Apparent "News" That Is Not "New" At All
by Thomas A. Droleskey
There are disadvantages and advantages to having a very good long term memory.
Disadvantages? Well, one of the "disadvantages" is that one remembers all to clearly his past sins and mistakes and monumental blunders. Yes, I know, that there is not really a "disadvantage" as we are supposed to learn from our past sins and mistakes and monumental blunders and to be conscious of them in order to be more and more eager to embrace voluntarily a spirit of prayer, penance, mortification and self-denial to make reparation for them to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Not that a person with a good memory needs any particular "jog" to recall his sins and mistakes and blunders, I must say that reading the sermons of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori into digital voice recorder helped to remind me of things that have receded into the cerebral "website," so to speak, but were "downloaded" upon reading a particular passage. Although the fictional Lucille Ricardo's facial expression of disgust with herself when she got into trouble doesn't "travel" in print, the pathetic "oooooh" that she uttered with a curled up top lip was about what I was thinking when I read certain passages from the Sunday sermons of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori.
Advantages to having a very good long term (note, I qualifying this as long term!) memory? Well, of course, there are many. One of the ways I have used the memory with which I have been blessed, a blessing that is a pure gratuitous gift from God that could be taken away by means of an accident or a stroke or Alzheimer's Disease or any number of other ways, is in my teaching career. I can recall facts and dates with relative ease, and this is certainly advantageous to be able to illustrate various points.
This ability has been put to use also when I campaigned for elected office for myself or for others, being of particular use when I was campaigning for the presidential candidacy of Patrick Joseph Buchanan in late-1995 and early-1996 as I demonstrated to voters in Iowa and Illinois and New Hampshire and Florida that then Senator Robert Joseph Dole, Jr., was not "pro-life" and that he had, among other things, supported newly-inaugurated President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton's decision to provide Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in January of 1993. Most people do not follow current events closely nor do they retain much of what they read or hear. I was able to marshall the facts simply by my own God-given ability of recall. I have continued presenting these nasty little things called facts long after my total withdrawal from electoral politics to try to explain in my various articles and books that nothing ever changes in our Judeo-Masonic electoral process as said process is founded upon false, naturalistic, anti-Incarnational and semi-Pelagian principles. (No, I will never tire of trying to hammer that truth home!)
In like manner, you see, most people who have followed the cataclysms wrought by the "Second" Vatican Council and the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service do not have much a sense of true history. This is especially true of younger Catholics for whom everything is "new," whether in the realm of the machinations of the counterfeit church of conciliarism or in the real of electoral politics. A lot of these earnest young Catholics have to reinvent the wheel over and over again to discover the simple truth that false premises always result in bad consequences. The predictable repetition of past patterns of behavior by various clerics or figures in public life are entirely "new" to such Catholics, who are quite impelled to reject the counsel of those who are older and have more of a knowledge of principles and facts that they they do, preferring to believe that the "now" of the present is somehow "different" from the "past."
Thus it is, my very few friends who still access this website (I'm laughing pretty heartily right now!), that a number of traditionally-minded Catholics are aghast that the leaders of the Society of Saint Pius X are conducting "purges" against members of the laity who attended a lecture in Australia given by a prominent American sedevacantist, although one who has shown tendencies recently in the direction of the hideous "home alone" movement. The mere fact, however, that some Catholics who assisted at chapels administered by the Society of Saint Pius X attended these lectures, which focused on the differences between conciliarism and Catholicism, was enough for them to be expelled from the ranks of the Society of Saint Pius X. Folks, folks, my friends, my friends, calm down. This is nothing new. This is apparent "news" that is not "new" at all. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
It is important, therefore, for those who do not remember the past well and/or who have not been willing to see beyond the false ecclesiology of the Society of Saint Pius X, which really does fashion itself to be the true "church" outside of which there is no Catholic tradition (Extra Societate Nulla Salus) and who thus have been unable to see--or to accept--prior to now the fact that the Society of Saint Pius X, being founded on false premises itself (see Father Anthony Cekada's sermon of two years ago,
The Errors of the Society of St Pius X), has always been a mass of contradictions and absolute arbitrariness. These contradictions and arbitrariness have led to great confusion and disarray at various points in the Society's life, leading many disillusioned Catholics into the world of the "indult" or even to the Novus Ordo service itself.
Priests who have fallen on the wrong side of an arbitrarily drawn fault line at various points in the past three and one-half decades have found themselves without a home or without an income. The Society's leaders have always seen themselves as beyond criticism as they feel free to criticize and then to obey selectively the "pontiff" who they recognize as the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth. Those, whether priests or members of the laity who dissent from the Society's "received teaching" are treated quite summarily as positions taken in the past change in direct proportion to the "temperature" of the Society's leaders' relationship with the officials of the Vatican held in conciliar captivity. And even this is nothing "new." Indeed, nothing that is happening in the Society of Saint Pius X at the present time is at all new.
