“It deprives me of the right inherent
... of celebrating Holy Mass, and of conferring the Sacraments, and of preaching in consecrated places: namely, I am forbidden to celebrate the New Mass, to confer the new sacraments, to preach the new doctrine.”
Humurously, he saw the suspension as a ‘gift’ to prevent him from following all the Modernist changes. He then speaks of Rome’s demand, through Msgr. Benelli’s letter of June 25th 1976, which required the SSPX’s fidelity to the Church of Vatican II.
Msgr. Benelli writes ... “If they have good will and are seriously prepared for a priestly ministry in true fidelity to the Conciliar Church, finding the best solution for them will then be undertaken, but let them also make a beginning through this act of obedience to the Church.” Archbishop Lefebvre continues: “What could be clearer? We must [according to Rome] henceforth obey and be faithful to the Conciliar Church, no longer to the Catholic Church. Right there is our whole problem: We are suspended a divinis by the Conciliar Church, the Conciliar Church, to which we have no wish to belong! That Conciliar Church is a schismatic Church because it breaks with the Catholic Church that has always been. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new worship ...The Church that affirms such errors is at once schismatic and heretical. This Conciliar Church is, therefore, not Catholic.”
“...our attitude in the face of the upheaval brought about by Vatican II—either we conform to the official directives of those holding positions of authority within the Church ... or we integrally preserve the Church’s treasure.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to Members of the Society, Letter N° 2, Christmas.1976)
“We are incriminated because we have chosen the so-called way of disobedience. But we must understand clearly what this way of disobedience consists of. We may truthfully say that, if we have chosen the way of apparent disobedience, we have chosen the way of true obedience...those who follow the new way...they are the ones who have chosen the way of disobedience. Following Tradition is precisely the sign of our obedience.”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Poitiers, September 3, 1977)
“We now know with whom we have to deal. We know perfectly well that we are dealing with a “diabolical hand” which is located at Rome, and which is demanding, by obedience, the destruction of the Church! And this is why we have the right and the duty to refuse this obedience…I believe that I have the right to ask these gentlemen who present themselves in offices which were occupied by Cardinals….. “Are you with the Catholic Church?” “Are you the Catholic Church?” “With whom am I dealing?” If I am dealing with someone who has a pact with Masonry, have I the right to speak with such a person? Have I the duty to listen to them and to obey them?”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, 1978, Ordination Sermon, Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre , Vol. 2, p. 209, Michael Davies)
“I have never changed. I have preached and done what the Church has always taught. I have never changed what the Church said in the Council of Trent and at the First Vatican Council. So who has changed?...It is the enemy, as St. Pius X said, the enemy who is working within the Church because he wants the Church to be finished with her tradition.”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Homily, Venice, 7 April 1980)
“We are convinced of this, it is they who are wrong, who have changed course, who have broken with the Tradition of the Church, who have rushed into novelties, we are convinced of this. That is why we do not rejoin them and why we cannot work with them; we cannot collaborate with the people who depart from the spirit of the Church, from the Tradition of the Church. I think that it is that outlook that should guide us in our present situation. Let us not deceive ourselves by believing that by these little braking actions that are given on the right and on the left, in the excesses of the present situation, that we are seeing a complete return to Tradition. That is not true, that is not true! They remain always liberal minds. It is always the liberals who rule Rome, and they remain liberal. There is no rallying to these people. From the moment when we rally ourselves, this rallying will be the acceptance of the liberal principles. We cannot do this, even if certain appeasements are given us, certain satisfactions, certain recognitions, certain incardinations, which could even be offered to you eventually. But as long as one is dealing with people who have made this agreement with the Devil, with liberal ideas, we cannot have any confidence. They will string us along little by little; they will try to catch us in their traps, as long as they have not let go of these false ideas. So, from my point of view, it is not a question of doing whatever one can. Those who would have a tendency to want to accept that will end up being recycled.”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, December 13, 1984, Address to the priests of the French District)
“In the Church there is no law or jurisdiction which can impose on a Christian a diminution of his faith. All the faithful can and should resist whatever interferes with their faith... If they are faced with an order putting their faith in danger of corruption, there is an overriding duty to disobey.... It is because we judge that our faith is endangered by the post-conciliar reforms and tendencies, that we have the duty to disobey and keep the Tradition. Let us add this, that the greatest service we can render to the Church and to the successor of Peter is to reject the reformed and liberal Church ... I am not of that religion. I do not accept that new religion. It is a liberal, modernist religion....
Christians are divided ... Priests no longer know what to do; either they obey blindly what their superiors impose on them, and lose to some degree the faith, or they resist, but with the feeling of separating themselves from the Pope...Two religions confront each other; we are in a dramatic situation and it is impossible to avoid a choice.”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, 1986, Open Letter to Confused Catholics , chapter 18, “True & False Obedience”)
These quotes take us from the beginnings of the SSPX’s 1976 division with Rome, up to 1986 and the preparation for the episcopal consecrations in 1988. In Part Two, we will look at the words of Archbishop Lefebvre in the last 5 years of his life. We recommend that you take time to purchase and read the many sermons, writings and accounts of Archbishop Lefebvre’s life—so as to learn, understand and absorb the spirit of the man, chosen by God, to be the FOUNDER, not just leader, of the SSPX.
