Much ink has been spilled over the topic of the Society of Saint Pius X, and I do not pretend to offer any novel theological argument in this essay. You see, I cannot pretend to have any sophisticated letters to add at the end of my name, as can such an esteemed Catholic apologist and lawyer as Mr. Salza, Esq. In fact, the only abbreviation that can be added to my name is the mundane application of “Mr.”
I did complete the law school entrance exam as an undergraduate, although I would imagine that Mr. Salza, Esq. fared better than I did – in fact I am certain of it. I also do not boast any theological training that could compare to the catalogue of masterpieces that he has contributed to the Catholic faith. Praised be to God that he has done such good work to keep so many unwitting souls away from Masonry and Sedevacantism.
My academic background is in what they call the Romance Languages, which is a term that I believe I understand differently than a more serious scholar might. I believe I was drawn to the Romance Languages because I am at heart a Latin. Anglo-Saxon surname notwithstanding, I hail from a line of Tuscan peasants at root, thus I am a romantic by nature.
I learned the Catholic faith from two distinct moments in my life. First, I watched my Nonno, buon anima, cross himself with his gold-chained crucifix when he believed he was alone. He proceeded to kiss the emblem of Christ Crucified, pointed towards heaven, and shed a single tear down his weathered cheek.
The other moment that taught me the rest of what I know was during time spent in Mexico City. Our Lady of Guadalupe taught me in her sacred shrine about all those things for which I was searching my whole life. It was as if she saturated the marble flooring with supernatural faith, and my knees were like conduits for heavenly things. I of course could not prove this miracle to anyone, as extraordinary as it is, but I can assure that I am writing this article because of that moment.
So I do not see the Catholic faith in the same way that I believe great apologists like Mr. Salza and his confreres attempt to present to curious readers. Surely there is a place for the immense knowledge of dogmatic technicalities that men like my esteemed interlocutor display, but I must say – without coming off as a bit uncharitable – I do find this sort of thing all too boring. This is not to say that there is not something impressive about Mr. Salza’s work, there certainly is, but it is lost on me.
I am afraid I find it a bit too sophisticated – that is to say, high minded – for my taste. Sometimes I wonder if in our epoch of Modernism that we have lost our way in trying to crush the synthesis of all heresies. It may seem a daunting task to defeat such a formidably devilish system of error as the scourge that Pope Saint Pius X so valiantly attacked; but I would ask the reader to consider my unsophisticated and terribly ordinary proposition as to how we can easily defeat the heresy that stands at the crossroads of two millennia.
As Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies, it seems to me – in my admittedly ordinary understanding of Catholic theology – that we should combat it with the synthesis of all truth. If it is the synthesis of all heresies we are up against, then perhaps we should see the Church and her mission through the synthesis of all her laws and doctrines: salus animarum suprema lex.
It is the salvation of souls that is the supreme law of the Church, and every act of her extraordinary mission in this vale of tears must be guided by that principle. Mr. Salza endeavors in his second article (“Reply to Xavier”) to make canonical technicalities to be of “divine law,” yet fails to emphasize this supreme law of souls, which is indisputably the divine law above every other law contained in canon law.
Mr. Salza, Esq. believes that Father Loop – a priest who I had a delightful conversation with this summer – errs in his statement that the SSPX has an extraordinary mission in the Church. I must say, for a man of such a giant intellect and acumen, I am surprised Mr. Salza, Esq. has taken such a line of argumentation.
It may seem simplistic, but I would argue every priest of Jesus Christ has an extraordinary mission in one way or another.
Is there anything more extraordinary than absolving a man’s sins? Is there anything more extraordinary than whispering the words of consecration over the substance that truly becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the God-Man who acts through the mortal-man who ingests his Creator?
All men who accept the call to the priesthood of Christ’s Church are extraordinary men; even those who do so for the wrong reasons – they are extraordinary devils.
Now, I imagine that Mr. Salza, Esq., and others may complain that I am operating with a bit of a slight of hand technique here. Of course, when he uses the term “extraordinary mission” he is writing as a very serious theologian, and thus using a very technical term.
But I dare to say that Mr. Salza, Esq. has misunderstood the whole thing from the very beginning. In his first paragraph of his first article he writes: “…how the SSPX clergy can justify the exercise of their priestly ministry when they have no permission from the Church to do so.”
I must say, I am shocked at such a misguided statement such as this from such a smart man.
Perhaps we should go back to our Catechisms and begin with first principles. Mr. Salza, Esq. makes the audacious claim that the priests of the SSPX have “no permission from the Church.” Mr. Salza, Esq. what is the Church? Are you referring to that Divine Society which can be defined as the Mystical Body of Christ?
Surely you must be, as, again, you are so highly trained.
In the Catholic Church is contained the Church Suffering, Militant and Triumphant. Are we to believe that those poor souls in purgatory and those triumphant heroes singing hymns unending disapprove of the efforts of the priests of the SSPX?
Again, I understand, I am speaking here as a romantic and a Latin, and not a theologian. But I cannot for the life of me understand how such a claim can be made that the priest of the SSPX “have no permission” to save souls.
