The Age of the Commissars

by Fr John Hunwicke, December 15, 2018

So … one of the Roman auxiliary bishops, a Jesuit, has been appointed Commissar of the Priestly Brotherhood of the Family of Christ (FSFC) in Ferrara. Is he, one can’t help wondering, a Bergoglian? The mere fact that he himself comes from Ferrara is hardly a guarantree of austere impartiality. One wonders whose idea it was … assuming that the FSFC really did need to be handed over to a Commissar … to treat them like this. Is there no sympathetic bishop who could have advised this small but growing Traditionalist Family?

There have been reports recently that the SSPX might resume negotiations with the Holy See. I do not mean disrespectfully to imply that I know better than the new management of that organisation how, or whither, it should be led. But I find it hard to believe that, in the current climate, it would be wise to subject it to the current Roman regime. And I do understand why Rome might be anxious to get its hands on the Society … one of the few places in the Latin Church where the writ of the bullies does not yet run. Lente lente currite noctis equi.

Readers will remember the regulations according to which diocesan bishops were peremptorily deprived of the right to set up religious communities of diocesan right within their jurisdictions without interference from the Congregation for Religious. I imagine that wise bishops will refrain from canonically erecting any new and orthodox groups, but will instead protect and foster them in an informal uncanonical state until the days of joy and freedom return. Is it a sign of health in an ecclesial body that pastoral and prudent hierarchs will feel the necessity to operate beneath the canonical radar?

It is hardly surprising that, when an orthodox Shepherd dies or retires, there should be such anxieties about what might happen to his diocese. There must be quite a few seedy would-be misthotoi slouching impatiently behind Roman pillars puffing away at their fags while eagerly awaiting the rewards of sycophancy and networking.

This present pontificate is not only cruel.

It is also coarse and vulgar.

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Fr. John Hunwicke was for nearly three decades at Lancing College; where he taught Latin and Greek language and literature, was Head of Theology, and Assistant Chaplain. He has served three curacies, been a Parish Priest, and Senior Research Fellow at Pusey House in Oxford. Since 2011, he has been in full communion with the See of S Peter. The opinions expressed on this Blog are not asserted as being those of the Magisterium of the Church, but as the writer’s opinions as a private individual. Nevertheless, the writer strives, hopes, and prays that the views he expresses are conformable with and supportive of the Magisterium.

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