Who Will Continue the SSPX of Archbishop Lefebvre?
The video shown below is of a conference given by His Excellency Bishop Jean-Michel Faure on December 1, 2015 in Post Falls, Idaho. At about the 61 minute mark, a layman asks His Excellency whether he will do what His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson has refused to do, that is, take the reins and lead the Resistance. The layman was basically asking Bishop Faure whether he will form an organization that will continue the work of the SSPX of Archbishop Lefebvre. Bishop Faure said he will not do so for now. This is the first time that I have heard Bishop Faure explicitly state that he will not organize another religious society of priests for the time being. I must say that I was rather disappointed. It is not that I and others want another brand new organization; rather, since the neo-SSPX has deviated from the path of Archbishop Lefebvre, we want the continuation of the work of the Archbishop by the formation of a hierarchically structured society akin to the former SSPX. This would be similar to what the Dominicans of Avrille have done, that is, they have continued the rule and spirit of the St. Dominic while the Dominicans in the Novus Ordo wallow in the Vatican II revolution. The idea of a loose association of priests is not consonant with the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church. Therefore, it is bound to fail; it is failing. The mess that the Resistance finds itself in, I am convinced, is greatly due to the lack of a hierarchical structure. Yet those that have the power to do something about it, namely the two bishops, have decided to maintain a loose structure, at least for now. Can you imagine what would happen if the Dominicans of Avrille decided to organize loosely amongst themselves? It would become chaotic! No; we need an organization with an authority holding it together.
There are two main reasons why Bishop Faure said that a hierarchically structured society akin to the former SSPX would be difficult to establish at this point in time:
- It is dangerous to have a centralized organization (just look at what happened to the SSPX under Bishop Fellay);
- There are strong-willed Resistance priests who would not want to be part of an organization.
Regarding the first point, that the leadership of an organization may try to take that organization in a different direction from the one for which it was constituted, we have countless examples from history. Just look at what happened to the Catholic Church during and after the Second Vatican Council; the Vicars of Christ themselves have betrayed His one and only Church! Should we be surprised then that it has and will happen over and over again with lesser societies? With Bishop Faure’s line of reasoning, why then does he support the hierarchical structure of the Dominicans of Avrille? After all, they could be subverted from within as well. Sorry, but the line of thought of this first point just doesn’t make much sense.
Regarding the second point, I know two strong-willed Resistance priests that actually want to be part of an organization. They claim that they continue to be members of the SSPX, but since the neo-SSPX has veered off the Archbishop’s path, they have called upon the Resistance bishops to continue the work of the Archbishop by restoring the SSPX as it was under the Archbishop. I say, “Give them a chance to prove themselves.” If they end up refusing to submit in obedience, there is always the door. Nevertheless, if there are strong-willed priests that don’t want to be part of an organization, so what? They will not and do not need to join. They can continue being independent. Should the Resistance bishops then forsake the priests who do want to be part of an organization because of some who do not? I hope not. As a matter of fact, I will bet dollars to donuts that the lack of an organization prevents priests still in the neo-SSPX from leaving because they figure that they would have nowhere else to go. If the Resistance bishops, instead, start an organization, they will have priests both inside and outside of the neo-SSPX flocking to join them.
We definitely thank Bishop Faure for starting a seminary with the Dominicans of Avrille to form priests, but this is only a part of the solution. We need a hierarchical organization for existing priests. Let us pray, then, that the Resistance bishops change their mind on this matter. If not, let us petition them to consecrate a priest to the episcopacy who does want to continue the work of Archbishop Lefebvre via a hierarchically structured society akin to the former SSPX. If it is only a matter of strategy (as one Resistance bishop has said, “There is more than one way to skin a cat”), then they should not be opposed to doing so. The difference in good fruits between a structure and loose network will show itself, I am certain, in the structure bearing more. Unfortunately, if the Resistance bishops continue to insist on not starting a structure or refuse to consecrate a priest to the episcopacy who wants to start one, can they then claim to be continuing the work of Archbishop Lefebvre (which was only the work of the Catholic Church) in its entirety? I don’t believe so. And if they acknowledge that they are not continuing the work of the Archbishop in its entirety, let us pray to Our Lord and Our Lady to send us a bishop who will do so.