Let me know if this is redundant, but I have not found any mention of it
on this forum. I was cleaning up some old files and this one surfaced as
one from 2 months ago. IMHO it has enduring bearing on our current
discussions on the present SSPX events, from an historical perspective,
for, if nothing else:
Bishop Williamson demonstrates credibility by his consistency!
OPEN REPLY TO OPEN LETTER OF MGR. NICOLA BUX
(anticipating March 24, 2012, with permission to copy)
London, 22 March, 2012.
In an Open Letter of March 19, addressed to Bishop Fellay and to all priests of the Society of St Pius X, you appealed to us to accept the sincere and warm-hearted offer of reconciliation that Pope Benedict XVI is making to the SSPX for the healing of the long-standing rift between Rome and the SSPX. Let me as one of the SSPX priests that you addressed take upon myself to give you my opinion as to what might have been the answer of that “great churchman”, Archbishop Lefebvre.
Your letter begins with an appeal for “every sacrifice in the name of unity”. But there can be no true Catholic unity that is not grounded in the true Catholic Faith. The great Archbishop made every sacrifice for unity in the true doctrine of the Faith. Alas, the Doctrinal Discussions of 2009-2011 proved that the doctrinal rift between the Rome of Vatican II and the SSPX is as wide as ever.
To this rift you referred on March 19 as no more than “remaining perplexities, points to be deepened or detailed”, but on March 16 Cardinal Levada was categoric that the position taken by Bishop Fellay on January 12 is “insufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems”. Bishop Fellay once observed how the churchmen of Rome can differ among themselves, but be their unity what it may, in any case Faith sacrificed for unity would be a faithless unity.
Of course, as you remind us, the Church is an institution both divine and human. Of course the divine element cannot fail, so of course the Church cannot ultimately fail, and the sun will rise again. But one may beg to differ when you say that the dawn is close at hand, because that true Faith which the SSPX upheld in the Discussions is not shining out from the Rome of Vatican II, where accordingly the SSPX could not be in safety. Nor could it bring light if itself it adopted the Conciliar darkness.
The sincerity of the Pope’s wish to welcome back the SSPX into “full ecclesial communion”, as shown in a series of gestures of real good will, is not in doubt, but “a common profession of faith” between the SSPX and believers in Vatican II is not possible, unless the SSPX were to desert that Faith which it defended in the Discussions. And when the SSPX cries “God forbid !” to any such desertion, far from its voice being stifled, it is heard all over the world, and it bears for the Church Catholic fruits which today are the exception rather than the rule.
Certainly, “this is the appropriate moment”, certainly “the favourable time is come” for a solution to the agonizing problems of Church and world. However, it is that solution which the Heavenly Mother has long been calling for, and which depends upon the Holy Father alone. In fact when Our Lord put it in his Mother’s hands, she said that no other solution would work, so that He could not let any other solution work without making his Mother into a liar! Inconceivable.
The solution has been known of for a long time, for how could Heaven possibly have left the world in such distress as that of the last 100 years without providing a remedy like that provided by the prophet Elisha for the leprosy of the Syrian General Naaman ? Humanly speaking, bathing in the River Jordan seemed ridiculous, but nobody could say that it was not possible. It required merely some faith and humility. The pagan General gathered together enough faith and trust in the man of God to do what Heaven asked for, and of course he was cured instantaneously.
Let the Holy Father but gather together enough faith and trust in the promise of the Heavenly Mother ! Let him but seize this “appropriate moment” before the entire global economy collapses in ruins, and before madmen succeed in launching the Third World War in the Middle East ! Let him, we beg of him, we entreat him, save Church and world by merely doing what the Heavenly Mother asked for. It is not impossible. She would overcome all obstacles in his way. By doing what she asks for, he alone can now save us from unimaginable and unnecessary suffering.
And if he wishes for any support in prayer or action with which the humble SSPX could help him to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart in union with all the bishops of the world, whom the Heavenly Mother would rally, he knows that he could count first and foremost on the support of Bishop Fellay and the other three bishops of the SSPX, least among whom is
Your devoted servant in Christ,
Dear friends of Cathinfo,
Far be it from me to add anything to the enduring and regal words of His Excellency, I find it irresistable to let this moment pass without saying this:
+Williamson here goes on public record doing his best to answer with the voice and the fullness of the priesthood that he would have expected to hear from the Founder himself, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, were he still alive to speak to us.
I am struck by his style of gently drawing the reader in, to face his main point, which he does not fully develop until the end of his exemplary letter. For in this way there can be no doubt what he hopes to accomplish by way of this reply. It is not a polemic, or a rhetorical repartee for his own aggrandizement. It is not a political piece that readers will toss out with the day's newspapers.
It is a humble plea, to do "what the Heavenly Mother asked for." This alone will stand the test of time, for future generations could well look back and ask:
"Why did the pope continue to delay after H.E. wrote this public letter?"
And there will be no sufficient reason that can answer this question.
Beyond that, particular phrases are worth noting:
~ There can be no true Catholic unity that is not grounded in the true Catholic Faith.
~ The Doctrinal Discussions of 2009-2011 proved that the doctrinal rift between the Rome of Vatican II and the SSPX is as wide as ever.
~ Faith sacrificed for unity would be a faithless unity.
~ When the SSPX cries “God forbid!” to any such desertion of the Faith, its voice is heard all over the world, and it bears for the Church Catholic fruits.
~ The SSPX could not abide within the present Rome of Vatican II safely, where the true Faith is not shining out, nor could it bring light if itself it adopted the Conciliar darkness.
~ Let the Holy Father but seize this “appropriate moment” before the entire global economy collapses in ruins, and before madmen succeed in launching the Third World War in the Middle East!
~ By doing what Our Heavenly Mother asks for, the Holy Father alone can now save us from unimaginable and unnecessary suffering.
~ Our Heavenly Mother would rally all the bishops of the world to assist the Holy Father in this timely consecration.
~ If the Holy Father desires any support in prayer or action, the SSPX could help him to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart in union with all the bishops of the world, for he must know that he could count first and foremost on the support of Bishop Fellay and the other three bishops of the SSPX.
Here, when the rest of the world is murmuring about a split in the SSPX, Bishop Williamson assures us of a holy unity, if only the Holy Father would courageously act in compliance with the simple request of Our Lady, 95 years yet unanswered.
What can we do?
We can send messages of support to Bishop Williamson, thanking him for this assurance of his support for the Holy Father, and we can send messages of encouragement and appeal to the Holy Father, repeating the promise of the SSPX bishops that we read here in this letter penned by one of them.
(As I write and post this, the Fatima Conference in Rome is presently being completed.)