Consider, please, the following material, only brief selections of which will be printed here, to recognize the fact that the chaos in the Society of Saint Pius X at the present time is the result of the chaos of its false ecclesiology, which prompted the "nine" to write as follows to the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the fonder of the Society of Saint Pius X, on March 25, 1983:
Over the past few years, the Society has accepted the service of priests ordained by vernacular versions of the New Rite of Ordination of 1968. On November 30, 1947, Pope Pius XII issued his Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, dealing with the matter of the Sacrament of Orders. It was his intention "to put an end to all controversy," as he said. He did this by, among other things, decreeing and determining which words in the form for the ordination of a priest "are essential and therefore requisite for validity."
The English words of the form in the New Rite of ordination so differ from the one Pius XII said were essential for validity that the, introduce a positive doubt as to its validity. In fact the doubt is not negative, but positive enough even in your own mind, Your Grace, so as to justify the conditional ordination of priests ordained in the New Rite.
And so you have in fact conditionally, ordained at least two priests in America: Father Sullivan and Father [. . .]. Indeed, you even asked Rev. Philip Stark to accept conditional ordination and he, as you yourself told us, adamantly refused And yet, after his refusal, you nevertheless allowed and continue to allow him to work with the Society; and he is not the only doubtfully ordained priest that you permit to do so — he is one of many.
Thus under the aegis of the Society, doubtful Masses are being offered, doubtful absolutions are being given and dying people are being anointed with an "Extreme Unction" that may be invalid and of no more value than the anointing with oil done by a Protestant minister.
How, one must ask before God, can the Society reject the doubtful sacraments of the new Church only to replace them with doubtful priests? How grave a sin this is! How false a pretense! Furthermore the Society in the South West District has begun to import to the United States priests whose theological training and manner of ordination are under a similar cloud. As Your Grace knows, this has been a source of scandal. (Letter of 'the Nine' to Abp. Marcel Lefebvre.)
The employment of such priests strikes at the heart of one of the reasons for the Society's existence: to provide unquestionably valid sacraments for the faithful — for if a positive doubt exists as to the validity of a priest's ordination, not only are the sacraments he administers doubtful, but the faithful are put into a position by the Society of choosing between the doubtful sacraments of the new Church and the doubtful priests of the Society. From the standpoint of Catholic morality this is inadmissible. Letter of 'the Nine' to Abp. Marcel Lefebvre
What is "new" today about the the leaders of the Society of Saint Pius X taking in doubtfully "ordained" "priests" from the counterfeit church of conciliarism? Nothing, that's what. Nothing.
Demanding "loyalty" to the decisions of the leaders of the Society of Saint Pius X? This is not new. Again, consider (and please read the text in full) of the
Letter of 'the Nine' to Abp. Marcel Lefebvre:
The fundamental reason for the Society's existence is to promote loyalty to the Church and her teachings. Unfortunately, it seems that the distinction between the primary loyalty which we owe to the Church and the subordinate loyalty we give to the Society has become somewhat blurred in the practical order.
Priests, seminarians, and the faithful associate themselves with the Society to the extent that the Society is loyal to Tradition; they associate with it because they want the traditional Mass, the traditional sacraments and the traditional teachings and practices of the Church. The trust we have received from them is based on this. It is the trust under which we have labored in the United States these past ten years. We have received this trust from them in a true contractual sense. The support we have asked from them and received was a conditional support. The condition was that we be loyal to Tradition and the people would be loyal to us. It is not loyalty to persons or organizations, but loyalty to the Church and her traditions that counts in their eyes.
We believe it should be the practice of the Society to avoid giving the impression that loyalty to the Society is on the same level as loyalty to the traditions of the Church and the Church itself. We priests cannot propose loyalty to the Society as equal in value to loyalty to the traditional rites and doctrines. Therefore, the primary motive of everything we do is loyalty to the Church.
To the extent that any organization, including the Society, would do things which conflict with the traditions and immemorial practices of the Church, to that extent we reject these things without hesitation or reservation.
His Excellency Bishop Donald A. Sanborn elaborated on this in his excellent
The Crux of the Matter:
The most vocal and eminent champion of the theory that tradition is the norm in this crisis was Archbishop Lefebvre. If there is one thing that I learned from him in the twelve years that I have spent with him, it is that we have to adhere to tradition in order to preserve the Catholic faith. This principle became firmly established in my mind and daily activity. It is the very principle which guided all my decisions and actions of April 1983. I simply concluded that we would never compromise tradition no matter what the consequences. And consequences we now have.
