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Offline Matthew

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Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
« on: September 06, 2017, 09:58:36 PM »
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  • Archbishop Lefebvre Explains Himself
    by
    Sean Johnson
    9/6/17

    It would seem that the Jonestown Sect has for its only purpose to attack Bishop Williamson (and those aligned with him).  The Sect has nothing else to really offer; it exudes only bitter zeal; it reveals nothing of any interior life; there is no evidence of holiness and sanctity from any of its adherents; it shows no good fruits.  It exists only as the beneficiary of a parasitic and symbiotic relationship to Bishop Williamson, in much the same way the Ecclesia Dei communities survive on the spiritual legacy of the Archbishop and Society they opposed: Without Bishop Williamson, Jonestown fades into immediate irrelevancy.  And so, it travels the world attacking the Bishop who ironically gives them life, and whom they must continue to attack if they are to sustain their diminishing flock of zealots.
    The latest attempt to grab some attention comes from Tony La Rosa, in an article he has titled, "The Conciliarization of Bishop Williamson's Thinking Regarding the Catholic Church."
    The stated thesis of Mr. La Rosa's article is to demonstrate that Bishhop Williamson no longer adheres to Archbishop Lefebvre's distinction between the "conciliar church" and the "Catholic Church," and he begins his argument with this Archbishop Lefebvre blurb (formatting his), quoted in Avrille's journal Sel de la Terre, #36, p. 10):
    “How could it be more clear?! From now on it is the conciliar church one must obey and be faithful to , and not to the Catholic Church. This is precisely our problem. We are suspended a divinis by the conciliar church, of which we do not want to be a part. This conciliar church is a schismatic church, because it breaks with the Catholic Church of all time. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new liturgy, already condemned by the Church in many official and definitive documents. This is why the founders of the conciliar church insist on obedience to the church of today, making abstraction of the Church of yesterday, as if it didn’t exist anymore. […] The church which affirms such errors is at one and the same time heretical and schismatic. This conciliar church is therefore not Catholic. In the measure in which the Pope, the bishops, priests or faithful adhere to this new church, they separate themselves from the Catholic Church. The church of today is the true Church only in the measure in which it continues and is one with the Church of yesterday and of always. The norm for the Catholic faith is Tradition.”
    Those were the words of Archbishop Lefebvre in 1976.
    Sound like an open and shut case?
    Well, read that 1976 quote in conjunction with this later one from 1980, in which the Archbishop explained to priests on retreat at Econe how they ought to understand him when he speaks strongly, referring to the church, council, or conciliarists as "schismatic":
    "I am not saying that in words one cannot use one phrase and then oppose it with another one, pull it out of context and, thus, make me say things that are not in my mind. I have sometimes dared to use strong phrases, for example, that the Council was more or less schismatic. In a certain sense it is true because there is a certain break with Tradition. So in the sense that the Council is in breach with Tradition, it can be said, to some extent, that it is schismatic. But when I said that, it was not to say that the Council is really, profoundly schismatic, definitively. You have to understand everything I say. The Council is schismatic insofar as it breaks with the past, that is true. But that does not mean that it is schismatic in the precise, theological sense of the word.
    So when you take terms like that, you can say, “You see ! If the Council is schismatic, the pope who signed the Council is schismatic, and all the bishops who signed the Council are schismatics, so that we no longer have the right to be with them.” This is false reasoning. It’s madness, it does not make sense!"  http://tradidi.com/articles/abl-schismatic-council/
    But this is not the position Mr. La Rosa attributes to Archbishop Lefebvre.
    In fact, Mr. La Rosa makes the Archbishop say exactly the opposite, and comes to the conclusion that:
    "It is clear from these words that the Archbishop understood the Catholic Church and the conciliar “church” to be two formally separate entities even though they share material elements (e.g., members of the hierarchy)."
    In fact, it is exactly the opposite which is clear.
    And from this point, Mr. La Rosa moves on to an easy, but erroneous, conclusion regarding Bishop Williamson:
    "It is sad, however, that Bishop Richard Williamson has deviated from the Archbishop’s position on this significant matter.  It is the purpose of this post to show the conciliarization of Bishop Williamson’s thinking regarding the Catholic Church."
    But the deviation is not Bishop Williamson's, but rather, Mr. La Rosa's, who has very obviously erred in the matter because he based the entire substance of his article on a singular Archbishop Lefebvre quote, apparently never thinking to check this quote against other pronouncements of the Archbishop on the same subject.
    Scholarly research requires more than mere quote mining.
    Our contention is that the 1976 quote is clearly to be read within the context of the Archbishop's later 1980 explanation, and that explanation is clearly this:
    When the Archbishop refers to the council, new Mass, conciliarists, or conciliar church as "schismatic," he -by his own words- does not meant to be taken literally, but rather, as making a metaphorical comparison as a means by which to distinguish Tradition from conciliar innovation and modernism.
    Some (like the learned Fr. Gleize), have gone in the other direction, saying that when Archbishop Lefebvre has referred to a "conciliar church" (and therefore to the council, conciliarists, etc), he was only speaking of a certain "spirit of the council."
    This seems to us to understate the matter considerably, since such an understanding would rob the term "conciliar church" of any practical usefulness in distinguishing Tradition from modernism.
    On the other hand, others (like Mr. La Rosa, et al.) have given this tendency of the Archbishop to speak of "conciliarists," or a "conciliar church," or the Council as "schismatic" an excessively rigorous interpretation, which would have the Archbishop formally and theologically declaring them to be schismatic properly speaking (a claim the Archbishop expressly denies in the 1980 quote above).
    Quite clearly, there cannot be "one pope for two churches," as other learned clergy have opined, since the papacy does not allow for "dual citizenship:" One who is a member of another religion/church cannot also be the pope of the Catholic Church, any more than the Dalai Llama could be pope, and for this simple reason: The Catholic religion is exclusive.  Consequently, the natural and inevitable result of believing in "one pope for two churches" is sedevacantism and ecclesiavacantism, once this realization sinks in to the minds of those who profess this theory (even if, in order to resist that inevitable conclusion, they forcibly pre-empt their minds from continuing in that direction).
    If one properly understands the distinction between the merely "authentic magisterium" (i.e., The teaching of lawful authorities which nevertheless, having no basis in Tradition, can never be binding, and therefore exist only at the level of personal opinion, even if taught universally by these ecclesiastical authorities) versus the "ordinary magisterium" (whose teachings are all backed by Tradition, and which is infallible for precisely that reason), then it is not necessary to seek another dangerous model to distinguish between Catholic tradition and conciliar novelty, such as the "conciliar church" explanation (and all the confusion and haggling which ensues from any discussion of that concept, as the three positions, and the present debate, clearly illustrate).
    And so we return to a common theme amidst this crisis (in both the Church and the SSPX): Maintaining balance, falling neither into excess nor defect.
    It is not that Bishop Williamson has "conciliarized his thinking," but rather, that Mr. La Rosa not properly understood Archbishop Lefebvre's mind on this important point.
    Fortunately, we have the Archbishop's own explanation regarding his statements in this regard, and owe Samuel at the Tradidi blog a debt of gratitude for finding and translating that important explanation.
    But there will be more attempts to sink Bishop Williamson.
    There HAS to be more attempts.....if the Sect is to survive.
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    Offline Meg