Mr. Salza, Esq. is eloquent in his citation of numerous documents, but in his over 1000 words and over one dozen footnotes, he did not offer one mention of either salvation or souls! Now in fairness in the unabbreviated version, he made mention of Fr. Loops argument in this regard, but only to dismiss this first principle as “fallacious.”
How can a man write about the mission of priests without framing his arguments in the context of why priests exist in the first place? In addition, what merit do the canons he offers have if they are not used in pursuit of the goals that the Church says are her most supreme? Salus animarum suprema lex.
I gather from his article that Mr. Salza, Esq. is a man who is concerned with the ordinary authority that governs the extraordinary mission of priests. He says as much in his fifth footnote: “It must be noted that extraordinary mission always works together with the ordinary authority, not in opposition to it. Thus, on that basis alone, the SSPX could not have an extraordinary mission.”
I must be mistaken – again I am not as educated or sophisticated as Mr. Salza, Esq. – but did Saint Athanasius work with the ordinary authority when on his extraordinary mission? Perhaps he acted as an extraordinary Saint with extraordinary authority, when he refused to accept an excommunication from an ordinary, semi-Arian pope.
Yes, it will be said that Lefebvre and his protogés are not aptly compared to Athanasius and his battle Contra Mundum. I agree – Athanasius only had one heresy to worry about, not a synthesis of them all.
Perhaps if Mr. Salza, Esq. is to state that the SSPX “could not have an extraordinary mission” because of their opposition to the ordinary authority in our age of extraordinary error, he could clarify the curious case of St. Eusebius of Samasote. At the time of the Arian crisis, he went throughout Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, ordaining and consecrating bishops, even though he had no jurisdiction to do so, ordinarily speaking.
Once again, I know it is not an apples-to-apples comparison to compare the SSPX to the mission of another saint from a previous crisis in Church history – Lefebvre did not go nearly as far as to consecrate so many bishops in so many places and with so much jurisdiction. Again, like Athanasius, Eusebius only had one heresy to combat, not a synthesis.
Perhaps Lefebvre and his priests should eschew the examples of these great saints and instead work in an ordinary way with ordinary bishops who ordinarily peddle banal liturgy, and erroneous catechesis. If it is ordinary authority that the SSPX need in order to act so extraordinarily – as Mr. Salza, Esq. suggests – I am afraid they will not find it from local ordinaries who often act as if the extraordinary exodus of souls from the Church is something that is so painfully ordinary. Salus animarum suprema lex.
To round out my response to Mr. Salza, Esq., I will do what I do best, I will tell a story – something I do much better than pretending I can go toe to toe with my esteemed interlocutor.
The year 2020 was an extraordinary year for ordinary people. It was the 50th anniversary of both the SSPX and the Novus Ordo.
It began with promise and descended quickly into a veritable hell of public health superstition and pagan scientism. Rumors of a flu that would destroy mankind were released from the shores of China in the form of viral (pun intended) videos and social media posts.
With Saint Patrick’s Day just around the corner, governments around the world shut down like department stores undergoing renovations. The world stopped, and our hearts stopped at the sight.
Were we all going to die? Would the Wuhan flu usher in the more serious bits of terrifying private revelations and Marian apparitions?
In this chaos, the atheism of the modern world was on full display. The fear of catching a cold – even if a bad cold – was too much to bear. The race of modern man – so proud in his materialism and cowardice – would not stand for any life being lost before he had decided it was so!
It was too dangerous to go to restaurants, too dangerous to go to the gym, and too dangerous to go to Church. Now, you, like me, may have been confused at the time. If we were all to die, shouldn’t we all be at Church? If our next moment might be our last, shouldn’t we be confessing our sins and receiving what might be our viaticum?
A Catholic mind would think this way, a mind that started with salus animarum suprema lex, but we do not have the luxury of having Catholic-minded bishops in many places – most places it would seem.
The princes of the Church went along with the dictates of the servants who serve the fallen prince of this world. Churches were shut for the “common good.” Weddings were off, and first reconciliations would have to wait.
I remember reading a dictate from my local ordinary, that struck me to my core in a most extraordinary fashion. He had cancelled confessions… he had cancelled baptisms.
I broke the news to my wife, who out of her love for the souls of infants began to cry. “What about the babies!” she cried, “what will happen to their souls if they cannot be baptised!” Salus animarum suprema lex.
I called some priests from the diocese, asking them to do something about it! I begged them to go on their social media accounts and teach parents how to save their infants’ souls.
However, my extraordinary zeal for the salvation of children was met by the very ordinary response from diocesan prelates who deferred to the will of the local ordinary.
“I do not want to be disobedient” I was told more than once. The local ordinary had told the priests that the ordinary means of salvation would just have to wait! Now was no time to worry about the sacraments of infant souls. Salus animarum suprema lex.
At that very same time, a man who has since become a close friend welcomed a new child into the virus-venerating world. He was told by his diocesan priest that the local ordinary had cancelled the ordinary means of sanctifying the soul of his child. Fortunately, my friend believed in Catholicism – something that would be quite extraordinary if found at the chancery – and he did not risk his child’s eternal soul in order to maintain an ordinary relationship with the local ordinary.
