The Recusant 54: The SSPX's October 2020 Interview with the Superior General
From The Recusant - Issue 54 [Epiphany 2021]

No, the SSPX has not altered course for the better under a new Superior General. If very little has been heard from him during the past year or two, that is not necessarily a good sign: things are much the same as ever, rotten on the inside and dying. In case anyone wishes to make absolutely certain, however, and to see for himself, here is: 
A little look at the SSPX’s recent: “Interview with The Superior General” 


Remember that the current Superior General is no longer Bishop Fellay, but Fr. Pagliarani. Father who? Exactly. When he was appointed in 2018, more than two years ago, cynics at the time said that he would be a figurehead-only ‘Superior,’ and that the same people would hold power behind the scenes. Well? How are things looking now? Still, lest anyone say that we haven’t tried to give the man his fair say, here he is in his own words, in an interview published in October 2020.


1. DICI: What does the fiftieth anniversary of the SSPX represent for Tradition? 

First of all, this jubilee is an opportunity for us to thank Divine Providence for all that it has granted us during these fifty years, because a work that was not from God would not have withstood the wear and tear of time. It is firstly to Him that we must attribute all this. But also, and above all, this jubilee is an opportunity for us to reinvigorate our fidelity to what we have received. Indeed, after so many years, there can be an understandable weariness. It is therefore a question of rekindling our fervour in the battle to establish the reign of Christ the King. Firstly, may he reign in our souls, and then, secondly, around us. It is on this particular point that we must work, following the example of His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre.

Talk is cheap. As we shall see throughout this interview, fine words are very easy to throw out, but how do the actions of the modern SSPX match up to them? How, for instance, are they “following the example of His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre? 

• During the last years of his life, Archbishop Lefebvre denounced the Second Vatican Council and all its rotten fruits in the strongest terms, in written interviews, in his sermons - at practically every opportunity, in fact. Does the SSPX do the same? 

• Archbishop Lefebvre regarded the then- Cardinal Ratzinger as perhaps the most dangerous man in the Church, a man who might look conservative on the outside, but who is every bit a liberal on the inside; a man with a track record of destroying Traditional communities and making them modern and conciliar again; a quintessential modernist who could not be trusted. Does the SSPX regard (“Pope Emeritus”) Benedict XVI in the same way, or has it not rather spent most of the past decade singing his praises and trying to hide how dangerous he really is? 

• Archbishop Lefebvre regarded the new rites, particularly of priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, as doubtful. Does the modern SSPX so regard them? Do they not rather regard them as all valid, and will conditionally ordain a priest from the conciliar church only if he insists, and only to keep one or two overscrupulous faithful quiet, not because they entertain the slightest doubt about the validity of the new rites? (Remember, for instance, the case of Mgr. Charles “New Coke” Byrnes in Ridgefield, CT, who was appointed SSPX prior without ever having been conditionally ordained). 

• Archbishop Lefebvre condemned the new 1983 Code of Canon Law, saying that it was a fruit of the Council, the Vatican II revolution translated into law; the SSPX now officially accept the new Code. Likewise Archbishop Lefebvre condemned in the strongest terms the modernist 1989 “Oath of Fidelity” - the SSPX officially accepted it in 2012 (See ‘Doctrinal Declaration,’ footnote 1 - an official acceptance which to this day has never been retracted or contradicted). 

• Archbishop Lefebvre had more than once publicly expressed his support for so-called ‘right wing regimes’ in Europe (Franco, Salazar…) as well as Latin America. He visited the grave of Marshal Phillipe Pétain on the Isle d’Yeu on the anniversary of that man’s death and wrote positively about what a good leader France had lost. He was prosecuted in court by the Judaeo-Masonic ‘LICRA’ (the equivalent of the ADL or SPLC) for his public warnings against Islamic immigration, and yet never once apologised or sought to appease his persecutors. The modern SSPX, by contrast, has not ceased to apologise, to pander, to grovel and to seek to appease those same forces of political correctness and censorship.

