Do Good From Within?

25 February 2014

There are many sincere Traditionalists who believe that they could do more good from within the Conciliar Church.

 

Once the SSPX is regularized, the diocesan bishop will have some recommendations to make the chapels more relevant to the community. Statues such as the one below may well become the norm.

 

The photographs were taken in November, 2013 outside St Mary’s Church in Owen Sound, Ontario. The statue is prominently displayed to catch the attention of people as they drive by. It certainly caught my attention!

 

To those Traditionalists I would say: Be careful what you wish for!

 

Sister Constance, TOSF

 

IMG_1863 IMG_1868

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French Families Are Ready

25 February 2014

It would appear that French Traditionalists are taking a stand against Menzingen and are ready to fight for their Faith. They are against any sort of agreement/recognition with Conciliar Rome.
 
Below is an open letter written by a group of Catholic Families in France to Bishop Fellay in January 2014. We are hesitant to encourage the Google translation because it does not do justice to the sentiments expressed and are hoping that a reliable translation will become available.
 

http://aveclimmaculee.blogspot.fr/2014/02/adresse-publique-des-familles.html
 
 
Here is a brief recap of the open letter:
 
A group of families in France sent a warning to Bishop Fellay that they will no longer stand idle while their Faith is being destroyed as it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s. They have had enough of his dishonest and unjust treatment of priests, many of whom are their own sons. They will directly support the priests who leave the SSPX.
 
The French families are blaming Bishop Fellay and his advisors for having caused confusion and division within the SSPX. They are reminding Bishop Fellay that the SSPX does not belong to him but is God’s answer to the prayers of the Faithful: “We are the sons and daughters of St. Joan of Arc and of Archbishop Lefebvre”.
 
 
Perhaps the Eldest Daughter of the Church is ready for battle!
 
Sister Constance
 

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Revised Mission Statement

25 February 2014

A revised Mission Statement has been posted today.  Please see here.  This Mission Statement was approved by the General Council of Our Lady of Good Success Mission on February 9, 2014.

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I would like to emphasize a point that is being overlooked with the controversy over the video (which has now been removed at vimeo.com).
 
Fr Girouard’s point is not only to show that Fr Rostand and his video-making are fake, but to show that the Neo-SSPX is making major mistakes in the video “Against the Rumours” as well as in comportment.
 
Fr Girouard is making these points (which I am quoting in part):
 
At minute 6:40, Fr Rostand says they [the SSPX relations with Rome] had been broken after the consecrations of bishops in 1988 (true!), and were resumed on the initiative of Cardinal Hoyos in 2000 (false!)
 
At minute 08:54, Fr Rostand says that some of the pre-conditions requested earlier by Bishop Fellay for negotiations with Rome were basically fulfilled: “Some steps have been made… the Motu Proprio came out; not as perfect as we had wished, but a step towards the freedom of the Mass…” Second big blooper! Not only this document is not perfect, but it is evil!
 
At minute 09:07, Fr Rostand continues: “…then the lifting of the excommunications… we definitely also have some reservations about it, but these were important steps…” Third big blooper!
 
And Fr Girouard’s 4th point is even more important, so please read it.
 
Please re-read the entire editorial at http://www.sacrificium.org/article/sspx-bloopers-22-february-2014
as Fr Girouard would like his points to be understood, rather than have people focus solely on the silliness/inappropriateness of the bloopers video.
 
Father Girouard also wishes to emphasize that although the video is no longer posted at vimeo, it is still up on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb_D4clTKJA
 

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Since especially after the 1988 Episcopal Consecrations, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre held to the principle that he would not negotiate with Rome for a canonical regularization until she accepted the teachings of the pre-Vatican II Magisterium:

 

“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 and their teachings?  Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath?  Are you in favor of the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ?  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, in consideration of the doctrine of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible.  It is useless.’”1

 

After the Archbishop’s death in 1991, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) leadership continued to keep the same principle and fortified it during the 2006 SSPX General Chapter:

 

“…….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 which the Church cannot repudiate without losing her identity.  The purpose is not just to benefit the Society, nor to arrive at some merely practical impossible agreement.”2

 

It was not until February 2, 2012 that this principle was publicly made known to have changed.  During a sermon a St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Bishop Bernard Fellay said the following:

 

“We told them (i.e., Rome) very clearly, if you accept us as is, without change, without obliging us to accept these things (i.e., Vatican II, etc.), then we are ready.”3

 

So the SSPX leadership was willing to become canonically regularized as long as Rome did not expect the SSPX to change from its current position.  However, this caused an uproar within the SSPX, including the other three SSPX Bishops:

 

“Your Excellency, Fathers, take care!  You want to lead the Society to a point where it will no longer be able to turn back, to a profound division of no return and, if you end up to such an agreement, it will be with powerful destroying influences who will not keep it.  If up until now the bishops of the Society have protected it, it is precisely because Mgr. Lefebvre refused a practical agreement.  Since the situation has not changed substantially, since the condition prescribed by the Chapter of 2006 was by no means carried out (a doctrinal change in Rome which would permit a practical agreement), at least listen to your Founder.  It was right 25 years ago.  It is right still today.  On his behalf, we entreat you:  do not engage the Society in a purely practical agreement.”4

 

Bishop Fellay and the First and Second Assistants of the SSPX, Frs. Niklaus Pfluger and Alain-Marc Nely, responded to the three SSPX Bishops and questioned their acceptance of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI:

 

“Reading your letter one seriously wonders if you still believe that the visible Church with its seat in Rome is truly the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Church horribly disfigured for sure from head to foot, but a Church which nevertheless still has for its head Our Lord Jesus Christ. One has the impression that you are so scandalised that you no longer accept that that could still be true. It Benedict XVI still the legitimate pope for you?”5

 

This response brought about a debate within and without the SSPX as to how exactly the Conciliar Church (i.e., the new religion started at Vatican II) is related to the Catholic Church.  Is the Conciliar Church really and truly distinct from the Catholic Church or can we only speak of it in an analogical sense?  When Archbishop Lefebvre referenced the “Conciliar Church”, what did he really mean?  The debate became so heated that there were some who used this disagreement to claim that those who resisted the new position of the SSPX leadership were really Sedevacantists.  Others claimed that the “resistors” had a false understanding of ecclesiology and that this false understanding was the basis of their resistance.6  Whereas there can be legitimate debate about how we are to understand the crisis of Faith in Rome and how it has “infected” the Catholic Church, it is the purpose of this article to show that this debate need not take place.  After all, there was hardly a peep on this matter amongst the SSPX clergy prior to the leadership’s change in position.  Instead, we shall show that the principle of “no canonical agreement prior to a doctrinal resolution” (or more accurately, “a canonical recognition cannot be had if it is not based on the Catholic Faith” – we shall keep to the former wording as it is the one most often used) is itself a Catholic principle due to its intimate relationship with fundamental Catholic doctrine on the unity of the Church and therefore cannot be transgressed without offending the sensus catholicus.

