For, or against the “agreements”?

For, or against the “agreements”?

A text published in Le Sel de la terre 98

Father Schmidberger, former Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X wrote arguments . in favour of the “ normalisation “ of the Society.  He was chosen by the mother house to preach two priestly retreats to the French speaking priests of the Society (in August and September) at the priory of Le Pointet (France) and in Ecône, which no doubt allowed him to advance his ideas.

Elsewhere the Superior General has broken his silence in order to argue for the structure proposed to the Society of St. Pius X ( see the text reproduced below).

Father Michel Simoulin has also defended the advantages of the “agreement”.

So, is there nobody against?  There is opposition of course.  But the opposition is discreet and is expressed privately, as if it were forbidden today, in the SSPX, to defend publicly the position which was its official position until 2012: ”no practical agreement before the conversion of the Roman authorities”.

The “super diocese” offered to the SSPX by a Pope who “wants the good of Tradition”

By Christian Lassale

This article was published by MCI-L’hebdomadaire de medias- catholique. Info n. 33 of the 8 September 2016. P.6-7

Umpteenth announcement and no real new development in the relations between Rome and the SSPX founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and led until 2018 by the Swiss Bishop Bernard Fellay

In a conference given in English on 24 August 2016, in Australia, the current Superior General of the SSPX explained to the faithful the nature of the personal prelature proposed by Rome to the SSPX.  Mgr. Fellay used the occasion of this canonical explanation to give his opinion on the Roman proposal:

(….)Rome is offering us a new body. At the head a bishop. This bishop chosen by the Pope from three names which are presented by the Society and taken from the Society. This bishop will have authority over the priests, over the religious who want to be members and over the faithful. The faithful who will belong to this body will have the strict right to receive all the sacraments from the priests of the society – all the sacraments, marriage included. This bishop will have the right to have schools, seminaries, ordinations, even to make new religious congregations and to accept inside others who would like to join.

It is something like a super-diocese, autonomous from the local bishops.  In other words for you no change from what you have now.  The only thing is it will be with the recognition that you are Catholics.

You can imagine that that will create a lot of conflicts with the local bishops – you can easily imagine that. So we have to remain prudent, but in itself you cannot imagine anything better than what is offered there and such a thing you cannot think it is a trap. It is not a trap and if somebody offers something like that it can only be because he wishes us well.  He wants the good of Tradition and for Tradition to spread in the Church. It is impossible to think that such a thing could be invented by our enemies. The enemies have many other ways to crush us but not that one.

You may say: if that is the thing, why don’t you accept? Because I want to be sure that it is true. I don’t have the right to live in a dream and so I must check each aspect (…) [End of quotation]

From a canonical point of view, there is nothing new under the sun, the above description being that of a personal prelature with extended powers such as Mgr. Guido Pozzo has already suggested (since 2012). It is moreover this possibility which was rejected by a majority of major superiors meeting in a hotel near Ecône at the end of June 2016.

The novelty of the words of Mgr. Fellay, if there is one, is found in the syllogism which completes the exposé. It is this:

impossible that such a thing could be invented by our enemies

- so it can only be a question of friends of Tradition, and :

… if somebody offers something like that, it can only be because he wishes us well.  He wants the good of Tradition and for Tradition to spread in the Church.

As a result, such a proposal cannot be but accepted, if it proves true.

In such an argument, the Tradition of the Church seems to become identified with the SSPX, since wishing well to the latter is to wish well to Tradition, notwithstanding the dramatic blows which Rome may inflict on Tradition elsewhere.  The reality in the Church seems as if dissipated by these good intentions with which present day Rome seems to adorn itself.

Moreover, these good intentions, even if supposed to be completely sincere, are they enough in themselves to necessitate the acceptance of a canonical agreement in the present conditions of the Church?  The benevolent intention is in no way sufficient; the propriety of the act still requires that it be, by its very nature, good. 

Now how can one envisage today a concrete dependence of the SSPX on Rome, even though the highest holders of ecclesiastical authority, with the Pope in front, are the destroyers of the Church?

Living in a state of concrete dependence with regards to an authority requires one to follow the same goal, the inferior putting himself at the service of the superior in order attain itThe least that one can say, alas, is that modernist Rome does not pursue the same goal as the Church of all time or of the SSPX.  Without this unity of purpose, and thus of faith, any practical agreement will prove most perilous for the SSPX.  This is doubtless what the general chapter of 2006 meant when it said: “no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement”.

