SSPX Puzzling Response to Abuse Crisiseditor
On September 15, an article quietly appeared on the Society of St. Pius X website which acknowledged, for the first time, what some are calling the Scandal of the Century—new and devastating revelations of the full extent of the clerical sex crisis which has been rocking the Church for decades.
Though this article commented in depth on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, oddly enough it makes no mention of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell 11-page testimony which in many ways stole the thunder of the Pennsylvania report, and I can’t figure out why they omitted this.
On the Vatican’s reaction to the revelations in Pennsylvania, the Society report quotes Greg Burke’s defense of Francis, claiming that, “Victims should know that the Pope is on their side.”
To my knowledge, the author of this Society brief is among only a handful who still take the affidavits and assurances of the Vatican’s damage control agent, Greg Burke, at all seriously.
The Society report is useful since it collates the reactions of others to this biggest crisis since the promulgation of the New Mass. For example, it mentions that “in the US, over 140 theologians, educators and lay directors called for all the American bishops to resign” in an open letter of provocation. But then it also highlights Pope Francis’ (the “Sovereign Pontiff”) words in his Letter to the People of God:
“In his letter, the successor of Peter considered that one of the sources of these ‘ecclesial wounds’ is a ‘peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority.’ ‘Clericalism’, he accused, ‘supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today,’ such as ‘the thirst for power and possessions’ and spiritual corruption.’” (Whether or not the SSPX concurs with this papal diversionary tactic is not obvious to the reader.)
The report moves on into the general reaction to the Pope’s letter, citing the issues raised by journalist Aldo Maria Valli, LifeSiteNews, unavox.it, and Carlos Esteban, a Spanish journalist. But the report does not here add any of its own critique, which I find frustrating since the Society should be in a position to hold a hard line on this. Confusion and ambiguity are tools of the Vatican. Let’s not do that.
In the final section, entitled: The Hypocrisy of the World and the Statistical Reality, the Society report states: “The fact that men invested with the priestly dignity could have committed such acts is indeed a shame.” And then moves on to suggest that much of this is the work of anti-Catholic media:
“The media attacks the Church furiously while pretending to forget that these cases, as scandalous as they may be, are only a tiny minority compared to the abuse committed by adults on children in schools, sports activities, or stepfamilies, not to mention the shady circles of fashion, the show business and the media.”
The report then lists stats which appear to show a higher number of abuse cases in families and among peers than those which originate from priests and religious. No doubt, this may be the case. But what is the Society report getting at?
To my thinking, for even just one Catholic priest to abuse a child or engage in homosexual acts is infinitely worse than for a hundred pagans who don’t know better to do something similar. And the fact that so many dioceses have lost lawsuits and had to pay out millions of dollars is itself proof that this problem cannot be dismissed as mostly the concoction of Catholic-bashing media. Click here to read entire Remnant article…
Since the SSPX holds claim to being the “lifeboat” sent by God to see us through this horrendous time of crisis and scandal, surely the Society Superiors, bishops and priests should be right at the forefront of exposing and correcting everything to do with this crisis? Providing the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments is crucially important, of course, but nobody, absolutely nobody can remain silent – or appear to makes excuses for – any aspect of this crisis, least of all the homosexual activities of priests, including the sexual abuse of children and young people. I’m afraid my own first thoughts on reading the above Remnant report was not just “too little, too late” but “not remotely enough, and FAR too late.”
Or am I over-stating the case? Is the Society right to have maintained silence, and remain non-confrontational in the face of the increasing horror at the questions being raised about Pope Francis’ response(s) to abuse cases – what he knew, what actions he took/did not take, denials, etc. Surely Catholics have a right to expect a tad more in the way of leadership from the Society, if it really is a Heaven-sent “lifeboat”? Surely, certainly for anyone wielding moral authority, it is itself a form of abuse to fail to call to account all concerned – and that publicly. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)
You are absolutely correct that SSPX priests and bishops should be leading the line. Sadly, they aren’t. I’ve been listening to garbage sermons, by and large, for ten years, telling me I should simply pray. Not good enough.
I often think the SSPX chapel I attend should be a powerhouse of Catholic Action. It’s not.
I am astonished by your comments.If as you say the sermons at your chapel are garbage why are you going.Do you find your words charitable because I thought this was supposed to be a Catholic site.Priests don’t always deliver sermons that we all find enthralling however I am sure they always try their best.What is wrong with the encouragement of prayer at all times.As far as I can see and I’ll use Fatima as the example.My recollections of the apparitions are that Our Blessed Mother asked for prayer the rosary in particular.I’m sure you don’t presume to know better than Our Blessed Mother.This off course is only one example but as you well know prayer has almost always been the answer .Your comment only caught my eye because I found it offensive.Only my opinion.I am not sensitive in the least but you can’t dress your comment up any other way.It is quite clear what you think of your priests.
This attitude that we should just pray and say nothing is not at all Catholic and it is driven by the clericalists in the SSPX, the majority of whom are too young to know what the Church was like before the crisis.
If we are being short changed, which we most certainly are, through the silence of the SSPX hierarchy and the clericalists in the pulpit, we have a duty to say so. It is not at all Catholic to keep our heads down and pray !
I’m not suggesting a keep your head down attitude.I do however take seriously what Our Lady’s request was and that was prayer.Was she wrong then.Is this not the same message the priests you speak of are giving.It seems to me it is.
I would just add that if something is wrong then say it is wrong this doesn’t mean that people who choose to pray which I’m sorry is very Catholic are weak and ignoring what’s going on about them indeed I think you might find that many people do feel the benefit off praying.
With respect, you’re all over the place here and not thinking clearly at all.
Of course Our Lady wasn’t wrong telling us to pray. However, prayer alone is not enough. We are confirmed Soldiers of Christ with a firm duty to know the Faith, defend the Faith and spread the Faith. We have an obligation to engage in Catholic Action.
Having been away for a while I would just simply respond to you that I am not at all all over the place.You made the statement about prayer and I gave my opinion.Nothing you or indeed editor has said had changed my mind.Irrespective of what you say prayer is important and that was all I was saying.Somehow it turned into a life lecture which was uncalled for and unnecessary.
Nothing YOU have said shows any real understanding of why Our Lady came to Fatima.
Just as Our Lord did not come to earth just to tell us to pray – obviously we must pray – so He did not send His Mother to earth for the sole purpose of telling us to pray. Visit http://www.fatima.org and read the sections there on the entire Fatima Message.
Think simple analogy: mother takes her sick child to the doctor, is told to give said child this and that medicine, take her for a walk every day, give her plenty of bed-rest, and make sure she eats every day.
