On the occasion of the 14th gathering of the Courrier de Rome which took place in Paris on January 19, the Superior General of the SSPX, Fr. Davide Pagliarani was interviewed. A translation of his interview given originally in French follows below.
Is Pope Francis in continuity with the post-conciliar popes?
This same question is being asked today in Traditional circles and also outside of Traditional circles. I think that, of course, this pope has a very specific personality, a way of communicating and expressing himself that is new, even compared to the post-conciliar pontiffs. So we do have to admit this.
But at the same time, he is in continuity with what came before him. The Council began a process that continues to evolve, a way of thinking, of re-thinking the Faith and the Church in every aspect of her life, that continues to make headway, and within this process, of course, we have conservative popes who speak a more traditional language and popes like Pope Francis who speak more freely; it depends on their personality, but regardless of their language and way of communicating, the same process continues to move forward.
So I think that yes, we do have to admit that Pope Francis and his personality do present new elements, but it is all in perfect continuity with his predecessors. Hence, in my humble opinion, the inopportuneness of calling on the magisterium of John Paul II, for example, to counterbalance what Pope Francis says is not really logical.
In what does this continuity consist?
At the heart of the conciliar and post-conciliar magisterium, there is a focus on man. So it is a perception of the Faith, Christian life and the entire life of the Church that is profoundly personalistic. This fundamental personalism produces different results but they all complete each other and go together.
With John Paul II, for example, his personalism encouraged personal commitment and therefore moral values, too. And John Paul II recalled different moral principles with a personal perspective.
With Pope Francis, the same perception, so to speak, of morality leads to different results, but they are in continuity with the same basic principles.
What connection do you see between Pope Francis’ teaching and the modern world?
I think that here, too, there is a principle that is already contained in the Council and post-Council, which has become more and more apparent with the pontificate of Pope Francis. Modernity, first of all, what does it mean? Modernity means the conflict between the supernatural, spiritual order, and the temporal order. Secularism, the secular spirit that characterized the Revolution, also characterizes modernity. This spirit, this contradiction, this dichotomy specific to modernity was in a way already overstepped by the Council. The Council wished to go beyond this difficulty. But with Pope Francis, we have come to a point where the Church herself sacralizes, so to speak, the great themes, the great preoccupations, the great worries that are proper the secular world and the political world for example. Hence, a particular (and I would almost say religious) attention to issues that are political or social, such as the issue of migrants, the issue of pollution, and different examples we could give along the same lines.
So paradoxically, with these pontificates, we have come, so to speak to an epiphany of Maritain Christianity.
In other words, a humanistic Christianity?
A humanistic Christianity in which the great values of the Church and the values of the world are confused. So a dimension that is at once both profoundly secular and profoundly religious, but a religiosity that remains subject to the temporal order. We are face to face with a Church that no longer teaches the world a truth that comes from above, a transcendent truth, but we have a Church that listens to the world.
What is the role of the Society of Saint Pius X in this context?
The Society of Saint Pius X’s place is to continue to love the Church. To love the Church all the more since she is disfigured, since she is suffering from this state of affairs. The role of the Society is to continue to love the Church, to pray for the Church and to pray for the triumph of the Catholic truth that is the truth of the Church. The role of the Society is to continue to serve the Church by denouncing with charity, but also with clarity these errors that cause the Church to suffer.