The Rorate Caeli blog has been a long-time supporter of the SSPX’s “regularization” process. On Wednesday, November 6, it announced that Jim Vogel and Brian McCall will be attending the 2020 Roman Forum next July. The event has been hosted by Dr. John Rao for decades. As far we know, this is the first time an official representative of the SSPX will be on hand. A quick glance at the guest list shows it’s going to be a “Who’s Who” of Conciliar Neo-Traditionalism: Rev. John Hunwicke, Peter Kwasniewski, Joseph Shaw, and Fr. Edmund Waldstein, to name a few. All of these men have expressed, in public, some amount of apprehension or outright disagreement with Archbishop Lefebvre. The ones who aren’t as opposed to the Archbishop have said they admire him for his defense of the Latin Mass but none have said the SSPX is where Catholics need to be. Archbishop Lefebvre had a term for Catholics like that: “false friends.”
The titles of the talks that are scheduled over the event’s two-day period are listed on Rorate’s site. Click here for more info. Some of the topics seem genuinely interesting. Others not so much. Here’s just a few that caught my eye:
The Novus ordo missae, Archbishop Lefebvre, & the Foundation of the SSPX
Ecclesia Dei, the Fraternity of St. Peter & the Institute of Christ the King
The Americanist-Pluralist Temptation & the Debate over Religious Liberty & the Catholic State
The Appeal & the Dangers of the Traditionalist Catholic Ghetto
The Debate Over the “Reconciliation” of the SSPX
Outside Friends of the Movement: Real and Perceived
Outside Enemies of the Movement: Real and Perceived
It’s not hard to see what’s going on here. The SSPX has finally “made it to the big leagues.” I’m not sure which topics Vogel and McCall are going to talk about, but whatever they do discuss, they surely won’t give a fair representation of the Resistance’s main points. If anything, the topics listed above suggest the Resistance will be calumniated against even more than sedevacantism, which is the focus of only one presentation.
This is what causes us a problem with certain layfolk, who are very nice, very good people, all for the Society, who accepted the Consecrations, but who have a kind of deep-down regret that they are no longer with the people they used to be with, people who did not accept the Consecrations and who are now against us. “It’s a pity we are divided”, they say, “why not meet up with them? Let’s go and have a drink together, reach out a hand to them” – that’s a betrayal! Those saying this give the impression that at the drop of a hat they would cross over and join those who left us. They must make up their minds.
U.S District Superior Fr. Jurgen Wegner just spoke at the Catholic Identity Conference, hosted by The Remnant Newspaper. He was welcomed with open arms. His topic? The Traditional Latin Mass. Ho-hum!
Archbishop Lefebvre is nothing more than a mascot to these liberals occupying positions of authority in the SSPX. They are letting human respect and popularity drive their decision making processes. They are failing to put forth the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
It’d be nice to think Vogel and McCall are going to the Roman Forum to represent the Traditional Catholic faith in its totality and to share exactly what it is Lefebvre believed. It’s more likely they’ll cherry pick certain remarks His Excellency made in the 1970s about “regularizing” with Rome. They’ll likely call the Resistance “schismatics” and say it’s a good thing Tradition is “coming together” to fight Modernist Rome.
Usually the most “hard line” attendees at these sorts of mixed gatherings end up toning down their principles and glossing over others. They end up rounding off the edges in order to fit in and not appear too extreme. Given that the SSPX has been doing that for the better part of the last decade, I’d be shocked to learn they do anything other than continue on in their betrayal of the Archbishop at the Roman Forum next summer.
To its credit the SSPX has always made clear its opposition to the misuse of 'Natural Family Planning'. There have been a number of well written articles by priests themselves along with reprints from the excellent SI SI-NO NO magazine some of which can be accessed here under The Catholic Family heading.
Whilst I have always thought that anenormous amount of weight seems to have been given to one single letter to the Italian Midwives from the last orthodox pope, I completely accept that there are cases when (in union with a competent spiritual director) NFP may be used.
However, it goes without saying that the SSPX (and occasional Ecclesia Dei priests) were always fighting against the conservative tide, particularly considering that many of the their potential lay recruits come from 'pro-life' organisations who push NFP like a religion in itself. But up until recently it appeared that they were unwilling to join the crowd on the issue.
