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Father Michael Rodriguez’ Novel Suggestion for Unity Among Traditional Catholics           July 11, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, Father Rodriguez, fightback, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, priests, Restoration, scandals, self-serving, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

As I posted yesterday, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Father Michael Rodriguez of El Paso on the 4th of July.  Much of the discussion centered around the views Father and I share regarding the different groups within the larger community of traditional Catholicism.  I’ve posted on this subject numerous times before, but I will briefly restate them: most traditional Catholics have a particular group, be it the SSPX, FSSP, ICK, IBP, etc., within which they feel the most comfort and towards which the most affinity.  I have no problem with that.  Certainly there are advantages and disadvantages to each group, and especially between the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei communities.  All of this is fine and can certainly be discussed within proper limits of prudence and charity.

Where both Father and I have serious reservations is with proponents of each group basically making dogmatic definitions regarding the “other,” whichever that may be.  And this is not strictly an SSPX vs. Ecclesia Dei matter.  I have also heard proponents of the Institute of Christ the King make starkly derogatory comments regarding the FSSP, and vice versa.  Oftentimes, it seems as if the various partisans of particular groups within traditional Catholicism spend far more time and effort attacking each other than they do opposing the true threat to the Faith in this age, the modernist Left within the Church.  Or perhaps I should say “within.”

This is all so fruitless for so many reasons.  Certainly, one can, with charity, expound on why one prefers one group versus another, or problems they perceive in certain canonical situations.  But when it comes to arguing, definitively, that group X is protestant and schismatic or group Y has sold out and accommodated itself to the modernist zeitgeist, the arguments are as endless as they are unhelpful.  Yes one can pile up great piles of quotes from Scripture, Doctors, Saints, Fathers, etc., on each side of whatever issue one wants to choose.  But the other side in the major question dividing traditional Catholics – the canonical status of the SSPX –can do the same, and does, with grim determination.  So the arguments go on forever, everyone becomes more and more settled in their own predetermined position, and nothing ever changes.

It also seems very silly when one realizes what a teeny, tiny fraction of the Church traditional Catholics constitute.  Traditional Catholics might make up 1,000,000 ± 500,000 Catholics. As such, we are not even 1/10 of 1% of the nominal reported population of the Church as a whole.

With all the confusion in the Church today, where the Bishop of Rome seems to be doing all he can to demonstrate his manifest heresy, if not worse, can any of us be so certain that we are so perfectly right, and the other guy so perfectly wrong?  Should we be focusing our efforts on judging that others conclusions are so much inferior to our own?

Father Rodriguez plea is that we stop all this endless internecine warfare and get down to the business of dealing with the primary threat not only to the future of the Church but also to the very souls of millions of other nominal Catholics out there, most of whom have never even heard of traditional Catholicism nor are aware that an alternative (and far more authentic) practice of the Faith exists.

But this is not just another “can’t we all get along” post.  Father made a suggestion for a way for the traditional communities to both come together and be far more effective in fighting against the modernist dominance and deformation of the Faith.

The suggestion is this: for the various traditional communities to start holding at least semi-regular conferences amongst all the various groups, as a means to establish more peace and concord between the various communities AND for the development of strategies to fight for the restoration of our sadly tattered Holy Mother Church.   Some aspects of these conferences would be public, while others would of necessity be private.

Father sees many potential advantages in doing this, as do I.  For one thing, the modernist powers in the Church have long used the differing canonical status of the various groups against those groups, basically using the different factions as clubs against the others.  In fact, there is a rumor going around now that if the SSPX is “regularized,” the Ecclesia Dei communities will be dissolved and Summorum Pontificum abrogated, leaving the SSPX as the sole provider of traditional Sacraments.  Whether that is true or not is not the point, what is the point is that what has been used as a weapon by the modernists against the traditional communities could very easily be turned around and used by the communities themselves against  the modernists. One could easily imagine numerous plays on the “good cop bad cop” routine that could be developed using the SSPX and Ecclesia Dei communities to wring concessions from the powers that be, or to at least gain great benefits from mutual concerted action.

While there are some pan-traditional meetings like the Catholic Identity conference and things of that sort, they are primarily lay-led and not really oriented towards specific strategizing among the priests of the various traditional communities themselves. But to my knowledge, no pan-traditional meetings of clergy oriented towards unity of action have ever been held.