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 01:31:47 PM »
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  • Archbishop Lefebvre Explains Himself
    by
    Sean Johnson
    9/6/17





    On the other hand, others (like Mr. La Rosa, et al.) have given this tendency of the Archbishop to speak of "conciliarists," or a "conciliar church," or the Council as "schismatic" an excessively rigorous interpretation, which would have the Archbishop formally and theologically declaring them to be schismatic properly speaking (a claim the Archbishop expressly denies in the 1980 quote above).

    Quite clearly, there cannot be "one pope for two churches," as other learned clergy have opined, since the papacy does not allow for "dual citizenship:" One who is a member of another religion/church cannot also be the pope of the Catholic Church, any more than the Dalai Llama could be pope, and for this simple reason: The Catholic religion is exclusive.  Consequently, the natural and inevitable result of believing in "one pope for two churches" is sedevacantism and ecclesiavacantism, once this realization sinks in to the minds of those who profess this theory (even if, in order to resist that inevitable conclusion, they forcibly pre-empt their minds from continuing in that direction).



    I think I understand the main point of the article, which shows that Mr. La Rosa is not correct to apply a rigorous interpretation to Archbishop Lefebvre's stance on the meaning of the "conciliarists," or "conciliar church," or the Council as "schismatic." That part seems clear.

    But what I don't understand is the second paragraph, which I included above, which basically says that there cannot be "one pope for two churches." And that the natural and inevitable result of this view is sedevacantism and ecclesiavacantism.