Upon entering Ecône, I had a somewhat confused notion of the nature of the problems in the Church and just how to react to them. Although I knew that I abhorred the changes of Vatican II, I was still very unaware of the degree of their malice and of their perverse origins. Before meeting Archbishop Lefebvre, it had never occurred to me that the solution to the problem in the Church was simply to maintain tradition boldly, no matter what anyone says. My decision to enter Ecône was equivalent to a declaration of war on modernism and modernists; I think that the other Americans felt the same way.
It soon became apparent to me that not everyone had the same idea. Archbishop Lefebvre had gathered together a certain number of priests and seminarians in Europe who constituted, respectively, the faculty and student body of early Ecône. They had sought out the Archbishop, and not vice-versa. I think that His Excellency at the time was looking forward to a quiet and sanctified retirement after his recent resignation from being Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers. Because, however, these traditionally-minded clerics had asked him for ordination, he found it necessary to establish a recognized form of religious life according to the norms of the law. Ecône and the International Fraternity of Saint Pius X were thus born, and, surprisingly, this body of clergy received the approbation of the Bishop of Fribourg, Lausanne, and Geneva, and of the Bishop of Sion, Switzerland. Although both bishops were aware that the traditional Mass was being used at Ecône, it still retained their official permission to operate.
Although this approbation seemed like a good thing at the time, it nevertheless caused confusion. What were we? How can we have the blessing of the local bishop when we are against virtually everything he is doing? Are we seeking a niche in the New Church, or are we at war with it?
These questions were never really answered. Instead, the principle of adherence to tradition was constantly reiterated. An atmosphere of "playing by ear" quickly developed. Being at Ecône in those years was like being in a football game, in which you were certain that your team was going to win, but no one had told you yet what the game plans were. As long as we kept to tradition, everyone thought, nothing would go wrong.
Because of this approved status, Ecône attracted a great number of young men, mostly from France, to study for the priesthood. Because of its approved status, there was no hurdle of "disobedience" to surmount, and being a traditionalist in Europe actually had a certain air of respectability, far different from what I had experienced in the United States. As a result, these young men differed widely in their motives for adherence to tradition, creating varying degrees in the firmness of their traditional convictions.
While it is true that all of the priests and seminarians who came to Ecône in the early days loved the traditional Mass, some preferred the late Paul VI versions of it, while others favored the use of the pre-John XXIII rubrics, including the unreformed Holy Week rites. All loved the traditional Mass, but some loved it to the exclusion of the New Mass, others not. Some would favor the traditional laws of fast and abstinence, others not. Many seminarians thought nothing of returning home on vacation and attending the New Mass, while others would have died before doing such a thing. Many seminarians were learning the Saint Pius X breviary and Mass, while others were cultivating the reforms of John XXIII and beyond. The priest who was the rector of the seminary during my years there, for example, was publicly in favor of the Saint Pius X rubrics, and even managed to introduce into the reformed Holy Week rites at Ecône a number of the traditional observances. To my knowledge, the clergy of Ecône still retain the insertions which this rector made, quite contrary to the positions which they have recently enunciated concerning the liturgy.
Great latitude prevailed in these matters at Ecône. There were "soft-liners" and "hard- liners." Soft-liners wanted the Society to be a religious congregation which would retain the traditional practices of the Church, but which would not condemn as "non-Catholic" the changes of Vatican II.
For example, there were some priests on the faculty who would say the New Mass in parishes on Sunday or while on vacation. They saw no theological problems there, since after all, both were approved. The hard-liners, on the other hand, saw the Society as the "new Jesuits," so to speak, this time fighting Protestants not in northern Germany, but Protestants in purple, sitting in high places of authority in the Church, injecting into the veins of the Church a false religion. The soft-liners would constantly worry about what the modernist hierarchy was thinking about Ecône, and would conjure up ways of pleasing them. Hard-liners would disregard the modernist hierarchy, assuming that they were wolves in sheep's clothing, and should be treated as such.
The underlying question which divided these two groups, but which was seldom stated, was: "Are the Modernists Catholics?" or "Are the changes of Vatican II a true form of the Catholic religion?" or "Can someone who promotes the changes of Vatican II lay claim to the name 'Catholic'?"
If one answers the question in the affirmative, then logically traditionalists can only hope to be a pea in the modernist pod, a separate rite perhaps, recognizing the legitimacy of the entire post-Vatican II Church, at least in its officially approved disciplines. Such an answer would make someone worry about what the modernist hierarchy thought of Ecône, and would always keep open the option of returning to them, if things became too hot in the traditional camp. After all, they would say, the Vatican II changes are Catholic. A negative answer, on the other hand, is a call to outrage, a call to arms, the arms of preaching, teaching, writing, the arms of traditional sacraments, traditional spirituality, traditional philosophy and theology. It is a call to cleanse the Temple with a whip.