A Bishop Speaks
FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
the archbishop’s words on the subject of
UNION WITH ROME
Part 2 of 2
[Fr. Libietis - Resistance Brochure #2 of 7]
THE MIND OF THE FOUNDER (Part 2)
As Fr. Ludovic Barrielle (the priest chosen to be the chief spiritual director of Ecône said, a religious order risks losing its way after a period of around 40 years. We have seen groups split from the SSPX over the years, only to lose their “traditionalism” in the years that followed—despite an insistence that they would always remain staunchly traditional! These “splits” or “break-aways” always constituted a minority. Today, in the words of Bishop Fellay (“I cannot exclude that there might be a split.”—CNS interview, May 11, 2012) it seems as though a majority, not a minority, would split from the SSPX and align itself with Rome. Previously, only branches fell from the solid SSPX tree, today the trunk itself risks splitting away and taking many branches with along with it. The SSPX risks becoming the NOVUS-SSPX before finally being absorbed fully into the NOVUS-ORDO—as the philosophical axiom says, “the greater absorbs the lesser,” or as Archbishop Lefebvre once said: “To stay inside the Church, or to put oneself inside the Church... I would have been completely swamped. I would have been able to do nothing!” The problem of Eve was that she let herself be drawn into a discussion with the serpent (devil). The serpent did not look like the devil, but he was the devil. The danger of all prolonged negotiations is compromise. A “quid pro quo” or give and take! We see that in the temptation of Christ by the devil. Satan offers Jesus all kinds of things. But as Scripture says: “What concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:15). Archbishop Lefebvre visited Rome many times, he spoke with popes, cardinals and bishops, he was almost fooled on a few occasions— but he learnt many a thing about wily Rome and tried to communicate that experience to those who would listen. These quotes show his resoluteness and avoidance of all compromise. Let us learn from his supernatural wisdom! 1986 “We have allays refused to collaborate in the destruction of the Church. Since we refused this, it is obvious that we placed ourselves in opposition to those who appear to be the legal Church. We were the outlaws of the Church and they appeared to respect the law ... In fact it is they who have distanced themselves from the legality of the Church and we, on the contrary, have remained within the legality and validity. ”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Sept. 1986, Priests Retreat Ecône)
“Rome has asked us if we have the intention of proclaiming our rupture with the Vatican on the occasion of the Congress of Assisi. We think that the question should rather be: “Do you believe and do you have the intention of proclaiming that the Congress of Assisi consummates the rupture of the Roman authorities with the Catholic Church?”...The present acts of John Paul II and the national episcopates illustrates, year by year, this radical change in the conception of the Faith, the Church, the priesthood, the world, and salvation by grace. The high point of this rupture with the previous Magisterium of the Church took place at Assisi, after the visit to the ѕуηαgσgυє. The rupture does not come from us, but from Paul VI and John Paul II, who break with their predecessors. ”
(Archbishop Lefebvre & Bishop de Castro Mayer, Declaration Against Assisi, December 2, 1986)
“The magisterium of today is not sufficient by itself to be called Catholic unless it is the transmission of the Deposit of Faith, that is, of Tradition. A new magisterium without roots in the past, and all the more if it is opposed to the magisterium of all times, can only be schismatic and heretical. ”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, July 8, 1987, Letter to Cardinal Ratzinger)
“The See of Peter and the posts of authority in Rome being occupied by anti-Christs, the destruction of the Kingdom of our Lord is being rapidly carried out even in His Mystical Body here below....This is what has brought down upon our heads persecution by the Rome of the anti-Christs. This Rome, Modernist and Liberal, is carrying on it’s work of destruction of the Kingdom of our Lord, as Assisi and the confirmation of the liberal theses of Vatican II on Religious Liberty prove...”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to future bishops Aug. 29, 1987)
“I said to him [Cardinal Ratzinger— who became Pope Benedict XVI] ‘Even if you grant us a bishop, even if you grant us some autonomy from the bishops, even if you grant us the 1962 Liturgy, even if you allow us to continue running our seminaries in the manner we doing right now —we cannot work together! It is impossible! Impossible! Because we are working in diametrically opposing directions. You are working to de-Christianize society, the human person and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them. We cannot get along together!’ Rome has lost the Faith, my dear friends! Rome is in apostasy! I am not speaking empty words! That is the truth! Rome is in apostasy! One can no longer have any confidence in these people! They have left the Church! They have left the Church! They have left the Church! It is certain! Certain! Certain! Certain!”
