Not all is well in Lefebvre Land…
Trouble in SSPX French District: Seven Deans rebel, get removed from their Positions
The 7 French deans and other priests who joined them
[Update: An English translation of the French deans’ letter has just been released by The Remnant. Also: The seven SSPX clerics in question were not mere priors, as we had previously reported, but deans, that is, heads of deaneries, which are larger geographical subdivisions containing groupings of priories. We have updated the post accordingly.]
On Sunday, May 7, seven deans (heads of deaneries) of the Society of St. Pius X French district read from the pulpit a statement, addressed to the faithful, in which they express their rejection of the Vatican’s “concession” regarding SSPX marriages, which they demonstrate to be a dangerous and subversive Roman ploy. The deans’ letter also warns against any impending agreement with the Modernist Vatican.
Not surprisingly, the French District Superior, Fr. Christian Bouchacourt, wasted no time to act: In agreement with Superior General Bp. Bernard Fellay, the seven deans in question have already been demoted, their declaration condemned. French SSPX adherents have been told not to disseminate the deans’ letter but put it in the trash instead. Will this suffice to quell a potential uprising among the French Lefebvrists?
Let’s review in some detail what has happened.
Recent news from and about the Society of St. Pius X, founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991), have confirmed that an official recognition of the Lefebvrian society by the Modernist Vatican is definitely in the works and could take place before the year is over.
On Jan. 29, 2017, Bp. Fellay appeared on a French internet TV station saying that all that’s missing from a formal reconciliation between his Society and the Vatican under Francis is the latter’s “stamp of approval” and a “guarantee” that they can basically continue as they are now.
On Mar. 3, Bp. Fellay related that the Vatican’s Prefect of the so-called Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Cardinal” Gerhard Ludwig Muller, had told him that the Vatican desires the SSPX to return to full communion “so that you may help us fight the Modernists”! That Bp. Fellay would even take such an absurd claim seriously says a lot of about the judgment of the man who has now been Superior General for almost 23 years.
On Mar. 17, the German Die Tagespost paper published an interview with the secretary of the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei Commission, “Mgr.” Guido Pozzo, who stated that “the Holy Father is pressing forward towards a positive and constructive attitude of dialogue” and is clearly eager to see the SSPX rejoin the Vatican II Church, from which it was formally separated in 1988.
On Apr. 4, the Vatican issued a putative concession to the SSPX with regard to the witnessing of marriages. However, unlike the common misconception that the SSPX has now been granted faculties from Rome to be able to validly officiate marriages, the facts are actually a bit different, as the French deans’ letter correctly points out. According to the cunning Vatican document, Novus Ordo bishops have now been given permission from Rome to allow SSPX priests to officiate at weddings under the condition that a Novus Ordo priest “cannot” do so. If a Novus Ordo priest can be found to do so, he is to officiate at the wedding, although the Mass itself may be celebrated by an SSPX priest in either case. We have analyzed and exposed the trickery of this document here.
The Society of St. Pius X’s response to this Vatican maneuver was very positive. In an official communiqué released on Apr. 11, the SSPX administration rejoiced that their marriages were now “not only valid, but incontestable” — ignoring the inconvenient fact that “Pope” Francis is the last person on earth you’d want evaluating the validity of marriages.
The most recent piece of news regarding the ongoing SSPX-Vatican soap opera is the following statement by “Mgr.” Pozzo, released today:
The reconciliation will occur when Monsignor Fellay formally adheres to the doctrinal declaration that the Holy See presented to him. This is also the necessary condition to then proceed to the institutional regularization with the creation of a personal prelature. I have noticed that there is not a controversial spirit but [a] constructive [one]. The different points of view or opinions we have on some issues do not necessarily need to lead to division, but to a mutual enrichment. I have realized that it is a priority for them to overcome this fracture with the Holy See. For them, it’s a priority over other concerns.
(“Vatican: No date for reconciliation with Lefebvrians, but the spirit is ‘constructive'”, Rome Reports, May 11, 2017)
Another one of those “mutual enrichment” deals — heaven help us!
Apparently sensing that a formal reconciliation between their order and Modernist Rome is imminent, seven priests of the SSPX French district, all of them deans, read a statement from the pulpit this past Sunday which rejects the Vatican’s “concession” regarding the celebration of marriages and calls into question any rapprochement with the Vatican under the current conditions in general.
The statement was published only on the French news site Medias Presse Info:
An English translation of this document has now been provided by The Remnant:
Perhaps the most explosive part of the statement is the last two paragraphs, which read:
Finally, permit us to express our great astonishment at the reaction to this Roman decision. The Personal Prelature which is being dangled before the eyes of the Society of Saint Pius X was supposed to recognize us as we are, and to maintain our independence vis-à-vis the local Ordinaries. However, the first decisions taken consist in unjustly submitting our marriages to these very Ordinaries, while tomorrow the opening of any new Houses will have to meet their approval. This shows to what extent double-speak reigns supreme not only in the domain of Faith and Morals, but even in these canonical matters.