Unfortunately Archbishop Lefebvre gave both sides something to work with. Both sides could legitimately point to words and actions of His Excellency to support their respective positions. Each side claimed to be his true followers, to have his true spirit.
True Followers: Archbishop-Liners
The truth is that neither side was or did, since Archbishop Lefebvre never really answered the fundamental question — whether the modernists were Catholic or not — which answer would have placed him on one or the other side. Rather, the Archbishop "played by ear" his reaction to the crisis, and would occasionally say things and do things from which you could logically conclude that he felt that the modernists were not Catholics, and occasionally say things and do things from which you could conclude that the modernists were Catholics.
The ones the Archbishop considered his true followers were those who did not draw any conclusions from his sayings or actions, who did not seek an answer to the fundamental question, who were neither hard-liners nor soft-liners, but only "Archbishop-liners." His Excellency always cultivated and favored this kind of seminarian, and surrounded himself with them when they were ordained. He would visibly spurn those who, either by word or deed, manifested an adherence to a principle which lay above and beyond the Archbishop, and to which the Archbishop himself was considered subject and responsible.
I think that he felt that such clerics threatened the unity of his Society, and were simply "using" him for ordination. His attitude, one sensed, was, "Why come to Ecône if not to follow Monsignor Lefebvre?" I think he believed that the fundamental operating principle of Ecône was to follow Archbishop Lefebvre in his struggle to retain tradition.
In order to help seminarians who came to him, he was willing to lead them on a step-by-step basis through the dark tunnel of the crisis in the Church; all were invited but none forced to. take the same steps as he. If you felt squeamish about continuing at any point you were free to leave, and if he felt squeamish about your continuing in his Society, he would ask you to please leave, thank you.
The Result: Regular Eruptions
And leave they did. Ecône and the Society as a whole has been plagued, from the beginning, with controversies, divisions, defections, purges, and expulsions.
About every two years since 1970 there has been some major eruption. If I am counting correctly, nearly one-third of the priests whom Archbishop Lefebvre has ordained are now no longer part of the Society. The toll among seminarians is similarly staggering.
Whenever circumstances would maneuver either the "hard line" or the "soft line" into a confrontation with the Archbishop's line, the missiles of accusation of "disloyalty" and "disobedience" would be launched with jolting ferocity, and the targeted victim, regardless of his contributions or position in the Society up to that time, would just wither away from the heat of the opprobrium.
The direction of the strikes usually depended on the weather in Rome. If Rome was conciliatory, then the soft-liners were "in", and the hard-liners "out." If Rome pursued a hard line, then the soft-liners were "out" and the hard-liners were "in". Inevitably the strike against the one side would inflate those of the opposing victorious side with a false sense of security, compelling them to think that His Excellency had definitively sided with them. Little did they know that they would be the next ones on the block.
The long-term survivors were the ones who did not think, and consequently found no trouble in zigzagging theologically, advancing when the Archbishop advanced, retreating when he retreated, affirming when he affirmed, negating when he negated, changing when he changed, accepting the reforms which he accepted, rejecting the reforms which he rejected. Such was the ideal seminarian.
“Are You against the Archbishop?”
Let examples illustrate the point. Something which always made me uneasy at Ecône was a certain "picking and choosing" of reforms, which, in Archbishop Lefebvre's mind, were acceptable and in accordance with tradition. The dialogue Mass, the Paul VI reforms in the traditional Mass, the use of the lecterns instead of the altar for the Epistle and Gospel, the observance of the Paul VI eucharistic fast, and the suppression of the traditional fasts of Lent and Ember Days are all examples of the picking and choosing. One got the impression of being somewhere in between the reforms and tradition, a third entity somewhere between new and old. The only apparent measuring stick was Archbishop Lefebvre's own judgment concerning the acceptability of the innovation.
An incident which is vivid in my mind from about ten years ago further illustrates the point. I was assigned to take part as a server in a Solemn Mass at Ecône. In order to accomplish the task accurately, I studied from a traditional manual of liturgy, a French one, the very one named by Ecône to be the standard manual of the seminary. When the practice time came, I was discussing certain movements with the Master of Ceremonies, and pointed out to him that he had instructed us differently from what was indicated in the book. His response was that Archbishop Lefebvre wanted it that way, and then glared at me and roared, "Are you against the Archbishop?"
