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Friday, July 13, 2018

From the Horse’s Mouth: We Are ‘Re-Branding’ SSPX

From the Horse’s Mouth:
We Are ‘Re-Branding’ SSPX 


Dear TIA,

I have heard you criticized by SSPX followers for exposing facts that confirm a SSPX compromise with the Vatican. This compromise would follow the general lines of Ecclesia Dei Commission, which were accepted by other traditionalist/conservative groups: that is, acceptation of the Novus Ordo Mass, of Vatican II read in a conservative way, to not criticize the Pope, to be in accord with the local Bishop, to not discuss publicly these items. 



I have always believed it is good to make these facts known to the general public. I don't follow the daily gossip among traditionalists and conservatives, but have appreciated what I have gained from your site.

In fact, that's why I'm writing. I recently received a link to a Corpus Christi sermon (2018) delivered by Fr. Patrick Girouard, a well-established priest in the SSPX who left it in 2013 because he was convinced Bishop Fellay was making that compromise. In his sermon given in St. Joseph Defender of the Church in Canada, he provides a good résumé of what has taken place in the last five years.

I thought it was worth passing on to you and your readers as a kind of update on the situation. I myself had not heard about the "rebranding" of the SSPX, which explains what I have seen, a softening of position from the heads.

I want to repeat that this is not about this priest or that one. It is simply to show that changes were made in the SSPX in order to satisfy demands of Rome. By the way, none of the facts Fr. Girouard states here – as he has been doing since 2013 – have been publicly negated or proven false by the SSPX.

The changes are 'a good thing'

What does Fr. Girouard say in the sermon? He shares his October (2013) conversation with Fr. Jürgen Wegner, District Superior of the SSPX's United States of America District. He met with Fr. Wegner specifically to question him about the changes he was already seeing in the SSPX. Where is the spirit of fight against Vatican II and the New Mass in Dici, the Angelus magazine, the SSPX website, everywhere? It seemed to him that the SSPX was losing its cutting edge and becoming a blunt knife.

He expected Fr. Wegner to contradict him and claim SSPX was still making the same fight. Instead, Fr. Wegner agreed with him. It's true, the District Superior admitted. But this is a good change, he explained. He went on to tell him it was decision made from the top (Bishop Fellay) in Menzingen to "re-brand" the SSPX, that is, to give it a new image, a new brand.

Fr. Wegner told him he had met with a businessman in a very successful Dutch marketing company and asked him to orchestrate this “rebranding” that needed to be made to be more presentable to the Vatican. The businessman researched the SSPX and refused the contract because of the controversial image of the SSPX. Fr. Wegner asked if he would at least speak to Bishop Fellay in Switzerland, who would answer all his questions. He agreed.

The meeting was organized in Menzingen, and the marketing expert asked Bishop Fellay 150 questions in a six-hour interview. At the end, the businessman agreed to take the contract for a hefty sum of money.

He gave a very stupid argument to Bishop Fellay to convince him to assume a less combative image. He argued that the present Vatican II Church was like a moribund old man reaching his last days. To attack that sick weakened Church was giving the SSPX a cruel and negative public image. Sharp criticisms and energetic forays needed to stop. The solution was to take on a more positive image. Instead of fighting, the SSPX should show the beauty of the traditional liturgy, theology, art, etc.

It is the same old argument we always find, the same one used to change the TFP after Prof. Plinio's death in 1995, as Mr. Guimaraes showed in his Defense (pp. 186-188), when Msgr. GIlles Wach addressed the Brazilian TFP and told them to stop combatting the progressivist hierarchy and stop "rebelling" and fighting against the Vatican II revolution in the Church.

The SSPX “rebranding” follows the same lines. And, indeed, it has been taking place these last years. You can find articles on the SSPX websites like "Some positive points in Lumen Fidei." Instead of insisting that some poison is enough to reject the whole cup of wine, now we are told it is "refreshing" to see the good points in a bad document...

Angelus - small To enlarge click here
The website mission statement presents a strictly positive image: to form good priests, to promote the Tridentine Mass, good Catholic morals and doctrine. Not a word about the combat against Progressivism, Liberalism or the errors of Vatican II. It is repeated on the SSPX sites of France, Germany, Canada, etc. A universal new look.

The Angelus changed: In the first issue of the new “rebranded” Angelus Fr. Wegner himself introduces the new look and way of being in a short editorial, which you can read at right.

It was this “rebranding” that has propitiated the agreement of Rome to give the SSPX a personal prelature, a concord that Bishop Fellay is still promoting behind the scenes.

So, everything must promote a kinder more gentle and more positive SSPX. One prepared to accept the "good parts" of Vatican II and set aside any public debate on the rest for the moment in the spirit of compromise.

Another result of the rebranding has been priests leaving, splits and re-splits or the divisions, and a general cloud of confusion - except, of course, among the diehards who will hear or read no bad word about the SSPX. I doubt they will read this letter. I am writing it for the benefit of conservatives and trads who don't have the time or desire to follow the gossip and wonder what's going on.

Watch the sermon of Fr. Patrick Girouard (that begins at13:15 and finishes at 26:14) here.

     Cordially,

     M.G. 


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