Rorate Caeli has published the declaration the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X has sent to Rome. It looks like the reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX is not going to take place anytime soon. The declaration also says that before a canonical solution is agreed to, an extraordinary chapter of the SSPX will be convened. Part of the declaration is below.
We wish to express our gratitude to each and every member of our Society: priests, brothers, sisters, third order members; to the religious communities close to us and also to our dear faithful, for their constant dedication and for their fervent prayers on the occasion of this Chapter, marked by frank exchanges of views and by a very fruitful common work. Every sacrifice and pain accepted with generosity has contributed to overcome the difficulties which the Society has encountered in recent times. We have recovered our profound unity in its essential mission: to preserve and defend the Catholic Faith, to form good priests, and to strive towards the restoration of Christendom. We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization. We have decided that, in that case, an extraordinary Chapter with deliberative vote will be convened beforehand.
Okay, my take on this:
1. A canonical recognition was about to take place. The SSPX Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, was preparing the Society for this recognition.
2. But… Something happened during the June 13th meeting between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal William Levada, who at that time was head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. From statements by Bishop Fellay and others, it seems that Rome was changing the terms for a canonical resolution at the last minute, in a way that Bishop Fellay could not agree to. It would have torn the Society apart.
3. The Society of Saint Pius X was almost torn apart anyway. The SSPX has four bishops. Bishop Fellay is the Superior General. He is in charge. But there was a large part of the SSPX, including the other three bishops, who want doctrinal differences between the SSPX and Rome fixed before an official practical agreement with Rome, and canonical recognition.
4. I am sympathetic to those who want the doctrinal differences bridged first. With the confusion caused by the ambiguity in some of the Council documents, and the crisis in the Church in the aftermath of the Council, I fully understand those that want clear, concise statements that restate traditional Catholic doctrine, and clear up any confusion in the Council documents. I agree with Bishop Athanasius Schneider that a Syllabus of Errors in regards to Vatican II is necessary. The Syllabus would say Vatican II means this, and not that.
5. There are those within the Church, who are officially recognized, that prefer ambiguity and bad interpretations of Vatican II. Note that it is not my style to criticize bishops, so I don’t. But not every bishop in the Church is a good guy.
6. There are some people within the SSPX, who post on the web at least, that seems to think that only those in the SSPX or other traditionalist groups are good guys. That is not true. The Church has a lot of heroes. That includes people within the Traditional groups, people that exclusively attend the Novus Ordo, diocesan bishops, etc. I love my own bishop, Daniel Jenky. He is one of the more courageous bishops out there, at least within the United States. And there are many others. There are very many good priests, and a lot of wonderful laymen who exclusively attend the ordinary form of the Roman Rite.
7. I will keep in my prayers the SSPX, the Society’s leaders and priests, and the laymen who attend Society chapels. May Our Lord use the work of the Society contribute to the restoration of the Church. I want to include in a special way my CCD teacher from the SSPX chapel I attended as a child, who has gone to her eternal reward. May God watch over her.
8. I still think that the work of the Society would be more fruitful with an official canonical position in the Church. But it doesn’t make sense to “charge in” in a way that rips the Society apart. I do not wish in any way for the destruction of the Society (there are those who do).
9. In the end everything is in God’s hands.