(End of the reproduction of the article by Christian Lassale)

Commentary by “ Sel de la Terre”:

One can add to these remarks that Rome is not giving to the superior of the “super-diocese” the ability to designate and consecrate bishops.  So it is obvious that the only bishops who will be able to succeed those bishops chosen by Mgr. Lefebvre will be those having the profile desired by “ Rome “.

November Lists of the Dead

November Lists of the Dead

Several of you have asked if we accept “November Lists of the Dead”.

This pious custom consists in giving a list of names of deceased loved ones to a priest, who will then keep the list on the altar each time he celebrates Mass throughout the month of November.

If you send us such a list, we will be happy to perform this duty to the Poor Souls.  To send us a list, simply visit our “Contact Us” page, and use the little form at the bottom of that page to send us a message.

Prayer for the souls in Purgatory is a devotion that has always been in honor in the Dominican Order.

Thank you!

Daphne Pochin Mould – convert from Anglicanism

Daphne POCHIN MOULD

(1920-2014)

converted from anglicanism

A Wicked Sheep

« I did not want to become a Catholic. My intention was to attack rather than to submit to the Church. I was not a lost sheep but a wicked and an obstinate sheep… »

Born in Salisbury (England) in 1920, Daphne Pochin Mould was a brilliant student of geology in Edinburg (Scotland).

From her Anglican upbringing she only retained the typical prejudices against the Catholic Church (superstition, intolerance, rigorism, triumphalism, etc.). A militant agnostic, she was convinced that religion was no more than a means of enslaving mankind.clip_image002

« I used to think that I had to attack the ignorance, the superstition and the cowardice of those who think that by believing in another world they can do away with the struggle against evil and error here on earth. »

In order to study how St. Columba of Iona converted Scotland at the end of the 6th century, she had to go to the Benedictine monastery in Fort Augustus. There, for the first time, she ran into a Catholic priest.

« I was never more scared in my life than on that day ».

While talking with the monk, Fr. Augustin, she discovered that the Faith was not what she had imagined it to be.

She used to see the Faith as an abdication of reason, as a flight from reality, as cowardice. Now she realized that Catholics have rational arguments!

The proof of the existence of God made by Fr. Augustin did not convince her immediately:  she found it too abstract, too philosophical, too different from the scientific method that she was used to.  But she had to admit that there are various ways of learning and methods of inquiry.  While the scientific method has its place, it does not solve the fundamental problems: the reason for our existence; the final end of man and the world; or the experience of beauty:

« In the Scottish mountains that were so rich in contrasts of form and colour, I saw the realization of beauty.  I was inspired with an increasing awareness that beyond the enchantment of the mountains there had to exist the last and ultimate beauty; that all the elements of truth that I reached by means of science pointed to a thing that was the Truth itself; that this ultimate Truth had to be crowned with beauty and transcendent splendour of which the sun illuminating the hills had already given me a foretaste. »

For the time being, Daphne decided to accept the existence of God as a « working hypothesis ».  She altered her view on the Church.  She no longer saw it as a force that obscures and oppressively exploits blind religiosity.  She finally understood that reality itself was in question:

« All of a sudden, I realized that the Church was all about God and that it was not simple emotionalism. The Church stood for truth and beauty, for penance and austerity, and even more, for the huge adventure of holiness. »

A Long Inquiry

It is good, grand, noble and generous, but is it true?  Is it not merely a huge illusion?

Daphne was still far from having the Faith.  To the question  «Would you like to become a Catholic? » she responded with a firm « Only if Catholicism is real! »  And she still had many objections.  But in fact her agnosticism no longer satisfied her.

The big question was Jesus Christ.  But before studying the life of Jesus Christ, Daphne felt turned off by miracles.  They revolted her and she bolted.  But after thinking about it, she had to admit that this passionate reaction was not reasonable.  She recognized that:

« It is more scientific to examine the possibility of a miracle than to refuse a priori to accept it.»

The methodical reading of the four Books of the Gospel was a veritable shock.  She had known only fragments of the Books.  She discovered in the entirety of the Books a doctrine that was so rich and so profound, and, at the same time, so simple and so balanced, that it was difficult to accept that an ordinary man – even a prophet or a saint – could have possibly authored it.