“One is driven to wonder how intelligent persons can make a statement like, “They prefer to be mistaken with the pope, than to be with the truth against the pope.” That is not what the natural law teaches, nor the Magisterium of the Church... St. Thomas says...”if there was question of a danger for the faith, the superiors would have to be rebuked, by their inferiors, even in public.”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, March 29, 1988)
“And why, Archbishop, have you stopped these discussions which seemed to have had a certain degree of success?” ... It is clear that the only truth that exists today for the Vatican is the conciliar truth, the spirit of the Council, the spirit of Assisi. That is the truth of today. But we will have nothing to do with this for anything in the world!” (Archbishop Lefebvre, June 30th 1988, Episcopal Consecration Sermon)
“We must not be under any illusions. We are in the thick of a great fight, a great fight. We are fighting a fight guaranteed by a whole line of Popes. Hence, we should have no hesitation or fear—hesitation such as, “Why should we be going on our own? After all, why not join Rome, why not join the Pope?” Yes, if Rome and the Pope were in line with Tradition .... But they themselves admit that they have set out on a new path. They themselves admit that a new era began with Vatican II. They admit that it is a new stage in the Church’s life, wholly new, based on new principles. We need not argue the point. They say it themselves! It is clear! I think that we must drive this point home with our people.”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Sept. 9, 1988, Ecône; Conference to Seminarians; Fideliter N° 66, Nov.-Dec., 1988)
“We would have to re-enter this Conciliar Church in order, supposedly, to make it Catholic. That is a complete illusion It is not the subjects that make the superiors, but the superiors who make the subjects...Amongst the whole Roman Curia, amongst all the world’s bishops who are progressives, I would have been completely swamped. I would have been able to do nothing... [As for the Pope appointing conservative bishops] I don’t think it is a true return to Tradition. Just as in a fight when the troops are going a little too far ahead one holds them back, so they are slightly putting the brakes on the impulse of Vatican II because the supporters of the Council are going too far... the supposedly conservative bishops are wholly supportive of the Council and of the post-Conciliar reforms... No, all of that is tactics, which you have to use in any fight. You have to avoid excesses... [Asked about signs of benevolence to Tradition] There are plenty of signs showing us that what you are talking about is simply exceptional and temporary...So I do not think it is opportune to try contacting Rome. I think we must still wait. Wait, unfortunately, for the situation to get still worse on their side. But up till now, they do not want to recognize the fact....That is why what can look like a concession is in reality merely a maneuver to separate us from the largest number of faithful possible. This is the perspective in which they seem to be always giving a little more and even going very far. We must absolutely convince our faithful that it is no more than a maneuver, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the hands of Conciliar bishops and Modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger threatening our people. If we have struggled for twenty years to avoid the Conciliar errors, it was not in order, now, to put ourselves in the hands of those professing these errors. ”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Interview, Fideliter, July-August 1989)
“Some people are always admiring the grass in the neighbor’s field...they look to our enemies on the other side. “After all, we must be charitable, we must be kind, we must not be divisive, after all, they are celebrating the Tridentine Mass, they are not as bad as everyone says” —but THEY ARE BETRAYING US —betraying us! They are shaking hands with the Church’s destroyers. They are shaking hands with people holding modernist and liberal ideas condemned by the Church. So they are doing the devil’s work. They are now saying: “So long as they grant us the old Mass, we can shake hands with Rome, no problem.” But we are seeing how it works out. They are in an impossible situation. Impossible. One cannot both shake hands with modernists and keep following Tradition. Not possible. Not possible. Now, stay in touch with them to bring them back, to convert them to Tradition, yes, if you like, that’s the right kind of ecumenism! But give the impression that after all one almost regrets any break, that one likes talking to them? No way!...Unbelievable! Unimaginable! What kind of relations can you have with people like that? This is what causes us a problem with certain layfolk, who...have a kind of deep-down regret that they are no longer with the people they used to be with. “It’s a pity we are divided”, they say, “why not meet up with them? Let’s go and have a drink together, reach out a hand to them”—that’s a betrayal! Those saying this give the impression that at the drop of a hat they would cross over and join those who left us. They must make up their minds. ”
(Archbishop Lefebvre, Address to his priests, Ecône, September 6, 1990—just over 6 months before his death)
So we must make up our minds! We cannot serve God and mammon—Tradition and Modernism! We cannot love the SSPX and the NOVUS-SSPX. We will love one and hate the other, or vice-versa. The former Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers sends his spirit to teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever he shall have said to you (John 14:26). His words will not pass away. Read him. Know him. Love him. Follow him—and you will be on the safe path!
"THE OLD BISHOP FELLAY"
[Fr. Helmuts Libietis - Resistance Brochure #3 of 7]
Since the death of Archbishop Lefebvre in 1991, there has certainly been a slow, but sure, shift in the principles of the SSPX vis-à-vis Rome. As J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, “Little by little one travels far!” Others may prefer the saying: “Make haste slowly!” Others perhaps like the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” The whole idea behind these words of wisdom is that some things take time to achieve. When the ancient Romans laid siege to a city in Gaul, they were informed by the Gauls that their city had enough supplies to last ten years! The Romans replied that they would then invade the city in the eleventh year! The devil, too, works the same way and advances by small degrees. He is in no rush and advances slowly and imperceptibly forwards, inch by inch, toward his goal The enemies of the Church do not lay battle plans for only a month, a year, or a decade, but for centuries. Slowly, but surely, they try achieve their goals. Vatican II’s gradual changes are a perfect example of that!
Most things grow slowly and imperceptibly. You can try to watch a child or a tree grow each hour or each day, but you will notice nothing. However, if you measure the child or tree every year or two, then you will clearly observe the difference in size. Some people may steal a large sum of money all at one time and the missing sum is noticed, others steal a little each week for many years and nobody notices. In religion, we see the gradual cancerous growths of Humanism, Liberalism and Modernism grow throughout the Church over many hundreds of years. It is 50 years since Vatican II, and that cancer is also still growing!
For over 40 years the SSPX has been fighting against Modernist Rome, the tactics vary, new soldiers enter the fight who, perhaps, do not have the ideals and experience of the pioneer of this resistance to Modernist Rome — Archbishop Lefebvre. So they grow tired of the fight, they no longer clearly see the reasons for the struggle, they even make friends among the enemies. All of this can gradually change the outlook of the combatants and lead to a false peace and weakening of principles. As the Archbishop once said, it is not the inferiors who make the superior, but the superior who makes the inferiors—or we could say: “Like father, like son!” So if the superior changes attitudes or abandons certain principles, then that will filter down to the inferiors. In these four flyers we shall look at some quotes of the Superior General of the SSPX, Bishop Fellay, taken from letters, conferences and sermons since his consecration as bishop, to see if there is a notable change in attitude and principles vis-à-vis Rome. This first flyer will show his early talks to be unambiguous and totally in line with Archbishop Lefebvre. But little by little we will see a weakening or change in principles. This mini-series of flyers can only give a sketch of this. A thorough reading and listening to Bishop Fellay’s sermons, conferences and interviews will paint a clearer picture. We don’t know the motives, we just report the facts.
