But we must be clear exactly what Lefebvrism is, and is not. For, of course, the SSPX thinks that this Pope is a Modernist. It has thought the same thing about the last four, the only others under whom it has ever existed.
Lefebvrism is certainly not "just traditional Catholicism", or even just Catholicism as widely practised during the Pianische Monolothismus.
Rather, it makes sense only in certain very specific terms peculiar to France. Terms that, for very French reasons, it assumes to be universal when they are not.
Lefevbrist devotional and disciplinary practice is an obvious expression of, if not direct Jansenist influence, though probably so, then at least the strain in the French character that made it receptive to Jansenism.
Likewise, Lefebvrist theory and organisational practice are no less obviously expressions of Gallicanism, and sometimes of very advanced Gallicanism indeed.
For example, rule of the SSPX is by a General Chapter in which not only do bishops and simple presbyters have equal status, but it is considered an aberration that the Superior-General is at present a bishop, rather than being a simple presbyter to whom the Society's bishops would be, and in the past have been, subject. Shades of the extreme Gallican attempts to prove a Dominical institution of the office of parish priest.
Lefebvrism gives perhaps the first ever formal institutional shape to the situation created by the seventeenth century, which began with three competing parties in the French Church, but which ended with two, the Gallicans and the Jansenists having effectively merged against the Ultramontanes due to the deployment of Gallican ecclesiological arguments against the Papal condemnations of Jansenist soteriological ones.
By the wayside had fallen such features as Jansenist belief, with the sole if notable exception of Pascal, in the infallibility of Papal definitions ex cathedra, and Gallican use of belief in Our Lady's Immaculate Conception as a mark of party identity due to its having been defined by the Council of Basel.
The popular attraction of the Lefebvrist clergy in terms of the old Latin Mass and traditional or "traditional" devotions echoes that of the Gallican clergy in terms of the old diocesan Missals and Breviaries and a sympathy for the entrenched local devotional practices reviled, like those entrenched local liturgical forms, by the Ultramontanes.
The French Church, or an idea of the French Church, is assumed to be fundamentally autonomous, so that the incompatibility of Dignitatis Humanae with a very specifically French Counter-Revolutionary theory of the relationship between Church and State means that it is the Conciliar Declaration that must yield. This is simply taken to be self-evident.
In reality, such a position is as schismatic and as heretical as John Courtney Murray's attempt to conform Dignitatis Humanae to the American republican tradition's reading of the First Amendment as taught to high school students, an approach comprehensible only within Manifest Destiny and all that.
That has therefore ended up, for now, in George Weigel's signature to the Project for the New American Century, and in the public support for the Iraq War on the part of the late Richard John Neuhaus, known to George W Bush as "Father Richard".
American "conservative" Catholicism sees the American Church as autonomous as surely as does American "liberal" Catholicism, and freely disregards Catholic Teaching on social justice and on peace as surely as the other side freely disregards Catholic Teaching on bioethical and sexual issues.
As a result, both alike are blind to the Magisterium's brilliant and unique global witness to the inseparability of all of these concerns.
In both the French and the American cases, there is a strange inability to recognise that what one was taught at 13 or 14 might not always be the last word on any given subject.
Well, they are dealing with a new, and a very different, Pope now.