 

We look to Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Satis Cognitum” to know and understand what constitutes the unity of the Catholic Church:

 

“But He (i.e., Jesus Christ), indeed, Who made this one Church, also gave it unity, that is, He made it such that all who are to belong to it must be united by the closest bonds, so as to form one society, one kingdom, one body…..

 

“Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful – ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. iv., 5).  That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith.  And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions:  ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment’ (I Cor. i., 10).  Such passages certainly need no interpreter; they speak clearly enough for themselves.  Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faithIt is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized.”7

 

Pope Leo XIII continues:

 

“Besides Holy Writ it was absolutely necessary to insure this union of men’s minds – to effect and preserve unity of ideas – that there should be another principle.  This the wisdom of God requires:  for He could not have willed that the faith should be one if He did not provide means sufficient for the preservation of this unity; and this Holy Writ clearly sets forth as We shall presently point out.  Assuredly the infinite power of God is not bound by anything, all things obey it as so many passive instruments.  In regard to this external principle, therefore, we must inquire which one of all the means in His power Christ did actually adopt.  For this purpose it is necessary to recall in thought the institution of Christianity.”8

 

This “external principle” that Pope Leo XIII goes on to speak about is the Magisterium of the Church and ultimately the Pope.

 

Note that Pope Leo XIII states that “Faith” is “a virtue which is the first of those which unites man to God”.  This “Faith” is of the “greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity”.  In other words, we can say that “Faith” is an internal principle of unity.  On the other hand, whereas Pope Leo XIII most definitely extolls the Magisterium of the Church as a principle of unity, it is only an external principle.  This we can easily understand by the truth that Our Lord did not need to assign St. Peter and his successors to teach and govern the Church.  He could have done this Himself until the end of the world or could have even established His angels or saints as His representatives on earth.  However, Jesus Christ cannot forgo our belief in Him.  As St. Paul teaches, “Without faith it is impossible to please God”.9  And it is to this “Faith” that the successors of St. Peter are duty bound to teach and preserve:

 

“For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith delivered through the ages.”10

 

Therefore, if a pope was to teach a doctrine different than that of Christ, he would fail in his duty.  And any attempt to impose this teaching by censures or penalties would be an abuse of the authority for which it had been given him by Christ.

 

Now throughout the history of the Church, the Popes have generally been faithful to their office to teach and preserve the Faith.  However, we live in an age where several popes since the Second Vatican Council have taught a new doctrine, thereby posing a problem of conscience for bishops, priests, and faithful alike.  What do we do?  Well, we had and still have a model to follow, and that is the mission and memory of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.  Most definitely the Archbishop made mistakes on the way (e.g., signing the 1988 Protocol), but nobody would be flawless given this unprecedented Church crisis.  Nonetheless, one of the most important and definitive principles that the Archbishop left us is that there can be “no canonical agreement prior to a doctrinal resolution”.  As we’ve mentioned earlier, this principle is itself a Catholic one due to its intimate relationship with fundamental Catholic doctrine on the unity of the Church and therefore cannot be transgressed without offending the sensus catholicus.  Let us continue.

 

“Canon law is the assemblage of rules or laws relating to faith, morals, and discipline, prescribed or propounded to Christians by ecclesiastical authority…..The definition shows that the object of canon law is ‘faith, morals, and discipline’; and nothing but these is its object.”11

 

An object is a thing towards which another thing is directed.  On the contrary, a thing which is directed away from its object cannot be said to faithfully address it.  The object of canon law must include “faith”, at least implicitly.  This would mean that any piece of legislation by the Church authorities that contravenes this object or at least does not assume it, cannot be said to be faithful to it.

 

Let us now sum up the key points:

 

1)      Faith is an internal principle of the unity of the Church.

2)      The Pope is an external principle of the unity of the Church, whose office is directed towards the teaching and preservation of the Faith, the internal principle.

3)      Canon law has Faith as one of its objects and must therefore faithfully address it or at least assume it.

 

Given these key points, then, if the SSPX makes an agreement with Rome without first resolving the doctrinal differences, we can conclude that:

 

1)      The agreement would not represent a true and authentic Catholic unity.  This would hold true even if the Pope did not require the SSPX to change one ounce of its doctrinal position.  As a matter of fact, this would hold true even if the SSPX was not required to change its doctrinal position and the Pope commanded the SSPX to become regularized under the pretext that it concerns the unity of the Church.  The reason is because the Pope is only an external principle of the unity of the Church and this external principle is directed towards preserving the Faith, the internal principle.  Any position of the Pope showing indifference or opposition towards this internal principle makes his command, under the pretext that it is a matter of the unity of the Church, null and void because his command would not serve the purpose of achieving a true and authentic Catholic unity.  It simply would not be true that the matter concerns the unity of the Church.

2)      Since the unity in the Faith would not be one of the objects of the agreement, it could not therefore be called “canonical” in the sense that the Church has historically applied the term.  The reality instead is that any agreement made between the SSPX and Rome not based on the unity in the Faith would be a mere contractual relationship analogous to that of a serf and his lord.

