This evening I checked my mailbox and I found--quite ironically, considering my posts on the ICK Chicago Shrine and on St. Francis de Sales in Benedict MD--an FSSP Seminary Appeal letter.
First question: Why? I haven't given anything to any FSSP apostolate in about 10 years. I haven't given any money to the larger FSSP or attended any FSSP event in at least 13 years. Other than weddings and funerals, I've probably assisted at only 2 or three 3 Masses celebrated by Fraternity priests in the last 10 years. You'd think they'd cull deadbeats like me from their mailing lists.
Second question: what do they think it's worth, after they understate "There was a great deal of uncertainty in the wake of the motu proprio Traditiones Custodes. . . " that ". . . we received the Holy Father's endorsement to continue living out our charism."
Now again, it's not time to blame or gloat or do the "FSSP shouldn'a left Abp. Lefebvre" thing. That's water under the bridge: Fr. Bisig and friends obviously couldn't accurately see the future in 1988, and of course none of us can change the past. I respect my old friends at the FSSP chapel in Kansas City and most, if not all, of the Fraternity priests I've met. They've gone down their own path in good faith, and while maybe they should have had a little more foresight, they're not morally culpable for the situation they're in.
But even if we don't criticize the FSSP for what's happened in the past, it's fair to ask (in reply to their request for donations) what they're going to do in the future.
Looking only forward, I have to ask what exactly is the "Holy Father's endorsement to continue living out our charism?" A pardon or commutation of their death sentence? A bull the level of Quo Primum? Or merely a brief stay of execution?
Established doctrine is not binding on the present occupant of the Holy See. Solemn teachings of sainted Popes are not binding on him. His own solemn pronouncements are not even binding on him. But an unofficial assurance given in a private audience is enough to bet your future on? Really?
Who in the Fraternity's sphere of influence truly believes that the enemy comes for thee, but not for me?
This is one of those points where if I were still a benefactor of the FSSP, I'd want to know more, because supporting a seminary is much like making a contribution to a capital campaign--it's just that your long term investment is in a priest, which is infinitely more important than an investment in bricks and mortar.My response would be something like this:
Dear Fr. Dorsa, I received your latest funding appeal for the seminary. I am committed to see Tradition survive this difficult time and I am grateful for the Fraternity's work over the past decades. But in these days, I must be a good steward of my treasure, and I must know for certain that what I give will be used to support Tradition. I will make a contribution if I receive a document signed by the North American Provincial that assures me of the following:
1. That the Fraternity shall maintain its original charism, the formation of priests and the celebration of the sacraments and customs in existence on or before 1962, unadulterated orthodoxy in Catholic doctrine and morals, and service to the faithful attached to Tradition in all their apostolates in the face of the enemies of tradition within the hierarchy and without, and without regard to their canonical consequences;
2. That the funds I give shall not be assessed by any diocese or the Holy See, nor shall any part of them be used for any purpose other than for the maintenance and growth of the seminary in its original charism; and
3. That if at any time in the next 20 years, the Fraternity should compromise its original charism or fail continue its mission on the scale it now functions, it shall remit an amount equal to the funds I give now to my alternate beneficiary, St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Dillwyn Pennsylvania.
I hope that, considering current affairs, and considering how the charism and mission changed so much in most Catholic institutes and orders in the late 20th century, you appreciate the need for your benefactors to confirm your institute's stability and its true commitment to tradition.
Assuring you of our prayers,