I peeped a meek "no," and did it the "Archbishop's way." I later pondered the conversation, and realized, I think for the first time, that what the Church commanded and what Archbishop Lefebvre commanded were, in this case, two different things. Which was the higher authority, Catholic tradition or Archbishop Lefebvre?
Many in the Society argue that since we cannot follow our local hierarchy, modernists that they are, we must follow and obey someone, and that someone is Archbishop Lefebvre. They contend that he has a certain authority over traditional Catholics, since he is the one "chosen by God to be the Athanasius of our time." Accordingly, they assign to him an authority to rule traditional Catholics all over the world. This authority requires Catholics to trust him to make decisions through the crisis, and to select from the Vatican's reforms what is traditional and what is not. In other words, he is regarded by many to be the living tradition of the Catholic Church.
In the above example of the liturgy, they would argue that I would have been obliged in obedience to Archbishop Lefebvre, over any obligation to the previous tradition, to do it his way. After all, they would say, you have the guarantee that it is Catholic since Archbishop Lefebvre approves of it.
Right If the Archbishop Says So
Although argument sounds attractive to the faithful who are longing for a true shepherd, and who would be heavily inclined to surrender their intellects to him as they would to the Pope in normal times, it nevertheless causes many more problems than it solves.
In the first place, if traditional Catholics have rejected Vatican II and everything which has come forth from it, even the New Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI, since these things break with tradition, why would not the same criterion of tradition be applied to one bishop, Archbishop Lefebvre? Why would we accept a reform which Archbishop Lefebvre says is all right, but reject a reform which a pope says is all right?
Secondly, to concede such a power to Archbishop Lefebvre, i.e. that of ruling the faithful all over the world, laity and clergy alike, is equivalent to making him the Pope. To do so would be schismatic.
Thirdly, although a certain unity would be achieved among the traditionalists by granting this authority to him, it would be a false unity, not of Catholic principle, but of a man. and would disappear as soon as the man disappears.
Father Richard Williamson gives a perfect illustration of the kind of submission which is sought by the Society. In his interview dated June 9, 1983, entitled, "The Archbishop and the Nine — Questions and Answers", he states, on page eight:
“Nevertheless there is not in my own mind a serious doubt as to the validity of the new rite of ordination, even if it is administered in English, so long as the English forms are properly followed because the English forms signify clearly enough the grace that they have to effect.”
Then Fr. Williamson says shortly after:
“ Now His Grace may come to a different conclusion on the question of the English rite for ordination, and if His Grace comes to a different conclusion, I shall be very inclined to follow him because he is a far better theologian than I am.”
Logic poses the question to Fr. Williamson, "If the rite is certainly valid, how can anyone, including the Archbishop, even entertain the thought of changing his mind?" Logic then begins to worry about people dying with the absolutions and anointings of New Rite priests, who are "certainly valid" today, but who may be the object of a mind-changing tomorrow.
And will the soul who went to heaven today, because the New Rite is valid today, be told that he must go to hell tomorrow, because the Archbishop has changed his mind and Fr. Williamson has followed suit? There is no consistency, and it does not make sense.
A similar scenario is found in the liturgical question. In 1976, His Excellency officially approved of the use of the so-called "Saint Pius X rubrics" (i.e. those preceding the 1955 Bugnini reforms) for three of the five districts of the Society. In 1983, Archbishop Lefebvre declared that to adhere to such rubrics is disobedient to John XXIII.
Logic intervenes again and asks "Why was it not disobedient in 1976?" "If it was licit to use them in 1976, why is it not licit to use them in 1983? If it was permitted for Archbishop Lefebvre to reject the John XXIII rubrics in 1976, why is it not permitted for a priest to say 'no' to Archbishop Lefebvre when he seeks to impose the same rubrics?" Does Archbishop Lefebvre have more authority than John XXIII? If, in the name of tradition, we resist the command of a pope, why could not one resist the command of a bishop who imposed the same thing?
Archbishop Lefebvre faulted Fr. Zapp for resisting him on the rubrics of John XXIII, and faulted me for saying that Fr. Zapp had a right to do so. I think that His Excellency would have preferred to have had priests who would not have even considered the inconsistencies of 1976 and 1983.
Any questions, folks, for those of you who believe that what is happening at present is at all "new"? Contradictions, expulsions and arbitrariness are of the essences of the false ecclesiology and pastoral praxis of the Society of Saint Pius X.
His Excellency Bishop Sanborn elaborated on this point in his 1993
The Mountains of Gelboe:
It is evident from his dealings with the modernist Vatican that there were two opposing sides to Archbishop Lefebvre, capable of dictating their own distinct and contradictory theory and course of action.