As for the “reign of Christ the King” - we make the same criticism which we have made in these pages so many times before. Why is it not referred to as the “Social Reign of Christ the King”..? That one little word is important: in it lies the distinction between the Catholic Faith on the one hand, which is apostolic and which seeks to make whole nations and whole societies Catholic and on the other hand the liberal, pluralist idea long promoted by the Protestants and more recently favoured by the modernists, whereby Christ is allowed to reign in your heart, in your private home and even in your immediate circle of friends and relatives. But there is never any mention of Him reigning publicly in the constitution, in Parliament, in the law courts, in the economy, in the workplace, in foreign and domestic policy and in other forms of public life… after all, that would be intolerant and might offend someone! “ our souls and then, secondly, around us” - does that sound like the former or the latter? 

How about, “thirdly, in the constitutions and public life of our countries”..? Did he forget that last bit, perhaps? Let us ask ourselves again - which concept of Christ’s Kingship did Archbishop Lefebvre support and promote? The “me and my immediate circle of family and friends” version, or the “we need to conquer our countries for Christ and make them officially Catholic” version? And which one does the modern SSPX support and promote? Lest there be any doubt at all, let us give just one final little example. Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a book on this very subject, “They Have Uncrowned Him.” Just try obtaining a copy from the SSPX today, go down to you local SSPX chapel repository and see what they say. Not only is it not available, it’s not even in print! A quick look on the website, at the time of writing, reveals two used copies going for nearly £100 each..! How can that be, if the SSPX were still “following the example of Archbishop Lefebvre”..? It can’t, and they aren’t. 

Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. The SSPX betrayed Archbishop Lefebvre a while ago, as it betrayed Christ the King. In light of the above, “Question 2” and its answer appear equally cynical and hypocritical. All the talk of how holy Archbishop Lefebvre was, of “his love of Our Blessed Lord, King” and how “throughout his life he had always worked only for the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” is just so much insincere window dressing. How can it be sincerely meant when coming from the Superior who approves the tacit suppression of Archbishop Lefebvre’s writings and the backpedalling from and undoing of all that he stood for? It is tasteless in the extreme.

Quote:3. DICI: On September 24th, at your request, the body of Archbishop Lefebvre was transferred to the crypt of the church of the Écône seminary. Despite the Coronavirus crisis, many priests, seminarians, religious and faithful participated in the ceremony. What were your feelings on that day?

What were your feelings..? Seriously? Is the interviewer a woman? “Tell us all about your feelings!” Couldn’t anyone think of a more important question: why, for example? Alas, the answer is no less wishy-washy. “I think he [Archbishop Lefebvre] deserves our veneration…” - not enough to actually follow his example, though, clearly! Talk is, it seems, extremely cheap! And all the other emotional fluff, the “expressions of the gratitude,” the event being “particularly poignant,” and priests being “moved to tears,” cannot hide the fact that the modern SSPX has nevertheless turned its back on everything Archbishop Lefebvre stood for. Praising the memory of the man whilst simultaneously undoing his legacy - can it get any more cynical than this?

Quote:5. DICI: After two years at the head of the Society, what is your assessment of the development of the SSPX? The SSPX has long been present throughout the world. I don’t think that, at the present time, Divine Providence is asking us to open new houses and to expand further, which would perhaps be a lack of prudence on our part. Rather, I think that the SSPX must establish deeper roots where it is already present, in order to have stronger communities.

“Deeper roots” is a euphemism for managed decline, the ‘spreadsheet Brucciani’ approach, in other words. It is difficult to see how this approach is compatible with apostolic zeal. “Prudence” is always the defence of the cowardly, the idle and the worldly, perhaps because it is the most misunderstood of all the virtues. “Prudence” does not mean doing nothing, nor does it mean being slow to act. It is the virtue by which one takes a principle and applies it concretely in the circumstances in which one happens to find oneself. To be slow to act, to take a long time, to think and discuss a great deal before actually doing anything might conceivably be the prudent approach. Equally the prudent approach might be to act instantly and without a moment’s hesitation, depending on the circumstances (in an emergency, for instance). When it comes to the managed decline of the SSPX’s apostolate, true prudence would surely dictate a very different approach. Is it really so prudent to decide in advance that you are not going to open any new chapels or Mass centres, that you are going to close down any which you feel are too small or are a nuisance to get to? If the modern SSPX had a fraction the apostolic zeal of the old SSPX, they would be twice their current size and growing every day. But they aren’t, because forces at work inside the SSPX, including at the top, will make sure that they don’t, and a large number of its clergy will go along to get along, whether it be out of straightforward laziness or a desire not to ruin their priestly “career” with a black mark against their name. Either way, the one thing this is not is “prudence”!

