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Abbott and Costello

Today dear readers, is information content day at the Deus Ex Machina blog.

But before we start, I would like to draw your attention to a new post that just appeared at the Remnant website written by Michael Matt. The title of the post is: SSPX Regularization: To Be Or Not To Be (see here).

Two things of note are contained in this post.

First, this post references this blog and our post from the 1st of August titled Desperately Seeking Reconciliation (see here). Mr. Matt provides additional commentary that is very much in line with that which your humble blogger wrote and very much worth the read. Just like everything else that Michael Matt produces, actually.

The second and of greater importance is the reference to the scene from the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales. This scene depicts a recurring “situation” in the annals of history. Off the top of my head, I can think of several instances where soldiers who surrendered were later murdered by their captors. At the top of the list, and the most recent occurence that comes to mind must be the “repatriation” of the Cossacks who fought for Germany under von Pannwitz , by the British after WWII. (see here) Therefore, it would be much better to sign an armistice on negotiated terms than to surrender unconditionally (read FSSP, IBP, etc., as per Remnant video) and put yourself at the FrancisMercy as it were, of the “victors”.

One more thing. I understand that Ann Barnhardt is in the process of writing an open letter to the SSPX. I highly recommend that my loyal readers check her blog regularly (it appears in the right hand margin on this blog) for the appearance of this letter. (see here) I can say with all honesty, that that which Ann produces will add insight (value) into the “Recognition” discussion.

And seeing as how we have come full circle to the “Recognition” discussions, below are the transcripts (partial) of a video of a sermon given by the Head of the SSPX Asia District, Father Karl Stehlin.

On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Stehlin on a couple of occasions. He happened to be the former Head of the SSPX Eastern European District for 20 years. I in turn attended (and still do)  the SSPX’s Warsaw chapel when I visit the old country, so I can confirm that Fr. Stehlin, from what I have been able to observe, is a very solid cleric and his voice carries weight inside the SSPX upper echelon. I also think that his advance to District Head of Asia was without any doubt a meritorious decision, which should add to the gravitas of the information that he provides in the transcripts of the video clip.

With respect to the below video itself, it comes from a sermon after Fr. Stehlin’s return form the SSPX District Superiors meeting that took place from June 25 to 28, 2016. Two documents appeared on the SSPX’s website that were the official communiques after this June meeting. (see here and here) The video transcripts provide the background to the text and proper interpretation of these two official documents as well as shedding much needed light on how the SSPX see the existing situation and any potential next steps.

I am posting this information… (emphasis and added emphasis)


Sermon of Father Karl Stehlin SSPX from the 5th of June 2016

My dear Faithful, I will ask you… I will talk about three things, quite different in this sermon.

The first thing is that last week, as you may have heard, all the major superiors of the Society of St. Pius X gathered around the General Superior in Switzerland. I just came back from that meeting. And the General Superior together with the superiors issued a communiqué (see here) for the Faithful, for the priests and for the world, explaining the present statement and situation of our beloved Society of St. Pius X.

In fact, we are in a very chaotic time and this chaotic time we need especially very much clearness of our minds. So the first thing I would like to comment a little bit this statement of, tell you a little bit as far as I can, the issue of this meeting of the Superiors. The Superiors stated two things:

The first is that the bishops and priests which approach the Society of St. Pius X in the last months and years and becomes more and more frequent, in a discreet manner however, these bishops – not so much yet, but priests – very much, these they somehow they look towards the SSPX, the Society of St. Pius X like to those who give them the pure waters, let me say, of the pure doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and they expect from us that we really would continue this in a very, very clear manner as we have done always.

So it is absolutely clear that we will not go the way of those who went to get a canonical agreement, or a canonical solution for their group, joining the different  groups of Ecclesia Dei. We do not deny the good work these people are doing all over the world. That is not the question. But that what is true, that these people are doing up to now, these Ecclesia Dei movements, the Society of St. Peter and so on, the so called former indult masses are however bound to keep their mouths shut. And not to explain with very, very clear words about the pure doctrine of Our Lord, which is always a double parts. The first part is positive, it’s the explanation of the beauty of our Holy Catholic Faith. It is the teaching of all the saints. It is to show the beautiful graces of God and imitation of how to follow him. It is the traditional catechism of the Catholic Church . These already mentioned groups of course do. But the second thing is, that the good shepherd has to keep the sheep far from the wolves, as Our Lord Jesus Christ says in today’s gospel.  And the wolves are very dangerous and more dangerous as they cover themselves in the appearance of very kind sheep. And this means that, to the explanation of the Catholic doctrine, it is not only the positive beautiful explanation of the beauties of the Faith, but also some are negatively it is the spirit of …. (defiance ?), to denounce the errors. To show the people where is the danger, the traps of the devil, the temptations and all that, which brings us out of the true way. And the very, very dangerous errors which keep our mind from the Truth and brings darkness and, and dangerous confusion in our minds. Now our times are the worst of all confusions in the world.  And this means that for our times, is a very special task for the Society of St. Pius X in the faith, in to be faithful for our sake and to our founder Archbishop Lefebvre, to keep this flame of the fire of our Faith ahead, and to show to everybody on earth this full doctrine of the Catholic Faith. And this is our task as it had been, and is always.

