APPEAL TO THE FAITHFUL (co-signed by [then] Father Thomas Aquinas with 40 priests and religious in 2014)

**APPEAL TO THE FAITHFUL**  

(co-signed by [then] Father Thomas Aquinas with 40 priests and religious in 2014)

Faithful to the heritage of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre and in particular to his memorable Declaration of the 21st November 1974, “we adhere with all our heart, with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic faith and the necessary conditions to maintain this faith, to eternal Rome mistress of wisdom and truth.”

According to the example of this great prelate, intrepid defender of the of the Church and the Apostolic See, “we refuse on the contrary and have always refused to follow neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant Rome which clearly manifested itself at the Second Vatican Council and after the council, in all the reforms and orientations which followed it.”

Since the year 2000 and in particular from 2012 the authorities of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X have taken the opposite direction of aligning themselves with modernist Rome.

The Doctrinal Declaration of the 15th April 2012, followed by the exclusion of a bishop and numerous priests and confirmed by the condemnation of the book, “Monseigneur Lefebvre, Our Relations with Rome”, all that shows the pertinacity in this direction which leads to death.

No authority, even the highest in the hierarchy, can make us abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith clearly expressed by the Magisterium of the Church for twenty centuries.”

Under the protection of Our Lady Guardian of the Faith, we intend to follow operation survival begun by Abp. Lefebvre.

In consequence, in these tragic circumstances in which we find ourselves, we put our priesthood at the disposal of all those who want to remain faithful in the combat for the Faith.

This is why from now on, we are committed to respond to the demands which will be made on us, to sustain your families in their educational duties, to offer the priestly formation to young men who desire it, to safeguard the Mass, the sacraments and the doctrinal formation, everywhere we are required to do so.

As for you, we exhort you to be zealous apostles for the reign of Christ the King and Mary our Queen.

Long Live Christ our King!

Our Lady Guardian of the Faith, protect us!

Saint Pius X, pray for us!

The 7th January 2014

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B. (Part 2)

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B.  (Part 2)

( For part 1, click here )

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Father Thomas Aquinas followed the advice of Archbishop Lefebvre. On the 24th of August 1988, he drew up a solemn declaration in which he refused the agreement established between the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, through the intermediaries of Cardinals Ratzinger and Mayer, and Father Gerard Calvet, Prior of the Monastery of Saint Madeleine of Le Barroux.

« Our Monastery of the Holy Cross was included in the terms of the agreement which we have just refused, without us having been consulted on the matter, even though we were at Le Barroux during the negotiations, and our disagreement was known. Here are the motives of our refusal:

  1. The agreement indicates our insertion into and our practical engagement with the “Conciliar Church”.
  2. The agreement foresees our full reconciliation with the Apostolic See according to the terms of the Motu Propio “Ecclesia Dei”, a document which proclaimed the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.  Now we never separated ourselves from the Apostolic See, and we will continue to profess a perfect union with the Chair of Peter.  We separate ourselves however from liberal and Modernist Rome which organises the Assisi meeting, and which praises Luther.   With this Rome we want no reconciliation.
  3. The agreement is founded on the Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei” which excommunicates Archbishop Lefebvre.  Therefore in taking part in this agreement we must recognise the injustice done to Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio Castro Mayer and the four new Bishops, whose excommunication was legally fully void.  We do not follow Archbishop Lefebvre or Bishop de Castro Mayer as our leaders.  We follow the Catholic Church.  But right now, these two confessors of the Faith have been the only bishops against the auto-demolition of the Church.  It is not possible for us to break with them. »

The next day, the 25th of August, Father Thomas Aquinas announced his decision to the monks and on the 26th sent the declaration to Dom Gerard and Cardinal Ratzinger.  The visit of Dom Gerard to the Monastery of the Holy Cross on the 1st and 2nd of September changed nothing of the decision and determination of Father Thomas Aquinas.  After a few hours only, which were very sorrowful, the prior of Le Barroux left the monastery of Brazil, with curses on his lips.