DICI’s readers ought to ask themselves this. If it were really true that “Divine Providence” didn’t want Tradition to expand (and we no longer see the SSPX as being synonymous with Tradition, but the point is that they still do), what does that imply? Does it not mean in turn that Divine Providence doesn’t want everyone - or rather, wants positively that many not have access to the Traditional Mass? All those people living without a Traditional chapel anywhere near them, all those people who are currently at the Novus Ordo and don’t know any better and have never yet met a Traditionalist, much less a Traditional priest, does Divine Providence want them to remain in ignorance and keep going to the Novus Ordo? If the SSPX is capable still of producing good fruit where it is present (and again, they at any rate would say that it is), why would Divine Providence not want to see more of that good fruit or want more people to be able to have a share in it? Fortunately the Resistance, it seems, has a different view of the virtue of prudence and seems to regard the desire to expand everywhere and conquer the entire country, the entire world for Christ as the “prudent” approach. That, after all, is surely what the promotion of the Social Kingship of Christ looks like in practice. The SSPX approach of “prudent” refusal to go anywhere new, by contrast, looks a lot more like an armistice, a truce with the conciliar church and the world. Live and let live. We won’t tread on your toes, as long as you allow us to exist. It all seems a lot less like the Social Kingship of Christ and far more akin to pluralism, religious liberty and all the other masonic, liberal ideas. Subsequent answers in the same interview seem to bear this out.

Quote:7. DICI: What are your current and future projects? For the moment, the projects are mainly of a moral nature and are therefore not necessarily projects whose implementation can be seen externally. Basically, it is a question of continuing to work as much as possible to make the SSPX strong, united, truly anchored to God...

Projects which are “mainly of a moral nature” and “not necessarily visible” - what on earth is that supposed to mean? So nothing, then? Notice also the astonishing admission by a Superior General that he now feels he has to “work to make” the SSPX united. In the past it simply was united, no work necessary. The same goes for working to make the SSPX more “anchored to [sic] God” - when did that become necessary, when did it stop being anchored in God..? Above and beyond that, it is also worth noting that the Superior General here as good as admits that the SSPX is working for the SSPX. That the object of the SSPX’s projects and work is… itself. How’s that for lack of apostolic zeal? We’ve been saying it here for years - now we see the Superior General admitting that we were right all along. Navel-gazing and blatant self-interest is the death of any organisation, even a secular one. Imagine a factory or business whose main or only goal was to keep its employees employed. Wouldn’t you expect it to produce very poor quality goods and eventually have to fold? The same is true of the NHS having as its goal “save the NHS” - the moment the organisation begins to view itself as its own goal, it’s all over. What is true even in the godless, secular world is surely even more true as regards the Catholic apostolate. The object of the SSPX’s goals, aims and future projects ought to be souls and everything which leads to them being saved: converting more people to Tradition, making true Catholic doctrine known, even the ‘unpopular’ politically incorrect bits, fighting against the incessant drive towards a secular ‘new world order,’ forming laymen in Catholic Action to establish Catholic societies and ultimately the social reign of Christ the King… condemning all the modern errors, and the sources of modern errors, from evolutionism to liberalism and live and-let-live pluralism, all the way down to the latest product and effect of such errors, the “lockdowns” the mask-wearing, the vaccines... Is that in fact what they are doing? We have already seen that they are not really interested in the Social Kingship of Christ and have in effect betrayed that cause. 

As with They Have Uncrowned Him, another classic Archbishop Lefebvre book, I Accuse the Council, is also conspicuous by its absence in the modern SSPX. It doesn’t seem to be being promoted, or even to be in print any more. But don’t worry, copies can still be obtained online, though there aren’t many to be had and each one will set you back the wrong side of £100 each, in this country though “only” $60 in the USA..! 

To see how far things have come, try to imagine for one moment Archbishop Lefebvre talking in such a way or giving such an interview. Did he ever express such pusillanimous or self-interested sentiments? Picture the scene. Écône, 1976, following the ordinations. 

Quote:“Archbishop Lefebvre, you’ve just been suspended by Paul VI for not saying the New Mass and for ordaining these priests without permission. Tell us, why are you doing these things? Just what exactly are you trying to achieve?”