Mother returns home to tell her family that the doctor said to make sure sick child eats every day. Crackers. Mother has picked out the one OBVIOUS thing necessary to keep the child alive, and ignored the other crucial remedies.
That’s what people do who limit the Fatima Message to the call to prayer. There’s a lot more to it. A lot more.
I’ve just read each of your comments and I’m afraid, with respect, you appear to have misunderstood the nature and purpose of the Fatima apparitions.
When Our Lady appeared to the three children at Fatima, she did not list every dogma of the Faith, nor did she remind us, explicitly, of the duties and responsibilities (as well as the graces) which flow from the Sacraments. She appears to have presumed that we would all take that for granted. Joining up the dots is crucial at this time; it’s a huge mistake to take bits and pieces of anything, from Sacred Scripture to Catholic Tradition to the Fatima Message, and try to make it something more, or different, from that which God intended.
The call for prayer at Fatima was not intended to replace our elementary Baptismal and Confirmation duty as lay people any more than it was intended to make priests into nothing more than “administrators” – or even to limit their work to dispensing the Sacraments. A mother feeds her children every day to make them strong enough to go out to school, to work, to leisure, but does not limit her role to feeding them; she encourages them in various ways to do all that is necessary to make them wholesome and good people, so the priest is supposed to encourage his faithful to BE faithful – to go out and spread the Faith in whatever way they can and, to boot, provide opportunities for them to do so wherever possible.
I once pointed out to a previous Society Prior that a couple of us Catholic Truth “extremists” had attended a meeting round the corner in the Jesuit House of Heresy. Two of us. I pointed at the people packing the tearoom and said that if even HALF of them had attended that meeting, we would have – by FAR – outnumbered the modernists and heretics who were attacking the Faith with a view to (in their minds) “changing the Church”. He nodded, said nothing, and repeated his call to us all to “just pray” at the end of his sermon the following week, after outlining the dire state of the Church at that time. I would LOVE to hear one of his sermons now!
As Petrus has pointed out in one of his replies to you, when we are Confirmed, we are given the grace of the Sacrament to become Soldiers – that is, fighters – for the Faith.
Clearly, Our Lady appeared at Fatima to deliver more than a request for prayer, important though that is, self-evidently.
She came to warn of the consequences of NOT battling the “diabolical disorientation” to come in the Church and the world.
The Consecration of Russia (unfulfilled request), the full THIRD past of the Message (also unfulfilled) clearly portend the kind of suffering which successive bad popes and other negligent, if not criminal, clerics, have brought about. The Mystical Body of Christ is, without a shadow of a doubt, suffering in herself anew, the Passion of Our Lord. We need all hands on deck, every Soldier of Christ fighting hard to bring about the restoration of the traditional Catholic religion across the world. We can only do what we can in our own neck of the woods, but one thing is certain; there will be no excuse for any “soldier” who goes AWOL at this time of horrendous scandal, easily the worst ever crisis to afflict the Church.
You obviously realise, Hope, that “just praying” is not an option; else you wouldn’t be exercising your duty to participate in the lay apostolate by blogging here!
I absolutely do not misunderstand it is I’m afraid you who has launched into this lengthy reply to what was a very simple answer in response to what Petrus had said regarding prayer which quite simply put prayer as far as I am concerned is important.Its really that simple.I understand perfectly the message of Fatima and quite by chance while surfing the net I came across a bulletin by a priest from the sspx who could not empathise enough the power of prayer and that it was by prayer that Our Lady said that her son requested.Maybe he misunderstands the Fatima message also.It is clear we are never going to agree because it would appear you feel that you can achieve change by more than prayer but I find that very strange given that as you quite clearly state yourself your action got you nowhere in godless Ireland but I understand you feel the need to be proactive even if you can’t effect change in the crisis which sadly is occurring big style in the Catholic Church.
For starters, the article was not even entirely up to date. With what seems to be a million things happening on a daily basis that everyone is quite aware of, I think re-stating the basics was unnecessary. A couple paragraphs in there are a little strong but not as hard hitting as it should be.
Albeit, I don’t claim to an authority that says how it should be, but in the face of a homosexual mafia engulfing the Church for how long now, it would seem to me that we need to be raising hell from every possible avenue. I call a spade a spade. I’m not afraid of calling these perverts in the episcopacy sons of satan, antichrists & approved criminals yet nobody will call them that because the truth hurts apparently.
I don’t see very much rebuking the Pope to his face yet we have time to prove that he’s the Pope.
The face that the media is being blamed in our article is outrageous. Look like something that would come from conservatives & those not in our camp, that we’re so quick to judge for not being on our level.
Honestly, guys, it is TIME to unite to fight the one enemy & it’s not ourselves. The days of the hissy fits & the circular firing squads are over, yet every direction I turn, we’re arguing over the same ol’ theological positions. It’s the classic case of playing the fiddle while Rome burns. And don’t misunderstand me, I love the Society with all my heart, that’s where I receive the Sacraments, I’m just critiquing & giving my opinions on how we can do better, how we must do better. Business as usual does not cut it.
There is a civil war in the Catholic Church. Get out there & fight & stop looking to make sure your fellow soldiers are dressed to fight.
Well said. We need the Society now, more than ever, to be at the forefront of this battle, leading the way – not, as sadly is the case right now, with people asking “Where’s the SSPX in all of this – why the silence?”
So, I second your “Get out there and fight” – wholeheartedly.
I think the comments under The Remnant article are very spot on, largely, esp. this one:
“Upon first reading this, and if I had not known it came from the SSPX, I’d assume this was from an establishment Catholic group trying to nuance things to downplay somewhat the scandal. Not as out there as the Reporter but in the wheelhouse of the Register.
I am not an expert on the SSPX. I know there are factions and that some want desperately to “reunite” with Rome and get full recognition of their faculties while others are really not interested in reuniting at this point – or perhaps at all. Plus factions presumably between those two extremes. Given that observation, this seems to have been written by the SSPX faction wanting strongly to reunite with Rome – and not wanting to stir things up too much so all the omissions noted by the author. That said, it probably does not reflect the thoughts of a significant portion of the SSPX who are likely much more outraged by the scandal than is the author/authors of this official response and of the SSPX leadership who must have sanctioned this official response. My guess is that there were deep division in the SSPX even pre-existing these new scandals and, if a reconciliation were to occur, a large segment of the SSPX would choose not to return to Rome. Given the scandal that latter group has probably grown in number.”
I definitely get the impression that the Society is trying to avoid more internal splits, while at the same time trying to respond to what I’m sure is the growing chorus of their laity demanding a response. Unfortunately, with this milquetoast article they have given the “Resistance” enough ammunition for a year’s worth of new calumny.