« After the consecrations, Archbishop Lefebvre continued to advise us with his paternal solicitude.  Not only were we helped by him, but also by Campos and more especially by Father Rifan. »

Ordained priest in 1974 by Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, the Bishop of Campos, Father Rifan became his secretary.  Here is the judgment of him by Father Thomas Aquinas:

« A leader of men, endowed with a lively intelligence, warm and easy to meet, and quick-witted, he had no trouble gaining the admiration and trust of all. »

Father Rifan, as well as Fathers Possidente and Athayde, accompanied Bishop de Castro Mayer to Ecône in 1988 on occasion of the consecrations.  Then at the moment of the crisis with Dom Gerard, Father Rifan gave considerable support to Father Thomas Aquinas, who recounts what happened afterwards:

« After the death of Bishop de Castro Mayer, an urgent question arose for the priests of Campos: who should replace Bishop de Castro Mayer? … Bishop de Castro Mayer, before dying, had indicated two names: Father Emmanuel Possidente and Father Licinio Rangel.  Father Rifan was not one of the preferences of Bishop De Castro Mayer.  This is interesting to note.  Father Rangel was chosen, Father Possidente having refused, even though he was the most appropriate for this job.  The consecration of Bishop Rangel took place in the town of Sao Fidelis, on the 28th of July 1991.

When the SSPX made contact with Rome after the Jubilee of 2000 and invited Campos to take part, it was Father Rifan who was chosen to represent Campos at these meetings.  The drama was about to start.  When the conditions put down by Rome appeared unacceptable to the SSPX, Campos, however preferred not to go backwards.  What is the responsibility of the parties in this affair?  It is difficult to establish.  What is certain, is that the man for the job, although obeying the orders of Bishop Rangel, was Father Rifan, the only spokesman present at Rome during the negotiations.  Father Rifan, we should note, for a certain time had contacts more and more frequent with the modernists, and was in the habit of obtaining permission to say the Mass of Saint Pius V with the adversary.  Although it was not necessarily an evil, it was, I believe, a bait which contributed to the fall of Father Rifan and of all the diocese.  Was it the simple contact with men imbued with modernism and liberalism which was the starting point for this fall?  The question is worth asking.

Bishop Rangel signed on the 18th of January 2002, an agreement with Rome in the cathedral of the town of Campos. … It was the death warrant for Tradition in CamposFather Rifan said : “It is not an agreement ; it is a recognition”.  He let it be understood by this that Rome recognized the merits of Tradition.  The faithful were disoriented and believed Father Rifan.  There was a cry of victory.

Bishop Rangel, struck by cancer, did not take long in leaving this life, and Father Rifan succeeded him as the head of the Apostolic Administration born out of the agreements with Rome.  Consecrated by Cardinal Hoyos, Bishop Rifan would quickly show himself as an indulterer par excellence.  Having become the friend of our enemies, he did the tour of the dioceses almost everywhere, embracing those who formerly he attacked with an energy which is not easily forgotten.  Having switched camps, he did not cease to give proofs of his giving himself to Rome.  As Abel Bonnard said “An indulterer is never enough of an indulterer”.  Authority of Vatican II, legitimacy of the New Mass, obligation of submitting to the “Living Magisterium” of the liberal Popes, condemnation of Archbishop Lefebvre ; all of this Bishop Rifan was obliged to approve of and proclaim.  He did so with an unfailing and ever growing assurance.  One could say that he did so with more zeal than most progressives…  Campos had now become a muted dog.  Rome, which knew well that it was going to end like this, had from now on nothing more to fear from these priests, who however had been formed in the school of one of the greatest bishops of the 20th century.  How can we explain this?  Without wanting to penetrate the depths of hearts and to go beyond what the facts tell us, I think that it is certain that contact with the authorities who do not profess the fullness of the Faith can only but lead little by little those who submit to them to share their ideas and way of doing things.  Archbishop Lefebvre had sufficiently warned Dom Gerard about this.  With Rome you do not do what you want, but what Rome wants.  Dom Gerard did not take this into account; Bishop Rifan even less so.

