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 “.

A Major Event in Tradition

A Major Event in Tradition

A text available on gloria.tv aptly analyses certain consequences of the granting of an ordinary jurisdiction to the Society of St. Pius X by Pope Francis for the duration of the “Holy Year”.   We quote here some extracts from it.

 

5)  The forms of the concession are atypical:  the jurisdiction is awarded to priests of the Society according to an unusual procedure, moreover it is very limited and temporary in nature.  The act of September 1st 2015 is nevertheless a “canonical normalization” in the sense of the decision of the Chapter of July 2012, which did not make any distinctions between partial, complete, unilateral, consensual, temporary or final normalization etc…    Furthermore, the six “preconditions” imposed by this Chapter no longer have any reason to exist now that the papal measure has been accepted by the Superior General.

 

6)  On analysis, this “mini-normalization” ( two sacraments for one year) appears to be a first experiment in co-existence between the Society and its “conciliar” environment, and a test of its docility towards the holders of legitimate power in the Church. […]

 

7)  Last autumn, the risks of this process could not have eluded the General Council of Menzingen, thus making even more imperative the meeting of the Chapter foreseen in the communiqué of July 14th 2012.   And yet the Superior General did not convene this extraordinary Chapter.   So the procedure for authorization instituted by the supreme authority of the Society with the aim of its protection was not applied: and the reason for this omission has not been given.

 

8)  Having accepted alone and without the authorization of the Chapter this preliminary act of the Pope, will Mgr. Fellay be able to oppose the complementary normalization measures already envisaged  (cf. his sermon at the French pilgrimage of Le Puy on April 10th, 2016) or a more complete canonical recognition?   Will he be able to refuse to ratify the “fundamental accord” on “the value of the Council”, as the pope requires for the erection of a personal prelature for the Society (cf. interview in the French newspaper La Croix of May 16th).   On considering the evolution of events, we are not able to affirm this.

 

9)   The desire to remedy a canonical situation deemed “irregular” has led the Society to defer endlessly decisive confrontation on doctrine.   Not having demanded Rome’s renunciation of conciliar errors before consenting to receive the ordinary jurisdiction granted by the act of September 1st, the Society has fallen into a trap:  it will not be able to invoke the state of necessity and take, if necessary, without the agreement of the authorities, the measures needed to safeguard the faith and the priesthood, put in danger by Vatican II and its reforms.

An Interview with Fr. Thomas Aquinas, OSB

An Interview with Fr. Thomas Aquinas, OSB

Translated from the original Portuguese by Michael Fuller

1. Reverend Father, why is another Bishop needed for the Resistance? Does a state of necessity subsist in the Church? Aren’t the traditionalist bishops of the SSPX enough for the Church, as the SSPX states?

The Church needs Bishops because Our Lord wanted it like this.  So, Tradition needs Bishops. The work that Bishop Williamson has done since 1988 is enormous. The help that Bishop Faure brings is indispensable, and a third bishop is not too much.  Tradition came to count with seven bishops when Bishop Lazo from the Philippines came over to Tradition before the deaths of Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop De Castro Mayer.  The Resistance is nothing more than the continuance of Tradition.

2. Some people say that your consecration will constitute a schismatic act. What can you say in this regard?

Just like the 1988 consecrations did not constitute a schismatic act, in the same way, this one also will not.   The reason that motivated the first consecrations is the same that motivates the other ones, that is, the fact that Rome does not return to Tradition.

Evidently, this new consecration can receive criticism, just like the consecration of Bishop Faure, but for those that attentively consider the reasons, it concerns consecrations motivated by the very same motive of the 1988 ones: the fact that the Basilica of St. Peter is occupied by enemies of the Our Lord.  It’s a painful fact, but it is fact.  To deny it proves to be unrealistic, an accusation made by Bishop Fellay to his three brothers of the episcopacy: Bishops Williamson, Tissier, and de Galarreta (Letter of April 14, 2012).

This new consecration is motivated by nothing more than the same motives that made Archbishop Lefebvre act, nothing more and nothing less.  The only difference is the special circumstance in relation to the authorities of the Society; but in relation to Rome and the crisis, the reasons are the same and are identical in every way.

3. Father, last year, motivated by the consecration of Bishop Faure, the SSPX said that the Resistance is sedevacantist and that that is demonstrated by consecrating bishops without the permission of the Roman authorities. What is your response to this other accusation?

In the very same way that Archbishop Lefebvre was not a sedevacantist, the Resistance is not sedevacantist, although within the Resistance there may be, just like in the SSPX there always were, sympathizers of this thesis.

4. Father, what is your position regarding sedevacantism?

I think that the position of Archbishop Lefebvre in this regards is the most sensible and the most prudent.  The Pope cannot use his authority to destroy the Church, so we don’t obey him in this work. We refuse to have any part in the destruction of the Church.  As far as deciding if the Pope has lost his pontificate because of this, it is a disputed issue.  We don’t have the means of withdrawing a conclusion that eliminates all doubt.  So then, with doubt, it is best to not affirm that the seat is vacant and continue to consider him the Pope.

5. Last year we asked Bishop Faure what he would do if he were invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis. Now we ask you the same question. Would you go? What would you say to Francis?

Go to Rome?  Only if it were to ask if the Roman authorities accept Quanta Cura, Syllabus, Pascendi, etc., but for now I think that the answer was already given and it is negative.

6. Professor Carlos Nougué has posted a brief article about your life where he mentions the incident of the pressure you received from the authorities of the SSPX for having refused to sing the Te Deum in celebration of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (July of 2007). Can you tell us anything about this and about other circumstances when you were under pressure by the leaders of the SSPX?

What happened in Santa Cruz when Bishop de Galarreta was here suggesting to me that I leave the monastery is very complicated.  Several factors come about.  Only Bishop de Galarreta can say exactly what all the reasons were that moved him to make this suggestion to me.  The doctrinal question could have been in play, but there is no certainty about that since Bishop de Galarreta was, in principle, against the deal.  May be the liberty and independence of the monastery was unsettling to Bishop Fellay.  Bishop de Galarreta gave as a motive the vocations of the monastery because while I was prior, the priests would not send vocations.

7. Reverend Father, did your experience in the monastery of Le Barroux serve to strengthen your opposition to the going astray of the accordista drift or rallié of the SSPX?

Yes, there is something similar in the admiration that Dom Gérard had for the then Cardinal Ratzinger and the admiration, or at least, consideration that Bishop Fellay has for Benedict XVI.

Dom Gérard used to say that Archbishop Lefebvre stayed in his corner in order to refuse to come in contact with the Roman representatives and that Cardinal Ratzinger was a man that it would be possible to deal with.   Dom Gérard did not know the Cardinal and did not want to learn from the experience of Archbishop Lefebvre.  I think that Bishop Fellay has committed the same error.  The advice and views of elders is something fundamental in life.  Saint Thomas Aquinas, when speaking about docility, points to this disposition of the soul that we must have with elders.  It is worth reading article 3 of the question 49 of the IIa-IIae of the Summa Theologica.  It is very instructive.  Dom Gérard did not take into account the advice and warnings of Archbishop Lefebvre.  Bishop Fellay would act very differently if he also contemplated this, I believe.  This question deserves an entire study regarding the attitudes of Dom Gerard and Bishop Fellay.  I think that both were lacking in the prudence of Archbishop Lefebvre.

8. Can you tell us how the split came about between your monastery and the SSPX in 2012?

The separation between our monastery and the Society was gradual due to another incident.  But in 2012, when Brother Arsenio as well as myself wrote to them about the dealings with Rome, and moreover when Bishop Williamson was in our monastery and received our total support, the rupture was made.

Nevertheless, we maintain good relations with some members of the SSPX that see the problem, although they believe that it is better to remain in the SSPX for now.

9. Father, you knew Archbishop Lefebvre. Can you tell us something about him?

Archbishop Lefebvre possessed the strength and the tranquility of those that are certain about the well founded principles of what they are doing, and this was united to a great readiness to attend to souls.  His tranquility came from the robustness of his Faith and his common sense.  Certitude generates tranquility, so the certitude of Faith is superior to everything else.  From this we can see the total tranquility that Archbishop Lefebvre presented in every occasion.  He was a true bishop, as Saint Paul describes it, who acted in a way to save his own soul and the souls of others that listened to his words and counsel.  His motto from his coat of arms summed up his attitude and his action: Credidimus Caritati.

10. How would you explain the change that has been done in the SSPX regarding a practical agreement with Rome and what do you think with happen to the Society?

I think that there are members of the Society that want an agreement and have been working in this sense for many years.

Maybe Bishop Tissier de Mallerais and Bishop de Galerreta accepted the change from what had been decided in the 2006 General Chapter in order to save the Society from an internal division.

Only God knows what will happen with the Society.  I pray that it returns to its past fervor, but it will be difficult to return as things once were.

Not being together with the Society, I have difficulty in giving a fundamental opinion.  From what I have heard and read, I believe that the Society will try to arrive at an unstable equilibrium composed of legality and fidelity.  But they will fight on the turf chosen by the enemy.  From a tactical perspective, it’s not very smart.  The liberty to preach against the Holy See will be paralyzed.  Even more so, Bishop Fellay seems to think differently from Archbishop Lefebvre, despite his denial of this.  This is fatal for the SSPX.

11. Reverend Father, can we speak of a true and actual liberalism within the SSPX or would that be an exaggeration?

In bringing oneself closer to Rome, there is no way of avoiding liberalism.

12. Father, how would you define the Resistance and how do you see its future?

I would define the Resistance as fidelity to Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop De Castro Mayer.  The resistance is Tradition, or is the most sane part of Tradition or, at least, the part of Tradition that clearly rejects the idea of a practical agreement without Rome having returned to Tradition.

The future of the Resistance is the fidelity to Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop De Castro Mayer, or in other words, the teachings of the infallible Magisterium of the Church.  Thank God that we have Bishop Williamson and Bishop Faure with us because they were chosen by Archbishop Lefebvre and were always faithful disciples of the founder of the Society of St. Pius X.

13. What will be your priorities as bishop?

To give the Sacraments and assure the preaching of the Faith.

14. What will be the motto of your coat of arms and its meaning?

The motto will be “Veritatem Dilexisti” (Thou hast loved Truth) taken from Psalm 50.

The coat of arms is the backside of a miraculous medal with the 12 stars (the 12 articles of the Creed and the 12 Apostles), the Cross, the “M” of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Sacred Hearts.

In the beginning, Brazil had the name of the “Land of the Holy Cross”.  This is also the name of our monastery.

Our Congregation was dedicated to the Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary by our founder, Rev. Fr. Jean Baptiste Muard OSB, in the 19th century.

15. Finally, Reverend Father, would you like to send a message to traditionalists, in particular, to the Resistance?

A message?  Study the works of Archbishop Lefebvre and learn from his examples.  Archbishop Lefebvre is another Fr. Le Floch and Fr. Le Floch is the Magisterium; he is the love of the Magisterium of the Church.  Only in this way can liberalism and Modernism be overcome.

