Bishop Fellay has just made a fairly discreet tour of France, visiting the different traditional communities of France. We didn't get wind of all his words but in general we know that he firmly stands by his position that the current Pope wants our good.
These kinds of tours are usually to prepare minds: no grand public speeches or stormy conferences but rather speeches greasing up the local authorities in order to reassure them of the sincerity of their fighting dispositions, but at the same time words that are sufficiently vague and evasive to start opening minds to the idea of a certain upcoming event.
The last bastion that resisted the policy of Menzingen (the general house of the SSPX) was France, but Rome now understands that most of the French priests and faithful will just follow the SSPX's superiors, no matter what happens next. The quantitative success of the recent Fatima pilgrimage in August, a very good turnout of seminarians in Flavigny, a well attended pilgrimage in Lourdes despite the reaction of the deans, these are all positive signs that the policy of Bishop Fellay can be carried out to its final end without much damage or danger.
The marriage issue has been a good test for Rome and Menzingen. For a few weeks the reaction was quite lively but now it seems that everything is back under control (including and especially in France) since even those who did initially react have now accepted their sanctions. That was the first successful test.
The other Roman test was Bishop Fellay's signing of the Correctio [Filialis]. One person commented on this forum that this signature ratified the acceptance of the council in the sense of the hermeneutics of continuity so dear to Benedict XVI. And again, no reaction. Even a Fr. de Jorna [rector of the SSPX seminary in Switzerland] (who did react back then against this famous hermeneutic) no longer flinches. This was the second successful test.
Minds seem ready now for a prelature.
Even if the announcement of a prelature will make the ones on the inside (but not the Resistance fighters) shudder because they had drawn this line in the sand to leave their congregation, their tacit acceptance of all these past reforms will inevitably catch up with them. In all those who did not really react when it was easy and possible, there is now an inevitable spirit of wait and see what this phenomenon of a "prelature" will bring. There will surely be a lot of ink, words, maybe some annoyances, but they will find themselves in the same situation as in 2012 with the serious and false decisions of the [general] chapter, and in 2013 with the mock lawsuits, and in 2014 with the address to the faithful, and in 2015 with the recognition of confessions within the conciliar framework, and in 2017 with the marriage issue etc. While the prelature will add little extra to these bad principles which have already been advanced and imposed, the general reaction will not be based on a question of principles, since these have already been abandoned long ago, but rather on a matter of practical interest.
But the practical interest will be the same as these past years: it will be easier in practice to follow (while dragging their feet of course) the new reform rather than to resolve not to follow it.
Since almost all the faithful and priests of the district of France have resolved to remain in the administrative framework of the SSPX without morally or materially helping or supporting the handful of priests and faithful who did manage to escape, there will be no additional reason to leave this framework and to consider the reconstruction of another one.
This observation is certainly sad but unstoppable now. And Rome knows it.
That is why Rome and Menzingen have no fear of having to complete the process of canonical recognition within a time frame that can be short enough now. Maybe the prelature is near, but the setting is certainly ripe for it.