I subscribe to the nuanced views expressed recently by Fr Zed archiblogopoios. I also think that what appears to be the current policy of the Holy See is intelligent: the old idea that a meeting of theologians will deliver results has given way to a sensible policy of multiplying personal contacts, by means of visits both to and from Econe. If the Holy See ever wants an Ordinariate priest to visit Econe and report back to the Holy Father, I am their man! No no! This is not a joke!
I have had a soft spot for the Society ever since, while I was still in the Church of England, the family sent us to Avignon on the occasion of our fortieth wedding anniversary. We went to a 'mainstream' church for the Sunday Vigil, and then on Sunday morning I went to the exquisite little SSPX chapel (Chapel of the Black Penitents, Rue Banasterie). It is a baroque/rococo masterpiece; amid all the splendours of the City of the Popes it was the highlight of my trip! I did not conceal that I was an Anglican priest, but they treated me to a very warm welcome. These were not prickly bigots. The congregation embraced all age groups ... unlike the congregation we had joined the previous evening ... and the liturgy was reverently done ... and I felt very much at home. This is the only SSPX Mass I have ever been to: perhaps it was untypical, but I take people as I find them.
There is one thing that Bishop Fellay could do which might be understood as significant (I very humbly suggest) in Rome. On Good Friday, he could be known to use the elegant, biblical, and sensible Oratio pro Iudaeis composed by Benedict XVI. After all, the Society does already use the highly modified 'Bugnini' Holy Week Rites which in the 1950s Pius XII substituted for the ancient Roman rites. And, in the 1962 Missal, the Prayer for the Jews was itself modified by S John XXIII. If the Society were still using the ancient pre-1950s forms, I would sympathise with a disinclination to fiddle around with them. But if they are going to use Pius XII-as-modified-by-S John XXIII anyway, is it a big deal to use Pius XII-as-modified-by-S John XXIII-and-by-Benedict XVI? It would be an edifying act of acceptance of a living Magisterium
Or perhaps Bishop Fellay already does this. Does anybody know?
I shall not enable comments which show disrespect to the Society. The Ordinariates are Pope Benedict's remarkable gesture towards Christian Unity, and this post stands in the same spirit of a desire to see gathered into one the orthodox broken fragments of Latin Christendom.
FOOTNOTE It is interesting that the Bugnini Commission had not tampered either with this prayer, or with that for Heretics. Incidentally, in the Church of England its (still doctrinally normative) liturgy, that of 1662, still prays on Good Friday " ... Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word: and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ ... ". I wonder why all the noisy bigots who so malevolently attacked the Vetus Ordo and Pope Benedict and the prayer he composed never get hot and bothered about this. I believe that Prince Charles filius Fidei Defensoris is Patron of the Prayer Book Society, which advocates use of the 1662 book.