3)      Those Traditional Catholics who oppose a canonical regularization of the SSPX are not heretical, schismatical, or disobedient.  It is probably true that most of these Traditional Catholics do not consciously oppose it because of the reasons explained in this article; rather, they simply sense that the SSPX placing itself under the Church authorities would present a grave danger, by circumstance, to the Faith of its bishops, priests, and faithful.  The history since the 1988 Episcopal Consecrations definitely favours the judgement of these people in this respect.  Just look at what has happened to the several religious communities who have joined Rome – they have fallen in line with Vatican II.  The Archbishop did not have the luxury to witness the fall of these religious communities, but he predicted it!  Nevertheless, the key point is that their position can be defended from a theological standpoint and not one simply based on the present circumstances in which the Church finds herself.

 

Endnotes

 

  1. Interview of Archbishop Lefebvre Given to “Fideliter” Magazine, November-December 1988.
  2. Declaration of the 2006 SSPX General Chapter.
  3. February 2, 2012 Sermon of Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minnesota, U.S.A.
  4. April 7, 2012 Letter from Three Bishops to the SSPX General Council.
  5. April 14, 2012 Letter from the SSPX General Council to Three Bishops.
  6. http://tradicat.blogspot.ca/2014/02/sspx-and-resistance-comparison-of.html
  7. Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (On the Unity of the Church), June 29, 1896, Paragraph 6, Unity in Faith.
  8. Ibid., Paragraph 7, The Kind of Unity of Faith Commanded by Christ.
  9. Hebrews 11:6.
  10. First Vatican Council, Chapter 4, On the Infallible Teaching of the Roman Pontiff.
  11. Addis, William and Arnold, Thomas, A Catholic Dictionary, 1887, The Catholic Publication Society Co., New York.
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Well worth reading as usual.
 
http://www.sacrificium.org/
 
http://www.sacrificium.org/article/sspx-bloopers-22-february-2014
 

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“To accept the Council is not a problem for us” (Bishop Fellay)

 

The following document is self-explanatory. The original in French follows.

 

Through the efforts of Fr. David Hewko and per his request, an English translation of the 2001 Interview of Bp. Fellay by La Liberte, previously unavailable, follows.

 

BISHOP FELLAY’S 2001 INTERVIEW
 
http://www.fsspx.org/fr/organisation/supgen/entretiens-mgr-fellay/a_une-interview-de-mgr-fellay/
 
La Liberté, May 11th 2001
 
This interview was published in the Swiss Valaisan daily newspaper La Liberté on Friday May 11th, under the title Écône Wants Unity Without Concessions.
 
Small talk or real negotiations? Since the end of last year, the Vatican and the traditionalists of Écône have recommenced dialogue. The starting point of the outline for discussions: The pilgrimage of the Society of St. Pius X to Rome on the occasion of the Holy Year. Since then, several meetings have taken place; the last one would have taken place last week, as is rumoured from Écône. Of what do both parties discuss? If there is still dialogue, what is at stake? The Vatican is silent: Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission (in charge of traditionalist movements) will only speak when he has results to present, as it has been made known to the newsroom. On Ecône’s side, people are more talkative. Successor of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre at the head of the Society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, one of four bishops whose consecration provoked the “schism” in 1988, explains his position in an interview given to La Liberté, the  St. Galler Tagblatt  and Basler Zeitung.
 

1-    La Liberté: Did you expect Rome to seize the occasion of your pilgrimage to renew the dialogue?
Bp. Bernard Fellay: – There were forerunning signs. A year ago, Msgr. Perl, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission declared that the moment had come to deal with the Society. We were surprised at the extent and the speed with which Rome changed to a position almost radically opposite.
 
2- Why this urgency on the part of Rome?
– The Pope is coming to the end of his pontificate. He who wanted to be the champion of unity tries to remove this stain on his pontificate. Why has there not been any reconciliation beforehand? I think that Rome needed to realize that we are not as narrow-minded as is said.
 
3- For whom is the discussion more complicated, for you or for Rome?
– For us, there is a problem of trust. As regards to us, Rome has behaved in a destructive manner for many years. This attitude is unacceptable and must disappear. Rome’s actual tendency is totally different. We certainly have a right to ask ourselves why.
We are awaiting tangible answers on that point.
 
4- And what are the Vatican’s sensitive points?
– It is difficult to answer while the elements are still on the table. I would say simply that Rome seeks an extremely practical solution without approaching the fundamental questions.
 
5- What do you concretely wish from these discussions?
– That Rome says that priests can always celebrate the Old Mass. And the other element is that the declaration of the sanctions be retracted (excommunication of bishops consecrated in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre; note from the editor).
 
6- What are the concessions that the Society is prepared to make for this reconciliation?
– We are ready to discuss, we even ask for discussion. We say to Rome: See for yourself, our movement is a valid response to the situation in which the Church finds itself. We ask that Rome consider carefully the reasons which are behind our attitude, which until now has never been done.
 
7- More concretely?
– We are ready to live with these people who have separated themselves more from us than we from them.  This means recognition of the authority of the bishop, technically already effective. We feel Catholic, indeed. Our problem consists in knowing what is the reference.
 

8- Some within the Church put as a prerequisite condition a recognition of all of the Councils.
– To accept the Council is not a problem for us. There is, however, a criterion of discernment. And that criterion is that which has always been taught and believed: Tradition. From which there stems a need for clarification.
 
9- Are you already speaking of this concretely with Rome?
– No, and that is why the discussions are not getting anywhere. Rome tells us that it would take too long to discuss all the details of the differences, but if we do not discuss them, they will remain entire.
 
10- Do you consider this urgent?
– Not as much as for Rome.
 
11- But do you not fear that time will separate you from one another?
– On the contrary.
 
12- Does the Society of Saint Pius X speak unanimously?
– Fundamentally, yes, contrary to what some would like to have others believe.
 
13- Who decides to have contacts with Rome, who gauges the results?
– From the moment that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre decided to consecrate bishops, it was clear that relations with Rome were the responsibility of the Superior of the Society. Consequently, mine.
 
14- Does Rome propose to the Society a personal prelature like that of Opus Dei?
– Let us say that things are going in that direction. The idea would be to give the bishops a real jurisdiction over the faithful.
 