But it was from the diocese itself that the reaction came.  The faithful, all the same, came to realise with time that something was in the process of changing.  They called on us, and Father Antonio-Maria OSB went to say a Mass in the countryside, in a farm which has the beautiful name of Sante Fé (Holy Faith) … Bishop Rifan couldn’t get anything from these brave country-folk who now, on great feasts number more than 250 in a little church which they built themselves, and where only the priests of Tradition are let in…

Bishop Rifan concelebrates these days with the progressive bishops and says that to refuse systematically to say the New Mass is a schismatic attitude.  This is what we call betrayal, that is to say the action of ceasing to be faithful to something or someone; as it happens: [ceasing to be faithful] to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We can see it.  It is true that many will deny it, but is it not true that to accept Vatican II is to betray Christ the King?   We can also apply to him this other definition of betrayal: crime of a person who goes over to the enemy.  This is also the case.  Everybody can see it.  May God preserve us from doing the same, we who, by our weakness, can fall even lower.  These days Bishop Rifan is the friend of those who condemned Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer.  He speaks now of Blessed John XXIII, of Blessed John Paul II.  In these difficult times in which Tradition finds itself, may these examples help us to not commit the same errors.  The enemy is cunning.  They know how to strike and where to strike.  Let us be docile to the warnings of our elders.  Let’s listen to the voice of the great masters, starting with Archbishop Lefebvre.  Let’s not listen to, on the other hand, those who would lead us there from where it would be difficult to get out afterwards. »

If Father Thomas Aquinas was the clear-sighted sentinel who foresaw before others the fall of Le Barroux and Campos, he rose up equally early against the cozying up of the SSPX to neo-modernist Rome in the 2000’s.  He was under no illusion about the pontificate of the pontificate of Benedict XVI:

« The same causes produces the same effects.  If Benedict XVI beatifies him who excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro de Mayer, if he celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Assisi meeting, if he defends the Second Vatican Council (by saying that it is in line with Church Tradition), then the evils which we have seen during the pontificate of John-Paul II will happen again with Benedict XVI.  As long as liberal Rome dominates Eternal Rome, as long as the greatest catastrophe of the history of the Church since her foundation, Vatican II, continues to be the privileged yard stick of the bishops, the cardinals and the Holy Father, there won’t be a solution.

*Objection:  “But Rome is in the process of changing (its attitudes, its’ thinking, etc.)”, say the defenders of agreements.

— Answer : How has Rome changed?

* Objection:  “Rome has allowed the Mass of all time and has lifted the excommunications”, respond the “accordists”.

— Answer :  But what does it serve to liberate the Mass of all time if Rome still permits the existence of the new one?  We read in the Old Testament that Abraham chased away the slave Agar and his son Ismael so that Isaac would not remain with the son of the slave…  The new Mass is Agar.  She has no rights.  She must be suppressed.  As for the lifting of the excommunications, what does that serve if we beatify him who meted them out?  While there was a certain benefit from these two acts, the liberation of the Mass (which was never banned) and the lifting of the excommunications (which were never valid), the spiritual benefit of each of these was compromised by the contradictory context in which they were brought about.  Either John-Paul II was right or Archbishop Lefebvre was.  The two cannot be right at the same time.  That is pure modernism.  As for the Mass, it is the same; If we permit the two Masses, the result is contradiction. It is the principle of dissolution.  A principle which corrupts the Catholic Faith.

* Objection:  “But”, insist the others, “little by little Benedict XVI is taking to the defense of Tradition.  He needs us.  He wants our help to combat modernism.”

— Answer:  Campos also thought like that.  But how would Benedict XVI be able to combat modernism, if he is himself a modernist?  He can combat certain modernists, but combat modernism, he cannot do until he stops being a modernist…

* What is then is the solution?

— Answer: The conversion of the Pope, the Roman Curia and the bishops, in a word, the conversion of the head.

* But how to obtain it?

— Answer: By praying and fighting.  God does not ask us for the victory, but rather the fight.  As Saint Joan of Arc said “In the name of God, let’s fight boldly and God will give the victory”, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. »

When Benedict XVI issued his Motu Proprio on the “extraordinary rite”, Father Thomas Aquinas refused to sing the Te Deum at Sunday Mass, as asked by Bishop Fellay to greet the papal document.