The video above is from a recent Fatima Center Youth Conference Q&A session. Fr Daniel Couture (District Superior of Canada) is asked to differentiate between artificial contraception and NFP. He answers well to a mixed congregation of well meaning Novus Ordo-ites and Traditionalists, but then decides to adapt Pope Pius XII 's stipulation's regarding NFP to his own interpretation for today. Obviously as a priest that is what he would have to do in a practical manner in the confessional in any case. But whilst his first case regarding China is theologically arguable, I am at a loss to understand his example of home schooling mothers at all.
Let me state that I have nothing but admiration for those mothers who choose to home educate. On a natural level it is a somewhat thankless task. Women who work for various Catholic moral causes in the social sphere attain the plaudits of one's contemporaries, whilst the constant sacrifices of the home-schooling mother are often witnessed by God alone and sadly are as likely to receive condemnation by their fellow laity as by worldlings.
So what is the answer to these efforts by the Fr Couture's SSPX? Why, have less children of course! In all my years supporting the SSPX I have rarely come across families who actually live the faith as much as those who home educate. I am certainly not saying they are better or more pious, but the practical decision to home educate means that the souls of their children are not in the hands of secular homosexual tolerating school teachers but are their responsibility and that obviously has ramifications for the way these people live their lives.
As regulations begin to tie Catholic schools in knots, including the SSPX, one would have thought that rather than spending the millions from the Jaidhof Foundation on Shrek castle style Cathedrals they should invest in high level home schooling courses run online. This would cost a fraction of the hundreds of thousands needed to hire teachers (even on the shoe-string wages they pay them). Perhaps they may not produce the bankers and lawyers etc that the SSPX esteem so much, but they may produce priests and possibly saints.
The bizarre example by Fr Couture is made even more so by the fact that the external situations he uses are in many ways solvable by the SSPX itself! If he is so concerned about the plight of the home schooling mother then why not encourage older mothers from the pulpit whose children have now grown and fled the nest to spend some of their spare time in assisting such mothers? Whilst it could involve imparting their knowledge to the children, it could just be as simple as minding the children for an afternoon each week or helping out with chores or lifts. What a help that would be to many a mother and how much would God bless such a person for giving their time in such a way!
Incredibly, after Fr Issac Mary puts forth a more old-school SSPX response, Fr Couture returns to his subject with examples of a massive drop off in practice amongst large families and puts the blame on the father's selfishness and excessive workload. I do not doubt the truth of this, but how does one jump from that problem to limiting birth? Surely if the SSPX sees a crisis in large families through fathers working hours, the answer is to reexamine how they judge success. If thrift was seen as a virtue rather than something to be pitied, if economics were taught in a serious manner during marriage courses, if ones income did not mean more attention from priests, if husbands were regularly catechised on treating their wives with love and, just as importantly time, then perhaps the problem would be solved without recourse to Fr Couture's solution. How is the problem the amount of children as opposed to external factors which are within our power to change? This is what differentiates his home-schooling family example and his one regarding China!
Now we come to the crux of the matter; Whilst I do not doubt that Fr Couture speaks from experience regarding some home-schooling mothers who have difficult lives, I do not understand how his example differs from a traditional catholic woman who, through either materialism or financial necessity, works outside the home. If a woman has five children, works full time, then has to pick up children from school, come home and cook dinner etc etc how can that woman not justify her own situation as needing 'a rest' from more babies according to Fr Couture's modern interpretation of neccesity?
We should never forget how 'hard-case scenarios' make bad laws. One has only to see how the Conciliar Church used the Vigil Mass to justify the Saturday evening Mass now so common. Fr Couture's example seems a dangerous precedent to set. Whilst I have little doubt that Fr has the good of his laity in mind, I worry that this line of reasoning is now commonplace and one hopes that the Society does not eventually begin to toe the conservative line and treat NFP as a trivial matter or worse, as a virtue rather than something tolerated as a necessary evil for a given period of time.
Addendum Following someone's publication of the above article on the forum 'Cathinfo' the following was written in reply which posits more evidence that there has indeed been a change in policy over the last few years. Here