Hunwicke on Tissier’s biography of Lefebvre

Fr. John Hunwicke has a very lengthy, very interesting post, ostensibly recommending Bishop Tissier’s definitive life of Marcel Lefebvre, and arriving at some broader reflections. (It is worth noting that the Holy Father is reputed to be a fan of Tissier’s book, having read it twice, according to reports. One wonders whether the Holy Father’s evident sympathy for the SSPX is rooted in sympathy for its founder.) A selection:

But is it true that Marcel Lefebvre was faced with a situation of grave disorder? I think we can avoid just loudly shouting at each other about our own individual subjective judgements; instead we can simply consider objective, Magisterial  decisions. Summorum Pontificum confirmed juridically that the Latin Church had lived for some four decades under the dominion of … yes … a lie. The Vetus Ordo had not been lawfully prohibited. Much persecution of devout priests and layfolk that took place during those decades is therefore now … officially … seen to have been vis sine lege. For this so long to have been so true with regard to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which lies at the heart of the Church’s life, argues a profound illness deep within the Latin Church. And that Big Lie was reinforced by multitudes of Little Lies … that the Council mandated reordered Sanctuaries … that the Council mandated exclusive use of the vernacular …

So, I suggest, we can read Bishop Tissier’s book as a narrative of how a good, but very often puzzled, man coped with the incomprehensible. And we can do this to our own benefit. Many Catholics find our present situation incomprehensible. As in the situations which Lefebvre faced, some Catholics may naturally feel inclined to act as though the rule-book does still apply (and so to treat the Church’s current office-holders with the same obsequium as if we were still in the pontificate of S Pius X); on the other hand, others may discern the dysfunctions and ask their consciences what God expects of them by way of resistance, as many did during the Arian crisis and the Great Western Schism.

(Formatting in original.) Read the whole thing there.