This letter was originally sent to Pope Paul VI as a private communication between a priest and the Supreme Pontiff who, two years earlier, had blessed and commissioned him as leader of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement (C.T.M.).
Only after waiting for three months, when the C.T.M. was informally notified that no formal “fatherly reply” could be expected, was it decided to make the letter public, both in print and on tape, under the title “Be Thou Peter!”
Soon translated worldwide into Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish, the 1967-letter became, and still stands today, as the unequalled “anguished cry” of the post-Vatican II “Suffering Church.”
TIA reproduces here important excerpts of this letter, which was sent to Pope Paul VI on August 15, 1967, by Father Gommar A. DePauw, J.C.D, President of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement
The subtitles were added by TIA’s website desk
I still vividly remember that December 1, 1965 evening when Your Holiness personally blessed me and my work with the traditionalist Catholics who selected me to be their spokesman ….
I equally remember how Your Holiness literally begged me to urge the Catholics I was to lead in their fight for “TRUTH and TRADITION,” not to lose faith in the Church. And Your Holiness justified that request by stating: “Once the dust stirred up by the recent Ecumenical Council will have settled down, the Church will come out of all this with renewed strength and vigor.”
May I humbly submit that during this past year and a half I have labored as hard as any human individual could to do precisely what Your Holiness asked me to do: to keep the faith in our Church alive among those Catholics who had justifiedly become alarmed to the point of publicly asking themselves and others: “What, in the name of God, is happening to our Catholic Church?!” And may I add that one of the principal aspects of my efforts to keep that faith in our Church alive has consistently been the stressing of belief in the divine foundation of the Roman Papacy and respectful loyalty to its present incumbent, Your Holiness, Paul VI.
Already then, December 1, 1965, Your Holiness asked me to realize that our Church was going through “one of the gravest crises in her history.” If such a description of our Church’s condition was true then, how much more can the same be said of our Church today! To say that it has gone from bad to worse would be the understatement of the century.
Today's condition of the Catholic Church is beyond the point of doctrinal heresy, factual schism, and even apostasy. It is in a state of chaos and utter collapse resulting from the systematic destruction of first our liturgical and other traditions, and now our very beliefs and morals ….
The liturgical reform
In open violation of all past and present liturgical directives, the Roman Catholic Liturgy, once the envy of all other religions, has for all practical purposes been destroyed. And it gives us very little personal satisfaction to know that all those responsible for this destruction were in advance irrevocably anathematized by the still valid solemn decree of the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only, let him be cursed.”(Canons of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, n. 9.)
Shortly after the Council, ballet dancers perform before the "table" at the "drama of the Mass"
Informations Catholiques Internationales, July 1, 1967
Coercive changes have subrogated our traditional practices with the “litniks”of our Church Establishment daily intensifying their attempts to subjugate the “people of God” to becoming “Protestant” Catholics.
Our churches are no longer Catholic in appearance, atmosphere, or aim. Tables looking like butcher blocks or ironing boards have replaced our altars in perfect harmony with the 16th century Protestant Reformation directives bent on destroying the belief in the dogma of Transubstantiation and the sacrificial nature of the Mass and replacing it with a symbolical trans-signification-communal meal.
Jazz at Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris, 1969
ICI, March 1, 1969
Our Holy Mass has disappeared an in its place our people are offered a holy mess of vernacularized vacuum stripped of the surety, serenity, uniformity, and dignity of our traditional Latin liturgy.
Hymns associated with the anti-Catholic rebellions of Luther, Calvin and Wesley have unceremoniously uprooted our cherished Catholic hymns to our God and the Blessed Mother, while our uniquely Catholic Gregorian and polyphonic music has been discarded for sounds and instruments sometimes borrowed from the decadent milieu of young human animals.
Communion rails are ripped out and Holy Communion is refused to the “people of God” unless they stand (not kneel) to receive Him at the mention of Whose name all knees should bend, if one is still to trust the text of the “unrevised” New Testament we were given at one time in our Catholic institutions.
Paul VI gives Communion to a standing man even before the Council ended
ICI, April 1, 1965
The Most Blessed Sacrament, to be reserved in “the central place of honor” according to the legitimate liturgical directives, is relegated to an obscure shoe box-type niche, playing much less than second fiddle to the throne-type chair of the presiding clerical Buddha set up in dead center of a religious flavored discotheque-barn, from which the traditional statues and Stations of the Cross have been shipped to the nearest auction gallery or antiques shop.
A steadily increasing number of once unsuspecting Catholics are suddenly realizing that, as we predicted more than two years ago, they are gradually, first with subtle and then with increasing bold changes in the liturgy, being ushered into a humanistic rite of a universal brotherhood meal expressive of the existentialist pantheistic concepts of an illuminated “one-world-religion” preparing the way for a Communist controlled “one-world-government.”