15- And the Society of St. Pius X, to what status does it aspire?
– We need liberty of action. The faithful who wish to follow the Old Mass must be able to do so without harassment. The solution which is offered to the Fraternity of St. Peter (traditionalist movement which remained faithful to the Vatican; note from the editor) is unlivable: We let the local bishops decide everything, they who are, for the most part, radically opposed to Tradition. The reason which is evoked most often, which is false in my opinion, is that bi-ritualism would be unmanageable. But the bishops rightly perceive the liberty given to the Old Mass as a questioning of the post-conciliar reforms.
 
16- Questioning which you continue to wish for?
– That gives the impression that we reject all of Vatican II. However, we keep 95% of it. It is more to a spirit that we are opposed, to an attitude towards the change given as a postulate: Everything changes in the world, therefore the Church must change. There is here a subject for discussion because it is undeniable that the Church has lost a formidable influence in the last half-century. She still has an influence, but as an institution; the real influence, that of the bishops for example, is very weak. The Church is aware of this, but she acts as if she no longer has the solution. Her words are not clear. Look at the reaction at the moment of Dominus Jesus!
 
17- Yet was it not a “clear speech?”
– No. There are in the text some clear things, and it is against those that the “progressivists” reacted. But the extremely strong formulations, to which we are no longer accustomed and which pleased me, are moderated in almost every sentence with additions from the Council.
 
18- Are those formulations a sign for you that Rome approaches progressively to your positions?
– I’m not sure of it, precisely because of the mixture. We really have the impression that Rome is obliged to tread cautiously in order to maintain the unity in the Church.
 
19- Putting yourself in the shoes of John Paul II, how would you handle the real diversity of the Church?
– I think that we must return to the principles; to the nature of the Church, her mission, her being. The solutions brought to a real problem are too human, although there is certainly a human aspect in the Church. Now, one is looking, at all costs, for unity, which is certainly a great good, but not an end. It is the Faith that causes the unity. If, for the sake of unity, one sets aside a portion of Revelation, of which the Church is the depository, we touch the unity. On the contrary, if we affirm strongly those truths, there will necessarily be divisions. They already exist. And that is why we ask Rome to think twice before reintegrating us.
 
20- What would reconciliation with Rome change for you?
– Rome would recognize this position as valid, at least fundamentally.
 
21- A valid one among others or “the” valid one?
– The position of Rome, diplomatically and politically speaking, will certainly be that of pluralism – even if she believes the opposite. We ourselves are very prudent: For us, in the Church, there are some valid options and others that are not.
 
22- Do you suffer from divisions within the Church?
– When in one’s family things go wrong, it hurts. I do not suffer directly from the excommunication. But the state of the Church touches me. That, yes.
 
23- Some faithful of Ecône have recently made people talk: Anti-abortion posters, publicity page against the Gay Pride in Sion. What do you think about their action?
– I notice that they are not the only ones who are against the behavior of the Gay Pride parade in Sion. The bishop himself clearly stated what he thought. As to the manner, it is totally normal that those who are against something may let others know, and that freedom of expression be not unilateral.
 
24- But on the manner?
– I did not see anything very offensive on that page.
 
25- Not even “Aunts in Sion, diabolical temptation?”
– “Diabolical,” the bishop says it. When trying to promote an idea, one tries to find something that draws the attention, even if it is shocking. From that aspect, I think that it was well done (laughter). I think that there is a lot of hypocrisy behind the reactions to this publicity. To hold a Gay Pride in Sion, that is provocation, and it is totally normal that one react. It is unjust that one always justifies those who destroy Christian values.
 
26- In Fribourg, a Catholic city, there was no similar reaction to the Gay Pride of 1999.
– When one is half dead, one no longer reacts.
 
–Translated by the Quebec City Resistance
 
 
The Interview in French:
 
La Liberté, 11 mai 2001
Cette interview a été publiée dans le quotidien suisse valaisan La Liberté, le vendredi 11 mai, sous le titre « Ecône veut l’unité sans rien céder ».
Discussions de couloir ou véritables négociations? Depuis la fin de l’année dernière, le Vatican et les traditionalistes d’Ecône se reparlent. Point de départ de cette ébauche de rapprochement: le pèlerinage de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X à Rome à l’occasion de l’Année sainte. Depuis, plusieurs rencontres ont eu lieu; la dernière daterait de la semaine dernière, glisse-t-on du côté d’Ecône. De quoi les parties parlent-elles? Quels sont les enjeux de ce dialogue, si dialogue il y a toujours? Le Vatican se tait: le cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, président de la commission Ecclesia Dei (en charge des mouvements traditionalistes) ne s’exprimera que quand il aura des résultats à présenter, fait-on savoir à la salle de presse. Du côté d’Ecône, on se montre plus bavard. Successeur de Mgr Marcel Lefebvre à la tête de la Fraternité, Mgr Bernard Fellay, un des quatre évêques dont la consécration provoqua le ‘schisme’ de 1988, s’explique dans un entretien accordé à «La Liberté», au «St. Galler Tagblatt» et à la «Basler Zeitung».
 
1- La Liberté: Vous attendiez-vous à ce que Rome saisisse l’occasion de votre pèlerinage pour renouer le dialogue?
Bernard Fellay: – Il y avait des signes avant-coureurs. Il y a une année, Mgr Perl, secrétaire de la commission Ecclesia Dei avait déclaré que le moment était venu de s’occuper de la Fraternité. Notre surprise est venue de l’ampleur et de la rapidité avec lesquelles Rome a dépassé une position presque radicalement contraire.
 
2- Pourquoi cette urgence du côté de Rome?
– Le pape arrive à la fin de son pontificat. Lui qui s’est voulu le champion de l’unité essaie de supprimer cette tache sur son pontificat. Pourquoi n’y a-t-il pas eu de rapprochement avant? Je pense que Rome avait besoin de constater que nous ne sommes pas aussi carrés que ce qui se dit.
 
3- Pour qui la discussion est-elle la plus compliquée, pour vous ou pour Rome?
– Pour nous, il y a un problème de confiance. Rome s’est conduite de manière destructrice pendant des années à notre égard. Cette attitude est inadmissible et doit disparaître. Le mouvement actuel de Rome envers nous est totalement différent. On est certainement en droit de se demander pourquoi. Sur ce point, nous attendons des réponses tangibles.
 
