In an rare move, the Superior of the United States District of the Society of Saint Pius X issued a special second monthly letter to the faithful today dealing with the current status of things within the Society following the publication of the leaked internal letters last week.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Recently, private letters between the three bishops of the Society and the General Council were leaked. As these documents are now public, I wish to make a few comments.
First of all, I want to denounce the immorality, as well as the revolutionary nature, of publishing such private documents. If it can be grave matter to read private letters, as moral theology teaches, it is even more serious to publish or distribute them without the permission of the authors. Furthermore, it is subversive to publish private discussions between superiors because it puts undue pressure on them. A superior must be able to make a decision in view of the common good and not because of any pressures.
It is essential to remember that letters of this kind are normal ways of communicating between members of the Society on a very important matter. It is normal and good that bishops or even priests of the Society should be able to express their personal opinions in a respectful way and in a spirit of charity. Once again it is their publication without the consent of both parties, which is unacceptable.
What are the principles that must guide us today? First of all, we must ask ourselves who has the authority to make such a decision. It is clear that the Superior General has the responsibility of the Society of St. Pius X and will render an account to Almighty God. It is notable for us to recall that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre himself wanted the matter of our relations with Rome to be handled and decided by the Superior General:
Thus in principle, the one who will be responsible for relations with Rome after I pass away is the Superior General of the Society, Fr. Schmidberger, who still has six years left in his term as Superior General. It is he who, eventually, will henceforth be in charge of contacts with Rome in order to continue the conversations, if indeed they continue or if contact is maintained, which will be unlikely for a while since L’Osservatore Romano is going to print a big headline: “Archbishop Lefebvre, Schismatic, Excommunicated.” For X number of years, perhaps two or three, I have no idea, it will be separation. (Press Conference, Econe, June 15, 1988)
As a matter of fact, the acknowledgment of the authority of Bishop Fellay in such a matter is expressed in both letters; on the one hand, in the letter of the three bishops, the respectful pleading not to make a purely practical agreement implies the recognition of the Superior General's authority to make such a decision. On the other hand, in the General Council’s letter, this principle is reaffirmed. If there is a disagreement on what to do, there is nevertheless respect and recognition of the principle of authority.
The second notion that we must keep in mind is our attachment to Eternal Rome. We have always professed this attachment while refusing to follow the neo-Modernist tendencies of our times. As the Catholic Church is at the same time both human and divine, it is necessary to have a supernatural approach to the actual problems within the Catholic Church. This is why we reaffirm our Faith in Eternal Rome, with Pope Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Jesus Christ and visible head of His Church, while recognizing the dramatic situation of the Church today and the difficult but necessary task of keeping these two in balance.
The last point, and not the least, is the indispensable defense of the Faith in times of crisis. There must be no doubt that the fight for the Faith, the denouncing of errors, and the spread of Tradition would continue even within a “new canonical structure,” as His Excellency Bishop Fellay has repeatedly affirmed. Our Superior General; and his assistants have expressed their conviction that the possibility of a personal prelature is not a trap. This is a prudential question and different opinions are possible, but the final decision belongs only to the Superior General.
I have been regularly and recently in contact with His Excellency Bishop Fellay and other superiors of the Society. Further, I can assure you of the unity which exists in our District, following the line of Archbishop Lefebvre, which continues to be manifested today. Do not be disturbed by media reports, which may prematurely, and without sufficient information, prophesy many things.
At this hour, we do not know what will be the outcome of this situation. Will the Society of St. Pius X be “recognized” or will we have to stay in the same situation for some more time? We trust and hope that whatever circumstances Providence determines will lead to a restoration of Tradition. Let us therefore keep in our prayers both the Holy Father and Bishop Fellay, that the Holy Ghost may guide them under such difficult circumstances, in addition to the whole Society and her priests. Be assured of my prayers and may the Immaculate Heart of Mary protect the Society of St. Pius X.
Fr. Arnaud Rostand [Source]