[In the previous post, we published the recent Declaration of the 24th General Chapter of the Knights of Our Lady. In this post, we reproduce the Knights’ own practical application of that declaration, relative to the ralliement of the Society of St. Pius X to Rome.]
Application of the 24th General Chapter Declaration
According to its Constitutions, the Order will continue to “have recourse to the faithful members of the clergy”, meaning those who have not officially joined the neo-modernist hierarchy, and will cease having recourse to the SSPX if the latter would submit to the Conciliar hierarchy and would abandon the notion of “the state of necessity.”
As for our very own members, all the more they will have to show determination to persevere as much far as possible, without excuses or taking the easy way out, but at the same time exercising the necessary prudence, for example, in taking into account the particular circumstances of the country and region where they live in, which may not be served by priests that we would like, including for baptisms, marriages and funerals. If they are married, they will have to make their decisions together with their spouse, taking consideration of the children in particular, especially if they are already grown up. In the case of marriages, they will have to depend on priests, who will proceed, as in the past, according to supplied jurisdiction, refusing recourse to the local Ordinary.
This is with the very same kind of tact which we have tried to use for a period of over 20 years in order to get our brothers to understand the series of crises which have handicapped Catholic Tradition and the Society of St Pius X itself, and which lead many to leave it, often as a group –teachers and seminarians from Ecône, Argentina or the United States, or priests from different regions–, crises which were followed, after the 1988 consecrations, by the split of the Society of St Peter, the withdrawal of Le Barroux or of the Oasis, the pure and simple surrender of the priests of Campos and of the Redemptorists, the forming and then collapse of the Society of St John or the creation of the Institute of the Good Shepherd.
It is under these circumstances, especially since 1998, that the traditional branch of the Order, having been restored nine years before, wanted to make its members aware of the dangers that have surfaced one after another, not only coming from within, but often from liberal accomplices within the very ranks of Catholic Tradition. Clarifications were given during chapters, in circulars (of which the first of this type dates back to 21st February 1999) and thanks to the formation through manuals, summaries and series of quotations from popes, bishops and especially from Abp Lefebvre. The crisis reached a whole new level in 2012, when it became clear that the danger was not just coming from within the SSPX, but from its very superiors.
Throughout all these battles, the Order has generally remained very united, but it has nevertheless, lost some members who left on these various occasions, either because they had grown weary, or to follow their personal inclinations, sometimes even using these delicate situations as a pretext for retreating from the combat. However, the Rule emphasises: “It should always be remembered that the Order is not a fortuitous assembly of individuals each pursuing his particular end, nor an intellectual circle, nor a club, but an organised body made up of members united in life, in death, in the love and service of the same great realities.” (Rule 2:1)
Consequently, the brothers who desire to remain faithful to their vocation and to their engagement will bear in mind the reminders made by Abp Lefebvre, to stay away from the “compromised” as much as possible (including the SSPX, if this should be the case one day), and likewise from the sedevacantists (or crypto-sedevacantists of the non una cum type).
In the last months of his life, he declared pertinently: “They say: their Mass is good, so let us attend it. The Mass is one thing. It is good, but the sermon is another thing, not to mention the atmosphere, conversations, contacts before and after the Mass, which slowly make people change their minds. It is consequently a danger …” (Fideliter No. 79, pp. 7-8).
He had already said: “So what is our attitude? It is clear that with all those who are leaving us or who have left us for sedevacantism or because they wish to submit themselves to the present hierarchy of the Church all in the hope of preserving Tradition, we can no longer have relations with them. This is not possible. We say that it is not possible to submit to the ecclesiastical authorities and preserve Tradition. They affirm the contrary. This is deceiving the faithful. We have to evaluate them properly, and not to insult them, but we do not want to get into polemics and we prefer to no longer have anything to do with them. This is a sacrifice to make. But it did not begin today, it has lasted for twenty years.” (Flavigny, December 1988)
“I think it is necessary to take care to avoid anything that could show, by expressions that are a little too hard, our disapproval of those who are leaving us. Do not label them with epithets, which can be taken as a little insulting. This does not help us, on the contrary I believe. Personally, I have always had this attitude towards those who left us – and God knows that there are many in the course of the history of the Society who have left us; the history of the Society is almost the history of separations – I have always taken as a principle: no more relations, it is over. They are leaving us, they are going to other pastors, other shepherds: no more relations. Those “sedevacantists” who left us, as well as those who left because we were not “papists” enough, have all tried to draw us into a polemic. I never replied one word. I pray for them, that is all.” (The Visibility of the Church in the present situation, Abp Marcel Lefebvre, Fideliter n° 66, November-December 1988)
In the case of the new Mass, Abp Lefebvre recommended fulfilling one’s Sunday obligation by staying at home, for example, to recite the Rosary. 1 These quotations may appear to be a little long, but it is certainly useful to be reminded that the prudence of Abp Lefebvre was accompanied by a great charity, by a great gentleness, by a lot of patience, and by tact, which we should imitate, while remaining very firm.
Our Lady, keep us from perjury!