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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:

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:

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.

25 Responses to “Trouble in SSPX French District: 7 Deans rebel, get removed from their Positions”

  1. Junior Ribeiro

    If such demonic disorientation really exists, it can be defined by this conclusion: following a heretic on the way to hell is better than being a sedevacantist.

    • MARY GRUMBLATT

      I do not believe anyone in his right mind could possibly mean that statement. Have you forgotten the Vision of Hell shown to the Fatima children? Hell never ends. It is eternal punishment forever!

  2. poapratensis

    I am not so sure everyone in the SSPX are resistors. Many, I suspect, are sedes in the closet, that are unwilling to venture into sedelandia for all it’s troubles. I am afraid that as Fellay forces the issue, remainging in the closet will become unbearable for some. It will have an effect of further weakening, through division, traditionalism genearally.

    • aabroad

      The division already exists. If many currently within SSPX announce their sedevacantism, i.e. their true traditionalism, I think this will actually strengthen traditionalism, since it will put a clearer face upon this group. Currently the world at large can see them as just a part of the mainstream Catholic melange, albeit a bit off to one side, especially as the SSPX has been moving closer and closer to the Novus Ordo ranks. By distancing themselves, they would make the sedevacantist bloc larger and more visible to the world. This could even provide the impetus for closet sedevacantists within NO congregations to declare their allegiance. It may be messy, but I think it is a positive thing.

      • poapratensis

        I see what you mean, and can see it strengthening traditionalism in theroy, but I am afraid that the “mess” might turn into a mire in which the circular firing squad, so beloved by trads, leaves us all mortally wounded. I, too, also wonder about numbers. Everyone is so hush hush I don’t know a single other sede that goes to SSPX chapels besides John Lane, who is open about it.

        • 2c3n1 .

          I have a friend and old client who belongs to Novus Ordo establishment that has confirmed to me that her brother (an SSPX priest) is a sede. When I questioned her, thinking she misunderstood his position, she was quite adamant that he was a sede. So I know they are out there.

          • Herman_U_Tick

            ‘…So I know they are out there.’

            Out there but not (yet) ‘out’ there it would seem.

        • aabroad

          There will need to be a high degree of humility and charity on both sides – those “coming out” and those accepting them into the sede fold. In my experience those who have the hardest time are the cradle-Catholics, whether brought up Novus Ordo, SSPX, or another traditionalist camp. Compared with converts like myself, they have not usually had a history of recognising inconsistencies and problems within their sect, searching for a resolution, then making changes. An experience of 50 congregations covering 20 denominations, often being quite sure that one had “finally” found the Truth, only to be disappointed, certainly makes one humble, and full of compassion for those struggling to come to terms with the growing suspicion that what they have always thought was the Church is in fact not.

          • aabroad

            Thanks, Siobhan. When speaking from the heart about an issue in which so many souls are at stake (including my own close family), maybe the Lord helps me a bit…

          • CT

            Have you ever thought about writing? That was nicely put.

          • aabroad

            Thanks, CT. I write less than a tenth of what I would like to; since I am apt to spend a long time crafting what I do write to make sure that it is really worthwhile and (hopefully) gets the message across. Sometimes I write a few sentences on a blog and then just delete the whole comment since I realise that it would take me too long to properly convey what I want to say, rather than appear to be taking a superficial approach to something. (No offence meant to those wonderful commenters who are the masters of the quick, accurate, insightful observation – I love reading your work. There is a place for both approaches in comboxes.)

          • CT

            I agree and that is very kind of you to say. Cheers to you. (Gentlemanly bow)

  3. Frankie

    Your whole argument rests upon a supposition of sedevacantism, which you do have the authority to determine. You are in fact caught upon the horns of the same dilemma and paradox that you accuse SSPX of being in the wrong about.

    The Church is indefectible over time, and Our Lord has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her, the Church is His Bride, in matters of faith and morals Her pronouncements are infallible ( Vatican I), and our Lady at Fatima has assured us of the eventual triumph of her Immaculate Heart. He is with us visibly in the Church. Sedevacantism destroys all this and is a mortal poison to the faith – a cure worse than the sickness.

    • Pascendi

      We don’t have the authority to make a legal judgment nor do we claim to. But everyone can determine whether or not someone is a manifest heretic and in fact once we’ve concluded such with moral certitude we have a moral obligation to act in accordance with that conclusion.
      The teaching of the Church is that manifest heretics, schismatics, and apostates separate themselves from the Church and can no longer hold office. It is precisely because the Church is indefectable that such people can’t hold office. In the practical sense it’s what guarantees that She is without defect.
      Having a heretic with Divine authority to teach and govern is what destroys the Church’s indefectability.

