ELEISON COMMENTS DCCCXIV (February 18, 2023): “NICENESS” – HERESY ?
Thanks be to God for all the good that the Society of St Pius X has done and is still doing for souls, but it has changed from what it was under Archbishop Lefebvre (1905-1991). Here is an interesting testimony from somebody who knows the Society –
Over a certain number of years I have noticed a change of approach to formation and to the ideal priestly candidate which is currently fostered in an SSPX seminary. For instance, am I right in distinguishing between sound doctrine (which the SSPX still manifests) and a “niceness” that has developed in its presentation, which seemingly pervades, yet handcuffs, the SSPX’s ability to combat errors and preach the doctrine uninhibited by human respect ? The “nice” presentation of sound doctrine can get one out of many a tight spot, because if one is accused of compromising, one can always answer that the doctrine is not being changed, it is only that the situation demands a more gentle approach. This answer smacks of liberalism, but if it is veiled by faithfulness to the doctrine, then a man can think that there is no compromise. However, is there not a loss of that simplicity by which souls know exactly what needs to be said or done ? I feel as though I cannot quite put my finger on exactly what this new mindset is. Do you think there is any merit in my concern that the orthodoxy may eventually be undermined ?
And here is a second question not unconnected with the first. In seminary formation for the priesthood, should not seminarians be appreciated and encouraged if they want to go beneath the surface of things to penetrate to all the consequences of the truth? In recent years, SSPX priests or seminarians seem to have become suspect if they ask questions or seek to understand the reasoning behind decisions. Even if one shows the utmost prudence and respect, the simple fact of questioning something is met with concern on the part of the SSPX authorities. Thus stronger personalities are the more closely scrutinized, and even if they have vocations, they seem to experience a more trying time in the apostolate.
So do you think it is naive of me to wonder if good men who seek to preach Christ the King effectively, without political correctness, will still be able to bear fruit in the apostolate, given that the focus (at least on the surface of the SSPX) is more on the image of Tradition than on the fight for souls? I want to offer my life for God, but might someone in my position experience difficulty, given the current SSPX approach ? Of course God can do with us what He wants, and we do not know the future, nor should we, but I do ask you if you think the warrior type is being neutralized by a spirit that practically avoids confrontation and dissuades any independent analysis.
Applying principles of the Faith to the secular realm is surely linked intimately with the reign of Christ over the whole of society, and not just with one’s personal spiritual life.
“Niceness” must often be left well behind.
When men are soft, being cruel can be kind.