Moreover, read and search for understanding in the great anti-liberal authors, especially those that understand the errors of the modern world, like Bishop De Castro Mayer, Archbishop Lefebvre and also Bishop Tissier de Mallerais who expounds upon the strange theology of Benedict XVI with precision and who gave us the biography of Archbishop Lefebvre, not to mention the ancient authors, whose list would be too lengthy here.  Remember Bishop Vital, the great Brazilian bishop and friend of Msgr. de Ségur, who vigorously combated masonry and because of this was incarcerated and probably poisoned because he died a little after having been released from prison due to serious digestive problems.  Remember also Cardinal Pie and, for Brazilians, Gustavo Corção, whose book, “O Século do Nada” (The Age of Nothing), should be known by all. Corção understood the evil of the times very well: the lie, since he said that the 20th century could be called the age of the lie.  The remedy to this is in its opposite: “Veritatem dilexisti”.

Dear Father, we give enormous thanks to God, His Most Holy Mother, saint Joseph Protector of the Church, and saint Benedict for the great blessing that the Resistance receives with your consecration. We ask God to give you a highly fruitful episcopacy. We give many thanks to you for having accepted such an important responsibility and to Bishop Williamson and Bishop Faure because they will consecrate you as a successor of the Apostles. Deo grátias!

Should we participate in the Jubilee of Mercy?

Should we participate in the Jubilee of Mercy ?

 

A.   It would appear that we should participate in the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy:

1.  When the gates of mercy are made wide open, we must take advantage to receive it in abundance.   A Holy Year is a great grace for all the members of the Church.

2.  The Council of Trent “teaches and demands that the use of indulgences, which are greatly beneficial to Christian people and are approved by the authority of this saintly council, be maintained” (DS 1835); the code of Canon Law states: “All will give great importance to the said indulgences” (can 911).  It would be paradoxical to decide, just because we do not want to have anything to do with the failed council that was Vatican II, to dismiss a truth that was proclaimed by the Council of Trent, and encouraged by all that is Church tradition.

3.  According to St. Alphonse de Liguori: “To become a saint, it suffices to gain as many indulgences as possible”.

4.  Nobody risks his salvation by participating in the Jubilee of Mercy, unless one questions the power of the keys which are legitimately held by Francis.

5.  “Even though the remission of sins were to be done in a questionable way, the interested party would nonetheless gain the full indulgence” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Suppl. Q.25 to 2, ad 1).

6.  For a circumstance to impact the Jubilee and denature it, it would have to become either the object of, or the specific goal of the Jubilee.  However, the conditions required to obtain the said indulgence are the traditional ones: visit to a Jubilee church, confession, communion, recitation of the Credo, and prayers for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff (such as the Our Father, or the prayer of the Jubilee).

7.   The joy of the Jubilee is not that one of rejoicing in the Vatican II council, but rather in the grace bestowed by the head of the Church who draws it from the treasure of the infinite merits of Christ and of all the saints.  The grace bestowed so abundantly will always be a reason to rejoice for those who are well disposed to receive it.

8.   Archbishop Lefebvre and the Ecône Seminary went to the great pilgrimage organized by Rome during the Holy Year of 1975.  So did the Society of Saint Pius X in 2000.  Yet in 1975 the Vatican had noted that the holy year “coincided with the tenth anniversary of the closing of the second ecumenical Council of the Vatican”, and the decree of the holy year 2000 noted that on the occasion of the entry to the new millennium, “one should return with a renewed fidelity to the teachings the Vatican II council”.

B. Counter arguments

This Jubilee is organized by the conciliar Church; now Archbishop Lefebvre wrote in his spiritual “testament” (Spiritual Itinerary with Saint Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, 1990):

It is the strict duty of any priest wanting to remain catholic to separate himself from this conciliar Church, until the time it finds again the tradition of the Magisterium of the Church and of the Catholic Faith (…).”

C. Answer:

The morality of a human act is measured not only by its end, but also by the circumstances surrounding it (Summa Theologica-II q.18 a.3).  For example, carrying a pickax while going to one’s own field does not have the same moral sense as carrying the same pickax to a demonstration in front of Town Hall.

The Jubilee of the Year of Mercy is tainted by the following circumstances:

  • the date of the Jubilee has been chosen to celebrate the 50 years of the Council and
  • the “mercy” that Pope Francis advocates is a lax mercy which leads to sin.

Participation in the Jubilee cannot do away with these circumstances and therefore this participation is immoral.

Solutions to the above objections:  [Editor:  “Ad 1”, “Ad 2” are Latin shorthand for   “Response to point 1 above”, “Response to point 2 above”, etc.]

Ad 1.   Saint Hermenegilde refused to receive communion from the hands of an Arian bishop on Easter day, and for this reason he was put to death.  And yet there is nothing more sanctifying than Holy Communion, and Easter communion is obligatory under pain of mortal sin.  But in this case the circumstances made the act sinful: to receive the host from the hands of a heretic priest was a “communio in sacris” with a heretic.

Ad 2.   The objector is wrong in qualifying Vatican II as a “failed council”.  It is, on the contrary, a great success for the modernists who were able on this occasion to found their “Conciliar Church”.  To participate in this Jubilee would be to compromise with this pseudo-church as per the circumstances afore mentioned.  As for the indulgences, one can gain them in other ways than participating in the Jubilee: there are several ways to gain a plenary indulgence every day, for example by a half-hour of reading Holy Scripture or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the recitation of the Rosary, the stations of the cross, etc.

Ad 3.  The objector does not give a reference from among the works of the Saint, but from a secondary source, which itself does not give any reference.  The oldest trace that we have found of this citation is in a book written to criticize indulgences1.  We would therefore allow ourselves to ask for a precise source to verify the authenticity of this phrase as well as its context.  Whatever the case may be, to become a saint, faith is needed to a heroic degree, and therefore avoidance of all equivocations in matters of Faith.

Ad 4.  We do not question the power of the pope, but we note that he uses it badly.  It is for this same reason that we refuse the new Mass, the new code of canon law, etc.

Ad 5.  The objector omitted, without due notice, part of the quote from Saint Thomas:  “If however, the remittance of punishment is done in an unreasonable way, so that for a pittance men would be turned away from works of penance, he [the one that confers the indulgence] sins in acting in such a way; the person in question does however gain the indulgence in its entirety”.    From this, one perceives that the unreasonable aspect considered by Saint Thomas is a simple disproportion between the penance required, and the indulgence accorded.  Here the gain of the indulgence is tied to the joy of Vatican II and to a false conception of the “mercy” of pope Francis, therefore being not only unreasonable but also immoral.

Ad 6.  The objector plays on the word “denatures”.  It is true that the Jubilee remains a Jubilee, the circumstances that make it bad do not change its nature of Jubilee.  But those circumstances do enter into the object that is being morally considered for they affect its morality.  The communion offered to St. Hermenegilde remained an Easter communion, but the circumstances made it sinful.

Ad 7.  Even if he who participates in the Jubilee does not have the (subjective) intention to rejoice in Vatican II, he participates in a Jubilee that has been objectively designed to rejoice in this Council.  One must therefore abstain from participation, unless one wants to be subjectivist.

Ad 8.  The Jubilees of 1975 and 2000 were ordinary Jubilees, as those regularly held every 25 years to celebrate the anniversaries of the Incarnation.  They were not therefore tied per se to the anniversary of the Council, or to a false conception of mercy.  The allusions to the Council mentioned by the objector remained secondary and did not affect the morality of the act of participation for he who would simply celebrate the anniversary of the Incarnation.

In 1975 the participation of Archbishop Lefebvre in the pilgrimage organized by the “Credo” association took place at a time when he was manifesting his opposition to conciliar Rome2.  There was therefore no ambiguity in this act.

We can ask ourselves if it was prudent to redo a pilgrimage to Rome in 2000.   For it is on this occasion that some contacts were taken up again with the purpose of an agreement with modernistic Rome, which ended with the fall of Campos the following year.  The SSPX tried to pull back, but the talks for an agreement continued and in 2012 the accord almost happened.  The communiqués that followed the Roman meeting of September 23, 2014, the one of Menzingen (“cordial meeting”), and that of the Vatican (“proceed by successive stages” … “towards resolving the difficulties” … “in the perspective of a full reconciliation”) were the point of departure towards a certain number of steps or stages and the participation in this Jubilee would be very clearly part of this process.


Satan’s master stroke (Part 2 of 2)

Satan’s master stroke (Part 2 of 2)

(Editorial of Le Sel de la terre 94, Autumn 2015)

(Continued)

4. Should we return to the old principle :

“No practical agreement without doctrinal agreement” ?

Today, under Pope Francis, it is no longer possible to argue for a supposed improvement in the situation in Rome, but this does not stop certain people from raising objections to a return to the “old principle”.  Here are some objections which are voiced and the responses which can be made to them:

Objection 1

Between “no practical agreement without doctrinal agreement” and “practical agreement without doctrinal agreement”, there is a middle way which is in conformity with the thought of Archbishop Lefebvre.

1st Response: The Devil fishes in troubled waters.  In a matter of such importance (since the Faith is in danger), we must be clear.

2nd Response:  The thought of Archbishop Lefebvre evolved with events.  The more Conciliar Rome showed itself to be stubborn in its adherence to Modernism, the more he took his distance.  After the failure of the negotiations, he took up a very clear position, which is the one we have explained above (i.e. in the first part of this article).  Those who today want to make a practical agreement with Rome while claiming to be faithful to Archbishop Lefebvre are obliged to suppose that Archbishop Lefebvre would have changed his mind.  It is more correct to think that Archbishop Lefebvre would, on the contrary, be even more wary of today’s Rome, because of the fact that it is even more Modernist than in 1988.

Objection 2.

But if the Pope grants us something (like the label of “Catholic Association” in Argentina, or even ordinary jurisdiction to confess validly and licitly during the Holy Year), without asking us for anything in exchange, then we are not going to refuse!  It binds us to nothing.

Response: “Timeo Daneos et dona ferentes”1, replies Virgil.  We should instead have the wisdom and prudence to at least recall that we remain separated by a wall – i.e. the wall which separates Catholic doctrine from Modernism.  Otherwise we could end up thinking that these little gifts are the proof that collaboration is possible2.

During the Communist persecutions, Catholics who wanted to resist chose rather the policy of never accepting anything from the Communists (see “Le piège des pains au jambon” by Rose Hu, in Sel de la Terre 61, Summer 2007, p. 703).

Objection 3.

By refusing to follow the Society of Saint Pius X, you are dividing Tradition, whereas it needs to be united vis-à-vis Rome, in order to be stronger.