“The scandal against the Faith is becoming so usual that it no longer shocks anyone, while at the same time our enemies—let us call them by their true name—are inflicting terrible blows on Holy Mother Church.”
(Bishop Fellay, April 1995, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 4)
“To that devilish undertaking begun by the Council, especially in the Documents on NonChristian Religions, The Church in the Modern World and Religious Liberty, and continued incessantly since the Council, we offer a flat refusal.”
(Bishop Fellay, March 1996, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 50)
“Rome itself is pushing Catholics into schism! Do they still have the Faith?”
(Bishop Fellay, October 1996, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 51)
“Archbishop Lefebvre had the heaviest task. The same fight continues, but the principles by which we live ... have been established by him.”
“Here arises the grave problem of normalizing our relations with Rome! Into whose hands are we to entrust our future?...For it is a fact that the authorities in Rome are divided on our account, as we can prove by documents in our possession. So we can only continue on our present course of staying in private contact with Rome, while in public we protest out loud against the Church’s self-destruction, which is the poisoned fruit of the Liberalism, mortally infecting so many, many Church leaders.”
(Bishop Fellay, March 1997, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 52)
“Now, what we blame the Council and post-Conciliar reforms for, it’s precisely that they undertake to change the nature of the Church…That is the reason why we cannot obey …. The Church is dying, torn apart by divisions hidden under the deceitful slogan of ‘We are in communion with the Pope!’”
(Bishop Fellay, November 1997, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 53)
“in face of the scandal of Assisi, being renewed this time in the Vatican, we cannot help protesting...for such an affront to...Almighty God. The First Commandment is again being violated, head on, only this time in full view of the Basilica of St. Peter! How many martyrs must be turning in their graves... Such acts of idolatry are an abomination in the full sense of the word, but the attempt is being made to give them by their repetition a sort of legitimacy. Daily exposure to scandal no longer shocks...and woe to anyone daring to state that it is the strict duty of all men to render the one true worship to the one true God. It baffles all understanding how the Vatican can give up fighting the age-old enemy, embrace brethren that it no longer wishes to call separated...The priests of St. Peter’s Fraternity are now bitterly learning how naively they put their trust in the churchmen who promised them the moon back in 1988, if only they would abandon the house of their father, Archbishop Lefebvre, and enter into a process of “reconciliation” … Despite their defection then, these priests are being blamed now for not integrating with their faithful into the “reality” of the Church....We cannot help thinking that Rome would have treated us the same way had Archbishop Lefebvre followed through with the May 5th Protocol of 1988. From conversations between leaders of St. Peter’s Fraternity and certain cardinals, it appears that Rome does not feel bound by the terms of that protocol on which St. Peter’s Fraternity was nevertheless founded! ”
(Bishop Fellay, October 1999, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 57)
The above quote, condemning Rome’s sacrilegious prayer meeting with false religions at Assisi, was good and powerful, but by the time the third sacrilegious Assisi prayer meeting took place in 2011, Bishop Fellay said almost nothing, basically only a sentence or two, while reprimanding those who spoke out strongly. Things were getting worse, and he was saying less about it. Why? Because of the talks that were going on with Rome at that moment!
So politics comes before Truth! That reminds us of those words of another superior general of Roman forces, the liberal Pontius Pilate, who said: “What is truth?” God is Truth. God never changes. Truth never changes! That is the truth!
2000 –YEAR OF CHANGE
[After 3 years of GREC Discussions, +Fellay Decides to go to Rome, in more ways than one! -X]
It is hard to put a finger on a date or an event that is the “watershed” or crucial turning-point in the attitude of the SSPX in relation to Modernist Rome. When a large ship starts to make its turn, it is not noticeable. Only after a while does one notice that the ship has veered slightly off-course. It is often hindsight that realizes what has happened. We can say that the year 2000 and the SSPX pilgrimage to Rome was fairly close to the start of the ship steering a new course. But, as in a musical piece, the transition from one melody to another has to incorporate BOTH melodies, which the transition intertwines. In the beginning the old melody dominates while the new melody is introduced only slightly, then, later, the new melody dominates while the old melody gradually fades away and is finally abandoned. So it is not surprising to hear both religious melodies, Tradition and Liberalism, gradually mingling together. We are currently listening to the sweet music of transition!
Bishop Williamson quotes Bishop Fellay from the SSPX Superiors’ Meeting in Albano, after the 2000 Rome pilgrimage:
“Firmness pays off. It is Rome which is wrong. We have no reason to back down. We must continue as we have done. Has Rome changed? … So we must stand firmer, not less firm … We are at war! ... Their conversion is in Providence’s hands, not ours. Until then, let us pray for them, and give them a hard time! ... For the moment, we are lucky to be cut-off from Rome, which only wants us to compromise.”
(Bishop Fellay, August 2000, taken from the Letter to Friends and Benefactors of Bishop Williamson, September 2000)
After the 2000 SSPX pilgrimage to Rome, attended by thousands of SSPX laity, Rome began its crafty flattery and seduction. Bishop Fellay, like a prudent virgin, was at first resistant, but the constant amorous advances of the seducer, who would not be putt-off by the protestations, would plant some seed within the object of his desires.