On the one side was the Archbishop’s faith. Having known him for many years, I can attest to the fact that, in his heart, he was deeply Catholic, anti-liberal, anti-modernist. He detested the changes of Vatican II, and, like all of us, longed for the days of the traditional Faith.
On the other side was the Archbishop’s diplomacy. A firm believer in this art, and well trained in it from having been Apostolic Delegate, he thought that he could solve the Church’s problems through diplomacy.
When unfettered by considerations of diplomacy, the Archbishop’s faith, enflamed by his fortitude, shown bright. His pronouncements in these undiplomatic and uncalculated moods were excellent. They were exactly what the Church needed — a simple, unambiguous declaration of the truth, a square-in-the-face denunciation of the modernists. a forceful program of positive action against them through the training and ordaining of traditional priests. In this side of him lay the Archbishop’s greatness.
When diplomacy dictated his thoughts and actions, however, another Archbishop appeared. Ready to make shameful surrenders for the sake of achieving his end, he would offer ambiguous statements to the modernists as bait, hoping that they would be appeased enough to set him a place at the modernist table. For example, despite the fact that he was death on the New Mass, he apparently accepted to permit a New Mass to be celebrated in the large Paris church of Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet:
Cardinal [Ratzinger] lets us know that it would be necessary to then permit a New Mass to be celebrated at St. Nicolas du Chardonnet. He insists on the one Church, that of Vatican II. Despite these disappointments, I sign the Protocol of May 5th. (Dossier sur les Consécrations Episcopales, Ecône, 1988, page 4.)
Under the influence of his diplomacy, his wonted courage was transformed into a frail and timorous weakness before the Church’s adversaries. Back in 1974, when he perceived that his brilliant Declaration was a diplomatic gaffe, to Cardinal Seper he offered the excuse, unworthy of his faith and fortitude, that he had composed it in a moment of anger.
To Ratzinger, in an attempt to move the Vatican to approve of his hoped-for consecrations, he offered the reason that the “tents were rented,” as if these consecrations were little more than a wedding reception.
Did he really think that the Vatican would be moved by a question of tents? Did Archbishop Lefebvre really think that the inconvenience of cancelling the tents had anything to do with the momentous questions at hand? Of course not. The truth is that in his heart the Archbishop knew that John Paul II was no more the pope than the man in the moon, and that his dealings with him were not in a spirit of submission to his “authority,” but rather an attempt to garner from Wojtyla what Wojtyla possessed: an appearance of legitimacy.
Proof of this is his attitude which he expressed to the four bishops-to-be on August 28, 1987, just before the long process of negotiation was begun: “The Chair of Peter,” he wrote in a letter to them, “and the positions of authority in Rome are occupied by anti-Christs.” (Ibid., page 1.) How, one asks, could he have honestly conducted negotiations with these anti-Christs, in an effort to have his Society approved by them, so as to work side by side with them? How could he call the Vicar of Christ him whom he condemned as an anti-Christ?
The answer lies in the two-sidedness of the Archbishop.
Like two discs playing at the same time, one coming out one speaker, the other out the other, so the Archbishop’s two sides, one of faith and the other of diplomacy, could been seen and heard simultaneously, perhaps on the same day, in his pronouncements, attitudes and deeds.
An Army Fighting for Coexistence with Heretics
It is often said that if it were not for Archbishop Lefebvre, there would be no traditional movement at all, no priests, no traditional Mass, nothing.
This statement is, for the most part, true. To Archbishop Lefebvre belongs the credit of conceiving the idea of a great worldwide army of priests, working in a coherent and unified fashion against the modernist clergy. To him belongs the credit of setting up a mechanism to accomplish just that, inasmuch as he set his mind to the founding of seminaries and the establishment of many religious houses, schools, convents, novitiates, etc. To him goes the credit of building up a finely equipped army, at least from the material and organizational point of view.
Owing to this material and organizational prowess, and to his charisma which naturally attracted so many people to him, he pulled to himself nearly every vocation to the priesthood among those who were resisting the changes. The formation of Ecône in 1970 was the trumpet call to the Church’s troops in her moment of ultimate battle with the powers of darkness, the gates of hell. Many responded and continue to respond. It is Israel’s choicest youth in fierce battle with the Philistine.
Like the battle on the mountains of Gelboe, however, our choicest youth are being slain, and the army is losing to the Philistine.
For as long as this army of Catholic priests of resistance to modernism does not perceive the Philistine as the enemy, it will be annihilated.
For although credit goes to Archbishop Lefebvre for raising and equipping the army, so also does responsibility go to him for having led them — as well as the lay people they serve — into the trap of the vast enemy. The trap of the enemy is to lure the resistance to modernism into being a “High Church,” a traditional branch of the modernist religion.
