Shouting matches will not reconcile the SSPX with Rome

Bishop Bernard Fellay (PA)

It is a cause for joy. This week Bishop Fellay met with the Prefect of the CDF Cardinal Müller for the first time since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

There has been one unacceptable development. Catholics around the globe have reacted – as though they have no part to play in the reconciliation process.

We are wrong to place all the responsibility for reconciliation on the shoulders of the Church hierarchy and the SSPX leaders. There’s a simple test for every Catholic to see if they are helping or hindering the reconciliation. If you are a supporter of Cardinal Müller, could you pray for Bishop Fellay? Most tellingly, could you pray for the SSXP parishioners?

If you are a supporter of Bishop Fellay, are you willing to pray for Cardinal Müller? Or, if you only attend the SSPX, could you pray for Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo exclusively?

Perhaps the greater worldwide reconciliation between isolated Traditionalists and mainstream Catholics has to start with prayer – it will lend that essential softening of the heart.

But for some liberal Catholics, the idea of praying for Bishop Fellay or SSXP parishioners makes them wince. For Traditionalist Catholics, I have noticed bursts on anger whenever they merely hear the name of Cardinal Müller and disgust at the idea of praying for ‘those Vatican II Catholics’. But herein is the problem. It is the same cycle of holding each other in contempt. How on earth can there be reconciliation, when we react so defensively towards each other?

I suggest that ‘the Little Way’ of St Thérèse of Lisieux be adopted immediately, especially as her feast day is around the corner. In line with the Little Way, I would call on both sides to stop the shouting matches, the childish screams of ‘they started it’, and especially to stop compiling lists of faults that is meant to justify the position that ‘we are better than them!’

The reconciliation process between the SSPX and Rome is not just happening in a private room at the Vatican, but inside the heart of Catholics on both sides.