4- Et quels sont les points sensibles du côté du Vatican?
– Difficile de répondre alors que ces éléments sont encore sur la table. Je dirais simplement que Rome cherche une solution extrêmement pratique sans aborder les questions de fond.
 
5- Qu’attendez-vous concrètement de ces discussions?
– Que Rome dise que les prêtres peuvent toujours célébrer l’ancienne messe. L’autre élément, c’est le retrait de la déclaration des sanctions (excommunication des évêques consacrés en 1988 par Mgr Lefebvre, ndlr.)
 
6- Quelles sont les concessions que la Fraternité est prête à faire pour permettre ce rapprochement?
– Nous sommes prêts à discuter, nous demandons même la discussion. Nous disons à Rome: voyez vous-mêmes, notre mouvement est une réponse valable à la situation dans laquelle se trouve l’Église. On demande que Rome veuille bien considérer les raisons qui sont derrière notre attitude, ce qui jusqu’à aujourd’hui ne s’est jamais fait.
 
7- Plus concrètement?
– Nous sommes prêts à vivre avec ce monde qui s’est davantage séparé de nous que nous de lui. Cela veut dire reconnaissance de l’autorité de l’évêque, déjà effective en principe. Nous nous sentons catholiques, en effet. Notre problème est de savoir quelle est la référence.
 
8- Certains au sein de l’Église posent comme condition préalable la reconnaissance de tous les conciles.
– Accepter le concile ne nous fait pas problème. Il y a un critère de discernement quand même. Et ce critère, c’est ce qui a toujours été enseigné et cru: la Tradition. D’où un besoin de clarifications.
 
9- Vous en parlez déjà concrètement avec Rome?
– Non, et c’est pourquoi les discussions sont au point mort. Rome nous dit que cela prendrait trop de temps de discuter dans le détail des divergences, mais si nous n’en discutons pas, elles resteront entières.
 
10- Y a-t-il pour vous urgence?
– Pas autant que pour Rome.
 
11- Mais ne craignez-vous pas que le temps ne vous éloigne l’un de l’autre?
– Au contraire.
 
12- La Fraternité Saint-Pie X parle-t-elle d’une seule voix?
– Fondamentalement, oui, contrairement à ce que certains voudraient faire croire.
 
13- Qui décide d’avoir des contacts avec Rome, qui en jauge les résultats?
– Dès le moment où Mgr Lefebvre a décidé la consécration des évêques, il était clair que les relations avec Rome étaient du ressort du supérieur de la Fraternité. Donc du mien.
 
14- Rome propose-t-elle à la Fraternité une prélature personnelle du style de celle de l’Opus Dei?
– Disons que cela va dans cette direction. L’idée serait d’accorder aux évêques une véritable juridiction sur les fidèles.
 
15- Et la Fraternité Saint-Pie X, à quel statut aspire-t-elle?
– Il nous faut une liberté d’action. Il faut que les fidèles qui désirent suivre l’ancienne messe puissent le faire sans brimade. La solution qui a été accordée à la Fraternité Saint-Pierre (mouvement traditionaliste resté fidèle au Vatican, n.d.l.r.) est invivable: on laisse les évêques locaux tout décider, eux qui sont pour la plupart radicalement opposés à la tradition. La raison qui est invoquée le plus souvent, fausse à mon avis, est que le biritualisme serait ingérable. Mais des évêques perçoivent très justement dans la liberté accordée à l’ancienne messe une remise en question des réformes post-conciliaires.
 
16- Remise en question que vous continuez de souhaiter?
– Cela donne l’impression que nous rejetons tout de Vatican II. Or, nous en gardons 95%. C’est plus à un esprit que nous nous opposons, à une attitude devant le changement porté comme postulat: tout change dans le monde, donc l’Église doit changer. Il y a là un sujet de discussion, car il est indéniable que l’Église a perdu ce dernier demi-siècle une influence formidable. Elle a encore une influence, mais en tant qu’institution; l’influence réelle, celle des évêques par exemple, est très faible. L’Église en prend conscience, mais elle fait comme si elle n’avait plus la solution. Sa parole n’est plus claire. Regardez la réaction au moment de Dominus Jesus!
 
17- C’était une «parole claire», pourtant, non?
– Non. Il y a dans le texte des choses claires, et c’est contre elles que les «progressistes» ont réagi. Mais les formulations extrêmement fortes, auxquelles on n’était plus habitué et qui m’ont fait plaisir, sont modérées presque à chaque phrase par des apports du concile.
 
18- Ces formulations sont-elles pour vous un signe que Rome se rapproche progressivement de vos positions?
– Je n’en suis pas sûr, précisément à cause du mélange. On a vraiment l’impression que Rome, pour maintenir l’unité dans l’Eglise, est obligée de ménager la chèvre et le chou.
 
19- En vous mettant dans la peau de Jean-Paul II, comment géreriez-vous la diversité, bien réelle, de l’Eglise?
– Je pense qu’il faut revenir aux principes. A la nature de l’Eglise, sa mission, son être. Les solutions apportées à un problème réel sont trop humaines, même s’il y a certainement un côté humain dans l’Eglise. On cherche actuellement à tout prix l’unité, qui est certes un grand bien, mais pas une fin. C’est la foi qui cause l’unité. Si pour le bien de l’unité on met de côté une partie de la Révélation dont l’Eglise est dépositaire, on touche l’unité. Au contraire, si on affirme fortement ces vérités, forcément il va y avoir des divisions. Elles existent déjà. C’est d’ailleurs pourquoi nous demandons à Rome de réfléchir à deux fois avant de nous reprendre.
 
20- Que changerait pour vous une réconciliation avec Rome?
– Rome reconnaîtrait cette position au moins fondamentalement comme valable.
 
21- Une valable parmi d’autres ou «la» valable?
– La position de Rome, diplomatiquement et politiquement parlant, sera certainement celle du pluralisme – même si elle pensait le contraire. Nous sommes nous-mêmes très prudents: pour nous, dans l’Eglise, il y a d’autres options valables et d’autres qui ne le sont pas.
 
22- Souffrez-vous des divisions à l’intérieur de l’Eglise?
– Quand dans sa famille ça va mal, ça fait mal. Je ne souffre pas directement de l’excommunication. Mais l’état de l’Eglise me touche, ça oui.
 