“At the end of last summer’s pilgrimage to Rome, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos had a first direct contact with the Society’s Bishops .... On December 29, Cardinal Castrillon proposed to Bishop Fellay different elements that could serve towards a possible agreement between Rome and the Society. The Superior General expressed... his distrust, his apprehension. On December 30...[Bishop Fellay] saw the Pope. On January 13 there was a special meeting of the [SSPX] General Council and of the Society’s Bishops...at which were established the principles to guide us in the present situation... [Bishop Fellay] exposed the necessity of guarantees from Rome before going ahead in the details of eventual discussions or an agreement: that the Tridentine Mass be granted to all priests of the entire world; that the censures against the Bishops be declared null. The principles that are to guide us through this rather new situation are the following: (1) Given that Rome has initiated this effort, it is normal that the Society take it with the seriousness that it deserves. (2) Our distrust is extreme, keeping before our eyes on the one hand the very recent example of the Fraternity of St. Peter, and...the continuity in the post-conciliar direction. (3) The Society has in no way the intention of modifying its principles and its general goal... (4) If there were to be an agreement it could only be seen in the perspective of giving back to Tradition its rights of citizenship, even if the final triumph will only be obtained gradually. ”
(Bishop Fellay, January 22, 2001, Statement to Members & Friends)
In 1995 Bishop Fellay says he will not change, but follow the principles established by Archbishop Lefebvre. The Archbishop laid down this principle after the consecrations of 1988: “Why should we be going on our own? After all, why not join Rome, why not join the Pope? Yes, if Rome and the Pope were in linewith Tradition.” And again: “I received a few weeks ago, another telephone call from Cardinal Oddi: ‘Well, Excellency, is there no way to arrange things, no way?’ I replied, ‘You mustchange, come back to Tradition. It is not a question of the Liturgy, it is a question of the Faith’.”
(Address to Priests, September 6, 1990).
In the 1988 November-December Fideliter interview, the Archbishop was asked: “In your last letter to the Holy Father (June 1988) you declared that you were waiting for a more propitious time for the return of Rome to Tradition. What do you think of a possible re-opening of the dialogue with Rome?” Archbishop Lefebvre replies: “We do not have the same outlook on a reconciliation. Cardinal Ratzinger sees it as bringing us back to Vatican II. We see it as a return of Rome to Tradition. We don’t agree; it is a dialogue of death ... supposing that Rome calls for a renewed dialogue, then, I will put conditions. I shall not accept being in the position where I was put during the dialogue. No more! I will place the discussion at 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 ?... 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 ...no dialogue is possible. It is useless!’”
Though initially holding to Archbishop Lefebvre’s principles governing future dialogue with Rome, as shown by the above quotes, in the next three flyers we will see Bishop Fellay slowly alter the Archbishop’s stance to a much weaker and more dangerous stance in relation to Rome.
READ THE OTHER 3 FLYERs IN THIS 4-PART SERIES Together they explain the subtle & gradual shift in principles governing the SSPX’s relations with Rome after 2000
THE SEED IS PLANTED
[Fr. Helmuts Libietis - Resistance Brochure #4 of 7]
Lasting change takes time. Effective change takes time. Disease takes its time. Recovery of health takes time. In education, constantly repeating and reviewing ideas, over a long period of time, is essential to make the ideas “stick” in the mind. The masters of propaganda know this! When a massive unpopular change is the goal, it usually must be brought about by small acceptable steps. A forced change is not as good as a desired change. You can always force people to do something, but it works better if they want to do it. So you have to “sell the product” to those who don’t really want it. This calls for a gradual introduction of and acclimatization to thing you want “to sell.” We have seen that approach followed in the introduction of sinful laws in many countries. Talk about it rarely (and condemn it)—then talk about it more (but condemn it less)—talk even more (and condemn even less)—then talk all the time—then when the shock factor wears off and people are used to the idea—THEN DO IT!
It is just like the musical transition referred to in first of these four flyers. So the SSPX introduces the idea or possibility of union with Modernist Rome, but at the same time refuses it vehemently. Then it will bring the idea back more and more often, and oppose it less and less vehemently, until, at last, it will put it into practice. The perfect “sales pitch”! In the following quotes, you will see Bishop Fellay speak of both ideas—the idea of union with Rome and, at the same time, a refusal of it. At first the refusal is powerful, and then, over time, by 2012, it loses its strength. The comments seeming to favor the idea of union with Modernist Rome are highlighted in RED and the comments that seem resistant to the idea of union with Modernist Rome is in GREEN. Whether Bishop Fellay was slowly working towards a deal or not, the ‘music’ of his words skillfully intertwines the two opposing ideas.
