SSPX and the Rumor Mills | Michael J. Miller | Catholic World Report
Recent news stories about the SSPX spoke of a "definitive break with Rome" despite plenty of evidence to the contrary
The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991) illicitly consecrated four bishops for the Society of Saint Pius X on June 30, 1988. To commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of that landmark event, the Society’s three remaining prelates, Bishop Bernard Fellay (General Superior), Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, and Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, issued a Declaration dated June 27, 2013, in which they expressed “their filial gratitude towards their venerable founder who, after so many years spent serving the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to safeguard the Faith and the Catholic priesthood, did not hesitate to suffer the unjust accusation of disobedience.”
Shifting into high gear
If nothing else, the 1,400-word statement sent the rumor mills of Vatican watchers into high gear. Many news stories about the Declaration included the words “definitive break with Rome” in the headline and noted the obstinate and explicit refusal of the SSPX to accept the teachings of Vatican II, in particular concerning ecumenism, collegiality and the liturgical reform.
If such “news stories” had been student essays, the professor would have returned them marked “Incomplete”, because they ignored the second paragraph of the Declaration:
2. In his letter addressed to us before the consecrations [in 1988, Abp. Lefebvre] wrote, “I beseech you to remain attached to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church..., in the integral Catholic Faith, as expressed in the Professions of Faith, in the catechism of the Council of Trent, in conformity with that which you have been taught in the seminary. Remain faithful to the transmission of this Faith so that the reign of Our Lord may come.” [...]
If the SSPX bishops publicly pledge to continue the work of their Founder and quote a letter written by him during crucial negotiations with Rome, urging them to “remain attached to the See of Peter”, the logical conclusion to be drawn is that the Society will continue to seek to resolve their irregular canonical status, provided that the terms do not require it to compromise its “integral Catholic Faith”. Yet some progressive Catholic journalists, incapable of following a simple syllogism, twisted the careful statement of purpose in paragraphs 1 and 2 into its opposite, as though the Declaration were a schismatic manifesto. That is not “reporting” but misrepresentation. One might just as reasonably headline a news story about Summorum Pontificum by Benedict XVI, which facilitated the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, “Divisive New Papal Document”, while ignoring the Accompanying Letter that explicitly states that the 2007 Motu Proprio is aimed at “an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”.
The anonymous German-speaking commentator at the Traditional Latin Mass website http://summorum-pontificum.de has a more clear-sighted and fairer view of the recent SSPX Declaration: