Wednesday, September 13, 2006
What constitutes loyalty to Rome, the Chair and its occupant, the Holy Father? Obedience and loyalty are the hallmark of the saint. Has a false sense of loyalty misled people? Has the mantra of "obedience" been the brickbat we have allowed ourselves to be bludgeoned with in some cases?
When I first read about the newly erected Institute of the Good Shepherd, yet another Traditional Latin Mass order of priests, I wondered what is wrong with the Fraternity of St. Peter or even Institute of Christ the King? Why were the priests and seminarians who have been kicked out of the SSPX been given an entirely new Institute rather than be assigned to an established order?
And how can anyone forget the disastrous results of the establishement of the Society of St. John.
On one hand you could say that Rome is intent on producing numerous Latin Mass orders and as the numbers of parishoners and vocations increases there will be less a question of Tridentine or Novus Ordo but of which Church has a priest who says Mass rather than a Communion service led by a Pastoral Associate. Some see this is an indication of a sign to the SSPX that Rome is waiting with arms outstretched. The cynical amongst us says it is a simple strategy of divide and conquer.
In 1988, a group of former SSPX priests approached Rome and received permission to form the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, choosing the name to demonstrate their loyalty to Rome and Tradition. After the Protocol 1411, their fortunes appear to have suffered and the bloom is off the rose. In a public relations sense I don't think they have recovered from it. Doubted by Traditionalists as having been forced to compromise and suspected by liberals for their "schismatic tendencies" they were dealt a blow.
On September 1, 1990, the Institute of Christ the King was erected canonically. Currently, they seem to be the golden boy of the Traditionalist movement. They have 35 houses in 10 countries and 60 seminarians. They seem to avoid controversy. Maybe it is their commitment to charity that has aided them.
On September 8, 2004 Bishop Rifan of Campos, Brazil is accused of having concelebrated the Novus Ordo. A claim the Bishop denies saying he was present at the Mass in a show of unity. Lambasted by intractable conservatives and the SSPX alike he seems to have lost some of his sheen. Critics say he compromised and betrayed the movement.
Just 2 years later on September 8, 2006- which seems like an interesting coincidence the Institute of the Good Shepherd is announced and its priests will say the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. They are based in Bordeaux, France and consist of 5 priests and a number of seminarians who will be ordained by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos.
It's almost like deja vu all over again. The Fraternity began as an Order who wished to say the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. Their aspirations were checked. Will the Institute of the Good Shepherd fare in the same way?
One interesting note- the Fraternity priests who formed the FSSP left the SSPX on their own initiative. The Society of St. John priests (now disbanded) were kicked out. The priests and seminarians of the Institute of the Good Shepherd were also kicked out. I'm not drawing any comparisons- please God there won't be any- but it is interesting to note.
One ancillary point, when 2 of the priests of the SSPX were removed and expelled they appealed to the local diocese for reinstatement. The Diocese ruled that they did have jurisdiction. They ruled (though to no avail) that the priests should be reinstated. For those who say the SSPX has absolutely no status and are effectively a protestant church, this obviously invalidates that point.