26 September 2017

"The Filial Correction" - Some personal reflections (2)

Another significant detail (I give my opinion here purely as an individual) is the adherence to the Correctio of His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Society of S Pius X, and of another priest of that Society.

What cheers me is that the Society is boldly standing up for the Gospel, as, indeed, one would expect the sons of Marcel Lefebvre to do ... and is also taking part in the life of the mainstream Church. It was never the intention of Archbishop Lefebvre that the Society should be a ghetto, even a tolerated ghetto, within the Church. That is why the Society so long (and so ultimately successfully) insisted that every priest of the Latin Church (and not only clergy of tolerated groups) must be known to possess the unfettered right to use the Old Mass.

I do not wish to be unjust to anybody ... and so I apologise if I have missed anything ... but I have not noticed that the Fraternity of S Peter, or the Institute of Christ the King, have been very public in the controversies which have followed the publication of Amoris laetitia. I would yield to no-one in my belief in the primacy of the Liturgy; but liturgical battles are not the only conflicts in which our Holy Father has in effect summoned us to Fight a Good Fight. Of course, responsible superiors have to bear in mind the damage which may be done to their institutions if they fall under the disfavour of heterodox, or just plain nervous, local ordinaries. But, surely, by virtue of our baptism, we still have some  obligation to bear witness to the Gospel in the context of the Universal Church Militant.

Furthermore, the Correctio, based on the Magisterium of two millennia, is also willing to allude in its footnotes to the Magisterial teaching of Vatican II and of the later pontiffs, particularly the doughty Veritatis Splendor of S John Paul II (so disgracefully ignored in Amoris laetitia). The SSPX has been wary of the Magisterium of this period; understandably so. You do not need to remind me of the ambiguities in some documents; of the dangerous hares which were sent running in all sorts of directions. But for those of us in uncomplicated canonical relationships with the Holy See, such documents, in all their unevenness (including, in some cases, facile optimism and deliberately dishonest ambiguities), have been part of the currency in which we have had to do business. I again commend Aidan Nichols' fine and balanced The Council in Question, in which he admits the presence of an element which "occasions a genuine difficulty for orthodox Catholics". (We have just heard of the death of the admirable Brunero Gherardini, Canon Theologian of S Peter's in Rome, who wrote A much needed discussion, and whose Funeral was yesterday. C.A.P.D..)

I believe that acceptance of this situation ... that, perforce, we talk to each other in a theological dialect which has been influenced by Vatican II and the "Conciliar" popes ... is the substance of the doctrinal requirements which have been made of the SSPX.  Bishop Fellay's participation in doing Theology within this general, if imperfect, context seems to me a sufficient and potent indication that the Society should be given a proper, and protected, and canonical status without further nitpicking.

It is a part of the Catholic Church; it has witnessed with great courage for nearly half century to the Faith once and forever delivered to the Saints. The time has come for it to be seen as an insider, not an outsider, in the momentous debates now happening within the Church Militant; the time for it to be heard.


TLM said...

AMEN Fr......AMEN!

Belfry Bat said...

I cannot say much about l'Institut du Christ Roi et Souverein PrĂȘtre, but of the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri, I can say that, yes, they persist in any given parish by the explicit invitation of the Local Ordinary and are subject to him much as is any Diocesan Priest. AND Furthermore, it is an FSSP priest who takes care of that parish where I sing every Sunday, and he has not been quiet but exemplary in proclaiming the Truth within the public of his congregation, even while showing the utmost filial respect to the person of His Holiness Francis I PP.

It may well be worth noting that the FSSP in particular, an offshoot of the FSSPX but independently flourishing, in order to smooth-over memories of forefather Lefebvre's apparent disobedience, has had to be scrupulously obedient to three successive Supreme Pontifs who have refrained from drawing too much attention to them (e.g., with Episcopal Vocations). They may well have just and prudent cause to set a tall and broad fence around any sniff of schism in these fractious times.

Matt said...

Perhaps you can help me understand Fr - why is his Excellency putting his name to a *filial* correction? Should he not of awaited the Fraternal Correction that will doubtless be following?

A Daughter of Mary said...

I am blessed to attend an FSSP parish and I can tell you that our pastor absolutely blazes from the pulpit - against the heresies, against most of what "The Vatican" is now saying, etc. We have a very quiet bishop. To call him a coward might be going to far, but I think he spends a lot of time on his knees praying for his priests who have abandoned the Faith, and the faithful.

As for the FSSP speaking publicly? This might do two things: not be representative of all its priests opinions and wishes for a public statement, and it might to real harm to those FSSP parishes where the bishop is just barely tolerating the apostolate.

Would it do good? Only if this movement into the public square could herald an avalanche of 'signing on' of the thousands of bishops and priests who are too cowardly (or heretical) to speak out.

kiwiinamerica said...

A moment of truth is coming in which everyone will have to take sides. A very clear line is being drawn in the sand. The go-along-to-get along fence-sitters, time-servers and lap dogs will have to choose sides. We will embrace the truth likely at the cost of some significant personal sacrifice or we will, like dead fish, swim with the current and embrace heresy in order to maintain our comfort level.

