The SSPX apparently believes that Traditional Catholics never experience fundraiser fatigue:
Fr. Wegner’s current (March 17, 2015) letter is reducible to three themes:
Fr. Wegner’s March 17, 2015 fundraising appeal continues the new SSPX’s emphasis on the Mass as the entire focus – rather than focusing on the uncompromising, anti-liberal Catholic Faith. Fr. Wegner does not mention modernism even once. There is no mention of fighting liberalism. There is no reference to the errors of Vatican II. Fr. Wegner does not say anything about the Faith which the conciliar church would not consider a shared aspiration (e.g., preaching “with clarity and conviction”).
Instead of the focus on fighting modernism and the errors of Vatican II, the new SSPX focuses on preserving the Mass (as the indult groups do). Fr. Wegner’s letter says that the SSPX “opened the [U.S.] seminary … to preserve and reestablish the traditional Latin Mass here in the United States” and that the SSPX “set out to … sav[e] the ancient Roman liturgy”.
In the same vein, Menzingen stated on March 19, 2015 that, when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated bishops, “his sole goal was to make available to the faithful the sacraments which priests ordained by the bishops would offer”. (Emphasis added.)
Similarly, the SSPX stated in October 2014 that: “the whole struggle between Econe and Rome hanged on the Mass of All Time.” (Emphasis added.)
The truth is that the Catholic Faith is paramount. Thus, the main focus must be on fighting what destroys the Faith: modernism, liberalism, the errors of Vatican II, etc. Archbishop Lefebvre explained this admirably, when he was speaking of the SSPX’s relations with modernist Rome:
Here is what constitutes our opposition, and the reason we cannot understand each other. It does not have to do with the problem of the Mass primarily, since this is precisely one of the consequences of [Rome] wanting to become closer to Protestantism, having for this reason to change the liturgy, the sacraments, the catechism, etc. The true fundamental opposition is the Reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Opportet Illum Regnare, says St. Paul: our Lord came in order to reign. They say no, and we say yes, together with all the Popes.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, L’Eglise infiltrée par le modernisme, editions Fideliter, 1993, page 70, quoted here (Emphasis added.)
At the end of this article, we attach a district superior letter from 15 years ago, showing in stark contrast, how the fight for the Faith, against modernism, used to be the focus of the district superior’s letters and of the SSPX in general.
In his two-page letter, Fr. Wegner does not want the reader to overlook his rosy assertion that the SSPX has:
(All six quotes taken from his two-page letter.)
To demonstrate “extraordinary growth and success” Fr. Wegner provides numbers which prove his growth claims to be false:
The most charitable characterization of the current SSPX statistics is that they are mediocre. So how could Fr. Wegner really believe there is “extraordinary growth”?
The new SSPX continually emphasizes how much people are obliged to itself. The old SSPX was self-forgetful.
In his 3-17-15 letter, Fr. Wegner urges:
consider the sacrifices made for you and your family each day by the priests, brothers and sisters of the Society of St. Pius X. … Will you honor their practice of charity by returning to God a sacrificial portion of the gifts He has given you?
The new SSPX continually reminds the faithful how much they owe to the SSPX. Sometimes, the new SSPX’s entire letter is about this. For example, in Fr. Rostand’s 3-27-13 Easter Appeal, he writes:
Have you ever thought about what your life would be like without your local [SSPX] chapel or mission? … You need the support of priests and religious and fellow laymen. … I know that it is possible to develop a tendency to take your [SSPX] chapel for granted. … Your chapel, then, is vitally important. … Consider all the ways your chapel plays an important part in your life, day in and day out. … What would your life look like? Would you have access to the sacraments? Think of your pastor. He says Mass, provides spiritual guidance, and prays for you. He baptizes, hears your confessions, officiates at weddings, and is there for you at the end of your life. … Think of the friendships that mean so much to you and your family. Think of the experiences you share with them that help join you as Catholics against a world that hates you. All of this happens because your [SSPX] chapel exists.
Contrast this self-absorption, with a district superior letter from 15 years ago (at the end of this article), showing how self-forgetful the SSPX used to be.
If the new SSPX did not tell the faithful that it is growing, then on what basis would Fr. Wegner urge that expansion is one of the “difficult challenges … [which] require immediate action” and that there are “long-term and serious consequences for our society and the Church” if the faithful are not generous responding to his appeal now? Fr. Wegner tells us: “Like any capital outlay, this investment imposes a sacrifice on you.”
In his letter, Fr. Wegner urges us to go along with the crowd by making a donation: “join thousands of other traditional Catholics who are embracing this opportunity to preserve Catholic Tradition for posterity.” The old SSPX always told us to guard against this herd mentality. This is another way in which the new SSPX is the opposite of the old SSPX.
