The head of the (possibly schismatic) traditionalist Catholic Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, laid into Pope Francis in public remarks over the weekend. He described the situation in the Catholic Church and the world as truly apocalyptic. Seriously, he speculates that the current pontificate could be a partial fulfillment of the Third Secret of Fatima. Excerpt:

He continued that we are in “very scary times” but we are not helpless. He noted the “the situation of the Church is a real disaster. And the present Pope is making it 10,000 times worse.”

“In the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, I said, ‘the crisis in the Church will continue, but the Pope is trying to put on the brakes.’ It’s as if to say, the Church will continue to fall, but with a parachute. And with the beginning of this [Pope Francis] pontificate, I say, ‘he cuts the strings, and he put a [downward] rocket’.”

“If the present pope continues in the way he started, he is going to divide the Church. He’s exploding everything. So people will say: it is impossible that’s he’s the Pope, we refuse him. Others will say [and this is presently Bishop Fellay’s position]: “Wait, consider him as Pope, but don’t follow him. He’s provoking anger. Many people will be discouraged by what people in the Church do” and will be tempted to “throw it all away.”

But, he reminded, God is “much, much bigger than we are. God is able to have the Church continue” and even can work through these imperfect ministers. “But once again”, he repeats, “don’t follow them. Follow them when they say the truth, but when they tell you rubbish, you don’t” follow them on those points. “Any obedience to be true must be related to God. When I say I obey to a person” he should be a “a mirror of God.” But “when mirror tells me contrary of God, it is no longer a mirror, then I don’t follow him.”

Bishop Fellay noted that we cannot simply obey the present Popes without question, because then we would destroy ourselves, we would endanger our Faith.

Following the warning of Sister Lucia, Pope Leo XIII and Pius X, Bishop Fellay further warned that we may be entering into the time of Antichrist, but we cannot know when, or how far off in the future this may be.

Bp Fellay denounced Pope Francis as a “modernist,” and said that he is so grateful that SSPX turned down Pope Benedict’s attempts to fully reconcile it with the Holy See.

Here’s a Washington Post report on more mainstream conservative Catholic voices expressing skepticism about Pope Francis; some say he’s challenging them, and this is a good thing. Excerpt:

Gregory Popcak, a marriage and family counselor on the radio and in private practice in Ohio, describes being sent deep into prayer after several clients used Francis’s public words to push back on Popcak when he explained church teachings on sex and love. One client recently quit, saying, “I’m much more of a Pope Francis-Nancy Pelosi Catholic, and you’re an old-school, Pope John Paul II Catholic,” he recalled.

First, he felt frustrated, then ashamed.

The story of the prodigal son came to him, and he saw in himself the good son. “The good kid who stayed behind, did everything his father told him to do, ,” Popcak wrote in a recent online essay that prompted dozens of people to share similar sentiments. “People who left the Church, who hated the Church . . . were suddenly realizing that God loved them, that the Church welcomed them, and all I could do was feel bitter about it.”

But:

[Robert] Royal rejects conservatives who “make excuses” for Francis. Over history, he contends, “there are better and worse popes and God allows them. . . . I’m learning to live with it. We had one of the greatest living intellectuals [in Benedict] and now we’ve got a guy who doesn’t seem to think clear expression is important.”

Love him, fear him, or not quite sure what to think, Pope Francis is impossible to ignore.

[H/T: Deacon’s Bench]