I was already attending the SSPX in my region, and he sought out their pastoral care. Against the will of the government, and against the will of the local bishop, and against the will of Satan, a priest of the SSPX baptized his child into the Roman Catholic Church. No longer was this beautiful child marred with the stain of Adam’s disobedience. Ironically, it was by disobeying the local ordinary and the ordinary authority of the local government, that an ordinary priest of the SSPX was able to perform the extraordinary act of cleansing a soul. Salus animarum suprema lex.
Now, I must apologize to Mr. Salza, Esq. as perhaps I am not sophisticated enough to understand the sophistry that “extraordinary mission always works together with the ordinary authority.”
Damned to hell is what many souls in my area would be if the priests of the SSPX did not work against the positive will of the ordinary authority. I cannot speak for the extraordinary mission of the SSPX in other nations, but in my beloved and frozen homeland, Marcel Lefebvre’s spiritual sons stand like platonic forms of Petrine Fidelity.
Currently, in a province of 14 million people, catechumens are effectively banned from entering the Church of Jesus Christ unless they concede to the injection of an abortion-tainted serum that they do not need, and that is against their will. The only way to enter into a church hall and attend an RCIA class – one that likely presents a synthesis of modernist errors – is to present proof of an abortion-tainted and experimental injection.
Of course, the local ordinaries are doing little if anything to combat this crime against God Almighty. Entrance into the Church will either have to come on the back of child sacrifice to the Moloch of Moderna, or it will just have to wait. Salus animarum suprema lex.
There is of course another way for a soul to find his way to Rome in the land that the Lilly of the Mohawks once called home – but that would involve working with priests who do not work in harmony with ordinary authority.
Praise be to God that there are priests who love souls enough to disregard the commentary of theologians who comment on the mission of extraordinary priests while failing to emphasize salus animarum suprema lex.
Praise be to God that the priests of the SSPX in my home and native land are more concerned with honouring the legacy of St. Jean de Brébeuf than playing nice with an episcopacy that encourages an experimental serum more than the Eucharistic Sacrament.
Christ said “by their fruits you shall know them.” It is a little known fact that it takes five decades to know the fruits of the vines you have planted. If you have ever cultivated grapes, as I have, you know that only after 50 years can you rely on a given variety of fruit to produce a consistent wine. If the plant does not produce after 50 years, it must be destroyed, as it will be sour forever, and no good wine will come from the bad fruit.
If Mr. Salza, Esq. does not see the extraordinary mission of the SSPX as it has played out in God’s providence 50 years into the life of the SSPX, then nothing will convince him of what is painfully obvious, especially as Rome has dropped now two bombs to destroy the extraordinary form. We have seen this before.
As I conclude, I must deal with Mr. Salza’s final paragraph.
“Neither Archbishop Lefebvre nor any of his bishops and priests have produced a single miracle to justify their ministry without a canonical mission, even though they claim we are suffering perhaps the greatest crisis in Church history.” This is easily debunked by a very obvious fact: the priests of the SSPX have on numerous occasions absolved me of my sins – something very miraculous indeed, as I am the worst of the lot.
In all seriousness, our very serious theologian ends his piece with: “That is because Christ did not send the bishops and priests of the SSPX. Rather, they have sent themselves, and thus, in the words of Fr. Angles (SSPX), ‘have been deceiving good traditional Catholic faithful.’”
Apparently, our Mr. Salza, Esq. is aware of the will of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, to a degree wherein he is capable of discerning his Divine Will better than Archbishop Lefebvre. Our litigator must also be a mystic, and he knows something about God’s Will and Providence that Lefebvre did not. Ordinarily, I do not fall for such extraordinary nonsense.
Millions – yes, millions – of souls saved under the guidance of Marcel Lefebvre, both as an ordinary prelate in Africa and Europe, and while on his extraordinary mission globetrotting in a very extraordinary retirement. But of course, we should trust Mr. Salza, Esq. in his assessment of the mission of the priestly society that the good Archbishop founded, more than the saintly hero who founded it.
I venture Mr. Salza, Esq. also knows more about Lefebvre and his mission than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who seems to have uttered: “It is hard to see what the Church owes to Archbishop Lefebvre, not just for his ‘African period,’ but also later for the Church as a whole. … I consider him to be the most important bishop of the 20th century with regard to the universal Church.”
Extraordinary comments from an extraordinary man who would become pope.
Instead of asking the SSPX to prove their extraordinary mission by miracles that Mr. Salza, Esq. believes are provable by ordinary means – we should be asking what miracle vindicates Mr. Salza, Esq. with his extraordinary claims that are “deceiving good traditional Catholic faithful.”
Kennedy Hall is a contributing editor for OnePeterFive. He is the author Terror of Demons: Reclaiming Traditional Catholic Masculinity and Lockdown with the Devil, a novel about 2020 published by Our Lady of Victory Press. He is also a writer at Catholic Family News and LifeSiteNews. He is married with five children and lives in Ontario, Canada. You can find his work at kennedyhall.ca.