In 2003, Fr. Paul Aulagnier was expelled from the Society of St. Pius X for expressing support for the deal made between the priests of the Diocese of Campos and the Conciliar Church. In 2006, he established the Institute of the Good Shepherd in France under the watchful eye of Ecclesia Dei.
The reasons Fr. Aulagnier gave to justify his support for the Campos-Rome deal are, as we will see, almost the exact same reasons Fr. Schmidberger and Fr. Michael Simoulin give today in favor of SSPX “regularization.” Below are select quotations taken from Fr. Aulagnier’s 2003 interview with The Wanderer newspaper:
I think that there is a danger in seeing this conflict last for ages. The Church is a visible and hierarchical society. If one lives too long in an autarchy, one ends up losing the meaning of what a hierarchy is. We are thus in danger, the time passing and the opposition remaining, of forgetting Rome and organizing ourselves more and more outside of Rome.
This is why we must always remain in contact with Rome, not only for them to progress in the right direction, but unceasingly to remind ourselves of their good memory. We are of the flock. If we remain satisfied with our situation, then there is a danger of “psychological schism.” The young people are of my opinion.
The attitude of Rome is new. Rome gave the Mass to our friends, the priests of Campos. And this freely and without condition…It is necessary today to be inside with a recognized right of the Mass of St. Pius V on the altars of Christianity.
It is important to note the similarities between these words and what one hears from Society leadership in our time. In his leaked (intentionally?) memo to Society priests in early 2016, Fr. Franz Schmidberger said:
Let us not lose sight of the danger that the faithful and certain confreres may get used to the abnormal situation and regard it as normal. If the faithful or some confreres feel comfortable in this situation of freedom relating to independence from the hierarchy, then this indicates a creeping loss of the sensus Ecclesiae.
Fr. Michael Simoulin, the former rector of Econe during the days of the Archbishop, also used the “fear” argument in an October 2016 essay titled “We Need a Link to Rome.”
Another danger, that is not hypothetical, but very real: that of no longer wishing to return to our legitimate place among the societies recognized by Rome, of losing the desire for the Church and for Rome. No longer desiring a normal relation with Rome and the Church is a shadow of the schismatic spirit. In these conditions, our children would no longer have any idea of what the real Church is in its full incarnation, from head to members, in all the realities of daily life.
Society faithful should respond to the claims of Fr. Schmidberger and Fr. Simoulin not by docilely nodding in agreement, but by asking: “Who among us is guilty of such behavior? Is it I you speak about, dear Fr.? Who do you see losing the faith? How and where do you see this happening?”
Fr. Jean Violette, District Superior of Canada during the early 2000s, wrote a public letter in 2003 condemning the erroneous thinking of Fr. Aulagnier. His sage words, undeniably in the spirit of the Archbishop, can also act as a guide in responding to the scrupulous, baseless accusations Fr. Schmidberger and Fr. Simoulin make today:
Unfortunately the present Roman authorities have proven over and over they cannot be trusted, that they have not changed. The solution to this crisis will come from Rome when the Roman authorities come back to the integrity of the Faith. But until then we do well to continue our resistance. How long this will take is not our problem but God’s. But we cannot for the sake of a fake unity join those who promote errors, who reduce the Church to a human institution, or simply one religion among others thus destroying it.
Where has Father Aulagnier been for the past 5 years? Have the modern Roman authorities really changed? Has he forgotten what they have done to the Fraternity of St Peter, which is their own creation?
So the words of Archbishop Lefebvre to John Paul II in 1988 are still valid today: “The time for cooperation has not yet come.” Absolutely nothing has changed. The present Roman authorities continue to be faithful to their principles of the new theology, new ecclesiology new evangelization exemplified by the spirit of Vatican II and Assisi in which they want to draw us and of which we want no part.
Fr. Aulagnier has been at the center of this fight for over 30 years. Maybe he is tired of the fight! But this is not the first time that a conflict over the faith has lasted for ages. The Arian crisis lasted over 70 years, the papal exile in Avignon 68 years, the great Schism 39 years. Is this a reason to abandon the fight to come to some arrangement? It’s a good thing St Athanasius didn’t get tired of being exiled, threatened, falsely accused, excommunicated etc.
It is clear, dear reader, that the Society’s leadership in 2016 has grown weak. They are repeating the same mistakes as those who have come before them, and whom they have already condemned. Let us stand firm with those few remaining princes of the Church who, by the grace of God, are prepared to fight this battle until God sees fit to bring it to a close.