I was put off reading the comments by the time I reached the third one which began by quoting Akita – an unapproved, and as we uncovered when we discussed it here some time ago, definitely dodgy alleged apparition, which, I am mortified to admit, we promoted in the past. I didn’t read beyond the first line of the third comment.
I did notice that the first comments had identified the major weakness which has annoyed me for years, that the Society will only speak out publicly if the Society requires defending. I remember pointing that out to one of our previous priors, reminding him that he had a letter published in the Catholic Times defending the Society – while the heresy being peddled by at least two priests in the same edition (and every week) were not mentioned.
Talk about – er – diabolical disorientation!
Reminds me of Opus Dei, sadly.
What reminds you of Opus Dei? One of my uncles is a member and they seem fine Catholic folk to me.
Well, I guess it depends on your understanding of what kind of Catholics we need in these dreadful times. Opus Dei certainly has many good qualities, but they will never speak out against the hierarchy. The only time they engage in any action is when Opus Dei is criticised. Not good enough.
All this stuff gets on my nerves. “Fiddling while Rome burns”, DOTF, spot on! I often wonder just what goes on in the heads of the SSPX? They should be in the forefront of fighting this scandal. Do they not care that souls are probably being lost or is it a case of “I’m alright Jack”?
In my experience the SSPX is cultivating some very unhealthy attitudes towards the mainstream Church. I’d say the majority – maybe even the vast majority – of their laity and clergy are of this mindset: “Have nothing to do with modernist Rome!” And its variant: “Don’t attend any TLMs except Society TLMs!”
We know and agree on this blog that we are in the midst of the Passion of the Church, which parallels in many respects the Passion of Our Lord. Therefore isn’t this SSPX attitude, which is really a schismatic mentality, really the equivalent of “Having nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth!” while He was being arrested, falsely accused, condemned and executed?
The SSPX should be out there trying to convert the mainstream Church back to Tradition, not sticking its in-bred head in the sand and acting like the mainstream Church is nothing but a bunch of lepers to be avoided at all costs. If you think about it, there is very little difference between the Society’s current prevailing mentality and that of the “Resistance.”
I don’t really understand your point.Either the sspx were correct to fight for tradition or they weren’t.You can’t have your cake and eat it.Whats this mainstream church.Surely it’s just the Catholic Church.The sspx continuing with what Out Lord instituted and those who didn’t want tradition moving on with the new mass thus the one Catholic Church.
Again, no logic here whatsoever. You seem to be labouring under the “one, big tent” philosophy.
Yes, “it’s just the Catholic Church” but you must have noticed that those within the Vatican walls, those in positions of authority, are driving a wedge between those of us who actually BELIEVE the articles of Faith contained in the Creed and those who wish to change key teachings. No pope has the authority to change ANY teaching OR to create a new Mass – the essential role of any pope is to hold fast to what has been passed on to us. That’s it. End of.
If you have not already seen it, I urge you to view the video below, discussed on another thread on our blog – if you find yourself disagreeing with the speaker, Michael Matt, Editor of The Remnant Newspaper, then know that you are not interested in restoring the traditional Catholic Faith but must be counted among the very many, sadly, Protestantised Catholics now populating the pews in modern parishes – “mainstream” parishes as opposed to “traditional” parishes. I sincerely hope not, Hope! Let us know what you think of the speaker’s analysis of the crisis in the Church to date.
As Petrus already pointed out, your post is entirely irrational. Do you really think the SSPX is “fighting” for anything nowadays? They certainly did while Abp. Lefebvre was alive, but if you think they still are, please provide us with some convincing examples.
And by the way, the article posted by Editor as the topic for this discussion clearly demonstrates the complete opposite of “fight.”
Sadly, very sadly, I have to agree with your every word there. It`s so strange that the SSPX clergy (or is it merely the leadership with the obedient clergy falling into line?) do not seem to see that their active presence in the Church HAS to be a key part of their work. All the MORE so now that we have Summorum Pontificum Masses springing up and traditional leaning priests to provide the Sacraments. It was a diocesan traditional leaning priest whom I asked to administer the Last Rites to my mother – which he did, in Latin, using the traditional rite.
It really is a mystery that the SSPX seem to have adopted a ghetto mentality, as official policy.
Speaking of the ghetto mentality, you might be hearing more about that in my upcoming article, which I’m sure you are dying to know if it’s finished yet….
(Don’t deduct points for my questionable grammar in that sentence!)
‘Dying to know’ is right… My state of mind right now, as publication date approaches, gives a whole new meaning to “Lady-in-Waiting”…
Along the same line, I just bought some powdered water, but I don’t know what to add….
Why oh why could the SSPX not refer to Archbishop Vigano and his testimony to Pope Francis?
Kate Reiser in her article on the SSPX Addresses Pa Grand Jury Report- likens Archbishop Vigano standing alone for Catholic Moral Theology, just as Archbishop Lefebvre stood alone for Doctrine and Liturgy 30 or more years before. She also adds:
“Archbishop Vigano’s testimony fulfils Archbishop Lefebvre’s prophesy of dire moral consequences if the Church Leadership did not stand for traditional Doctrine and Liturgy after Vatican II”.
Editor, I agree with your post of 9.35am this morning.
All very well said. Especially that concluding sentence 😀
Apparently the SSPX French District has come out with an article about Abp. Vigano, but not translated into English yet:
Calling Lionel, calling Lionel….
I’ve just used Google Translator to skim through the above French document. It contains a rather detailed summary of the events subsequent to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and Abp. Vigano’s testimony, but zero, I repeat zero opinion of the Society.. It even fails to mention that ++Vigano called for the Pope’s “resignation,” and concludes with +Schneider’s 8 propositions.
In other words, “Here are the facts, but no comment.” So the Society prefers to let those in the mainstream Church comment, rather than comment itself. A rather strange conception of prudence, along with a nonexistent defense of the Faith.
That’s more than “puzzling” – that’s really strange. I can’t believe that after Bishop Fellay said Pope Francis was “an outright modernist” at the start of his pontificate, that now the Society is remaining silent as things get worse and worse. It’s really strange.
That’s certain more than “puzzling” – it’s astounding.
For Bishop Fellay to have called the new Pope Francis an outright modernist and then for his successor say nothing when Archbishop Vigano calls for his resignation, against the background of homosexuality, child abuse, cover-up, falsehoods etc is beyond surprising.
I would love to know how The Fatima Center feels about this SSPX reticence, since they work closely with Society priests (in fact, one of them said John Vennari’s Requiem Mass, and Bp. Fellay himself said Fr. Gruner’s, assisted by Fr. Couture!).