1st Response: Our strength lies above all in the truth which we defend.  By “muting” this truth (by accepting a “practical agreement” with those who do not profess it), we lose our strength, just as Sampson lost his by allowing his hair to be cut.

2nd Response: Bishop de Galarreta had foreseen that if we continued down this path of a practical agreement, “many superiors and priests will have a legitimate problem of conscience and will oppose it4”.

3rd Response: Who causes division: the one who changes policy – without saying so clearly – or the one who does not want to change and simply explains why he does not want to change?

Objection 4.

But nothing has been signed!  So, we can keep the current situation, while waiting for a better Pope with whom we will be able to make an agreement.

Response:  Signing will be the end of the process.  But once you accept in principle to place yourself under the direct authority of Modernists, you are committing yourself to a process of rapprochement.  This is a process which is already well underway: in effect, since 2011, at least, there has been no serious condemnation of the errors and faults of Modernist Rome by the superior authority of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X.  Some underlings have been allowed to speak out, but even they less and less5.

Objection 5.

One cannot say, without further qualification, that principles – even practical ones – remain unchangeable.  As a result, you are exaggerating when you make of this principle an unchangeable rule6.

Response: It is true that prudence must take account of circumstances and that the application of the principles can vary.  Saint Thomas Aquinas (II-IIae, q. 49, a.2) shows that the practical syllogism of prudence contains a universal Major (a first proposition) and a particular Minor (a second proposition).

This Minor, which is the observation of a concrete fact, is changeable according to the circumstances.  But it is not a “principle” in the sense used here7.

The Major, however, is a principle, a general rule of action founded on human nature and therefore invariable:  it is in this sense that the word “principle” is used in the quotes of Cardinal Pie, Monseigneur Freppel, Fréderic Le Play, etc.:

Let us not hope to seize once more, by means of secret capitulations, that which Heaven itself refuses to give us.  The reign of expediency is over; the reign of principles is beginning (Cardinal Pie, First Pastoral Letter, 25 November 1849).

In a society which is everywhere collapsing, it seemed to me that the first thing to do was to straighten out ideas.  What is necessary is to concentrate on improving the fundamentals in light of the principles.  There is no other rule of reform than that of seeking what is true and confessing it, whatever may happen (Fréderic Le Play in 1865).

Let us know how to recognize that abandoning the principles is the real cause of our disasters (The Count de Chambord, 8 May 1871).

The greatest misfortune for any era or country is when truth is abandoned or diminished.  One can recover from anything else; one never recovers from sacrificing principles (Monseigneur Freppel, 19 January 1873).

It is clear that, for these distinguished minds, the principles of which they speak are not variable rules.

Conclusion: let us keep the “old principle”

Undoubtedly the principle “no canonical agreement before a doctrinal agreement” is not one of the very first principles of the Natural Law (like the Ten Commandments).  It is rather to be ranked amongst those common truths admitted by prudent people.

However, in the current circumstances, after more than 25 years’ experience of witnessing that those groups which have gone over to Conciliar Rome always end up abandoning the fight for the Faith, after observing that the situation in Rome, far from improving, is actually only worsening, it appears clearly that only the observation of this principle – left as a testament by Archbishop Lefebvre – will allow us to resist “Satan’s master stroke”.

Satan’s “master stroke” (Part 1 of 2)

Satan’s “master stroke”  (Part 1 of 2)

(Editorial of Le Sel de la terre 94, Autumn 2015)

1.  Satan Launches his “master stroke”

We know that Pope Paul VI spoke of the auto-destruction of the Church and of the smoke of Satan which had entered the Temple of God:

“The Church finds Herself in a time of anxiety, of self-criticism, we could even say of auto-destruction. It is akin to an interior upheaval, which is both acute and complex, and which no-one would have expected after the Council.”1

“Faced with the situation in the Church today, we have the impression that through some crack or fissure the smoke of Satan has entered into the Temple of God.  There are doubts, uncertainties, problems, anxiety, dissatisfaction, confrontation. The Church is no longer trusted. […] It was thought that after the Council the sun would have shone on the history of the Church.  But, instead of sun, we have had clouds, storms, darkness, searching, uncertainty. […] How was this able to happen?  An adversary power has intervened, whose name is the devil, this mysterious being to whom Saint Peter alludes in his letter.”2

Just as the High-Priest, Caiaphas, prophesied that it was necessary for Our Lord Jesus Christ to die in order to save His people3, but without understanding his prophecy, so Paul VI saw that the Church was auto-destructing via the action of Satan, but without understanding the process.

On 13 October 1974, the anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima, in a written work entitled “Satan’s Master stroke”, Archbishop Lefebvre described in a striking manner how the auto-destruction of the Church was happening.  Here are some extracts from that text:

“Satan’s master stroke will therefore be to spread the revolutionary principles introduced into the Church by the authority of the Church itself, placing this authority in a situation of incoherence and permanent contradiction; so long as this ambiguity has not been dispersed, disasters will multiply within the Church. […]  We must acknowledge that the trick has been well played and that Satan’s lie has been masterfully utilized.  The Church will destroy Herself through obedience.  […]  You must obey!  Whom or what must we obey?  We don’t know exactly.  Woe to the man who does not consent.  He thereby earns the right to be trampled under-foot, to be calumniated, to be deprived of everything which allowed him to live.  He is a heretic, a schismatic; let him die – that is all he deserves.”

“Satan has really succeeded in pulling off a master stroke: he is succeeding in having those who keep the Catholic Faith condemned by the very people who should be defending and propagating it. […]  Satan reigns through ambiguity and incoherence, which are his means of combat, and which deceive men of little Faith.  Satan’s master stroke, by which he is bringing about the auto-destruction of the Church, is therefore to use obedience in order to destroy the Faith: authority against Truth.“

2. Satan continues his “master stroke”

It is not only in the immediate aftermath of the Council that Satan used his master stroke.  He began all over again after the consecrations of 30 June 1988 in order to try to divide Tradition.  Here is how Dom Thomas Aquinas describes the scenario in the last Letter to the Friends of Santa Cruz Monastery:

“On June 30, 1988, after having prayed for a long time, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four bishops so that Holy Church could continue Her mission.  This ceremony stirred up the predicted storm.  Rome thundered excommunication (invalid because Archbishop Lefebvre’s act was licit and necessary due to the situation in which the Church finds Herself) and the newspapers published the news with great gusto.However, Rome was not the only one to disapprove of these consecrations. Some within Tradition also opposed them: Dom Gérard Calvet, Prior of the Sainte Madeleine Monastery in Le Barroux, France, Jean Madiran, director of the Itinéraires magazine, Father Bisig4, and some others.  Dom Gérard said that it was necessary to remain within the visible perimeter of the Church.  In order to accomplish this, he regularized his canonical situation with Rome, abandoning Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, bringing with him the Benedictine nuns of the Annonciation Monastery in France.  He also tried to bring with him in his opposition to the 1988 consecrations the Brazilian foundation of Santa Cruz.

And what were his arguments?  They were subtle and threatened to undermine the monks of Santa Cruz:

You must obey me”, he said, “because this decision does not concern the Faith.  It is a prudential question.  You must obey me because of your vows”.

These are not his exact words, but that was the essence of his argument.  Dom Gérard had already declared:  “Rome is giving us everything and is asking nothing from us.  How could we refuse?”  He thus employed every means to convince his monks, the faithful and friendly priests: to disobey him would be a mortal sin, a sin against our vows.

What were we to say faced with such an argument?   “Our Faith is exposed to great risks by this agreement with Rome.  We cannot accept it”.

“You must come back to France”, Dom Gérard told me.  “There are fifty monks in the monastery to protect your Faith”.

Even though Dom Gérard said there was no risk for our Faith, even though Dom Gérard said that his decision was purely prudential, the truth was completely different.  Even though this decision was prudential, it had serious consequences for the Faith.  By submitting himself to authorities who were not professing the Catholic Faith in all its integrity, Dom Gérard was placing our monasteries in a situation whose harmfulness would be demonstrated over time:  the New Mass celebrated by monks, Religious Liberty defended by Father Basile, the departure of several monks as well as a new orientation for the whole monastery of Le Barroux.”

3. A means of resisting pointed out by Archbishop Lefebvre

Satan’s master stroke has been working well for about fifty years.  It is to be foreseen that the devil will continue using it.  How can we resist and not allow ourselves to be tricked by it?

Archbishop Lefebvre himself gives us some good advice.

First off, distinguish the two Romes:

“We can think that there is Rome and Rome: [on one hand,] there is the Rome which is eternal in Her Faith, Her Dogmas, Her concept of the Sacrifice of the Mass; [on the other hand,] there is the temporal Rome which is influenced by the ideas of the modern world, an influence which the Council itself did not escape.5

Then we must clearly manifest our refusal to follow neo-Modernist Rome. Some weeks after writing his text on “Satan’s master stroke”, in his famous Declaration of 21 November 1974, Archbishop Lefebvre returned to this distinction of the two Romes and explained his refusal to follow neo-Modernist Rome:

“We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this Faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth.

We refuse, on the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it. “

In his Spiritual Journey6,“written for us in 1990, as his spiritual will and testament7”, Archbishop Lefebvre reaffirmed with force the necessity of breaking with neo-Modernist Rome, once more called “Conciliar church”:

“It is, therefore, a strict duty for every priest wanting to remain Catholic to separate himself from this Conciliar Church for as long as it does not rediscover the Tradition of the Church and of the Catholic Faith!”

As Archbishop Lefebvre also said: “it is the superiors who make the subjects8” and not the opposite. Whence the necessity of maintaining a respectful distance from the Modernist Roman authorities and of observing the principle which was that of the Society of Saint Pius X between 1998 and 2012: “No canonical agreement with Rome before a doctrinal agreement”.

This principle was bequeathed by Archbishop Lefebvre after the failure of the negotiations of 1988. Here, for example, are some extracts of the article entitled “À une reprise des colloques, je poserai mes conditions” (“If talks were renewed, I would lay down my conditions”), which appeared in Fideliter No. 66 of December 1988:

“I shall not accept being in the position where I was put during the dialogue. No more. I will place the discussion on the doctrinal level: “Do you agree with the great encyclicals of all the popes who preceded you? Do you agree with Quanta Cura of Pius IX, Immortale Dei and Libertas of Leo XIII, Pascendi Gregis of Pius X, Quas Primas of Pius XI, Humani Generis of Pius XII? Are you in full communion with these Popes and their teachings? Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath? Are you in favor of the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ? If you do not accept the doctrine of your predecessors, it is useless to talk! As long as you do not accept the correction of the Council, in consideration of the doctrine of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible. It is useless.” Thus, the positions will be clear.”

