA go the same way.

There is a significant minority of vocal persons, mostly on the Internet, who clearly desire to see a split in the SSPX now, whether a deal were to happen or not. The main target of their aggression is Bishop Fellay, who is accused of selling out, compromising the faith, and even lying to us. An attempt to challenge this latter allegation, which I thought was sufficiently specific to be the subject of actual proof, demonstrated that truth and justice are of no interest to this type. It was as if one were trying to steal a child's security blanket. If one defends Bishop Fellay against the accusation of lying, then it must be because one is in favour of the "deal". Objective morality, revealed by God, is not even in the spectrum of possibilities for such people.

Sensing that these people really do just want a split, I started a poll on Ignis Ardens to see what the division of opinion was on the question. Fully one third of respondents averred that they want to see a split even if no deal eventuates. Well, that was obvious enough from their behaviour, but it's good to have indisputable evidence.

Some of the people who use intemperate language are just hurt and worried, and hope for a revolution in the SSPX as some kind of ill-defined solution to prevent a future sell-out. Others have less understandable agendas. For example, I have noticed particular persons who have always spoken of the SSPX in the most revolting terms suddenly transform into "angels of light" saying the most positive things about the Fraternity, and particularly the "Three bishops". Of course, their antagonism is now redirected against Bishop Fellay individually. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

What will be the outcome of all this political posturing and haranging of the faithful? Well, here's one effect. I discussed the potential of a deal with a priest of the SSPX a while ago who was not sure about whether it was a good idea or not. Recently I spoke with him again and he said he was more in favour than he had been. I asked him why, and he said "the opposition". I asked him which opposition, and it turned out he was referring to non-SSPX sedes who had been sending him very ugly printed material. I've since spoken with another SSPX member who had an almost identical reaction. Neither of these is a member of the General Chapter so they won't have a vote on any resolutions, but it indicates something very unwelcome.

I wanted to thank the members here who have commented on the situation in the SSPX for displaying immeasurably better Christian instincts than what I have described above.

There's something apocalyptic about the whole situation, not because the SSPX looks to have dodged a really big bullet, but because of the mentality this situation has revealed amongst too many of the faithful. If we're really this carnal-minded, we're doomed. And if anybody asks what I think the answer is, well, there is no answer other than personal conversion. It's our only security, and it's necessary anyway.

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:13 am
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New post Re: The deal, reactions etc.
Well said, John.

I have believed for a long time that our entire spiritual "structure", both individual, and collective (i.e., the main body of the Church members) is so damaged that it will take a miracle from God to correct it.

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:10 pm
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New post Re: The deal, reactions etc.
Ken,

Yes, of course there's a lot of spiritual health amongst priests and laity. But it's found where one would expect it - that is, where people are frequently assisting at the Holy Sacrifice, which is the act, par excellence, of the Mystical Body, and making use of the rest of the means of salvation given to us at such cost by Our Redeemer. These means of salvation are the devil's main target.

The home-aloners, may God bless them and I hope they save their souls, differ with us in nearly everything. Traditional Catholics who love the faith, and the Mass which is its proper expression, will only reluctantly find themselves without the Mass. The home-aloner is precisely identified by this difference - he is only reluctantly convinced to assist at Mass at all, since he is always coming up with new reasons why Holy Mass is unavailable. The similarities are accidental, and the difference essential.

The ones who seek to interfere in the SSPX are really the most "different" from us of all, because they hide what they think in order to get closer to their prey, which they wish to destroy. I don't mean that they wish to damn the SSPX faithful; no, they merely wish to transform the SSPX faithful into mirror-images of themselves. Pure, right, and forthright. So they conceive it. But in reality it merely amounts to staying away from more and more Masses.

What did the Modernists do after Vatican II? They corrupted the sources of grace. What does the home-aloner do? He frightens people away from the remaining sources of grace.


Edit: I am of course not speaking about humble "home-aloners" who don't run about promoting their views. I am defending against the aggressive types who preach their ideas and attack anybody who doesn't agree with them.

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Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:50 am
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New post Re: The deal, reactions etc.
John,

I registered over at IA a month or two ago myself, and I agree with all that you wrote. By the way, you may want to take a look at the latest thread started by Immaculata. You'll know which one I am referring to because your name is in the title.


Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:38 pm
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New post Re: The deal, reactions etc.
Thanks RJS, I had a look and there's nothing there. No doubt it was deleted. The mods are pretty good, they just don't know what they're dealing with.