Frankly, once Father made the suggestion I was shocked at its simplicity and obviousness, wondering why such an effort hadn’t come into being years ago.  That’s a testimony to the really powerful feelings of resentment and disassociation among the various factions, I guess.  Or perhaps it takes a seeming outsider to notice the obvious.

I love this idea.  I’m a lone lay blogger, and not a terribly imaginative one at that, but I have to think that getting several dozen of the brightest minds within the SSPX, FSSP, ICK, IBP, SSJV, etc., could come up with all manner of strategies for achieving greater concord among traditional Catholics, greater effectiveness in response to threats, more concerted promotion of the traditional Catholic movement, and achieve an overall far stronger and healthier traditional Catholicism.

It’s all about souls, and doing what is best for the good of the Church.  We can all still believe our particular situation is the best, that our current level of understanding of the Faith is darn near perfect, but let us do so in a more low key, less parochial manner.  And let us work towards finding ways to bring concerted action between traditional communities about, while we still have the chance.  Francis is moving fast, and he certainly intends that his pontificate not be a weird standout, but the beginning of an entirely new church of man.  The modernists will not long tolerate the existence of traditional Catholicism. They cannot, we are an existential threat to them.

Let’s work together, and show them just what a threat we can be.


1. Baseballmomof8 - July 11, 2017

“It’s all about souls, and doing what is best for the good of the Church.”

Exactly correct! And this is precisely why all the bickering continues. Because, the evil one does not care how we err; only THAT we err. He is happy to accommodate our personal preferences. If we can allow our pride to get ourselves all wrapped up in the fact that we are right, and they are wrong, then the evil one wins.

2. Numbskull - July 12, 2017

I belong to a parish traditional Mass community, which you’ve clearly excluded above. Perhaps its because you feel threatened by our superiority. Probably so, but in the interest of unity Numbskull will overlook this slight.


3. Richard Malcolm - July 13, 2017

I think it’s a reasonable idea.

The SSPX might be a bit sticky given their canonical status; and even if the Ecclesia Dei societies were willing, I am not entirely sure the Society would come. But aside from that, I would think it’s possible the others would be open to meeting regularly, schedules permitting.

Traditional Catholics are highly idealistic, and zealous, and that sort of thing can create a certain tribalism. I confess I have something of a preference for the ICRSS, though mainly for personal reasons (aesthetic emphasis, Salesian spirituality); but I would quite happily attend a Mass or receive confession (and have) with an FSSP. IBP, CSJC, FSJC (or any of the monastic ED orders) priest when the opportunity avails. I help lead a local Juventutem chapter, but quite happily coordinate with and advertise for Masses, events, etc. when the opportunity or request arises.

I actually think the proliferation of traditionalist groups and orders is generally a good thing. The Church has such an array of different (traditional) spiritualities and charisms, that one could hardly contain them all in just one traditional society or order.

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5. Randy the Redneck - July 14, 2017

If possible, try to get hold of the recording of the talk given by Fr. Rodriguez on July 8. It is not as yet online. Maybe contact the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation of Texas.

If I hear Father correctly, he is not primarily addressing these various groups institutionally. I think he is speaking to each and every one of us as opposed to the leadership of the groups, although they could benefit from considering this as well.

When Sister Lucia referred to “diabolical disorientation” she did not exclude “traditional” Catholics. We are just as affected by diabolical disorientation as anyone else. And this is true for the men who lead the various groups as well.

We may have a preference, as some people state here, and that is well and good as long as we humbly realize that we are as subject to being diabolically disoriented as that “traditional” Catholic who prefers a different venue.

What do the Modernists whose desire is to destroy Catholicism have to worry from “traditionalists”. We are so busy calumniating each other that they have a free road.

We do not have to agree with all of the details of another particular “traditional” group, but we should consider that perhaps in the balance they are weight on the good side of things and refrain from our rancor towards them.

If we were to adopt this attitude on a personal level, and calmly and charitably do what we can to influence others to do so, then those people who get visceral pleasure from condemning others might become more isolated and lose some of that which feeds them.

Tantumblogo - July 19, 2017

Great again. I fully agree, and am saddened by those who simply cannot see the good will and overall benefit of groups other than their own. Or who perhaps see it, but discount it, preferring to focus on what they perceive as the other’s failings and weaknesses.

