We have long speculated that there are deep divisions within the SSPX and the sides are lining up both for and against the looming regularization of the Society. We need speculate no longer. Rorate has published a letter from Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX /SSPX), and the other two members of the General Council, First Assistant Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Second Assistant Fr. Alain-Marc Nély. The letter is addressed to The Most Reverend Tissier de Mallerais, Williamson, and De Galarreta (aka the likely holdouts)
We only get to see one side of this conversation, but one can only surmise what must have been the contents of the missive the holdouts sent to Bishop Fellay. This letter is in response to some previous letter.
I reprint in part…
Menzingen, April 14, 2012
The Most Reverend Tissier de Mallerais, Williamson, and De Galarreta
Your collective letter addressed to the members of the General Council received our full attention. We thank you for your solicitude and charity. Allow us in our turn, with the same concern for justice and charity, to make the following observations.
First of all, the letter indeed mentions the gravity of the crisis gripping the Church and precisely analyzes the nature of the ambient errors that pullulate in the Church. Nonetheless, the description is marred by two defects in relation to the reality in the Church: it is lacking in a supernatural spirit and at the same time it lacks realism.
The description lacks a supernatural spirit. To read your letter, one seriously wonders if you still believe that the visible Church whose seat is at Rome is indeed the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Church horribly disfigured, to be sure, a planta pedis usque ad verticem capitis, but a Church that in spite of all still has as its head Our Lord Jesus Christ. One gets the impression that you have been so scandalized that you no longer accept that it can still be the true Church. For you, it would seem to be a question whether Benedict XVI is still the legitimate pope. And if he is, there is a question as to whether Jesus Christ can still speak through him. If the pope expresses a legitimate will concerning us which is good and which does not order anything contrary to the commandments of God, have we the right to neglect or to dismiss this will? Otherwise, on what principle do you base your actions? Do you not believe that if Our Lord commands us, He will also give us the means to carry on our work? Now, the pope has let us know that an abiding concern for the regularization of our situation for the good of the Church lies at the very heart of his pontificate, and also that he knew very well that it would be easier both for him and for us to leave things as they stand now. And so it is indeed a decided and legitimate will that he is expressing.
With the attitude you recommend, no room is left for the Gideons or the Davids or for those who count on the Lord’s help. You reproach us with being naïve or fearful, but rather it is your vision of the Church that is too human, and even fatalistic. You see the dangers, the plots, the difficulties, but you no longer see the assistance of grace and of the Holy Ghost. If one grants that Divine Providence leads the affairs of men while safeguarding their liberty, it is also needful to admit that the gestures in our favor over the last several years are also under its guidance.
A few more key quotes before I recommend you read the whole thing. Bishop Fellay suggests that the holdouts are among those
“Within the Society, some are making the conciliar errors into super heresies, absolute evil, worse than anything, in the same way that the liberals have dogmatized this pastoral council. The evils are sufficiently dramatic; there is hardly any reason to exaggerate them further (cf. Roberto de Mattei, Une histoire jamais écrite, p. 22; Mgr. Gherardini, Un débat à ouvrir, p. 53, etc.).”
Then Bishop Fellay tells them that he has kept them out of this discussion purposefully because they are wearing there tin foil hats. I paraphrase of course.
You cannot know how your attitude these last months–quite different for each one of you–has been hard on us. It has kept the Superior General from communicating and sharing with you these weighty matters, in which he would have so willingly involved you had he not found himself before such a strong and passionate incomprehension.
The lines have clearly been drawn and they are not wholly unexpected. Certain people get used to and then come to prefer being separate. I think this is why the Pope is so insistent on resolving this now, for the good of souls.. I am most interested to see how the faithful line up.