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What Kind of Accord with Rome ?

Four Bishops for the SSPX

No practical agreement without a prior doctrinal agreement”, this the Society affirmed in 2006, before abandoning this requirement a few years later in favor of a recognition of Tradition “as is” on the part of the conciliar authorities . But Rome, in its own way, imposes a return to the fundamental question since Bishop Guido Pozzo has just declared that reconciliation will occur when Bishop Bernard Fellay formally adheres to the “doctrinal statement” presented to him by the Holy See. Rome therefore wanted a doctrinal understanding before proceeding with a canonical regularization. But the term “doctrinal understanding” contains ambiguity. It can be understood in two ways. In the first sense, the aim is that Tradition regains all its rights in Rome, and that the Holy See corrects the fundamental errors that are at the root of the crisis in the Church. This goal is none other than the common good of the whole Church. Therefore Rome must come to an understanding not with the Society of St. Pius X, but with the doctrine of always. This is what we heard in 2006 by a doctrinal agreement prior to a practical agreement. In a second sense, the goal would be the recognition of the Fraternity, quite simply, its apparent private good, by prior agreement on a common doctrinal formulation acceptable to both parties, free from errors - we may assume - but leaving in the shadows the ravages of the Church for fifty years. Rome understands the doctrinal agreement in this sense of pure purity, and contemplates a communion based on the lowest common denominator. Protestant sects have been dealing with each other in this way for nearly five centuries. The Vatican has been dealing with the Protestant sects since the Council, witnessing the Lutheran-Catholic Agreement on Justification in 1999. “Until now,” says Fr. Gleize, “the heirs of Archishop Lefebvre, have made it on the contrary a duty to consider things from the first point of view. “

Among the serious errors that vitiate all the partial truths which can be encountered in the conciliar and post-conciliar magisterium, the most well-known have been placed from the outset in the face of the revolutionary triad of freedom, equality and fraternity. You will have recognized here the quarrel over religious freedom, collegiality and ecumenism.

What does the conciliar declaration Dignitatis Humanae mean by religious freedom? Not the liberty of the Catholic Church, but the fact that no one is prevented by any power from professing error. It would be a natural right that the civil lawmaker should recognize. This contradicts the teaching of the Church until and including Pius XII, and now favors the submergence of our countries by Islam. Of course, it is not a question of exercising physical constraint to force adult persons to embrace Christianity against their will, but the Christian state must exercise its authority in favor of the true religion on the one hand by preventing or by dissuading the profession of error, and on the other hand by facilitating the profession of truth. Let us note that today Pope Francis unfolds the consequences of this new doctrine in the family domain with the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. It would indeed be illogical to confine the immunity of compulsion to the profession of a religious faith and not gradually to extend it to the whole moral order.

Collegiality, on the other hand, attacks the primacy of Peter’s successor in the seat of Rome. This debate is not a Byzantine quarrel since it is the Church as our Lord Jesus Christ instituted it, in other words its divine constitution which is at stake. Lumen Gentium affirms :

  1. that the episcopal college is an ordinary and permanent subject of power over the whole Church;
  2. that this same college, including the Pope, constitutes, in addition to the pope considered alone, a second permanent subject of power over the whole Church,
  3. that the episcopal college receives its power directly not from the pope but from Christ and that the consent of the pope is only required for it’s exercise. The Church must therefore be a synod, says Pope Francis!

On the other hand, what does Tradition say?

  1. The episcopal body assembled at an ecumenical council is the temporary and extraordinary subject of this power;
  2. The episcopal body is not a second subject of this power, but, assembled in the Council, it is a second mode of exercise for the Pope to exercise his power, and it is the very authority of the Pope which is communicated at the council.
  3. We must therefore defend the papacy against the pope himself! The Church is a monarchy and not a dyarchy.

Ecumenism as presented by the Council, Unitatis Redintegratio and Lumen Gentium, attacks the singularity of salvation in the Catholic Church. What do they teach?

  1. The reality of a real communion, though imperfect and partial, between the visible structure of the Catholic Church and the visible structure of the separate non-Catholic communities.
  2. The reality of the presence and action of the Church of Christ, which is distinguished from the Catholic Church in these same communities.
  3. The presence of elements of sanctification in these communities so that they are means of salvation.

On the other hand, what does Tradition teach?

  1. It is not these heretical or schismatic communities as such, but only certain of their members which may not be quite in communion with the Church but ordained to the Church.
  2. The action of the Holy Ghost outside the Catholic Church takes place in certain souls, but not in communities caught up in the error to which they belong.
  3. What remains of elements of the Church in separate communities - the dogma of the Holy Trinity or the sacrament of baptism, for example - has in itself no value for salvation, because the salutary value of dogmas and the sacraments come to them from being dispensed according to the order desired by Christ, that is to say, in the dependence of the head of the Church.