    However, didn't the Dominicans of Avrille publish a study by Bp. Tissier de Mallerais which included the view that the Pope is the head of both the Catholic Church and the conciliar church?


    Offline JPaul

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 07:54:26 PM »
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  • I think I understand the main point of the article, which shows that Mr. La Rosa is not correct to apply a rigorous interpretation to Archbishop Lefebvre's stance on the meaning of the "conciliarists," or "conciliar church," or the Council as "schismatic." That part seems clear.

    But what I don't understand is the second paragraph, which I included above, which basically says that there cannot be "one pope for two churches." And that the natural and inevitable result of this view is sedevacantism and ecclesiavacantism.

    However, didn't the Dominicans of Avrille publish a study by Bp. Tissier de Mallerais which included the view that the Pope is the head of both the Catholic Church and the conciliar church?
    The conclusion that one draws from that is that there are not two churches,but that the conciliar church and the Catholic church are one and the same Church, half good and half bad. This is consistent with Bishop Williamson's theory of the half rotten apple, with one pope as head of the family style Church.
    Mr. La Rosa is simply holding the Archbishop to the objective meaning of his earlier pronouncement.  The later statements seem to advert to his meaning being figurative rather than objective.  Was he backing off or did he change his mind?  We cannot be certain either way, and so I won't fault Tony too much, as a large portion of Traditionalists accepted that the SSPX was based upon that same objective meaning of the Archbishop's denouncement and many still do. Apparently so does Tony.

    The Archbishop said many different things at different times and this leaves wide open the opportunity for almost anyone to selectively quote him in support of a host of varied positions and causes as we have seen from Menzingen to Bishop Williamson to Father Chazal to Mr. La Rosa.

    That seems to be the legacy of the SSPX, confusion, division, and hostility among what is left of the remnant.  A sad turn for those who are simply trying to live the Christiian life and save their souls.

