The Pride of Considering Ourselves Indispensable

It is extremely hard for leaders to get to heaven because pride is so subtle, so seductive and seemingly irresistible.  That is why a man places himself in danger when he acquires power.  Power so often causes a person (or a group) to be full of his (or its) own self-importance.  That is why saints often refused to accept the dignity of becoming a bishop or abbot.

When a proud man is filled with self-importance, he thinks he (or his group) is indispensable and that only he (or his group) can accomplish a particular difficult deed.[1]  A man’s pride causes him to exult himself (or his group) as capable of more than he (or it) truly is.[2] 

Pride blinds the soul so much that, after nurturing this pride in his heart, a man often boasts openly.[3]

The virtue of humility is the spiritual remedy we need to correct this pride and boasting.[4]

Persons in power have special difficulty avoiding pride and boasting about themselves or their group.  Everyone, but especially those in power, should remember the words of St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church:

Look upon yourself as insignificant.[5]

The Imitation of Christ warns all of us, and especially those in power:

Be not proud of your own works.[6]

Archbishop Lefebvre fought this temptation of excessive self-importance (pride), as we all must do.  People tried to flatter him that his group (the Society of St. Pius X) would convert the human element of the Church and bring it to Catholic Tradition.  Archbishop Lefebvre called this an illusion.  Here are his words (starting with the interview question he answers):

Question: Some people say, “Yes, but Archbishop Lefebvre should have accepted an agreement with Rome because once the Society of St. Pius X had been recognized and the suspensions lifted, he would have been able to act in a more effective manner inside the Church, whereas now he has put himself outside.”

Archbishop Lefebvre: Such things are easy to say.  To stay inside the Church, or to put oneself inside the Church – what does that mean?  Firstly, what Church are we talking about? If you mean the Conciliar Church, then we who have struggled against the Council for twenty years because we want the Catholic Church, we would have to re-enter this Conciliar Church in order, supposedly, to make it Catholic.  That is a complete illusion.  It is not the subjects that make the superiors, but the superiors who make the subjects.

Amongst the whole Roman Curia, amongst all the world’s bishops who are progressives, I would have been completely swamped.  I would have been able to do nothing, I could have protected neither the faithful nor the seminarians.  Rome would have said to me, “Alright, we’ll give you such and such a bishop to carry out the ordinations, and your seminarians will have to accept the professors coming from such and such a diocese.”  That's impossible.  In the Fraternity of St. Peter, they have professors coming from the diocese of Augsburg.  Who are these professors?  What do they teach?[7]

The Institutional Pride of the “New” SSPX

There are many ways in which the “new” liberalizing SSPX no longer follows its founder, Archbishop Lefebvre.  Among those ways is in his humility and common sense.  The N-SSPX is proud and self-important, bragging that it is indispensable.  

For example, Fr. Pagliarani, the N-SSPX’s new superior general, bragged that there is no other way for the hierarchy to be reminded about Catholic Tradition except by the SSPX.  Here are the words he spoke publicly:

[O]nly the Society can help the Church, in reminding the popes and the bishops that Our Blessed Lord founded a monarchical Church and not a chaotic modern assembly.[8]

One can see the seductive power of pride in his words, endangering the vulnerable SSPX leaders because they don’t have Archbishop Lefebvre’s humility and common sense.  

Similarly, Bishop Fellay bragged that the SSPX works “marvels”.  Here are the words he spoke publicly:

We sing every day the Magnificat for the marvels that the Almighty still enables us to accomplish.[9]

Although Bishop Fellay tells people how he thanks God (sings the Magnificat) for the marvels he says the SSPX works, this is like the thanks which the Pharisees gave for the marvels that the Almighty still enables them to accomplish:

O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.  I fast twice in a week:  I give tithes of all that I possess.[10]



The devils are directing the proud and foolish leaders of the N-SSPX!  Let us pity and pray for them!  

But let us also not follow them.  Pride is a type of blindness and when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the pit![11]

[1]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, teaches this truth:

Pride is so called because a man thereby aims higher than he is; wherefore Isidore [the saintly Doctor of the Church from Seville] says (Etym. x): “A man is said to be proud, because he wishes to appear above what he really is”; for he who wishes to overstep beyond what he is, is proud.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.162, a.1, respondeo (bracketed words added for identification).

[2]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

When a man ascribes to himself a good greater than what he has, it follows that his appetite tends to his own excellence in a measure exceeding his competency: and thus we have the third species of pride, namely “boasting of having what one has not”.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.162, a.4, respondeo.

[3]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Boasting is reckoned a species of lying, as regards the outward act whereby a man falsely ascribes to himself what he has not: but as regards the inward arrogance of the heart it is reckoned by [Pope Saint] Gregory [the Great, Doctor of the Church] to be a species of pride.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.162, a.4, ad 2 (bracketed words added for identification).

[4]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

It belongs to humility to withdraw the mind from the inordinate desire of great things, against presumption.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.162, a.1, ad 2.

[5]          Words of St. Bonaventure, quoted in Spiritual Diary, Daughters of St. Paul Press, Boston, © 1962, p.39.

Imitation of Christ, Thomas á Kempis, Bk.1, ch.7.

[7]          Interview published in the July-August 1989 issue of the SSPX’s magazine, Fideliter.

[9]          Bishop Fellay’s letter to friends and benefactors, #83, dated 11-21-14.

[10]          St. Luke’s Gospel, ch.18, vv.11-12.

         Our Lord told his disciples: “Let them alone:  they are blind, and leaders of the blind.  And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.”  
St. Matthew’s Gospel, ch.15, v.14.