On the occasion of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, on Sunday 14th October, 2018, Pope Francis will proceed with the canonisation of Pope Paul VI.
The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X reiterates the serious reservations it had expressed during the beatification of Paul VI on October 19th, 2014:
— These beatifications and canonisations of recent popes, with an accelerated procedure, dispense with the wisdom of the Church’s centuries-old rules. Is not their aim more to canonise the popes of the Second Vatican Council, rather than to note the heroicity of their theological virtues? When one knows that the first duty of a pope – successor of Peter – is to confirm his brethren in the faith (St Luke 22:32), there is a good reason to be perplexed.
— It is true that Paul VI was responsible for the encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25th, 1968), which instructed and consoled Catholic families at a time when the most basic principles of marriage were under bitter attack. He was also the author of the Credo of the People of God (June 30th, 1968) by which he wanted to emphasise the articles of Catholic faith challenged by the progressivism ambient, in particular in the scandalous Dutch Catechism (1966).
— But Paul VI is also the Pope who saw Vatican II to its conclusion, thereby introducing in the Church a doctrinal liberalism manifested especially in errors such as religious liberty, collegiality, and ecumenism. The result was an upheaval which he himself admitted on December 7th, 1968, when he said: “The Church is now confronted with uncertainty, self-criticism, one might almost say self-destruction. As if the Church were attacking Herself.” The following year he conceded: “In many areas the Council has not yet put us at peace; it has rather stirred up trouble and difficulties which are useless for reinforcing the Kingdom of God in the Church and in souls.” He went so far as to give this dire warning on July 29th, 1972: “The smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God through some crack: doubt, incertitude, dissension, worry, discontent, and conflict are plain to see…” - But he was merely stating a fact, while failing to take those measures capable of stopping the self-destruction.
— Paul VI is the Pope who, for ecumenical reasons, imposed a liturgical reform of the rites of Mass and all the sacraments. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci denounced this New Mass because it “represents both as a whole, and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as formulated during the 22nd session of the Council of Trent.” 1 Following them, Archbishop Lefebvre declared that the New Mass was “impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism” which is “a poison harmful to the Faith”. 2
Under his pontificate many priests and religious were persecuted, and even condemned, for their fidelity to the Tridentine Mass. The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X remembers with great sorrow the condemnation of 1976, whereby Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was declared suspended a divinis, because of his attachment to that Mass and his categorical refusal of the reforms. Only in 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio was issued, was it finally admitted that the Tridentine Mass had never been abrogated.
Today, more than ever, the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X renews its attachment to the Church’s two thousand years of Tradition, convinced that this fidelity, far from being an outdated rigidness, provides the salutary remedy for the self-destruction of the Church. As the Superior General, Father Davide Pagliarani recently stated: “Our fondest wish is that the official Church will stop considering Tradition as a burden or a set of outmoded old things, but rather as the only possible way to regenerate herself.” 3
Menzingen, October 13th, 2018.