In chapter XXXI of his famous book "Liberalism Is A Sin", Fr. Félix Sardá y Salvany helps us to understand how a Catholic comes to fall into liberalism. It is important he says, to know the causes of this decline in order to understand why Liberalism has reached such universality, to the point that today we see it spreading even to those forces of Catholic Tradition which Monsignor Lefebvre instructed to be antiliberal. To prevent us from falling into their snares and ambushes, this book of Sardá y Salvany, a masterpiece of antiliberal doctrine, comes to our aid. As a concrete example, we will study what is happening in the current crisis within the SSPX, this being at the same time a warning to the Liberal remnants one can find within the Resistance.
Sardá y Salvany starts off by saying that "very often corruption of heart is a consequence of errors of the intellect; but more frequently still errors of the intellect follow the corruption of the heart. The history of heresies very clearly shows this fact." No doubt it is the latter, the corruption of heart and customs, the faltering vigilance and the tolerance for intentional faults, which we see in those who have received good doctrinal formation, and therefore whose intelligences have apparently been solidly grounded in the truth and the faith of always. We are referring here to those who have emerged from the ranks of the SSPX. But our author teaches us, with his usual knack for synthesis, that it all can be reduced to three principles: "Error nearly always has its origin, not in profound and laborious studies, but in the tripleheaded monster which St. John describes and calls: 'Concupisentia carnis, concupiscentia oculorum, superbia vitae'; 'Consupiscense of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, the pride of life.' Here are the sources of all error, here are the roads to Liberalism."
Let's summarize these slides [into Liberalism] as the three most common:
- He becomes a liberal man by a natural desire for independence and an unrestrained life.
- Because of a desire to thrive.
- Because of greed.
Sardá y Salvany gives us the general reasons why fallen man always has in himself the tendency to embrace Liberalism, which is emancipation, a freedom from the restrictions of Catholicism. Let us now look at today's SSPX. Does it not have obedience to the hierarchy as it's principle, and, in seeking to rejoin Rome or the official Church, is it not pursuing dependence [upon Rome] rather than its independence [from Rome]?
In fact, in seeking "canonical recognition" or, as they often put it, the official stamp of "Catholicity" by authorities that are liberals and modernists and destroyers of the Catholic faith, the Neo-SSPX is [first of all] aiming at point two [mentioned above], that is, [she wants] to thrive, to prosper, to progress, to shine in her brilliant career.
So how can you accuse her of wanting to be "independent"? It is precisely because the Neo-SSPX intends to impose conditions on Rome in the agreement she tries to reach with them, and because these conditions are designed to leave her with a certain amount of liberty, the liberty [or freedom] to remain "as we are", to be given a structure that allows her to be less constrained, to give her "guarantees" of a certain "freedom". In other words, give her a certain "independence". The endless negotiations with Rome are reduced to just that.
Now, we must realize that if the Roman authorities were truly Catholic and not conciliar modernists, all this would be a rebellion against authority, like seeking one's own autarchy for the simple reason that those authorities are no longer trusted. A Catholic ought to be entirely docile to the authority of the Church, but in this case, since the official authority is separated from Catholic truth and doctrine, he submits himself entirely to the authority of Tradition, of the Church of all time and of those who represent that today, i.e. a handful of resistant bishops. The Neo-SSPX [on the other hand] has accepted doctrinal and liturgical plurality within the Church since she pretends that "Rome as they are" (liberal and modernist) allows in its bosom the "SSPX as they are" (traditional Catholic), and so she is declaring to seek [her own] "independence", by allowing the living together of two doctrines and two rites of the Mass that are incompatible, that exclude each other, and without pursuing the replacement of the one with the other. This is why we can say that the Neo-SSPX fell squarely into liberalism, because of this and because of the second reason mentioned above.
Some may object that at one point Monsignor Lefebvre asked to be allowed to "do the experiment of Tradition". Yet, later on he realized that this was wrong, and that "doing the experiment of Tradition" can only be done in the structural framework of the Catholic Church and not in that of the conciliar church. And for this reason we can say that the SSPX cannot be independent or autonomous insofar as she adheres to the Catholic Church of all time, to eternal Rome.
The current SSPX feels "restricted" by its own adherence to Tradition, because some of her members, being thus reduced and under the pressure of the liberal world, feel that they cannot "thrive", that is,"make a career", obtain recognition, be known, expand their apostolate. As Sardá y Salvany stresses, not to be liberal is to create the greatest of all difficulties, and in order to resist the demon that shows a promising future, heroism is needed. "And heroes are few," concludes our author.
Finally, of course, there may be greed, but that is much more difficult to prove, and it is not decisive in this case.
And here also is a lesson and a warning to all, especially those priests who have left the SSPX, some of whom love their "independence", which gradually makes them comfortable with a situation that causes them to slide, in that same comfort, while trying to thrive personally, convinced of their own intellectual reputation and with a satisfaction of being a "brave and faithful fighter". He calls himself "anti-liberal", while in reality he is the opposite, someone who pursues an unrestrained life, more suited to an easy going bachelor, than to a soldier in Christ's army.
Note: You can read the book "Liberalism Is A Sin" online at www.liberalismisasin.com.