This article is written by Brian Mershon for the Remnant. It contains some speculation, but reasonably so. It is worth a close read, and gives a lot of hope. Excerpts below.
In fact, Vatican sources have indicated that the full regularization may occur as early as February 2, 2009, the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady and Candlemas, which, if true, would be quite a Christmas present to the Church and especially traditionalist Catholics worldwide!
France’s Seminaries to be Over One-Third Traditionalist
In fact, specific resistance is most prevalent in the dying churches of France with their bishops and priests. Upon final regularization, Monsignor Barreiro said, “More than one-third of all seminarians in France will be in traditionalist seminaries.” This would include the SSPX, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), the Institute of Good Shepherd and the Institute of Christ the King (ICR) as well as some other lesser known traditionalist priestly groups.
“I expect that some structure like a universal Apostolic Administration may be the only solution,” Monsignor Barreiro said, while cautioning that he did not have direct access to the specific details.
Several articles this week on the SSPX excommunication annulments contained comments from bishops and George Weigel in a New York Times interview noting that they expected that the Society bishops would need to explicitly adhere in some fashion to the Second Vatican Council. However, Monsignor Barreiro opined that the SSPX’s official request for the lifting of the sanctions would be sufficient as it demonstrates explicit recognition of the authority of the Holy Father and the magisterium of the Church.
Vatican II and All the Councils
“They won’t be asked to accept the Council,” Monsignor Barreiro said. “There is nothing dogmatic regarding faith and morals in the Council documents,” he emphasized. “Many have elevated the Council as if it were a superdogma, when in truth, it was not dogmatic at all.”
In the SSPX’s official request to the Holy See asking for the lifting of the excommunications, Bishop Bernard Fellay wrote the following: “We are ready to write the Creed with our own blood, sign the anti-Modernist oath, the Profession of Faith of Pope Pius IV, we accept and make our own all the Councils up to the First Vatican Council. Yet we can but confess reservations concerning the Second Vatican Council, which intended to a Council “different from the others.” (Addressed by Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI)
The perspective of Monsignor Barreiro and Bishop Fellay can certainly be read to be consistent with then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1988 Address to the Bishops of Chile:
Certainly, there is mentality of narrow views that isolate Vatican II and which has provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II.
The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.
This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously was considered most holy – the form in which the liturgy was handed down – suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the Faith – for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. – nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation.
In Pope Benedict’s “Letter to Bishops” accompanying the July 7, 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, while positively affirming that the Traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated, the Pope wrote the following, which, upon reflection, was an important but overlooked part of the document. Part of this text corresponds very strikingly with the 1988 Chile Bishops document aforementioned:
We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.
Vatican Will Not Demand SSPX Swallow the Council
In other words, there will be no demand for the SSPX leadership to accept the “Decree on Social Communication” as an infallible, dogmatic document.
And despite the ruminations of certain bishops, cardinals, priests, Cardinal Kasper and even George Weigel, neither will they be asked to accept the Decree on Ecumenism, the Declaration of Religious Liberty, Nostra Aetate or even Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum as dogmatic declarations that can stand alone without reading them in light of Tradition.
The Pope made this clear in his December 22, 2005 address. The “hermeneutic of continuity” can not allow the Second Vatican Council to be interpreted any other way other than “in light of Tradition.” And certainly, traditionalists should not overemphasize the degree of binding authority that marks the Council documents. If there is error or imprecision then there can and must be correction. And we now have a pope who is as much as ordering that correction. On what grounds can traditional Catholics object to that? Theological speculation on disputed and unclear points in a spirit of charity and without polemics and rancor will aid future generations in their understanding of Catholic truth.
Let us pray that the SSPX theologians, priests and bishops, as well as the Institute of Good Shepherd, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and Institute of Christ the King, exercise considerable influence in this arena. And if there are points in the Council that cannot be interpreted in light of Tradition then, obviously, they will be exposed and excised. Again, on what grounds could a traditional Catholic possibly object to that?