The aggiornamento changed dogmatic and moral precepts
But, not only our liturgical traditions have been destroyed. The very beliefs and morals of our Catholic heritage are now up for grabs in our so-called “Church of the Aggiornamento.” Steadily, day in and day out since Vatican II, silt has subversively been shunted in to the minds of the Roman Catholics in America.
Our “Catholic” universities, seminaries, and colleges are bluntly rejecting the religious character that justifies their existence, and their teachers of the “new theology” are calling into question, if not outright rejecting, every tenet of our doctrinal heritage ….
Sunday after Sunday our traditional dogmas and moral precepts are denigrated with pseudo-modern preachments of Socialism or worse emanating from our pulpits occupied by “new breed” clergymen, whose pathological obsession with sex has brought them to the low point of not only advocating the end of clerical celibacy, but even of condoning Fornication, homosexuality, trial marriages, artificial birth control, divorce, and abortion.
Our Church Establishment's press and radio and television presentations are totally captured by the same heretical forces. And our once respected nuns not only have become nonentity “nones” with absurdity of demeanor and dress, but are sabotaging the religious instruction of our youngsters and children by replacing our traditional catechisms with brain-washing religion (?) books subtly poisoning the minds of our coming generations into gradual acceptance of first a unitarian, then a pantheistic, and finally an atheistic philosophy of life.
While some of our American Cardinals and Bishops are way in front of these apostatic hordes of religious rioters, the rest of our Hierarchy are burying their heads in the sand, rocking their consciences to sleep with the proverbial “Everything will be O.K.!” or trying to compensate for the trust and respect they no longer command among their own Catholic people by hob-nobbing with those outside-the-fold merely to produce nothing but a superficial inter-faith harmony built on the swift sand of doctrinal compromise and false hopes.
Your Holiness, we traditionalist Catholics see the evil visibly extant and reject any portion of that evil!
Rejection of the Conciliar Church
Your Holiness …. taking a closer look at the “Conciliar” church forced upon us in the name of Vatican II, and simply judging the tree by its fruits, we are tempted to agree with one of your own immediate collaborators in Rome who has been quoted as characterizing the recent Vatican Council as “a sinister farce acted out by a number of good-for-nothings, some of whom, despite the gold crosses on their chests, don't even believe in the Holy Trinity or the Virgin.”
Your Holiness, we were, we are, and we intend to remain members of the CATHOLIC Church, and we refuse to become absorbed into any new CONCILIAR church! WE CONDEMN AND REJECT THE CONCILIAR CHURCH!
In spite of all the gigantic and expensive promotional techniques used to “sell” it, the “Conciliar” church fails to fascinate the public, and refuses to spiritually refresh the individual. Instead it is repugnant to the point of rejection so tragically evident in the all-time low of our conversion rate and religious vocations, and the pathetic trek of our most loyal and devout Catholics transferring the almost snuffed out candle of traditional Catholic beliefs and practices from our desecrated churches to the underground sanctuary of their hearts and homes.
Responsibility of Paul VI
Your Holiness, if no IMMEDIATE ACTION is taken by YOU, the public reality of the Catholic religion will phase out very soon. Already the memory of a “real” Mass is fading away from the minds of our younger generation, while their elders are growing indifferent or bitter over a Church which, if all her former beliefs and practices were so irrelevant as to be replaced so quickly and drastically, they prefer to forget as the biggest hoax ever on record.
Your Holiness, take one last, hard look at the dying embers of your Church and ours! And decide, bluntly and honestly, whether you wish to be a POPE, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Supreme Pontiff of the one true Church, or to perpetuate your current image of the BISHOP of Rome, the first among equals, with a place of HONOR but without authority within the ranks of a so-called “college” of Bishops …..
At the Vatican Paul VI opens the first session of the first Synod, September 29, 1967
ICI, October 15, 1967
We of the C.T.M. still refuse to join the increasing number of Catholics all over the world who accuse you of being part of the team out to destroy the Church we once knew, and of being less interested in remaining the Supreme Pontiff of Christ's one true Church than in becoming the Chief-Chaplain of a new one-world religion in the service of a one-world government.
We of the C.T.M. still have pent up in the reserve of our hearts the enthusiastic loyalty we, traditionalist Catholics, exclusively set apart for our Supreme Pontiff. And we would like nothing better than to forget the past four years and shower our loyalty on a Paul VI turned into a new Saint Pius X who had the courage to face the reality of enemies within our own ranks and the integrity to condemn them. The first four years of your pontificate, Your Holiness, have been disappointing to the most loyal of your sons and daughters. But, late as it is, you still have the opportunity to once more be capable instead of culpable.
May we, the traditionalist Catholics whose unworthy spokesman I am, help Your Holiness out of the impasse your enemies cornered you into, by humbly submitting to you the following requests:
Vatican II must be annulled.
Publicly announce via all available international public media that you are again exercising the prerogatives of the Supreme Pontiff of Christ's One True Church, and that the interregnum of Vatican II is over ….
