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Saturday, December 15, 2018

SHADES of LEFEBVRE: New SSPX Superior Speaks

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Fr. Pagliarani Fr. Pagliarani

Fr. Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, was interviewed recently by Josef Bruckmoser in the Salzburger Nachrichten, a German-language newspaper out of Salzburg, Austria. Excerpts from this extremely candid interview appear below:

Francis has also made concessions. What more are you waiting for?

We are waiting for what every Catholic asks of the Church at baptism: Faith. Divine Revelation has now ended and it is the duty of the Pope to transmit faithfully the Deposit of Faith. The Pope must therefore put an end to the terrible crisis that has shaken the Church for the last 50 years. This crisis was triggered by a new conception of the faith, centred on the subjective experience of each individual: it is thought that each individual is solely responsible for his faith and can freely opt for any religion, without distinction between error and truth. But this contradicts objective divine law. 

To what extent can the Society of Saint Pius X in turn show itself conciliatory towards the Pope? 

The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X is deeply attached to the Successor of Peter, even when it opposes the errors of the Second Vatican Council. However, we are deeply distraught by a fundamental characteristic of the current pontificate: a completely new application of the concept of mercy. It is reduced to a panacea for all sins, without pushing for a true conversion, the transformation of the soul by grace, mortification and prayer. In his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris lætitia, the Pope gives all Christians, the possibility to decide case by case, according to their personal conscience, the questions of morality in marriage. This totally contradicts the necessary and clear orientation given by God’s law.

We see here an echo of Luther’s spirituality: a Christianity without the need for moral renewal, a subjectivism that no longer recognises any universally valid truth. This has caused deep confusion among the faithful and the clergy. Every man is in search of truth. But for this he needs the direction of the priest, just as a pupil needs the direction of a teacher.   Read the Rest HERE

REMNANT COMMENT: This is welcome news indeed. It's no secret that a number of traditional Catholics (the present writer included) had become somewhat apprehensive in recent years over the possibility that our friends in the Society of St. Pius X might be cajoled by the Vatican into agreeing to a premature “peace accord,” if you will, that might (we feared) inadvertently neutralize the largest fraternity of traditional Catholic priests in the world.

That such a peace accord was even a possibility has as much to do with a Vatican hell-bent on controlling its own opposition as it does with the FACT that the SSPX is not in schism and certainly not ‘outside the Church.’  

For loyal priests the longing for an armistice--to come down out of the hills into the embrace of Mother Rome --is more keenly felt than we laymen can imagine. Since the SSPX priests are not in schism, this temporary irregular canonical standing is devastating-- something their know-it-all critics, ever eager to condemn them as "schismatics, seem unwilling to even consider.

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Since the days of the late, great Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society has been faced with a dilemma: How to faithfully preserve the old Faith handed down to them while remaining in the good graces of a Vatican at war with Holy Tradition. At the very least, we can all admit this is a significant dilemma, and one which was brought on not by a spirit of rebellion in the SSPX, but rather by revolution in the Church herself. 

And as we see it, critics of the SSPX are arguing apples and oranges when they point to the Fraternity of St. Peter, for example, and insist: “They are preserving Tradition and retaining proper canonical standing. So why can't the SSPX?” 

The problem here is that nobody really knows how the FSSP would have fared to this point were it not for the SSPX applying pressure on the Vatican to 'give Tradition a chance'. The motu proprio Ecclesia Dei leaves little doubt that the FSSP was being established as an alternative to the SSPX “schism”. So without the SSPX, as far as the Vatican is concerned, there would be no need for the FSSP. 

So this argument doesn't seem to hold water. And the case against a Vatican/SSPX accord has everything to do with protecting the FSSP against Vatican aggression, as well.  After all, once the SSPX is "regularized" would the Vatican's beneficence continue to shine on the FSSP?  Perhaps we should ask the FFI what they think about that. 

