Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Kindness from Ecclesia Dei on the SSPX Discussions

My translation of a good article from Roberto of Messa in Latino on 30/10/2012 about the recent optimistic Declaration from the Ecclesia Dei Commission regarding the SSPX discussions. It’s quite long, but please bear with it, because it's well worth reading.

“We thank a reader for having drawn our attention to this Declaration of last Saturday, 27th October 2012, which had escaped our notice, through no fault of our own, on account of bad weather.

Having read the Declaration, we side with those who are optimistic, and with those who trust in God and in Benedict XVI. (We do not side with the naïve ones; we well know that we are dealing with priests, and with Rome). But certainly one cannot fail to notice that in general the tones of the Declaration are peaceable and conciliatory, and that the focus of the message is the Pope’s desire, and that of the Fraternity, for the “reconciliation” which is so greatly wished and hoped for.

In order to achieve this, on the one side we read that the Fraternity needs to prepare, with study and reflection, its own response to the proposals of the Holy See (it is not said that the FSSPX must decide whether to accept or not: but that the Fraternity has to prepare the response, as though to say: “we hope that the response will be positive”); and on the other side the Holy See declares itself well disposed to wait, and to understand the need for reflection on the part of the Lefebvrian superiors, in order to arrive at the meeting-point.

Certainly, there is silence on a serious fact which was the real motive for the brusque halting of the Fraternity’s reconciliation with Rome. Mgr Fellay’s revisions had been brought to the doctrinal declaration before June, having already been personally approved by the Pope, which would thus have permitted an immediate acceptance on the part of the FSSPX of the canonical recognition that had been proposed to it. Nothing is said about the fact that these revisions were unexpectedly removed by the Ecclesia Dei Commission, which thus, on 13th June 2012, had re-proposed the original text to Fellay, causing by this means the reversal of the agreements that had been in progress.

The action was serious, and easily explainable. Let us hazard a guess as to one reason for it: perhaps in the year which was to see the 50th anniversary of the Council, the wolves of the Curia would never have allowed the Lefebvrians to be granted the right to challenge and criticise the Council, or even merely certain expressions in certain conciliar documents.

But all is not lost. We note that Ecclesia Dei wants to make it known officially to the Fraternity that things are on standby, and that the Commission remains ready. And it does this, speaking in peaceable terms, to express the best intentions, and to announce a pause (and not a rupture!) and to hold out its hand. Hence the door is not closed (as certain birds of ill omen strive to croak to the four winds).

Certainly substance is more important than form. But in the communications – especially from the Holy See – even the form can enclose important contents.

One could say, a little mischievously, that last Saturday’s Declaration was not written by Müller - who some informed sources say is categorically opposed to the possibility of a reconciliation between the Holy See and the Fraternity. He has been dealt a bad hand!* Because having missed out on the cardinal’s biretta at the forthcoming consistory, he is likely to have even more of a toothache.

On the other hand, the Declaration seems to be imprinted with the diplomatic and benevolent style of the Vice-President of Ecclesia Dei. Under the guidance of Mgr Di Noia, there are grounds for hope, if he succeeds once more in sharpening up the doctrinal document, and in finding thereby a form and a substance that are welcome to both sides, and the resulting canonical recognition of the Fraternity which guarantees her freedom both of action and of speaking. (And the fact that the Fraternity has freed itself from Mgr Williamson may be a good point.)

Let us perhaps wait until next year, when the euphoria and excitement of the 50th anniversary of the Council have waned, and it will once again be possible to do business. There is indeed so much need for “patience, serenity, perseverance and trust” in God, and let us add, for prayer.”

*Only guessing at this phrase – DB

No comments: