On September 16, 2019, a lengthy interview of Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, was released. The lengthy exchange makes known the Superior General’s comprehensive assessment of the current pontificate of extreme novelties approximately one year after being selected to lead the oldest Traditionalist order of clerics.
The overarching theme of the interview is that the radical novelties and revolutionary acts of Pope Francis are not simply the isolated “work of an eccentric and provocative personality – what some want to see in the current pope.” According to Father Pagliarani, this pontificate, and its radical destruction of the Church’s doctrine, worship, and governance, is the result “that, sooner or later, was to occur as a result of the principles laid down by the Council.”
Although arguing at great length that the cause of the disaster of this pontificate lies squarely at the feet of the Second Vatican Council, the Superior General is not dismissing the radical nature of the current pontificate. He describes Amoris Laetitia in the following dramatic fashion: “Amoris lætitia represents, in the history of the Church in recent years, what the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are in the modern history of Japan: humanely speaking, the damage is irreparable. It is undoubtedly the most revolutionary act of Pope Francis.”
With respect to the few cardinals and bishops who have denounced acts such as Amoris Laetitia and the Instrumentum laboris for the Synod on the Amazon, Father Pagliarani both acknowledges the positive development that some few members of the hierarchy are denouncing these blatant errors for what they are, but he also criticizes these princes of the Church. He first has this to say about the public opposition to Pope Francis’ novelties: “One can only rejoice at such reactions and at a progressive awareness on the part of many of the faithful and some prelates that the Church is approaching a new catastrophe. These reactions have the advantage and merit of showing that the voice that advocates these errors cannot be that of Christ, nor that of the Magisterium of the Church. This is extremely important and, despite the tragic context, encouraging.”
Notwithstanding this encouraging sign, the vocal criticism of prelates such as Cardinals Burke, Brandmüller, and Müller and Bishop Schneider are characterized as ultimately ineffective because they are like physicians treating symptoms rather than excising the disease. Father Pagliarani explains, “First of all, they should have the lucidity and courage to recognize that there is a continuity between the teachings of the Council, the popes of the post-conciliar era and the current pontificate. Citing the magisterium of ‘Saint’ John Paul II, for example, to oppose Pope Francis’ innovations is a very bad remedy, one that is doomed to failure from the outset. A good doctor cannot simply use a few stitches to close a wound without first evacuating the infection inside the wound.”
Father cites Cardinal Müller as an example of the uselessness of quoting John Paul II to refute Francis: “He [Müller] is presently the most virulent opponent of Amoris lætitia, the Instrumentum laboris and the Curia’s reform project. He uses very strong language, even talking about ‘breaking with Tradition’. And yet, this cardinal who has the fortitude to publicly denounce these errors is the same one who wanted to impose the acceptance of the whole Council and the post-conciliar magisterium on the Society of Saint Pius X (in continuity with his predecessors and successors at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).” Thus, Father concludes that all these efforts to denounce the errors of Francis have ultimately changed nothing. Francis merely remains silent and moves on to the next novelty. The reason is these men refuse to name the cause of which Francis is merely the necessary effect, the Second Vatican Council.
Finally, for the past seven years, the media and internet has been abuzz with the rumors that the Society was about to sign an agreement to obtain canonical recognition. Although this interview is primarily focused on naming the root deadly virus at the heart of the Francis Pontificate, Father Pagliarani gives a clear indication of his position toward an “agreement with Rome.” This one sentence is extremely enlightening to understand his attitude toward such a hypothetical deal: “She [the SSPX] has a freedom of speech that allows her to speak openly, without fear of losing benefits she does not have [i.e. canonical recognition]… This freedom is essential in the current circumstances” (emphasis added). The final sentence is very clear. The Superior General does not intend to trade this freedom justly to criticize the Conciliar Church for the “benefit” of legal niceties. He recognizes that “in the current circumstances” of the radical destruction of the Church the Society’s role is better fulfilled in the current legal irregularity. This should be a reassuring statement to anyone who due to the rumors and innuendo has been fearful that the SSPX would trade this freedom for de jure legal recognition (since the SSPX already possess de facto recognition since the withdrawal of canonical recognition in the 1970s was unjust and illegal).
Recently, Michael Matt of Remnant TV released a moving video calling for the “uniting of the clans”. I certainly agree with a message that urges people to stop unnecessarily attacking other people or groups who are working toward the restoration of the Church against the destruction of Pope Francis. Yet, uniting the clans must be more than a Machiavellian mutual “non-aggression pact.” To be truly effective against this dictator, the clans must unite una voce to do what the Conciliar Bishops and Cardinals, notwithstanding the good they may have done with their letters and dubia, have refused to do in their criticism of Pope Francis. The clans must unite behind a simple and clear condemnation of the errors of Vatican II and all the doctrinal, liturgical, and disciplinary errors that flows from it. The only way to reverse the damage being done by Francis is to openly acknowledge its true cause, the Second Vatican Council.
I, therefore, call on the leaders of any and all organizations, lay or clerical, that espouse a mission to defend and promote the Tradition of the Church to publicly endorse and join “with lucidity and courage” Father Pagliarai’s conclusion “that there is a continuity between the teachings of the Council, the popes of the post-conciliar era and the current pontificate” and to call for the repudiation of the errors both of the Council and all (not just Francis) the popes of the post-conciliar era. The Vatican knows that if the “clans” could unite on this one foundational point, the voices in favor of Tradition would reverberate louder. Catholic Family News hereby commits to publish the statements of the leaders of such “clans” that lucidly and courageously join with Father Pagliarani. This would be a true offensive uniting of the clans rather than a mere defensive cease fire.
The full text of the interview of Father Pagliarani can be read here.