THE ROME-FSSPX NEGOTIATIONS CAUSE A CRISIS IN SAN NICOLÁS DE CHARDONNET
This Sunday May 14, the atrium of the church St. Nicholas of Chardonnet is boiling. A few hours earlier, the priest of the emblematic Parisian parish church occupied by the traditionalists since 1977, Fr. de la Rocque, was relieved of his duties with other deans of the Priestly Fraternity Saint Pius X (FSSPX). Reason for the misfortune? To have disseminated, without submitting the text to his superiors, a declaration signed by seven deans and superiors of congregations of the SSPX. This declaration criticizes the recognition by Rome of the marriages celebrated between the faithful of the Fraternity on condition that the exchange of consents is received by a priest in communion with Rome or a priest of the Fraternity with authorization of the bishop. But at bottom, what is played goes beyond this matter of marriage and touches the process of rapprochement with Rome, while the eventuality of the creation of a personal prelature, under the model of Opus Dei, was raised last year By the secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. This commission manages in the Vatican the discussions with the traditionalists. In the ranks of the SSPX, some have the opinion that their doctrinal convictions are sacrificed on the altar of the policy of rapprochement.
The blame of the P. de la Rocque
"We are completely outraged," says a young woman. Our parish priest, Fr. de la Rocque, defended the doctrine. And suddenly they put it aside because he told the truth. I am against the prelature and against all agreement, because what we want is to preserve the Catholic faith, which Monsignor Lefebvre transmitted to us. Why want an agreement, why a prelature? To have the power, to be prelate? We do not want power. What we want is to safeguard the true sacraments. " Another believer defends the contrary opinion: "No, it was necessary to separate the Fr. de La Rocque, because what he did is serious, it is insubordination." In the atrium, a man comments on the situation: " Actually, in all these negotiations, what bothers people is that they do not deal with the background of the disagreements between the traditionalists and the conciliar church, but only about a canonical regularization. Pope Francisco, with a certain diplomatic skill, takes small steps and grants small concessions, advances with the agreement of Bishop Fellay. "
The phrase "small steps" touches a fundamental point. On the return flight from Fatima on May 13, the pope explained that the document of agreement between Rome and the Fraternity has not yet been achieved, that all triumphalism must be avoided and that we must continue to walk: With Bishop Fellay I have a good relationship, Said Francisco . We have spoken several times. I do not like to push things. Walk, walk, walk, then you will see. For me it is not a problem of winners or losers, but a problem of brothers and sisters who must walk together, seeking the formula to take steps forward. " Thus, where Benedict XVI tried to heal the fracture by theological and doctrinal negotiation, The method of Pope Francis is to act step by step.
The examples are not lacking. In September of 2015, during the jubilee of the Mercy, Francis returned " acquittal and valid" the acquittal granted by the priests of the Fraternity for the confessions, before to perennizar the measure in April of this year and to add the question of the marriages . Now, in the FSSPX, this new way of doing disorientates a certain number of faithful, more accustomed to the doctrinal argument than to this proactive approach that gives them the feeling of being faced with the fait accompli. A strategy paradoxically quite effective, revealing internal fractures.
The reactions of the base
The tensions in the parishes involved, among which is St. Nicholas of Chardonnet, are the image of those that cross the Fraternity as a whole. Faced with the approach perspective, the reactions of the base disagree. There are those who have lived so many ads of this type that they prefer to wait. There are those who fear losing their liberty and their soul and believe that the Fraternity is not the one who should give the saint and sign, but Rome: "What do they reproach us? If Rome decides to take a step towards the Tradition saying that they renounce to take into account the council, the agreement is possible, otherwise it is not worth it. If we have a prelature, we would have to ask for authorizations for the purchase of new houses, everything will depend on the bishop for marriages, " says a young woman.
"Once we say yes to Rome , we can not say," But we do not agree with you. " We can not make concessions. Or it is yes and we agree, or it is not. We do not want to say: yes but ... " adds another. A young man agrees: "We do not know anything about the ongoing negotiations, because the General House keeps everything for herself and this is what we reproach her: they do not listen to the theologians of the SSPX, the priests, Écône ... To present the text, the seven deans have acted for the defense of the faith, they wanted to put an end to this, to be able to say things, that theologians can freely express themselves. "
Little by little, some evoke their distrust of the superior general of the SSPX and evoke what is most unbearable in the "conciliar" Church: the relationship with other religions. "The last letter to Monsieur Fellay's friends and benefactors speaks of Protestantism and firmly condemns what Luther did, says a young man. It is a very doctrinal letter, but does not give practical conclusions: it did not mention, for example, the arrival of the statue of Luther to the Vatican. This is a real scandal. "
The show of divisions
A faithful in his fifties says more: "People are becoming more distrustful of the general direction, one wonders what they have in mind. In 2018 there are general elections, and everything suggests that Bishop Fellay will not be re-elected: against the 7 deans over 10, all the superiors of the congregations, wants to retain power by force before the election ... " A lady interrupts him : "Can you take God as a witness to what you are saying?
"Yes, I do," the man says.
"No accusations should be made without foundation. You lie ... how can you say it's a coup d'état?
"Of course it's a coup d'etat!" Look at the division of the faithful!
"There is no such division. It is you who create it when telling stories. It's a sedevacantist, it's not from the parish! He thinks he knows the lady.
- I have been here for 40 years, I have made the guard (the parish was occupied by the traditionalists in 1977, ndlr) ... Soon we will not have guard, everyone will be reintegrated "
And the tensions continued during the mass. Fr. Bouchacourt, the district superior of France, explaining why he took the "difficult" decision to relieve the priest of St. Nicholas of Chardonnet, speaks only five minutes in the church crammed, when a third of the attendants rose and were Towards the exit. "You may want to punish me," Father Bouchacourt said, " or punish your parish! Around the entrance door, the group that was formed, composed essentially of young people, sang songs to the Virgin, while the faithful looked at each other in bewilderment, trying to understand the situation. In the midst of those who remained seated, a young woman wept in the spectacle of divisions. "Our Fraternity, founded by Monsignor Lefebvre for the sanctification of the priests is attacked, continued Fr. Bouchacourt. They want to stir the division into it. Satan is attacking her. The FSSPX does not intend, by any means of the world, to abandon the fight of the faith. My brothers, be persuaded. We want to defend the faith of always, the mass of always, the sacraments of always and to reject the council that has poisoned and that poisons the Church from the interior and it autodestruye ".
In the end, the discussions continued in the atrium. "They are just some agitators who want to sow confusion , want to believe a faithful. The majority of the parish is united and understands the decision of Fr. Bouchacourt. " What if the agreement is concluded? The answer was quick: "Has the prelature already been created? No. We'll decide when it happens. Meanwhile, it's a lot of noise for nothing. " One thing is certain: if the possibility of a rapprochement with the lefebvristas makes teeth grind in the heart of the Catholic Church, it also provokes turbulence in the SSPX.