This principle was repeated very many times by the authorities of the Society of Saint Pius X, notably by the Chapter of 2006:

“The contacts made from time to time [by the Society] with the authorities in Rome have no other purpose than to help them embrace once again that Tradition which the Church cannot repudiate without losing her identity. The purpose is not just to benefit the Society, nor to arrive at some merely practical impossible agreement. “

In 2008, Bishop Fellay judged, correctly, that this principle is based on the order of the nature of things:

“It is so clear for us that the issue of the Faith and of the spirit of Faith has priority over all that we cannot consider a practical solution before the first issue is safely resolved. […] Each day brings additional proofs that we must clarify to the maximum the underlying issues before taking one more step toward a canonical situation, which is not in itself displeasing to us. But this is a matter of following the order of the nature of things, and to start from the wrong end would unavoidably place us in an unbearable situation. We have daily proofs of this. What is at stake is nothing more nor less than our future existence.9

And yet, in March 2012 Bishop Fellay announced that he was abandoning this principle, because of the improvement in Rome since 200610, and this abandonment was supported by the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X in July 2012: the condition of an agreement on doctrine no longer figures amongst the six conditions laid down for a canonical recognition.11

Since then, despite many pleas, Bishop Fellay has refused to return to the old principle. Whence the troubles which Tradition has been experiencing for three years now.

(Continue to Part 2)

  1. Paul VI, Declaration of 7 December 1968. Source in French: Documentation Catholique, 5 January 1969, Column 12.
  2. Homily of Paul VI of 6/29/1972.   Source (in French): http://notredamedesneiges.-overblog. Text in Italian: http://www.vatican.va/… Strangely, it is not the text itself which is reproduced, but a “report”, which is undoubtedly the work of the Curia offices.
  3. “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people”(John XI, 50).
  4. Founder of the Society of Saint Peter
  5. « Le coup de maître de Satan » (“Satan’s Masterstroke”), 13 October, 1974.
  6. Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Journey, Angelus Press, 1991.
  7. Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais , sermon of 1 January, 2015.
  8. Fideliter, 70, p.6.
  9. Letter to Friends and Benefactors, No. 73, 23 October, 2008.
  10. “The Chapter in 2006 set forth a very clear line of conduct in matters concerning our situation with respect to Rome. We give priority to the Faith, without seeking for our part a practical solution BEFORE the doctrinal question is resolved. This is not a principle, but a line of conduct that should regulate our concrete action. […] If there were a change in the situation of the Church with respect to Tradition, then that might necessitate a corresponding modification of the conclusion. […] Now there is no doubt that since 2006 we have witnessed a development in the Church, an important and extremely interesting development, although it is not very visible. […] This requires that we take up a new position with respect to the official Church. […] This is the context in which it is advisable to ask the question about some form of recognition of the Society by the official Church. […] Our new friends in Rome declare that the impact of such recognition would be extremely powerful on the whole Church.” (Bishop Fellay, Cor Unum, 18 March, 2012).
  11. Sine qua non conditions to be laid down by the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X in the case of a canonical recognition: 1 Freedom to keep, to transmit and to teach the sane doctrine of the unchanging magisterium of the Church and of the unchangeable truth of Divine Tradition ; freedom to defend, to correct and to reprove, even in public, those responsible for the errors or novelties of modernism, of liberalism, of The Second Vatican Council and their consequences ; 2 Exclusive use of the liturgy of 1962. The retention of the sacramental practice that we have at the moment (including holy orders, confirmation and marriage) ; 3 The guarantee of at least one bishop. – Desirable conditions: 1 Our own ecclesiastical tribunals, in the first instance ; 2 Exemption of houses of The Society of St Pius X in respect of diocesan bishops ; 3 A Pontifical Commission in Rome for Tradition, dependent on the Pope, with a majority of members, and the presidency, from Tradition”. (Father Christian Thouvenot, Circular Letter to Superiors of 18 July 2012. French source: http://tradinews.blogspot.fr/2012/07)

The G.R.E.C.

The G.R.E.C.

(Groupe de Réflexion Entre Catholiques or: Group for Reflection Among Catholics).

A once hidden story, now revealed.

By a Dominican Father of Avrillé, France.

In December 2011, Father Michel Lelong, member of the Society of the White Fathers (la Société des Pères Blancs), published a work entitled Pour la nécessaire réconciliation (For the necessary reconciliation), prefaced by Dom Éric de Lesquen O.S.B., Abbot Emeritus of Randol (a foundation of the Monastery of Fontgombault).

This book, 159 pages long, relates the work of the Groupe de Réflexion Entre Catholiques (GREC), from 1998 to 2010, in other words, twelve years of “discreet, but not secret” meetings (p. 29). These meetings, which were sometimes monthly, gathered together representatives of the official hierarchy, superiors of the Ecclesia Dei Institutes, and members of the Society of Saint Pius X. Their goal? “To speak without anger about things which make us angrry 1to favour the “necessary reconciliation”.   It will, of course, be necessary to clarify just what those in charge of the GREC meant by this expression.

The origin of the GREC: an Ambassador’s dream.

The GREC finds its roots in a note written by M. Gilbert Pérol, former French Ambassador to the Italian Government, in 1995, some months prior to his recall to God.  He had had the opportunity of meeting Archbishop Lefebvre in Rome and, when at home in Paris, he liked to go with his wife to Mass at Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet2 each Sunday (p.90).

But, let us allow Madame Pérol to carry on the story:

Good diplomat that he was, [my husband] had drafted what is known as a “texte de bons offices” [text of mediation] wherein the points of view of one and the other party are presented, seeking what is common to both, and inviting each party to take a first step towards the other. The GREC – a means of perpetuating my husband’s life – was born from this text [p.90].

Following several encounters which are related in Father Lelong’s book (pp.21-25), a first working group was set up in 1998, which led to the organization of conference-debates which would deal with those points currently disputed in the Church.

The participants: a most varied palette.

From the earliest years of its existence, alongside Madame Pérol, Father de la Brosse O.P., Father Lorans (SSPX) and Father Lelong, the principal leaders of the GREC were:

  • Father Barthe, “who has lots of links with the Holy See and in the French Church, and has helped us a lot3”;
  • Father Vincent Ribeton, Superior of the French District of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, “who made a valuable contribution by his presence at meetings, by his interventions, and by his writings” (p.40);
  • Father Hervé Hygonnet (FSSP);
  • Laymen, such as Paul Airiau, Jacques-Régis du Cray, Luc Perrin, Philippe Pichot-Bravard, Jean-Maurice Verdier.

Madamoiselle Marie-Alix Doutrebente was named secretary.

Let us add, in order to complete the list of those who were principally in charge, that, on the 18th September 2004, a “theological group” was created within the GREC, one member of which was Father Charles Morerod O.P., professor at the Angelicum in Rome (p.57).  This religious “will be one of the personalities chosen by Benedict XVI to participate in the doctrinal discussions between the Holy See and the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X” (p.48).  Father Morerod has the absolute confidence of today’s Rome, since he was consecrated bishop a short while afterwards. In any case, the link between the GREC and the discussions with Rome of 2010-2011 is clear.

Also participating in the meetings of the GREC were certain French bishops, priests and laypeople belonging to the Diocese of Paris and other French dioceses, members of the Society of Saint Pius X, of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, and of the Institute of Christ the King (p.27).

Both Father du Chalard (SSPX), whose “support was as discreet as it was attentive” (p.26), and Dom Éric de Lesquen (then Abbot of Randol), “who had played a part in Dom Gérard’s agreement with Rome of 8th July 19884”, supported this initiative from its very beginnings.

The Nuncio, Monsignor Fortunato Baldelli warmly welcomed it.  It was the same story for his successor, Monsignor Luigi Ventura (pp.29-32).

The French Bishops’ Conference was informed of it.  Following a visit from Madame Pérol, Father Lorans and Father de la Brosse to Cardinal Ricard, a bishop was designated at their request to follow the work of the GREC and to inform the Bishops’ Conference of it: the bishop was Monsignor Breton, Bishop of Aire and Dax.  When Archbishop Vingt-Trois of Paris succeeded Cardinal Ricard as head of the Bishops’ Conference of France, the same group visited him, promising to keep him informed regularly (p.35).

Amongst the other Cardinals and bishops having supported the GREC, we can mention: Cardinal Barbarin of Lyon, Archbishop Duval of Rouen, Bishop Aubertin of Chartres, Bishop Fort of Orléans (who often came to the meetings), Bishop Delmas of Angers, Bishop Aubry of La Réunion, Bishop Rey of Toulon, Fathers Brouwet and Aillet both before and after their episcopal consecrations (p.41).

It was Father Lorans, for the Society of Saint Pius X, who kept Bishop Fellay informed (p.35).

On Rome’s side, the following were kept up to date: the Secretariate of State from 1998 onwards, then Cardinal Hoyos, President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Cardinal Ratzinger, then President of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and numerous Vatican personalities.  When Cardinal Ratzinger rose to the Sovereign Pontificate, the GREC was able to have direct contact with the Pope (pp. 44-48).

The goal of the GREC: a dangerous ambiguity

What was the goal of these meetings?

If it were only a case of having meetings to try to make the Conciliar Church authorities understand the necessity of returning to Tradition in order to save souls, every Catholic (in other words missionary) mind could only have rejoiced.

Unfortunately, from the beginning, the GREC set off down a path which could not have been more ambiguous.

In the book’s preface, in effect, Dom de Lesquen, wishing that the action undertaken (by the GREC) would “obtain precisely that the act qualified as schismatic by the Holy See in 1988 not turn into an out-and-out schism” (pp. 12-13), adds: “The GREC’s objective is the necessary reconciliation” (p.15).

What reconciliation are we talking about?

For a Catholic, the answer is clear: that the Holy See reconcile itself with the teachings of the Popes and Councils before Vatican II.  This reconciliation is necessary, because it is the only means of saving the Church and the world.

On 20th October 2008, far from imploring Pope Benedict XVI to accept to call the Second Vatican Council into question, those in charge of the GREC sent a very ambiguous letter to him, implying that it was the Society of Saint Pius X which was in an abnormal situation. Thanking the Pope for the Motu Proprio of 2007 on the Traditional Mass5, and requesting the lifting of the “excommunications” of 1988, they concluded their letter in the following manner:

We hope that this will be the opportunity for the Society of Saint Pius X to regularize its canonical situation and thus to be able to manifest its will to return to full communion with the Holy Father (p.52).

Something which is ambiguous is defined thus: a phrase (or a word) having two different meanings6.  Here we are dealing with a perfectly ambiguous situation:

  • From the point of view of the official authorities, the letter to the Pope gives it to understand that the ultimate goal of the GREC’s work is to bring the Society of Saint Pius X back into the bosom of the present-day Church: we can understand the generally favourable response to this initiative on the part of these same authorities;
  • Seen from the Traditionalist point of view, a benevolent – but superficial – interpretation, gives another understanding: the letter to the Pope means that the goal of the GREC is to remake unity in the Church, to at last once more find union with the Holy See, to get out of this tragic and terribly painful situation – which it truly is – which consists in being in opposition with the Head of the Church.