Furthermore, on the occasion of the alleged lifting of the alleged excommunications, Father Thomas Aquinas wrote a letter to Bishop Fellay in which he announced that he would not obey if an agreement with conciliar Rome took place.  Soon after, Bishop de Galarreta and Father Bouchacourt1 came to the monastery to tell Father Thomas Aquinas that he had fifteen days to leave Santa Cruz, otherwise the monastery would no longer receive any help or sacraments from the SSPX.  With Bishop Williamson’s spiritual assistance, Father Thomas Aquinas was able to stay at the monastery.  On 8 September 2012, he wrote:

« Unity must be based on the truth, that is to say on the Catholic Faith; and the words and attitudes of Bishop Fellay are unfortunately not those of a disciple of Archbishop Lefebvre who defended the truth without compromise. […]

Corçao 2 kept repeating that the false notion of charity and unity wreaked havoc in the Catholic resistance.  When charity is separated from the truth, charity ceases to be charity.  Many, even among his friends, accused him of lacking charity because of his articles.  But the first charity is to tell the truth.

Corçao was among those who were right, as the facts have shown.  The same accusation was made against Archbishop Lefebvre.

As for unity, Corcao said with humor that experience had taught him that contrary to the popular saying -‘unity is strength’- he found that unity is often weakness. Why ?  Because unity separated from the truth, unity based on concessions, unity to the detriment of faith, is a weakness that “makes the strong weak.”  Is it not precisely what happened at Vatican II? For the sake of unity with Paul VI, many bishops ended up signing unacceptable documents. That sort of unity does not make us strong, but quite the contrary.

Now, in Tradition they want us to agree at any price with those who believe that the Council’s mistakes are not so grave, with those who believe that 95% of the Council is acceptable, that Dignitatis Humanae’s freedom of religion is very limited, that we should not make super-heresies of the errors of the Council 3. But this is not the truth.  The Council was the greatest disaster in the history of the Church since its foundation, as Archbishop Lefebvre said in his book, “They have uncrowned him”. […]

Let them say what they want.  There is a problem, and it is a problem of faith and it is serious.  As for us, we have taken our stand: we support the defenders of the faith as did Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, St. Pius X and the whole tradition of the Church. If we have to suffer because of it, we will suffer, as our Lord warned us: “Whoever wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3, 12).

As for the Society, we consider it a providential work founded by a bishop who rose to the highest degree of heroism in the most difficult virtues, which are those for which God created the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God. We consider Archbishop Lefebvre as a light that shines in the darkness of the modern world, and the Society is his work and his heir, provided it remains faithful to the grace received. We pray for it and we do not oppose Bishop Fellay’s policy out of a hostile desire against the Society, but out of love for her and Bishop Fellay, as we love Holy Church, and for the love of it we fight liberalism and modernism; its enemies who have settled within her.  God bless and keep the SSPX, to which I owe the best of what I have received, both as concerns the faith and the priesthood that I received from the hands of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. »

On 7 January 2014, Father Thomas Aquinas co-signed an “appeal to the faithful4“, a paper written by forty priests, members or former members of the SSPX, and several other priests friendly to it.  The authors of the appeal wanted to bear witness to their strong and true commitment to the principles that guided Archbishop Lefebvre in the fight for the faith.

Then came the consecration of Bishop Faure by Bishop Williamson on 19 March 2015. In the Bulletin of the Holy Cross in August 2015, Father Thomas Aquinas asks: “But why consecrate a bishop in the current circumstances? “To answer this question he published in the same bulletin an article to inform the faithful:

« But what does Bishop Fellay want?  Is it fair to compare this to Dom Gerard?  Bishop Fellay wants a gradual rapprochement with Rome. Unlike Dom Gerard’s, the Society’s advance towards Rome is much slower, but the spirit that presides over both moves is the same.  Father Pflüger said that if the situation in Rome is abnormal, then ours, that of Tradition, is too : a canonical regularization is therefore necessary.  It was almost completed in 2012, but Providence prevented it […]  For Bishop Fellay the way forward seems clear: if Rome gives everything and asks for nothing, why refuse a regularization?  This ignores the consequences of placing oneself under the authority of the modernists who occupy Rome today.  It is to make the mistake of Dom Gerard again, of Campos and of so many others.

