Many Catholic souls presently worried by the on-going discussions taking place between Rome and the Society of St Pius X might be somewhat re-assured if they could hear, as I did two months ago, Bishop de Galarreta giving his reasons why these discussions should proceed to their appointed end (but no further). They present little danger and several advantages, he says.
After the introductory meeting last October, there were discussions proper in January, March and May of this year. Each meeting has a before, a during and an after. Beforehand, the team of four SSPX representatives submits to the four Roman theologians a declaration of Catholic doctrine on the matter in hand, together with the problems raised by the contrary doctrine arising out of Vatican II. At the meeting itself, the Romans give their answers, and the ensuing oral discussion is recorded. Afterwards, the SSPX draws up a written summary of the recorded discussion. So far only the liturgy and religious liberty have been discussed, but the Bishop envisages all further necessary discussions being terminated by the spring of next year.
In evaluating these discussions, he distinguishes between the mere fact of their taking place, and their content. As to their content, he says that the SSPX team is disappointed by the oral discussions because, as another member of the team told me, “They lack theological precision. Two lines of thinking which cannot meet produce not a dialogue but rather two monologues. However, the Romans are nice to us, so the meetings are not so much vinegar as mayonnaise. We say what we think. We are under no illusions.” But the Bishop does say that the discussions’ written product from before and after the meetings will constitute a valuable dossier for the demarcation of Catholic Truth from Conciliar error, and for the tracking down of the latest evolution of that error. “Since the time of John-Paul II it has become more subtle,” he says.
As to the mere fact of the discussions, the Bishop sees several further advantages. Firstly, it is good for Romans to get to know representatives of the SSPX, and vice versa – such contact can cut out much of the Devil’s beloved smoke and mirrors. Nor does the Bishop see great danger in the contact, because these particular Romans are not perverse, he says, and it is clear where they are coming from and where they want to go. Secondly, the mere fact that Rome at the highest level is seriously discussing SSPX doctrine gives to the SSPX credit in the eyes of many a mainstream priest of good will, otherwise inaccessible for Tradition. And thirdly, some of Rome’s best brains are occasionally stopped in their tracks by the old arguments being newly put forward by the SSPX. In other words Catholic Truth may be only beginning, but it is beginning, to impose itself once more.
Dear readers, let us have patience, and a boundless trust in the Providence of God – after all, it is his Church! And let us pray to the Mother of God to maintain in each of us the love of that Truth which alone can save our souls, and without which Catholic Authority can never be restored.