Dr. Estrangedlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Church UPDATED


The word is that the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) may be coming back home to Rome after a long journey through the wilderness. If true, I think that it’s great news.

Father Zulsdorf concurs, and knows waay more about this than Joe Six-Pack. The folks at Rorate Cæli have the complete scoop.

Disclaimer: I don’t know much about the SSPXer’s. But when it comes right down to it, I can truthfully say the same thing about the Jesuits, Franciscans, Rosminians, Calmodolese, Norbertines, Redemptorists, Carmelites, etc., etc. The difference between SSPX and the orders I mentioned above is that the former kind of went rogue (or went completely off the deep end, depending on who you ask), while all of the latter have stayed faithfully under allegiance to the Vatican (in this century, so far).

Bishop Fellay, Society of St. Pius X

Why do I think it’s good news? “Frank,” you may be asking, “shouldn’t there be only one way for Catholics to worship? Only one form of the Mass? Only celibate priests? Only one approved liturgy? A simple, uniform set of rules for how to worship so that everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do and when? And absolutely, positively zero duplication and overlap?”

Not that anyone is asking my opinion or anything but I think all of the different ways that are approved under the Way are good. That is, as long as the Pope says so. If il Papa says SSPX are in compliance, and in communion with him, than it’s good enough for me.

Looking at it from a military point of view, the Catholic Church is like one, huge, Allied Army fighting in an ongoing and everlasting (until the end of time) world war. Just like in World War II, when the Allies teamed up to fight the Axis. All the different countries, different armies, regiments, divisions, etc. with their own set of norms, histories, elan, esprit, strengths (and weaknesses), all came together to fight a common foe.

General's Patton, Bradley, and Field Marshal Montgomery

Was the organization clean? On paper, maybe. Was the culture of Patton’s Third Army, for example, the same as Field Marshal Montgomery’s Eighth Army? Were the Royal Marines at odds with the Royal Fusiliers? Maybe in garrison, sure, but when at the front? Could the U.S. Marines have won the entire war by themselves? Dream on, Chesty (wherever you are).

Instead, it took the concerted, and collaborative efforts of all of the Allies (The U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand, et al.) working together and with the partisan resistance movements in France (and other conquered countries) to win the war. And it took the same efforts of all the parties to win the peace as well.

And so I say (when it’s official) Welcome Back SSPX! Let’s put a ring on your finger and slaughter the fattened calf! There will probably still be some epic bar-fights when the troops are on R&R, but as long as the war continues, that’s what the Shore Patrol is for.

Vive le reconciliation!


Catholic Herald – Vatican welcomes ‘encouraging’ SSPX response.

Creative Minority Report – Confirmed: Vatican received response. Encouraged.

Catholic News Service - Vatican says traditionalists’ response marks ‘step forward’ in talks

National Catholic Register - Vatican Confirms SSPX Response

Pat Archbold – Get Ready For SSPX Pandemonium

John Allen - Lefebvrite schism may be nearing an end

Hey, not so fast! Communiqué from the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X (April 18, 2012)

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Strange Love Depeche Mode? When it works, serve it up!

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  • Dismas

    LOL, what a great analogy. Let the bar fights begin, I’ll buy the first round!

  • Elmtree

    Excellent! Goodness the Franciscans and Dominicans have been arguing with each other for years. Like… a thousand almost. But we all join together to form the one body, and it’s important to have the variety- we all have the same different way of worship, so to speak. Many, and One.

  • Judith W

    you had me until this line: “That is, as long as the Pope says so. ” I’ll think for myself, thanks, instead of believing a Pope who silences theologians.

    • Frank Weathers

      Now, Judith…stop worrying! =D

  • Mark

    Frank, I beg to differ. It was not Archbishop LeFebvre (SSPX founder) and the SSPX that ‘went rogue’. It was the modernist heretics of the second vatican council. It has been the SSPX, and other traditional Catholic societies like CMRI, etc. that have remained true to the Catholic Faith as it was given to us by Christ and the Apostles. It is the modernist novus ordo (even the name betrays it), with all its ‘different ways’ that is the rogue element. Yes, there is only ONE form of Catholic worship, there is only ONE order of Mass (codified into dogma by the Council of Trent). That is what makes it UNIVERSAL (thus the name Catholic). If you’ve got everybody, everywhere doing their own thing, then it can hardly be universal. It’s more like mass (no pun intended) confusion. In my view, the novus ordo is like the Arian Heresy of our day. The majority of ‘the church’ has fallen prey to it, but that does NOT make it the true Faith. We don’t need more of JPII or Benedict – we need a Saint Athanasius! To paraphrase what St. Athanasius said to the true Catholics of his day, the novus ordo may have the buildings, but traditional Catholics have the Faith.

    • Frank Weathers

      I think that the Church responds to unity differently than how you are suggesting it. If she did as you say, with complete, autocratic, and iron-handed central authority, than why hasn’t she? One word: Collegiality.

      I’m not saying I rest my case (it’s a blog post, by a rookie Catholic) but the burden of proof would seem to indicate that my analogy holds pretty well. Consider the United States Armed Forces for a clearer cut example. The Marine Corps is different from the Army. The Air Force is different from the Navy. Each have different “cultures” but all share the same oaths of office. Each culture solves problems differently, and competitively among themselves, and yet, all share a common rank structure, and heirarchy. All serve different commanders, but one Commander-in-Chief. And all serve to achieve the same goal.

      The Catholic Church is just a much bigger version of this. On a global scale, but much more decentralized than my example. Food for thought.

    • Quid est veritas

      Please don’t lump the SSPX in with the sedevacantist groups. They’re not of that persuasion.

  • Colet

    For awhile now SSPX has had their own “Personal Jesus”.

  • Alicia

    I think your military analogy is way off. We’re not all just different divisions coming under one commander. First, the SSPX represents what Catholicism was before Vatican II, the mindset and the liturgy that produced some of our great saints. It is not simply one more variation on a theme that we should accommodate. Second, your notion that the traditional Latin Mass is a relative newcomer to all this is woefully inadequate. It is the Novus Ordo that is the latecomer to things. There should be some respect for antiquity and what has come before, simply because it has come before and was hallowed by those who preceded us. I don’t get that sense in your post – at all.

    Finally, what does “the Way” mean as you use it?