The Fatima Center, in fact, shares no such reticence. They are openly critical of the current state of Rome and all the corruption of this pontificate. I just received a mailing from them asking for money for their “Rapid Response Team” to attend the Youth Synod – which they are calling the Youth “Sin-nod”!
That’s great news that the Fatima Center is continuing to speak out, notwithstanding the inexplicable silence from the Society. I think they have sufficient good sense to keep their independence and not allow themselves to be unduly influenced by any “others” outwith the organisation, including the priests and bishops who support them.
As is the case with Catholic Truth. More than one Society superior has explained (to me) that their less than enthusiastic attitude towards CT is a consequence of the fact that we are unwilling to operate under their scrutiny – words to that effect.
I’ve explained that since the nature of our work is to report on the crisis in the Church and, given that said crisis is caused by priests, bishops, cardinals and popes, it just wouldn’t work. In the nature of things, we need to be free to speak out in plain language, without apology, and I can’t see any priest – and certainly not any SSPX priest, deeply imbued with clericalism as is sadly the case – waiving my editorials through.
We had the same problem some years ago when a very well meaning lawyer in the central belt offered to read each edition before publication, in a kindly intentioned effort to keep us out of court. After a couple of editions, I had to say “thanks but no thanks” because the heart was being ripped out of our reports and editorials. It is just not possible, as I have explained to said lawyer and Society superior – to do this work of exposing the crisis in the Church without being “offensive” – i.e. ditching the deference and calling a spade a spade. That’s not to justify being personally rude, definitely not, we avoid so being no matter the temptation, and I think I know enough about the legal tricks of the trade with language to stay well clear of any court, but you’ll get my drift…
I’m looking forward to the Fatima Center reports from the Youth Sin-nod!
Editor, as a teacher used to explain things to dim children, can you give me a SIMPLE explanation of the word “clericalism”? I’ve looked it up. I’ve read the pope’s condemnation of same but I just don’t get it! Concrete examples, please and thank you Miss.
Clericalism is the idea that only priests should do any kind of apostolate work. The laity are there to pray, marry and have children or enter religious life/priesthood, do what they are told by their priests, and – drum roll – pay for the upkeep of priests and parish. “Pray, pay and obey” in other words!
Before the Council, this false understanding of Catholic life (and erroneous understanding of priestly duty and authority) was prevalent as anyone who joined Catholic organisations like the Legion of Mary will testify.
In every heresy, remember, there is a grain of truth, and so it came to pass that finding the clergy and hierarchy creating difficulties for lay people seeking to exercise their lay vocation through such organisations, some people, women in particular, took the view that if the priests were going to play such a power game with their priesthood, then women ought to be priests.
I have never forgotten deciding to attend a talk in my parish south of the border, delivered by a leading feminist, a member of the National Board of Catholic Women, agency of the Bishops Conference of England & Wales; her very first words were that she had been a member of the Legion of Mary in her youth. Light dawned in my pretty little head.
Having given up trying to get permission to organise various events to interest non-Catholics in the Faith and other such ventures (as we did, as young people in our parish in Glasgow) now she was agitating for women’s ordination. That’s what clericalism brought about, even before “that Council”. That is one error from pre-Vatican II days that the SSPX has continued to promote, presumably thinking that, since it happened before the Council, it must be OK. Crackers!
I hope that’s clear enough, Helen. If not, let me know and I will try again, which is actually in contradiction to my general philosophy of life which is, if at first you don’t succeed, forget it!
Naw editor, You have previously said that repetition is….. But thank you. I’m thinking about it xxx
A practical example, spelt out, might help…
If lay people – such as the members of the Legion of Mary – wanted to organise something for non-Catholics such as go from home to home to invite local non-Catholics to a series of talks on the Faith, then, generally speaking, priests thought (prior to Vatican II) that that was the priests’ work and no lay people should do that.
That really is about as simple as I can make it. There are plenty of other examples, from my own experience, but if that one doesn’t work, I resort to my above philosophy, which I have reworked as follows: If, the second time, you don’t succeed, forget it!
Thanks Editor, I get it. I suppose what was confusing me was the Pope’s usage of the word “clericalism” as I would have thought that he would love the laity to take over the priests’ jobs. Then when he accused the laity as being “clericalists”, I was stumped.
Just to add a little to Editor’s explanation, Pope Francis has hit upon “clericalism” as one facet of his cover-up of the real problem: homosexual clergy. But here’s the interesting thing: it turns out that homosexuality and clericalism are typically bedfellows (pun intended). That is, these homosexual clergy – esp. bishops – use their authority and position to (a) advance their own corrupt behaviors, and (b) insulate themselves from being exposed (another pun intended) by laity.
Or, as Cdl. Mahony of Los Angeles used to infer, we irate laity are people of no influence, and therefore are to be ignored.
Thank God the corrupt, sleazy homo-clericalist house is collapsing like the house of cards it is.
I’m not saying, though, that SSPX clericalism is also of the homosexual variety. I certainly hope not. I think it is more due to the in-bred nature of the Society, combined with a certain bunker mentality arising from the long-term canonical irregularity.
I agree with those who wonder why the SSPX has suddenly gone soft on Rome, though I might add that together with all the other contributors on this blog, my questioning is not in the schismatic mindset of the so-called “Resistance” people, God have mercy on them.
There is no real mystery to this development, it is simply a case of the SSPX being charmed into silence by Pope Francis’ morsels of mercy in its regard.
It always struck me as odd that while Pope Francis was going out of his way to persecute traditional-leaning prelates and organisations in the Church he seemed to be going in the opposite direction with the SSPX, surely the most Traditional of them all. This just doesn’t make sense.
At first I rationalised it as a strange nuance of this Pope who is known for favouring those “on the fringes of the Church” who “smell of the sheep”. I thought that perhaps in his mind he genuinely believed that the SSPX, with whom he has nothing in common, was at least honest in its commitment to souls and therefore worthy of some indulgence. But now I am beginning to think there is a cleverer strategy at work in Francis’ mind, a strategy to neutralise the SSPX with favourable concessions here and there giving the impression that the elusive personal prelature may be just around the corner.
The SSPX hierarchy for its part, I speak here mostly of Bishop Fellay, not wanting to upset the apple cart and wrongly too mindful of Pope Benedict’s erroneous lament that the Society has been too negatively vocal of the Church’s authorities in the past, has thought it best to temper the Society’s responses to continuing scandals in case Rome brings the shutters down again. In other words, it has been very cleverly silenced.
It’s a strange irony that the SSPX should adopt such a policy with regard to, arguably, the most destructive Pontificate in the history of the Church.
