"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Monday, March 12, 2018




Recently, a competitor of the Forum Fidélité catholique francophone raised a "hare", asking about the scope of the statements made in the German District Bulletin by Father Christian Thouvenot, General Secretary of the Saint Pius X Priestly Fraternity , in charge in Menzingen, on the question of the personal Prelature (La Porte Latine, February 16).

In the perspective of the next General Chapter of July 2018, Fr. Thouvenot spoke about this sensitive issue in the following terms:

"It is probable that during the Chapter the question of the status of the personal Prelature will arise. But it is only the Superior General who directs the Fraternity and is responsible for the relations of the Tradition with the Holy See. Archbishop Lefebvre, in 1988, saw fit to specify this aspect ".
This surprising statement requires a triple point:

- The Superior General is not "alone" in the conduct of the Fraternity, especially in regard to relations with the Holy See.

-In his functions, he has no mandate to represent the entire "Tradition".

- On these points, the example of Bishop Lefebvre in 1988 can not be evoked to reinforce the position of the current authorities of the Fraternity.

I - On the first point, it is recalled that the General Chapter is the supreme authority of the Fraternity. Appoint the Superior General and his two Assistants for 12 years (§ V, 1 of the statutes).

This same Chapter is also responsible for the essential task of "checking if the Fraternity applies (...) its statutes and seeks to maintain the spirit of them" (§ V, 2).

The elected Superior General enjoys, during his mandate, the broadest powers to govern and administer the Fraternity with the help of his Assistants. Together they form the General Council.

As a complement to these rules, and after the General Chapter of 2006, which adopted the position of principle " no to the practical agreement with Rome without doctrinal agreement ", the Chapter of July 2012 established specific provisions specifying the conditions for a possible "canonical normalization" "of the Fraternity: in this case, an extraordinary" deliberative "Chapter must be celebrated in advance, that is, with the power to decide on the contemplated orientations.

Since these provisions have not been repealed, they remain in force: any action in this area requires, therefore, that the Chapter be summoned, thoroughly reported, and the content of the project in question be discussed (after the verification of the six conditions formulated in 2012). The decision voted by the Chapter is binding for the General Council and for all members of the SSPX.

This was stated by Bishop deGalarreta in Villepreux on October 13, 2012:
" Also, in this Chapter it was decided that if the General House came to something valuable and interesting with these conditions, there would be a deliberative Chapter , which means that its decision necessarily obligates (the members of the Fraternity). When there is a consultative chapter , advice is sought, but then the authority decides freely. A deliberative chapter means that the decision taken by absolute majority - half plus one, which seems reasonable - will be followed by the Fraternity . "

It follows that the Superior General is not "the only one" competent to lead the process of normalization with Rome. On the contrary, it has above it an instance that is legally the "only" competent to define the position of the Fraternity in a sovereign manner.

Therefore, Father Thouvenot is seriously wrong on this point. And since he implies the General House due to his high position, it is surprising that Bishop Fellay has not reacted.

II - On the second point, it is evident that the so-called "world of Tradition", with its various ramifications, societies and religious communities; it goes far beyond the perimeter of the single Fraternity of Saint Pius X. It is enough to remember the refusals of Monsignor Lefebvre every time they tried to make him "the leader of the traditionalists"!
The wording that attributes to the Superior General "responsibility for the relations of the Tradition with the Holy See" is clearly unnoticed, and Bishop Fellay could correct the words of his Secretary General on this point.

III - On the third point, Father Thouvenot incorrectly invokes the Founder to validate the current position of Bishop Fellay as the only one in charge of directing the conversations with Rome. Only he forgets that since 1988 an essential parameter has been modified, namely that the Superior General has been submitted in 2012 - as has been said - to a previous agreement of the Chapter for all canonical normalization of the Fraternity.

As Bishop Lefebvre was not in a similar position during his conversations with Rome, the parallelism that Father Thouvenot made between the situations of 1988 and 2018 ... is an anachronism . Bishop Fellay should, once again, correct the words of his collaborator.

But it is unlikely that he will ... Why?

Because Bishop Fellay himself has deliberately omitted in recent years to convoke the Chapter before accepting the jurisdiction granted by Pope Francis over certain sacraments:

-Penance and extreme anointing at the end of 2015.
- Priestly Order in summer 2016.
-Marriage in 2017

Although prior authorization was required, because it is in all cases a "normalization" - partial, certainly, but indisputable - of the situation of the Fraternity.

Without risking a reckless judgment, we can then infer the intention to act in the same way for the final normalization of the SSPX that would result from its erection as a personal Prelature.
The warning issued by Father Thouvenot of Germany, and the aplomb with which he declares the authority of the Chapter transferred to   Superior General, is a disturbing indication in this sense ...

Assuming that the question of the Prelature is actually raised at the time of the Chapter scheduled for next July, these same statements of the Secretary General imply that recourse to the supreme organ of the FSSPX, if it takes place, would be reduced to a simple "consultation of opinion ", or in the best of cases to a" deliberation-framework "that would empower the Superior General to deal with the matter, thus limiting the Chapter to the function of" office of stamps ".

In this way, the underlying doctrinal debate would be discarded.

How to guarantee under these conditions that the Chapter can fulfill its own mission, to verify the conformity of the standardization project with the statutes, on the one hand, and with the "spirit" that inspired them in the will of the Founder, on the other?

If in the end this pessimistic (or realistic?) Scenario is correct, and if the Chapter, July or another, ratifies by any procedure the transformation of the Fraternity into a personal Prelature; the "Copernican revolution" (J. Madiran) of the Work of Bishop Lefebvre would be consummated, and the legacy of the great Prelate would fall as a mature fruit in the hands of the sectarians of the Second Vatican Council.

In the new canonical context in which she would be placed, under the influence of Pope Francis, what protection could the fraternity of conciliar Rome expect?
If, in fact, the Superior General (and the Chapter) "forget" or evade the directives given by Bishop Lefebvre after the consecrations, the statutory obligations of the Society, and the "locks" - already reduced - set in motion with occasion of the Chapter of 2012; How can the Fraternity demand that the Roman modernists fulfill their own commitments when the Fraternity is totally under their legal guardianship?

It would be to ignore contemporary Rome if we imagined that it would respect the doctrinal and pastoral space of the Prelature, while Bishop Fellay, on the other hand, takes his liberties with the internal rules of the Fraternity and disregards the prudent warnings of the Founder.

Who can assure, therefore, that the SSPX will not suffer, one day or another, the same fate as the Franciscans of the Immaculate?

Before the decisive step is taken towards the Prelature and the irreparable is done, the last hopes are in the capitulars themselves, if they do not discharge their own responsibilities into other hands.

In these difficult circumstances, we hope that your conscience is firmly oriented in the ways of supernatural prudence, even if you come to confront those who seek impossible compromises to the detriment of the fight of faith.

We will pray for it to San José, Patron of the Universal Church.
Correctio Marcelis