Thank you for your comment, Brendan, where you concluded:
“Granted, the liturgy of 1962 has been greatly freed by the 2007 motu proprio but you could have regularized yourself after the Episcopal Consecrations of Archbishop Lefebvre. What you say now of Summorum Pontificum, the FSSP said basically of Ecclesia Dei.
Human beings do not work on the level of the Law alone. If they did it there would never have been the Great Schism with the East; nor the revolt of the Protestants; and nor the crisis leading up to and following the 1988 Consecrations. There are always many factors involved in breakdown: scandals, miscommunications, human motives, injustice and mistrust. Each of those words is laden with wounds that are too painful to open; and revisiting them does not help in forging the way forward. Suffice it to say that as Cardinal, Pope Benedict said that we were treated as “lepers” in the Church, which is a fair statement about the ecclesial climate. However, there were brave souls who did reconcile in 1988, other didn’t for various reasons. What changed?
Since 1988 for one thing there is a new Pope who gives very clear messages and who desires to do everything possible for traditional Catholics. The last Pope probably wanted these improvements too; but, in the climate, the lepers either never heard or didn’t believe their ears. I think that it is better to leave the past with the affirmation that here and now, in 2009, there have been sufficient gestures from the Holy See to re-establish a new relationship of charity and trust.
The words of the Letter of Pope Benedict to the Bishops explaining the Motu Proprio made this pertinent avowal: “Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. ... This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity, to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.” By this, he announces the need for further efforts on the part of the Church hierarchy which I read as an appeal for a reciprocal effort on our part. A new attempt on the part of the hierarchy demands that we too forgive the past and rebuild in a better climate.
In the Motu Proprio the Pope began building bridges by giving far more than was ever expected. Yes he allowed each and every priest in the Latin rite to offer the old Mass; but he went further, giving the whole of the old ritual; and, even more, he officially recognised that the Old Mass was never abrogated; (-that alone was a profound gesture; a balm to the wounds of many old Fathers). Understanding the situation, Benedict XVI, is addressing the different levels that have contributed to this division: The interpretation of Vatican II according to tradition, justice for the old Rite and reform of the Church in many areas. By this wide ranging activity he has laid a foundation upon which a lasting reconciliation can be built. Priests of good will must recognise this and co-operate; it is an obligation. Whatever about the time between 1988 and 2007, where, for some, there was an impossible climate; since the Motu Proprio, I am not aware of anything that could now excuse a priest from refusing to live within the structures of the Church.
Brendan has left a new comment on your post "A brief reply to Brendan":
Fr. Michael Mary, thank you for your reply. Please understand that my question was not meant as a challenge or deceptive. I understand your position more clearly now.