Recently brought to my attention is this posting by Father John Zuhlsdorf (“Father Z”). In it, the popular Wanderer writer and Internet peritus presents some thoughts on relations between the SSPX and the Holy See. While some may consider that Father Z is glossing over the real issues and addressing only superficialities, I would have to agree with him — at least on the issue of practical paths to canonical normalcy for traditionalist groups.

The theological disagreements, without being papered over, can be discussed calmly where and when the “atmosphere” and “climate” has changed. As those most heavily invested in the liturgical and theological “reforms” are disappearing from the scene, this change is happening, if slowly. Getting to know the younger generations of ecclesiastics has driven this point home to me quite well.

That said, there is also a noteworthy reference to our Congregation in Father Z’s posting. It’s incidental to his main point — and it’s certainly not an ‘atta boy! directed our way — but it does show that this priest “in the know” is aware that the oft-called ‘Feeneyites’ are officially allowed to hold and defend our position. (Father Zuhlsdorf is aware of this just as the canonist Pete Vere is.) As the ecclesiastical “climate change” progresses, such acknowledgments are helpful.

I call to mind also the situation of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney, SJ, and his “wildcat group” the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They took a black and white position on the Church’s true teaching that “outside the Church there is no salvation”.  This got them in hot water with the Holy See.  Eventually an understanding was hammered out. The so-called “Feeneyites” were able to be in union with the Church but without having to abjure their position about extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

“Not enough!” the committed Crusader will object. Point taken. But, ’tis better to have an open door than a closed door. As one with much experience walking into the latter, I welcome the former, and try, with the gracious help of Our Lady, to use it for good.

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