My own point of view is that I am at present comfortable in the FSSP and have no desire to move, but I have no problem with those who feel the Fraternity is too compromised or for whatever reason find the SSPX best for them, whether they be priests or laity. I wish them well and continue to hold open the option that they may well be right.

I don’t see how any of us can look around the Church, examine the lack of direction and catechesis we all receive, the total lack of authentic teaching from those in authority, and somehow declare, in spite of it all, I am infallibly right. The likelihood of that being true is exceedingly small. And if you’re not 100% infallibly right on every Church related subject, more than likely I am not, either. In this time of darkness we have to muddle through as best we can, and I share with Father his desire that we who are striving for the good be as accommodating and accepting of others in slightly different camps.

I would also mention as a factor for serious consideration the sufferings Father Rodriguez has undergone for the good of the Church, the opportunities he’s had (and declined) and his position as an observer outside any particular camp. All of these factors – especially the proven track record of being one very willing to suffer for the Truth of Jesus Christ and the good of souls – makes him, to me, an especially valuable commentator on issues such as this. He does not have a dog in the fight. He only wants to see Holy Mother Church whole again. Perhaps his position and his experience should lend more weight to his words, as there are few priests today, traditional or otherwise, who have suffered as much as Father has for the good of souls.

6. Tim - July 14, 2017

Sounds good in theory, but:

Yet Bishop Fellay has already stated that the SSPX will not compromise. Here is the relevant passage:
“If we have to choose between faith and a compromise, the choice is already made – no compromise!”

Therefore, what is becoming quite clear for all observers of this situation is:

the SSPX will not budge.
Francis desperately needs a reconciliation.
The reason Francis desperately needs reconciliation is in order to gain some sort of control over the SSPX and ring-fence the NORMALIZATION PROCESS™ inside the Ecclesia Dei Commission. Hence Diocesan bishops must consult with the Vatican before establishing a diocesan religious order, Pope Francis ruled.
Francis needs to gain control over the SSPX so as to block off any escape route for the Catholics stuck in NUChurch. Hence clampdown on contemplative orders.
Francis is planning a repression of the larger Western Church and understands that it will not go as easily as with the suppression of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Hence Come una madre amorevole in case of rebellion.
But most importantly, Francis needs to do something IMMEDIATELY since the Restoration is speading in the Catholic Church, especially in the wealthy Western countries.
The neo-modernist’s who support Francis are freaking out since they see that with their demise, so will end their Novus Ordo NUChurch.
This will end their IDEOLOGICAL life’s work and consign them to not only the trash-heap of history, but will earn them the hatred of future generations of the Faithful.

How does a Catholic compromise truth? The achilles heal of the FSSP, ICK, etc. is trying to square a circle. I know many, many good priests and faithful in the FSSP/ICK ranks, but when we get down to brass tacks how do you reconcile trying to be faithful to God, His Church and Teachings and making “wink and nod” deals with Churchmen hellbent on destroying the Church under the mantle of “obedience”.
True obedience was practiced by Archbishop Lefebvre…to obey God before men.

Richard Malcolm - July 14, 2017

“…how do you reconcile trying to be faithful to God, His Church and Teachings and making “wink and nod” deals with Churchmen hellbent on destroying the Church under the mantle of “obedience”.”

Because on a daily basis, these communities operate with little if any reference to the wider diocesan Church or religious congregations. They simply go about building a traditional Catholic life for their congregants and members. Really, how much account does, say, Mater Dei take of what is going on in the rest of the Diocese of Dallas (let alone the USCCB or Rome) in ordering its life, in the exercise of the offices of teaching, sanctifying, and governing its faithful?

At some point, they may be pushed into a confrontation; the ecclesiastics may demand more of them. But until that day arrives, they have made a decision to sanctify souls in this way. And you know, it’s really not that different from what Archbp. Lefebvre was asking Paul VI for in the 70’s. He *was* willing to take a canonical deal without an insistence on a full and immediate overthrowing of the Council and all that followed it.

The SSPX has taken a different route; and I am not without sympathy for them. Which is another way of saying we need a little more awareness and empathy for the paths each society and order has taken, and for that of the souls that have attached themselves to each.

Tim - July 14, 2017

How do souls get sanctified when they are potentially willing to compromise with modernists so they can call themselves “canonically regular”?

