St. Peter’s in Rome in the Fog

January 26, 2023

The following is a reflection by Fr. Alain Lorans, FSSPX.

On the evening of the ceremony, Jean-Marie Guénois noted in Le Figaro: “Some observers are expecting ‘turbulence zones,’ and wondered: ‘Will the death of the pope emeritus change the situation? Will Francis feel more free to act? Will his pontificate take on a new dimension?”

A priori nothing will change since Francis has been pope since the resignation of Benedict XVI, and he governs without worrying about whether his decisions disavow the acts of his predecessor.

However an image could not fail to strike all those who attended the funeral ceremony. Francis arrived in the wheelchair imposed on him by his great difficulty in walking. And this chair facing the coffin had a symbolic value.

Benedict XVI's funeral showed that the fragile “hermeneutics of reform in continuity” that he had tried to promote during his eight-year pontificate, was visibly buried with him.

On January 5, 2023, in St. Peter's Square in Rome, Benedict XVI’s funeral took place, presided over by his successor.

The pope of Summorum pontificum (2007) who had recognized that the Tridentine Mass had never been abrogated, was ostensibly supplanted by that of Traditionis Custodes (2021), canceling the provisions favoring the traditional celebration.

But this “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” now comes, for everyone to see, in a wheelchair. You have to push it for it to move forward, you have to pull it so it doesn't stop. And despite all the efforts made, it can only watch – powerless – the vertiginous fall in vocations, and only note – powerless – the dramatic decline in religious practice.

Behind the fog that covered St. Peter's in Rome hid the sun of bimillennial doctrine.

The popes of Libertas Præstantissimum against liberalism, of Quas Primas on Christ the King, of Mystici Corporis on the Church were there, still living reproaches for Dignitatis Humanæ on religious freedom, Unitatis Redintegratio on ecumenism, Nostra Ætate on interreligious dialogue.

Post nubila Phoebus: after the clouds comes the sun. One day the fog will lift, and the sun of doctrine will shine upon the Church again.

It is a doctrine neither of reduced mobility, nor with variable geometry, but a doctrine which advances, which affirms the revealed truth and condemns the errors. It is a doctrine that inflames souls, excites minds and sets hearts on fire, because it is “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth.”