    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 10:12:37 PM »
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  • *********
    A reader asks Sodalitium Pianum:
    Dear Sodalitium Pianum blog-
    If I understand you correctly, you appear to be disagreeing with the opinion of Bishop Tissier de Mallerais and Avrille?
    **********
    Response:
    Dear ____________:
    You are correct, and I will give you my reasons.
    Firstly, it should be understood that to disagree with Avrille and Bishop Tissier on this point does not mean that by default I completely agree with Fr. Gleize.
    In fact, I respectfully disagree with him.
    If you read this 2013 interview with Fr. Gleize, you will see his position neatly outlined:
    “For my part, it seems to me that there is the Church and there is her visible structure; and in the Church’s structure there is the good spirit and the bad spirit, the latter having taken hold of the minds of the leaders and wreaking havoc under the pretext of government by the hierarchy.”
    My contention is that this position is a rather serious understatement, because the “bad spirit” of which Fr. Gleize speaks has manifested itself concretely, in the form of new catechisms, new sacramental rites, a new code of canon law, etc.
    So clearly, the term “conciliar church” must refer to something more than a “bad spirit.”
    It must also refer to, and cover, the products of this bad spirit, which seem to have eclipsed the catechisms, rites, and canons which came before.
    But does this necessarily mean that we must speak of the products and/or results of this “bad spirit” as formally constituting a new Church (i.e., that there has been a technical, complete, and definitive break)?
    I humbly deny it, and in this regard, I agree with Fr. Gleize that the term “conciliar church” does not refer to another actual, distinct institution:
    “Yes, the reforms are bad; but the result of them is to instill these tendencies (which remain at the status of tendency) into the things that are reformed: thus we have a new Mass, new sacraments, a new Magisterium, a new canon law. And therefore a new Church also. But these expressions mean to point out the corruption that is wreaking havoc within the Church, not another distinct, separate Church.” (Citation Here)
    Shortly thereafter, Avrille responded to Fr. Gleize, by posting an introduction to this article by Bishop Tissier (which is the one primarily relied upon by Mr. La Rosa): Is there a conciliar church?
    Near the beginning of the article, Avrille asserts:
    “To affirm that the official church is the Catholic Church, – something which Archbishop Lefebvre never did – leads one to look for an official recognition, because one cannot remain outside of the Catholic Church.” (Citation)
    The Dominicans then proceed to supply Bishop Tissier’s study, which after defining some philosophical terms (thereby supplying the inspiration for Mr. La Rosa’s own rendition), quotes the very strong words of Archbishop Lefebvre which Tony La Rosa clipped for his own article.
    But neither Avrille nor Bishop Tissier seems to have been aware of Archbishop Lefebvre’s 1980 quote (or in any case, neither of them addresses it) in which he explicitly contradicts them:
    The Archbishop in explaining his use of strong words makes it quite clear that he does not really/actually/literally mean the conciliar church, council, new rites, etc are technically or theologically “schismatic.”  Instead, he explains that it is “in the sense that the Council is in breach with Tradition” and “to some extent, that it is schismatic,” and, “But that does not mean that it is schismatic in the precise, theological sense of the word.”
    Which is all to say that the conciliar church is, in the mind of Archbishop Lefebvre not a true, complete, and distinct separation (i.e., The Greek word “schism” -σχίσμα, ατος, τό- means “rent” or “division” or “tearing” or separation) from the Catholic Church.
    And if there is no distinct division, then there cannot be two distinct churches, except in a metaphorical sense.
    The 1980 quote of Archbishop Lefebvre stands as a roadblock to any construction or interpretation of his words to the effect of believing in the existence of two formally distinct churches, one conciliar, and one Catholic.  As the title of this article suggests, the Archbishop himself has explained what he meant:
    If there has been no definitive, technical, formal schism (i.e., separation) in the official church -which the explanation of Archbishop explicitly denies- then it is impossible to say there are two truly distinct churches.
    Neither am I persuaded, as the Dominicans assert, that if one maintains that the official church is still the Catholic Church, one will be compelled to support the ralliement, lest he become a schismatic for remaining outside it.
    That argument seems flawed at several levels:  Firstly, the basis of our resistance is not ecclesiological, but finds its justification in the doctrine of necessity. Consequently, it is not at all true to say that identifying “official Rome” with “Catholic Rome” will lead one towards ralliement.   On the one hand, I myself am one of the more vociferous opponents of ralliement with unconverted Rome, yet I do not accept Bishop Tissier’s ecclesiological invention.  On the other hand, Bishop Tissier is himself prepared to surrender, despite his own theological construct!  Clearly, then, ecclesiological considerations have very little to do with whether or not one shall support a practical accord with unconverted Rome.  Rather, that determination seems to depend upon whether or not one understands and accepts the doctrine of necessity, and recognizes the general public state of necessity afflicting the universal Church today.
    My own position, it seems, finds itself midway between Fr. Gleize and Bishop Tissier/Avrille:
    The term “conciliar church” surely means something more than the mere “bad spirit” instilled into the conciliar and post-conciliar “reforms.”  It must also include the tangible and concrete manifestations of that bad spirit (new rites, code of canon law, catechism, etc), and recognize that in such measure (to use the words and thinking of Archbishop Lefebvre) as these are infected with conciliar doctrines, they are to be rejected.  But contrary to Bishop Tissier, I do not think that, despite the manifestation of this “bad spirit” into tangible conciliar novelties, there has arisen a formally distinct entity constituting a new church, completely separated from the Catholic Church.
    And according to Archbishop Lefebvre’s own words in the quote above, neither did he.
    PS: If you want to know why -as someone else asked- I opined that accepting the “one pope for two churches” theory would logically lead to sedevacantism, Bishop Tissier himself seemed to sense this, when he said (in the same article):
    “That the Catholic hierarchy governs at the same time the Catholic Church and a society which has the appearance of a counterfeit church seems to go against the assistance promised by Christ to Peter and his successors, guaranteeing the unerring magisterium and the indefectibility of the Church (Mt. 16, 17-19; 28,20).
    If the Pope directs another church, he is an apostate and he is no longer pope and the sedevacantist hypothesis is verified. – We simply need to respond that “Prima sedes a nemine judicatur” and that by consequence, no authority can pronounce obstinacy, declaring the pertinacity of a sovereign Pontiff in error or deviance; and that on the other hand in case of doubt, the Church supplies at least the executive power of the apparent Pope (can. 209 of the Code of Canon law 1917 4).”
    Rhetorical question: Did that response of the bishop satisfy you (i.e., Don’t worry about the sedevacantist implications because we don’t have authority to judge the pope.)?  I agree we haven’t the authority to judge the pope, but that fact returns little assurance in the face of the implications of an apparent apostate heading a completely distinct church (religion, actually).
    I tend rather to agree with Fr. Gleize on this point, in the following exchange:
    The Angelus: No doubt, but these tendencies are not Catholic! They cause people to lose the faith and separate them from the Church. We are not the ones who left the Catholic Church; they are, even though they succeeded in taking command of the official structure. We are therefore confronting a structure, an institution different from the Catholic Church. If that were not the case, we would be members of it!
    Fr. Gleize: If I follow your logic to the end, I must conclude that the conciliar Church exists therefore as a schismatic sect formally different from the Catholic Church [A claim Archbishop Lefebvre explicitly denied! -SP]. Therefore, all its members are materially at least schismatic, including all those who have rejoined it; they are outside the Church; one cannot give them the sacraments until they have publicly recanted; the conciliar popes are anti-popes; if we are the Catholic Church either we have no pope (and then where is our visible character?), or else we have one (and then who is it and is he the Bishop of Rome?).
    And a few lines later Fr. Gleize concludes:
    “Actually, your reasoning is more or less equivalent to sedevacantism. This is nothing new; but it is an old error that was already condemned by the founder of the Society of Saint Pius X. Pardon me if I disappoint you, but I will not run the risk of trying to be wiser than Solomon!” (Citation)
    Well said, indeed.
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    Offline Meg

