In a recent interview with National Catholic Register, former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Monsignor Nicola Bux unexpectedly echoed the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)’s position on the widespread crisis of the faith within the Church.
The interview was composed of just three questions all centered on what the Register describes as the “doctrinal anarchy” in the Church and its consequences for the Mystical Body of Christ.
Bux sees the spirit of division that affects the Church at her highest level as a consequence of the present doctrinal confusion: “When cardinals are silent or accuse their confreres; when bishops who had thought, spoken and written in a Catholic way, but then say the opposite for whatever reason; when priests contest the liturgical tradition of the Church, then apostasy is established, the detachment from Catholic thought.”
According to the former consulter on the liturgy, only strongly recalling the principal dogmatic truths can bring peace back to the Church: “This is the role of the Magisterium, founded on the truth of Christ: to bring everyone back to Catholic unity.”
Secondly, Bux was asked about the consequences of this “doctrinal anarchy” for the faithful. The liturgy professor from Bari recalled the danger of adopting the false values of the world: “when one is applauded by the world, it means one belongs to it. May the Catholic Church always remember that she is made up of only those who have converted to Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; all human beings are ordained to her, but they are not part of her until they are converted.”
In the third and last question, the Register asked about the ways to help remedy this confusion. Bux believes the pope needs to act without delay and make a distinction between his pontifical function whose goal is to confirm the faith of the faithful, and his private person: “To be clear: the Pope can express his ideas as a private learned person on disputable matters which are not defined by the Church, but he cannot make heretical claims, even privately. Otherwise it would be equally heretical”
Cardinal Sarah’s former collaborator explained that in the Church there exists a sensus fidei, a sort of supernatural common sense that makes every believer capable of sensing “what the faith of the Church is”; and in this sense, “even one believer can hold [the sovereign pontiff] to account.”
This remark led Bux to broach the question of legitimate doubts on a matter related to the deposit of the Faith that can be submitted to the supreme authority in the Church: “So whoever thinks that presenting doubts (dubia) to the Pope is not a sign of obedience, hasn’t understood, 50 years after Vatican II, the relationship between [the Pope] and the whole Church.” A sort of response to those who reproach the four cardinals for asking the Holy Father to clarify the more controversial parts of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Just as the SSPX keeps repeating through the voice of its Superior General, the prelate concluded that “obedience to the Pope depends solely on the fact that he is bound by Catholic doctrine, to the faith that he must continually profess before the Church.” Which is why Mgr. Bux voiced his desire for “the Pope — like Paul VI (June 30, 1968 Ed. Note) — to make a Declaration or Profession of Faith, affirming what is Catholic, and correcting those ambiguous and erroneous words and acts — his own and those of bishops — that are interpreted in a non-Catholic manner.”
These remarks from a specialist on the liturgy are along the same lines as the positions defended by the Society, and sound like an echo of what Bishop Fellay declared in his Letter to Friends and Benefactors in November 2010: “Archbishop Lefebvre’s path is still of the present moment. What he said thirty, forty years ago is still perfectly pertinent today. This demands of us a great gratitude to God for having given us – and to the whole Church – such a bishop. There is no doubt that, if in the Church his precious indications were followed, the whole Mystical Body would be better off and would soon come out of this crisis.”