Over the years, on the occasion of the implementation of the Council, a new conception of the Magisterium emerged. It is falsified in practice since its holders use it in contradiction by imposing errors contrary to the truths that must be the object of them. It is false in theory since it claims that the Supreme Magisterium of the Church is the authentic interpreter of the previous texts of the Magisterium. This is the radical error of neo-modernism whose followers are imbued with the evolutionary mentality. We find it in the speech of Pope Benedict XVI of December 22, 2005, with the hermeneutics of “reform in continuity”. This error is at the origin of the so-called “living Tradition”. It was on the basis of a so-called Living Tradition that Archbishop Lefebvre was condemned in 1988 by the motu proprio “Ecclesia Dei adflicta”. And note that it is the so-called Ecclesia Dei commission which is responsible for dealing with the Society! In reality, the Magisterium is the organ and interpreter of Revelation. The present Magisterium must interpret not the past Magisterium but the Revelation contained in its sources: Scripture and Tradition. It must submit to the past magisterium and interpret the points of Revelation not yet interpreted by the acts of the previous magisterium. It must submit to it and assume it. All that the popes of the past taught in necessary matter remains current. If it were the word of today that made the truth by interpreting the word of yesterday, it is the pope of today who would make the truth as he pleases, and the very notion of Catholic Tradition would no longer exist. Let us remember that the holy Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ and not [the Mystical Body] of the reigning Pope!

The New Code of Canon Law conveys the errors we have just denounced, and many others, on marriage, for example, which will be dealt with later. This code, according to John Paul II’s own admission, presents a new face of the Church. He puts in the form of canons or articles the new ecclesiology, among other things. He therefore sins against the very purpose of the law. He alienates himself, as a whole as well as in the details, from the protection due to faith and morals. Its promulgation remains doubtful. It has no value in itself. That is why its reception poses a real problem of conscience to Catholics. In this unprecedented situation, the new legislation must be brought back to the previous one, that of 1917, and if possible reconciled with it. This is the position adopted by the Society since 1983.

Our aim is therefore that Tradition should regain its rights in Rome. But for this to happen, must we accept an agreement? How would a moralist here reason? The acceptance of a canonical recognition is a morally indifferent act with a double effect. The good effect is to regain legal normality, ‘papers in order’, and perhaps open new fields of apostolate. It would have been so in Lebanon twenty years ago. Perhaps it would still be so in some African countries or in Asia.

The bad effect is itself double:

  • It consists in the risk of relativizing Tradition, which would very likely then appear as one option among others. We would accept a coexistence of right [with error] and even a de facto cohabitation with the modernists.
  • It also involves the risk of betraying Tradition and rallying the conciliar vision. I pull out number 67 of Cloche d’Ecône. We are in 1994; The Catechism of the Catholic Church had just been published two years earlier. Our people were ripping it apart while the Barroux monks defended it: “Five years ago, we could not even imagine that we would be able to do this. Now that we are reconciled, we have the experience of being reborn in the sense of catholicity and therefore of understanding the teaching of the Church of today.” So the seminar director commented: “Is this clear enough? And this time it was not I who said it! They themselves are astonished to be able to defend the New Catechism! In clear terms, what does this mean, except that after the canonical rallying, the doctrinal rallying is consummated? Long live the Council, its Canon Law and its Catechism. Fr. Schaeffer, not so long before his death, had written in le Chardonnet an articule entitled “From Genocide to Memoricide,” in the title of a book by M. Reynald Secher. He compared the fate that could be made with the saga of our defense and witnessing of Tradition to the fate of the Vendean saga. Those who abandon Tradition can forget or want to forget what they have been. They even turn against her. We only need to look at the long-valued disciples of Mons. Antonio de Castro Mayer, in the Brazilian diocese of Campos! At the time of their rallying in 2001, some progressives had uttered loud cries. Cardinal Cottier had reassured them: “do not worry, they are engaged in a dynamic!” And indeed, it was hardly necessary to wait for amazing denials of doctrine and liturgy.

The solution depends on the one hand on the proportion to be established between the good effect and the bad effect, and on the other hand on the evaluation of the circumstances. It is clear that it is more important to avoid the bad double effect (the relativisation and betrayal of Tradition) than it is to obtain the good double effect (the return to strict law and new fields of apostolate). But are the circumstances such that one can hope to avoid the bad double effect, the double risk? Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre wrote: “We do not put ourselves in a framework, and under superiors, by saying that we will change everything once we are inside, when they have everything in their hands to curb us! They have all the authority.” And we know how those who are in their framework were still treated very recently, and who tried to make a return to Tradition. The misadventure of the Franciscans of the Immaculate could teach us!