Must she thus admit that Jesus is God?  Daphne was not ready for that.  She was fascinated by His personality, but could not yet bring herself to that conclusion.

« I knew very well that to accept the truthfulness of the Gospel meant to accept Christ and Rome.  I had to give it a long thought. »

In the spring of 1950, Daphne embarked on a serious study of the history of the Church.  She was struck by the terrible crises that regularly oppressed the Church (persecutions, heresies, decadence or weakness of the clergy, etc). At least ten times the Church could have perished under the assaults of its enemies or from the vices of its own members (at times priests, bishops and popes!).  But each time, saints rose up, redressing the humanly desperate situation so that the Church rose up more alive than before.  And there were times when the leaders of the Church could have used their office to justify their errors doctrinally.  But it never happened.  The Infallibility of the Pope is certainly not a trivial claim!

A Conditional Prayer

Finally, Daphne had to recognize both the preeminence of Christ and of the Catholic Church.  But the big question still remained:  Is Jesus Christ truly God?   Daphne could not get past this hurdle:

« The more I thought about the historicity of the Gospels, the more I recognized the evidence that I had to accept Christ; this understanding revolted me violently.  Nonetheless, the natural beauty that I observed – the creation of God that I admired – all came from the same hand that had written the historical Gospels. »

« You need to pray »,  Fr. Augustin told her.  Daphne was deeply irritated by that.  What good would that action do?  Wasn’t she running the risk of falling into auto-suggestion and falsifying the scientific method?  She wanted to refuse to pray, but she felt herself (to be) mysteriously urged to attempt the experiment.  She prayed conditionally in order to appease her conscience.  After invoking God, she immediately added « if He exists » as a precaution in order not to rush the process.  Then she prayed for enlightenment.

She decided to attend Mass – as part of her study, without really participating – and she carefully compared the Roman Missal, which is the traditional Catholic rite of the Mass, to the Anglican ‘Prayer Book’.  She was impressed by the superiority of the former.  The traditional Catholic rite is somber and beautiful as well as dignified and precise.  She especially appreciated the Latin phrases that « always say the right word in the right place »:

« I thought back about the beauty of the mountains and the shores of the Hybrides; I had learned to identify supreme Truth with supreme Beauty; now the simple reading of the Missal left deep impressions.  If the Roman Church is capable of producing such liturgy, it is highly probable that it possesses the truth about God. »

Little by little, Daphne dropped all her objections.  But she still asked: do I truly have the Faith?

« I had always believed that Faith was a pious feeling, an emotional and a euphoric disposition, similar to a disposition created in us by music or by wine.  While I did not have any such feelings, I was pushed by a strong interior movement to take the decisive step to fully accept the Catholic Faith. »

Finally, Daphne Poncin Mould surrendered to Grace:

« He who has always lived in the Catholic Faith cannot imagine what this step means to an agnostic.  It is one thing to be intellectually convinced of the Truth held by Rome, it is altogether another to make the decision to become a Catholic. »

« To accept Roman authority, to confess that you will believe everything that the Church tells you to believe seemed a desperate step, a spiritual suicide.  I feared all authority.  I still had a profound attachment to Protestant individualism.  With this mindset, how could I possibly submit to an authoritative Church like Rome?

A Barrier Had Fallen

Daphne was condemned by her family (who no longer wanted to see her) and by her friends (who abandoned her).

She was received into the Catholic Church on November 11, 1950.  Her soul found peace and joy:

« My first impression was that the barrier between God and myself had fallen.  The second impression was that by becoming a Catholic, I had taken a step towards what was a beginning rather than an end.  I used to consider the Catholic Faith solely as a collection of beliefs, as a moral code; I had forgotten that the Faith was firstly and above all a contact with God, with the Being who is Infinite Love.  Such an adventure has no end.  I understood that the Catholic who attempts to understand God more deeply is never in danger of feeling restricted or limited.  We are made to contemplate God. »

She understood the need for Our Lady in order to be able to truly penetrate the mysteries of the Gospel, and so she applied herself to the Rosary:

« When I was received into the Church, I thought of God mainly in terms of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.  I did not have a true devotion to the Person of Christ.