Moral theology adds that “an ambiguity, which hides the truth, can only be used in case of necessity or for a reasonable cause7”.

But, if there is a time when hiding the truth is illicit and dangerous, it is precisely when the Faith is at stake. How can one make use of ambiguity by making the authorities believe that one desires to return to full communion with them, whereas they persist in continuing along a path which leads to apostasy?

Had those unofficial representatives of Tradition who signed this letter with the other members of the GREC forgotten the warnings of Archbishop Lefebvre?

Rome has lost the Faith. Rome is in apostasy. […] We can no longer trust these people. They have left the Church, they are leaving the Church. It’s sure, sure, sure8.

When I am asked when there will be an agreement with Rome, my answer is simple: When Rome crowns Our Lord Jesus Christ once more! We cannot be in agreement with those who uncrown Our Lord.  The day when they once more recognize Our Lord as King of peoples and nations, they will not have joined up with us, but with the Catholic Church in which we remain9.

At that moment, the canonical question will be immediately resolved.

Of course, the GREC was aware of the limits of its actions:

The GREC never had a vocation to participate in any negotiations whatsoever. Its raison d’être is much more humble: it strives to create, through meetings and regular discussions, a climate of mutual benevolence, which is the indispensable prelude to any eventual rapprochement and reconciliation whose practical details and time-frame are unknown to us10.

The method used by the GREC.

Conference-debates and approach of the authorities.

To push the “necessary reconciliation” forward, the GREC worked in two directions:

  • organizing conference-debates on controversial points;
  • approaching the authorities.

All this happened in a climate of great discretion:

“We wanted to remain discreet. But we did not want to be secret” (p. 29).

It is understandable that it was better to exclude journalists and avoid internet debates for such a delicate affair.

It is nonetheless astonishing that no reference was made to these meetings during the four symposia on the Second Vatican Council held in Paris between 2002 and 2005, symposia which brought together priests of Tradition from all over the world. These symposia, which were themselves of a completely public nature, were conducted under the patronage of Bishop Fellay. While the workshops at these symposia were highlighting the harmfulness of the Council’s texts, “discreet” meetings relativizing the errors of Vatican II and seeking to open the path to a canonical recognition of the Society were taking place in the very same city, unbeknownst to the participants of the symposia.

Given what was at stake, it is also astonishing that, throughout twelve whole years of conferences and approaches made towards the Conciliar Church, the superiors of those religious communities working alongside the Society of Saint Pius X were excluded and were not informed of what was being done.

Father Lelong’s book itself failed to elicit any response in the official organs of the Society of Saint Pius X, not even to deny or qualify what the author said. Yet, three years have passed since it was published. We can therefore suppose that the persons mentioned in this book have nothing to add.

But now let us see how the work of the GREC was carried out.

The conference-debates.

For twelve years, numerous conference-debates were organized on major topics: “Ecumenism, risk of apostasy or future of the Church?”; “Interreligious dialogue, peril or hope?”; “Which path for the Church? Concrete proposals for getting out of a crisis” (p. 59); “Should we revise and/or interpret certain passages of the Second Vatican Council?” (p. 64), etc.

We will try to see, a little later on, why these conferences, interesting in themselves, ended up in total failure.

Nevertheless, for the moment let us take note of one disturbing comment, the responsibility for which we leave to its author.  Speaking about the conference-debate of 21st January 2008 between Father Morerod O.P. and Father Grégoire Célier (SSPX) on the theme: “Vatican II and the other Ecumenical Councils; to revise and/or interpret certain passages of the Second Vatican Council”, Father Lelong notes:

Listening to their presentations, we could see that the doctrinal and spiritual convergences between these two theologians were much more numerous and profound than the divergences between their respective approaches (p. 64).

Would there have been the same convergence if it had been Archbishop Lefebvre face-to-face with Father Morerod, a priest who is totally one with Rome’s modernism?

An impressive series of diplomatic comings and goings.

Alongside these discussions took place an impressive series of diplomatic comings and goings: bishops, nuncios, Secretariate of State, Ecclesia Dei Commission, all were kept up-to-date on the GREC’s activities. Once Benedict XVI was elected, it was the Pope himself who was informed in person. According to Father Lelong, the accession of Cardinal Ratzinger to the Sovereign Pontificate “was welcomed by the leaders of the GREC with great joy and much hope, a hope which was not to be disappointed, but entirely fulfilled” (p. 48).

These men were in complete utopia. We refer our readers to Bishop Tissier de Mallerais’ brilliant study entitled L’Étrange théologie de Benoît XVI11 as well as to the premier bilan (i.e. initial assessment) of his pontificate, published (complete with photographs) by Le Sel de la terre, 84.  In any case, this admission of Father Lelong is revelatory of the spirit which reigned in the GREC, especially under Benedict XVI.

To enter a little farther into the details, this diplomatic action of the GREC was conducted mainly in two different directions: towards the Pope on one hand, and towards Bishop Fellay on the other.

1.  GREC’s interventions with the Holy See

Already back in 1998, Father Lelong had written to Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State, to inform him of the GREC’s initiative, and to suggest that the Holy See lift the “excommunication” of the Society’s bishops on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Year 2000.  We must quote at least one extract from this letter in order to see the spirit in which these approaches took place. For Father Lelong, kingpin of the GREC, the goal was to get the Second Vatican Council accepted by the Traditionalists:

“I am profoundly attached to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, and I am trying to make them understood by those of our brother Catholics who have followed Archbishop Lefebvre and his successors. Some friends and I have set up a working group in Paris which is trying to prepare the day when all traditionalists will be able to find their place once more in the Church, in obedience to the Holy Father and under the authority of our bishops. […] It is in this spirit, in total fidelity to the Sovereign Pontiff and to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, that in the name of many French Catholics, I take the liberty of asking your Eminence, if, in a gesture of charity towards our brothers, the Holy Father could lift the excommunication which had been pronounced against the bishops who were irregularly consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre (pp. 42-43).” [bold emphasis is added]

Was this letter the personal initiative of Father Lelong, or did it have the approval of the unofficial representatives of Tradition within the GREC? The book does not say.  In any case, Cardinal Sodano having asked for “signs of repentance” (p. 44) on the part of the authorities of the Society, the approach resulted in nothing.  As regards the question of the lifting of the “excommunications”, the situation remained unchanged under the pontificate of John Paul II.

However, starting from the pilgrimage of the Society of Saint Pius X to Rome for the Jubilee of the Year 2000, frequent contacts began to take place between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos, then President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. Father Lelong does not say a word about them.

We know that the priests of Campos (Brazil), invited by the General House of the Society to join these negotiations, did not resist the seduction of Rome. This was their deplorable rallying to Conciliar Rome, victory for Cardinal Castrillon and loss for the combat of the Faith.  Bishop Rifan now concelebrates the New Mass fervently12.

The pontificate of Benedict XVI, which manifestly brought great hope to the members of the GREC, especially after the Motu Proprio on the Traditional Mass, was the opportunity for a new approach, this time to the Pope himself.  On the 9th July, 2008, “the leaders of the GREC” (p. 49) addressed the following request to the Pope:

We are very grateful, Most Holy Father, for this decision [concerning the Motu Proprio] and we wish to respond to your call for reconciliation among all Catholics, respecting those legitimate diversities which exist within the Church. There are many of us who wish that the proposition handed by Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos to the Society of Saint Pius X will meet with a favourable outcome, since the doctrinal questions relative to the Second Vatican Council are of interest to the whole Church.  We also wish that the excommunications be lifted and that the Society of Saint Pius X once more find its place in the Church where it has so much to bring [pp. 49-50].

Then there was the famous request of 20th October 2008, where the leaders of the GREC, wishing the Society of Saint Pius X to “regularize its canonical situation and manifest its full communion with the Holy Father” (see above), added:

We think that the lifting of the excommunications would set in motion an inevitable process of approach, in view of an agreement between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X, or at least an agreement with a large part of the priests and faithful of aforementioned Society (p. 52)13.

The request appears to have obtained its effect, since the “excommunications” were lifted in the beginning of 2009.

2.  Interventions of the GREC with Bishop Fellay

The leaders of the GREC seem to have been concerned with bringing about the cessation of attacks against today’s Rome. To quote Father Lelong:

At that time, all too often aggressive and polemical points-of-view were being expressed both on the part of those Catholics attached to tradition14, as well as on that of those who claimed to follow the spirit of the Council.  These were not contributing to bring about that climate of peace and mutual confidence which is necessary in the search for a true reconciliation (p. 33).

The Society of Saint Pius X must understand that, even if it has much to bring to the Church of Rome, it also has much to receive from it.  Therefore, it must stop rejecting Vatican II in its entirety (p. 85).

In their letter to Benedict XVI of the 9th July 2008, which we have already quoted and which is so important, the leaders of the GREC (therefore, the unofficial representatives of Tradition as well?) desired to reassure the Pope on this point:

We ask the leaders of this Society to cease declarations and polemical articles which criticize the Holy See (p. 50).

On the 20th June 2008, Father Lelong and several members of the GREC had written to Bishop Fellay:

Are you not afraid that by refusing the repeated calls of the Holy Father and by permitting yourselves to criticize him unjustly and systematically, the Society will end up taking a path which will lead it inevitably to separate itself from Holy Church, as has – alas! – happened throughout history? (p. 39).

Occupied Rome does not really mind cozy academic discussions taking place between theologians about Vatican II.  It allows the Ecclesia Dei communities to engage in them in principle.  It gives an impression of openness.  But what this Conciliar Church cannot bear is that scandals be denounced: the ecumenical meetings at Assisi, the visits to synagogues and mosques, the false beatifications and canonisations, etc.  It is especially these scandals which, over the years, cause millions of souls all over the world to lose the Faith.  But, when the Faith is in danger, attacked by the wolves, it is a duty for the shepherds to shout out in order to protect the flock. Not to do so is a grave sin in relation to the confession of the Faith, because to attack current-day Rome, destroyer of the Faith, is necessary to maintain the great Truths of the Faith.  All the efforts of the Conciliar Church since the Consecrations by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 have been employed in breaking off groups of priests from Tradition by granting them the Traditional Mass without asking them to officially accept Vatican II15.  Conciliar Rome knew that by acting thus, it would no longer have anything to fear from these groups: they could do nothing else but remain silent concerning the Council and the scandals of the hierarchy, for fear of losing their canonical recognition and of being refused all apostolate in the dioceses.  That is what happened with all the Ecclesia Dei communities without exception from the moment that they signed, and it is their great sin before history, before the Universal Church and before all souls.