Even before possible agreements, action follows action, showing really a change in direction of the Society: the expulsion of Bishop Williamson [2012], delay of the ordination of Capuchin and Dominican priests and deacons in France [June 2012], threats to postpone indefinitely the ordinations of Bellaigue’s candidates, expulsion of several priests from the Society, decisions of the General Chapter of the Society in 2012 amending the decisions of the 2006 chapter, increasingly bold and liberal declarations from Fr. Pflüger [First Assistant of the SSPX], statement of Bishop Fellay mitigating the gravity of the conciliar document “Dignitatis Humanae” , doctrinal declaration by Bishop Fellay from 15 April 2012 rightly criticized by the very director of the seminary at Écône [at the beginning of the General Chapter of July 2012], the corrosive action of the GREC which united priests of the Society and progressive priests to promote a “necessary reconciliation” 5; the distancing of friendly communities such as the religious of Father Jahir Britto [Brazil], the Dominicans of Avrillé [France], the Santa Cruz Benedictines [Brazil], the Carmelites of Germany, expulsion of nuns from their religious community, not to mention the crisis of conscience of countless souls who suffer in silence. »

In this Bulletin of the Holy Cross in August 2015, Father Thomas Aquinas continued:

« It is with bishops and even with one bishop that what remains of Christianity can be rebuilt or preserved, hoping for the day Rome returns to Tradition and confirms the office of those who, through love of the Church, accepted the heavy cross of [becoming] bishops in such times of crisis as there have never been in history. »

After meeting Father Thomas Aquinas, a priest said to us one day: “I knew him to be a man of prayer, I now know him to be a fighting man. “

The above pages have shown above all the fighting man, the valiant defender of the Faith, the intrepid sentry who watches day and night so that the citadel is not besieged, the worthy heir and spiritual son of Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer.  We have not mentioned the faithful disciple of St. Benedict, the contemplative monk, the director of souls, which are the secret garden of God.  But without the man of prayer, we know that the fighting man cannot exist.

For love of the Church and of souls, Father Thomas Aquinas agreed to receive, on 19 March 2016, the heavy cross of the episcopate.  In the Bulletin of the Holy Cross in June 2014 he wrote:

« We set off again for battle like Archbishop Lefebvre, always cheerful amid the worst difficulties. Let us imitate those who came before us and although we are not many, let us remember the vision the prophet Elisha was favored with, who had asked the Lord to show his servant that those who were with him were stronger and more numerous than those who were against him:

“And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (Kings IV, VI, 16).

It will be the same for us if we remain faithful to the teaching and directives of the one thanks to whom the gates of hell have not prevailed. »

 

- A worshipper

On the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, March 7, 2016.


 

Here is the « Appeal to the faithful » co-signed by Fr Thomas Aquinas with 40 priests and religious, year 2014.

**APPEAL TO THE FAITHFUL**

Faithful to the heritage of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre and in particular to his memorable Declaration of the 21st November 1974, “we adhere with all our heart, with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic faith and the necessary conditions to maintain this faith, to eternal Rome mistress of wisdom and truth.”

According to the example of this great prelate, intrepid defender of the of the Church and the Apostolic See, “we refuse on the contrary and have always refused to follow neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant Rome which clearly manifested itself at the Second Vatican Council and after the council, in all the reforms and orientations which followed it.”

Since the year 2000 and in particular from 2012 the authorities of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X have taken the opposite direction of aligning themselves with modernist Rome.

The Doctrinal Declaration of the 15th April 2012, followed by the exclusion of a bishop and numerous priests and confirmed by the condemnation of the book, “Monseigneur Lefebvre, Our Relations with Rome”, all that shows the pertinacity in this direction which leads to death.

No authority, even the highest in the hierarchy, can make us abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith clearly expressed by the Magisterium of the Church for twenty centuries.”

Under the protection of Our Lady Guardian of the Faith, we intend to follow operation survival begun by Abp. Lefebvre.

In consequence, in these tragic circumstances in which we find ourselves, we put our priesthood at the disposal of all those who want to remain faithful in the combat for the Faith.