“If Rome calls upon us as firemen to help put out the fire, we will not refuse our services, but before we get involved in the blaze, we do ask for the gas-line, which is the source of the fire, to be cut off! .... We are being offered a practical solution not to be held up by points of dispute [over doctrine]. Rome neither denies that there are points to be disputed, nor does it refuse to deal later with such questions, but it is inviting us to re-enter the fold without further delay. As a sign of good-will, we are being offered a solution acceptable in itself, in fact a solution which would suit us down to the ground from a purely practical point of view. Yet it is an offer we must refuse....this division cannot be healed by a merely practical agreement. We embody the contradiction without meaning to do so, and a practical agreement will not change this basic situation. The solution to the problem is to be sought elsewhere ... For Rome’s part, to settle the question, of the seeming separation, is of primary importance, and takes priority over all else; doctrinal questions will be talked about later. Through this pursuit of unity, Rome has indeed changed its position towards us, it [Rome] is indeed seeking for a solution, but as far as we are concerned it is missing the point. For sure, we wish to see this crisis come to an end. For sure, we wish to cease being opposed to Rome. But that calls for a different approach altogether ... we would by no means refuse a true discussion with Rome of the real questions, but we have not yet reached that point.” (Bishop Fellay, May 2001, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 60)
The following quotes, from a very long conference in Kansas City, MO, in 2002, continue this ‘musical transition’ that seeks to reconcile two opposing ideas. The old melody of Archbishop Lefebvre still dominates, but the new tune surfaces more and more. The whole conference is very traditional and powerful, but talk of union with Rome will start to dominate over the next ten years. Already we see subtle favorable comments about Rome appearing, while we are made to feel safe by also hearing the usual condemnations. The seeds of change are thus sown!
“We are able to say that a new phase in the history of the Society of St. Pius X has begun. It touches seriously on the question of our existence and of our future ... we first have to remind ourselves of the principles which guide us... first...we are Roman Catholics and we want to stay Roman Catholics...; second ... the Catholic Church is our Mother, that the bad things that happen to the Church hurt us, crush us ...; third...we are Romans! ... That’s why whenever we look to Rome, we expect to hear the voice of the Lord from the mouth of the Vicar of Christ....when Rome approaches us, our first reaction as Catholics is to look at it with a favorable eye because we constantly expect that one day we will be able to hear again the voice of the Lord ... At this meeting [with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos in December 2001] I wanted to stress two things, the first of which was that whatever happens—even if there is an agreement with Rome—the Society of St. Pius X is going to “continue to fight against Liberalism, Modernism, and Fɾҽҽmαsσɳɾყ....I re-stated all our objections to Vatican II—religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality. I spoke of the new Code of Canon Law. I threw a lot of punches and I was really amazed to see how much he was able to absorb and still continue in a pleasant way. I really admired that. I thought, well, he is really a mediator, because I really threw a lot of things at him....The cardinal seemed to be happy with my answers....
“At the end of the discussion, he asked, ‘When will you be back in Rome?’ I said, ‘Around January 15th.’ ‘Okay, come here, we’ll have a formal meeting, and we’ll sign an agreement.’ Done! Two weeks! I replied, ‘No, that’s not possible.’ He said, ‘We’ll have a little meeting with the pope and, once it’s signed, we’ll have a formal meeting with the pope.’ Without committing myself, I anticipated I would receive a visit around January 15th.... Later that evening, on December 29th, I received a phone call from Cardinal Castrillón: ‘The meeting with the pope is scheduled for tomorrow at 11am.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, but my plane’s at noon.’ I asked if he could reschedule. ‘No!’ he answered, ‘there’s a general audience at St. Peter’s Square.’ I tried to change my plane, but couldn’t, so I called back and said, ‘I can’t, I’m sorry. It’s Saturday; Sunday, I’m busy. I cannot be there at 11am. There are no seats available on the planes.’ The cardinal said, ‘I’ll take care of that.’ And he did! He got me on each plane from Rome to Zurich on that Saturday afternoon and night! I don’t know how he did it! It’s unbelievable, really! So, I had no excuses....
“Our relations with Rome are made difficult because of the behavior of Rome itself, which does unbelievable things and, on the other hand, allows bishops to do even worse things. As long as Rome continues like this, we will continue as we do. Even if Rome gives us a beautiful administration, we’ll continue to fight where we must fight. That is why we request that we enter into real, true discussion on doctrinal matters. But they don’t want to.”
(Bishop Fellay, Conference in Kansas City, MO, March 5, 2002)
In the following quote, Bishop Fellay condemns the way in which the compromising traditional priests of Campos, Brazil, were acting towards Rome. Yet, what Campos did then, the SSPX is doing today! Little by little one can go far!
“Rome means—all things being equal—to come to an agreement with the SSPX. On all sides we hear that the pope would like to settle this matter before he dies. [Bishop Fellay then speaks of the traditional priests of Campos who had reconciled with Rome] So little by little the will to fight grows weaker and finally one gets used to the situation. In Campos itself, everything positively traditional is being maintained, for sure, so the people see nothing different, except that the more perceptive amongst them notice the priests’ tendency to speak respectfully and more often of recent statements and events coming out of Rome, while yesterday’s warnings and today’s deviations are left out. The great danger here is that in the end one gets used to the situation as it is, and no longer tries to remedy it .... we are bound to say that the Campos priests, despite their claims to the contrary, are slowly being re-molded, following the lead of their new bishop. ” Bishop Fellay is now doing the exactly the same thing that he had condemned Campos for doing in 2002.
(Bishop Fellay, January 2003, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 63)
“We are sensitive to your [Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos] efforts and those of the Holy Father to come to our aid, and we see that this overture on your part is certainly very generous... before constructing a roadway on a bridge, one must lay its foundations. Otherwise the enterprise is doomed to failure. We do not see how we could arrive at a recognition without passing through a number of steps. ” Bishop Fellay then says those two steps must be the lifting of the excommunications and the granting of permission to all priests to say the Latin Mass. (Bishop Fellay, January 6, 2004, Letter to Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos)
“Rome demands that we accept their proposition of a “personal jurisdiction.” The problem lies not in the juridical formulation, which seems acceptable to us in principle, although we do not know the concrete elements and implications of such a “juridical formula.” The problem remains as always on the level of doctrine. ”
(Bishop Fellay, June 2004, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 66)
DICI (SSPX news website) asks: “In this interview for the Latin Mass magazine, Cardinal Castrillón-Hoyos does more than just stretch out a hand to the faithful attached to Tradition, he affirms that the Holy Father holds his arms open. Aren’t you touched by such a generous offer?”
