I happen to know Michael Matt, and like him.
 
Though it has been a few years since we have spoken (in person, at least), I haven’t the least doubt that, from all outward appearances, he is a devout Catholic in the state of grace who, for one reason or another, has backed the wrong horse (Ecclesia Dei) in the drive for the restoration of the Church.
 
Perhaps the reign of Francis (who is quite possibly faceing the beginnings of a movement to depose him) is driving home that point quietly, and secretly, about now (as the reigns of BXVI and JPII ought to have).
 
But grace works at its own speed, and according to disposition.
 
That’s not to imply that Mr. Matt’s disposition is evil (far from it), just that sometimes it can be difficult to shake the positions of one’s father, especially when such is a man of some eminence:. How many of those we know are able to do it, even at the natural level (with couch potatoes for fathers)?
 
Yet, in one of my many internet surfing sessions, I came across a rather remarkable “moderator’s comment” on The Remnant Newspaper’s web page following the article “Pope Francis and the SSPX Regulrization” (http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/remnant-television/item/2900-pope-francis-and-the-sspx-regularization) which rather surprised me.
 
A certain Mr. James Cunningham made the following (astute) observation:
 
“Does anyone really believe that if the SSPX regularizes with Pope Francis’ Chaotic Church that somehow Pope Francis will embrace tradition and doctrine and not continue on his smash and burn anti-traditionalist march to the sea? Once the SSPX signs off on their authority, Chapel properties and seminaries the bridges allowing for them to return will all be burnt. It is a trap that will snap shut behind them and end their independence and Traditional apostolate. Miss White is correct in calling it an invitation to an internment camp. Those poor souls caught up in Novus Ordo Bergoglioism may never let go of their confused claim that they are inside the true Church because they are following Pope Francis’ dictates. The truth is that those who follow Pope Francis’ dictates have already left the Traditional Catholic Church for something else fifty years ago and are now, after “Amoris Laetitia”, in a state of Schism rivaling that of the Arian Heresy.”
 
Well, that comment summarizes my own thoughts so well as to leave scarcely anything to be said, except to note that, appearing on The Remnant website, I was surprised it was allowed to see the light of day (or, seeing it, that it wasn’t quickly deleted before readers’ vision could adapt).
 
On the contrary, the following response came from a “Remnant Moderator” (who can only be presumed to be Michael Matt personally, or one faithfully recounting his thoughts in response):
 
“Not naïve, but maybe missing the point, which is: What’s the point? What is to be gained from the SSPX signing on with Bergoglio’s Vatican fun-house right now? Those who think the regularized SSPX would then be in a position to REALLY fight against the revolution in the Church are simply choosing to ignore the hard reality that every single approved order of trad priests has been allowed to do one thing: provide the old Sacraments (for which we thank God). But, let’s be honest, not one of them is allowed to publicly speak out against the Vatican’s bizarrely anti-Catholic agenda. ‘So,’ you might say, ‘but that’s how we win this thing, by providing the old Mass and Sacraments to more people.’ Well, I hope so. But what about the fact that the traditional Sacraments and Mass were everywhere mainstream in the Church in 1965 and yet look what the Modernist-dominated Vatican did–ran over them like they weren’t even there. So why would this be any different? The only argument for regularization that passes the logic test starts with the premise that the SSPX is indeed in schism, and headed up by priests and bishops who are in the habit of the mortal sin of schism, and thus leading their people out of the Church and to hell. If that’s the case, then regularization can’t come quickly enough. But if it’s not the case–and I think we all know it’s not!– then what are we really talking about here? If they’re regularized there’s no going back. If regularization turns out to be all that we fear it might be, then half the SSPX priests will leave and the SSPX will be decimated. And . for. WHAT? The Vatican gains control of its opposition and the revolution sprints across the finish line. All of this is meant merely to express our opinion that the SSPX never left the Church and that Bishop Fellay is right to hold his ground, keep the lines of communication with the Vatican open, and wait for the Vatican to come to its senses.”
 
In Bishop Fellay’s recent tour to Australia, he assured the world (like all the dead orders before his) that “it is definitely not a trap.”
 
Yet here is Michael Matt, smelling salts in hand, offering the anesthetized pew-sitters of the SSPX some cold water.
 
I commend him for what I hope will not be a fleeting glimpse of courage and perspicacity of mind: 
 
Where John Vennari voluntarily donned the muzzle, so as not to distance himself from SSPX subscription money at the time of the Bishop Williamson expulsion, Michael Matt is, for the moment, showing a bit of Catholic common sense, while Bishop Fellay appears to have totally lost his Catholic mind.
 
Of course, the quoted passage of Mr. Matt is not perfect: Not only does he posit a 50% defection rate after the adultery of the mind is consummated in the flesh (a rate I think about 40% too high), but, he seems to be under the illusion that, thus far, Bishop Fellay has been “holding his ground!”
 
In order to maintain such an opinion, one must narrow the tunnel vision to focus only on the end result: If there is no signed deal, then Bishop Fellay is still holding his ground?
 
Meanwhile, all the sermons against Vatican II are gone.  No more distinctions between the conciliar and Catholic Church; no more criticisms of the New Mass; no more Bishop Williamson; the nearly heretical April 15, 2012 Doctrinal Declaration; the acceptance of Vatican II as part of Tradition; the limited acceptance of religious liberty in the scandalous CNS interview; the overturning of “no canonical accord until the conversion of Rome;” etc, etc.
 
And of course, for all these compromises, Rome has willingly reciprocated: The granting of jurisdiction to Bishop Fellay to try his own priests (according to the 1983 CIC, of course!); the recognition of the SSPX as Catholics in Argentina; the granting or ordinary jurisdiction to hear confessions; permission to ordain priests; an approved SSPX Mass venue in Italy; etc, etc.
 
And still some have the audacity to speak of “no strings attached” deals, or claim there have been no compromises?
 
Take your soma, and repeat 500 times/night: Unilateral, unilateral, unilateral…
 
No.
 
Amidst the worst papacy in the history of the Catholic Church, I get to hear Fr. McMahon visit my St. Paul, MN chapel, and explain what baloney that idea is; how everyone thought their times were the worst times; how nobody can say with any objectivity Francis is the worst; etc.
 
Or if you are unfortunate enough to attend the SSPX chapel in Sanford, FL, you get to hear Fr. Vernoy tell you it is a mortal sin to refuse such a magnanimous deal from the Pope.
 
Well, Bishop Fellay agrees; meanwhile, Francis finds this Swiss “one with whom we can talk.”  
 
Meanwhile, we are asked to believe the SSPX (Pinterest site and all) is the same as ever it has been?
 
Please don’t insult my intelligence!
 
And as for Archbishop Lefebvre’s post-consecratory position viv-a-vis Rome (i.e.. No canonical accord before Rome converts)?
 
“Well, if we come out and say Archbishop Lefebvre was wrong, we will grow the Resistance.  Therefore, let us create a sanitized, perpetually negotiating Archbishop Lefebvre; a pragmatic rather than theoretical thinker, who was always open to diplomacy.”
 
Having progressed from hotels, airports, garages, and basement chapels, to fine baroque churches, Roman basilicas, beautiful rectories, and seminaries with fountains, few will bother to make much notice of the lie.
 
But it is just that: A lie.
 
Lie to me, baby.
 
Things are so much more comfortable in a conciliarized SSPX.
 
And best of all, they can’t say we are weird anymore!
 
Oh, to have shaken those dark days of sermons against TV, skirts, and the Sound of Music, only today to be “loved” by the Pope and world!
 
At last we are free!
 
Right guys?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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