Thursday, November 3, 2011

Traditionalists Reject Doctrinal Preamble

It seems the Society of St Pius X have rejected the Holy See's doctrinal preamble, the document offered as the beginning of a reconciliation with the Pope and the Church.  There are, no doubt, many out there today saying "Told you so!"  Who would blame them? 

Pope Benedict has taken enormous risks to reach out to the members of the society.  Lifting the excommunications he was pilloried by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  It was the right thing to do - a loving father must try and bring his erring children back.  Some may see Summorum Pontificum as a gesture to the SSPX, but I don't think it was: the Pope's liturgical reform is much bigger than pacifying dissenters, but it helped.  The Williamson affair was embarrassing, but Bishop Fellay of the society tried to sort that one out.

However, here we are.  Where do we go now?  Time to ask a few hard questions: Is it time to leave the SSPX to their own devices for now?  Leave the door open for those who want to be reconciled, but give up formal attempts to normalise the group?  It is obvious that they want to come back on their terms only and while they claim to profess obedience to the Pope, they are not willing to accept that they might actually be wrong. 

Some may suggest the excommunications should be reimposed and the group formally declared schismatic - there is an argument for that.  However the Church will have to be careful - if these measures are imposed for extreme traditionalists they will also have to be imposed for liberals/progressives and left wing Catholics who are even more extreme in their rejection of Church teaching.  So far these people have not had the reality of their position formally defined.

Anyway, whatever happens, we must pray.  That we may all be one, under one shepherd, Benedict; that should be our intention in these days.

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