This trap, this “solution” of the problem of Vatican II and its reforms serves the purposes of the modernist perfectly. He captures within his reformed, heretical religion, like a spider in her web, virtually the entire resistance which Catholicism could offer it. It captures it, dictates terms to it, contains it, and emasculates it. Then the “Catholic” Church would look for all the world like the Church of England, where adherence to the Catholic Faith would be reduced to liturgical pomp and “Catholic make-believe” in communion with the heresy. Such a system reduces the Catholic Church to a sect, for the Catholic Church cannot lend the name Catholic to the modernist heretic, and at the same time call itself the true Church of Christ.
Yet the Lefebvrists see as the solution to the Church’s problems a co-existence between modernist and Catholic in the same Church, where they have their churches, and we have ours, all under the same pope, who would be Holy Father to both heretic and Catholic alike.
This attitude is not of God. Never, never, in the history of the Old Testament or of the New, has God ever compromised with His enemies. Never has God permitted the mixture of false religion with His sacred doctrine. In fact, the reason why the chosen people were continually punished in the Old Testament was because they sought to mix their divinely revealed faith with the pagan worship of neighboring peoples.
No, either Vatican II is of God or it is not of God. Either the changes brought forth by this Council are of the Holy Ghost or they are not of the Holy Ghost. If they are of the Holy Ghost, then they should be accepted, and our resistance is sinful. If they are not of the Holy Ghost, then they are of the devil, and there is but one response of the Church to it, and that is anathema, a thousand times anathema, and excommunication to all heretics. No co-existence with heresy and heretics. To call for such co-existence is to reduce the Church to a sect, like those of the Protestants.
We are not seeking, therefore, in this resistance we place to Vatican II and its changes, a side-chapel of tradition in the great modernist cathedral. No, we are raising a voice of rejection and denunciation of heresy, which is the voice of faith, against those heretics who have invaded our sacred buildings and filled them with the stench of heretical abomination.
Equipping them with everything except the proper theology of how to view the enemies of the Church, Archbishop Lefebvre created an army which does not know where the enemy is. Their struggle is a struggle for “recognition” by the modernist “authorities.” They seek to be absorbed by the Philistine, and not to conquer him. They want to work together with the modernist in the Vatican, and not drive him from it. Their battle is a battle for co-existence with the modernist, a battle to share the same Church with the heretic.
The spirit of “negotiation with Rome” continues in the Society. The very term sounds schismatic, for Catholics do not negotiate with Rome but submit to Rome. Shortly after the consecrations of 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre said that the negotiations would continue, and that perhaps in five years, all would be resolved. We have only recently heard of more negotiations, more moves toward Wojtyla. Veritatis Splendor, the new encyclical of Wojtyla, was praised by the Rector of Ecône [!] as being “radically anti-liberal, anti-ecumenical, anti-collegial” and as “having nothing serious in it in need of revision.”
The Root of the Problem
The reason why the Society pursues the path of negotiation with the modernists, with the ultimate goal of being absorbed by them, is that they regard Wojtyla as having papal authority. They feel a need to submit to him and be recognized by him, as they would submit to Christ and be recognized by Christ. Papal authority is the authority of Christ.
At the same time, however, they regard nearly everything he says or does as either heretical, erroneous, scandalous or harmful to souls. They openly say that a Catholic cannot survive spiritually in the Novus Ordo. This means that the Mass and sacraments, doctrine, and discipline which has been given to us officially by the Pope (in their eyes) is so harmful to souls that it is spiritually death-dealing.
Because it is spiritually death-dealing, the Society feels that it has a carte blanche to carry on any apostolate it wishes in any diocese of the world. At the same time, they carry on negotiations with the spiritual death-dealers, in order that they might work side-by-side with them in dioceses, like the Fraternity of Saint Peter.
If the Society would abandon this impossible position, which is just like that of the Donatists, Jansenists, Gallicans and Old Catholics, and adopt the Catholic position, it would become the true and valiant army of resistance it was meant to be.
Their position is impossible, because, in their view, they are fighting the very Catholic Church they want to be a part of. But Catholics do not fight their Church, they submit to it, because it is indefectible and infallible. It is the Church of Christ, and its authority is the authority of Christ.
The Catholic position, therefore, is that it is impossible that the Catholic authority — the authority of Christ — prescribe for the whole Catholic Church false or death-dealing doctrines, disciplines, Masses, or sacraments. Because the Vatican II reforms are false and death-dealing, it is impossible that they come from Catholic authority, the authority of Christ. It is therefore impossible that Wojtyla have the papal authority he claims to have. He does not represent the Catholic Church. The reforms of Vatican II do not come to us from the Catholic Church.
