Bishop Richard Williamson has persistently been the most hard line of the leadership of the SSPX. Over the past days there has been much talk about the pre-conditions set by Rome for some sort of gesture toward the SSPX seeking to heal rift between them and the Church.
Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, has cast doubts about whether the SSPX will respond positively to the five conditions in some remarks made last week in a speech.
Bishop Fellay’s comments are reasonable and temperate compared to Bishop Richard Williamson. It is difficult to impossible to know the internal politics of the SSPX being played out in public, but Bishop Williamson seems absolutely determined to insure that the SSPX does not respond positively to the request on Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Brian Kopp, writing at SummorumPontificum.net explores some of the political possibilities of what may be happening behind the scenes at the SSPX. One thing is for certain, however, Williamson is determined to derail the entire process.
Bishop Williamson, writing on his blog, not only throws cold water on the prospects of reunification but relishes the idea of being declared in open schism, calling it a cause for celebration.
However, when in the next few days the Society makes no gesture towards Rome sufficient for Rome’s purpose of dissolving the resistance of Catholic Tradition, I am for my part not at all sure that Rome will really go ahead with any declaration of formal schism. Maybe after eight, or 20, or 38 years of the Society’s resistance they really are losing patience, but does not all past experience tell them that each time they use the stick, it stiffens rather than dissolves that resistance?
And if they did go ahead with such a declaration [of schism], Catholics should rejoice, because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity ! Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops’ “excommunication”. Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ? Not that any of us would rejoice in Rome’s self-abasement.
It is time for Bishop Fellay to put an end to such talk by one the leaders of the SSPX. If there is ever to be any hope of reconciliation Williamson should be formally censured or expelled from the SSPX. Being declared in formal schism is a cause for joy for this man, a badge of honor.
Further the priests of the society, if this offer is rejected, should seek reconciliation with Rome on an individual basis for if you don’t, you are now allied with a group that openly relishes the idea of schism. Nothing remotely catholic about that.
This goes double for the faithful. The Church has its problems, no doubt, but if you stay allied with the SSPX at this point, you are most certainly part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Bishop Fellay, please do the right thing and say yes to the Pope and no to Williamson. Souls depend on it.