To His Excellency, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and to the Priests of the Society of Saint Pius XMy commentary:
Most dear Brothers,
Christian brotherhood is stronger than flesh and blood because it offers us, thanks to the divine Eucharist, a foretaste of heaven.
Christ invited us to experience communion, this is what our "I" is made of. Communion means loving one's neighbor a priori, because we have the one Savior in common with him. Based on this fact, communion is ready for every sacrifice in the name of unity; and this unity must be visible, as the last petition addressed by Our Lord to his Father teaches us - "ut unum sint, ut credat mundus" -, because this is the decisive testimony of Christ's friends.
It is undeniable that numerous facts of Vatican II and of the period that followed it, related to the human dimension of this event, have represented true calamities and have caused intense pain to many great Churchmen. But God does not allow His Holy Church to reach self-destruction.
We cannot consider the severity of the human factor without having confidence in the divine factor, that is to say, in Providence, who guides history and, in particular, the history of the Church, while respecting human freedom.
The Church is at once a divine institution, divinely protected, and a product of men. Her divine aspect does not deny her human one - personality and freedom - and does not necessarily hinder it; her human aspect, while remaining whole and even compromising, never denies her divine one.
For reasons of Faith, but also due to the confirmations, albeit slow ones, that we are able observe at the historical level, we believe that God has prepared and continues to prepare, throughout these years, men who are worthy of rectifying the errors and the ommissions we all deplore. Holy works already exist, and will appear in still greater numbers, that are isolated ones from the others but that a divine strategy links at a distance and whose actions add up to a well-ordered design, as it miraculously happened at the time of the painful Lutheran rebellion.
These divine interventions seem to grow in proportion to the complexity of the facts. The future will make it clear, as we are convinced, and it seems dawn is almost at hand.
During some moments, the uncertain dawn struggles with darkness, which fades slowly, but when it appears we know that the sun is there, and that it will invariably pursue its course in the heavens.
With Saint Catherine of Siena, we wish to say: "Come to Rome in complete safety," next to the house of the common Father who was given to us as the visible and perpetual principle and foundation of Catholic unity.
Come take part in this blessed future in which we can already foresee dawn, despite the persistant darkness. Your refusal would increase darkness, not light. And yet the sparks of light we can already admire are numerous, beginning with those of the great liturgical restoration effected by the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum". It stirs up, throughout the whole world, a large movement of adherence from all those who wish to increase the worship of God, particularly the young.
How to ignore the other concrete gestures, full of meaning, of the Holy Father, such as the lifting of the excommunications of the bishops ordained by Abp. Lefebvre, the opening of a public debate on the interpretation of Vatican II in light of Tradition, and, for this purpose, the renewal of the Ecclesia Dei Commission?
Perplexities certainly remain, points to be deepened or detailed, as those regarding ecumenism and interreligious dialogue (which has been, for that matter, already the object of an important clarification given by the declaration Dominus Iesus, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of August 6, 2000), or regarding the way in which religious liberty is to be understood.
Also on these matters, your canonically assured presence within the Church will help bring more light.
How not to think of the contribution you could give to the welfare of the whole Church, thanks to your pastoral and doctrinal resources, your capabilities and your sensibility?
This is the appropriate moment, the favorable time to come. Timete Dominum transeuntem: let not the occasion of grace the Lord offers you pass by, let it not pass by your side without recognizing it.
Will the Lord grant another one? Will not we all one day appear before His Court and answer not only for the evil we have done, but above all for the good we might have accomplished but did not?
The Holy Father's heart trembles: he awaits you anxiously because he loves you, because the Church needs you for a common profession of faith before a world that is each day more secularized and that seems to turn its back to its Creator and Savior hopelessly.
In the full ecclesial communion with the great family that is the Catholic Church, your voice will no longer be stifled, your contribution will be neither ignorable nor ignored, but will be able to bring forth, with that of so many others, abundant fruits which would otherwise go to waste.
The Immaculate teaches us that too many graces are lost because they are not asked for; we are convinced that, by answering the offer of the Holy Father favorably, the Society of Saint Pius X will become an instrument to enkindle new rays from the fingers of our Heavenly Mother.
On this day dedicated to him, may Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron of the Universal Church, inspire and sustain your resolutions: "Come to Rome in all safety".