Thomas Lackey said...

I would not say the FSSP has been noisy, but that have not been silent.

I might point here (the FSSP German District website) for an online critique of AL by the FSSP:


And here, where the FSSP publishes a printed critique by Bishop Schneider and gives it away for free:


The downside is that these are German-language publications.

Mary Kay said...

Thank you, Fr. Hunwicke! I looked for your name when I got to the list. And I am delighted that Bishop Fellay and Fr. Brucciani (Superior of SSPX in England) both signed. You are, as usual, in my prayers.

Mary K. Jones

Allen Murphy said...

I too attend an fssp parish. But they are silent on Francis, choosing to concentrate on preaching the eternal truths of the faith. But I think the time is fast approaching when we will need to emulate the courage of sspx and speak out

Unknown said...

Father, you truly are on fire! I hope your brother priests are reading and taking note. Keep it up and God bless you!

John Vasc said...

Thank you for your action, Father.

I hope you will allow me to give the link to a lay petition in support of the Correctio, just in case some have not seen it on the LMS website, where the link has also been given by Dr Shaw:

Herodotus said...

I know the Institute of Christ the King some what, and so I think, to be fair, one should consider the delicate situation they are in as an Ecclesia Dei community of Pontifical right. A situation shared by the FSSP and other such communities. The SSPX, for all the talk of their courage and what not, could not give a hoot what Rome or any of the hierarchy would say- their irregular situation gives them that freedom. Not much courage there when they have nothing to loose.

Also, one of the priest signatories of the Correctio is a professor at the Institute's seminary in Tuscany; that ought to be a sign, subtle perhaps, of where they stand.

And of course the close relations they have with Cardinal Burke, their "Cardinal Protector" of sorts, also creates further difficulties in any direct action on their part; but again speaks loudly and clearly of their position.

I wish to add, with all due respect Father; but other than yourself, and you signed as a former Fellow of Pusey House, where is the Ordinariate's intervention in this good fight? If Msgr Wach has not signed, nor has Msgr Newton. And I should think both have more than legitimate reasons for doing so. There are many battles in this war, and not all are won on the open plain.

Unknown said...

I am exceedingly refreshed to learn about you and your courageous adherence to orthodoxy which is so scant in the modern Church. When I lived in a major city, Sydney, I attended an SSPX church but now in a semi-rural region I am forced to attend a Conciliar parish where each 'Mass' leaves me agitated and feeling that I don't belong; that it is a religion so different from my beloved Roman Catholicism and the Mass of All Time. Before and after Mass the congregation descends into a loud din, loud laughter such that it is impossible to think or collect one's thoughts. The priests perform to entertain.
God bless you and your continued work.

Gaius said...

I wish to add, with all due respect Father; but other than yourself, and you signed as a former Fellow of Pusey House, where is the Ordinariate's intervention in this good fight? If Msgr Wach has not signed, nor has Msgr Newton. And I should think both have more than legitimate reasons for doing so. There are many battles in this war, and not all are won on the open plain.

According to Dr. Shaw, they deliberately chose to make it a filial rather than fraternal correction, and so limited their signatories to ordinary priests and laymen. I'd guess, therefore, that the Monsignori weren't asked to sign in the first place.

Unknown said...

But I don't think that was Father's or Herodotus' point. Father was asking why the ICKSP had not said something, like the SSPX had done. I think Herodotus refered to Msgr Wach in so far as he represents the ICKSP.

Also, how do you explain Msgr Fellay's signature then, or that of Msgr Gracida?

NSP said...

@Herodotus, very interesting and heartening to learn about the Institute seminary professor who signed. It is true, many people do have much to lose. We must have compassion on the seeming slowness and hesitancy of people in positions of power and influence in these dark times. However, it is frightening to contemplate how easily so many people can be bullied into silence.

Speaking of subtle signs, perhaps if we dig deep and connect the dots, we might be able to come up with some more of them in the list of signatories.

For instance, a certain cleric on the list of signatories has the following rather uninteresting description "Academic of the Holy See, Dean emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University, Vice-rector of the church of Sant’Andrea del Vignola, Rome." But is the presence of his signature on the list a subtle sign of the cautious entry into this fray by an organisation that has so far stood aloof from all such controversy? I'm sure many of us would like to hope so. But as long as there is still plausible deniability from the higher-ups, we can never be sure, can we?

All this talk of subtle tactics makes me think of the Mission Impossible TV & film series. In my idle moments I fantasise that some of the signatories received a magnetic tape cassette in the post which when played, went this way:

"Your mission Fr. X, should you choose to accept it, is to add your name to the list of those critiquing A.L. and requesting clarity.
As always, should you or any member of your I.M. Force be caught on the wrong side of superior bullying firepower, the Superior General/Ordinary/Prelate will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in ten seconds. Good luck and God bless, Fr. X."