A Few Thoughts for September

Bishop Richard Williamson
Society of St. Pius X, La Reja, September 13, 2005

One month ago, I made public on the Internet the opinion that an agreement between Rome and the Society of St Pius X "seems impossible", for "if the Society rejoined Rome, the resistance of Catholic Tradition would carry on without it", and if the Pope came over the positions of the Society, he would face a merciless war on his left.

In other words, between Catholic Tradition and the positions of today's Rome, there is "a great gulf fixed" which depends not upon the persons taking these positions but upon the positions they take. Between these two positions, any reconciliation is impossible. Take for example two mathematicians: if the one says that 2 and 2 are 4 while the other says that they are 5, the positions are irreconcilable. Our two mathematicians may personally come to an agreement, in the truth or in error, but 2 and 2 will never make at the same time 4 and/or 5.

Thus in the present difference between Rome and the Society, the persons of Rome may come over to the Society's position, or the persons of the Society may - theoretically! - go over to the positions of Rome. But the conciliar positions of today's Rome would still be as false as 2 and 2 are 5, while the Traditional positions would still be as true as 2 and 2 are 4. That means that even if the Society - God forbid! - were to abandon the Traditional positions, they would nonetheless go on being defended by the remaining friends of Tradition, just as if the Pope for his part were to abandon completely the conciliar positions, these would go on being defended (to the death) by unrepentant friends of the Council.

This is what I meant by saying that if the Society were to rejoin Rome, the resistance of Catholic Tradition would carry on without it. I in no way meant that Catholics defending Tradition, or the Society of St Pius X, are on the brink of a split due to the audience granted on August 29 by the Holy Father to the Society's Superior General.

I think that a good number of those who read the August "Thoughts" understood what they meant, but some people hope for a split in the Society as much as others fear it, which is why both can be so quick to pick up on the least indication of a division.

However, there is for the moment no sign of any such thing. The four Society bishops are of one mind in holding that on the one hand the Second Vatican Council imperiled the dogma of the Faith, but on the other hand the authorities of the official Church are to be respected as such; that the rescue of the Catholic Church depends on their returning to the positions of Catholic Tradition, and so the Society must do all it can to help along such a return. For this purpose, first and foremost the Society must not itself abandon Tradition, on the contrary, it must by its example show how that Tradition, which was supposed to die off in the modern world, is alive and well and bears as good fruit as ever.

But I have just said "for the moment", so does that mean I fear a split coming the day after tomorrow? No, it does not! When I say "for the moment", I am merely repeating last month's reminder that remaining faithful to the Truth is a grace of God that is owed to nobody, therefore "let him who thinks he stands, take care lest he fall", as St. Paul says ( I Cor. X, 12)

And so, as long as the authorities of Mother Church are suffering from the leprosy of the heresy of neo-modernism, let us pray to God for us to keep the right balance by neither getting so close to them as to catch their leprosy, nor keeping so far away from them as to abandon our Mother. It is a delicate balance, but the four Society bishops, following Archbishop Lefebvre, mean to keep it, with the help of God and His Most Holy Mother.