This is why from now on, we are committed to respond to the demands which will be made on us, to sustain your families in their educational duties, to offer the priestly formation to young men who desire it, to safeguard the Mass, the sacraments and the doctrinal formation, everywhere we are required to do so.

As for you, we exhort you to be zealous apostles for the reign of Christ the King and Mary our Queen.

Long Live Christ our King!

Our Lady Guardian of the Faith, protect us!

Saint Pius X, pray for us!

The 7th January 2014

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B. (Part 1)

Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B.  (Part 1)

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Miguel Ferreira da Costa (the future Father Thomas Aquinas) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1954.  He subsequently lived in Volta Redonda, where his father worked in an important steel factory, until 1962, when his family came back to Rio.  After his instruction at St. Benedict’s College in Rio de Janeiro, he started his studies in law.

Around the age of 13 he attended one of the weekly conferences given voluntarily by the anti-modernist writer Gustavo Corção to a little group of faithful, desiring to better know the treasures of the Catholic faith:

“I came back during 7 years, encouraged by my mother who barely missed any of these conferences.  My father always attended them when his work allowed him to.  It’s in that occasion that I had the chance to know Mr. Julio Fleichman and his wife, etc.1.” 

The young Miguel Ferreira da Costa went to see Gustavo Corção in 1972, to open his heart about his vocation and to ask him to which seminary he should go.  At this time, Gustavo Corção did not yet know Archbishop Lefebvre:

«”Tell you where to go?”, answered Gustavo Corção, “I can’t.  What I can tell you is where not to go.  You’ll have a hard time finding where they don’t teach fooly things […]”   It’s then that Mrs Pierotti, Corção’s secretary, spoke to me about Archbishop Lefebvre and Ecône: «If you were my son, that’s where I would send you».

Miguel Ferreira da Costa wrote to Archbishop Lefebvre who addressed him to the seminary of Bishop de Castro Mayer in Campos, a city in the State of Rio de Janeiro.  He went there, but he was discouraged by the influence of the TFP movement (“Tradition, Family, Property”) in the seminary.  Then, he heard about the priory that Dom Gérard founded in Bédoin, Provence (France), at the foot of Mount Ventoux.  Gustavo Corção told him: «Go there. If it’s not good, come back.»

“Without realizing it, he had made a prophecy, because that’s how this adventure was going to finish, through ways ordained “mightly and softly” by Divine Providence.  In the meantime, Dom Gérard wrote that he accepted me.  From Ecône arrived a letter too. The director of the seminary, the canon Berthod, opened his doors too.  To make a long story short, I went to Dom Gérard, which was not the best choice.”

Miguel Ferreira da Costa arrived in France in May 1974, in the little Provencal monastery of Bédoin, where Dom Gérard Calvet was following the traditional Benedictine monastic life since 1971.  On October 2, he received the religious habit along with the religious name of Thomas Aquinas, and started his novitiate.  On the occasion of his vows in 1976, Gustavo Corção came to the monastery to attend to the ceremony.  At that time Dom Gérard and the monks were united in heart and thought with Archbishop Lefebvre who gave the Holy Orders to the monks of the monastery.  In 1980, after his ordination in Ecône, Father Thomas Aquinas and the monks moved to the Barroux, leaving with sorrow, Bédoin, which had become too small.

Despite the enthusiasm which reigned at the monastery, Father Thomas Aquinas perceived a lack of philosophical and theological formation of the monks:

“There was already something very disturbing which explains, in my opinion, the drift which our community would have come to know some years later. […]  The formation given in Bédoin, when I arrived and until my ordination, was pretty informal.  Dom Gérard, it’s true, invited a few devoted and learned religious who came to give us some courses.

