Bishop Bernard Fellay (SSPX) Meets with Pope Benedict (2011)
Everybody’s favorite whipping boy these days, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), is evidently not in schism after all—at least according to a recent EWTN report featuring a Vatican bishop (Mons. Juan Ignacio Arrieta, of the Pont. Council for Legislative Texts) admitting what The Remnant has maintained for two decades—that the SSPX is not in schism. “We can say that the problem with the SSPX is only a problem of trust,” said Arrieta, “because they are people who pray, people who believe the same things we believe in…they have their heart in Rome. I can assure you of that since I know them well.”
EWTN reported this? Yes, and kudos to them for having the courage to say what needs to be said about a difficult and most complex question.
It is sometimes all too easy to set charity aside and just blast away at the Society of St. Pius X as a coven of “evil schismatics” who are “outside the Church” or at least “lacking communion” to such an extent that far from helping souls navigate the spiritual and moral perils of the present crisis in the Church, they are actually leading millions out of the Church.
.be" target="_blank">Fr. Paul Nicholson have been announcing to the four corners of the Internet for the past several years.
As you watch the following video, please understand that the SSPX itself played no part in instigating this project. The priests and sisters of the SSPX were evidently approached by the EWTN crew, who proceeded to produce a charitable and balanced presentation of the SSPX which, while not glossing over the points of doctrinal impasse that stand between the SSPX and the Vatican, nevertheless goes a long way towards helping people understand the complexity of the situation and the need for words of compassion and charity, rather than the polarizing rhetoric of liberals and modernists.
Take a look for yourself:
Hats off to the folks at EWTN for setting such a fine example of how all Catholics can look at the SSPX, whether they agree with the Society’s overall position or not.
When he lifted the “excommunications” of the four bishop of SSPX, Pope Benedict wrote a letter that included the following salient point:
"At times one gets the impression that our society [the Church] needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint."
Conspicuous by their absence from so many attack pieces leveled against the SSPX are any expressions of regret, love, hoped for reconciliation, willingness to dialogue, or words of kindness for the souls attached to the SSPX. Nothing! Just: “SSPX, BAD! Stay away!”
Regardless of your position vis-à-vis the SSPX doesn’t this seem a little off-kilter? After all, isn't it obvious that their irregular canonical status is based on a dogged adherence to Catholic Tradition and the constant magisterium of the Church? At least we can all agree that they are faced with a dilemma, one which to varying degrees we all face.
Are Catholic traditionalists serioiusly to be considered the only “schismatics” left in the Church today? Is everybody saved except those who do not question a single article of the Catholic Faith, prefer the old Latin Mass and are concerned about the "spirit of Vatican II" running roughshod over the faith of their children? (A ? Even though the SSPX priests pray for the Pope and the local (Novus Ordo) bishop at every Mass? Even though the SSPX questions not a single dogma of the Faith—including that associated with the theology of the papacy.
Say what you will about the SSPX but if this is "schism" it's the weirdest one in history.
To Michael Voris et al, let us hope and pray that EWTN’s fine video presentation will encourage a curbing of enthusiasm when it comes to issuing melodramatic condemnations of the SSPX worthy of Tomas de Torquemada. There is subtlety here, and nuance and crisis and principle and dilemma—as the EWTN video intimates with such masterful deftness.
And, finally, let’s put a face on these schismatics once and for all. Here is what they look like in reality. Careful!, if you view this video you just might resolve to, rather than join the SSPX-bashing lynch mob, send a few shekels to their school—a school, by the way, where the children learn to love God, family and country above all else… and nothing about new age, new marriage, and the "glories" of the new world order. Seems like a pretty darn good cause to support, no?
Please, God, send us more "schismatics" like these. . .
Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000. Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll)and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.