Today’s Rome desires the Society of Saint Pius X to go down this path. At this point we must understand the subversive techniques used especially in the last two centuries by the enemies of the Church.  Their major tactic for destroying resistance consists first and foremost in obtaining an end to any attack against them.  To obtain this, they use liberal Catholics, their best auxiliaries, seducing them by promising them peace, on condition that they cease fighting. At the same time, they provoke anathemas against those (the anti-liberals) who are not resigned to lay down their arms.  They cover them with all sorts of epithets, calling them men of bitter zeal, integrists16, etc.  In this way, the enemy seeks to isolate them in order to remove all influence they may have.  Then, at their leisure, they can work away at putting the main part of the flock to sleep and slowly win it over to the new ideas.

Thus, in the 1950’s, under Pope Pius XII, there were thousands of good priests who were both pious and doctrinally sound. T hen “Good Pope John” arrived, with his suggestion at the beginning of the Council of no longer anathemitizing, of no longer condemning errors, with the exception of “the prophets of doom” who, following in the footsteps of the anti-liberal Popes, continued to lambast modern errors.  The manoeuvre succeeded.  Just look at what the Church has become today all over the world17.

Archbishop Lefebvre rose up and unfurled the flag of battle.  This was the foundation of the Society of Saint Pius X and the works of Tradition, which spread like wildfire throughout the entire world.  Since the death of Archbishop Lefebvre we have witnessed the manoeuvres of modernist Rome (advised by Freemasonry) to destroy the only organized resistance to world Revolution. T his manoeuvre consisted in attacking the superior authorities of the Society in particular, among whom they had detected certain weaknesses (because the enemies of the Church are shrewd observers).  Father Lelong’s book does us the service of enlightening us on at least one part of this operation.

The results of the GREC.

In 2010, when the doctrinal discussions began in Rome between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X, the GREC ceased its activities, or at least the conference-debates18.  Did letters and telephone calls continue in order to advance the “necessary reconciliation”?  It is quite possible.  When a group of people shares the same objective, relationships and friendships built up over the course of years do not just stop from one day to the next.  Besides, it is very dangerous to keep up regular contact with heretics (and the Modernist heresy is the most dangerous in this respect, since it does not clearly affirm its errors).  By dint of frequent meetings, we end up forming friendships, relativizing what opposes us, no longer speaking about it, and at last abandoning the fight.  How many priests of Tradition have fallen for having played this imprudent game, with a good intention at the beginning.  Such an apostolate requires men of the strength of Archbishop Lefebvre.  Having known the Rome of Pius XI and Pius XII, he did not allow himself to be impressed by the Rome of Paul VI or John Paul II.  And even a bishop of the stature of Archbishop Lefebvre almost fell into the trap by signing a protocol of agreement on the 5th May, 1988.  He recovered heroically during the night and saved us.

It is now time to take stock of this group’s activities between 1998 and 2010.

The failure of the conference-debates.

When reading Father Lelong’s book, it is striking to see how, after twelve years of discussions, there was no movement on the part of the “Concilars”.  Bearing in mind all the tendencies which exist among those who claim to follow Vatican II, “each one stood firm in his positions19”:

Dom de Lesquen is still persuaded that the episcopal consecrations of 1988 were “a schismatic act” potentially leading to “an out and out schism” (p. 13).

Father Lelong is so enthusiastic about the last Council that he devotes an entire chapter of his book to an unreserved defence of it (Chapter 4, pp. 71-87).

Even the most glaring prejudices towards the Traditionalists remained intact. Thus, recalling an interview from March 2003 with Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos, Father Lelong writes:

He observed that, in our country [France], the misunderstandings and tensions between the French bishops and the Society of Saint Pius X often had to do with political motivations, rather than truly theological reasons.  This observation seemed perfectly correct to me since, in the 1970’s, I had often heard French bishops reproaching Catholics attached to the Latin Mass with being “extreme right-wing” (pp. 44-45).

To still be at this point after twelve years of meetings, discussions and conference-debates has something quite despairing about it.

Father Lelong will reply that the goal of the GREC was not to sort out the doctrinal question, which can only be done by authority.  Certainly, but without having the pretention to resolve current problems with all the technicality of theologians, it is difficult to understand how priests and bishops speaking about doctrine for twelve years, did not advance a single step.  And how can we explain the fact that the top-level discussions which took place in the period 2010 – 2011 between the Roman theologians and those of the Society of Saint Pius X (despite being carried out in a remarkable manner by the latter), ended up in the same failure?

Whence the impossibility of discussing the crisis in the Church?

The first cause, with today’s clergy, is, in a general manner, a subjectivist and evolutionary concept of the truth, which comes from a warped theological formation.

When one no longer seeks the truth, all that is left is “dialogue”, in order to find a way of living together without waging war on one another and in order to arrive at a certain unity which respects our differences. Moreover, the word dialogue comes back time and time again in the book:

When we are all together in friendship, writes Father Lelong, I often think of Gilbert Pérol who, while actively taking part in Islamic-Christian dialogue, had the idea for having this dialogue between Catholics (p. 27).

Since Vatican II, there was a lot of talk in the Church of dialogue with Protestants, Jews, Muslims, the Dalai-Lama, and also with atheists.  Those with whom there was no dialogue were the faithful attached to the Mass of Saint Pius V, labeled as integrists (p. 60)20.

The very aim of the discussions seem, therefore, to have been achieved: French Catholics, of diverse and even opposed sensibilities, have freely accepted to engage in a dialogue which in no way prejudices a total reconciliation – domain which is reserved for the competent superiors – but opens the possibility, when the day arrives, for the authorities involved in dialogue to come face to face with partners capable of understanding and mutual respect, and no longer confined in radically opposed camps21.

In his brilliant work Iota Unum, Romano Amerio has a whole chapter devoted to dialogue (Chapter 11)22:

This term is totally unknown and unused in pre-Vatican II doctrine (p. 347). […] Dialogue, it is said today, does not have either the refutation of error, or the conversion of the interlocutor as its goal23.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his last Christmas discourse to the Curia before his lamentable resignation, clearly enunciates what the concept of dialogue is for the Conciliar Church:

  • Dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at understanding. In this respect it differs from evangelization, from mission;
  • Accordingly, both parties to the dialogue remain consciously within their identity, which the dialogue does not place in question either for themselves or for the other24.

The GREC situates itself resolutely in this perspective. Thus, Father Lelong, speaking of the foundation of this think tank, writes:

It remained to specify the best way of implementing this beautiful project, by associating with it Catholics belonging to very diverse schools of thought, but who share our concern to contribute towards the unity of the Church, respecting legitimate diversities (p. 25).

Up to what point is diversity legitimate? Father Lelong gives his solution:

After the Motu Proprio of the Holy Father in July 2007, we can hope that the old and the new rites will from now on not only live alongside one another, but mutually enrich one another, as Benedict XVI desires (p. 82).

The Society of Saint Pius X must understand that, if it has a lot to bring to the Church of Rome, it also has a lot to receive from the latter. Therefore, it must stop rejecting Vatican II in its entirety and accept its main orientations, interpreting them as the Holy Father proposes today (p. 85).

Father Barthe thinks that this cohabitation of opposites could bring back the authorities of the Church to Tradition:

In the same way that, from the liturgical perspective, the Motu Proprio said that the Traditional Mass was never abolished, we are going to arrive at a situation where it will be said that the doctrine from before the Council concerning the disputed points was never abolished.  We can follow the “extraordinary doctrine”.  And just as the extraordinary liturgy draws the ordinary liturgy to itself, so we can hope that the “extraordinary doctrine” will draw the “ordinary doctrine” to itself also” (p. 121).

This all makes one want to cry out: sufficit(enough is enough)!

Precisely what part did the pressure from Rome and the GREC play respectively in the evolution of Bishop Fellay’s thought?  It is difficult to say.  Both certainly had an influence on it.  In any case, the spirit of the GREC is to be found in the Doctrinal Declaration sent by Bishop Fellay to Cardinal Levada on 15th April, 2012 to commit all faithful Catholics (who were unaware of it) to a practical agreement with Conciliar Rome:

The entire tradition of Catholic Faith must be the criterion and guide in understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which, in turn, enlightens – in other words deepens and subsequently makes explicit –  certain aspects of the life and doctrine of the Church implicitly present within itself or not yet conceptually formulated [No. 4].

We declare that we recognise the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention to do what the Church does according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary Rituals legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II [No. 7].   [italic emphasis is ours]

This Doctrinal Declaration has never been retracted by Bishop Fellay.  It has simply been “withdrawn”.

Bishop Fellay should know that compromise with error will never restore unity.

For the Church, the first principle of unity is the Faith:

Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful […] The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith.25.

A “dialogue” where one part of the interlocutors is not seeking the truth, but, on the contrary, a union outside of the constant and infallible Teaching of the Church, can only end in failure.  And it will be the Church and the Faith which will be the losers.

In such conditions, it is understandable that after twelve years of (sometimes monthly) discussions, the Conciliar interlocutors and the unofficial representatives of the Society stuck firmly to their positions.

A dangerous diplomacy, and a weakening of Tradition.

If the GREC had limited itself to discussions which had resulted in nothing, the most that could have been said was that it had all been a waste of time, and that the time for the restoration of the Church had simply not arrived.

But, was there anything more dangerous than setting all the authorities of the Church in motion by allowing it to be thought that the Society of Saint Pius X desired a canonical regularization and a return to full communion with the Holy See at a time when the Conciliar Church was continuing its descent into apostasy?

It was even totally opposed to the resolutions that this same Society had taken at its 2006 General Chapter:

The contacts made from time to time with the authorities in Rome have no other purpose than to help them embrace once again that Tradition which the Church cannot repudiate without losing Her identity.  The purpose is not just to benefit the Society, nor to arrive at some merely practical impossible ‘agreement’. 26  When Tradition comes back into its own, “reconciliation will no longer be a problem, and the Church will spring back to life”.27

This firm resolution normally-speaking should have stopped the diplomatic initiatives of the GREC in their tracks from 2006 onward. This did not happen.

So, while, the world over, Tradition continued to live and develop in peace, in the belief that it was protected by the decisions of the highest authorities of the Society, an informal group composed of both Traditionalist and Conciliar figures was discreetly continuing to prepare the way for a practical agreement with “the Rome of Neo-Modernist and Neo-Protestant tendencies28”.

The result was that Tradition was on the brink of disaster in June 2012;  the lifting of the “excommunications” in 2009 having, in effect, initiated “an inevitable process of approach in view of an agreement between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X”, as the leaders of the GREC had predicted in their letter to the Pope29.  Bishop Tissier de Mallerais commented:

Let us trust in the Blessed Virgin who got us out of a tight corner, it is true.  This year, she got us out of this tight corner, she did not want any of this talk of an agreement; in other words, that we would go to Rome to submit ourselves to the Conciliar authorities.  Certainly, they are the authority in the Church, the Pope is Pope, Successor of Peter, but he is also the representative of this system which controls the Church, which paralyzes the Church, which we name the Conciliar Church by manner of speaking.  It is not another Church, it is another form of Church, it is a new religion which has penetrated within the Catholic Church, and which is supported by the Pope and the entire Hierarchy, apart from some exceedingly rare exceptions.