Popes Paul VI and John Paul II were very destructive in the theological sense, yet even they upheld the moral teaching of the Church without compromise. Francis is probably worse theologically than they, but it’s his unique opening of the Church’s moral teaching to corruption that makes him much more dangerous. If anything, the SSPX should be shouting even louder from the rooftops about this Pope more than his predecessors, warning the faithful of the particular moral danger he poses to Catholic souls, yet there is barely a whisper from Menzingen at a time when even middle-of-the-road “conservatives”, not to mention lesser liberals, are screaming “danger”!
That communiqué put out by the SSPX concerning sexual abuse is now typical of the sanitised, some might say indifferent, spirit that has taken hold in the SSPX. Petrus mentioned poor sermons and a lack of holy zeal even at the local level which is a true and worrying observation that I can confirm. The absence of persecution by Rome seems to be leading the SSPX clergy into a lazy comfort zone that is killing the apostolic spirit.
One of the most dangerous examples of this manifesting apathy is in the recent publication of a book by Fr. Paul Robinson, a Society priest and professor at Goulburn seminary in Australia.
The book in question is entitled “The Realist Guide to Religion and Science” which promotes in essence the dangerously novel idea of cosmic theistic evolution. It is Fr. Robinson’s contention
that while ‘macro evolution’ on earth, Darwin’s theory, is flawed, it is nevertheless incumbent upon all Catholics to believe in a 13.7 billion year evolution of the universe, as dictated by scientific theory.
As far as Fr. Robinson is concerned any Catholic who adheres to a literal interpretation of the 6-day Creation, as recorded in Genesis, is really just a fundamentalist Protestant.
Now, while the Church has never advocated a literal interpretation of the Creation as a 6 X 24-hour event, it is fairly clear from God’s omnipotent power and the scientific evidence supporting a young universe and earth that it is ridiculous in the extreme for a Traditional Catholic priest to suggest that God Almighty required a time period of 13.7 billion years and the movement of blind secondary forces (which Fr. Robinson strangely suggests are imbued by God with intelligence) to form the order and beauty of the universe.
Fr. Robinson’s argument for making so ludicrous a suggestion is that since the earth and the universe look much older than we perceive, and since scientific theories (which are non-demonstrable) seem to suggest that they are older, we should go with reason rather than what faith suggests. In other words, Fr. Robinson is putting the rationalist argument in favour of faith forgetting that when God created Adam and Eve He brought them into existence as adults, thereby creating two people who looked older than they actually were in time.
At any rate this book has caused confusion and division amongst Traditional Catholics on internet forums at a time when the Church is torn asunder already with post-Vatican II doctrinal ambiguity and error.
Why, I ask, is a priest of the SSPX writing a book on yet another insignificant and highly controversial subject, apparently trying to impress atheistic scientists with his compromise theory, at a time when confusion already reigns supreme? Surely his remit as a Catholic priest is to sanctify souls by undoing confusion with the clarity of sound doctrine, yet here he is pandering to a fringe group of scientific atheists in a matter that is so unimportant in the grand scheme of present crisis in faith and morals.
I wrote to Menzingen about this, as did others, pointing out especially that this book has been published by a Modernist publisher who slipped references to “Sts. Paul VI and John Paul II” into the Preface, yet nothing happened. The U.S. District of the SSPX is actively promoting this book of Fr. Robinson through Angelus Press. This is what happens when our leaders go to sleep!
Petrus also referred to “clericalism” within the SSPX and he was absolutely spot on with that observation, another error of recent years that I have tried, in vain, to highlight to the authorities in Menzingen.
Having been associated with the SSPX for more than 30 years I can state as fact that clericalism is more prominent today than in the past. There is a definite belief among some that the SSPX is a priestly gentleman’s club that exists primarily to offer holy Mass, at which the faithful may participate provided they pray, pay and, above all, obey without question any and every novelty the Prior or District Superior decides upon. Thankfully a majority of SSPX priests in the world are still a little more humble and Traditional than that, not to mention a little more zealous for souls. Still, the “Resistance” rebellion was a warning of the existence of self-serving clericalism in the SSPX and the damage clerical pride can do. It sadly remains evident here and there and is either ignored or encouraged by Menzingen, which has the authority to stamp it out. The new Superior General will have to deal with this danger, as well as re-think the Society’s strategy with Rome, or laxity will take over and the priesthood that Archbishop Lefebvre fought so hard to preserve will turn clericalist rogue, just as happened almost everywhere after Vatican II.
One final point in this lengthy post. Petrus mentioned the poor sermons at some SSPX chapels. I have heard some really good ones in my time, but not recently. Everyone knows that I have always favoured the SSPX as the most faithful of all to the Traditional groups, a belief I maintain despite present problems. I have never really supported the Ecclesia Dei organisations such as FSSP, ISK, etc., for the simple reason that they are not outspoken on doctrinal issues and scandals lest Rome takes away their permission to exist. The FSSP also has no issue with some of its priests celebrating the Novus Ordo. For me, that’s compromise I don’t want to be a part of.
Having said this, I attended the Masses of Fr. Konrad Zu Lowenstein (FSSP) some years ago while holidaying in Venice and I have to say that he is such a holy and dedicated priest of God, a really humble priestly soul. Well, he recently preached a sermon that really nails the demonic attack on the Church and on souls right now. If only the SSPX faithful were getting sermons like this every week, just like the old days, instead of so much inane drivel. Sad to say it, but there has been a deterioration in recent times. Here’s Fr. Zu Lowenstein’s great sermon.
I have to say that’s one comprehensive, insightful and honest post.
I have written more fluently in the past but this one was a rush job on my way out the door to Glasgow. I’m glad you understood it regardless!
Thank God for my former Prior, Fr. Adam Purdy, SSPX, who, unlike his confreres, speaks out very clearly on and against this crisis, the corrupt state of the priesthood and the hierarchy, including the Pope, and refers us back to the prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success and the remedies we can all undertake:
And, knowing what happened to Father when he tried to do something about all the un-Catholic thinking in his former parish, I will add: anyone want to bet me that he will get into trouble because he made this video?
I’ve only now been able to watch the Fr Purdy video – fantastic! I’ve sent the link to it, to a couple of priests, so I hope it makes them think (not the usual thought, that I am a nut, but that maybe he has a point or a million!)
Thanks very much for posting it. We’re now definitely NOT just the Catholic Truth team, but Team Fr Purdy!
That was a great video talk by Fr. Purdy, who, if I am not mistaken, was once stationed here in the UK. Boy, could we be doing with more Traditional priests like him. I wonder why Menzingen isn’t putting out videos like that.
