Bishop Bernard Fellay’s Doctrinal Declaration of April 15, 2012 is the worst act of His Excellency as Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X. With this Declaration, he was willing to sell the farm to Modernist Rome; however, for some reason or another, Rome refused. Against those of the Resistance who claim that the mindset of this Declaration has infected the SSPX from the top down (and it certainly has) and therefore one cannot remain silent, many priests and faithful who remain within the SSPX and refuse to speak out against the Declaration counterclaim that the Declaration has not become SSPX policy; therefore, there is no need to speak out. Since principle seems to be so important to these priests and faithful (and it should very well be), let us then look at what has indeed become official SSPX policy.
The SSPX General Chapter Statement of July 14, 2012 states that the SSPX superiors have “determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization”. The Statement itself does not outline these necessary conditions; rather, Fr. Christian Thouvenot, Secretary General of the SSPX, sent an internal letter to all SSPX priests in which the necessary conditions (and unnecessary conditions???) were outlined. The first condition is as follows:
“Freedom to keep, to transmit and to teach the sane doctrine of the unchanging magisterium of the Church and of the unchangeable truth of Divine Tradition ; freedom to defend, to correct and to reprove, even in public, those responsible for the errors or novelties of modernism, of liberalism, of The Second Vatican Council and their consequences.”
This necessary condition is the only one directly related to doctrine; hence, it is the most important. With this first condition, the SSPX is basically willing to set its doctrinal differences with Rome aside, so long as Rome gives the SSPX the right to teach the Faith and condemn the errors of Vatican II against the same Faith. The first fundamental problem with this position (while overlooking the fact that to ask for the right to do what is commanded by God is itself nonsensical) is that doctrine here is not given primacy; hence, what we have is a non-Catholic variant of ecumenism. The second fundamental problem is that since the SSPX does not demand from Rome the same as part of the agreement (that is, to teach the Faith and condemn the errors of Vatican II against the same Faith), contained within this position is an implicit but intrinsic proposition that Rome has the right to teach those errors it currently holds; hence, what we have is a non-Catholic variant of religious liberty. These two problems reduce the Faith to the level of opinion as is evident within the conciliar church and in its relations with the world. Unity for the sake of unity, whether intended or not, becomes the primary focus; however, a unity not based on the Faith is not of God.
Given the serious flaws with the first necessary condition, the SSPX leaders and the priests who explicitly consent to it are co-operating in objective grave sin against the Faith, at least on the level of principle. For those SSPX priests who remain silent, we can conclude without rash judgement that they let the SSPX leaders speak for them; therefore, they too co-operate in objective grave sin.
Let us pray and hope that good-willed priests come to realize the grave position of their society’s official policy and take the necessary course of action, that is, to speak out against it no matter the consequences.