Not long ago Michael Matt of The Remnant Newspaper was one of the few remaining “Traditional” Catholic media outlets still warning about the nose dive being taken by the Neo-SSPX.
Not always, but every so often, Matt would run an article or two about how the Society’s reconciliation process with Pope Francis was a crazy idea. As recently as 2018, he wrote about how the new marriage decree the pope issued for the Society was probably done for nefarious purposes.
These days, Matt is singing a different tune. “Unite the Clans!” he shouts. “We have differences…but let’s focus our energies on Rome,” he often says.
Quite a change!
God knows what brought about Matt’s newfound indifference to the very real and very important differences between groups like the SSPX, FSSP, ICKSP, etc.
Whatever it was, the folly in the “Unite the Clans” approach seems to be that it is trying to accomplish what Fr. Felix Salvany warned against in his classic text Liberalism is a Sin. His words:
“Amongst the illusions entertained by a certain class of Catholics, there is none more pitiable than the notion that the truth requires a great number of defenders and friends…They imagine that to multiply heterogeneous quantities is to multiply power.”
“Now, true force, real power in the physical as in the moral order, consists in intensity rather than in extension. A greater volume of matter equally intense evidently produces a greater effect, not by reason of the increased volume, but by virtue of the augmented intensities contained in it.”
The Society of old would have recognized the wisdom in Fr. Salvany’s arguments. They would have recognized that an SSPX priest should only attend events like the recently concluded Catholic Identity Conference (CIC) to remind others about the truth of the crisis in the Church and the truth about Archbishop Lefebvre.
Alas, in a recent report about the CIC written on OnePeterFive, one discovers that Fr. Jurgen Wegner, District Superior of the SSPX in America, did nothing of the sort.
“Fr. Wegner shared a number of interesting points regarding the history of the Latin Mass movement and the role of Archbishop Lefebvre,” the reporter states. “[He] asserted that it was due to the work of Archbishop Lefebvre that the Latin Mass survived the early days of this struggle.”
The reporter then claimed that Fr. Wegner “[set] aside further controversy on” the “contentious issues” surrounding the founding of the FSSP and instead informed his audience that there are many U.S. bishops who “wished to evenly spread the Latin Mass parishes across their dioceses.”
So, to summarize: At the 2019 Catholic Identity Conference, Fr. Wegner spoke about how the Archbishop helped save the Latin Mass and how Rome established the FSSP to divide and conquer Tradition but then he “set aside further controversy on these contentious issues” and instead praised American bishops for promoting the Latin Mass.
What a disaster! How is this any different than the rounding off and downplaying of the faith that Conciliar churchmen do for ecumenical purposes? “Preach truth in season and out” is apparently one bible verse Fr. Wegner is fine with setting aside.
It’s human nature to want to “Unite the Clans” and to think such an effort will bring to an end the crisis in the Church. But here’s the thing: it won’t.
To be sure, conferences like the CIC can alert many souls to the reality of what’s going on in the church. But if SSPX leadership is going to attend these sorts of functions and simply “set aside further controversy” on important issues then they will have only helped make them a complete and utter failure.
The truth sets us free. Yet the Neo-SSPX is putting it under a bushel in order to court popularity and win human respect. May God have mercy on their souls for doing so.