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Tosatti: Why is this Pope Determined to Recognize the SSPX?

An interesting take on the events from Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti - jv


Tosatti: Why is this Pope Determined to Recognize the SSPX?

From the Eponymous Flower

(Rome) Is Pope Francis soon set to take an extraordinary step in favor of the SSPX? "It is a common opinion in the Vatican, and particularly among those who are close to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which is responsible for the Lefebvrian dossier that the Pope will soon perform an arbitrary and spectacular gesture towards the Society of St. Pius X," as the Vatican expert Marco Tosatti writes in his blog.

The long conversation between the Pope and the Superior General of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, on April 1, was "certainly a sign in that direction."
This is the question hanging in the room, just why a Pope who "certainly has no sympathy for the Conservatives, and permits that the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are put through the meat grinder for years because of the mere suspicion of, 'Lefebvrian tendencies', seems ready again to fully recognize the former schismatics. There are two possible answers in this issue," says Tosatti.

The penchant for spectacular gestures

The first reason is the predisposition of character of the Pope, which is his desire and satisfaction of making some sensational gestures like the embrace with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I in Cuba. Gestures that neither John Paul II. nor Benedict XVI. were granted, his two direct predecessors whose pontificates he regards with some inner distance. In this case, both had endeavored with great dedication for it. Suitable areas for spectacular gestures include the SSPX.

The approach under John Paul II. culminated with the declared "excommunication" by Rome in the exact opposite direction. Benedict XVI. received Bishop Fellay soon after his election in audience, and thus laid the foundation for the talks not aborted since then. In 2009 he lifted the Decree of "Excommunication" and in May 2012, canonical recognition seemed virtually certain. But things turned out differently, and with the choice of the Argentine Pope every prospect seemed further away than ever.

The assessment that tradition is obsolete

The second reason is a strategic analysis of the Pope and thus the appearance, of how Pope Francis sees the traditionalists. Despite their considerable strength, ( "some say a million," said Tosatti) the pope does not consider them numerically dangerous. According to the logic that Francis expressed concern in February 2014 to the Czech bishops, he sees the interest in the traditional form of the Roman Rite as "just a fad". In his opinion, the views and positions, also the theology, of tradition is outdated. History will prove them wrong.

The Pope represents, according to this opinion, that self aware overconfidence in the victory of progressive thinking that thinks it is right is by definition. The Pope would be strengthened in this opinion by his observation that the influence of the traditionalists in the Church and the mass media seems low. Their recognition and regularization is therefore a cost-effective opportunity to prove his own generosity and fatherhood with a spectacular media-step. Closing a soon to be 30 year old wound would contribute to Francis' entry in Church history, even if in his view, it would only be the size of a footnote.

Originally posted at:


Pope Francis received Bishop Fellay on Friday, April 1, 2016
Interview with Bp. Bernard Fellay – March 4, 2016
Bp. de Galarreta: a one-sided recognition?
Archbishop Lefebvre and the Council

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