Now as I read the Gospel, I found myself attracted to His Person and I prayed to Our Lady to help me to better know her Son. »clip_image002[5]

At the same time, Daphne discovered the real Church:

« The most amazing thing about the Church is the gentleness.  This gentleness comes from strength.  The Church is maternal but at the same time has the absolute certitude of possessing the Truth.  How far off were my ideas about the intolerance and violence of Papists! »

Bibliography :

Daphne Pochin Mould, The Rock of Truth

(an autobiography of her conversion), London, Sheet and Ward, 1953.

Francois Russo S.J. Le Roc de la certitude, Daphne Pochin Mould

(a French resume of the above work), Brussels, Foyer Notre-Dame, 1962.

The Rights of Truth, the “non-rights” of Error

The Rights of Truth, the “non-rights” of Error

[The report of R. P. Philippe C. S. S. R. November 30, 1922 to the Congress of the Apostolic League of Nations, which took place in Paris, and appeared in “La Documentation Catholique” of 24 March, 1923: No. 191]

If there is such a thing as a fundamental truth, it is certainly that of the rights of Truth and the non-rights of error.  It is astonishing that such a subject must even be dealt with, but the intellectual decadence of our times has reached the point that we no longer even wish to acknowledge Truth, but are willing to convince ourselves that Truth doesn’t even exist.  What is said about Truth must also be said of the authority which is based on the truth of the existence of the Supreme Being upon Whom we all depend.

By banishing in one fell swoop Truth and the authority of this Truth, the enemies of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church overthrow, upturn and destroy from top to bottom, not only Christian Order, but all order, be it simply natural, civil, familial, religious or any other.

Order based on nothingness cannot be sustained.  That is why we establish at one and the same time both the rights of Truth and the injustice of error.

We will not get involved here in overly speculative considerations.  Rather, we will limit ourselves to reproducing the simple facts of philosophy and theology.


1. Truth is the conformity of the intellect with the object

St. Thomas Aquinas concisely states the following: Veritas invenitur in intellectu secundum quod apprehendit rem ut est, et in re, secundum quod habet esse conformabile intellectui (Summa Theologica, I, q. 16, art. 5) : truth is in the intellect insofar as it grasps the object as it is.  Truth is in the object itself, insofar as being (that is, this object) can be intellectually reproduced.  In other words, for the intellect to possess the truth of an object (or to be true) that object must first exist, then the intellect must have perceived it just as it is, and intellectually reproduce it thus.  That is why St. Thomas says elsewhere : unumquodque inquantum habet de esse, tantum est cognoscibile (ibid. art. 3) for a thing to be known, it must exist, and can be known only insofar as it exists.

For Truth to exist in the intellect, it is therefore necessary for the intellect to reproduce intellectually (or by means of an intellectual image, if one prefers) objective reality in so far as it exists.  The latter is itself insofar as it reproduces the eternal concept of God who created it.  That is why St. Thomas defines Truth as follows:  Adaequatio rei et intellectus (ibid. art. 1), meaning by this that, in order to be true, the created object must correspond to the concept of the Divine Intellect and that the human intellect which possesses the Truth only possesses it insofar as it is intellectually in conformity with the object itself.

2. The object has the right to be known by the intellect precisely as it [i.e. the object] is

To assert that Truth alone has rights is to declare that the intellect, which is made to possess Truth, has the right not to be led into error.  It is to say, above all else, that the object which is known has the right not to be known other than as it actually is, as well as the right to be known just as it is.

The weakness of the human intellect can be such that it does not conceive the essence of a being in all of its perfection.  It remains no less a fact that whatever the intellect does in fact conceive must be in conformity with what is.

3. In error, nothingness takes the place of the object

What happens in the contrary situation when the intellect conceives, not in conformity with that which is, but with that which is not?  Its intellectual concept does not correspond to any existing reality, or, in the case of a partial error, it corresponds only partially to what that reality actually is.  As for the other part, it corresponds to nothing which is.

Who does not see the conclusion which must be immediately drawn from this?  An intellectual concept which does not correspond to any objective reality corresponds to nothing; that is to say, for it, nothingness has taken the place of the object.

4. Nothingness, therefore error, has no rights

Thus it is an obvious truth that nothingness (or non-being) cannot have rights, because it does not exist.

An intellectual concept which corresponds to no reality whatsoever cannot be the reproduction of a true reality.  Therefore, corresponding to nothingness (which has no rights), it participates in the non-rights of nothingness.