So in this way, the SSPX always ask for Rome, that we cannot make any agreement if we are just to keep our mouth shut and we are not able, we are not allowed anymore to explain to the people the full truth, to keep them away from the errors and to bring them to God. And to these errors unfortunately, since 50 years were entered the Holy Church and are dominating until now in the Church  life. And if we have thought that under the last pontificate of Benedict XVI, that would diminish and that the beauty of the Catholic Tradition would shine forth, today it seems just the contrary, contrary especially because of the scandalizing happenings all over the world which seems to make the confusion so total that as our General Superior told us that in the Vatican itself, it’s just one big battlefield. One fights against the others. And we feel this in a very special way because today, one of the men of the Vatican will tell us: “you aren’t obliged anymore to, to … sign the documents of Vatican II, you are free, you can freely criticize that what you keep as errors, you can just do what you want. We accept you just like that”. And the day afterwards, his own boss, the cardinal of the Congregation of the Faith, just says the contrary. “No, no, no, it’s not like that. The SSPX has to except the Novus Ordo Missae as the legal right of the Church. And of course, all the Vatican II”. So we are in front of the contradiction in Rome. And that happens every day. So we cannot just say “The Vatican this, the Vatican that”  because there is no, let me say, no clear voice at the Vatican anymore. But this does not only touch the Society of St. Pius X itself. That touches everything. When we, our superiors have the meetings in Rome or the visits of the bishops and priests, sometimes also working in the Vatican, they say ‘ we also in the Vatican, we receive contradictory things. We say today this, this should be done. Tomorrow the pope says just the contrary. And the people come to us, what’s happening now, what’s the voice of Rome?’ So there is a voice of contradiction, therefore it’s a voice of confusion. And in a time of such terrible confusion, it would be the worst of all if we join such a confusion. Therefore the statement of the SSPX is clear. We are very happy and thankful that in Rome that are MORE and more prelates, bishops who really want to allow the SSPX to exist in a recognized… as a recognized institution of the Church. Recognized officially, canonically established. They wish it with all their heart and they want us to go to the Church without having to do.. to do anything, to sign anything. We can do exactly what we do now, but recognized officially in the Church. Please understand that in the statement, Bishop Fellay says that we have a right to that, because we are a congregation of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been suppressed unjustly. That’s clear, however this acceptation from the Apostolic See had not yet happened.

These people, my dear Faithful, you must also understand, while very favorable to us, have already in great form a canonical preparation of the so called, so called “personal prelature”  which is unique in the Church. If you see, and we have worked on that, that what these people propose to us has almost never existed in the Holy Church, which makes our Society of St. Pius X very, very free from the influences of Modernist bishops and of those who want to kill us spiritually. And this is very special because these people see what is the need to conserve the Tradition. So we have really big devoted friends at the Vatican. These friends are neither the majority, neither the most influential as we see every day. At least for the moment.  So we say to these friends, and this is the statement of the Society of St. Pius X, my dear friends we are very happy and very thankful for your approach, but you understand you yourself declare that you are Rome, maybe you are a part of Rome, but you are not yet Apostolic See. And therefore, we ask you, dear Archbishop Pozzo, who is the person who has direct relation between the SSPX and the Apostolic See, dear Monsignor Pozzo, we ask that that what you say, you say when you state that the Society of St. Pius X can continue in where ever we were, to denounce the errors and to explain that the Vatican II errors are the most horrible in the world in the history of the Catholic Church, and no one, will, will harm you for that. And you have that, you are allow to do that, to say that, but we want that as an official paper. And we don’t want that just as a statement in the last interview with any Catholic journal and in a television channel. That’s not sufficient. It must be coming from Rome.  

