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In this email sent on 22 November 2018, Fr. Girouard gives us a short overview of round 1 of the doctrinal discussions between the SSPX and Rome, and his comments on the start of round 2.

Dear parishioners from Aldergrove and Post Falls,

The new General Superior of the Neo-SSPX, Fr. Pagliarani, has been received today in Rome by the President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission (Abp. Pozzo). He had asked for such a meeting after his election of July. You can see more details in the link below.

  1. How could any true lover and soldier of Christ the King want to meet with members of an organization (the Conciliar Church) that, as Abp Lefebvre wrote, has uncrowned Him? How can somebody with a clear vision of the Catholic Faith, and of the pure worship due to God Almighty, ever engage in discussions and negotiations with God’s unrepentant ennemies? How can we pretend to work for the salvation of souls, when we “discuss” with those unrepentantly responsible for the loss of millions of souls (many of them our own relatives)?
  2. The Society already had two years of such discussions (2009-2011). The official results were that they have exposed irreconciliable doctrinal differences between the Conciliar Church and the Society. But we know that Rome has not changed since 2011, except in worse. We also know that they are not about to change for the better and reject Vatican II and its “reforms”. Therefore, such new doctrinal discussions, if they have to have any purpose at all, must try to achieve a different conclusion to those of 2009-2011, and this could only happen if the Society is ready to change its own doctrinal views. (In practice, the abandonment in 2012 of the 2006 Declaration was already a change in doctrine, an official shift towards liberalism).
  3. Despite this “disappointing” conclusion of the 2009-2011 discussions, Rome proposed, on September 14th 2011, a “Preamble” for an agreement. It was studied and rejected at a special meeting of SSPX Major Superiors in Albano in October 2011. The fact that this “Preamble” was even studied and discussed by the Society leadership, despite the failure of the 2009-2011 doctrinal discussions, and the fact that Bishop Williamson had been excluded from attending, because of his refusal to stop his Eleison Comments blog, denouncing these tractations with Rome, show us that the desire for a “normalization” was already strong in many hearts…
  4. Despite this October 2011 refusal of the Roman “Preamble”, the Society’s General Superior at the time (Bp. Fellay) maintained contacts with Rome, and proposed to Rome his own version of the Preamble on April 15 2012. This “Declaration” to Rome was only slightly different from the Roman Preamble of 2011. Bishop Fellay then received assurances from his Roman insider “friends” that his Declaration was accepted by the Pope, and that he would be summoned to Rome in June to sign the final agreement. Bishop Fellay and his collaborators then embarked on a worldwide tour of conferences and sermons and TV interviews to promote the idea of a Roman “recognition”.
  5. The only thing that prevented a formal agreement between Rome and the Society at the time was the leakage, on May 10 2012, of the letters exchanged in April 7 and 14 of that year between Bishop Fellay and the three other SSPX bishops, who were opposed to his Declaration (which he had submitted to them before sending it to Rome on April 15). This leakage, and the “promotion” tour of Bp Fellay and his friends, having created a strong public reaction from many SSPX priests, Rome declared, on May 16th 2012, that the cases of Bishop Fellay and of the 3 dissenting bishops would have to be dealt with separately by Rome. This was a way of saying that, because of the internal dissensions at the highest level in the Society, a general agreement between Conciliar Rome and the Society was not possible at the time. In other words: Before Rome could “normalize” the Society, the Society would have to clean up its own mess and come back with a united front.
  6. Then Rome, as promised, summoned Bp Fellay to Rome. He quickly complied, and was there on June 13. But there he was given to sign a new version of his April 15 Declaration that had an added paragraph asking for full acceptance of Vatican II. Thus Rome allowed Bp Fellay to save face within the Society, by giving him an official reason to refuse Rome’s latest proposition, and thus to appear “traditional” again. Bishop Fellay then declared that all contacts with Rome were stopped and that the Society was “back to square one” (June 13, 2012).
  7. Despite this “valiant” refusal of Rome’s June proposition by Bp. Fellay, the subsequent General Chapter (July 2012) made a 180 degrees change in Society policy, and officially declared that the Declaration of the 2006 General Chapter (“no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement” i.e. no agreement with non-converted Rome) was henceforth null and void, and that a recognition from non-converted Rome could now be accepted, provided Rome fulfilled three “necessary conditions” to protect the Society’s “identity” and “mission”. (More later about this).
  8. Moreover, the 2012 General Chapter, thanks to the intervention of Fr. Pagliarani (yes, the new General Superior!), did not condemn Bp Fellay for his April 15 proposition to Rome. Moreover, it issued a final Declaration of unity, expressively saying that the Society, after some difficult times, had recovered its unity. The General Superior and his Assistants later on proceeded to officially expel, or to move away to the “boonies”, all those who expressed publicly their opposition to the abandonment of the 2006 policy, it is to say Bp Williamson and a few priests (your humble servant being one of them). Thus, only a few months after Rome had sent the message that the SSPX Superiors needed to “clean up the Society’s mess” and present a “united front”, it has seen its wishes being granted!
  9. This led to more meetings with Roman officials, and even with Pope Francis, and to the September 2014 adoption by Abp Pozzo and Bp Fellay of a resolution to “regularize” the SSPX situation, and to bring it to “full communion” in a “step-by-step” manner. They also declared that a “regularization” could come before all points of divergence were cleared-up, and that these “difficult questions” could be dealt with, in an atmosphere of “fraternal charity”, after the “normalization”.
  10. This was followed by “concessions” from Rome that “regularized” the Society’s administration of the sacraments of: Penance (on a provisional basis in 2014, and then permanently in 2015); Holy Orders (2016); and Matrimony (2017). These “concessions” brought the Society, at least for the administration of these three sacraments, under the rule of the Code of Canon Law of 1983 (which, as J-P II said in its Preface, puts into laws the teachings of Vatican II). These “concessions” were all gratefully and officially accepted by the Society’s General Council (Bp Fellay and his two Assistants).

