Did anyone else see this? The SSPX has until Friday to accept the CDF’s final offer.
It would not be correct to call it an ultimatum as such but the document … imposes a deadline on the Lefebvrians for the first time.
What’s interesting is that the final big event in Benedict XVI’s papacy would be a reunion with Marcel LeFebvre’s followers.
It does however seem unlikely that Lefebvrians will agree to sign the doctrinal preamble the Holy See sent to them last June. According to French Catholic daily La Croix, if the SSPX fails to send a reply by 22 February, Rome has the right to appeal to each of the Fraternity’s priests directly, without first going through their Superior, Fellay, extending individual invitations to them to re-enter into communion with Rome.
Individual invitations? Sounds like poaching to me. Is it likely many SSPX clergy will defect to Rome? Are they likely to get a better deal from the next pope?
“Is it likely many SSPX clergy will defect to Rome?”
No. The big “defection” came with the episcopal consecrations and lead to the founding of the FSSP and Campos. The consecrations were obviously a very big deal. More recent instance such as the Institute of the Good Shepherd and the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (affiliated with but not part of the SSPX) have been comparatively minor. At the same time, SSPX priests can and have gone in the opposite direction, i.e., sedevacantism. From a strictly institutional standpoint – e.g., vocations, number of mass centers, etc. – it would seems that the SSPX is reasonably healthy so that there is little practical reason to alter the status quo at this time.
“Are they likely to get a better deal from the next pope?”
I think most observers would instinctively answer “no” but I could envision a situation where a not particularly “conservative” pope might yield to general principles of unity and try to welcome the SSPX into the big tent. The election of a conservative, e.g.Cardinal Ranjith, would not necessarily make rapprochement any more likely.
It has suited +Fellay’s agenda to distribute the letter for Rome. The offer will generally be rejected, as he knows, and Rome will come back – again and again – because it needs in some manner to have some form of approval of the Council from Traditional Catholics as well as some greater acceptance of the ‘New Mass’. They will not get it even though +Fellay deeply yearns for official recognition and ‘acceptance’ by the present authorities at Rome. If he can get it without immediately appearing a complete traitor to ++ Lefebvre he will sign on the dotted line and cast himself on the dubious mercies and tender cares of the Newchurch that he mistakes for the Catholic Church of an era that passed before he was born. If he cannot have his wish, today, he will wait for better times – not for the FSSPX but for him and the coterie he has placed around him. In one way or another, at some time or another, he will sell out. He began to do so years ago. He will become the FSSPX’s Quisling. The FSSPX is not the Fraternity of Priests that the Archbishop would recognise. The Archbishop would either drag it back into line or disown it. He would most certainly disown and expel +Fellay and company. They are not very much better than apostates, to all intents and appearances.
Oh, give them their own Orneryariate and tell them to hush up.