(Church of Saint Mary Immaculate and Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, in Rome)
The Rorate Coeli blog has translated/published a story by journalist and Roman correspondent Marcos Tosatti, in which Tosatti makes a third claim that the practical accord between Menzingen and Rome is “imminent.” That article can be read here: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/03/third-times-charm-tosatti-sspx-and.html
Notable in the article are the following comments by Tosatti, which are deserving of some additional commentary and clarification, which they are not receiving at Rorate Coeli:
- “2012: Just as SSPX Superior-general is called to Rome to what he thinks is the final signing, Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, has one of the greatest about-faces of his Pontificate and, pressured by some Cardinals, asks for another doctrinal statement. The deal falls.”
- “This Monday evening in Rome, religious correspondent Marco Tosatti (with Sandro Magister, the best reader of the current Pontificate) confirms that just one set of signatures separates the Society from full integration within the Church.”
- “Not only that, he confirms news that Rorate had: Unlike the fake news spread out last month about the Church of Saint Mary on the Esquiline Hill (that belongs to the Vicariate of the City of Time and is not for sale), the building being negotiated for the Roman headquarters of the Society is this: It’s the Church and former school and convent of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception — a complex that includes the Church of Saint Mary Immaculate and Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, in the Tuscolano neighborhood of Rome (corner of Via Monza and Via Taranto), very near the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and near the Cathedral of Rome, St. John in the Lateran. We know that because we have learned that the Sisters have already contacted the appropriate Roman Curia congregation and are waiting for authorization to continue negotiations.”
What Happened in 2012?
As regards Tosatti’s claim that Bishop Fellay was called to Rome to what he thought was the final signing, that much is probably accurate: He did in fact sign the notorious April 15, 2012 Doctrinal Declaration, and he was in fact prepared to accept a practical accord on that basis.
That much is undisputed.
The historical confusion pertains to what happened next:
According to Tosatti, “Benedict XVI, has one of the greatest about-faces of his Pontificate and, pressured by some Cardinals, asks for another doctrinal statement. The deal falls.”
Yes, Benedict XVI had a last minute about-face, but was it really the result of 11th hour pressures from some Cardinals?
We dispute that contention, and ascribe to a different historical explanation:
Recall that back in 2012, Bishop Williamson had just leaked the famous “Letter to the Three Bishops,” which expressed (at that time anyway) their rejection of a practical accord with unconverted Rome.
The very next day, Bishop Fellay signed the horrendous Doctrinal Declaration.
Add to the mix the release of the equally astonishing and unacceptable “Letter of the General Council to the Three Bishops,” and Rome clearly perceived the “three-alarm fire” that was breaking out within the SSPX, and all of this transpiring only a couple months before the 2012 SSPX General Chapter set to take place in June, where Bishop Fellay ran the risk of being deposed from office.
But Bishop Fellay was Rome’s man: He had been supporting a practical accord with unconverted Rome behind closed doors since at least the mid-1990’s, with the inception of the GREC. As Francis said not long ago, Rome knew Bishop Fellay was a man they could work with. At all cost, his honor had to be recovered, but he was under siege. 15+ years of “discreet but not secret” plans for accomplishing behind closed doors (i.e., A practical accord) that which both Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Fellay himself had opposed publicly, was at risk:
What if an SSPX hardliner were elected to replace him at the upcoming General Council? All would be lost!
To avoid this, Rome spun into action: They would reject the terrible April 15 Doctrinal Declaration that Bishop Fellay had signed, and make him a counter-offer they knew he must reject: The integral acceptance of Vatican II. This would posture Bishop Fellay as the one who was playing hardball, and in doing so, restore in some measure a waning confidence which would hopefully allow him to survive the upcoming General Chapter.
Menzingen likes to explain to the world -with mental reservation- that it was they who stopped the process and rejected Rome’s offer. But what Menzingen leaves unmentioned, is that they only rejected Rome’s contrived counter-offer, having signed the original.
