MJM: Ever since his
election, Pope Benedict has made no secret of the high priority he personally
places on healing the SSPX “schism.” What seem to remain uncertain, however, are
his motives. Is it possible to ascertain the difference between the Holy
Father’s genuine desires to heal this rift for political reasons vs. an actual
papal recognition (no matter how limited) of the legitimacy of the doctrinal
objections raised by the SSPX?
FR: The reason why the Pope wants to resolve this situation
is difficult to know. On the one hand, there seems to be a desire on his part to
avoid a so-called “schism.” On the other hand, he is aware of the dramatic
situation of the Church, which readers of your newspaper know all too well: open
heresies professed by churchmen, sometimes touching the divinity of our Lord
Himself, not to mention open rebellion, loss of faith, and disciplinary
problems, whether in Austria, America, or Ireland… The Holy Father, I think,
sees that the SSPX could be of some assistance in helping fight these real and
Further, however, there is a mystery which I think is
linked to the mystery of the Church which is at the same time human - that is
made of men with their weaknesses and sins - but also divine; that is to say
that Our Lord Jesus Christ still leads and works actively through and with men.
There are obviously human reasons for what is happening
today in the Church and it is important to try to understand what the
“political” reasons are for the different moves. A supernatural view of things,
however, is much more enlightening.
MJM: Archbishop Lefebvre
justified his decision to consecrate bishops against the will of the Holy Father
in 1988 by citing a provision in the Code of Canon Law for extraordinary
measures during a “state of emergency” in the Church. If rapprochement between
the SSPX and the Vatican were now possible, would that mean that the Archbishop
was overzealous in 1988, or has the “state of emergency” simply ceased to exist?
FR: No, the state of necessity in the Church does not
depend on the Society of St. Pius X, regularized or not. It can only be an
objective situation of the Church. Today, this state of necessity still exists,
as unfortunately too often priests and faithful cannot receive in a normal way
the true teaching of the Catholic Faith or receive the sacraments in a safe way.
You have priests and even bishops who profess open heresies, or accept and
celebrate scandalous ceremonies…
The state of necessity will only cease when there will be
objective reasons to entrust our souls to the clergy and hierarchy of the Church
without any prudential protection.
MJM: I believe all sincere
traditional Catholics long for the day when unity will be re-established in the
Church and the SSPX can at long last shake off the unjust stigma of “schism.”
Regardless of what happens in the days and months ahead between Rome and the
SSPX, what can we laymen do to help promote unity within all the various camps
of Tradition in a world at war with Christ and His Church?
FR: Pray. Pray a lot. The work that every Catholic can do
is to pray for the Pope, for the Church, for His Excellency Bishop Fellay, and
the Society of St. Pius X. There is nothing more urgent to do. Never before have
there been so many prayers, especially in the form of the Rosary Crusades; it is
very encouraging. How could God abandon us?
Do not be disturbed by the rumors, especially the different
gossips on the Internet, based on feelings but surely not facts. If you wish to
have information you can
sign up for the updates
of the Society website, where you will be then the first informed of any
Let us entrust our prayers to the Blessed Virgin, follow
the design of Providence, and beg the continued protection of the Good Lord.