I started out this series bringing up principles. If someone calls you a person of principle, what do they mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines principle as:
- A basic truth, law, or assumption.
- A rule or standard, especially of good behavior.
- The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments.
The Constitutions, which will specify the goals and the spirituality of this society, are inspired by the approved statutes of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, the society reserving to itself the right to make any changes which it judges necessary by reason of present circumstances.
So the FSSP piggybacked on the wisdom and holiness of Archbishop Lefebvre while emphasizing their right to compromise his principles. What exactly were the "changes" necessitated by "present circumstances?" Obviously, it was to acknowledge they would go along with the Holy See's requirements, one of which was to accept the flawed principles in Ecclesia Dei. And, in fact, the Vatican decree erecting the FSSP stated that:
This same Fraternity of St. Peter proposes the sanctification of priests through the exercise of the pastoral ministry, particularly in conforming its life to the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and by observing the liturgical and disciplinary traditions invoked by the Roman Pontiff in the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei of 2 July 1988, given “Motu Proprio“.
The Constitution of the FSSP also affirms Ecclesia Dei and adopts its errors:
Founded in the spirit of the apostolic letter Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of Pope John Paul II (2 July 1988), the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter professes its fidelity to the Roman Pontiff, who, according to the words of the First Vatican Council (Pastor æternus), is the “successor of Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church, the Father and Doctor of all Christians” (see Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, n. 22). “Each one of its members is held to obey the Supreme Pontiff as his highest superior” (Can. 590, §2)....The particular aim of the Fraternity of Saint Peter is to achieve this objective through the faithful observance of the “liturgical and disciplinary traditions” according to the dispositions of the Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of July 2, 1988, which is at the origin of its foundation.
Yes, we are called "to obey the Supreme Pontiff," but not in all things. He is not a dictator with unlimited power. He is the "servant of the servants of God." He has the duty to "preach Christ and Him crucified." He does not have the authority, or even the competence, to make rules about environmentalism or immigration or many other things. But I'm unaware of the FSSP explaining the limits of obedience to the pope. That's a dangerous omission which puts the flock at risk! Peter Kwasniewski has written an excellent book on the subject, True Obedience in the Church: A Guide to Discernment in Challenging Times. It belongs on the bookshelf of every serious Catholic. Many saints discussed the nature of true obedience including St. Robert Bellarmine, a doctor of the Church:
I won't repeat the problems with Ecclesia Dei described in Part 2 in the series: ED is infected with Modernism. It's available on the Modernism page. It's clear, however, that by incorporating and embracing ED in their founding documents, the FSSP incorporated all its errors which passing time has confirmed and additional Vatican documents have made worse.
Despite his talk of collegiality and the rights of bishops, the pope has severely limited the discretion of bishops to oversee the TLM in their own dioceses. New priests must have papal permission to say the Latin Mass which Pope Benedict insisted was never, and never could be, abrogated. Priests cannot legitimately be forbidden to say the TLM, but that hasn't stopped Francis. He has made himself the sole arbiter of the liturgy used for over 1500 years, a liturgy he obviously detests and wants ended permanently. That, however, he doesn't have the power to accomplish if the Holy Spirit wants it continued. His arm's too short to box with God!
While the FSSP was not included in the restrictions of TC, we find ambiguity in Pope Francis' decree of February 2022 permitting the use of the 1962 liturgy which was aimed at traditional congregations. He included this statement:
The Holy Father suggests that, as far as possible, the provisions of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes (TC) be taken into account as well.
What exactly does that mean? TC came down like a ton of bricks on the TLM. How are those traditional communities that only celebrate the TLM supposed to "take TC into account?" Can you turn black white? Can you unite two mutually exclusive things? It's a Catch-22 inflicted on the FSSP and other traditional communities. When they compromised their principles by adopting ED and its modernist "eggs," the scrambling was inevitable. And now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Last year, LifeSiteNews reported that during a meeting with the French bishops, Pope Francis said he required TLM priests to concelebrate the annual diocesan NO chrism Mass. Just one Mass a year, one pinch of incense to Modernism:
According to bishops at the meeting, the Pope began by recalling “emphatically” that the decree of February 11, according to which priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) are not affected by the restrictions of the motu proprio and may continue to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962, came from him.
Immediately afterward, however, Pope Francis emphasized the second paragraph of this decree, which states that FSSP priests “may use this faculty in their own churches or oratories” only, and that, otherwise, the 1962 missal “may only be used with the consent of the Ordinary of the place, except for the celebration of private Masses.”
According to Monsignor de Moulins-Beaufort, the Archbishop of Reims and head of the French Bishops’ Conference, Francis also insisted that all priests, regardless of their affiliation, must concelebrate at the annual Chrism Mass.
“He was very insistent that priests concelebrate at least the Chrism Mass,” De Moulins-Beaufort said.
Are we surprised?
Did TLM priests concelebrate the chrism Mass in 2023, at least in France? I don't know. There doesn't appear to be a document requiring it...yet. And if there is one it will violate Canon Law, but Modernists have no problem violating Canon Law. (They violate Canon 915 forbidding Communion for serious public sinners regularly.) But for the pope to make a statement like that to a bishops' conference certainly is a warning shot across the bow. Only the naive can believe that the end game will allow the traditional congregations approved by the Vatican to continue unmolested.
At this point there are effectively two churches: the Church of the ages rooted in the faith of our fathers passing on Dogma and Sacred Tradition unchanged and unchangeable versus the church of the modernists that is getting ready to use the Synod on Synodality to sodomize and erode the faith in even more demonic ways.
Archbishop Lefebvre held to the principle that he would faithfully pass on what he had received. He remained firm in that principle and never abandoned it. Those who left the SSPX to form the FSSP, and I don't question their motives, made a tragic compromise that reminds me of the Lambeth Conference of 1930.
The Anglican Church approved contraception for married couples in very limited and serious situations. Their compromise on a principle of the faith opened the floodgates and led to today's unrestricted culture of death with abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. To be sure, as material heretics, they did not have the protection of the Holy Spirit, so the situation is different from ours. In fact, what's happening in the Catholic Church is even worse, since we have the fullness of the truth. And yet our spiritual fathers often treat truth like playdough. Should we really be willing to compromise it?
Today, the faithful are being held captive by the many Judases in roman collars. We need to respond by doubling down in prayer and sacrifice for Holy Mother Church and her leaders. How many of our present day Judases will end up with their skulls "littering the floor of hell?" Let us pray for their conversion before that sad and terrifying day!