It was very early this morning that I was able to speak with the Bishop. We don't always have intersecting schedules to chat so I decided to stay up very late on this side of the pond to make the call.
It is confirmed that Bishop Fellay has ordered Bishop Williamson to shut down dinoscopus.org, end Eleison Comments, make "public apology" for the harm he has caused to the SSPX and the Church by publishing Eleison Comments, and commit to making "reparation" for the remainder of his days. Failure to comply with these conditions (interestingly, there is no parsing of "required" and "desirable") in toto would result in his expulsion on or around one week from today's date: the 23rd of October, 2012.
I've said in a previous update about this issue that I've heard the wolf cry on this issue so many times that I have become numb. Many people don't know that there has been, for years, a battle over Eleison Comments. Various sacrifices have been made over the years in order to comply with whatever various wish was laid out at the time from Menzingen. In the very beginning, when I was in charge of publishing and editing it in blog form, Bishop Fellay objected to it being public on the Internet. He really meant that he didn't want it done at all, but when we complied with his wishes and made it into a private newsletter, he couldn't really object. He then had to come up with more objections. As I took up issue with Maximilian Krah (here and here) my personal views became a liability to the project and I stepped down as editor to have Nicholas Wansbutter, a trusted friend and colleague, take over. Nicholas guided the project until last year, when we set up an infrastructure to allow the Bishop to essentially self-publish, and thereby remove any lay element. It also freed up both Nicholas and I to speak more freely in support of the Bishop which we could not do when we were so visibly tied to his work.
Why make such a big deal about the blog/newsletter/bulletin? Because it deviates from Bishop Fellay's personal need for absolute uniformity about who says what in the Society of St. Pius X. Nothing in the statutes of the Society (which Bishop Fellay changes whenever it interferes with his will) prohibits a priest - much less a bishop - from communicating with his flock. Indeed, given that Bishop Williamson has been prohibited from public ministry (for no good reason, I might add), other than the sermons he gives in London at the Masses he still celebrates, these weekly columns provide encouragement and nourishment for many.
I don't agree with everything the Bishop writes in Eleison Comments, but I do find it laughable that Bishop Fellay is so threatened by it that he has resorted, at long last, to expulsion over this singular matter. It is a failure of leadership to ignore reasonable objections from senior advisors (I here am of course referring to the famous intervention from the 3 bishops over the summer) and Eleison Comments is simply an ongoing form of dissent against a "sellout" which has additionally manifested itself in expulsions and vocal disagreement from clergy other than Bishop Williamson. Bishop Fellay touted "profound unity" at the Chapter, but speaking to SSPX priests and faithful who attend their chapels reveals anything but such unity.
If Bishop Fellay et al are so convinced they are right, why expel over such a matter? Perhaps this will blow warmth into the cooling ashes of a deal with Rome. A sign of good faith. The traditional Jewish tradition of the scapegoat...I speculate but I neither wish (nor care) to divine.
Ultimately, the battle is not just over Eleison Comments - that's the visible exterior. But it is really a battle of the liberal/anti-liberal factions within the SSPX. And while this split has been present in the SSPX since Day 1, we knew that it would be exacerbated as time passed since the Archbishop died. Bishop Fellay was not always a liberal. But leadership roles reveal true character, and the chair of the Superior General has revealed Bishop Fellay for the accommodating liberal that he really is. This is perhaps best seen when he refers to "a limited religious liberty" within Dignitatis Humanae. For anyone who has read that document, such a phrasing is at best absurd, and reveals that Bishop Fellay is not now, and never has been, a serious theological voice in the SSPX (as an aside, for those interested in delving deeper into these heretical documents of a robber council, tune into Restoration Radio this weekend).
So, yes, I am confirming officially that as of right now, Bishop Williamson is set to be expelled. It has not "officially" happened yet, but it will. As His Excellency would quote from Hamlet, "If it be now, tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come" (V,ii: 222-224).
I welcome this news. It will free up Bishop Williamson to continue to do what he does so well - preach the Gospel and wake Catholics out of complacency. He will now do so outside of an organization deep in the depths of an identity crisis rooted in their double-minded ecclesiology. You will be hearing and seeing a lot more of Bishop Williamson in the months and years ahead. Stay tuned.
That's all for now. I will have more in a few weeks when I am with the Bishop in London to do his first public interview since 2010.
Many have asked about donations to the Bishop. We will keep you posted on sending checks. If you prefer to donate by credit card, you may do so on the Bishop's home page.