The Seven Deans: A Disappointing Strategy


Sean Johnson


With enough time spent in the Resistance, one gradually gets used to the ups and downs; the disappointments; causes for hope which rise up one day, and are snuffed the very next, and so on. It was only a couple days ago that Sodalitium Pianum published an exhortation to the clergy of France, imploring them to support the seven deans (and three religious communities) in the vainest hope of reversing the course of the SSPX, even at this late hour. Yet, in just the space of a couple days, two bits of discouraging news reach us:

  1. “Rita” on the French Resistance forum speaks of a rumor in which Bishop de Galarreta is supposed to have said that, “The seven deans have accepted their punishments, which is an implicit recognition of their errors.
  2. A bishop tells me that the only aim the seven deans had in publishing their critique was to telegraph to Rome that the Society is divided (in both the matter of the “pastoral guidelines” regarding diocesan marriages in SSPX chapels, and regarding the Prelature generally).

If both (or either) claim is true, it means our exhortation has fallen upon deaf ears, and any naive hopes we may have had of the French clergy finding their courage (and fidelity) are dashed.

Surely, the deans succeeded in scaring Rome off for another few months (or years). Likely, Rome has perceived that, despite all the conditioning and compromise under the Bishop Fellay regime, he has not succeeded in sufficiently pacifying the SSPX to Rome’s satisfaction (though they are surely exhorting him to “keep up the good work”).

Rome will now wait for the next Superior General, having squeezed as much juice from Bishop Fellay as they could. Perhaps, like the Protestant and Orthodox “observers” at Vatican II, Rome will even be invited (or demand) some clandestine (or open) influence upon the choice of the next Superior General.

In any case, the disappointing strategy of the seven deans in limiting their objective to simply frustrating an imminent accord accomplishes nothing but yet another stay of execution for a Society which already has its neck in the lion’s mouth, but has not yet died:

If the 2012 General Chapter could not right the ship (at a time when branding and compromise had not weakened its priests nearly as much as it will have by the summer of 2018, when the next General Chapter convenes), then to seek to avert the final consummation of betrayal for another year accomplishes nothing. In fact, as mentioned earlier, it feeds right into Rome’s plan: They have wrung what they could out of Bishop Fellay. They want new blood. But will Fr. Pagliarini (or other SSPX “Papabili” chosen from among a stacked deck of hand picked Capitulants) present or represent a better option for Tradition?  Was it not him who stood up to defend Bishop Fellay against the indictment of Fr. de Jorna at the 2012 Chapter?

There is absolutely no reason to believe a Fr. Pagliarini type Superior General will deviate substantially from the present trajectory towards a Roman accord..

I wrote to one of the Deans, and opined that unless there was coordinated, widespread, sustained, public opposition to the ongoing process of disintegration which is currently dissolving the Society into the substance of this world (and conciliarism), there was no hope for the turnaround of the SSPX.

At the time I wrote those words, I did not yet know of the very limited (and ineffective) aim the Deans had in mind. But at least I was able to make that point, and he will have to reflect upon it as he watches the disintegration continue from the inside.

That situation reminds me of a comment Archbishop Lefebvre once made in Fideliter:

“I have heard tell of some monks who intend leaving Le Barroux, saying they can no longer live in an atmosphere of lies. I wonder how they managed to stay as long as this in such an atmosphere.

It is the same with those who are with Dom Augustin [Superior of the Benedictine monastery of Flavigny]. They were even more traditional than us, and now they have completely gone over to the other side. For all young people who are there, its awful to think of such a reversal. They entered the monastery to really be in Tradition. It was the safest, firmest bastion of Tradition, even more so than the Society. They thought they were guaranteed forever. And then they completely turn their coats.” (Fideliter #79, January/February, 1991).”

All they did was stay put, while their leaders moved towards Vatican II.

That is all it takes to go modernist, really: To not act when duty requires action. It is not necessary to positively subvert Tradition (or the traditional apostolate of the SSPX). All that is necessary to become a traitor is to hold your peace while the enemy overruns your position.

That is happening nearly everywhere the SSPX exists in the world today.

Isolated acts and limited aims will not suffice to save the day. Rather, they guarantee the enemy shall receive the victory.

Like La Barroux, et al, the day approaches when you too may switch sides.