When in his December 2013 conference to the Brothers at Flavigny, Fr. Pfluger spoke of the defections and expulsions of Resistance clergy from the SSPX as a “purification” of the Society, he spoke truly, from a certain perspective: The strongest supporters of Archbishop Lefebvre, and those most committed to the eventual recovery of the Church, were weeded out.
What was left were the more pliable types: “moderates,” “prudent,” or accordista.
But the transformation of the Society was not yet completed with the departure of the “troublemakers.” Those who remained watched developments in silence. And to the degree that they personally opposed the trajectory towards reintegration into the conciliar Church, they lacked the fortitude, doctrine, desire, and/or perspicacity of thought to make a stand.
This state of affairs allowed for the further degradation of the Society:
The moderates (both clergy and laity) were witnessing the spectacle of scrupulous leadership, which in turn caused them to lose heart. When amidst the battle, the soldiers witness their leaders losing courage, fear strikes the entire army. It will be a rare soldier who can “keep his head, while all around you, others are losing theirs.” They begin to doubt themselves, and this worm of doubt sapped them of the will to fight:
“Maybe Bishop Fellay is right!”
At that point, all Resistance became impossible.
This state of affairs shifted the collective consciousness of the entire Society to the left, and the greatest evidence of this claim is the observation that, to this day, the defections from the SSPX continue…but only to the Conciliar church.
Of course, this development was completely logical: The choice was/is no longer between SSPX vs Resistance, but in the wake of this psychological shift, between the SSPX and the dioceses. A recent post on a French Resistance forum (http://resistance.vraiforum.com/t129-Notre-Dame-des-Arm-es-Arriv-e-d-un-nouveau-pr-tre.htm) recounts how one diocese in France now features four former SSPX priests, and a neighboring diocese has just received another fresh SSPX defection.
The SSPX has been reduced to recycling priests for reintegration into the dioceses, and soon the whole edifice will fall in that direction; it cannot be otherwise. The clergy (and laity) have been coached into feeling the sting of their “abnormal situation,” and consequently, perceive an acute need to rectify it.
The scruple of the leaders has trickled down to the pews and priories, and since aligning with the Resistance does not cure this psychological-spiritual problem, the Resistance is not even on the radar. The solution for these “defective” souls lies in the opposite direction: juridical approval and the Conciliar church.
Yes, from time to time, various priests in the Society can and will still have lucid moments of doctrinal clarity, and they will see the state of affairs in the Church and SSPX for what it is, but it is the peculiar quality and nature of scruples to overpower and suppress the powers of intellection, and subordinate it to emotional and sentimental impulses, so that the exercise of judgment is based predominantly on these same emotional/sentimental influences. Consequently, these fleeting moments of clarity and lucidity will be short lived and isolated (and easily eradicated by a slap on the wrist from the boss), since they will arise within a social context featuring colleagues and leaders heading in the opposite direction. Very few will be able to swim against the stream, particularly if they have come to question whether their salvation might be at stake for doing so! And for those who could still withstand the social pressures, the finger will be pointed to Boston, to the French NUC priests, to the South American sedevcantists, and they will say, “Look at what has become of those who have left the Society!”
That the legal questions have transcended the doctrinal issues evinces the disorder introduced into the relationship between intellect and emotion: How else could the “regularization” process continue in the wake of the failed 2009-2011 doctrinal discussions, lest the intellect (and doctrine) had taken a back seat to canonical considerations (and emotions/scruples)? If the letter of the law (which killeth) trumps the integrity of doctrine and truth, it is as much as admitting the mind has lost its equilibrium in the proper ordering of intellect and emotion, and that the latter has gained an undue influence over the intellect.
That is the essence of scruple.
Neither is the contention that the overwhelming majority of defections from the SSPX will now head for conciliar Rome and the various dioceses as a result of this manufactured malady to be disproved by noting the existence of widespread internal reservations on the current policy in Menzingen still circulating within the Society: Reservations, secret oppositions, doubts, etc. are not sufficient to stop (much less reverse) course, precisely because reservations and doubts are less motivating and sustaining than firmly held convictions, and are therefore insufficient to withstand those strong convictions possessed by the adversary. Also because the show of weakness by the leadership of the Society has infected the entire corpus to one degree or another, such that any Resistance impulse is suffocated by feelings of isolation, which once again fosters the same doubt which causes the soldier to fall back into line.
Bishop Fellay’s letter to Benedict XVI stating his firm resolve to continue with the regularization process, despite heavy opposition (which is no longer so heavy!) makes my point quite nicely: It mattered less that the Society would be thrown into chaos, than that a regularization should be achieved. The expulsion of a bishop and a growing list of compromises further evince the resolve to be “cured.” And that this relentless drive should be accelerating amidst the most hostile anti-Catholic papacy in history leaves absolutely no room for doubt that the entire process is a mania which will end in captivity and dissolution.
The clergy has internalized all this, and even Bishop Tissier has “got his mind right.” They have come to terms with surrender.
From here on out, nearly all defections will be to the left.
“But it was alright. The struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” (Last words of Orwell’s “1984”).