The double-standard of ecumenism
Traditionalists not welcome
where the Society of St. Pius X was born of the Roman Catholic
Church, another salvo has been fired against the
priestly society, and by none other than the local ordinary,
Bishop Charles Morerod of the Swiss diocese of Lausanne, Geneva
published a decree on January 20th, stating that because Society
priests are considered suspensio a divinis:
is forbidden to the priests of the Priestly Society of St, Pius X to
use Catholic churches and chapels for all priestly service,
particularly for the dispensation of the sacraments.
is even more troubling when we realize that it comes just after the
bishop ecumenically affirmed in the same decree:
such a pastoral necessity arises, Catholic churches and chapels can
be made available to faith communities of Old Catholic, Evangelical
Reformed, Lutheran, Orthodox and Anglican churches.
once again, we witness the double-standard of ecumenism through the
application of “ecumenical hospitality”.
Suffice to say that it is unnecessary to once again address the issue
the true canonical status of the SSPX’s priests –
which would be likened to beating a dead horse - particularly as this
is actually not the crux of the matter. In fact, although Bishop
Morerod makes this a sticking point for his decretal stance, he
actually provides the main reason why the SSPX is typically
blackballed quoting Pope Benedict XVI:
fact that the SSPX has no canonical status is not based
ultimately on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons.
Thus here we see the fundamental problem and the cause of Bishop
Moreord’s prohibition of the SSPX.
This incident also provides another example of the continual
inconsistency of how ecclesiastical authorities treat the Society
of St. Pius X. While the SSPX has in the past been granted
permission to publicly celebrate Mass in the major and minor
basilicas of Rome, the basilica of Lourdes, and other
noteworthy places, yet its priests find themselves locked out of a
quaint Swiss chapel! Meanwhile we find that heretical Christian
sects, such as the Orthodox,
Anglicans, and Baptists, as well as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists
and pagan religions are allowed to use Catholic sanctuaries –
even altars – all under the aegis of ecumenism.
comical as this tragic contradiction is, Bishop Morerod has
unfortunately provided an even more serious one. In response to an
outpouring of criticism for his proscription of the SSPX, His
Excellency published a clarification on February 4th in which he
justifies his “ecumenical hospitality” to the Orthodox (who are
not in communion with the Catholic Church) and the lack thereof
towards the Society of St. Pius X (which he deems is in some sort
of limbolistic “partial communion”):
St. Mary Major Basilica:
USA SSPX District Superior,
Fr. Peter Scott offers Mass
for American pilgrims during Jubilee Pilgrimage in 2000
Assisi I in 1986: Buddhist
monks worship a Buddha on the
high altar of St. Francis Basilica
First of all, differently from the Orthodox or Protestants who can
use the churches of the diocese under certain conditions and in case
of need (for instance, because they do not have a nearby church, or
due to construction in their own church, this possibility often
being reciprocal), the priests of the SSPX present themselves as
Catholics. The dialogue with the SSPX is not properly speaking
"ecumenical", but an internal dialogue…
difficulty proper to these priests, compared to Orthodox priests or
Protestant pastors, is that their ministry in fact contributes -
perhaps not in their intent - to divide the Catholic Church from the
ironies of ironies – it seems that the SSPX would fare better if it
were to declare itself a schismatic sect (which it certainly is not)
rather than continue insisting that it is completely Roman Catholic.
Thus the Society is being penalized for its loyalty to the Catholic
Church and remaining inside her, instead of outside!
Perhaps though, the most sorrowful aspect of this entire affair is
that Bishop Morerod is well-acquainted with the Society of St. Pius X,
having been one of the members of the
Rome-SSPX Theological Commission. Thus he not only
knows the SSPX on a personal level, but also what the priestly society
stands for: the Catholic Faith. We may also presume that he is at
least precursory acquainted with the Society’s position on its
canonical status – and that it has been proven correct on at least two
occasions (despite years of denial from ecclesiastical
authorities) – and thus the common accusations made against the SSPX should not be taken at face value.
Despite that Bishop Morerod is a Dominican (and hence possesses a
Thomistic background), nevertheless should we really be so surprised
to see how the errors of Modernism have affected his thinking, which
is merely a consequence of the post-conciliar era?
is easy to harbor bitterness and resentment against such petty
prohibitions as recently laid upon the SSPX by Bishop Morerod.
However, it was Archbishop Lefebvre himself – who like His Divine
Master was loaded down with contempt – preached that
traditionalists should avoid these sentiments in this battle for
The Archbishop’s successor as Superior General, Bishop Bernard
Fellay, re-emphasized this salient point recently during an
ordination sermon in regards to the fulfillment
of the priesthood:
Archbishop Lefebvre during
the early days of Econe
It is hard
sometimes, when we see the enemy, when we feel that we are in a
painfully tight spot, to forget our discomfort and to throw
ourselves into Christ’s Passion for those souls, for them too. “Bless
those who curse you” (Lk 6:28); this is the law of the Gospel.
Perhaps then our best reaction to Bishop Morerod’s recent actions
against Tradition is to offer some intercessory prayers to St. Thomas
Aquinas, that the light of Objective Truth as contained in the
Summa may eventually pierce through and eventually dispel the
modernist clouds of confusion that presently occupy his mind.
original French version on the Lausanne,
Geneva and Fribourg diocesan website. A partial
English translation was published on the
Rorate Caeli blog on February 2, 2013.
for “suspended from divine things”, i.e.,,
administering the sacraments or offering Mass, even in private.
3 In his
decree of January 21, 2009 that lifted the
excommunications of the SSPX’s bishops.
4 The most
important examples were during the
Pilgrimage of Tradition for the Jubilee Year
annually done since
a few years ago in Kansas City, Missouri, a Baptist church had a
fire and without hesitation the lay administrator of nearby St.
James Catholic Church offered the building for worship services.
In contradiction to this “ecumenical hospitality”, there is the
historic incident of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church - while
the local ordinary (Bishop John Sullivan in 1980) categorically
refused to sell this closed-down church to the SSPX, he was more
than willing to try and sell it (twice in fact) to a Protestant
outstanding incidents are the
Assisi I prayer religious meeting in 1986
during which a statue of Buddha was placed on the high altar in
Basilica of St. Francis and prayed to by Buddhist monks, and the
Hindu service carried out in the Fatima Basilica in 2004 – which
sparked the SSPX’s
pilgrimage of reparation in 2005. Of course,
here in the USA was the
Buddhist incident at the Grand Rapids basilica
liberalization of the traditional Mass
lifting of the excommunication of its bishops.