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)


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)