Thus, if the man whose intellect created these fictions and errors wishes to attribute to them rights which they cannot have, then these rights are the most fundamentally unjust that can possibly be.

5. To build on nothingness or error is disorder

What folly, then, to construct a life on nothingness! For this is what necessarily happens when, instead of taking Truth as the principle of this life, we choose error.  With nothingness as a guiding principle for all our acts, for all our feelings, for all our thoughts, what can there be that is true, just or well-founded in our lives?  Nothing.

Furthermore, if error is at the basis of social order, nothingness is the guiding principle of society, of governments, of the constitutions of peoples, of legislation and of everything else.  Let us say it again : what can be built on this?  What can be built on nothingness?  In a social order thus conceived, there can be neither Truth nor Justice nor Order.

Disorder is the inevitable result.

6. This is proven by experience

To better understand this phenomenon, let us see what practically remains as a guiding principle in both individual and social life wherever objective truth has disappeared :

* In the individual order, there remains only individual thought, captive to all of its fantasies.

* In the social order, there remains only collective thought, subject to every whim of the majority.

And when we have swept Truth aside, we have suppressed the Supreme Being who is the great guiding Truth of peoples and individuals.  When God has disappeared from the council of consciences and nations, when there are no more sanctions or responsibilities before the Eternal One, what is left to collective and individual human thought?  Logically, nothing.  In reality, though, in spite of everything, in spite of human fantasies and whims, there remain Eternal Truth and Eternal Justice which crush beneath all their weight those who, turning toward them, say: “You do not exist.”

7. Divine Truth always takes back its Rights

God proclaims these Rights and causes them to be respected by His Justice.

Oh Divine Truth!  It takes back its Rights – Rights which are marked with the seal of Infinity, with the seal of Eternity.  This God Whom man (in his folly) has desired to consign to nothingness in order to have nothingness as the principle of his life, is Creator.  Everything has been made by Him in the infinite splendour of His Beauty.  He reiterates all the conditions of Truth.  Furthermore, to the rights which He Himself has given to all Truth, He adds those with which He alone can be endowed because He alone is infinite, He alone is Creator.

How, then, can those who depend essentially upon Him rise up against Him and His Rights?  It is not astonishing that Eternal Truth which has been dumped on the scrap heap of nothingness surrounds itself with all the rigours of Justice in order to strike back.  Justice is the avenger of its Sister, Truth.

8. Divine Truth manifests itself in Christ

The Infinite goes even farther, so to speak.  God destines this creature for whom He has created Truth (in a word, this human being) to eternal happiness.  In order to lead him to this supreme end, He will become incarnate in the Person of His Word.  He will appear in this world, and, there again, He will manifest Himself as the Truth:  Ego sum Veritas!   Veritas et gratia per Jesum Christum factum est.   It is Truth which is tasked to lead man to his destiny, and see, therefore, what was required for this Truth to be realized in these conditions by Christ: nothing less than the Passion and Death of Christ.  This all-loving Master paid a great price for It, but after all It belongs to Him, It is identified with Him.  Behold this Truth, which is Christ and which has all the Rights of Christ, is launched into the world, bolstered by God’s own Authority.  It must enlighten consciences.  It must guide the social order.  Society must be impregnated with Christ because man, both as a citizen and as an individual, is a creature of God whose final end must be God and infinite beatitude.

9. God strikes those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ and His Church

What homage does man render, what homage does the citizen render, what homage do governments render to the Rights of Truth, to the Supreme Rights of God, to the Rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate?

Let us repeat it again: in order to establish nothingness (and consequently disorder in society and confusion among peoples) all the more securely as the guiding principle of peoples, they consign to this nothingness, with all the power their thought can muster, God and His Christ and the institution which continues Christ on earth: the Church.

Is it surprising then that God, seeing Himself despised in the very Truth which He has created, despised in Himself and in His Christ, is it surprising that He chastises peoples with the most dreadful scourges?  War and famine are minor things.  Confusion, upheavals in the political and economic order are a mild manifestation of the terrors which Divine Justice reserves for those who trample His Truth underfoot.

Let us endeavour to understand all this.  Especially let those to whom God has given the responsibility of governing society endeavour to penetrate themselves with these profound teachings and introduce them into the practical working-out of the social order for the good of humanity.  If this is done, both peoples and humanity will be saved.