Dear Faithful, how could you want us to submit ourselves to such a Hierarchy?  It would have been impossible to collaborate, it would have been a bogus collaboration, a lie.  We would never have collaborated and we would have been constantly persecuted, threatened by the bishops and by Rome.  How could one survive in such conditions?  With the obligation of signing a misleading text, ah no!

Nevertheless, Tradition emerged in a weakened state from the whole episode.

It is difficult to say precisely what role the GREC played in the evolution of Tradition since 1998.  In any case, it would be impossible not to make the link between the reiterated appeals made by this group to put an end to attacks against Rome, and the fact (observable by all) of the loss of the spirit of combat in Tradition, at least generally-speaking.  The emblematic example of this is the DICI newsletter, official organ of the General House of the Society.  Headed up by Father Lorans, one of the main leaders of the GREC, DICI endeavours to always show the least bad side of the Pope, and remains silent concerning those scandals which cause the loss of Faith.  Continual complaints made to Bishop Fellay by figures of authority within the Society, by priests and by members of the faithful, have never achieved any result.  Such pertinacity proves beyond doubt that there has been a change of direction.

Yet, in the conference cited above, Bishop Tissier had raised the alarm:

Archbishop Lefebvre passed on everything he had received.  The entire heritage of Father Le Flo’ch30, of the [French] Seminary [of Rome], all his experience, he passed it all on through the Society, and it continues to work, but only so long as we continue with the same spirit of combat.  There can be no question of putting away our arms in the midst of battle; we are not going to look for an armistice while the war still rages on, with Assisi III or IV, with the beatification of a false Blessed, Pope John Paul II – a false thing, a false beatification, and the demand ceaselessly made to us by Benedict XVI to accept the Council and the reforms, and the magisterium from after the Council31.

The voice of Bishop Tissier, echoing that of Archbishop Lefebvre, seems, however, to be have been lost in the desert. Let us not imagine that this will not have its consequences.

The early generations built up Tradition with the sword.  The new generations have received everything without having to fight: chapels, schools, seminaries, religious houses etc.  They have fallen asleep in bourgeois-like comfort.  As an editorialist recently wrote:

The vast majority of the faithful in our chapels do not form themselves, they do not read.  Only from time to time do they concern themselves with the future of their family and of their children.  Assistance at Mass (to which they arrive ever later) is for them the maximum they can commit towards their eternal salvation.  Some of them add to this the daily recitation of the Rosary, the most fervent among them saying the full fifteen decades.  Some free up their consciences by signing a petition or by risking themselves in some protest or another, but that is all.  Do not talk to them about any in-depth work or study of Freemasonry, for example, and its role in the current state of a society which is in the process of being de-Christianized, a fact which they deplore!  Speak to them about the root causes of the decomposition of the Church which has become Conciliar, or of the crisis which seriously affects Tradition today, and they care not.

To this we should add the growing levels of immodesty in many chapels, the stagnation of the number of faithful attending spiritual retreats, the resulting insufficiency in the number of vocations, etc.

There are, of course, edifying exceptions, but these are no longer numerous enough to inspire the whole with new fervour.

As we write this article, we do not know if a practical agreement between the Society of Saint Pius X and Modernist Rome will take place within a shorter or longer time-frame.  But the very fact of no longer denouncing the scandals coming from Rome, or of only doing so timidly, under pressure from concerned priests and faithful, avoiding attacking the Pope by name, makes Tradition resemble more and more those communities which have already gone over to Rome and which have abandoned the combat of the Faith.  The day when we will be fully imbued with their spirit, a practical agreement with today’s Rome will no longer be a problem for anyone.  The new direction of the General House of the Society will have destroyed the work of Archbishop Lefebvre.  The enemy will have conquered.

Will Providence raise up a small remnant to continue the fight and to save what can be saved?

Father Michel Lelong, Pour la nécessaire réconciliation, Le Groupe de Réflexion Entre Catholiques (GREC), Paris, NEL, 2009 (159 pages). Price: €19.


FATIMA

FATIMA

Or the means chosen by God to redress the present situation

by a Dominican father

This is a sermon given in the Dominican monastery la Haye-aux-Bonshommes in Avrillé (France).

The Fatima Message

Starting on May 13, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to three young shepherds on the 13th of every month in the presence of a growing number of pilgrims and the inquisitive. The children alone saw Our Lady.

It is not sufficient to say that the message was a call for prayer and penance, as the Vatican claims. Such a lack of precision allows the particular demands given by Our Lady for our times to be placed under the bushel. We must therefore state the exact nature and the aim of the prayer request. Therefore, it is more correct to say that the instructions given by Our Lady between May 13 and October 13 may be summed up in these words: the daily Rosary and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. That is the Fatima message in general.

To this general message were later added two particular requests that were in keeping with the promise made as early as July 13:

- in 1925, the request was made for the Five First Saturdays devotion in reparation for sins ;

- and in 1929, the request was made for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope in union with all the bishops in the world.

It would be an error to limit the Fatima message to these two particular requests and to forget the general request: the daily Rosary and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

The Miracle of the Sun: the Facts

Let us go back to the 13th day of October 1917, the day that we are commemorating today.

As early as July 13, the Virgin Mary announced a huge miracle that would take place on October 13 so that the entire world may believe in the reality of the apparitions and in the serious nature of Heaven’s warning.

The story is well known: a crowd of nearly 100,000 people gathered in the area; they were mostly Catholics, but also non-believers, militant atheists, and even the freemasonic government minister for national education. A torrential rain pouring from midnight on soaked everyone to the bones and rendered the Cova da Iria1 into a muddy field: in order to give blessings, God wills that we first do penance. At midday, Lucy asked the people to fold their umbrellas. The entire crowd complied and magnificently displayed their faith and obedience. A few moments later, the sun broke through the clouds and Our Lady appeared above a small holm-oak. She asked for the conversion of sinners and, as in every apparition, she insisted on the daily recitation of the Rosary.

Then, suddenly, Lucy cried out: « Look at the sun! » In front of the stupefied crowd of people, the sun gyrated in on itself as if it were a fire wheel, turning various colors of the rainbow. This lasted nearly eight minutes but seemed like hours. This cannot be attributed to a collective hallucination, because the phenomenon was seen within a forty-kilometer radius by various individuals.

While the sun was spinning around, the three young shepherds, Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco alone saw a vision that symbolized the three sets of the mysteries of the Rosary:

- representing the Joyful Mysteries: St. Joseph appeared with the Child Jesus and Our Lady: St. Joseph and the Child Jesus were blessing the world;

- representing the Sorrowful Mysteries: Our Lord appeared with Our Lady of Sorrows;

- representing the Glorious Mysteries: the Virgin Mary in Heaven was seen holding the scapular of Mount Carmel.

The sun then turned blood red in color and seemed to fall from the sky and hurl itself towards the earth. Everyone believed that the end of the world had come. Then everything stopped – the sun returned to its normal place in the sky.

The people got up and noted another phenomenon: their soaked clothes were completely dry.

The non-believers had to acknowledge the reality of the facts. The following day, newspapers, including those most hostile towards the Church, all reported on the event.

What lessons may we draw today from this miracle?

The Miracle of the Sun: Lessons to be Drawn

The largest miracle in the entire history of the Church

Firstly let us observe the spectacular nature of this miracle. We must turn to the Old Testament to find similar prodigies that were performed in front of an immense crowd of people: such as the manifestation of God to Moses and to the Hebrew people on Mount Sinai (Ex 19); or when Joshua stopped the sun and the moon from advancing so that nightfall would not prevent the Jews from exterminating the enemies of Yahweh (Jos 10). The miracle of October 13, 1917 is assuredly the largest miracle in the entire history of the Church. Let us ask why.

The history of the Church is the history of the struggle between two cities: the city of God and the city of Satan:

These two Cities are made by two loves: the heavenly City by love of God even to the contempt of self; the earthly City by love of oneself even to the contempt of God (St. Augustin, The City of God).

This magnificent synthesis of St. Augustine is nothing other than what is written in the Book of Genesis:

I will put enmities between thee [the snake] and the Woman [the Virgin Mary], and between thy seed and her seed [Our Lord; the Church]: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel [the persecutions of the Church] (Gen 3, 15).

We are now living in the times when « the devil is fighting the decisive battle, meaning the final battle », says Our Lady2. This is the day when the general assault of all anti-Christian forces is launched against the Church.

It is urgent that we realize the terrible reality that we are in. We do not wish to frighten people, but this is an urgent call to the reality of our situation, comments Sr. Lucy 3.

And it is in order to draw our attention to this final phase of the history of the Church that Heaven produced the largest miracle of the past 2,000 years.

Paradoxically, the current Church authorities are totally silent on this event.

And so, in the year 2000, when Cardinal Ratzinger released to the public a questionable version of the third secret of Fatima, he made no allusion whatsoever to this miracle.

Why this silence?

The current Church authorities have not yet fulfilled the Virgin Mary’s request, and so it is understandable that they are embarassed by this miracle, which clearly proves the heavenly origin of this request. At the same time – could it be their guilty conscience? – these authorities feel obliged to talk from time to time about Fatima and to perform the consecrations of the world or of mankind. Pope Francis made one such consecration on October 13, 20134. However, by not consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Our Lady requested, the popes are unable to provide the world with the promised remedy, and the situation continues to get worse.

The Fatima apparitions are the key to understanding the entire history of our era

We will now move to the second important consideration: the Fatima apparitions are the key to understanding all the events of the 20th century and all that we are living through today, whether in the religious or political sphere. To be truly convinced of this, one only needs to read the authoritative work by French Br. Michel of the Holy Trinity, The Whole Truth about Fatima5.

The troubles, the upheavals and the unprecedented decadence of our times are the direct consequences of the fact that churchmen have not yet wished to fulfill the request of Our Lady of Fatima:

I will come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and for the Five First Saturdays in reparation for the sins, said Our Lady on July 13, 1917. If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If my requests are not granted, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church.

The October 1917 Revolution that took place immediately after the request of Our Lady of Fatima was not a simple coup d’état bringing about a regime change. The aim of the Revolution was especially « to spread throughout the world the institutions and the mores of atheism6 », and the immorality that was to follow in its wake7.

This Revolution occurred precisely during the huge conflagration of 1914 – 1918, which was the first Great War aiming to prepare for a one-world government. It is this that constitutes the errors of Russia: the creation of an atheistic society without Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the supreme assault against the Social Kingship of Our Lord. And we must admit that these errors have now spread throughout the entire world. No nation has been spared.

The only effective obstacle to this plan was the Church. In order to protect the Church and the world from this plot, the Virgin Mary requested Pope Pius XI in 1921, by the intermediary of Sr. Lucy, to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. The Pope did not believe the matter was worth pursuing. Ten years later Our Lord complained to Sr. Lucy:

Tell My ministers: because they are following the example of the king of France in delaying the fulfillment of My request, they will share in his tragedy8.