Rome, March 19, 2012.
Feast of Saint Joseph
d. Nicola Bux
"In the full ecclesial communion with the great family that is the Catholic Church, your voice will no longer be stifled, your contribution will be neither ignorable nor ignored, but will be able to bring forth, with that of so many others, abundant fruits which would otherwise go to waste."
I cannot in good conscience ask for the SSPX to abandon their concerns. I cannot in good conscience ask the SSPX to deviate from their positioning. I cannot in good conscience ask the SSPX to be anything other than what they are, but what they are is Catholic. They are not a Protestant sect. They are not an Orthodox Church. They are not a pagan cult. The SSPX is Catholic.
Insofar as the SSPX is Catholic, I do think that a couple of things can be made manifest fairly quickly and I think that it speaks directly to Fr. Bux. The SSPX should not have to abandon their concern for Holy Mother Church. The SSPX should not have to compromise their positioning at all. The SSPX should not have to undergo the persecution they are currently enduring. The SSPX teaches nothing which is doctrinally contrary to the Catholic faith. The SSPX teaches nothing dogmatically which is contrary to the Catholic faith. The SSPX is concerned with certain disciplinary issues which have presented themselves over the last 40 years or so. There is nothing wrong in that. As Fr. Bux says, their voice need not be stifled. Their contribution not ignored or ignorable. And as Fr. Bux says, they will be able to bring forth abundant fruits.
The SSPX, whether we like it or not, has been the flashpoint for the legitimate traditional movement in the Church since the 1970s. Their actions, deemed to be disruptive by bishops and popes has done nothing but bear fruit for the Church at large. It is directly because of the SSPX that the restrictions at EVERY SINGLE level were relaxed; in 1984, in 1988, in 2007 and in 2011. The SSPX is behind it all. Yet, the Holy See won't recognize the SSPX as being "in full communion."
Granted, the Holy See has done much in concession, they lifted the excommunications, they have said that in times of need one may assist at an SSPX Mass, that there is no schism, but a schismatic act, only. But the Holy See pulls up short, in full reconciliation, why? I think that it is for two reasons;
1. I think that the liberal faction of bishops will revolt. While my gut tells me to go ahead and let them, my reasonable mind says otherwise. That is not a good thing and it has to be taken slowly. Because the liberal faction has wielded so much power since the waning days of Pius XII, it is hard to unseat it, but Benedict is trying. As they age out, the air of legitimacy is growing stronger and stronger.
2. I think that the Holy See doesn't want to have egg on their face. If the Holy See simply reconciles with the SSPX, then it will shine a "not so good light" on Blessed John Paul II. And right now, that just can't happen. There are too many people who want to see him canonized. This would be a stumbling block and that just can't happen. So, even though the SSPX is the flashpoint for change, in a traditional way, they can't be reconciled, unless it is through their complete submission, leveling credence to the actions of Bl. John Paul II. We know that these issues really don't weigh in at all, because the issue isn't doctrinal, but disciplinary, but in the eyes of the faithful at large, it will create a dubium and that is too much to bear.
The four bishops can't be undone. They are bishops. They are valid bishops. Do I agree with every position they espouse? No. But then again, I didn't agree with Weakland or with Mahoney much either. By and large though, the SSPX could be reconciled today and there would be no major changes to the Church. The Novus Ordo would continue. The TLM would continue. The SSPX would not have to change anything, save a little prudence when it comes to certain forms of critique on Vatican Council II, but there are many mainstream priests today who are preaching the same things the SSPX preach. Like I said, there is nothing dogmatically and doctrinally stopping them from full reconciliation. It is merely disciplinary. If it is merely disciplinary, then reconcile. No stipulations, no conditions. The SSPX desperately wants to be considered as part of the mainstream Church again and in my humble opinion, they should be.
I daresay that if the Holy See were to just reconcile with the SSPX and vice versa, then the real discussion can take place. As it stands now, there is a sense of apprehension which does nothing but stall the talking, because of a mutual trepidation.
The Church needs the SSPX, it always has, since the inception of the Fraternity. The SSPX has always needed the Church. It is time to lay down the pridefulness and it is time to just start recognizing the truth of the matter; without the SSPX, the Church would be in a much worse place. And without the Church, the SSPX would be just another Protestant sect. Thank God they are not.