THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I have it on fairly good authority that the impasse between Rome and the SSPX will soon be bridged, and the Society can soon look forward to regularisation as a Personal Prelature of the pope within the Catholic Church. What I don't know is how many of the four SSPX bishops will accept this regularisation. It is certain that one (Bishop Fellay) will accept it, while it is almost equally certain that one (Bishop Williamson) will likely reject it. We do not know of the other two, who will accept and who will reject, as it cannot be foreseen at this time. Even if, however, three of the four SSPX bishops reject the regularisation, leaving only one to accept it (Fellay himself), this will be enough to permanently change the paradigm both in the SSPX and in Rome itself. For the regularisation of just one SSPX bishop can only mean one thing. Rome has officially conceded that the Modernist interpretations of Vatican II are false, and the faith of Catholics within the SSPX is perfectly valid. In other words, Catholics are free to dissent from the Modernist interpretations of Vatican II, (we have always been free to do so), particularly those briefly outlined in the video above, and still remain Catholics in perfectly good standing within the Church.
This will come as no news to the regular readers of this blog, for yours truly has been pointing out for the last six years that this is precisely how the Holy Father interprets Vatican II within the "hermeneutic of continuity" verses the popular "hermeneutic of rupture." Essentially, what that means is this. Vatican II is a subordinate Church council, totally pastoral in nature, and it is subordinate to Vatican I and Trent. Everything written within Vatican II must be interpreted solely in the context of Vatican I and Trent, as well as previous councils. This is the "hermeneutic of continuity." In contrast, the popular "hermeneutic of rupture," a means of interpreting the council that is flat wrong and developed in the 1970s, proposed falsely that the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) is a "super-council" that cancels out all previous councils, resetting Church doctrine and practice back to zero and starting over from scratch. Such an erroneous interpretation has caused many to embrace the so-called "Spirit of Vatican II" which is a series of ideas and innovations that have no basis in the council itself, but for whatever reason, people tend to think the council intended for them to happen. Liturgically, they consist of such things as; outlawing the use of Latin entirely, tearing down old high altars and replacing them with low table altars, eliminating the communion rails, celebrating mass ad populum exclusively, eliminating communion on the tongue, dispensing of Gregorian chant, introducing such things as liturgical dance, pop music, holding hands and other innovations. Doctrinally, it consists of such things as synchronism, feminism, and moral relativism. These notions centre around the problematic texts of Vatican II outlined in the video above. Thus it will become necessary in the months and years ahead for these texts to be further defined (clarified) either by the CDF or by the pope himself. Regular readers of this blog probably have a good understanding of what these texts are supposed to mean anyway, but for the general edification of the entire Church (ourselves included) such clarifications will need to be officially proclaimed by Rome. The regularisation of the SSPX (even just one bishop) will officially state such clarification in a defacto way already. We only need wait for the official follow-up in black and white.
Once the SSPX is regularised, there will be an immediate need for new bishops to be consecrated within this new prelature structure. How many will depend on how many of the original four assent to the regularisation. Those who remain outside of this structure will ultimately be marginalised to the point of irrelevancy, effectively becoming FUNCTIONAL sedevacatists regardless of their doctrinal take on the Chair of Peter. Of course, I would expect the prelature to maintain an open channel of communication with these dissenting bishops regardless, as it would be within the mission of such a prelature to do so. As Bishop Fellay said in the video above. The situation within the Catholic Church is far from ideal, but this is what it is, and it is what we have to work with. For any Catholic knows that reform of the Church is more likely when working from within it, rather than from the outside looking in.
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The official Vatican press release and accompanying reports from various sources can be read HERE. At first glance the whole thing looks rather confusing, creating more questions than it answers. This is likely because of the defensive (somewhat secretive) posture Rome is taking in all of this. Remember, Rome has been burned on these things before. Thus the Vatican is being extra cautious. However, I believe everything has unfolded according to plan. The CDF has officially reviewed the revised doctrinal preamble signed by Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX. Some reservations were noted by some within the CDF, however these are non-binding. Their review is now being forwarded to the Holy Father, and will likely be placed into his hands personally tomorrow by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the CDF. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Ascension (Proper). Now it appears the CDF, perhaps prompted by the Holy Father, has decided to deal with the individual bishops of the SSPX separately. This may have been the plan all along, but the private letters that have surfaced recently, between Fellay and the other three bishops, highlighting the schism that appears to be developing within the SSPX over this reconciliation prospect, seems to have made such a modality of individual episcopal reconciliation absolutely necessary. Each of the four bishops has his own concerns, so each bishop will be dealt with individually.
I am convinced the Holy Father will soon regularise the SSPX, starting first with the Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay. The pope will approve the revised preamble, or some slightly modified version of it, and probably have a private audience with Bishop Fellay. Upon signing the final draft of the preamble that is pre-approved by the pope himself, Bishop Bernard Fellay (along with all those in the SSPX who follow him) will instantly be regularised as a Personal Prelature within the Church. This will likely include most (or all) of the SSPX parishes within the United States and Canada. At that point, negotiations will begin with the other three bishops individually. Regardless of their response to the Holy See's invitation, the new Prelate (I assume Bernard Fellay) of the Personal Prelature of St. Pius X, or PPSPX (and I'm just guessing on name here as there is no way I could know), will need more bishops to assist him. I expect consecrations will begin within a year or two, regardless of the response of the other three bishops. I suspect, the response of the other three bishops will only determine "how many" PPSPX bishops would need to be consecrated.
I suspect some back channelling is going on between Bishop Fellay and the pope himself. There appears to be an unusual amount of confidence in Bishop Fellay in recent weeks, and he's dropped some clues that his relationship with Pope Benedict XVI seems to be more than official. He speaks of the "sincerity" of the pope, as if he's personally witnessed it. Some have speculated that the Holy Father already has a copy of the revised preamble, and that it was sent to him personally by Bishop Fellay through his own back channel with the Holy See. Thus, His Holiness already knows what is in the revised preamble, and may have already made his decision about it, while he allows the normative Vatican processes with the CDF to unfold. This of course is speculation, but I think it's reasonable speculation, since this is how most State Departments conduct business between nations. There is usually a back channel between the heads of state that operates independently of the normal diplomatic processes. It's reasonable to assume something similar is happening between the SSPX and Rome.
Now we wait and see. I am going to request that all my readers pray a single rosary for Pope Benedict XVI tonight in regards to this monumental decision, and I would also like to ask you to request this of other Catholics in the days ahead. We are on the cusp of something potentially VERY BIG.