The book Saints In Action by William Thomas Walsh is of particular interest to anyone who is seeking the truth. The following quotes, taken from Walsh’s study on St Athanasius, are relevant to our situation today.
As the council [of Nicea] opened its 318 members fell roughly into three groups. More than two hundred of the bishops were busy men who wanted to think with the Church but had very little awareness of what the doctrine of Arius signified or how dangerous it might be, and might be swayed to one side or the other. The Arians numbered not more than a score; but their leaders were shrewd and unscrupulous, seeking power rather than money and advantage of entering the conclave with a carefully prepared program. The opposition was another small minority of not over thirty, under the leadership of Bishop Alexander, who was so bowed down with years and infirmities that nothing very bold or vigorous was expected from him (page 178).
The same three types of groups were clearly present at Vatican II and again are visible in the SSPX. History merely repeats itself.
[Emperor Constantine] made a farewell address in which he begged them [the bishops] all to forgive and forget their differences, and to labor by good example to bring sincere converts into the Church. “Some join for what they can get,” he said, “some for preferment, some to obtain charitable aid, some for the sake of friendship. The true lovers of sound argument are few in number: truly rare is the friend of truth“. Yet he went on to say that Christians should be accommodating and compromising rather than unyielding and fanatical. It is doubtful whether Constantine ever understood that Christianity tends to wither away under compromise and to flourish when it is most unyielding (pages 183-184).
It seems that this is not the time to compromise or to breathe a sigh of relief that the SSPX has not signed an agreement with Rome, but rather to continue studying and adhering to the True Faith. Doctrine may seem unaccommodating and uncompromising and, at times, even unyielding and fanatical, but we can never compromise. St. Athanasius knew that, as did William Thomas Walsh. Thank God for these heroic men!
Please note that William Thomas Walsh is the author of many splendid books on Catholic History. Check www.amazon.com and www.abebooks.com
The paragraphs referenced are from W. T. Walsh’s Saints In Action, 1961 Edition.