[…] But these conferences and even these courses didn’t form a structured whole, capable of giving us a true and solid formation. The courses, anyway, weren’t given in the correct order and, for the most part, they remained unfinished.  Dom Gérard then improvised the role of professor to teach us some treatises […] but in a too summarized way, sadly. He also asked the monks to give each other some of the courses when we weren’t yet capable enough to do so.  There were too few classes per week and the exams were very rare.  And so, many subjects were more or less unknown or misunderstood by the first generation of Bédoin. […]

Dom Gérard’s way of going about things was more artistic than realistic.  According to him, St. Thomas had his system.  Other people had others.  This left a doubt on the true value of a purely scholastic formation and of its real necessity, as St. Pius X presents it in the encyclical Pascendi, and in the Code of Canon Law. […] As a result, all we knew about the scholastic method was its name; and for the Summa Theologica, we learned the conclusions without understanding the argumentation.  We contemplated from the outside the Church’s beautiful doctrinal edifice without truly penetrating in the interior, and if at times we entered a bit it was as lay men and not as professionals.  One may say that the role of monks is not to become theologians, that contemplatives don’t need a lot of knowledge in order to devote themselves to contemplation.  That could be true in some cases but, if we were destined to the priesthood, if we were monks and priests, if among us some were destined one day to teach, then, it can hardly be conceived not to be formed in the method of St. Thomas, according to the directives of the Holy See, most especially in the actual crisis. […]

Without falling into the excess of saying that in Bédoin and Barroux we were modernists, it’s certain that we didn’t have in Dom Gérard the same purity, vigilance and doctrinal assurance of Archbishop Lefebvre.  If we weren’t modernists, the environment which reigned there didn’t protect us enough against their doctrines nor against a certain liberalism.”

It’s in 1975 that Father Thomas Aquinas saw for the first time Archbishop Lefebvre, who came to Bédoin to give the minor orders to the brothers Jean de Belleville and Joseph Vannier:

“The homily of Archbishop Lefebvre impressed me by its serenity. It radiated peace, that peace which is the motto of the Benedictines, and which he seemed to have more than us all.”

Father Thomas Aquinas attended at the ordinations in Ecône in 1976, which were a prelude to the «hot summer».  However, it wasn’t until the year of study and rest which he passed at the seminary St. Pius X in Ecône in 1984-1985, that he had a personal contact with Archbishop Lefebvre:

“Taking advantage of the presence of Archbishop Lefebvre, I could see him often.  His paternal goodness made his conversations easy. […]  On March 12, 1985, Archbishop Lefebvre spoke to me about the question of an agreement with Rome.

I think Archbishop Lefebvre broached this topic because of Dom Gérard who, at that time, […] was trying to obtain the support of Archbishop Lefebvre for what he wanted to do.”

Thanks to the notes that he had the habit of writing up after each meeting, Father Thomas Aquinas reveals to us some enlightening words of Archbishop Lefebvre:

“Be subject to men who have not the fullness of the Catholic faith?  Submit to men who proclaim principles contrary to the principles of the Church?  Either we will be obliged to break with them once more and the situation will become worse than before or we will be lead imperceptibly to the lessening and to the loss of the faith.  There is also a third possibility.  A very difficult life because of frequent contact with men who do not have the Catholic faith, leading to the disorientation and to the decrease of the spirit of combat of the faithful.(..)  Our position, such as it is now, allows us to remain united in the faith.  All those who have wanted to compromise with the modernists have veered off course.  I think that we must not submit to them.  I am very distrustful.  I spend whole nights thinking about that.  It is not we who must sign something.  It is they who must sign something guaranteeing that they accept the doctrine of the Church.  They want our submission but they do not give us doctrine.”

Reverend Father Thomas Aquinas also noted that as early as 1984 or 85, Dom Gérard went to Rome to negotiate for the regularization of the monastery of Le Barroux:

He went to see Cardinal Ratzinger and came back dazzled by him. ²The Cardinal, he said, is someone with whom one can work.  Archbishop Lefebvre is too withdrawn.”   And he imitated the attitude of the Archbishop as someone sulking in his corner.  “Moreover it is not necessary that it be Archbishop Lefebvre who ordains our priests.  Another bishop can do it just as well, provided that it is with the old rite”.  We had cold shivers down our backs when we heard all that. (…)  At the end of 1986, I set off for Brazil with Father Joseph Vannier to look at a plot of land with a view to a new foundation.  I was rather relieved to be leaving Le Barroux where the atmosphere was becoming more and more oppressive.  You could feel that the monastery was on a slippery slope.