On the very subject of the homosexual agenda, here’s an interesting development that adds weight to what Fr. Purdy said. I have also posted this link on the GD thread.
RCAVictor, That was a great video from Fr. Adam Purdy. However, why would he get into trouble by releasing It? Am I missing something here?
If you compare Fr. Purdy’s crystal clear explanation of what’s going on in the Church with the rather sanitised SSPX statement at the introduction to this thread, you may understand RCA Victor’s concerns.
Athanasius & Crofterlady,
Glad you liked the video. I was actually very surprised to see it, given the prevailing “don’t rock the boat” environment in the SSPX. I am afraid he will get into trouble over it because of what happened when he was my Prior at my former parish. Father tried to do something about all the Feeneyites sedevacantists, Resistance sympathizers and God knows what else who abounded in this parish (a typical stew in the SSPX USA District, actually). Some of these people apparently didn’t like having their consciences pricked and started writing letters to Winona complaining about him. Sure enough, Father was demoted and transferred in 2013 to an obscure station in upstate New York (from where, incidentally, he was able to say John Vennari’s, RIP, Requiem Mass, and also to comfort him during his terminal illness).
In other words, the SSPX equivalent of a Cardinal Cupich tactic (RE: Athanasius’ Fox News link above).
Meanwhile, Father continues as the US Third Order chaplain, a post which he volunteered for because I kept pestering him about unanswered emails in my 3+ year attempt to become a postulant. He is also the main SSPX organizer in the USA for pilgrimages to Quito, as you saw in the video. Highly intelligent man, faithful priest, God bless him.
Strange that you should mention the unjust treatment of Fr. Purdy by his superiors. I know of another priest in the U.S. who was likewise punished for raising similar concerns in the States. He is also a highly intelligent and faithful priest. Makes one wonder if clericalism has taken hold at the higher levels of the SSPX in the U.S.
It is all the more worrying in that Fr. Paul Robinson’s dangerous and divisive book (mentioned earlier) has been very publicly promoted by the SSPX, both by Menzingen and the U.S District Superior. So it would appear that priests who create confusion with writings on controversial issues have their works promoted while priests who oppose their errors with sound Church teaching find themselves marginalised. This is not good, it smacks, as you rightly indicate, of the tactics used by the Church’s Liberal/Modernist hierarchy. I sure hope the new Superior General stamps that abuse of authority out before it becomes pandemic.
Yes, I think I know of whom you speak. A few years ago I sent an email to Post Falls, where this priest was on sabbatical (so I was told), offering to re-print one of his excellent books at my expense. I never received a reply; I don’t even know if he got my email. Moreover, last year I heard of his resistance to certain scandals in Post Falls, resistance which was being met with disapproval from higher up.
N O T I C E. . .
I have, this morning, received news of the death of Father Gerard Dunn, SSC, in Nazareth House,Glasgow. Father has been very ill for a long time. It was he who enrolled me (and many others) in the Brown Scapular. He was very active and very zealous, all the years that I knew him, and – by all accounts – he has suffered his prolonged illness with patience and a spirit of self-sacrifice.
Please pray for the repose of his soul. RIP. .
I didn’t know Fr. Gerard Dunn personally but it seems by all accounts he was a good soul. I will certainly remember him in my prayers.
I am glad you found this video of Fr. Purdy. This is exactly what we Catholics need to hear in this day and age. Father is clear and precise in what he said. I hope he will not be in trouble for making this video, and, may Our Lady place Father under the mantle of her protection.
I thought this was extremely interesting: a list of prelates implicated by Abp. Vigano’s testimony, and the Popes who elevated them:
I have been trying to email some info to you but the two email addresses I have are bouncing back. Can you email me with your latest address? Unlike your good self I stick with the same email address for life!!!!
I’ve emailed Editor with my most recent email and asked her to forward it to you. She agreed, although she said she might deduct a few zeroes from my paycheck as a service fee…
Well, she’s a slacker!! It’s now midnight and she hasn’t emailed me. I suppose she must have hit the hay early tonight. I’ll be working into the wee small hours. In fact, I was in Edinburgh all night doing IT work in a hotel. No rest for the really, really wicked. Early nights for all the saints!!
I sent on RCA Victor’s email hours ago. Will do so again right now.
Seconds later… I have now resent the message PLUS I forwarded the original message from me, sent earlier. Slacker? Watch it!
I still don’t have it and it’s now 12.30am. Let’s wait till tomorrow, just in case the mail servers have gone on go slow.
Did I say “slacker”? I meant cracker!
WOW! That is worrying, given that I’m using the new email.. I’ll send it now from my personal email.
I’m nothing if not trying…
Editor & Athanasius,
Fear not, the slacker and cracker episode has successfully concluded, and I’ve already replied to Athanasius’ email!
I do not know what to make of all this. I have only been going to the SSPX for ~6 years so do not have the longer term experience of others, to compare “then and now”.
I would say that, since the SSPX website have (fairly recently), all taken on the same format etc, they perhaps seem more genial / less combatative in tone. I presume this is due to them all being controlled by the same webmaster (?) and thus reflect his/her personal manner?
I have also seen attempts (from SSPX sources) to stress that we are “catholics” not “traditional catholics”. I think that is fair enough, labels can be divisive and I think this is an effort to stress unity with the wider Church, perhaps in response to the latest concessions from the Roman authorities.
In the UK district, where I live, I think we have good and hard working priests. Between driving considerable distances between Churches, saying mass and meeting their other duties (like the breviary etc) I think they must have little time for anything else and must be tired often.
As for the quality of sermons: just like in any walk of life, people have different talents. I am sure not every priest is a talented wordsmith, but equally I am sure they all do their best. At mass I hear exhortations and challenges – to pray the rosary, to go to confession, to gain indulgences, to generally “do more” in my spiritual life – and explanations / examples from the life of Our Lord and His saints. To my mind, raised on banal novus ordo fodder, this is great.
In the early / mid part of the current Pontificate (so far) , it was common to hear Bishop Fellay talking about his the Society was “no longer alone”. This is in terms of identifying problems and speaking out in the Church. This is true and there has been an undoubted shift in the Church, in this regard. More people are sympathetic to the SSPX and sceptical of the ‘establishment’.
Rather than trying to dominate the news itself, I suspect that the Society is allowing ‘mainstream’ clerics and outlets to take the lead at present. I think there are two reasons for this:
(i) if the Society was the sole critic, Francis’ sycophants – Ivereigh, Faggoli etc – would find it all too easy to frame the current turbulence as “Francis v the schismatics”. Ignore these people, they would say, they behaved the same towards JP2 etc. And many ill informed people would no doubt buy into that.
