Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What's Bergoglio's Gameplan for SSPX?

Lots of people are puzzled by the extraordinarily generous treatment that Bergoglio has afforded to SSPX.  After all, wouldn't SSPX be the epitome of the "rigid" and "Pharisaical" "doctors of the Law" that he so regularly excoriates?  And yet no terms of "regularization" appear too generous--it seems that anything SSPX asks for they'll receive.  However, if you keep before your mind the idea that Bergoglio has a specific goal always in view, matters become a bit more clear.

What is Bergoglio's goal?  To fully implement Vatican II--as he understands it.  And he has made no bones about the fact that his version of a true Vatican II Church would be in line with the views of the most radical of the New Theologians, such as Walter Kasper.  How could empowering an organization such as SSPX, which steadfastly rejects precisely those elements of Vatican II that are so central to Bergoglio's plans--ecumenism, religious "freedom"--possibly help Bergoglio fully implement his goals?

To come to an understanding of Bergoglio's strategy, the key provision of the proposed SSPX personal prelature is the one that allows SSPX to incorporate religious congregations.

My view is that Bergoglio wants to set up SSPX as a sort of cordon sanitaire for tradition minded Catholics--or a parallel Church, if you prefer.  At this point he is faced with constant conflict and resistance to his agenda within the Church.  Simply excommunicating his opposition isn't an option, so the next best option would be to marginalize them. What appears to be an option--to allow tradition minded Catholics to join with SSPX--may in practice turn out to be a requirement.  In other words, Bergoglio and his allies--to include local bishops--will in effect tell those who are tradition minded: it's our way or get on the highway to SSPX.  If you try to remain in the Vatican II Church and oppose my version of Vatican II reforms--women deacons, ecumenical liturgies, divorce in practice, etc.--you'll be subjected to draconian disciplinary measures.  SSPX beckons.

Yes, that will enlarge SSPX.  But Bergoglio, in my view, is betting that most Catholics presented with this choice will succumb to his pressure, remain in the Vatican II Church on his terms by keeping their mouths shut, and that those who do make the switch will be joining a marginalized group that will remain marginalized.  The proposed personal prelature will have bishops, of course.  Some bishops.  But don't expect to see any SSPX cardinals.  Bergoglio will continue packing the College of Cardinals with like minded prelates who will guarantee a like minded successor.

What could go wrong with Bergoglio's gameplan?  Two possibilities come to mind.

First, this Bergoglianized Church--in effect, a new Church of Man--could simply implode.  It could suffer an implosion similar to what the Church suffered in the decades after Vatican II only, given the cultural changes that have occurred since those years, the implosion could be even more drastic.  For instance, the current trend toward popularism that we see in both the US and in Europe could lead to rapid alienation with a Church that is ever more overtly aligned with globalist elite opinion.

Second, Fellay has openly stated that his goal in accepting regularization would be, in essence, to convert the Church--to call it back to Tradition.  At the same time however, he has quite candidly admitted that this can only happen gradually.  If, in fact, a Prelature of SSPX were to exhibit a creative flexibility in even relatively minor ways, it might well offer a welcoming environment to growing numbers of serious and (in a manner of speaking) dues paying Catholics.  Vernacular liturgies, for example, might be an accommodation that such a prelature might be willing to make, and there could be other similar initiatives that would not betray the legacy of Lefebvre while offering a halfway house to a full embrace of Tradition.

Interesting times.

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