Notice one more thing: this letter is Fr. Wegner’s first announcement of his new fundraiser. Isn’t it impossible that “thousands” are already “embracing this [current] opportunity” at the very moment when he is only first launching his new fundraiser? How could Fr. Wegner really believe his own claim?
Below, is a letter from the “old” SSPX. Notice that the letter is almost entirely dedicated to defending the Faith against the errors of Vatican II, with a final paragraph which promotes devotion to the Rosary. There is no mention of money, or how great the SSPX is, or how obligated we are to the SSPX.
Note: the new SSPX has purged this letter from the SSPX.org collection of district superior letters. But the letter is available from a web service that automatically archives everything on the web.
Lastly, please see also a related letter from one of our subscribers following this letter.
You have probably heard of the latest document from the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s “Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church”, Dominus Jesus, approved by the Pope on June 16 and released on September 6. Labeled fundamentalist by the media, such as the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which entitled its article on the subject “Vatican, Our way’s only way”, it presents itself as an orthodox response to a host of modern errors, “relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism” and which consequently endanger “the Church’s constant missionary proclamation” (§4). It is not surprising, consequently, that to many it seems “to contradict Pope John Paul II’s frequent appeals to non-Christian religious leaders to find common ground in one divinity” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette).
But is it really a turning around by Rome, a Syllabus of the 21st century, a defense of the one true Church, outside of which there is no salvation, the death knell to ecumenism, the end of the crisis? Does it really “rule out in a radical way” , as it claims, “that mentality of indifferentism ‘characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that one religion is as good as another’” (§22, quoting John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio)?
There can be no doubt that this document has collected together an unusual number of orthodox statements from the documents of Vatican II and Pope John Paul II, and that this has been done out of fear of the contrary relativist errors that entirely destroy the oneness, identity and divine mission of the Catholic Church, and reduce it to the level of any other religious organization. The list of errors given in §4 is in fact not unlike the errors described by St. Pius X in his encyclical on Modernism, Pascendi:
“...the conviction of the elusiveness and inexpressibility of divine truth, even by Christian revelation; relativistic attitude towards truth itself, according to which what is true for some would not be true for others; the difficulty in understanding and accepting the presence of definitive and eschatological events in history(translated into English this means the denial of miracles, the physical resurrection and the last judgment); the metaphysical emptying of the Eternal Logos, reduced to a mere appearing of God in history (i.e. the denial of the hypostatic union, by which the second Person truly took a human nature to redeem us from our sins)…finally the tendency to interpret Sacred Scripture outside the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church.”
Furthermore, the Declaration rightly condemns certain theories as “contrary to the Church’s faith”, such as “the limited, incomplete, or imperfect character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, which would be complementary to that found in other religions” (§6) or “that there is an economy of the eternal Word that is valid also outside the Church and is unrelated to her, in addition to an economy of the Incarnate Word” (§9) or introducing “any sort of separation between the Word and Jesus Christ” (§10) or “the hypothesis of an economy of the Holy Spirit with a more universal breadth than that of the Incarnate Word, crucified and risen” (§12) or “theories that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ” (§14) or “to consider the Church as one way of salvation, alongside those constituted by the other religions” (§ 21).
Clearly, if the Declaration condemns such ideas so manifestly in contradiction with the most well known dogmas of the catechism, it is for a reason. This reason is not the determination to reverse the modernist, ecumenical, liberal new ecclesiology of Vatican II, but simply the fear of some of its worst consequences. The ultra-liberal theologians having taken their ideas to such extremes as to blatantly and obviously deny Christian Revelation, Christ as the only Mediator and even the Catholic Church itself, the conservative liberals felt the need to react. After all, what is the point of even being Catholic, a theologian, a priest if everything Catholic is dissolved into relativistic indifferentism? But if the conservatives still want to stay Catholic, does that mean that Dominus Jesus is a truly Catholic response, and the answer to the auto-destruction of the Church?
Manifestly not. For alongside these apparently orthodox condemnations of manifestly non-Catholic positions, is presented a systematic explanation and complete defense of the new Ecclesiology presented in the documents of Vatican II. By an accursed blindness, the authors of this document fail to see or admit how religious pluralism, the equating of all religions, indifference as to questions of doctrine, and even to the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the divine institution of the Church are but direct consequences of the conciliar teaching redefining the Church and the post-conciliar practice of ecumenism, religious liberty, dialogue with non-Catholic and even non-Christian religions. How can one not be indifferent to false religions when one associates with them on an equal basis, and when all proselytism is forbidden in the name of dialogue?