23- Des fidèles d’Ecône ont récemment fait parler: affiches anti-avortement, page publicitaire contre la Gay Pride à Sion. Que pensez-vous de leur action?
– Je remarque qu’ils ne sont pas les seuls à ne pas être d’accord avec la tenue de la Gay Pride à Sion. L’évêque lui-même a dit clairement ce qu’il en pensait. Quant à la manière, il est tout à fait normal que ceux qui sont contre puissent le faire savoir, et que la liberté d’expression ne soit pas unilatérale.
 
24- Mais sur la manière?
– Je n’ai pas vu grand-chose d’offensant sur cette page.
 
25- Même pas «Tantes à Sion, tentation diabolique»?
– «Diabolique», c’est l’évêque qui le dit. Quand on essaie de faire passer une pensée, on essaie de trouver quelque chose qui accroche, même si ça choque. De ce côté-là, je pense que c’était réussi (rires). Je trouve qu’il y a beaucoup d’hypocrisie derrière les réactions à cette publicité. Faire une Gay Pride à Sion, ça, c’est de la provocation, et c’est tout à fait normal qu’on réagisse. Ce n’est pas juste que l’on donne toujours raison à ceux qui démolissent les valeurs chrétiennes.
 
26- A Fribourg, ville catholique, il n’y a pas eu de réaction semblable à la Gay Pride de 1999.
– Quand on est à moitié mort, on ne réagit plus.

 

Source:  http://www.cathinfo.com/catholic.php?a=topic&t=29898&min=0&num=5

 
The French is also available here:
http://www.fsspx.org/fr/organisation/supgen/entretiens-mgr-fellay/a_une-interview-de-mgr-fellay/

 
They are not even embarrassed about it!

 

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Father Jean’s Handout

7 February 2014

As noted in the comments by Suzanne, here is the document

 

The document mentioned in footnote (i) is available under http://abplefebvreforums.proboards.com/thread/1562/canonical-agreement-doctrinal-resolution-first

 

In memory of a principal in danger of extinction:

 

« NO CANONICAL AGREEMENT BEFORE A DOCTRINAL AGREEMENT »

If Bishop Freppel rightly noted that the abandoning of principles inevitably leads to catastrophe, Cardinal Pie leaves us with some hope in affirming that even a small number of faithful who remain true to those principles is enough to safeguard their integrity and thus keep up a chance of restoring order.

 

However, since the General Chapter in July 2012, the leadership of the SSPX seems to have abandoned a principle that it had hitherto strongly held; namely that it is impossible to envisage a practical agreement with the Vatican before satisfactorily resolving the doctrinal questions.

 

On the following 13th October, Bishop de Galarreta might well try to explain that “what was done amounts to taking the whole doctrinal and liturgical question and making it a practical question”, the order is no longer respected and we can but fear the consequences that St Pius X warned of: “If the rule seems to be an obstacle to the action, some might say that to dissimulate and to compromise shall help the action succeed. By doing so one forgets the failsafe rules and obscures the principles on the pretext of a benefit that is nothing but an appearance. What shall remain of this construction without foundations, built on sand?”

 

The aim of this study is to demonstrate, based on Revelation, Tradition and the concordant declarations of Archbishop Lefebvre and the four bishops he consecrated, that the above mentioned principle is absolutely catholic and may suffer neither abandon nor exception, being the will of God Himself and not forged by some traditionalist thinker allergic to all ralliement.

 

I – Revelation

 

In the Old Testament as in the New it is God’s firm and explicit will that the men He gratifies with His pure and true doctrine refrain absolutely from mixing with those who profess another, because of the risk of prevaricating.

 

It is the first recommendation the Almighty makes in concluding the covenant with Moses: “Beware thou never join in friendship with the inhabitants of that land, which may be thy ruin: But destroy their altars, break their statues, and cut down their groves” (Ex. 34, 12-13).

 

In turn, Our Lord often warned his disciples against the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees
(Mt 16, 6 ; Mc 8, 15), against the false prophets disguised as sheep (Mt 7, 15) who lead many into error (Mt 24, 11), even were it possible the elect (Mt 24, 24).

 

The apostles were so impressed by these warnings from the Divine Master that they forcefully repeated them to their own disciples:

 

– “Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who make dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them.” (Rm. 16, 17).
– “As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1, 9).
– “If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you.” (2 Jn 10).

 

One could add still more passages from scripture but these suffice amply, being dictated by the Holy Ghost, to be convinced that the duty to keep clear of heretics is a God-given law.

 

II – Tradition

 

The early Church Fathers, bearing in mind these doctrinal anathemas, were moved to repeat the exhortation of Saint Paul: “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid” (Tit. 3, 10).

 

– “Avoid the heretics; they are the successors of the devil who seduced the first woman”- (St Ignatius of Antioch)
– “Flee all heretics!” (St Irenaeus).
– “Flee the poison of heretics!”(St. Anthony the Great)
– “Do not sit with heretics” (St Ephrem)

 

And Saint Vincent of Lerins clarifies:

 

– “The Apostle commands this intransigence to all generations: must always be anathematized those who have a doctrine contrary to the received doctrine”.

 

It is why Don Guéranger writes to Bishop d’Astros:

 

– “One of the means to preserve faith, one of the first marks of unity, is the flight from heretics”.

 

This « first mark of unity » concerns, naturally, the unity of faith, the first characteristic note of the Catholic Church which can have only “one God, one faith” (Eph. 4,5). This same Church which solemnly tells its future subdeacons to “Remain strong in the true catholic faith, for, according to the Apostle, all that is not of faith is sin (Ro. 14, 23), schism, foreign to the unity of the Church”.

 

To better understand not only the seniority, but also the uncompromising character of our principle, we must engrave in our minds that during more than a thousand years of schism between the Byzantines and Rome there was never, without exception, concluded one single canonical agreement with the Uniates until they recognized the catholic doctrine over the disputed dogmas (Filioque, primacy of the Pope, etc.).