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Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:00 pm
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New post Defending Bishop Fellay
It's interesting that demanding that another prove his allegation that Bishop Fellay lied is now being characterised as simply "defending Bishop Fellay" in an effort to shift the fous from whether a specific allegation can be justified. Try as I might, I was unable to get one particular individual to justify his allegation on this score. Obfuscation of the issue, accompanied by personal attacks, were employed to disguise the issue.

Bishop Fellay's reversal of stance on several things is indefensible, insofar as he is objectively abandoning the position of Archbishop Lefebvre. This does not mean that every allegation made against him is true.

If objective morality means anything, it means standing up for the truth and being just to all men, even those with whom we are in conflict. If our side of the conflict is the right one, then we have no need to adopt the tactics of Satan, for by doing so, we would merely be changing sides without admitting that we are doing so.

But since arguments based upon principle have no effect on politicians, perhaps they might consider an argument based on politics. About the most counter-productive thing we can do in the present circumstances is to abandon true morality. The good men who currently think that Bishop Fellay's flip to the Ecclesia Dei position might be justifiable, are only going to conclude that his opponents are amoral. Does that aid the cause of those who oppose the deal?

Clearly, since they won't justify their words on thre grounds of Catholic morality, some of his opponents are amoral, so the only sensible course of action is to distance ourselves from them.

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Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:02 am
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New post Re: The deal, reactions etc.
From IA, comments to follow:

Quote:
The respected, and balanced, Catholique Refractaire blog gave report on 25th June 2012 of Fr. Nely's Dinner Speech at Suresnes, the French District Headquarters of SSPX, to Friends and Benefactors of the French District.

Catholique Refractaire
http://catholique-refractaire.blogspot.fr/...onnue-bien.html

In a pre-prepared speech Fr. Nely presented on the evening of 21st June a time-line of events between Rome and the Society from the beginning of the doctrinal discussions to present.

Contrary to public statements given by Bishop Fellay and reported by DICI on 8th June that he had no knowledge of a timetable and did not know what to expect from the amended preamble presented to the CDF on 14th April 2012, Catholique Refractaire reports that Fr. Nely revealed that Bishop Fellay had already been informed by the Vatican that his ambiguous Conciliar-leaning text was entirely acceptable and would be accepted by Rome without modification.

When Bishop Fellay, accompanied by Fr. Pfluger, arrived at the CDF offices on 13th June 2012 he arrived with given assurance and confidence that he would be jointly signing a deal with Rome.

Image

Fr. Nely continued to reveal, according to Catholique Refractaire that contrary to Bishop Fellay's public statements that Benedict XVI wanted a no-strings-attached deal but was being thwarted by the CDF it was actually Benedict XVI himself who personally rejected Bishop Fellay's text as being too ambiguous and who demanded that it contain clearer and complete acceptance of the Council and the post-Conciliar magisterium.

The substance of the Conciliar-leaning text of ralliement submitted by Bishop Fellay to Rome was partially revealed by his First Assistant Fr. Pfluger on 5th June:

What Bp Fellay Signed, and Submitted to Rome
http://z10.invisionfree.com/Ignis_Ardens/i...showtopic=10031

In conclusion, it is now known with certainty, having been publicly reported by Fr. Nely in his written speech to clerics and laity at the French District headquarters of SSPX that:

i) It was Bishop Fellay who desired, so greatly, a deal that he was prepared to compromise on Catholic doctrine and SSPX's fight for the past 42 years. Benedict XVI, in contrast, did not yield nor compromise his own belief in the erroneous doctrines of the Conciliar religion of Vatican II.

ii) Bishop Fellay was hoisted upon his own petard by Benedict XVI, himself.

Benedict XVI's clear unmoving position was most recently confirmed by the Vatican's official spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi to Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung on 27th June where he stated that Benedict XVI is "in favour of reunion, but only under clear theological conditions".

Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland...g-11801199.html

Benedict XVI's conditions clearly are, and have always been, notwithstanding Menzingen's propaganda to the contrary, that SSPX accept Vatican II and the post-Conciliar magisterium in its entirety.

Fr. Nely's Statements (Translation of main points of Catholique Refractaire article - translator's highlighting):
Quote:
When Mgr. Fellay and Fr. Pfluger returned to Rome on June 13th, 2012 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it had nevertheless been announced that the reply from Rome was not known and that it was necessary for everybody to wait. Unfortunately, the reply WAS KNOWN.

