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

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


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)


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:… 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:

Menzingen’s avowal

Menzingen’s avowal

by Dom Thomas Aquinas OSB
March 22, 2015

The March 19th communiqué from Menzingen, although brief, informs us of a good number of things. Among them is the admission that Bishop Williamson was expelled from the SSPX for his opposition to the rallying policy of Bishop Fellay.

Up until now, Menzingen spoke of disobedience: Bishop Williamson was undisciplined, a bad subordinate who does not obey orders. Now Menzingen admits the real reason: “the violent criticisms” of Bishop Williamson concerning Menzingen’s relations with Rome. The same goes for Bishop Faure. That is their crime.

The incident of the letter written by the three bishops to Bishop Fellay and his assistants was not appreciated at all. Archbishop Lefebvre certainly had relations with Rome, but in the hope that Rome would correct itself and would come back. In fact, it was Archbishop Lefebvre who directed the negotiations with invincible certitude because his criterion was the Faith of All Times. Even so, he himself nearly fell into Rome’s trap. “I went too far”, he said.

But with Bishop Fellay, things are handled very differently. It is not he who directs the negotiations.  It is not he who has the strength to say to Rome:  “It is I, the accused, who should judge you.” No, Bishop Fellay does not present himself as judging the errors of Rome. Rather, he presents himself as being the guilty party, labouring under “an irregular situation, who needs to “fall into line”, but who’s having a hard time doing so because “his Society does not follow him.

Let us digress for a moment. Are we to judge Rome? Is that not the role of the superiors rather than of the inferiors? Of course. But it is the superiors who have already judged. It is Quanta Cura, Pascendi, Quas Primas, etc. that condemn the liberal popes.  It is Rome, the Eternal Rome, that has already judged the neo-modernist and neo-Protestant Rome. That is what Bishop Fellay seems to want to forget (and make others forget) with his “concrete Church of today”. End of digression.

Bishop Williamson blocked Menzingen’s moves.  He was a hindrance. Everyone knew it, but the General House gave another version.  Now they admit it.  “The violent criticisms of Bishop Williamson against Operation Suicide were the cause of his expulsion. It was about time Menzingen said it. Now it is done.

However, Menzingen falsifies the matter by saying that these violent criticisms were about “all relations with the Roman authorities. No. This is not true. They concern the rallying that would put the SSPX under the modernist and liberal yoke used by the devil to try to achieve what Corção called “the final sin: to bring down the last bastions in an ultimate and monumental offensive against God.

Under no circumstances will we support this effort. The devil will not achieve his goal because Our Lady is keeping watch: Ipsa conteret. This is our hope. It will not be in vain if we are faithful, by the grace of God: Fidelis inveniatur.