(ii) If the mainstream Church is making (at least some of the) running, then this represents a “waking up” process. This criticism cannot be easily dismissed by decrying the character of those making the criticism.
I think the SSPX is “sitting pretty” at the minute: Rome has finally given in and conceded that the Society dispense all sacraments validly and former critics are now waking up to find the Society has been right all along. Both these things are, ironically, thanks to Francis.
Remember also that a new Superior General, Fr Pagliarani, has recently been elected and will obviously need time to grow into his new role and “get up to speed”.
You are right about the possible motive behind the SSPX silence over the current scandals; there was a statement from the SSPX to the effect, (at the time of the Dubia), that it was better that the “mainstream” prelates were seen to act, but even then I wasn’t in agreement. It reminded me of a former leader of Una Voce who explained his tolerance of the Bishops over their unwillingness to allow the old Mass, by saying that when he wore his Latin Mass “hat” he would fare better if, when he wore his OTHER “hats”, he was seen to be cooperative etc. Excuses, excuses. Our elementary duty to defend the Faith cannot be adjusted to suit our social situation or preferences. There IS no “day off from being a Catholic” hat.
I see the argument that any input from the SSPX might lead to cries of “see, schismatics, who cares?” but the opposite is happening as more and more people are asking “where is the SSPX in all of this? Are they content to have their Masses and live in their ghetto?”
Anyway, I do agree that we are blessed with sound priests here in Scotland, in the sense that they do travel a lot to give us the Sacraments and our new prior, I have to admit, has instructed me to tell him of any public rosaries etc that we organise as he would like to join us, and our other priest has thanked Catholic Truth for encouraging people to attend the Society chapels – he actually pointed out, a good while ago now, that most of the newcomers to whom he had spoken after Mass, had told him they came via Catholic Truth and that pleased him, so there is much for which to be thankful in our neck of the woods. We just don’t get the thundering “Get out and convert the world” sermons that I was used to hearing in my youth and, as everyone here knows, I’m forever trying to recapture my youth. I’ve even been known to go on a Scottish Slimmers food plan, in the attempt!
I think your hypotheses regarding the (near-total) SSPX silence are reasonable, but I’m not sure that lets them off the hook, especially since Francis and his sycophants have their hands full of scandal and criticism just from mainstream sources…and their hands are getting fuller by the day.
There is a current of thought within the Society – not universal, but quite strong – to the effect that they should just ride out the storm and pay little or no attention to modernist Rome, until we either get a faithful Pope, or until the VII House of Cards simply collapses.
As for the uniform website format, they operate the same way my former Federal agency does: they have local webmasters, with varying skill levels, but everyone uses the same template, supplied by HQ.
Dear God in heaven, is there no end to it?!!
This almost beggars belief! It is no wonder that Ireland has fallen by the wayside with clergy such as this. Please dear Lord do something to bring an end to these outrages.
But where, oh where, did it all begin? I remember very manly priests from about 20 years ago. What happened?
Another SSPX priest has broken the silence: https://stlouiscatholic.wordpress.com/2018/09/26/we-priests-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-are-expected-to-preach-fully-courageously-and-without-any-ambiguity/
(the link to his full letter opens a PDF)
Unfortunately, this second SSPX priest also invokes the unapproved Lady of Akita at the end of his letter, much of which is very good. I didn’t read the whole thing since the extracts took up the entire page, so the letter itself must be exceptionally lengthy. Not a sensible strategy. Although we have taken to publishing lengthier articles and reports, our initial policy (to which we do try to adhere as best we can) was to keep our reports short and to the point. The attention span of most people these days is more suited to “short and to the point” than lengthy and comprehensive.
Having said that, and with the exception of the concluding paragraph with mention of “Akita”, the extracts are very good indeed.
For the record, we, at one time, promoted Akita, and – in fact – posted a thread in 2016 entitled Akita Confirms Fatima. Wrong. I posted a video promoting Akita, for which I later had to apologise because I hadn’t watched it myself. I had been so convinced that Akita had been approved, that I didn’t see the need and planned to watch it during the discussion. Anyway, blogger, Athanasius watched it carefully and he posted the following comment which completely changed my mind on the subject, although I am not convinced that Athanasius is correct in his claim that the part of the Third Secret, not yet fully revealed, refers to an exclusively spiritual chastisement. That remains to be seen!
COMMENT FROM ATHANASIUS RE. AKITA
I watched the introductory video for this thread and I have to say that a few things left me a little concerned about Akita.
The first of these was Sister Agnes’ twin reference to an accompanying angel in prayer as “she” [Ed: that, in itself, is enough for me to dismiss Akita] I have never heard of an angel being referred to as “she”. The other thing that struck me was how modernist the chapel and nuns look, and how unbecoming the image of Our Lady is. There was no hint of a restoration of Tradition there, as I would have expected given the warnings of Our Lady about the apostasy taking place in the Church. It’s almost as if the post-conciliar reform is not seen as the [principal] cause of this apostasy.
Fatima indicates the truth of things in the opening line of the text of the Third Secret: “In Portugal the dogmas of the Faith will be preserved…etc.”, indicating that the chastisement is primarily spiritual in nature. Akita mentions apostasy but seems to focus more on a terrible material chastisement of the world by God, to the extent that few will be left and the living will envy the dead. This seems at odds with Our Lady’s Fatima promise that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph and a time of peace will be granted to the world. I’m not saying that a Third World War will not happen when there is every likelihood at this time that such a catastrophe may well happen soon. But even if that comes about, the punishment of wars and other natural disasters belongs properly to the Second part of the Fatima Secret, not the Third part. The Third Secret of Fatima is exclusively a supernatural chastisement afflicting the Church and the world, there is no WWIII in there.
The fall of many consecrated Catholic souls and billions of other souls worldwide, the result of the present universal apostasy from God, is by far a greater chastisement than any mere material annihilation. So why is emphasis placed more on material rather than spiritual loss at Akita? I was also a bit concerned by the claim that if the sins of men continue there will be no more forgiveness. But isn’t God infinitely merciful, always desiring to forgive?
Other things that made me a little uncomfortable were
1. The local Ordinary’s apparent believe in the apparitions before his investigation even began. Bishops normally start out with the opposite view.
2. The three different blood groups identified by scientists from three separate examinations of the tears.
3. The mark of the Cross appearing on only one hand of Sister Agnes, the left hand. This is not the usual manifestation of the stigmata.
