Rorate Caeli

The One-Two-Three Strategy

The Superior for the District of France of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX), Father Régis de Cacqueray, published a communiqué on the official website of the District (which is by far the largest district of the Fraternity), warning the faithful against the rumors and especially the malicious comments spread by two well-known websites, one French and the other American*.

Father de Cacqueray is considered a "hardliner" ("anti-reconciliation"), but this does not mean much: we Catholics of all people must be wary of such labels, which are used with malevolent intentions but do not possess any clear meaning. The most important passage of his communiqué is not particularly related to the condemned websites:

Whatever they [the websites] are interested in portraying [that is, that the Fraternity is dominated by a "cabal of conspirators" willing to "sell out"], the Fraternity of Saint Pius X remains faithful to a line [which has been] clearly expressed and regarding which it has not wavered:

- obtaining the two preconditions, which are the withdrawal of the decree of excommunications and the freedom of every priest to celebrate the Mass of Saint Pius V;

- the resolution of doctrinal questions;

- the search for the most adequate canonical solution.

Father de Cacqueray is right, of course: that has been the steady position of the Fraternity, expressed (as we have commented before), for instance, in the very illuminating letter of Bishop Fellay (the Superior-General of the Fraternity) to Cardinal Castrillón in 2004 (repeated in his latest interview). But this line of thought has rarely been so clearly and synthetically expressed, and for that we thank Father de Cacqueray. Will we see this strategy unfold in its clear steps in the near future?... Perhaps.

Some may also believe that "doctrinal discussions" are unacceptable -- but that is preposterous. The Holy See has been hopelessly dialoguing, since the Council, with the Anglican Communion, which lost any sign of faith sometime between 1860 and 1960... Honest and topical discussions with the Fraternity would be far more objective, since there is no dogmatic issue involved, and could set the basis for a very useful definition of the "hermeneutics of continuity" proposed by Pope Benedict. Such discussions could also happen after a clearer canonical framework is established, since they are not among the "preconditions".

Therefore, one could envision a situation whereby the creation of a "Doctrinal Commission" -- which would then be the institutional "locus" of the debates between the Fraternity and the Holy See -- serves as the fulfilment of this step ("the resolution of doctrinal questions"), allowing for the complete canonical regularization of the Society even though not every controversy is actually resolved before the establishment of the new canonical framework.

*[It should be said, in fairness, that the French Sedevacantist website has one thing to be said in its favor: it ALWAYS mentions its sources, which is essential in the web; while the American website shamelessly copies commentaries, translations, and other texts without the minimal courtesy of crediting its sources.]