 

It is what the Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office, recalled on the eve of the Council:

 

“Once the truth is acknowledged, this truth over which the Church cannot compromise, all the children who return to her will find a Mother prepared to accommodate as magnanimously as is possible in matters of liturgy, traditions, discipline and humanity” (In Itinéraires No 70 p.6)

 

III – The declarations of our Bishops

 

– Archbishop Lefebvre: “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 and their teachings? Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath? Are you in favor of the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ? 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, in consideration of the doctrine of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible. It is useless.””
(Fideliter n. 66 nov-dec 1988, pp. 12-13).

 

– Bishop Williamson: “The greatest challenge to the SSPX in the next few years is to grasp the primacy of doctrine, and to measure everything else, and to pray, accordingly. In our sentimental world, the constant temptation is to go by feelings. Not going by feelings is what marked out Archbishop Lefebvre, and if in this respect we do not follow him, the SSPX will go the way of all flesh – into the arms of the (objective) destroyers of the Church. […] Doctrine, doctrine, doctrine!” (Angelus Press, 21 June 2008).

 

– Bishop Fellay : “…the clear awareness of the much more profound key issue which we have just described, forbids us to place the two issues on an equal footing. It is so clear for us that the issue of the Faith and of the spirit of faith has priority over all that we cannot consider a practical solution before the first issue is safely resolved. (…) For us, each day brings additional proof that we must clarify to a maximum the underlying issues before taking one more step toward a canonical situation, which is not in itself displeasing to us. But this is a matter of following the order of the nature of things, and to start from the wrong end would unavoidably place us in an unbearable situation. We have daily proofs of this. What is at stake is nothing more nor less than our future existence.”
(Superior General’s Letter to Friends and Benefactors no.73, 23 October 2008)

 

– Bishop de Galarreta : “They evidently want to trouble us, to alarm us by pressuring us toward a purely practical agreement, which has always been the proposition of the cardinal [Hoyos]. Evidently you already know our thoughts. This way is a dead way; for us it is the road to death. Therefore there is no question of us following it. We cannot commit ourselves to betraying the public profession of Faith. Out of the question! It’s impossible.”

 

(Homily 27 June 2008, Ecône)
“This is not the moment to change the decision of the 2006 Chapter: no practical agreement without a solution to the doctrinal question.” (Report read at the Chapter in Albano 7 October 2011)

 

– Bishop Tissier de Mallerais : “We refuse a purely practical agreement because the doctrinal question is fundamental. Faith comes before legality. We cannot accept a legalization without the problem of the faith being solved. (…) “It is a new religion that is not the Catholic religion. We do not want any compromise with this religion, any risk of corruption, not even any appearance of conciliation, and it is this appearance that our so-called “regularization” would give us.”
(Interview in Rivarol, 1st June 2012).

 

Conclusion

 

The principle “No canonical agreement before a doctrinal agreement” is a principle:

 

1) Founded on the Word of God, which formally forbids us to associate with those who profess a different doctrine to that which has been handed down by the Church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1Tim. 3, 15), in particular for over a thousand years in its discussions with the Eastern schismatics.

 

2) Absolute and allowing for no circumventing, reduction or exception, because it pertains of an “order of nature” as bishop Fellay rightly wrote in the past, and not a conventional process.

 

In consequence, it being true that one cannot expect to recover after having abandoned certain principals, especially those which concern faith, we must today as much as ever not only hold the principal « NO CANONICAL AGREEMENT BEFORE A DOCTRINAL AGREEMENT », but we must be watchful that it is not forgotten, altered or by-passed, and we must proclaim it come hell or high water for all good-willed souls to hear.

 

May the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary come to our aid in the true combat of faith and keep us ever in their love!

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Sermon by Father Jean, OFMC,

On the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (January 26th 2014)

 

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone”

 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

 

Dear friends,

 

I will begin this sermon with this explanation or rather this invocation of the word of God, not from today’s Gospel, but rather from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone”. If possible, clarifies Saint Paul. Because last night, in our office of matins in Morgon, we read another Epistle of St Paul, that to the Galatians. We have started reading it, and this week we will be reading in the middle of the night, throughout the week, the Epistle to the Galatians. And in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, Saint Paul says: “If someone preaches a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema!” It isn’t the same tone anymore. It isn’t possible to be at peace with someone who has another doctrine, another Gospel.

 

Let me, therefore, start with this word of God to try and apply it to the current circumstances. When we preach, we must be anxious to, not only explain to you the word of God, the will of God, Truth, but also how to apply it to the current need, to the need of your souls. Most of you are aware, I think, that for a few weeks there have been some grave events affecting our Traditionalist world. For those who wouldn’t be aware, I will quickly summarise the situation. A certain number of priests have left the Society and communities friendly with the SSPX have taken their distance from the authorities of the Society. So you are allowed to think: what about you in Morgon, what are you doing? What are your thoughts about it all? I have asked our Father Guardian if I could preach to you today on this matter. Not to take sides with one or the other, again, “if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone”. Last Saturday and Sunday I was with Father Fidèle-Marie in Avignon, in one of the Society’s mass centres, and we preached quite a lot, administered confession, and all went very well. And in a few weeks, I will go to Avrillé and preach or rather give a few sessions on Marian theology for a week, to the monks in Avrillé. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone”. There you have it.

 
But I asked our Father Guardian, and he gave me his permission of course, to explain to you why there is this division. I think that this is what we must understand. This division, visible, sensible, painful even in a way, is in reality something which is apparent to us, visible. It is the result of a division which is much more profound, much graver, of which I would like to speak: It is a division based on principles. It is very important, my dear faithful, that you understand this. It is not about people, it is about principles. If you remember only this much when you leave this church, I will have fulfilled my mission. This is what I told Father Guardian I would like to explain to you. And you have at the back of the church photocopies of a text which I had written a while back, it is not signed, but I take full credit for it, I wrote it. Father Guardian has allowed me to distribute it, it explains what I cannot explain in a sermon. My sermon today might already be a little longer than usual, and I cannot talk about all the details today. This text is at your disposal, there is about 50 copies of it, I think there is enough for everyone. You may copy it and distribute it if you wish, I take full responsibility for it.[i]
 

The framework of this sermon, if it can be called a sermon, is very simple. First, I will show you that it is very important for us to be men and women of principle. In the second part, I will try to explain how, if we have been, for the past 50 years or so, in our resistance, in our struggle for the Faith, for Tradition, it is because we are men of principle, and our predecessors were men of principle. And thirdly, I will try to apply that to the current circumstances. Today, the problem is a problem of principles in the Tradition.
 