In fact, it was Fr. Alain-Marc Nély, the Second Assistant of the SSPX, who acknowledged during a meeting of the “Friends and Benefactors of the SSPX in France,” that the Superior General, Mgr. Bernard Fellay, had sent his last reply to Rome on April 14th, 2012. Subsequent to this posting, he [+Fellay] had been assured by the Vatican that the text had proven satisfactory, and that it was be accepted without modification. These are Fr. Nély’s words.

Thus when Mgr. Fellay returned to Rome on June 13th, 2012, he had therefore the confidence and certitude that his text was the basis of the agreement that he expected to sign. Nevertheless, five days before this meeting, June 8th, 2012, he stated to DICI: “No, I have had no knowledge whatever of any timetable. It has even been suggested that the Pope is going to study this file at Castelgandolfo in July.”

Now the Pope himself, according to the actual words of Fr. Nély, demanded the unambiguous acceptance of Vatican II, something already done by Mgr. Fellay but in ambiguous terms. It is the Pope personally, therefore, who added the new conditions. These words of Fr. Nély appear to contradict the declaration of Mgr. Fellay on June 8th, 2012: “Yes it is the Pope who wishes it, and I have said so on a number of occasions. I have sufficient and sure information in my possession to prove that what I say is true, although I have not had direct contact with the Pope, but with his close advisers.”

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:46 am
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New post Re: The deal, reactions etc.
Quote:
Contrary to public statements given by Bishop Fellay and reported by DICI on 8th June that he had no knowledge of a timetable and did not know what to expect from the amended preamble presented to the CDF on 14th April 2012, Catholique Refractaire reports that Fr. Nely revealed that Bishop Fellay had already been informed by the Vatican that his ambiguous Conciliar-leaning text was entirely acceptable and would be accepted by Rome without modification.

When Bishop Fellay, accompanied by Fr. Pfluger, arrived at the CDF offices on 13th June 2012 he arrived with given assurance and confidence that he would be jointly signing a deal with Rome.


This allegation isn't sustained by the data.

What Fr. Nely revealed is what Bishop Fellay had already stated publicly himself, which is that Menzingen was led to believe that the April 14 (or 17) text was acceptable to "rome." What was not referred to by Fr. Nely was the timetable. Yes, Menzingen would have expected that some kind of agreement would be imminent, given that agreement on a text had essentially been reached, but if the timetable was known, Fr. Nely does not indicate that.

Further, we don't know what Bishop Fellay expected from the meeting of June 13. He certainly gave no indication that he thought he was arriving to seal a deal. The contrary is more logical, since he had publicly stated that the deal had been delayed (DICI interview). He would certainly have had theories as to why, but in reality neither he nor anybody else outside Rome could know for sure what the reason for the delay was.

My theory, as I've expressed several times, is that the release of the letters between the bishops of the SSPX was the key factor. "rome" reacted to that very strongly, and Menzingen undertood that this reaction bode ill for the deal, and reacted accordingly itself.

In any case, we can be sure that Menzingen did not think that a deal was both certain and imminent in the period leading up to June 13, contrary to the analysis from IA above.

Quote:
Fr. Nely continued to reveal, according to Catholique Refractaire that contrary to Bishop Fellay's public statements that Benedict XVI wanted a no-strings-attached deal but was being thwarted by the CDF it was actually Benedict XVI himself who personally rejected Bishop Fellay's text as being too ambiguous and who demanded that it contain clearer and complete acceptance of the Council and the post-Conciliar magisterium.


This is a confusing presentation. It's clear that at least up until the release of the letters between the bishops, Bishop Fellay had received assurances from "rome" that his text was acceptable, and that Benedict himself was the one making the decision. After the release of the letters, clearly, he was not sure what would happen - the signals from "rome" were decidedly "difficult." On June 13 he discovered, or had confirmed, that Benedict was demanding clear adherence to Vatican II and clear acceptance of the Novus Ordo. Nothing in Fr. Nely's presentation requires or even suggests a different set of facts.

Quote:
i) It was Bishop Fellay who desired, so greatly, a deal that he was prepared to compromise on Catholic doctrine and SSPX's fight for the past 42 years. Benedict XVI, in contrast, did not yield nor compromise his own belief in the erroneous doctrines of the Conciliar religion of Vatican II.

ii) Bishop Fellay was hoisted upon his own petard by Benedict XVI, himself.


