Rorate Caeli

A RORATE CÆLI Editorial: Holy See - SSPX.

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam, et consummabuntur omnia quæ scripta sunt per prophetas de Filio hominis: tradetur enim gentibus, et illudetur, et flagellabitur, et conspuetur: et postquam flagellaverint, occident eum, et tertia die resurget. (Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall by accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. - from the Gospel for the Sunday of Quinquagesima.)

ONCE AGAIN, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX) is at the center of Catholic concerns. Its priests and faithful form a tiny portion of nominal Catholics, but they are a thorn in the flesh of those who praise the so-called fruits of the Council.

This is the time for negotiations

Some within the Society believe that there should never be talks with Rome, not until "Rome returns to Tradition" (e.g.). One of the bitterest fruits of the struggle for Tradition, one of the darkest indirect fruits of the Council has been this spirit of permanent judgement of the Holy See. Prima sedes a nemine iudicatur is one of those venerable maxims of Catholicism.

Some only wish to talk to a "Pure Rome", an "Immaculate Rome" -- a Rome, in fact, which has never existed in such form in the History of the Church, for the Bishop of Rome and his Curia are men, sinful men full of personal defects. "The danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church" -- this is what Pope Saint Pius X said 100 years ago. Does this seem to describe the "Pure Rome" of ancient lore?

True, the crisis is enormous in the current age: huge, seemingly insurmountable in human terms. This is why this is the time to enter into serious, determined dialogue with the only man chosen by Divine Providence to rule the Universal Church, the Bishop of Rome. To disagree with him is possible, often even laudable; to refuse the extended hand of the universal Pastor is irresponsible.

This is the time for responsibility

The Pope has summoned the Society to come to full and unlimited communion with him. This has caused serious misgivings inside those groups which already are in full communion: "Why should 'they' be the ones to receive all the attention?". This is what has been aptly named by some "the older-brother-of-the-Prodigal-Son syndrome"...

For historical and demographic reasons, the Pope wishes to reach out to the Society. It must be painful for a man like him to see that the Council assembled to promote the unity of Christians has actually led to abysmal divisions among Catholics themselves. For him, the birth and growth of the SSPX are understandable reactions to the "Hermeneutics of Discontinuity" which has dominated the Church since at least the first session of Vatican II.

The Pope needs friends in full and unlimited communion with him to wage the fight against discontinuity with Tradition inside the Church. It is important to understand that the Pope might need the SSPX in ways that even he may not understand or appreciate yet and that Traditionalists cannot foresee. This is a moment of grave responsibility for the Society. The Church at large needs those valiant faithful who are willing to say things as they are in order to preserve the most ancient liturgical and catechetical traditions of the Roman heritage.

This may be the final opportunity

For some unfathomable reason, many believe that there will be many chances for negotiations in the future and in future pontificates. Those who believe this are wrong and deluded. How would these critics know that there will be other and better opportunities? In fact, all the signs point to the fact that the great historical window of opportunity is nearing its end and has reached its optimal moment.

The SSPX should not take this choice of being a "privileged partner of dialogue" for granted; the time may come, and it could be sooner than many believe, when this dialogue will not be possible at all.

The Society has become a positive influence in the Church, but its influence would be further amplified if upon it did not hang -- even if unjustly -- the title of "schismatic". Many voices inside the SSPX seem to prefer to wait for another "fulness of time"; others steer dangerously close to a kind of "practical sedevacantism". Whatever reasons those voices may have for their misgivings, they should better be absolutely certain that, together with all its very good fruits, the Society has also obtained the mark of indefectability in order to survive an emergency situation that may last another couple hundred years.

For Catholics, Rome is not an ideal, but the geographic seat of the Successors of St. Peter. It is curious, but it is true: the center of the one true Faith, the Cathedra of Saint Peter, has an actual postal address -- Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano, Piazza San Pietro, Città del Vaticano 00120-Roma.

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam: trials may come, but redemption is at hand.

This is the time.