Tuesday, June 5, 2012
There is a certain condition in human nature that is familiar to every experienced human being across the boundaries of nations or time. It is that of a relationship grown cold due to a rift--an argument or an act that causes two people once deeply engaged in one another to grow apart. This is never so evident as when it occurs in marriage, where the two are still obliged to remain together. One has no difficulty in conjuring the image of a man and woman moving laconically past one another, each in his and her own shadowy world. They do not speak; the situation has grown comfortable. Maybe they have some notion of doing something in the future to rekindle the joy they felt as they began their lives together, but that must wait for the appropriate time. They have their personal plans, and day in, day out, they move steadily and solitarily towards different goals, though to all appearances, they stay together.

In the Renaissance, thinkers posited the idea that motion itself may be dubbed 'inert' as aptly as stillness is. It logically followed that sluggishness is found in actuality as well as in potency. Not yet abandoning the link between pure reason and reality, these philosopher scientists realized that such an idea would nullify any difference between rest and motion, and so to uphold the truth that our sensory experience indeed reflects reality, many nodded as Newton posited the notions of 'absolute motion' and 'absolute place.' Those scientists, so wanting man to be the measure of all things, likely mopped their brows with relief at such a solution. Somewhere there was an eternal standard to measure individual phenomena against, thus vouchsafing˜­ the credibility of man's reason.

However, the realm of human relations differs entirely. As each man is an individual endowed with sentient thought of the highest order, his personal course of action need not arise from a relation with any eternal measure. Determinists may say otherwise, but personal experience tells us that man does what he does out of free choice, and that this freedom is only lessened by the sleepy influence of inertia (for even acting on the compulsion of another implies that we choose compliance over the alternative of not complying). Whether it is true for physical objects or not, man is indeed capable of resting even as he acts, mindlessly following the course of habit.

'Heaven gives us habit instead of happiness' is the proverb stoically intoned at the beginning of Tchaikovsky's luscious opera, Onegin. As it is shown that story's prelude, the strength of habit is enough to conquer individual impulses, and in this story's case, it is for the better. The security of a repeating cycle helps one to heal after the bruises of disappointed romance.

One may say the same to be the case with the Church and the Society of Saint Pius X. The initial sunderance with Rome must have shook the earth under the bishops' feet, even as they were convinced that Canon Law ultimately justified them, even as it appeared to condemn them. The stigma branded upon them by the mainstream currents in the Church may have at first spurred them on, but after all this time, this condition has very likely become mundane.

Just as with the married couple mentioned before, there was an argument. It was an ugly argument--the sort that shatters lives and even worlds. Yet, the presence of mind in both parties allows the marriage to remain in existence, and the two decide to go seperate ways under the same roof, trusting in some misty future date for a true reconciliation. Habit reigns in place of happiness, and husband and wife are content with their domestic routines, superficial conversation, and nights of regular sleep. This life does not feed their desires. It is not a fulfillment of their vocation. It is an insult against the potential grandeur of their souls. Yet, it is also the easier thing to do. Habit is easier than happiness; routine is easier than romance. Inertia always has that upperhand over the practice of virtue.

That is why it would come as a shock to the wife, if as she prepares supper in the kitchen, or as she returns home from work herself, to suddenly come face to face with her husband and see that he is looking at her. He does not give way for her to continue what she was doing. He does not even follow his own routine. He says decisively: 'Things cannot go on as they have.' She finds now she will have to make a choice. To live with him as his wife, or not to live with him at all, because he will no longer stand for only receiving a part of her or for merely giving a part of himself.

The SSPX expected the barque of St. Peter to take a century or so to right its course, at the which time, they would seek a more visible reunion. Much like a practical wife, the Fraternity was ready to bide its time and wait for the situation to evolve. Romance however kindles revolution; it does not wait for evolution. 

Yet, this sort of passion and deliberate way of thinking may end in either triumph or tragedy. The husband's confrontation with his wife could bring about a wider rift rather than a reconciliation. As Archbishop Fellay himself has said: 

One must not think that things will be easy afterwards. To use the words of the Pope that describe the situation quite well: 'I know,' he said, 'that it would be easier both for the Society and for myself to leave the situation as it currently is.' This describes very well the situation, and also that the Pope himself knows that he, when he does it, will be attacked. And also that the situation will not be easy for us. That which will arise out of this situation will be with Rome or against it. Both of which will be difficult. 

'Difficult'? A very diplomatic term. The enemies of this reunion want to wreck it completely. They are ready to split the Church over it. The heretics that once accused the SSPX of schism, are now entering into formal schism (to add to their heresy): 

A schismatic pope loses his position according to that same teaching of the constitution of the Church. At least, he cannot expect obedience...Instead of reconciling with the ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and anti-Semitic SSPX, the Pope should rather care about the majority of reform-minded Catholics and reconcile with the churches of the Reformation and the entire ecumenical movement. Thus he would unite, and not divide. _Hans Küng (http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/05/freak-extremes-meet-hans-kung-becomes.html)

Ultimately, those engaged in a romance must be willing to ask themselves if the other is enough. If their relationship is a great enough good to place above all other goods and all other relations. The Pope has decided that justice to the Fraternity is above the politics of diplomacy and that open arms to those outside the Church is a lie if those already within Her are not also embraced in love. His Holiness has decided to put his own house in order first, whatever the cost.

And how shall it end? That depends on whether one's trust in the good God is well-founded. Those with faith already have their answer.


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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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