+Fellay: “I am very much touched by this gesture and do not doubt the generosity behind it. But ... the Cardinal minimizes, as much as he can, the real difficulties which exist on both sides. ”
DICI: “So, for you, it is doctrine, integral doctrine, or nothing? Doesn’t this position of “all or nothing” lack realism?”
+Fellay: “We are firm, but not unreachable. Doubtless, doctrine is fundamental, but we do think there are some preliminary stages to go through. That is the reason why, from the very beginning, we proposed two preliminary conditions to the Roman authorities...These conditions are: the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication against the bishops of the Society and the acknowledgment of the right for every priest to celebrate the traditional Mass. ”
(Bishop Fellay, July 20, 2004, DICI interview)
After the 1988 Episcopal Consecrations, Archbishop Lefebvre said after that the only way there could be union with Rome was if Rome returned to Tradition—otherwise it would be a dialogue of death. In other words, it is a doctrinal problem, not a practical problem. Bishop Fellay here sets out on a path that devalues the issue of doctrine, and will eventually lead to a “cut-price-deal” on a practical level, while leaving doctrinal differences for a later date! Little by little one can go far!
“We see a certain development for the better. What I say, we cannot take as a general law, that is, I cannot say that now everything is fine—that wouldn’t be correct. But what we see is a certain lessening in the opposition which we are facing. Till about the year 2000, there was a huge wall. We were facing one thing, and that was a big, big “No” to Tradition. Since the year 2000 we see little by little certain things, certain bishops, certain persons in the hierarchy who are no longer so heavily against us. The wall is crumbling. “We request from Rome, that Rome confirm us in the Faith ... We have the strict right to request this from the Roman authorities, and we do not think that we will really progress towards an agreement as long as Rome has not shown a concrete will to dissipate the smoke that has invaded the temple of God ...There will be no agreement before then.”
(Bishop Fellay, November 10, 2004, Conference in Kansas City, MO)
Due to increasing bad health (Parkinson’s disease from 2001), Pope John Paul II was little involved in the talks with the SSPX. On April 2, 2005, he died. Cardinal Ratzinger replaced him as Pope Benedict XVI. This would see the rapid sprouting and growth of the seeds planted in the earlier years. Continued in Part Three.
READ THE OTHER 3 FLYERs IN THIS 4-PART SERIES Together they explain the subtle & gradual shift in principles governing the SSPX’s relations with Rome after 2000
THE SEEDS SPROUT
[Fr. Helmuts Libietis - Resistance Brochure #5 of 7]
With the death of John Paul II and the ɛƖɛctıon of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, came a whole new fertile atmosphere for the ‘seeds of union’ to sprout. Compared to John Paul II, Benedict XVI ‘seemed’ much more conservative, but the chief thing he wanted to conserve was Vatican II and its implementation. However, many said that he regretted his past actions against the SSPX and wanted to put things right. With this backdrop, the moves towards a desired union gather pace. What used to be mere talk of an agreement with Rome, now leads to reciprocal actions to bring about that union.
The Pope would provide the heat and moisture, necessary for its growth, by allowing the Latin Mass to be said by any priest in the world (in 2007) and lifting the excommunications of the SSPX bishops (in 2009). These actions would favor dialogue. However, one important thing would be put to one side—the recommendations of Archbishop Lefebvre. For him, any dialogue would be a “dialogue of death” if it did not see Rome coming back to tradition. He warned that Rome would give concessions, at times great ones, but these would simply be maneuvers to string Tradition along. He stressed that any future talks must be on the level of doctrine, and not just a practical agreement (which would leave both Rome and SSPX still disagreeing and separated on matters of doctrine). The reign of Benedict XVI would see a watering-down or whittling-away of the Archbishop’s principles in favor of what would amount to, technically, a mere practical agreement. Little by little one travels far!...Again, the comments that seem to promote a union with Rome are highlighted in RED, while the comments that seem to resist a union with Rome are highlighted in green. The idea of a union is continually pushed forward, but the SSPX members and followers are made to feel safe and comfortable by the talk of resistance to such a union.
“His Excellency Bishop Fellay... welcomes the accession of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Sovereign Pontificate. He sees there a gleam of hope that we may find a way out of the profound crisis which is shaking the Catholic Church. ” (SSPX Press Communiqué, April 19, 2005) Bishop Fellay requested an audience with the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI, which was granted on August 29, 2005.
“We wanted to meet the Holy Father because we are Catholic and, like all Catholics, we are attached to Rome ... [and] to call the attention of the Sovereign Pontiff to the existence of the Tradition .... [that] Tradition is a solution, indeed the only solution ... Then Benedict XVI pointed out that there can be only one way of belonging to the Catholic Church: i.e., by having the spirit of Vatican II interpreted in the light of Tradition. This is a perspective that rather frightens us….Finally, we would have to have, thinks the Sovereign Pontiff, a suitable structure for the traditional rite and certain exterior practices —without, however, protecting us from the spirit of the Council that we would have to adopt.”