The obvious practical conclusion from this Catholic position is one of no compromise with the heretics in the Vatican and episcopal chanceries. It is the duty of the Church to denounce the modernists as impostors in their claim to Catholic authority, and urge Catholics to pay no attention to them, and to refuse to give them the Catholic name. This denunciation of their false authority is essential to the Church’s indefectibility, since the Church would defect if she accepted as true a false spouse, and accepted as Catholic the non-catholic doctrines, disciplines and liturgy which have emanated from Vatican II, Montini, and Wojtyla.
Those who have yet to accept the fact that the Society of Saint Pius X has a theology of the Church (ecclesiology) that is false are invited to read these articles in full and to ponder them. Each of these articles (and many others, including His Excellency Bishop Robert Neville's
Letter to Bishop Bernard Fellay and Bishop Sanborn's
Vatican II, the Pope and SSPX: Q & A) reveals the truth that the Society of Saint Pius X, although recognized as the "leader" in the battle against the Modernism of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, was compromised at its very inception and that its leaders over the decades have rejected the pleas made by the "nine" in 1983 and anyone else since that time to accept the simple truth that those who defect from the Faith cannot hold ecclesiastical office in the Catholic Church legitimately.
The battle raging at present for the "soul" of the Society of Saint Pius X has been waged in the past, and this battle must result in a victory for Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, who has never wavered one little bit from his goal of resisting the "integralists," doing so at present with his own "recognize and resist" strategy ("recognizing" the Society of Saint Pius X while resisting any claims that the "Second" Vatican Council and its aftermath constitute a break with the Catholic Faith). Joseph Ratzinger has told us exactly what he intends to do:
Among the more obvious phenomena of the last years must be counted the increasing number of integralist groups in which the desire for piety, for the sense of mystery, is finding satisfaction. We must be on our guard against minimizing these movements. Without a doubt, they represent a sectarian zealotry that is the antithesis of Catholicity. We cannot resist them too firmly. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 389-390)
What I wrote five months ago in
High Church, Low Church is still relevant:
No believing Catholic should want to be part of a "high church, low church" ape of the Anglican sect. Each believing Catholic must adhere to the totality of the truths of the the Holy Faith without taint of corruption by conciliarism, without any hint of reading Catholicism into the minds of apostates who are truly ravenous wolves in shepherds' vestments. Great examples have been established by the likes of Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D., and His Excellency Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna, O.P., the priests of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, who were among the earliest advocates of sedevacantism, and, of course, the "nine" (Bishops Clarence Kelly, Daniel Dolan, Donald Sanborn and Fathers Anthony Cekada, William Jenkins, Eugene Berry, Thomas Zapp, Joseph Collins and Martin Skierka), who were not even given a proper hearing by Archbishop Lefebvre, advised as he was by those who believed that a "deal" with "Rome" was possible in 1983 and would serve the interests of the Faith, among so many others. We must follow these examples no matter the calumny and hardship that we might suffer as a result. They have always had the cause of Truth Himself, Christ the King, on their side.
We must, as always, be very mindful of making reparation for our own many sins, which are more responsible than we would like to think for the state of the Church and thus the state of the world. We must offer up our prayers and sufferings and sacrifices and penances and mortifications humiliations to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as the consecrated slaves of His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit. We are involved in a titanic struggle with the devil each day for the salvation of our own souls. We cannot be on the adversary's side by being oblivious to, if not apologetic of, the errors he has inspired in the false sect of conciliarism that does his bidding for him in so many ways, including most especially in the Novus Ordo service and by refusing absolutely to seek with urgency the unconditional conversion of all men universally to the Catholic Church. We must take the rocky road of rejection and humiliation rather than the smooth road of apostasy and betrayal that leads to the wide gate of eternal perdition, begging Our Lady's company as we keep her company at the foot of her Divine Son's Most Holy Cross every day as we assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Saint Martha, whose feast we commemorate today, was busy about many things. Her sister, Saint Mary Magdalene, chose the better part of listening to their Friend and Divine Master, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While we go about the duties of our state-in-life as we pray to Saint Martha, who performed the tasks of hospitality during Our Lord's visit to her house, we need to have the spirit also of Saint Mary Magdalene as we listen to Our Lord as He speaks to us through His Catholic Church, which can never give us error or sacrilege of any kind, and cleave to true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism or to the nonexistent legitimacy of its false shepherds. The good bishops and priests in the Catholic catacombs who make no such concessions have listened to Our Lord as they have gone to Him through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, serving souls without creating a false ecclesiology that can never fight the Modernism of the conciliarists as it has been at war with itself from the beginning.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc in hora mortis nostrae. Amen!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint Martha, pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
Saint Lazarus, pray for us.
Saints Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints