Again I am being urged by a valiant participant in today’s Catholic “Resistance” to put myself at the head of it. The reason given continues to be that I am the only bishop yet taking any part in this movement of opposition to the internal collapse of the Society of St Pius X. But God gave the dying breath of true Church authority to Archbishop Lefebvre, whose successors have cruelly abused it. Why should he give it again? The crisis of the Church has far advanced between the 1970’s and the 2010’s. At the risk of annoying many of you, here are the good soul’s main arguments, with answers which I propose to anybody but impose on nobody –
1 The wide diversity of opinion amongst Resistance priests confuses the laity.* But to control opinions requires authority (see above). And maybe Catholics deserve to be confused after so many blindly followed Vatican II, and are now blindly following the SSPX. Maybe God has had enough of blind obedience. Maybe he wants Catholics to use their heads and think for themselves, and not just blindly “obey,” as a lazy way to Heaven.
2 In particular there is confusion over whether to jump ship, i.e. stop attending SSPX masses.* But why should one opinion fit all cases? All kinds of different circumstances can bear on such a question. Granted, to stay with the SSPX on its present false course involves a real danger of gradually sliding, but souls need sacraments, and by no means all SSPX priests are yet traitors. In France recently the first edition of a 350-page book, 90% of which consists of quotations from Archbishop Lefebvre, sold out in two weeks. It was put together by an SSPX priest, Fr. François Pivert. That is a positive sign of hope. God bless him!
3 The friction between Resistance priests could make the Resistance self-destroy.* There has always been, and there always will be, personal friction amongst priests. Doctrinal friction is much graver. It is doctrinal fidelity that mainly held the SSPX together until now, and doctrinal infidelity that is now destroying it. It is doctrinal fidelity that will guarantee our one and only Faith which is the basis of whatever will survive of Catholicism in the Church, or in the SSPX, or in the “Resistance.”
4 There is no Church without a head or hierarchy. God wants us organized.* Normally indeed there is no Church without head or hierarchy, but modern man has created an abnormal situation. Whereas the pagan centurion in the Gospels (Mt.VIII, 6–10) had a natural sense of how to command and how to obey (the two go together), “democratic” man has, in the name of liberty, wilfully unlearned how to do either. Thus arbitrary commands and excessive obedience are presently destroying the SSPX, as they have largely destroyed the mainstream Church. This is because both rulers and ruled lack the sense and love of that objective truth which is above both of them, and which when heeded has no difficulty in harmonizing their authority and obedience. Perhaps God wishes us to pursue doctrine rather than organization.
In conclusion, this exceptional trial of the Church will last for as long as God needs it to last for the purification of his Church. Meanwhile in the early 21st century there seems to me to be just not enough Catholic straw left to make a Catholic brick like the SSPX of the late 20th century. Patience. God will have his way. It is his Church, and he is looking after it. Patience.