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A reader on the SSPX’s views and leaders
Thank you for your comments and question, with which I basically agree. In one sense there is a difference between the position of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, etc. and the teaching of John Paul II/Benedict XVI on salvation. But in another sense there is no difference. The difference is that the heresy of John Paul II/Benedict XVI (that we shouldn’t even convert non-Catholics and/or that all men are saved) is worse than the heresy of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI. The SSPX, SSPV, CMRI believe that one should be a Catholic and that it is the safer course to be a Catholic, even though they hold that one could still be saved if he dies as a non-Catholic. In other words, they don’t hold that it’s truly necessary to be Catholic, but they hold that it’s the better thing to do if you want to maximize your chances (e.g., sort of like getting side-impact air bags in your automobile). John Paul II, Benedict XVI, etc., however, hold that there is no necessity whatsoever to be Catholic, and that heretics and schismatics shouldn’t even be converted. In that sense there is a difference. But in another sense there is no difference. Both are heretical; both reduce the dogma to a meaningless formula; both are denials of the Catholic Faith and lead souls to hell. Further, the position of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI is a universalist position in this sense: they don’t believe that all souls are saved in every religion, but THEY DO BELIEVE THAT IT’S POSSIBLE FOR SOME SOULS TO BE SAVED IN ANY RELIGION. We see this clearly in the quote below from Bishop Marcel Lefebvre.Notice the “etc.” The word “etc.” means “and the rest, and so on”! Bishop Lefebvre is saying that there are many other religions in which people can be saved! It is a fact that Lefebvre held that souls could be saved in ANY RELIGION. This is evil. But it’s only the logical result of their heresy: anyone who believes that certain souls can be saved as Jews or Muslims actually believes that it’s possible for someone to be saved in any religion, for there is no religion in which he can state categorically that all who die are lost. And once you admit that certain souls can be saved in any religion, as the SSPX does, then you are only a short step away from universal salvation; for then you can never say that anyone who dies didn’t make it – every person could have been one of that number that is saved in another religion. That is why several years ago a priest of the SSPX, Fr. Kenneth Novak (the current editor of The Angelus), stated publicly from the pulpit in North Carolina that one could pray for deceased non-Catholics, including Martin Luther. The fact of the matter is that those who obstinately embrace the teaching of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI will end up having no Faith at all. Regarding Williamson, his statement is cheap rhetoric with no substance. It gives a neat little slogan to those who aren’t interested in the truth, so that they can run around saying that the liberals and the sedevacantists operate from the same principles. The SSPX and Williamson hold that one can reject everything a Pope teaches. For instance, the heresy that Muslims worship the one true God together with Catholics has been taught by the post-conciliar Antipopes in 1) Vatican II; 2) the New Catechism; 3) numerous encyclicals/apostolic letters; 4) many speeches, homilies, etc. The same is true of the heresy that non-Catholics may lawfully receive Communion, religious liberty, etc., etc., etc. Can a Pope teach something in all of those sources – i.e., in a universal Council plus an encyclical plus in speeches plus in a Catechism! – and it not constitute the teaching of the Magisterium? Of course not. The idea is absurd, but that’s the position of the SSPX. And Williamson calls “liberal” those who hold the opposite.
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