And this must come from Rome not in, and this is the second point, not just as a political or diplomatic game. You friends, we see because you showed us, and you started to celebrate the Traditional Mass, you love to communicate with us, and you read eagerly our literature and our arguments, and we see that you are concerned with that and you want to serve the Church. Yes, and therefore we see this benevolence and this good spirit and this sorrow and this anxiety for the Church. But if this doesn’t come from the pope itself and it would be only a diplomatic game, it’s not that what we need, what the Church needs, what the soul needs. And therefore we pray very, very much for the situation that they may change, that way that those who have influence in Rome with the Holy Father at the head, this or the next one, God knows, that it would be the time that really such holy man would like personally, with engagement, wants to give us a place in the structure of the Church because he’s convinced that the Holy Catholic Tradition is necessary. That does not mean that we urge a pope to be completely Catholic Traditionalist. We have not the right to have a list of, let me say, requirements towards the height of the Church. But we have at least the right and necessity to have this benevolence and this clearness, and the clear understand that in Rome, the head of the Church likes or wants the Tradition. Does not see it as an evil. Or for the moment, it is very interesting.

The Holy Father, he has a sympathy for us. And the sympathy is very visible. But the sympathy is not a sympathy of Faith. It is a sympathy, let me say, very sentimental , we’re just fine guys, because he loves… we do a little.. a lot of work, run all over the place, we are keeping care of all these…curious people, and we die (kill) ourselves out and burn ourselves out to take care of many children. He appreciates that. What we do, he doesn’t appreciate at all. You see, that all what we say, is just contradictory to… that what he says is a contradictory to that what is the teaching of the Church most of the times. Our reply is, as also it is in the statement, is not to judge, it is not to raise the finger and become the judge of the living and the dead, but it is to pray. We pray and we are going to do penance. And therefore, from the 15th of August, we organize the next rosary crusade which will (encompass) the globe for one year, until 2017, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, request of 12 million of rosaries and 50 million of sacrifices done by our Faithful. Our General Superious requires us from the 15th of August.

In order that the Holy Catholic Tradition will be now, really recognized by Rome and that the people understand that this total confusion must finish and who will finish this confusion, and this is my second point now, it is nobody else but Our Lady. We think, and many of the superiors think, I talked to them, that these horrible times, of such a confusion, which has, even since Vatican II never been inside the Church, because really, it’s such a mess. The people in the Vatican, they fight with one another. They almost, they would like to kill one another. There are so many, many… not only differences, but it’s getting outside and you see very well that one is getting… really very bad because the other say that. And this cardinal against cardinal, bishops against the pope and so on. Especially the last official document Amoris Laetitia is so scandalous. I don’t want to explain it now, it’s not the place here, at this moment, but you can see that here, you must really see that, amongst … we see about 30 cardinals and archbishops at the moment, and that’s .. 5 years ago, that had never existed in the Church, are full of resolution and determined not to allow such a false teaching, which comes even from the pope. So you see things happening in Rome that never existed since the last 50 years. A true new situation.

And in this new situation, what we need first is clarity of mind. 


And finally, the thing that I would like to explain this is the gospel of the day, which is nothing but a very, very beautiful understanding of what we just said. When Jesus Christ say, he says beware of false prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep but inwardly they are ravening wolves . By their fruits you shall know them.


The fruits, the fruits is that we remain faithful. You see, we have passed big trials in the last 5, 6 years. And the prophets, the prophets of those who declared the SSPX will fall, the SSPX will betray, so this is now 5 years, this is the same talk, always the same accusations. And what happens? It’s 5 years, and you’re here in the chapel, the same Mass the same teaching, the same thing. Nothing changed. Just faithful. And now, the meeting of the superious which confirms that what Archbishop Lefebvre started, nothing changed. The same principles, but adapted to the needs of our times. Open your eyes and see, oh!, there is a bishop, there is a priest, they approach us. Let’s be kind to them. Invite them. And let us bring to them the prize of Tradition. Oh, maybe one day, the day will come that the Holy Father will recognize us finally. Wonderful, if we can do exactly what we do here and everywhere. It’s great because then, we will have the chance not to speak about 200 or maybe 150 holy women and men before me…. But maybe 150 thousand or two hundred thousand and they too will be saved. That would be great. So you see, that’s our apostolic spirit. The desire of the salvation of souls. This is the only thing that directs the SSPX to go, to talk with Rome, to try to bring them back to Catholic Tradition and make them understand how important it is, what we have is the greatest, the greatest gift that God has given to the world. And you see, very important… ‘do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Every good tree, brings good fruits. And the evil tree brings forth evil fruits. And by the fruits you will recognize them.