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 11:56:33 PM »
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  • But contrary to Bishop Tissier, I do not think that, despite the manifestation of this “bad spirit” into tangible conciliar novelties, there has arisen a formally distinct entity constituting a new church, completely separated from the Catholic Church.

    Bp. Tissier does not say, in his study, that the conciliar church is separate from the Catholic Church. Where did this idea come from? Granted, it's been awhile since I've read the study.

    Bishop Tissier made a point of saying that there is a transfer of substance from the Catholic Church to the conciliar church - like a parasite who feeds off its host.

    That's why I was surprised to see in the OP that the idea of the Pope as the head of two churches leads to sedevacantism. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais is not sedevacantist, and neither are the Dominicans of Avrille.


    Offline JPaul

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 09:02:27 AM »
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  • An interesting point, were the Arian Churches still the True Church with a bad spirit or were they something other than?
    There is ample dogmatic teaching that when a man or an entity goes into heresy and error, they are outside of the true Church.

    Offline AJNC

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 09:51:56 AM »
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  • An interesting point, were the Arian Churches still the True Church with a bad spirit or were they something other than?
    There is ample dogmatic teaching that when a man or an entity goes into heresy and error, they are outside of the true Church.
    Common sense as well.

    Offline Nooseph Polten

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 06:02:12 PM »
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  • An interesting point, were the Arian Churches still the True Church with a bad spirit or were they something other than?
    There is ample dogmatic teaching that when a man or an entity goes into heresy and error, they are outside of the true Church.
    So the Church's visibility is gone, then?
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    Offline JPaul

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 07:49:49 PM »
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  • So the Church's visibility is gone, then?
    You said that, not I, but in that vein, do you look upon the conciliar entity which is built upon error and heresy and say, Ah! there is the visible Church of God on Earth?
    I believe that Athanasius said the "they have the buildings, but we have the Faith" He obviously did not see the "we" as the same thing as the "they".  The difference was discerned, one had the Catholic Faith, the others did not. Those who remained faithful to Christ's Holy Doctrine were the Catholic Church, hence, those who departed from it could not be.  
    A thing is what it is. It cannot be something else at the same time.
    And if this figurative church of the New Advent, is indeed the true and visible Catholic Church, then no one has the right to dissent from this Church in practice or in doctrine.
    If the Vatican II was a valid council of the Catholic Church, then one cannot pick and choose line by line what can be accepted and what cannot.  That would be a schismatic action on that person's part.

    Offline Wessex

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    Re: Archbishop Lefebvre explains himself
    « Reply #9 on: September 10, 2017, 05:31:21 AM »
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  • Yes, nominal Catholicism does not pass the visibility test otherwise we could embrace any entity that professes to be of the Church. I am sure many an Anglican sect would come under this heading .... and some being more visible than Rome's basket cases!

    The problem that existed with the SSPX was that it postured a visibility and invited Rome to join it. Some senior members have now reversed this approach and see themselves as the party in schism and eagerly awaiting full communion. To say that this sector of tradition is confused would be an understatement. I am afraid the personality of the archbishop was successful in pushing such vital considerations under the carpet, eventually to emerge with dramatic force.

     

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