” a full and immediate overthrowing of the Council and all that followed it.”…….The “Council” and its creators had no problem with trying to overthrow the timeless doctrines and traditions of Holy Mother Church.

Stay clear of papalotry and obediolatry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had good experiences with the FSSP and ICK, but the SSPX is right on the money.

Tantumblogo - July 19, 2017

“The SSPX has taken a different route; and I am not without sympathy for them. Which is another way of saying we need a little more awareness and empathy for the paths each society and order has taken, and for that of the souls that have attached themselves to each.”

Thanks. That’s pretty much my point. Not that anyone is necessarily right or wrong in having found a particular community or group most suitable for them, but in stopping the circular firing squads and doing what we can to promote each other and Tradition as a whole. And sorry I referred to ICRSS as ICK in the post, that was a dumb old habit that resurfaced. I would say haste played a part, but that’s weak.

Randy the Redneck - July 14, 2017

I cannot change the position of the SSPX, FSSP or any other “traditional” group. I can refrain from making a big deal about criticizing whatever I, in my never-failing wisdom, believe that I think is wrong about their positions or those other Catholics who think they are doing their best by hanging with this or that group. And I can try to influence others to take this path as well. I believe this is what Fr. Rodriguez is saying and I think it is some of the finest wisdom I have heard.

For those who insist that they are sure the way have chosen is best and only way I’ll probably get little traction.

tg - July 15, 2017

I thought Mueller already told Francis not to accept the SSPX unless they agree to everything regarding Vatican II. I don’t know why the SSPX would ever trust Francis.

Tim - July 15, 2017

After 4 years of this, what Catholic can trust Francis. A very sad situation for our Holy Church. Keep praying!

7. Camper - July 15, 2017

Writing from an SSPX perspective, I think we should forget the Modernists. We need to evangelize. It’s wonderful for people to have families with 8 children, but our position is far too weak to save civilization without evangelization. We should emphasize: if people become Catholic, there will be peace and prosperity. If people vote for the Democrats, there will be irrevocable ruin and war. For this, we need to understand what St. Thomas Aquinas and true Catholic tradition say about economics and political philosophy. Hint: Rerum Novarum is not traditional. One way to evangelize is with day cares. Dr. Gary North talks about this on his website garynorth.com. His guide to day cares is very, very lucrative and valuable.

Camper - July 15, 2017

Fr. Rodriguez’ idea is very smart. One of the top items on the agenda at such conferences should be evangelization. Also, emphasize that Protestants are awkward weirdos. Really. Cite things like the scene from the Blues Brothers in which they enter the low class church and the congregation is going bananas, or the goofy things Baptists and non-denominationals do, like have a dance band in church.

8. Dismas - July 15, 2017

The shepherd is struck and the sheep are scattered. Those whose eyes are open can agree that we cannot trust top-down instruction for the time-being. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where well-meaning Catholics who are genuinely interested in knowing and promoting the True Faith have to rely to some great extent on themselves to glean what they can from reliable sources. But then we have to interpret all of that as well. Then we each fit what we have gleaned into our own personal, unique way of understanding what is going on. Having no promise of infallibility ourselves we should be able to step back humbly and keep in mind that as much sense as our conclusions make to us, and as perfect an argument we think we can construct for these conclusions we are, in the best of circumstances, subject to a whole lot of error.

We become our own magisterium, is a sense, collecting this or that detail about theology or liturgy or canon law, church politics, what have you.

We are really forced into this situation. But as a result we should always keep in mind the very real possibility that we are wrong in some of our conclusions and that others might be right even where we disagree. This is one of the goals of Modernism – confusion. Or as Sister Lucia and/or Father Rodriguez would say, “Diabolical Disorientation.”

We are forced to choose among a variety of options which appear to offer authentic Catholicism. So we do. And doing so, should we then consider ourselves so wise that we can be sure that the option others, desiring as much as we do to find a venue in which they can live authentic Catholic lives, is somehow inferior to the decision we have made? I suggest not.

I think this is the starting place for the message Father Rodriguez promotes – recognizing the crisis for what it is, choosing the option that seems best for us, helping others in understanding both the crisis and authentic Catholicism. We put our energy into that and not into making the primary issue the promotion and defense of our individual decisions and the resultant harsh criticism of choices others have made.

Tantumblogo - July 19, 2017

Great comment. Thanks, D.

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