 “Well… to make them more united and to become more anchored to God.” 

“And what are your plans for the future of your priestly society, Archbishop?” 

“We’re going to be doing some invisible stuff which has to do with looking after ourselves, but it won’t be visible, so to you on the outside, it might look as though we’re not actually doing anything…”

 “Archbishop Lefebvre, talk about your feelings for us…”

It is so ridiculous that one can only conclude that the SSPX in relation to Archbishop Lefebvre is pretty much in the same position as so many parishes and diocese in the conciliar church in relation to the Church before the Council: living off the capital acquired and built up by past generations even as they destroy and undermine the very thing which provided them with a platform and basis for their current existence. Like termites eating away at the house which they occupy, the structure will look on the outside as though it still stands for quite some time after it has gone rotten on the inside. But it cannot last forever.

Accepting the Council and the New Mass 

There is more in this interview, but the reader ought by now to have a fairly accurate picture of how things really stand. Most of the rest of the interview is just so much hot air, cheap talk, easy-to-utter platitudes. We continue following Archbishop Lefebvre. Are you, though? It is not just that Fr. Pagliarani really is a bland non-personality? After all, many have noticed and commented on that since he became Superior General more than two years ago. It’s almost as though it had been a token appointment to an empty, pointless office, as though the real power lay elsewhere… but that would be “conspiracy theory” talk, so it can’t be true! No, what we see here is something more than just that. There is a way of covering-up ones own betrayal by talking as though it had never happened. Talking about how you’ll never do...the very thing which you already have done! If one talks a good fight, plenty of people will be perfectly satisfied, even though the actions belie such fine talk. Hence, we witness Fr. Pagliarani saying, apparently in all seriousness, that:

Quote: “in 2017, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wanted to oblige the SSPX to accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and to recognise the legitimacy of the New Mass, if the SSPX had accepted those conditions…” 

...but hold on, you already have accepted them! The Society accepted those very things in the infamous 2012 Doctrinal Declaration! How can you talk about “if we were” to do something which you’ve in fact already done..?! Oh - so sorry Father, didn’t mean to interrupt you! Please, continue. You were about to tell us why accepting the teaching of Vatican II and the legitimacy of the New Mass are a bad thing:

Quote: “ [the SSPX] would have simply denied everything it stands for and everything it values and holds to, from the depths of its heart.” 

Strike out the “would have” and you have a true statement, albeit one which took place in 2012, not 2017. By the by, it (“would also have”) denied Our Lord, which is arguably even more important than “the depths of its heart” (more selfish navel-gazing).  Notice however, that this comes very close to an implicit admission that the Resistance were right. For years the faithful were told that such an attitude was misplaced, that we were reading too much into things, that it did not concern us in any case… Bishop Fellay characterised it as a question “wearing dark glasses” as opposed to “wearing rose-tinted glasses,” as though if anyone had a problem with the acceptance of Vatican II contained in the Doctrinal Declaration, then that could only be because they were deliberately trying to see evil where it did not exist. 

I defy anyone to re-read what the 2012 Doctrinal Declaration has to say concerning the New Mass and not see it as an acceptance. And yet, according to the current Superior General of the SSPX, such an acceptance amounted to “a denial” of what the SSPX stood for (which in the end, ought to be “the Faith,” surely?). In like manner, the interview ends with these fine sounding words:

Quote: “...Divine Providence has always guided the SSPX and has always protected it in the midst of a thousand difficulties. Divine Providence is always faithful to its promises; it is always vigilant and generous. Therefore, it cannot abandon us in the future […] ” 

Will somebody kindly point out to Fr Pagliarani that “has always” is not the same as “will always.” Our Lord’s divine guarantee of indefectibility was given to the Church, not to the SSPX. Likewise, “Divine Providence … cannot abandon us” - true, but you can abandon it..! “...God cannot change. He always remains the same” - true, but man can and does change. After all, the human heart “is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?” (Jer.17:9) Methinks this confidence is misplaced. Time will of course tell, and is already telling. But we take no satisfaction whatever in saying “I told you so” - rather we must continue to try to wake up as many as possible whilst there still is time. Archbishop Lefebvre’s words and actions are as valuable a guide to us today as ever they were, perhaps more so. Thanks be to God that not everyone has abandoned him, even if the SSPX has.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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