#2 is exactly right, it seems. Bishop Fellay has been played as a fool by "rome". #1 is not established. Was Bishop Fellay "prepared to compromise on Catholic doctrine and SSPX's fight for the past 42 years"? He was certainly prepared to abandon the position that the Fraternity had taken for the past 25 years, by returning to the position that Archbishop Lefebvre had contemplated taking in 1980-82. I agree that the text that Fr. Pfulger revealed was an essential compromise of the faith by failing to profess the reality that Vatican II and the New Mass are essentially incompatible with the faith. Bishop Fellay obviously disagrees. It is evident that he believed that the ambiguous text was the limit of what he could sign and still profess the faith.

I certainly think that one of the most controversial issues to be discussed by the General Chapter will be that evil text. If Bishop Fellay won't repudiate it, if he won't admit any fault in his course of action over the past few months, how could he conceivably recover the trust and loyalty required to lead effectively?

His leadership is in tatters.

Considered purely in terms of leadership, let's review the facts. Bishop Fellay's leadership is in tatters because of a whole series of misteps.

He was surely required either to defend Bishop Williamson when he was attacked by the media a couple of years ago, or take strong action to repudiate him and distance the Fraternity from him. His actions looked strong, yet were insufficient to achieve their end. Bishop Williamson remained a member of the SSPX with the moral authority of a bishop and a very senior member. Bishop Fellay's weakness in dealing with this is manifest.

Bishop Fellay left the Chapter meeting at Albano with a clear mandate, which did not include unilaterally negotiating a purely practical agreement. He ought either to have told the meeting he had no intention of accepting its advice, or clearly accepted it and not proceeded down the path he has. Either would have been the course of a leader. He did neither.

A strong leader reveals his principles and is sure to be seen to be applying them. Bishop Fellay's ambiguous and limited public comments as he has revolutionised the SSPX stance on a purely practical agreement have been entirely insufficient in this respect. He has left himself open to mistrust, doubt, and contradiction, and has looked weak, vacillating, and unprincipled. Asserting that he is awaiting signs from Divine Providence has merely sounded like he has no principles to apply.

After "rome" revealed to him its insistence that the Fraternity accept Vatican II and the New Mass he had a golden opportunity to come out with a strong and clear statement that the Fraternity would never accept these things, which would have gone a good distance to re-establishing some trust. Instead, he came out with weak and unclear comments in a sermon two weeks later.

Worse, strength is displayed by admitting error and strongly repudiating it. Bishop Fellay is indicating that he is convinced that he acted perfectly. That looks weak, and it's unconvincing in the midst of the gravest crisis ever to afflcit the Fraternity, a crisis which he has unilaterally created. From his comments nobody would believe there was a crisis at all. His actions confirm this impression, as he proceeds to take disciplinary actions which would only be appropriate outside of such a crisis.

A strong leader is tough on opponents when it will strengthen his position, and kind and condescending when that will strengthen his position. Bishop Fellay has been weak when he needed to be tough, and tough when he needs to be kind. This particular factor reveals either a complete failure of understanding of the situation at each stage, or a disastrous lack of knowledge of what makes for good leadership. Either is catastrophic.

If the organisation you lead goes from unity and strength to chaos in the space of a few months, even if you could disavow being the cause of the chaos (which Bishop Fellay cannot), you would still be responsible for it. A real leader would openly accept this responsibility and explain his programme for repairing the damage. There is no sign of either from Bishop Fellay.

In theory, Bishop Fellay could lead strongly, and make the organisation his own, stating clearly his principles and prosecuting his agenda without brooking opposition; or he could admit that he isn't a leader, and instead act as an administrator of another's policy. So far he has combined the two roles, adopting the wrong elements of each. It is difficult to imagine a worse procedure.

The General Chapter might be able to advise Bishop Fellay what course to follow to repair unity and trust, so that instead of leading he will essentially be acting as an administrator and a delegate of the General Chapter. This might suffice, if it's clear to the members of the SSPX that this is the situation. I don't believe the other alternative is possible. Bishop Fellay is a bursar, not a leader. He has no choice now but to admit reality and act truly as an administrator. Whether he can or not is another question, but if he can't, the Fraternity will remain permanently in crisis.

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:05 am
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