The good news is that regardless of initial intent, the Vatican plan backfired.  Tradition has only been gaining ground since 1988, thanks to the one-two punch provided by the SSPX on the one hand and the so-called Ecclesia Dei communities on the other.

For the life of me, therefore, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to upset the apple cart at this point, especially since it has been advancing Tradition all along despite the best efforts of the Vatican to crush it.

Providence at work? Yes, I think so. 

So, the above interview offers welcome indication that the new Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X will continue in the spirit of the founder to preserve the old Faith by forming and training new priests according to Tradition, while keeping open the lines of communication with the Vatican until God intervenes on behalf of His Church by restoring sanity to the Vatican. 

You don’t agree? Fine. This isn’t a hill any of us needs to die on. But at least consider the facts: Since 1988, the Society of St. Pius X has not succumbed to the temptation many predicted would be their downfall: They never set up the petite eglise; never crowned their own pope; never declared the See of Peter vacant;  and continued to pray for the reigning pontiff (and the local Novus Ordo bishop) at every Mass in every SSPX chapel in the world.

Schismatics do not behave in this way.  

For over a quarter of a century, when the leaders of the SSPX were called to Rome they dutifully complied, thus putting their critics on notice that they would not stop communication with the Vatican, not even with Pope Francis at the helm—the worst pope in history.

Schismatics do not behave in this way.

The SSPX took every opportunity to demonstrate that they are subject to the Roman Pontiff, even if they cannot in conscience obey certain directives which undermine Tradition and the holy Faith. And it was Pope Francis himself, let us not forget, who approved the SSPX Sacraments two years ago--something he  simply could not do were the SSPX truly in schism.

So even Modernist Rome evidently does not consider the SSPX in schism, despite their canonical irregularity.

Simple justice demands we point out that the Fraternity of St. Peter has also failed to fulfill the dire predictions of 1988---that the FSSP priests would become bi-ritual, that they would sell out, that they would embrace Vatican II and the New Mass. Anyone who has any familiarity at all with the militant young priests of the FSSP knows this prediction never came to fruition. 

Bottom line: The Traditionalist revival continues throughout the world, proving that God's ways are mysterious and that He does indeed write straight with crooked lines. 

What are we laymen to do in the meantime? Be part of the unifying solution...not the problem. Resolve not to be polarized by this any longer. Unite and strengthen the Catholic restoration movement by supporting all the enclaves of holy Tradition throughout the world, no matter which order of priests serves them. And if you cannot bring yourself to do that, then at least let's have a moratorium on making condemnations of those good priests with whom we disagree, but only on strategy and not on doctrine. 

We don't have the luxury of time to quibble over this anymore. Pope Francis has changed everything, and it’s time to move on. The Vatican is losing the Faith (as Our Lady herself predicted at La Salette), and for those trying to survive this crisis preserving the old Faith, the old Mass, the old doctrine must trump everything else.

The days of the circular firing squad are over. 

I realize not a few friends and allies will still disagree, arguing that it would be better for the SSPX to "regularize" and thus strengthen Tradition in the mainstream. I do not disagree on principle, but neither can I bring myself to believe for one moment that now is the time to take such a huge risk.  With a Vatican hell-bent on destroying Tradition someone must hold ground which the Modernists cannot control. And at least for the moment, that's the SSPX.

So let's thank God for the 600-plus priests of the Society of St. Pius X who sacrifice everything—even "legitimacy" in the eyes of their many critics—to hold that ground and to devote their lives to the restoration of all things in Christ. 

And in a Church racked by scandal in the priesthood, let's be grateful for the thousands of good and holy priests in the Fraternity of St. Peter, Institute of Christ the King, and diocesan parishes that are planting the seeds of Catholic revival all over the potter’s field where the Novus Ordo went to die.  

In the end, thanks to all of these good and holy priests, Catholic Tradition rises from the ashes…and that’s what matters.

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Last modified on Monday, December 17, 2018
Michael J. Matt | Editor

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.

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