On May 3rd, 1987 the monastery of Santa Cruz was officially founded and Father Thomas Aquinas became the prior.  The monastery is situated near Nova Friburgo, a town situated in the north-central part of the State of Rio de Janeiro.  Relations between the new foundation and Le Barroux deteriorated rapidly as Dom Thomas Aquinas recounts:

“Next came the years of the foundation of Santa Cruz, during which time Archbishop Lefebvre helped us with his precious counsel.  My conscience was very disturbed because of the liturgical modifications introduced into the Mass by Dom Gérard.[…]  So I wrote to Archbishop Lefebvre who, although not approving Dom Gérard, advised me to maintain good relations with the monastery of Le Barroux in France.  But these good relations with our monastery in France were not going to last long.  Dom Gérard, after the consecrations, was to make an agreement which was going to put our monasteries under the authority of the modernists.”

Here is the judgment of Father Thomas Aquinas on Le Barroux and its founder:

“In this way Dom Gérard destroyed his work.  This work, despite its deficiencies, was for all that a beautiful work .  The offices were said there with much care, the monastic virtues were held in honour there and we had very good vocations which came to us from families who were truly Catholic and traditional.  Dom Gérard had wanted to form a traditional monastery but he lacked an in-depth understanding of the present crisis. Dom Gérard saw the necessity of keeping the Mass of all-time; of keeping the monastic observances but he did not see with sufficient clarity the dangers of modernism and liberalism.  The most profound aspect of the present crisis eluded him.  All that allows us to measure more accurately the value of Archbishop Lefebvre and his work.  It is the Archbishop who saw correctly, it is he who discerned the evil, it is he who understood all the gravity of the situation.  The Archbishop had a vision of faith, a vision which was theological in the most precise sense of the word.  This was lacking in Dom Gérard who, like Jean Madiran, saw the defection of the diocesan bishops rather than that of the conciliar Popes, alas.[…]  When the news of the agreements reached us, we were already expecting it.  At first we thought of leaving Santa Cruz and leaving everything for Dom Gérard and those who wanted to follow him2.

A letter from Archbishop Lefebvre made us change our minds and we kept Santa Cruz in the bosom of Tradition.  […]  Dom Gérard, when he came to Brazil, had to leave again without obtaining what he was hoping for.  After these painful events we had no more contact with him.  On the other hand Archbishop Lefebvre became more and more what he is for all faithful Catholics, i.e. the faithful successor of the apostles who gave us the doctrine and the sacraments of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls.  To him we owe our eternal gratitude.

August 18, 1988 Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a letter to Father Thomas Aquinas in which he said:

“ How much I regretted that you had left before the events at Le Barroux3.  It would have been easier to consider the situation provoked by Dom Gérard’s disastrous decision. […]  Dom Gérard, in his declaration, reports what is given to him and accepts putting himself under obedience to modernist Rome, which remains fundamentally anti-traditional, which was the cause of my estrangement.  At the same time he would like to keep the friendship and support of traditionalists, which is inconceivable.  He accuses us of “ resistance-ism”.  Yet I warned him. But his decision was taken a long time ago and he no longer wanted to listen to reason.  From now on the consequences are inescapable.  We will have no further links with Le Barroux and we will warn all our faithful to no longer support a work which is now in the hands of our enemies, the enemies of Our Lord and His universal Reign.

The Benedictine sisters are in anguish.  They came to see me.  I advised them what I advise you also: keep your liberty and refuse all links with this modernist Rome.  Dom Gérard uses all the arguments to lull the resisters. […]  You should have a meeting with Fathers Laurent and the Argentinian Father John of the Cross as well as with the novices.  With the three of you and the novices of Campos you can continue and constitute a monastery independent of Rome.  You must not hesitate to affirm this publicly.  God will bless you.  And you could then, after some time, set up a monastery again in France, you would be very well supported and would have vocations.  Dom Gérard has killed his own work.  Father Tam will tell you in person what I have not written.  I beg Our Lady to come to your aid in defence of the honour of her divine Son.  May God bless you and your monastery.”

(To be continued)


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!