All that precedes is to show that the doctrinal discussions of 2009-2011 have led to a point where, had it not been for the May 2012 leakage of the letters exchanged by the four bishops, the Society would have been “recognized” by non-converted Rome in the spring of 2012, and given a statute of Personal Prelature.

And even if this plan was not achieved in June of 2012, it nevertheless led to radical changes in the Society’s orientations and membership, just a few months later!

(A quick side note about the 2012 General Chapter “necessary conditions” to an agreement with the Conciliar Church: These Neo-SSPX “conditions” are reminiscent of the language used in all the agreements signed by other traditional Congregations with the Conciliar Church! Indeed, all these agreements proclaim that Rome promises to protect the “special grace and charisma” of the Institute! Now, just think a little bit, and you will see how such language is very revealing! Indeed, if Rome declares that being Catholic is a “special grace and charisma” of a religious Institute that needs a special approval and protection from Rome, it implies that Rome doesn’t consider being Catholic as being “mainstream” and “normal” in the Conciliar Church! And that is because the Conciliar Church is officially ecumenical since the end of the Council (1965). In other words, when the Conciliar Church “recognizes” a Traditional Institute, it: 1-Declares implicitely that the Conciliar Church itself is different from the Catholic Church; 2-It accepts Tradition in the spirit of ecumenism, it is to say that of “Unity in Diversity”).

Back to November 22, 2018: Now, what can we reasonably expect from Fr. Pagliarani’s request of a re-opening of “doctrinal discussions” with Rome?

Obviously, nothing good!

Indeed, during the 2009-2011 doctrinal discussions, the Society was still officially guided by the Declaration of the 2006 General Chapter mentioned above (#7). Moreover, during these discussions, the Society had 3 out of 4 bishops who were opposed to a “practical” agreement with non-converted Rome. The Society also could then count in its bosom a good number of staunchly anti-liberal priests who were not afraid to publicly “bark at the wolves in sheep clothing”.

But, in 2018, the Society will start a new round of doctrinal discussions with Conciliar Rome on a much weaker basis! Because, since 2012, the Society has changed deeply!

Indeed, since 2012, the Society: 1- Has accepted the principle of an agreement with a Conciliar Church that would remain Conciliar; 2- It has expelled all its members that were vocally anti-liberals, and Bishops Galarreta and Tissier have changed their minds and joined Bisop Fellay; 3-By accepting the three Roman “concessions” of 2015, 2016, and 2017, it has already placed itself under the jurisdiction of the Modernist Code of Canon Law of 1983 and of Modernist authorities. 4- The 2018 General Chapter has failed, once again, to condemn Bishop Fellay’s Declaration of April 15 2012, which had the initial approval of Pope Benedict XVI. 5-The same 2018 General Chapter has elected at its head five Major Superiors who have been actively seeking a “regularization” from the Conciliar Church. 6-It has also adopted an ambiguous turn of phrase that could be interpreted as giving the new General Superior full and absolute authority to unilaterally sign an agreement with the Conciliar Church, i.e. without the need of an approval by a new General Chapter. (Obviously, such ambiguity in the Society’s own official documents does not bode well for the clarity of the upcoming discussions with Rome!).

Therefore, if the 2009-2011 discussions led a strong Society to the brink of a formal agreement with the Conciliar Church, we have reason to fear that the 2018 discussions will bring a weak Society to formally agree to make “full” what has been so far a “partial” regularization, in other words, to go from a partial to a full “Communion”. This could only bring a disaster in this world and in the hereafter.

The Superiors, members, and faithful of the Neo-Society should remember the warning given by Our Lord in the Book of the Apocalypse: "Go out from her (i.e. the Great Babylon sitting on the seven hills = Prostituted Rome), my people: that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues." (Apoc 18:4).

God have mercy on His Church!

Fr. Girouard