Presentation of Bishop Dom Thomas Aquinas O.S.B. (Part 2)
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:
- The agreement indicates our insertion into and our practical engagement with the “Conciliar Church”.
- 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.
- 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 Campos. Father 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 , 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