Also, in this Centenary Year of the apparitions of Fatima, we invoke the Immaculate Heart of Mary, not so that She will end our canonical situation which is judged irregular by some, but so that the Church may be freed from Its Modernist occupation and that the highest authorities may once more find the path followed by the Church up to Vatican II. Then our bishops will be able to place their episcopacy in the hands of the Sovereign Pontiff.
It is evident that rejecting the Vatican’s overture regarding SSPX marriages, accusing Rome of undermining the SSPX by means of “double-speak”, and talk of a “Modernist occupation” from which the Church must first “be freed” before “our bishops will be able to place their episcopacy in the hands of the Sovereign Pontiff”, is hardly conducive to the negotiations Bp. Fellay is in the process of finishing up with Francis and his gang.
The seven priests who signed and read this declaration were joined by three other associated clerics. Their names and ranks are:
- Abbé David ALDALUR, dean of Bordeaux
- Abbé Xavier BEAUVAIS, dean of Marseille
- Abbé François-Xavier CAMPER, dean of Lyons
- Abbé Bruno FRANCE, dean of Nantes
- Abbé Thierry GAUDRAY, dean of Lille
- Abbé Patrick de LA ROCQUE, dean of Paris
- Abbé Thierry LEGRAND, dean of Saint-Malo
- P. JEAN-MARIE, superior of the Fraternité de la Transfiguration
- P. PLACIDE, prior of the Benedictine monastery of Bellaigue
- P. ANTOINE, guardian of the Capuchin monastery of Morgon
The very same day this statement was released and read from the pulpit, May 7, the French District Superior, Fr. Bouchacourt, responded:
- La réponse du District de France (French)
Fr. Bouchacourt’s rejoinder does not address any of the objections of the deans’ statement. Rather, he condemns “the subversive manner in which this declaration was disseminated”: “Prepared in secret, among some select colleagues, in order to surprise, destabilize, and place before the superiors an accomplished fact, it takes the faithful hostage and constitutes them judges of their priests and superiors.”
He laments the quarrels between people this will cause and upbraids the authors of the letter for going straight to the faithful with their concerns about the Vatican’s directive concerning Lefebvrist marriages, rather than bringing them before the SSPX leadership.
Afterwards, the French District Superior released some of his own (presumably SSPX-approved) theological reflections on the Vatican’s document regulating the celebration of their marriages:
Yesterday, on May 10, Fr. Bouchacourt sent a follow-up letter to all priests of his district, in which he announces that the seven rebellious SSPX deans have been removed from their positions and that Bp. Fellay has consented to this:
Today, May 11, the SSPX published an official press release, in various languages, concerning this matter:
- Concerning a Letter from Some Priests to the Faithful of the French District (English)
- A propos d’une lettre de quelques prêtres aux fidèles du District de France (French)
- Anläßlich des Briefes einiger Priester an die Gläubigen des französischen Distrikts (German)
- En referencia a la carta de algunos sacerdotes a los fieles del Distrito de Francia (Spanish)
My goodness, what a mess.
We recall that in 2014, a number of French SSPX families wrote to Bp. Fellay demanding, in no uncertain terms, his resignation: “We do not trust you any more, nor, especially, your advisors, Your Excellency. We no longer want you to control the Chariot of Tradition amidst the turmoil of our disordered world.”
Is the latest act of rebellion, that of the seven deans, just another symptom of a big explosion waiting to happen? Time will tell. It is certain, however, that if the SSPX reconciles with Rome under Francis, there will absolutely be a mass exodus of a good number of people, both clergy and laity. The question is just how many will actually leave.
The tension that exists within the SSPX over these issues arises from the fact that they hold to an absolutely absurd and self-refuting position. On the one hand, they claim to adhere to the traditional Catholic Faith, which, however, requires complete obedience to the Holy See in matters not only of doctrine but also of government and discipline. On the other hand, the Catholic Faith likewise requires that we not be subject to heretics, which the Vatican “authorities” clearly are.
But instead of concluding, which they must by logical necessity, that the “Catholic hierarchy” in the Vatican is a bunch of impostors, devoid of all authority, merely masquerading as Catholics, SSPXers insist on recognizing these people nevertheless as the true, valid, and legitimate Roman Catholic hierarchy, which, however, they then proceed to “resist” in every way. It is this stubborn recognition of the anti-Catholic “false apostles” (2 Cor 11:13) as the true Roman Catholic hierarchy that creates the perpetual tension in the SSPX, because the two poles — that of resistance to heretics on the one hand and that of submission to legitimate Catholic authority on the other — are irreconcilable with one another.
The only way to resolve this conundrum without doing violence to traditional Catholic teaching is to embrace Sedevacantism, that is, to acknowledge that the Chair of St. Peter is currently vacant (i.e. there is no Pope) and the Modernists in the Vatican are not members of the Catholic Church at all, much less authorities to whom Catholics are required to submit. Here we see once again to what great confusion and chaos the stubborn will to avoid Sedevacantism at all costs, leads.
Bp. Fellay has been Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X since 1994. His second term expires in the summer of 2018. If he wants to be the one to hand over the SSPX to Francis, he doesn’t have much time left. We might be seeing fireworks soon!
Get the popcorn ready.