I am just about to disappear on holiday until next Monday. It's a dirty trick to play on you, I know, after starting blogging again only last week. But there you have it.
Still, I cannot leave without passing a remark on the news that the pope might issue a Motu Proprio to try to shoehorn the SSPX into a settlement. Rorate Caeli reported the news this week, after Bishop Richard Williamson, peace be upon him, mentioned a possible Motu Proprio in his now rather dull and predictable weekly Dinoscopus newsletter. We can probably be forgiven for casting an ironic eye on most things coming from that quarter, but what should we make of it all, and of the prospect of a reconciliation soon?
First, I don't believe it. It sounds like the kind of thing invented to make a bit of a splash in an otherwise uneventful month for news. I'm not saying +BW invented it; only that this sounds like talk, doubling as discussion, doubling as possibility, doubling as prospect.
Second, even if I did believe it, I don't think for a moment that the SSPX would agree to sign up to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I don't think Pope Benedict would think he were offering any kind of solution by merely asking them to do so.
Last, I don't actually think the SSPX will ever make an agreement with Rome until they can recognise two salient and unassailable realities:
1) The endgame of the division will not be Rome coming to recognise that the SSPX were right all along. It won't, so stop assuming that right now! The endgame will be when Rome has given due consideration to all the argumentation and come to a decision about it. That is how all ecclesiological division has to be settled, at least in the Catholic Church. Even if the SSPX believe they have played a prophetic role, they cannot place that role above hierarchical authority. Or, they can, but then they will end up like every schismatic wound on the body of Christ.
2) They will have to accustom themselves to current conditions: that the Church is a big, bad place with a lot of nastiness going on inside it, that things cannot change overnight, that papal decrees change little on the ground without willing, holy, humble work among the clergy and the laity, that no Catholic group can hold itself competent to judge of all the manifestations of Catholicity, etc., etc.
Hands up all those who think the SSPX will ever recognise those things?
We live in hope of course. Break not the bruised reed.
Kyrie eleison, indeed, your Lordship.