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In this titanic battle unfolding before our eyes, the meeting of the General Chapter of the SSPX can act as a tipping point. It seems that for a few years now the Society has ventured onto a soapy board, which it seems to mistake for a bridge to safety, and on this occasion it would have the possibility of getting back to reality, with their feet on the ground, which according to the words of Marshal Pétain (25 June 1940), does not lie. But the risk of seeing it continue in a fatal direction seems the most probable, so a call to fidelity was launched, like a bell trying to awaken and assemble all those who do not intend to let themselves be led blindly under the Roman authority which wishes us so much good, that it only seeks to destroy all those who share with us the refusal of the errors of the Council. Let's try to analyze this call a little.

Let’s start with a few numbers

In two weeks this appeal has gathered nearly 200 signatures in the serene silence of those people who believe they are [simply] doing their duty and who do not wish to shout it all over the world. Those two hundred stand for a thousand of them if you include family, even if not all of them follow their parents. We know statistically that for one person who speaks, there are nine others who think the same thing: so, that makes two thousand. We can gloss over this figure, but the figures are only figures, and it would be as dangerous to despise them as it is to boast of them in vain. We refuse this cult of numbers which we are too often bombarded with, and it is useless to bewail the small number of chosen ones when we do not want to see the cause.

Whosoever is fearful and timorous, let him return... and only ten thousand remained. And the Lord said to Gedeon: The people are still too many... And the number of them that had lapped water; casting it with the hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: and all the rest of the multitude had drunk kneeling. And the Lord said to Gedeon: By the three hundred men, that lapped water, I will save you, and deliver Madian into thy hand: but let all the rest of the people return to their place. (Judges VII 3-7)

Let us not throw any stones at those who won’t be part of the three hundred, Our Lord will invite them [later] to the pursuit of the Madianites and to kill their kings.

The signatories

They recognize themselves in the text of the Appeal, with the nuances that one can express in a short commentary. There are not quite three hundred, but by freely giving their names, they do show a certain audacity. While others compromise on doctrine or on morality, they publicly proclaim their fidelity to Monsignor Lefebvre's continued warnings: “even if ... we cannot work together, it is impossible!”. They would have been deeply impressed to hear Mother Anne-Marie Simoulin repeat several times, a few months before her death: “If our congregation follows the Society in a practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement, I will leave and start all over again!”

Those who did not sign

One can easily guess that some members of the Society are rejoicing at the progress towards ever more regularization, but are there that many of them? For many, the fruits of such a disposition have not been long in coming, they have already joined a rallied community, or they will do so when the opportunity presents itself. They don't want to hunt the Madianites, they want to marry them.

Others dream of the grand ouverture of an unlimited apostolate, they already imagine a vast movement of a return to tradition and see in the disapproving follies of Pope Francis the early symptoms of this success. The lesson of the Franciscans of the Immaculata is not enough for them?

But many are worried, and they wait fearfully but docilely. So they shut up, they listen to the snake charmers who in their bulletins put them to sleep with the sweet song of obedience. They are attracted by legalism with a pinch of peace, they fear [the smell of gun]powder and the dangers that come with it. They started with ten thousand, but there won't even be three hundred left.

Some agree with us on the matter, but they don’t like the form. I don’t mean the form of the text to which they can always add their own touch of gentleness, courtesy or firmness, but rather the form being a public appeal, a petition, the usage of which they even condemn as a revolutionary process. They reject democracy and class struggle, but end up defending clericalism and dictatorship. It's a pity, they probably forgot that in Christianity’s good times we were free to let our voice be heard, when we enjoyed the right to rebuke and file our grievances.

Some are so disappointed by what the Society is becoming that they no longer think it is possible to enlighten it from within. They're looking elsewhere. They don’t think much anymore of being rejected by the Society, after having been rejected by the occupiers in Rome.

Some are held back by fear, fear of harming a loved one or fear of sanctions that could come down on them. How can we not understand them when we know that the Society has forbidden one of its priests to give the sacrament of penance and communion to a seminarian under the pretext that he was with Monsignor Faure, when it refuses to marry those who do not accept a jurisdiction that places them under the new code of canon law with an inversion of the ends of marriage. Not to mention the schools that threaten to expel children who receive confirmation from Bishop Williamson or one of the three bishops he consecrated...

Let us not forget those who sign through someone else’s hands, priests, religious and laity, they sign with all their heart but they cannot do so [themselves] materially. That does not suit their situation.

They may be three hundred, God knows how to count them.

He who stands, be careful not to fall! A nun of the Society thought it was ridiculous that one of her sisters feared waking up a modernist one day. Let us meditate on the example of Le Barroux: recognition without any counterpart, [it was] the ideal solution! It's been thirty years now and the fruits are obvious, they do not belong to the ten thousand! Yes, sister, you were right, you don't wake up as a modernist one beautiful morning, you simply fall asleep instead of fighting, and you don't wake up at all, like a frog in cold water, gently brought to the boil.

Let us share two reflections from priests who deserve to be meditated upon by the "prudent" who dare not to act:

  • Prudence that does not translate into action is imperfect. Prudence "should be quick in carrying out the counsel taken, but slow in taking counsel." (Summa Theologica 2a 2ae q 47),
  • He who receives the grace to understand must act according to this grace, otherwise he loses the light he received. The Jews had the law, but when the Light came, they did not receive it...

A signatory of the Call to Fidelity

Christian de la Forest Divonne