On January 21, 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI remitted the (unlawful) ex-communications from the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). The four had been excommunicated on July 1, 1988 as a result of their consecration as bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre two days earlier. (The Vatican sure moves fast when it comes to excommunicating traditionalists! Of course, we’re still waiting for the excommunications of all those who have destroyed the Church over the last 40 years). Nevertheless, it was an extremely courageous move by His Holiness and all of us long-suffering traditional Catholics are grateful, excited, and hopeful for more.
Because after Vatican II (1962-1965) the Church under Paul VI (of unhappy memory) underwent the most drastic, unprecedented, and disastrous changes it had ever experienced in its 2,000 year history. The “new springtime” they had predicted turned into the coldest of Arctic winters for the Church, even if Pope Benedict said recently that Vatican II had been a great blessing. Yeah, right. With all due respect to His Holiness, the seminaries, the convents, the monasteries, the schools, and most of those hideous-looking new churches, are empty!
For all his sincerity in wanting some kind of restoration in the Church, I do not believe that Pope Benedict will ever be able to be completely objective about just how catastrophic the Vatican II Revolution has been. And not only for the Catholic Church, but for the rest of the world as well. But Revolutionaries always believe they’ve created heaven on earth, even as the poor souls who suffer through them experience a living hell. And one thing’s for certain about Revolutionaries, their worst nightmare involves those who offer resistance, that is, the Counter-Revolutionaries.
Enter His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of France. The Saint Athanasius of the 20th Century. Bishop Athanasius fought virtually alone againt the Arian heresy in the 4th Century and was even excommunicated by Pope Liberius. Now, no one even remembers Pope Liberius and yet Saint Athanasius is, well, a saint. Prediction: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre will one day be raised to the altar of saints, but history may not recall the post-Conciliar popes so kindly. Pope Benedict still has time to forge his legacy and (with the exceptions of entering synagogues, the U.N., and trying to redeem Vatican II) he has done a couple of incredibly important things for which he deserves praise; namely, his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum allowing the Latin Mass and now the lifting of the excommunications. But they never should have been excommunicated in the first place. Here’s what happened.
Archbishop Lefebvre founded the SSPX order (and a seminary at Econe, Switzerland) in 1970 for the training of priests to maintain the traditional Catholic faith. This was a huge thorn in the side of the Conciliar Church, because the existence of an order of priests dedicated to maintainting tradition meant a constant source of counter-Revolutionaires for the future. As the Archbishop neared his end, he knew that he needed to consecrate a bishop from among his priests to continue his work after his death. It takes a bishop to ordain priests, and without a replacement SSPX bishop to ordain new priests into the order, the SSPX would have gone extinct.
John Paul II would not grant permission for Archbishop Lefebvre to consecrate bishops. The Archbishop knew that this meant the Pope wanted the SSPX order to die, and with it, the Counter-Revolution. His Grace realized that the Church was undergoing some kind of apostasy, especially after the abomination at Assisi, and at age 82, he realized he didn’t have much time left. He believed that a state of emergency existed, so he went ahead with the consecrations anyway, along with Bishop de Castro Mayer of Brazil. The six were excommunicated two days later. But Archbishop Lefebvre predicted in his homily at the consecration that one day Rome would embrace them (the SSPX) and thank them for having maintained the faith. He died in 1991.
Enter his successor, the Superior General of the SSPX, one of the four consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay of Switzerland. And what a worthy successor he has been. Even Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (the cardinal charged with luring the SSPX back into the fold) said of Bishop Fellay to the Pope : Now there goes a bishop!
Yes, indeed. Bishop Fellay, and the other three bishops as well, have stayed true to the faith and true to the mission of their founder. He has already gained two major concessions from the Vatican without having had to compromise the truth. That’s because the truth is on his side. And truth cannot coexist with falsehood, by the principle of non-contradiction. And as His Grace the Archbishop used to say: I have 2,000 years of tradition on my side!” The Revolution has been a disaster. So let the discussions begin. Because I see Bishop Fellay in a red hat one day, and in my wildest dreams, I can even see him in a white one! Oh, that would drive the liberals crazy!
So to all those detracters and enablers, both inside and outside the Church, who called the SSPX schismatics, excommunicates, and extremists – how ya like ’em now?
Oh, and have a look at yourselves in the mirror here:
And one last thing: to all those Catholics who have enjoyed having the Latin Mass back in the parish while calling the SSPX schismatics: you wouldn’t even have the Latin Mass in your parish if it weren’t for the SSPX. So say a prayer for His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre to guide us as we continue with the Counter-Revolution. And say one for his worthy successor, the man of the hour, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay. Now there goes a bishop!