Sunday, October 29, 2006

Recent Interview with Bishop Richard Williamson, SSPX

Recently, an interview with SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson has come out. This interview demonstrates some of very serious theological and ecclesiological errors that can be found within various the factions of the SSPX. (It also demonstrates why separation from the living Magisterium is a dangerous game and over time can lead to further and further extremes. It is perhaps a lesson as well that even if one might appreciate their adherence to Roman liturgical traditions and piety, that one must not forget there are more substantive and serious issues that cannot be white-washed, regardless of one's liturgical inclinations.)

This interview was posted here:

To give a sense of the depth of this crisis of thought in Williamson, he commented thus:

"One thing above all should always be remembered, in 2006, and for as long as this post-Conciliar crisis will last, namely that it consists in a war to the death between two directly opposed religions: the Catholic religion centered on God, and the Conciliar religion centered on man and the modern world. The Conciliar religion is a diabolically skilful counterfeit of the true religion. Between these two religions, as such, there can be no peace until one of them is dead... that is why, thirdly, Conciliar Rome recently approved of the semi-Traditional Good Shepherd Institute in Bordeaux, France, not because it is Traditional but because it is semi-, in order to draw SSPX priests and Catholic faithful away from the up till now fully Traditional SSPX, which, precisely because it is fully Traditional, Conciliar Rome must dilute or dissolve."

He continues:

"They [the Church] must, clearly and unambiguously, denounce the Second Vatican Council and renounce their false Conciliar religion."

Sadly for Williamson, the Holy See represents "false religion".

Williamson's thought is very much a part of a hermeneutic of rupture that the Holy Father has condemned. We are accustomed to thinking of this mainly in progressivist terms, but it also effects the radical, or hardline, traditionalist movement. But it must be remembered that there are two forms to this rupture: those for whom the Church begins only after Vatican II, and that which comes before is jettisoned; and those for whom the Church effectively ended at Vatican II, excepting of course in their own circle who share their vision. This leads to the talk of "Eternal Rome" vs. "Conciliar Rome" (a false dichotomy), but the Church is indeed a seemless garment. While one can acknowledge problems, crises and issues existing after the Council, we must distinguish these particular situations from the divine protection promised to the Magisterium of the Church.

With such thought as Williamson's so publically out there, is it reasonable to think that the Holy Father's aim with a universal indult is the corporate return of the SSPX? Is a liberalized usage of the 1962 Missal simply an olive branch for the SSPX? Certainly this is part of it, but for the Holy Father, this issue goes beyond the SSPX I think. He will be well aware of these extreme factions of the like of Williamson. He might also hope, as we do, that there might be more moderate factions for whom this will help bring them back into full communion.

The Holy Father is not trying to bribe the SSPX. For the Holy Father, the matter is also, I believe, a deeper issue which relates to his concern over the way the post-conciliar reform was handled. His view is to help both the classical liturgy as well as the reform of the reform.

As well, from Williamson's comments, it should be crystal clear that even a full liberalization of the 1962 Missal, for such folks, would be viewed with suspicion, even conspiratorial terms, and as ultimately insufficient.

We all hope and pray for the reconciliation of the SSPX and for a return to their communion with the Church. But this very vocal element within the SSPX further demonstrates why the question of a universal indult is not merely reducable to an issue of appeasing the SSPX. As such, we should neither underestimate the depth of the problems to be found within the SSPX, nor should one underestimate the depth of the scope and intent of such a liberalization of the 1962 Missal. It would be in view of the whole Church, and not merely with relation to the SSPX question.

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