The members of the SSPX despise homosexuality, religious freedom and ecumenism. Pope Benedict sought dialogue with the ultra-Catholic community, his successor runs a different course. In the interview, the dogmatist Matthias Gaudron talks about the difficult relationship with Francis.
He wants to open the Catholic Church to accept gays and promote inter-religious dialogue. Contact with the Pius brothers, he has broken off.
This is also part of its path towards a church which no longer closes its mind from the social reality anymore: The SSPX are of the opinion that real Catholics do not tolerate gays in the church, that the Mass is to be celebrated according to the old rites. Matthias Gaudron is the head of the German SSPX dogmatists. He taught Dogma for 15 years at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Zaitzkofen and deals with the contents of Catholic doctrine. In this interview he explains the attitude of the Brotherhood to the Pope.
SPIEGEL: Benedict XVI. examined the approach to the SSPX Now Pope Francis sits on the chair of Peter. What do you expect from his pontificate?
Gaudron: Currently the talks between the Vatican and SSPX are on ice. In part, it looked perhaps under Pope Benedict that criticism of the Second Vatican Council would be allowed. But now we have found that we cannot express any more criticism. Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller is responsible as Prefect of the Congregation for us. He does not like us. He acts hostile towards us, since he has been in Rome.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Francis said in a much-publicized interview : "Whoever looks for 'Security' in the theory in an exaggerated manner, who doggedly seeks the lost past, has a static and backward-looking vision in this way, faith is an ideology among many.."
Gaudron: This is a very problematic statement. It is simply a fact that the Catholic faith has something about it that is beyond time. If the only dogmatic security should be that God is God in man, I think that's a little bit too little. For this I do not have to be Catholic. The truths of the creed can not be changed even by the Pope.
SPIEGEL: Benedict defended and promoted the old liturgy. What do you expect from Pope Francis?
Gaudron: It was clear this important act of Benedict, in principle, that every priest has the right to celebrate the old liturgy. Francis can not revoke it.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Francis has sent a signal to homosexuals ...
Gaudron: ... his attitude is contradictory. The Pope claims to accept the teaching of the Catholic Church. Stating that homosexuality is a sin. And on the other hand Francis gives the impression that it was okay to be gay. The belief that homosexuality is a sin, we share with Jews and Muslims, this is not a teaching of the SSPX. Either I stick to this theory, I can not approve of homosexuality, or I'll accept it. But then I am no longer Catholic.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Pope is not Catholic therefore in your mind?
Gaudron: Well, I would not say that. He says yes, he would adhere to the doctrine. I would only point to the contrary.
Gaudron: We have serious reservations about it. With John XXIII will especially the Council be canonized, which he opened. Pope John Paul II has given the impression that all religions are equal. But that's not true. The Catholic Church is founded by Christ and therefore true. But when I realize this truth, then I can not pretend it does not matter what religion I have. Only the Catholic Church is the true Church.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: That attitude does not help in inter-religious dialogue.
Gaudron: Our mission is to lead people into the Catholic Church.Therefore, we must talk to each other and lead to inter-religious dialogue.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Tolerance is something else. They carry the idea, the aim of the dialogue ad absurdum.
Gaudron: Tolerance means that I respect the other in his convictions, even if I think this is wrong and do not want to force him to convert to my own views. This is self-evident. The Catholic Church has lost among those convinced dissenters much credibility, because it is often done in interreligious dialogue as if we as Catholics did not know ourselves what is true and the truth would have still to explore with believers of other religions.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it true that the SSPX members are growing?
Gaudron: Yes, and therefore we can no longer be overlooked by the Vatican. It is not a rapid growth, but a constant.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you explain that?
Gaudron: It attracts people, who are drawn to someone who consistently lives his faith. Many say the church would regain members if they would be open. But if that were so, then people would still flock en masse to the Protestant churches, where there already is what they seek from the Catholic Church: gay marriage, no celibacy. Such noncommital attitude has no power to inspire. Where there is tradition there is growth.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Pope Benedict has always upheld the tradition, still in Germany Catholics abound who have left the church.
Gaudron: The Church in Germany will collapse in 15 to 20 years. There will be neither priests nor faithful. So I do not understand how Francis can tell the church the situation is better than almost never before. That's far from reality. The church has no growth. At World Youth Day very many young people go who would otherwise never go to church and have nothing to do with Christ.
Gaudron: Yes. Most of all I would of course rather have a large church of convinced staunch Catholics, as was the case before the Council. But if the price of the membership is to water down the faith, then I would prefer the small one.
Father Gaudron is the author of an excellent work, "The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church" published in English by Angelus Press.