4. Sister Agnes said at one point that people should pay less attention to the “form” of prayers and concentrate more on content. Content is of course very important, but the form of our Catholic prayers is also essential. We all see the bitter fruits of changes to the form of the sacred liturgy, the Church’s highest and most perfect prayer, the Sacrifice of Our Lord. There were one or two other anomalies that I’ll pass on right now.
Suffice it to say I have been left very uncertain about Akita. The people interviewed, including Sister Agnes, seemed sincere enough, and nothing was said that was obviously contradictory of Catholic doctrine, yet I have problems believing it. I have no such problems with Fatima and Quito, but Akita troubles me. I think the Vatican should investigate Akita and give a definitive decision on it. ENDS. Source – Akita Confirms Fatima
It might be worth sending Athanasius’ comment to the SSPX clergy who seem to always include Akita in their list of apparitions (with the exception of Father Purdy in his excellent talk, I’m pleased to say).
While I’m sure the priest in question genuinely believes the Akita message, it may be that he hasn’t actually studied it closely. You mentioned having done this yourself, taking the message on good faith and with the apparent approval of the Church. I should point out here in addition that I am very wary of the LaSalette message as well.
I hear many SSPX priests quote LaSalette as well as Akita, almost as if any message declaring a world calamity is automatically appealing as a way of trying to frighten people into conversion. But there are many open questions about LaSalette, questions about the message, the seers and the description of Our Lady sitting down with her head in her hands weeping. This is quite unlike any authentic descriptions of Our Lady (calm and majestic) that we know of.
Garabandal is another such reported apparition of Our Lady that many priests quote with belief. But children running backwards down a hill while the Blessed Sacrament flies towards their mouths doesn’t float my boat as an authentic heavenly experience. Sounds more demonic to me. That’s why I stick entirely to fully approved and acknowledged heavenly apparitions and avoid the controversial ones.
These are dangerous and deceptive times when the devil appears disguised as an angel of light. Just look at Medjugorje.
Forgot to say that my reason for believing that the Third Secret of Fatima relates a spiritual rather than material chastisement is that Sister Lucy, Fr. Malachi Martin (who saw the Secret) and Brother Michael of the Trinity (in his excellent volumes) all indicate that the chastisement spoken of in the Third Secret is entirely spiritual in nature, much more to be feared than any material suffering since it is eternal. The Second Secret treated of world wars and does not exclude a third one, but that’s not the basis of the Third Secret.
In the Father Fuentes interview of 1957, which is one of the very few reliable sources for Fatima, Sister Lucia said this:
“Father, that is why my mission is not to indicate to the world the material punishments which are certain to come if the world does not pray and do penance beforehand. No, my mission is to indicate to everyone the imminent danger we are in of losing our souls for all eternity if we remain obstinate in sin.”
So, I think she is saying that it is her mission to warn of the loss of souls, above all else, but she is not ruling out material or physical chastisement. At least, that’s my reading of that statement.
Yes, it has always been said that sin brings its own material as well as spiritual punishments, which I think Sister Lucy was referring to in this case. At any rate, we know serious consequences will yet come, both material and spiritual, but the greatest of those consequences by far will be the spiritual ones. Some have concentrated too much on the material side to the detriment of the spiritual side.
Yes, I’m sure the priest genuinely believes the Akita message, which, as you rightly point out, and I acknowledged above, I did myself (until YOU highlighted some problems with it, for which, much gratitude). I can be quite guilty of becoming impatient with others who don’t “keep up”! Terrible, considering how long it took me to return, for example, to regular attendance at the old Mass. Now I get annoyed with other Catholics who don’t just jump to attention when I’m encouraging them to do the same. That’s a real weakness in me, but, be assured, I do understand that the priest means well.
We’ve also discussed La Salette before and I’ve never been drawn to it, but there has bee some confusion about its status because of an apparent approval by the bishop, which was then withdrawn or something like that. Westminster Fly is our in-house expert on private revelations so I hope he’ll see this and remind us of the reason why so many people continue to adhere to La Salette.
In any event, I don’t think we need anything except Quito and Fatima. Those are the key apparitions which apply to our times, and this crisis.
You’re absolutely correct. The messages of Fatima and Quito are quite sufficient in themselves to inform all Catholics of the present crisis and what is required of them to help bring about its end.
Better late than ever!!!
Letter from US District Superior Fr. Wegner
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Letter from US District Superior Fr. Wegner on Testimony of Archbishop Viganò
September 29, 2018
I write to you with a heavy heart. Over the past several months, new revelations of sexual abuse and coverups have been reported by ecclesiastical, legal, and media sources the world over. The resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick over credible allegations he abused minors and seminarians for decades was soon followed by the stunning testimony of Archbishop Carlo Viganò which implicates the Holy Father himself in covering-up McCarrick’s unspeakable crimes. Additionally, judicial and independent inquiries continue to turn-up further evidence that the sex-abuse crisis which rocked the Catholic Church over a decade ago is far from over.
It is against this sorrowful backdrop that I wish to reiterate that the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) takes any and all reports of illicit and illegal behavior on the part of its clergy, religious, employees and volunteers with utmost seriousness. Every report is submitted to a thoroughgoing investigation by the appropriate authorities within the Society and full cooperation is given to all law enforcement and official investigative agencies concerned, particularly when reports involve minor children. Moreover, any priest or religious of the SSPX found guilty of immorality is subject to sanctions under canon law, including removal from active ministry and laicization.
In an effort to forestall the spread of sin within its ranks, the SSPX abides by the Church’s longstanding and prudent prohibition on admitting men harboring same-sex or other unnatural sexual attractions to any of its seminaries, including St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia. If, after admission to either seminary or holy orders, credible evidence is found of immoral inclinations or acts by an individual, said individual is immediately expelled from the seminary and/or the Society. And, if the evidence warrants, the matter is immediately referred to the ecclesiastical and secular authorities.
I understand that in this time of confusion and crisis, there is a temptation to look for easy answers and a simple causal chain to explain away the corruption in the Church. Be careful. While we cannot discount the adverse effect the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath has had on the Mystical Body of Christ, I fear that the roots of the sexual-abuse crisis run much deeper. For now, we must do everything we can to uphold the tenets of divine and natural law in our daily lives while working to re-spread the Gospel in a world that has forgotten that what it needs most above all is God.
I ask that you beseech the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all of the saints, especially St. Michael the Archangel, in lending us here below the spiritual assistance we need to weather this storm. Pray, too, for the priests, religious, and seminarians of the SSPX, along with those charged with their formation. Pray that we have the wisdom and discernment to form holy clerics dedicated to serving Jesus Christ through the administration of the traditional sacramental rites and the promulgation of sound catechesis.
With blessings in the Lord,
Fr. Jürgen Wegner
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