It was indeed during those years that an organisation was put in place by Moscow in order to infiltrate seminaries and novitiates with agents who had false vocations. These agents later reached influencial positions and gradually worked to effect a new orientation in the Church. This has been proven by a good number of documents. (We have provided references in an article about Fatima9 in our review le Sel de la Terre.) The Pope having ignored the protection that Heaven was offering, the Church became the plaything of her enemies.

At the time of the Second Vatican Council, Moscow doubled the budget they allocated to the Pax organization, which was one of the principal agents of Communist infiltration into the Church10. Among other things, this group contributed to the attacks directed at the Curia during the Council11.

We should therefore not be surprised that the two major documents passed by the Council, and not without opposition, were:

- the document on Religious Liberty12, which sanctions the secularization of States, that is to say their becoming atheistic States, preventing the Social Reign of Our Lord and forbidding the constitution of officially Catholic nations;

- and the document Nostra Aetate13 which, along with the decree on Ecumenism14, leads to what we see today: churchmen who abandon missionary activities in order to work towards uniting all religions for the service of the atheistic and anti-Christian world government. Last October 1st, in an interview with the chief editor of the newpaper Repubblica in Italy, an interview which made huge waves, Pope Francis declared: « Proselytism [that is, missionary activity] is a pompous absurdity ». But this Ecumenism, which refuses the conversion of non-Catholics, leads to Religious Indifferentism, and Religious Indifferentism leads to Apostasy and to Atheism. That is what we see today in the entire world.

Yes, the errors of Russia have penetrated inside the Church.

The means chosen by God to redress the current situation

So, what must we do? And can we do anything, we who are so few?

We need to understand that God alone can now redress the situation. There is no longer any solution on the purely human level. But that does not mean that there is nothing for us to do: God always wants the co-operation of His creatures, but the co-operation must be in accordance with His plan.

The Two Battles

Some years ago an eminent traditional Catholic thinker summed up the situation very well when he said that there are two battles that must be fought at the same time:

1) We must fight in order to preserve our last holdings. It is obvious that we must above all maintain our chapels, our monasteries, our schools, our publications, our associations15, and, generally speaking, we must hold on to our hope of salvation and to the orthodoxy of our Doctrine. This is the lower battle. It is a defensive battle, a battle where we hold our own against the enemy.

2) But on a level higher than these countless battles of self-preservation, a battle of the greatest importance has begun and whose objective is the transfer of power16. « I will reign in spite of My enemies », said the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret-Mary in 168917; a promise that was renewed in the 19th and 20th centuries to a large number of mystics, in particular to Madame Royer in France. […] We may rest assured that today Our Lord is working mysteriously, as He always does, towards the destruction of the Beast and towards the restoration of His own Reign. This mysterious battle which is led by Christ the King constitutes the higher battle, and that is the principal objective18.

The Lower Battle

Concerning the lower battle, the battle fought by men, Fr. Calmel O.P. had these enlightening words to say:

May each priest, each layman, each little group of priests and laymen, who have authority and influence over a small remnant of the Church and of Christendom go to the utmost of their possibilities and power. […] May the leaders of the small groups and their members know each other and communicate with each other. May each of these small groups thus protected, defended, led and guided in their prayer and chants by a true authority, become as much as possible a bastion of holiness: this is what will garantee the continuity of the true Church and what will efficaciously prepare for a revival, when the day chosen by God comes19.

Let us note what Fr. Calmel says: our bastions must be bastions of holiness.

What is worrisome at the moment is not so much the advancement of the forces of evil, but rather the softening of the good. Actually, there’s probably a link between the two tendencies. Those who knew the heroic beginnings of Tradition with Archbishop Lefebvre note that today the traditionalists have become quite lukewarm in comparison to those heroic days: the slovenly manner of dressing, sinful and imprudent use of the Internet, weakening of the convictions among the young, the faithful who no longer read in order to maintain their Faith and to oppose errors, fewer people going on spiritual retreats, a proportional decrease in vocations, etc.

If our principal focus in this lower battle is not on our sanctification, we will not preserve our bastions. We will be swept away in the general apostasy. Let us be watchful, let us wake up!

The Higher Battle

Above this battle of self-preservation lies the higher battle whose goal it is to completely defeat the forces of evil. This is where God’s battle lies. And where do we stand in this battle?

There is but one simple action that each one must take. Our Lady confided that action to Sr. Lucy of Fatima:

Many times, while I was spending precious hours in her company, Our Lady insisted that we fulfill our daily duties according to our state in life and that we offer this effort for the reparation of our sins and for the conversion of sinners. This is the fundamental condition which will enable us to push back the forces of evil that threaten to submerge the world today and which will bring about the conversion of Russia and a period of peace to the world. But she also explained the importance of the Rosary because it is the one principal means given to us by Our Lady for the sanctification of our daily duties20.

This is how we can truly and efficaciously participate in the final battle which will definitively crush the enemies of the Church. This is within everyone’s reach and that is very encouraging!

Conclusion

Let us conclude with the words of Abp. Lefebvre which he gave in a sermon in his last Pontifical Mass on November 1, 1990 in Écône on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the SSPX. This is his testament:

My dear Friends, you can easily see the importance of your role. […] You are a small remnant, but you carry the torch boldly. […] Ah! What a beautiful task, what a noble crusade lies ahead of you! The good God has placed you in a period of the history of mankind that is exciting for young people such as yourselves! It was just like this at the time of the Machabees when they left the corrupt Jewish society, and they too were very few. Judas Machabee with only eight hundred soldiers faced an army of twenty thousand – and he defeated them. And so, be confident, my dear Friends, God is with you. He will not abandon you, just as He has not abandoned us over the course of the last twenty years. Nor will He abandon you in the future because it is Himself that God wants. God does not want to disappear; He is God, He wants to remain God, not only in Heaven, but also here on earth. That is why He wants soldiers in His army.



Response to an article on the SSPX-USA web site

Response to an article on the SSPX-USA website

An article called “A New Dominican Community” was published on October 24, 2014 on the SSPX USA web site1.  Here are the principle passages with some added commentary.

It is interesting to note that on 24 October, the same day this article appeared, two Dominican Fathers from Avrillé arrived in the United States for a 15 day stay to visit the Dominican Tertiaries attached to the Avrillé friary. Two days later on 26 October, the SSPX District Superior of the United States. Fr. Wegner, sent a letter to all his priests and to all the Avrillé Tertiaries living in the United States, warning them against the Avrillé friary and asking the Avrillé Tertiaries to join the Steffeshausen Third Order.

In his turn, on 31 October, Fr. Albert sent a letter to the Avrillé Tertiaries living in the United States, warning them against the Avrillé friary and asking the same Tertiaries to join his Third Order.

The Avrillé Dominican Fathers


Start of the article appearing on the SSPX-USA web site:

A New Dominican Community

“Find out about a new traditional religious community, the Dominican Friars of Steffeshausen, Belgium, and see how you can help them… or even join the Third Order of St. Dominic.

A video has just been posted about a new foundation of traditional Dominican friars in Belgium and the Third Order that they are offering to the faithful.

This new community of traditional Dominican friars was founded on November 15, 2013 in Steffeshausen, a little village in the southeast corner of Belgium. They were invited there by the villagers after the death of their parish priest, who had kept the traditional Mass and was persecuted by his bishop some 25 years ago.

They offered the church and rectory built by this priest to these friars as a first home for their fledgling community.”

Our Commentary: The Steffeshausen house was not offered to these four priests, but to the Avrillé Dominicans.  Here are the facts:

On 26 January 2013, during a meeting in Suresnes, in the presence of Fr. de Cacqueray [then District Superior of France], Bishop Fellay asked the Avrillé Dominicans to bring together five “vagus” Dominicans (all perpetually professed to the Avrillé friary) in a house which would be under the jurisdiction of Avrillé. That day, Bishop Fellay promised to support that foundation with his authority and to tell the religious who would refuse to submit that they must remove the habit or they would no longer be recognized as Dominicans by the Society of St. Pius X.

The Avrillé Dominicans accepted this decision. A committee of lay people who were taking care of the house of Steffeshausen contacted the Avrillé Dominicans early February 2013 offering to hand over this house, so the fathers proposed to Bishop Fellay that the foundation be made there. The bishop accepted, and contacted the five religious to offer to install them in this house.

However, in June 2013, Bishop de Galarreta told Avrillé that it was he who would take this foundation under his authority. When the fathers told him that Bishop Fellay had promised that the foundation would be instituted under the authority of Avrillé, Bishop de Galarreta answered, “Bishop Fellay considers himself to be relieved of his promise.” He declined to comment further and referred to Bishop Fellay. Father Prior of Avrillé then wrote three letters to Bishop Fellay on 14 July, 26 July and 11 August 2013 (the last of which was personally delivered by Fr. de Cacqueray) asking for explanations— he has never received a response.

The SSPX article continues:

“Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, who assists those religious communities affiliated with the SSPX, accepted to help the foundation as its ecclesiastical superior. You can help the Dominicans by making a donation . . . On their behalf, thank you very much for your support!”

(End of the text from the web site of the SSPX-USA.)

Our Commentary: The Dominican Order, which is an exempt Order, has never been put under the jurisdiction of a bishop.

What’s more, being a bishop without jurisdiction, Bishop de Galaretta’s action of removing the five religious from their legitimate superior, without that superior’s agreement, is an illegitimate act and indicates a schismatic mentality by attributing to the bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre a jurisdiction they do not have and which Archbishop Lefebvre never wanted to give to them because he himself did not have it, as he so often said.

In the video presented with this article, Fr. Albert recounts his history and very rapidly skims over the 19 years of his life that he spent with “some traditional Dominicans in France,” omitting to say that he was a part of the Avrillé community, that he studied there, that he received all his ecclesiastical orders from as a member of this community and that he made a vow of perpetual obedience between the hands of the prior of Avrillé. He also forgets to tell that he was sent to the United States in 2006 by his superiors in Avrillé, on the recommendation of Bishop Fellay, and that afterwards he refused to return to the Avrillé friary where his superiors still wait for him. He also keeps quiet about the situation of the four other religious, all perpetually professed to Avrillé, of whom three left the friary in the middle of the night of 11-12 April 2011 with the complicity of the German SSPX District Superior, Fr. Franz Schmidberger. There are many lapses of memory and much silence in the telling of this tale.

This foundation, made on dishonesty and disobedience, is a violation of religious law.

But above all, in the current context, it is a maneuver by Menzingen to weaken the Avrillé community and to have a nice, happy community of Menzingen Dominicans, who neither bark nor bite.

1 — http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/new-dominican-community-5298.

2 — http://sspx.org/en/media/video/new-dominican-community-third-order-5297.