‘Accompaniment’ in Fribourg…
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Society of St. Pius X:
Novus Ordo Bishop permits Lefebvrists to use Diocesan Churches
November 1, 1970, marks the official founding of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s Society of Saint Pius X. On that day, the local ordinary approved the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X (FSSPX or, in the United States, simply SSPX) for his diocese of Lausanne, Geneve et Fribourg (Switzerland) as a pious union (unio pia) on an experimental basis.
Before the official approval, however, the first seminarians gathered together in Fribourg in the fall of 1969, and thus the Lefebvrists are celebrating their big anniversary already. The current ordinary in the diocese is the Dominican Mr. Charles Morerod, pictured above in a bishop’s costume, appointed by Benedict XVI in 2011.
In the past, “Bp.” Morerod enforced a policy of strict opposition to the SSPX. On Jan. 20, 2013, he issued a decree prohibiting the SSPX from using diocesan churches, in particular for the administration of the sacraments, while at the same time explicitly granting permission for such use to Protestants and Orthodox in cases of “pastoral necessity”, in accordance with the Vatican’s 1993 Ecumenical Directory (n. 137).
However, given “Pope” Francis’ gradual rapprochement with the Lefebvrists since 2015, things have changed a bit. According to a Sep. 21 report by the Swiss Novus Ordo media portal kath.ch, the SSPX made a “one-time request” to Mr. Morerod for the use of diocesan churches in celebration of their 50th anniversary in Fribourg, the place of the original founding. Morerod granted the request “for several reasons”, a diocesan spokesman told kath.ch, noting that it was “truly problematic not to accept the SSPX, while at the same time [accepting] other Christian denominations.” In other words, Morerod is being ecumenical in his granting of the request. For a priestly fraternity that rejects and condemns ecumenism, that should be a real problem, but the SSPX in 2019 is a mere shadow of its former self.
In particular, the ordinary’s permission to celebrate the SSPX anniversary extends to the little church of Notre Dame de Bourguillon and to the parish church of St. Maurice in Fribourg. Morerod also emphasized, however, that the diocese does not condone or rejoice in this Lefebvrist anniversary because “the division [between the SSPX and the Catholic Church] is not a joy”, according to the kath.ch report. Apparently his “Pope” thinks differently about the Protestant Reformation, which he celebrated with Swedish Lutherans in 2016.
The occasion of this indult given by the Novus Ordinary of Fribourg is a great opportunity to review some of the fundamental errors of the SSPX and its theological cousins, which essentially embrace a Gallican view of the Papacy and the Church, in contradiction to the dogmatic teachings of the First Vatican Council:
- The SSPX and “Pope” Francis: Theological Absurdistan on Full Display
- Better to be Wrong with the Pope – or Right with Tradition against him?
- Against the “Loyal Opposition”: How Recognize-and-Resist Traditionalism neutralizes the Catholic Faith
- The “Position of the Society” as Substitute Magisterium
- Stumbling At the Finish Line: Another Look at the SSPX’s Illogical Stance on the Pope Question
- The Folly of “Recognize & Resist” illustrated
Although SSPX adherents and similar “resistance” traditionalists style themselves — and sincerely believe themselves to be — traditional Catholics, the truth is that their traditionalism extends only to certain doctrines, such as the Social Kingship of Christ, the Holy Mass as a Propitiatory Sacrifice, the condemnation of Liberalism, or the rejection of Ecumenism. When it comes to the traditional teaching on the Papacy, on the Church, and on the Magisterium, these people embrace either old errors/heresies or outright novelty:
- The Catholic Doctrine on the Papacy: A Compilation of Magisterial Quotes
- Pope Pius IX condemns Bishop Fellay
- Pope Leo XIII quashes the Recognize-and-Resist Position
- The Stumbling Block of the Papacy: Why Bergoglio doesn’t fit
- Anything but Sedevacantism: Analysis of a Curious Phenomenon
- Twelve Inconvenient Questions for the Society of St. Pius X
- Does this apply to Francis?
- The Francis Papacy Test
For many years the SSPX’s de facto senior apologist was Mr. Michael Davies (1936-2004). Although Davies did much good in exposing and refuting many Modernist errors and practices, his own theology was a disaster wrapped in a catastrophe and entirely tendentious. The author of many books and pamphlets, Davies’ apologetical justification of Lefebvrism was theologically and canonically unsound but very appealing to those who sought a way out of the Modernist Vatican II Church conundrum without having to embrace the “ugly duckling” of Sedevacantism.
Davies’ sedevacantist compatriot John Daly issued a scathing expose of Davies’ slipshod scholarship and a powerful refutation of his errors. Despite pleas from his own associates, Davies refused to respond to Daly’s critique. In 2015, a second, revised edition was published, which is now available for free electronic download and also for purchase in paperback:
So the SSPX is turning 50 next year.
Alas, it is not cause to celebrate.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
License: CC BY-SA 3.0