[The Vatican II turned out to be a horrible mistake.] Maybe it was precisely the fear of this horrendous possibility that caused the Holy Ghost to have Pope John declare from the very start that Vatican II, unlike all previous Ecumenical Councils, was not a DOCTRINAL Council but simply a PASTORAL one, thus leaving the door open for any future Pope to eradicate it from the records.
Your Holiness, when honest people commit a blunder they admit it and try to undo it as quickly as possible. Vatican II has so far produced nothing but confusion and disunity among the people of God's Church. It takes humility and courage to admit that even a Pope, outside the realm of his infallible ex cathedra definitions, can commit a blunder. But it is this kind of humility that endears a truly great leader to his subjects. Even so, you know better than all of us together that to lose face is nothing compared to losing souls.
* The doctrine of collegiality must be rescinded
Rescind that falsely interpreted and abused “Collegiality” decree IMMEDIATELY and PERMANENTLY. The burden of the Papacy cannot be shared and was never intended to be. To Peter and to him alone were given the keys of the Kingdom. Peter and Peter ALONE was appointed to strengthen the faith of “his brethren,” the first bishops who governed the primitive Church not just WITH but UNDER Peter. Stop wearing that Bishop's mitre and place the papal tiara back on your anointed head where it was placed the day you accepted to serve as Christ's Vicar and Supreme Pontiff. You accepted the job; you have tasted the privileges – now, taste the responsibilities; they are the two sides of the same coin. Give us another opportunity to let the world know once again that: “HABEMUS PAPAM!” We have a Pope!
Against tradition, Paul VI wore a simple mitre rather than the tiara to give his blessing on Easter day ICI, May 1, 1965
* Avoid the bad advisors
Stop accepting decisions made by your alleged “advisors.” Stand on your own two feet! These advisors have led you and the Church into the abyss of their anti-Christ activity. They have forced you into a world position of being apparently at ease in such impossible situations as your praying at the pantheistic monstrosity of the United Nations’ “meditation room,” your denying to the favorite visionary child of Fatima the favor granted to publicly known, unrepentant examples of degraded womanhood, your hobnobbing and exchanging symbols of religious authority with leaders of what still are heretical or schismatic sects, and above all, your lending respectability to the leaders of international Communism, which is still out to destroy our Church and all other religious bodies for that matter.
Stop listening to the politically attuned and diabolical-oriented “advisors” who have infiltrated the highest echelons of our Church, exactly as Our Lady foretold in her last message of Fatima which has been unjustifiedly withheld from our Catholic people for seven years now ….
Paul VI at the United Nations, 1965
ICI, October 15, 1972
* Listen to the true Catholics
Listen instead to the genuine Roman Catholic, the traditionalist “man and woman in the pew” who want their Pope to act like a Pope; the same Catholic who continues to kneel when receiving his living God in Holy Communion; who still prays the Rosary to his Mother in Heaven; who still genuflects at the words “And the Word was made flesh by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man”; who still reads the Last Gospel of St. John in his or her worn-out missal; who still says the Leonine prayers after Mass for the conversion of Russia; who still abstains from meat on Fridays; who still goes to church on Sundays instead of Saturdays; in one word, the traditionalist Catholics who refuse to turn their backs on the Son of God for any son of man, despite the red or purple he proudly preens ….
* Have courage…
Your Holiness! In the name of Jesus Christ, your and our Lord and Saviour, have the courage to disperse the false shepherds and listen to your own conscience! Prove once again to friend and foe alike that the gates of Hell did indeed not prevail. Stir the embers of a dying Church and, with gallant despair, make her once more a House of Refuge in lieu of a house of refuse. Bind instead of grind the gnawing wounds of Christ's Mystical Body ….
Your Holiness! If we do not receive a satisfactory answer from Your Holiness or at least are given an opportunity to discuss our requests and proposals with Your Holiness personally - within the next month, we shall consider our requests denied and our proposals rejected, and draw the sad and tragic conclusion that Our Mother the Church has temporarily abandoned the best ones of her children.
I pray to God and to His blessed Mother whose Assumption we commemorate today – and millions all over the world are joining me in this prayer – that such a dark and tragic day will never come. But, if we have no other choice, we will jealously protect the small but still burning candle of our traditional Catholic Faith, and patiently carry on our spiritual “Resistance” movement without the hoped-for papal approval ….
Holy Father! Do no reject the best and most loyal ones of your sons and daughters! But, even if Paul VI would close his soul and heart to us – Quod Deus avertat! – we will not reject the Papacy!
Abandoned by you, we would sorrowfully pray and wait for the day a new successor of St. Peter would open his arms again to those of his children whose only crime it was to live up to the admonition of your patron saint: “Even if an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be cursed.” (Gal 1: , or of those other early Church leaders who taught us: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5: 29) ….
Prayerfully expecting Your Holiness' fatherly reply to this final anguished cry of today's “Suffering Church,” I beg to remain.
Your loyal and devoted son in Jesus Christ,
Fr. Gommar A. DePauw