  4. Stephen Fians

    All this sniping at the Vatican as it is presently constituted is, I find, counterproductive in the extreme! Should we not pray without ceasing that whoever holds the throne of Peter and the Bishops united with him be open to and receive the grace to pronounce the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth of the Gospels with all boldness–casting aside his own personal views??? This is exactly what the ancient Enemy wants, my fellow spiritual warriors for Christ! He would like nothing better than Christ’s Church divided against itself—all the easier for him to (at least try and) conquer, am I right? We must strive to work out our doctrinal squabbles (many of which are petty) and unite against all external secular forces trying to marginalize us at every turn. Any factionalism and earthly ambition at any level of the Church must be eliminated at the roots–common ground must be found, otherwise there may not be a Church left to save in the end. Chew on that for a while.

    • Pascendi

      I don’t see how any so called sniping could be counterproductive when you consider that up until Bergoglio the volume of criticism they had to endure was so low that they simply ignored it and forged ahead with their anti Catholic agenda.
      There is only one Catholic doctrine and it is non-negotiable. If you’re referring to the differences between sedes and non-sedes here’s my offer. Start by at least acknowledging that a man who contradicts Jesus Christ cannot be His Vicar.

  5. Pascendi

    An authoritative declaration is only needed in the legal forum to declare the See vacant so that a conclave can be held. If it were impossible for anyone to conclude that the person is a heretic, the individuals making up the juridical body could never even convene. Your argument is a self contradiction.
    He doesn’t need to formally teach heresy in order to lose his authority. He only needs to state his belief in a heresy in order to separate himself from the Church.

    • Frankie

      And the ‘legal forum’ has not yet happened. He has not yet been found guilty of teaching heresy, there are only things that he has said that others believe are heretical. It is a matter of due process.

      I speak as one who is fully convinced that the Pope is a modernist who knows exactly what he is doing. But it serves no-one to destroy the Office of the Pope and what that represents, just because the current holder of that office is a dud.

      • Novus Ordo Watch

        No, that is not correct. Canon Law states explicitly that what is notorious in fact needs no further legal proof, and Francis’ heresies and his pertinacity are notorious in fact. To say that someone like Francis could validly hold the Papacy *is* destroying the Papacy, not denying that he is a valid occupant.

        Here is a short video explaining what would follow if Francis were a valid Pope:

        • Frankie

          Notorious in fact with some Catholics, but not with the majority by any means. We still get back to due process – which does exist.

          I am happy to agree to differ, I am afraid! Let us pray for the guidance of the holy Spirit for our errant pastors.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            “Notorious in fact” is not a subjective concept. It is objective. It has nothing to do with how many people “get it” but with whether certain objective conditions are fulfilled.

            If Francis is the Pope, then there is no “due process”. This is very important to understand because this touches the very dogma of the Papacy:

            “The Primatial See can be judged by no one (Canon 1556). The Supreme Pontiff has the highest legislative, administrative and judicial power in the Church. The Code states that the Roman Pontiff cannot be brought to trial by anyone. The very idea of the trial of a person supposes that the court conducting the trial has jurisdiction over the person, but the Pope has no superior, wherefore no court has power to subject him to judicial trial.”

            (Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, rev. by Rev. Callistus Smith [New York: Joseph F. Wagner, 1952], n. 1549, p. 225.)

            More here: http://novusordowatch.org/2016/03/impossibility-judging-deposing-true-pope/

            God bless you.

  6. Pascendi

    I have a better understanding of your point and your concerns. My position is simply that they’re not Catholic, much less the Catholic hierarchy. They have a number of different doctrines they’ve officially promulgated beginning at the time of Vatican II which is impossible for the Church to do. They’ve simply absconded with the name and the properties. On a personal level many of them have publicly expressed belief in all manner of heresies which automatically separates them from the Church.
    You believe Francis is the only pope we have at the moment. I believe he is not a pope at all nor even a member of the Catholic Church. Of course, he should be prayed for just as we pray for the conversion of all people, and maybe more so for him considering the countless souls he’s leading to Hell.

  7. MARY GRUMBLATT

    Excellent article.Church Teachings cannot change as they were given by Our Lord. Even one with little knowledge should know that Jesus said more than once, “If you love me, keep my Commandments” The opposite is being done by current usurper. One easily can excommunicate himself by disagreeing with just one Truth of the Holy, Roman Catholic teachings revealed by God.

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