His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson made the following statement in Issue 505 (March 18, 2017 – Catholic Life?) of his Eleison Comments:
“…..in my opinion, be content to attend the least contaminated Tridentine Mass that there is anywhere near you,…..”
Since His Excellency does not qualify this statement, we may interpret it as meaning that one may go to a Tridentine Mass celebrated by priests of the neo-SSPX, Ecclesia Dei religious communities, diocese, or those priests who hold the Sedevacantist position. Is this an unfair interpretation? No. Most in the world of Catholic Tradition know by now that His Excellency has conceded that one may even actively attend the Novus Ordo Mass under certain circumstances. Once one takes this position, he does not have a leg to stand on if he rejects attendance at a Tridentine Mass.
My friends, was this the spirit of the saintly Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre? Did he advise us to go to “the least contaminated Tridentine Mass”? Let us read the words of the Archbishop himself:
“And we must not waver for one moment either in not being with those who are in the process of betraying us. Some people are always admiring the grass in the neighbor’s field. Instead of looking to their friends, to the Church’s defenders, to those fighting on the battlefield, 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.
“Thus those who were with us and were working with us for the rights of Our Lord, for the salvation of souls, 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! These are people who call us corpse-like Traditionalists, they are saying that we are as rigid as corpses, ours is not a living Tradition, we are glum-faced, ours is a glum Tradition! Unbelievable! Unimaginable! What kind of relations can you have with people like that?
“This is what causes us a problem with certain layfolk, who are very nice, very good people, all for the Society, who accepted the Consecrations, but who have a kind of deep-down regret that they are no longer with the people they used to be with, people who did not accept the Consecrations and who are now against us. ‘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.”
Let us read the position of the Society of St. Pius X founded by Archbishop Lefebvre regarding attendance at Masses of the Ecclesia Dei communities:
“They are therefore Conciliar Catholics and not traditional Catholics.
“This being so, attending their Mass is:
“accepting the compromise on which they are based,
“accepting the direction taken by the Conciliar Church and the consequent destruction of the Catholic Faith and practices, and
“accepting, in particular, the lawfulness and doctrinal soundness of the Novus Ordo Missae and Vatican II.
“That is why a Catholic ought not to attend their Masses.”
Bishop Williamson’s position on this matter is clearly not in line with that of his spiritual father. Rather, with this position, and with many in the “Trad” world flocking to him, defending him, and/or being silent on the matter, Bishop Williamson seems to have become a de facto leader of tradecumenism. A true follower of the Archbishop will want no part in it.
On this Feast of the Annunciation, the 26th Anniversary of the death of Archbishop Lefebvre, let us pray that Bishop Williamson returns to the position of his spiritual father in all essential matters.
The March 2017 issue of The Catholic Candle is available here for download.