Originally posted by SeanJohnson
A meandering rumination:
I recall first learning of the Barnes Review (the Concentration Camp Money issue referenced on the website/link Matthew found) while at the seminary in Winona.
Bishop Williamson had mentioned it in one of our spiritual conferences.
I remember at the time wondering to myself, "What in the hell are we talking about the flippin' holocaust for in a spiritial conference?"
That, coupled with my scruples about supplied jurisdiction (and consequently, the liceity of me even being in the seminary at all), and the very recent 911 stuff (i.e., I was in the seminary for the momentous 2001-2002 academic year, which also saw the fall of Campos), were all militating against my vocation.
Everything in my mind was screaming, "This stuff is crazy! Get out!"
I recall being very excited that the SSPX had just recently paraded into Rome for the 2000 pilgrimage, and how I had hoped the Fellayists would trump the Williamsonites, and that +Fellay's desire for an accord even back in 2001 would present a solution to my scruples, as well as ridding the Society of the looney's like Bishop Williamson.
But I was a recent half-convert from the indult world.
Legalism was everything to me.
The doctrine of supplied jurisdiction was so......"theoretical," versus the very practical opposition to (and condemnation by) the Pope.
My vocation was doomed before I ever walked in the door.
Reflecting back on it all, I see clearly that God had put me there for a reason:
I had lived and suffered, interiorly, from the very affliction which now weakens the SSPX.
God wanted that from me, so that I could later defend Tradition from an intimate knowledge of what is causing the betrayal of it.
After my abrupt departure from the seminary, the "pressure" was off.
I could then take my time to study and internalize supplied jurisdiction and the SSPX apologetics (e.g., SiSiNoNo/Angelus article "The 1988 Consecrations: A Theological Study"), as well as the seemingly peripherally related issues on the greater crisis in the world at large.
This allowed me to recover my strength.
A maturation of the ideas of Christ the King (particularly in the writings of Fr. Denis Fahey) and the wider battle which included economics, politics, monetary policy, etc. convinced me that the crazy and irrelevant things Bishop Williamson spoke about were not so off-point as I used to think they were.
I was seeing at a higher, broader level now.
But I couldn't do that before leaving the seminary, because the pressure of so many conflicting themes (excommunication, invalid confessions, necessity or not?, 911, Campos capitulating, holocaust, etc, etc) were all too much: I had jumped into the frying pan too soon.
I believe many SSPXers (including the General Coucil and many district Superiors) suffer the same suppressed battle, and it is what accounts for the large defection movement away from Archbishop Lefebvre:
They were all willing to follow his magnetic and charismatic personality, and had a personal trust in him. But many never acquired a comfort with his later positions. And when he was gone, the internal conflicts and the internal monologues of many presented themselves for the first time. With the peace which was brought by the great Archbishop and the authority which caused that peace, the unacknowledged fires of scruples, legalism, and doubt emerged for the first time, or at least persisted for the first time.
It is what explains the passionate persecution of Bishop WIlliamson by the likes of Fr. Pfluger, Bishop Fellay, et al:
They see in him their own damnation, and hell or high water, they are going to get a deal, and no "crazy Bishop Williamson" is going to be allowed to come between thee SSPX and conciliar Rome!
I know this from having experienced it, and now I write about it.
This explanation (i.e., the psychological attack) is the charitable explanation, as opposed to the mole/Masonic subversion explanation. This latter may be the angle which causes Rome's motivations. But for the SSPX, most of them are quivering in their boots (and have been for decades).
They can't wait any longer.
I understand this.
When a mania builds within a man, he can't think straight. Yes, he can reason perfectly well, but those reasonings will not pacify the fires of doubt and the subsequent emotions which have gained an undue influence over his intellectual faculties.
Whatever his perfect reasonings dictate and conclude, they will not smother the butterflies swirling around in his bowels.
But at the end of the day, the truth was this:
Williamson had/has a broader view of the crisis, and therefore was not subject to the psychological attacks of the devil.
He was right all along.
But Menzingen was never able to internalize this in the post-Lefebvre SSPX, and the devil used it to divide, then sink, the Society.
I experienced a similar struggle when I spent two years in a cloistered "conservative" monastery of Catholic Novus Ordo nuns.
These nuns were placed in an impossible schizophrenic frenzy: trying to maintain the spirit of a true cloistered and ancient monastic life while living in the ever-changing ungodly spirit of Paul VI's Vatican II. Although the nuns loved the Latin Mass and the Latin Divine Office, they were being encouraged by the clergy to set a contemporary modernistic English text to ancient Gregorian chant. This effort unfortunately gave credence to a lie and led many Catholics to stay within the Novus Ordo thinking that all was well.
Not only was this monastery changing the Latin to the English, but all the sister monasteries were attempting the same work. Thus each monastery was independently attempting the same feat. The purpose was to get the nuns occupied in busy work so that they could not see the larger picture: that they were being subverted. Under obedience, they were not to question why or how high they should jump.
The final week of my monastic life occurred during a taped retreat given by the now deceased Thomas Merton. He was preaching paganistic Eastern heresy. Even though this retreat was being played during a hot summer, and even though I was clothed in a woolen monastic habit, I was freezing and shivering inside as he described various pagan statues. Why were we learning the ways of the pagan East? In what way would this contribute to our salvation?
It would not. It could not. Heresy, no matter how it is presented, is death to the soul.