A Reply to Mr. Damian Thompson, et al.
Monday, 27th May, 2013
St. Bede the Venerable
The organisers of the Crisis in the SSPX Conference have been made aware of an article by one Mr. Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph, entitled “Neo-Nazi Holocaust Deniers 'plan takeover' of SSPX, claim anti-Fascist campaigners."
We note with astonishment that this article appears to have been written solely for the purpose of uncritically publicising some simply incredible claims, subsequently taken up by others, made against the priests of the SSPX Resistance, the Recusant, the Crisis in the SSPX Conference, and all those involved in it, all of which claims we wish here to deny, to wit:
that the organisers of the Crisis in the SSPX conference are neo-Nazis and/or BNP members and/or in any other
way "disreputable" people;
that the conference is a “far-right” political event and/or that the event is aimed at removing Bishop Fellay from
his position as Superior General of the SSPX;
that the conference somehow involves any form of infiltration and/or takeover of the SSPX in this country;
that Bishop Williamson will be present at this conference and/or is the driving force behind this conference
and/or is somehow involved this conference;
that the conference involves secrecy, plotting, or plots of some sort; and moreover, that the locations, address,
dates, timings or other details of our conference have ever been a secret.
We are disappointed to note that Mr. Thompson has decided not to allow comments to be written under the article in question, meaning that we are denied any right to reply, by the same means and in the same place, to the outrageous and ridiculous claims which he has published. However, for public record, the organisers of the ‘Crisis in the SSPX’ conference wish to point out to Mr Thompson the following:
1. Bishop Williamson will not even be in the country when our conference is scheduled to take place. We are unaware of his precise movements but are given to understand that he will be on the other side of the world doing confirmations. He will not be the subject of any of the talks, nor was he consulted in the preparation of the conference, nor did he have any part in the planning or organising of the conference. In short, Bishop Williamson has nothing to do with this event.
2. Every one of the people involved in setting up this conference is a respectable, practising Catholic with a good name which has now been publicly and shamefully besmirched.
3. To the best of our knowledge, no “Neo-Nazis” “BNP members” or “disreputable” persons are in any way involved, much less a “bunch” of them. Nor are any such people welcome, unless they come as practising Catholics, and only as practicing Catholics.
4. The sole purpose of the weekend’s proceedings will be to discuss the doctrinal position of the SSPX and the problems attendant therewith, and to strengthen the devotion, piety and holiness of the participants.
5. The conference has been advertised in The Recusant newsletter for the past three months. It has been advertised on our website for the past four or five weeks. The press release published by Mr. Thompson says “We can reveal [that the conference] will be held in Earlsfield Library Hall...” when in reality, this address together with the times, the local busses, and all other useful information has been publicly available on our website for several weeks. There never was any secret, and hence nothing to “reveal”.
6. In addition to talks on Doctrine, during the weekend we will have Mass, Confessions, Rosary and a Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Can Mr. Thompson please explain to us how he qualifies these things as “extreme right wing” or “neo-Nazi”? Once again, this has been publicly visible on our website for the last several weeks, and a quick internet search would have brought it up.
7. It has been, and still is, our intention to film and make subsequently available the weekend’s proceedings so that those unable to attend can benefit from them. Does Mr. Damian Thompson consider that this is what “plotting” neo-Nazis would do?
Where these ridiculous claims have originated is not our concern, although some of us suspect that Mr. Thompson, who is himself no friend of the SSPX, has unwittingly allowed himself to be drawn into what appears to be an intra-mural SSPX dispute involving a dirty tricks campaign against Fr. Pfeiffer, Fr. Hewko, Fr. Kramer and the organisers of our event. Be that as it may, and although Mr. Damian Thompson may now wish to distance himself and his newspaper from the scandal involved, yet the fact remains that to uncritically make public the claims of another is tantamount to making those claims one's own. Furthermore, to commit the sin of calumny one need not be the originator of a lie: it is also a very serious sin to spread calumny begun by someone else, the more so if one makes public a lie which was hitherto private.
In short, we wish to remind Mr. Damian Thompson of his grave obligation under pain of mortal sin to make public restitution for the serious public injustice which he has committed against the reputations of those involved in the ‘Crisis in the SSPX’ conference, and to restore the good name of the event itself and of the people involved. According to Catholic Moral Theology, until and unless such restitution is made, the penitent cannot validly receive absolution.
We await his public apology and restitution.