For those who will not bite on that creative version of history, is Tosatti’s account: Rome inexplicably reneged due to pressure from the Cardinals. That account also has the benefit of pretending the modernist enemies in Rome oppose the SSPX reintegration, thereby suggesting the accord is a good thing (while the modernists and Jews alike are well aware that reintegration is the death warrant of the Society, and secretly advocate in favor of that end; their protestations to the contrary being nothing but staged opposition to enhance the illusion of the enemies of God opposing the deal).
Had we not already learned from Fr. (now Cardinal) Cottier so many years ago about the “process of internal dynamism” which works upon all those who fall into the trap? They have said it themselves!
But the real historical truth is that Benedict XVI’s 11th hour change was nothing more than a maneuver to rescue Bishop Fellay, and salvage a 15-year “reconciliation” process, which subsequent events have shown to have been remarkably effective, given the imminence of the accord.
Just One SIgnature Away?
Regarding Tosatti’s claim that the accord is imminent, we do not reject. Perhaps it is; perhaps it is not. But that it is “just one signature away” certainly cannot be the proof of it, because that has ever been the case:
An accord has been “just one signature away” since 1976. At any moment, the Pope could regularize the SSPX with a stroke of his pen. But there are conflicting considerations involved regarding whether or not he will do so.
On the one hand, an argument can be made that time is short, because of the age and rumored ill health of the Pope; because of the clock ticking against Bishop Fellay’s tenure as Superior General, who almost certainly will not be re-elected for 12 more years, (a probability which consequently introduces a certain amount of uncertainty regarding the positions and orientations of his successor, even if all the candidates are hand-picked company men); more recently, because of evolving conditions relative to the Resistance, which raise a greater threat of inducing SSPX defections (particularly, the emergence of the SAJM as a hierarchical, canonically erected religious congregation which will offer community, stability, obedience, and the “normalcy” priests have become accustomed to within the SSPX, while simultaneously ratifying provisions within its Constitutions to prevent a similar collapse in the future; the prohibition of admission of sedevacantists into the SAJM will also make it more attractive to defecting priests).
These would be reasons, among several others, why Rome may feel some pressure to hammer out a deal soon.
Against those considerations is the observable and undeniable process of compromise and softening, which becomes more pronounced the longer Rome can keep the contacts and process going, without ever actually signing anything (See this most recent Eleison Comments from Bishop Williamson recounting the slow decline of the Society: https://stmarcelinitiative.com/declining-slowly-i/ ). It is, once again, the same process of “internal dynamism” of which Fr. Cottier spoke of after his conquest of Campos, which invariably infects all who, in protracted and too frequent a manner, expose themselves to the Roman contagion.
On the whole, Rome would probably like to drag this out several more years, to continue the softening process of the Society (in which case they -not the Society- would be able to declare that the canonical issue of the SSPX is no longer a problem, not because Rome has converted to Tradition, but because the Society has converted to conciliarism).
But as they do not have the luxury of time, we concur with Tosatti that the consumation of this betrayal will likely be sooner than later.
And what of the “Fake News” of the Roman HQ?
The Menzingen Media Machine went into overdrive to discount “rumors” that the Society was purchasing a Roman property (which would obviously imply “progress” in the “reconciliation” process, and the imminence of a practical accord). French Resistance fora were reporting that several SSPX Priors were flying into damage control mode, to deny the rumors (http://resistance.vraiforum.com/t144-les-pr-tres-de-la-fsspx-rassurent-les-fid-les.htm ), while in the United States, priests like Fr. Richard Boyle in Armada were organizing conferences toward the same end.
But as it turns out, the rumors were largely correct in their primary assertion that Rome was indeed shopping for a Roman property (a contention Menzingen admits), but only wrong in some of the particulars.
Question: What is the purpose of “opposing the rumors” if the primary allegation (i.e., The SSPX is shopping for a Roman property) proves to be true? The intent seems to have been to discredit belief in the central aspect of the rumor (i.e., the purchase of a Roman property), by disproving various peripheral details of the account (e.g., the address of the property), and thereby reassure the faithful (i.e., Put them back to sleep).
And yet, Tosatti has verified that in fact negotiations for the purchase are in full swing.
We have quoted Fr. Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J. before in relation to some of the news coming out of Menzingen, and we will do it again here:
“Some men are as far from telling a lie, as they are from telling the truth.”