The error in this document that is truly fatal, that prevents it from being an effective response to subjectivist pluralism, is in fact the embracing of the definition of the Church given by Lumen gentium, namely that “the Church is a sacrament – that is, sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of unity of the entire human race” (§18). It is likewise insisted on that “the single church of Christ…subsists in the Catholic Church” (§16 & 17), but is not identical to her, along with the explanation that this means that “the church of Christ exists fully only in the Catholic Church” (§16) but that it exists partially elsewhere. The consequence is obvious. The salvific action of God, although not outside the only Mediator, Christ, is extended beyond the boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church to all of humanity.
The false religions are considered as “participated forms of mediation” (§14). Schismatic churches that have valid sacraments of holy orders and the eucharist are called “true particular churches”, in which “the church of Christ is present and operative” (§17). Those churches who do not have the Blessed Sacrament, euphemistically called “the genuine and integral substance of the eucharistic mystery” (§17) are given the right to a “certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church” (§17), and as such they are “means of salvation” in which “the elements of this already-given Church exist” (Ib.), although without their fullness. If this does not constitute the basis for indifferentism in religion, then what does?
Hence it is that the Church is proclaimed as “necessary for salvation”, but never do we find the Catholic doctrine Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. The reason is that there is no such thing as outside the church, for it does not only subsist in the Catholic Church, but also elsewhere. There is no outside, for the Church is everywhere, in “all men of good will” (§12), for the “salvific action of Jesus Christ extends beyond the visible boundaries of the Church to all humanity…and to the entire universe” (§12). It is easy to say that the church of Christ, which goes beyond the visible boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church, is necessary for salvation. However, it is a denial of the oneness and the visibility of the true Church. It is naturalism and the effective denial of the dogma that there is no salvation outside the one true Catholic Church, which does have visible boundaries and is the one means for salvation for all men.
It is hardly surprising, then, that this document in no way renounces the practice of inter-religious dialogue, but in fact promotes such dialogue, which “today as always retains its full force and necessity” (§22), and this even with non-Christian religions, since “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is holy and true in these religions” (§2).
In conclusion, if we are to be astonished by a contradiction, it is not so much with the ecumenical activities so heavily promoted by Pope John Paul II, which this document seems to oppose; it is the contradiction inherent in the document itself. It is very much a picture of the liberal conservative mind, which desires to stay Catholic and yet retain the novelties and the non-demanding naturalism of the conciliar revolution. This document is contradictory in the same way: it acknowledges that the liberal principles are destroying the Church and the Faith and attempts an ineffectual rearguard action, but while retaining the liberal principles. It will consequently do nothing to stop the excesses and abuses of which it complains.
Be wary, though, for there is a grave and subtle danger in such a document, for it gives a superficial appearance of being traditional, of facing the problems head on. Many will consider that the post-conciliar church has finally professed again Faith in the Church as a divine institution, and that the post-conciliar church is opposed to the “mentality of indifferentism” simply because it says it is. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is in actual fact an attempt to justify the liberal redefinition of the Church at Vatican II, and to establish that modern ecumenism and dialogue are in no way opposed to the traditional conception in absolutes. The contradictions, ingeniously concealed, are the consequence of the ineffectiveness of the attempt to reconcile two opposites; the requirements for salvation laid down by Christ Our Lord Himself, and the universality of salvation laid down by the liberals.
As we enter this month of the Holy Rosary, let us then pray our Rosary with renewed fervor. There is nothing indifferent pluralist, or ecumenical about Our Lady or about the Rosary. Let this daily meditation of the Rosary make her the Queen of our hearts on earth that she might one day be their Queen in heaven. Let us continue to pray fervently for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart this coming October 8.
Yours faithfully in the Queen of the Holy Rosary,
Father Peter R. Scott
Dear Catholic Candle,
Reading between the lines in Fr. Wegner’s latest fund-raising letter dated 3-17-15, it is obvious that income for the SSPX is way down.
I am not a professional fund-raiser, but here is something that the SSPX’s professional fund-raisers don’t seem to understand: You can’t expect laymen to sacrifice more and contribute more to the SSPX for fighting modernism and out-of-control liberal Rome when the Society has given up fighting modernism and Rome. Plus, the SSPX has given up its traditional principles, accepting 95% of the evils of Vatican II, and ceasing to criticize Rome’s efforts to destroy the Faith. Plus, the SSPX is doing all it can to make a deal with Rome, by operation suicide. No traditional Catholic wants his money to go to the SSPX for operation suicide.
If the Society’s General Chapter wants the revenue to increase substantially, they ought to take the following steps:
Contribute to the SSPX ten years ago and you could be sure your money would be used to fight for Tradition; contribute today and you fear it will be used to fight against Tradition.