A Pact Between Pope Francis and the Society of Saint Pius X for the Isolation of Tradition?
Is Pope Francis preparing to eliminate the Ecclesia Dei communities with the help of the Pius Brotherhood?
(Rome) More and more voices are dealing with the rumors that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is about to be dissolved.
The two authors Fabrizio Cannone and Alessandro Rico see it as a papal maneuver to assassinate tradition from behind. Anzeige Fabrizio Cannone, born in 1974, holds a Doctorate in Church History and Religious Studies, and has written for Corrispondenza Romana , Fides Catholica , Homme Nouveau and numerous other Catholic media. Most recently, he published the book: “The Inconvenient Pope. History and background of the beatification of Pius IX.” (1)
Alessandro Rico, born in 1991, studied philosophy at the Sapienza and Political History of Ideas at the LUISS in Rome. In 2017 he published together with Lorenzo Castellani the book “The end of politics? Technocracy, Populism, Multiculturalism”. (2) He calls himself a “Catholic, Conservative and Opponent of Political Correctness”. Both are close to the Catholic tradition.
In recent days, the rumors have been nearly confirmed that Pope Francis in January 2019 will dissolve the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and their tasks will be transferred to the Congregation of the Faith.
“It’s a decision that could hide a new chapter in the Vatican war between progressives and conservatives. With this step, Francis wants to start another offensive against his adversaries.”
The Commission Ecclesia Dei was established in 1988 by John Paul II. It became the roof for the then and later emerging communities of tradition that remained in unity with Rome, when Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the newly-consecrated bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX) were declared excommunicated by Rome.
With the election of Benedict XVI. in addition, it was entrusted with discussions with the Society in preparation for reconciliation and canonical recognition. The Commission, headed by Curial Archbishop Guido Pozzo as Secretary, is also responsible for questions on the traditional form of the Roman Rite.
“Although Pozzo is not an ultra-conservative,” the authors said, he has worked hard to bring the Society back into unity with Rome. “In the past, he rebuked the prelates who opposed the Tridentine Mass, which he regularly celebrates, so that he is a reference point for those who are still attached to the ancient Rite.”
Pope Francis’ new measure would therefore affect especially Archbishop Pozzo, who “was never disobedient to the Church”. The Pope knows that the prelate would also submit to a dismissal from his present task without resistance.
However, Monsignor Pozzo was not only very popular with Pope Francis, but also - albeit for other reasons - with the Society. Both sides do not bother with the person, but with the institution he represents, with which the popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. have institutionalized tradition. Pope Francis, because he sees neither need for this institutionalization nor understanding of the tradition.
In the past, he spoke of a “temporary fashion” that he could not understand. The Society is struck by this, because it sees itself as the exclusive patron of tradition, recognizing “competition” in the Commission of Ecclesia Dei and the Ecclesia Dei communities. There are resentments that go back to the year 1988, when the Motu proprio Ecclesia Dei was seen as a Roman countermeasure to the Society. This view is still to be found in the Society 30 years later.
The Society has petitioned in Rome its desire to be able to talk directly with the Congregation of the Faith, and not with the subordinate commission Ecclesia Dei.
“The pope, who finds it hard to bear the clergy and the faithful who are bound to the pre-Conciliar Mass, seized the opportunity to strike a direct blow to the conservative front by marginalizing Archbishop [Pozzo] without giving advantage to the traditional liturgy.”
At the same time Francis tries to play the two traditionalist souls against each other. He relied on the desire for revenge by the Society against the resulting “competition” of the Ecclesia Dei communities. The Society, according to the assessment of Francis, also felt “more and more pressure” to come to an agreement with Rome. Only three bishops have remained since the expulsion of Richard Williamson, whose ages are 73, 61 and 60. In the Society there is a desire for more bishops.
If everything does not start all over again in 1988, it needs the consent of the ruling Pope. The authors underline that it is understandable in this context that in the circles of the Ecclesia Dei communities, the apparently imminent dissolution of the Ecclesia Dei Commission is understood as a “pact between Lefebvrians and Francis to the detriment of the other communities of tradition”. And further:
"Progressives are known to aim to free themselves from any remnant of the pre-Conciliar liturgy, even though Mass in its traditional form, attracts more and more believers, in contrast to many flat and disjointed Masses celebrated in our parishes. In November, Msgr. Roberto Maria Radaelli, Bishop of Gorizia, even claimed that Summorum Pontificum , the motu proprio of Benedict XVI, with which the Latin mass was restored, was not valid under Canon Law. "
In 2017, in a RAI interview, the progressive liturgist Andrea Grillo demanded that the traditional Rite be allowed only for a small, well-defined group that was to be strictly defined and controlled. His words were understood by observers as a requirement to create a closely guarded, exotic reserve for the Society of Saint Pius X, while the other communities of tradition now in unity with Rome should be deprived of their right to exist. Rico and Cannone are of the opinion that Pope Francis has made this demand his strategy with the aim of first eliminating the Ecclesia Dei communities with the help of the Society and then putting the Society on a short leash. They conclude with a question which, even after almost six years of Pope Francis’ pontificate, has found no real answer:
"But why so much acrimony against the Tridentine Mass? The Catholic Church, shaken by sexual scandals and the plague of homosexual, pedophile priests, has very different concerns to worry about. In the Vatican, however, it still seems to be a priority to punish the Lord’s Prayer, the cassock and receiving Communion while kneeling on the tongue. "
(1) Fabrizio Cannone: Il papa scomodo. Storia e retroscena della beatificazione di Pio IX. Foreword by Roberto de Mattei, Edizioni Ares, Milan, 2012, 440 pages.
(2) Alessandro Rico / Lorenzo Castellani: La fine della politica? Tecnocrazia, populismo, multiculturalismo, Historica Edizioni, Cesena 2017, 160 pages.