(Bishop Fellay, DICI interview, September 17, 2005)
Archbishop Lefebvre laid down the principle that there would be no dialogue with Rome unless Rome returned to Tradition and accepted the great encyclicals of past popes, saying that any talks would otherwise be a waste of time and a “DIALOGUE OF DEATH.” That there was no change in Rome, should have been clear from this meeting with the Pope, but Bishop Fellay was prepared to flirt with the enemies of Tradition for a “reduced price”—and not the full price required by the Archbishop. The price is gradually lowered—little by little.
“The audience [with the Pope] was an opportunity for the Society to manifest that it has always been attached—and always will be—to the Holy See. We broached the serious difficulties, already known, in a spirit of great love for the Church. We reached a consensus as to proceeding by stages in the resolution of problems.”
(Bishop Fellay, August 29, 2005, Press Release from Albano, Rome)
“What would be the point of an accord that would consist in letting oneself be sunk by the iceberg. ”
(Bishop Fellay, September 2005, Letter to Friends & Benefactors, No. 68)
Fr. Lorans : Could you tell us if, after meeting with the Holy Father, dialogue continues?
“It is not completely at a standstill. There is simply a certain opening from Rome—something new, which began in the year 2000—which we must analyze very closely. The private audience itself shows a pope well disposed to listen to us, at least up to a certain point...I think this should lead to a discussion ...If there is a discussion, it will necessarily deal with points of the Council...I offered to Rome to draw up a list of the issues on which we disagree, which cause a doctrinal problem...Rome seems to be open to the idea of receiving that list. Presently, I do not think we can expect more than small steps. There is a certain opening...We see that with the accession of the new pope, Benedict XVI, there is like a shiver of hope.... We find this even in the Roman Curia, we have people sympathetic to us even up there. ”
(Bishop Fellay, December 8, 2005, interview by Radio Courtoisie)
“It is rather clear that Rome, the pope, would like to settle the affairs of the Society, if I may say so, and according to their plan it must be a quick settlement. On our part, we always insisted that before we can reach a practical settlement, they must eliminate the principles which...generate the crisis, and which...would destroy us if we were to accept them. Thus we can in no way accept. ” (Bishop Fellay, February 2, 2006, Flavigny)
“I would rather say that this dialogue must be both doctrinal and practical, with facts to support the theological arguments ....The purpose of the doctrinal discussion is to obtain that Rome acknowledge [that Vatican II is responsible for the crisis in the Church]...Those who want to mind only the practical or canonical aspect, will see our doctrinal demands as a loss of time...Those who want to consider only the speculative aspect will find that our pastoral preliminary conditions are side-stepping the root issues, and will say that this dialogue is the beginning of a compromise with modernism. To desire an immediate canonical agreement at any cost would expose us to see an immediate resurgence of the problems opposing us to Rome, and the agreement would become null and void. The regularization of our canonical status must come last. ”
(Bishop Fellay, April 1, 2006, DICI interview)
“Following [Archbishop Lefebvre’s] footsteps in the fight for the Catholic Faith, the Society fully endorses his criticisms of the Second Vatican Council and its reforms, as he expressed them in his conferences and sermons, and in particular in his Declaration of November 21, 1974: ‘We adhere with all our heart and all our soul to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary for the maintaining of that Faith, to eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and of truth. On the contrary, we refuse, and we have always refused, to follow the Rome of neo-modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies, which showed itself clearly in the Second Vatican Council and in the reforms that issued from it.’ Contacts held with Rome over the last few years have enabled the Society to see how right and necessary were the two pre-conditions that it laid down [freeing the Tridentine Mass and lifting the excommunications]....If, upon these pre-conditions being fulfilled, the Society looks to a possible debate on doctrine, the purpose is that of making the voice of traditional teaching sound more clearly within the Church. Likewise, the contacts made from time to time with the authorities in Rome have no other purpose than to help them embrace once again that Tradition ... The purpose is not just to...arrive at some merely practical impossible agreement....When Tradition comes back into its own, then ‘reconciliation will no longer be a problem’”
(Declaration of the SSPX General Chapter, July, 2006, after the reɛƖɛctıon of Bishop Fellay as Superior General for another 12 years)
Fr. Alain Lorans: “Your Excellency, concerning the declaration of the General Chapter, the chapter members were against a practical agreement, they said that such an agreement was chimeric, impossible for the present…”
Bishop Fellay: “It is impossible today. And why? Because it is not so much the agreement taken in itself which is impossible; since Rome is offering it to us. Or rather Rome declares itself ready to come to terms. What is impossible is not so much the agreement, but the situation in which we would find ourselves if we signed such an agreement. What would we be confronted by? Would the concrete circumstances brought about by the agreement be a livable situation for us? Obviously the answer is no... the situation in the Church was such today that a normal Catholic life, has been made concretely impossible. So it is impossible to speak about a practical agreement before this life is made possible again. And to make this life possible is not something we can do. It must be done by the pope....As long as these elements are not there, it is utterly suicidal to want to make a practical agreement. ”
(Bishop Fellay,Villepreux, October 14, 2006)
Great fighting talk! But by 2012, and the end of the next General Chapter meeting, the above declaration and attitude will have slowly changed and weakened. The doctrinal talks will have failed, yet the SSPX will nevertheless seek a practical agreement after failing in their desire for a doctrinal agreement. And the so-called endorsement of Archbishop Lefebvre’s criticial sermons of the Modernist Church will have changed to a restriction on what sermons can be released for public consumption—the most critical ones censored. His severe criticism will have been replaced by a more gentle criticism, with softer language. The SSPX websites and publishing houses will have been ‘cleaned-up’ by the removal of articles and books offensive to Modernist Rome. Little b