So first point, we must be men of principle. This is based on the teachings of the Popes. Pope Pius IX, in 1871, received French pilgrims in Rome; he told them: “In France, since the Revolution, what is preventing God’s blessing on you country is the fact that you have altered principles”. That is what Pope Pius IX said. You have altered principles. Then, Pope Saint Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi – he was only quoting St Thomas Aquinas, it is the doctrine of the Church, pure traditional doctrine of the Church – said : « When you alter a principle, when you deviate only a little from a principle, the consequences are enormous! ». It is a bit like that with rifle shooting. If you move a millimetre, at 200 metres you are a meter from the target.
 

Pope Pius XII (therefore closer to our times) also said to Frenchmen: “France will only get back on its feet when Catholics will be men of principle, men of doctrine, trained men.” That is how Pope Pius XII spoke on the eve of the Council, to French Catholics. “You must be men of principle”. I won’t go on with quotes from the Popes, but I would like to quote a great cardinal, Cardinal Pie, who gave a whole sermon to explain to his diocese: the Church has always been inflexible on principles and tolerant in practice, with people. And the world, the liberals, it is the opposite; they are very tolerant on principles: think what you like, you have a right to think what you like. And they are intolerant in practice. That is why Cardinal Pie explained. And Bishop Freppel said: “When we abandon principles, it leads to ruin”. And these bishops, these great bishops who lived in the century following the French Revolution, tell us, and it is true, that revolutions are not made by people, they are battles of principles. It is true, and I will explain further in the second point. So, let us remember, my dear faithful: we must be men of principle. The Popes tell us so, the Church tells us so. If we are men of interest, if we make the principles above us bend to our interests, we are heading for disaster, we are not doing God’s will. Principles are not necessarily dogmas of the faith, but if you don’t respect them, well, they will take revenge. It is a principle, in any country, in England as much it is in France, that we must all drive on the same side of the road, even if in England they drive on the left, and we drive on the right. But the principle remains the same. And if you ignore this principle you are heading for disaster. No need to make you a drawing. It is an order of nature. It is not a dogma of Faith. It is not written in the Councils, but it is a principle. If one does not respect this principle, one heads for disaster.

 
And now, in the second point, I would like to show you that in Tradition, the resistance that we oppose, reluctantly in a way, to the hierarchy in place, to the Pope, to the bishops, exists because it is a question of principles. We are not against the Pope; we are not against the bishops. On the contrary, we pray for them always. But we are against their false principles. I will give you an example which you will understand right away: Council Vatican I established a principle: “Everything on earth is ordained for the glory of God”. It’s a principle, it’s dogmatic, it is even found in Holy Scripture. Vatican I didn’t invent anything, but no Council had declared it before Vatican I. Vatican I only reaffirmed an inescapable principle: everything on earth was created by God for His glory. Vatican II affirmed another principle: “Everything on earth is ordained towards man.” It is in Vatican II written out in full letters. Another principle was thereby affirmed. And our elders, Archbishop Lefebvre, Father Calmel, Father Eugene, did not accept this new principle. And you dear faithful, the old-timers amongst you especially, you did not accept this principle either, in practice, because the new religion which is ordained towards man turned the altar around. And you were surprised, walking into your church one day, to see that the altar had been turned around. You said to yourself: but the sacrifice is offered to God, it isn’t a meal between friends! Your good common sense, your Catholic sense even, realised that right away, without knowing the principle. And if I may talk about my own family, I have a very clear memory of it; it was at the end of the Council, my father didn’t want to attend the parish mass anymore, because they had turned the altar around. He started attending another parish, further out, where an old priest was celebrating the mass of all time. And we could go on. If our elders, the pioneers – those thanks to whom we have fought the good fight of the Faith, and we have had the grace to continue, thanks to my father, thanks to Archbishop Lefebvre – hadn’t existed and done that, we wouldn’t be here. They were men of principle. They refused to compromise. I think you know how Archbishop Lefebvre was repeatedly pressured into saying the “New Mass” at least once in his life. He was in Flavigny once, and a Jesuit priest who had been sent from Rome had a missal under his arm and was begging the Archbishop:

 
Please, your Excellency, let us concelebrate Mass once, just once!

 
But Archbishop Lefebvre was a man of principle:

 
No, if this Mass is bad, I do not want to celebrate it, not even once!”
 

All this despite this good Jesuit – sent from Rome by Pope Paul VI himself, and with the papers he needed – who was almost begging him on two knees to concelebrate with him.

 
Archbishop Lefebvre could have said, if he had been not a man of principle but a man motivated by self-interest: Oh, it will smooth things over; they will be nicer after that. Alright then, just this once. No one will see it; in a little chapel in the Lacordaire oratory there. And that’s all, and it will smooth things over.

 
Something else comes to mind. I do not remember the name of the Pope at the time [ii], but when the King of England [Henry VIII] wanted a divorce to remarry, the Pope told him:
 

No, that is not possible, you cannot divorce.”
 

If you don’t allow me to divorce, I will leave the Roman Catholic Church.”
 

No, no, it isn’t possible. I am not allowed [to divorce you] and I can’t. It is a principle which is above me. You are married, and I cannot [divorce you], you are married before God, you are married!”
 

As a result, the King of England left the Church and we ended with a schism. One could think, really, the Pope could have said yes, it would have smoothed things over and England would have stayed Catholic! It would have been much better like that. No! It is unsound reasoning. It is a reasoning based on self-interest. That’s the way it is: one has to respect principles. It is in Holy Scripture, Saint Paul says it. We cannot do a wrong to bring about a good. We cannot betray a principle ordained by God for a temporary or particular interest which goes against the common good. And I could give other examples, but my dear faithful, I do not want to linger on this second point so I will resume it if you allow me. Our elders have been faithful to their principles, and it is thanks to them that we are here, that we have fought the good fight.
 

And now the third point, its application in the current situation, today, this Sunday at the end of January. Again I want to say this in peace, without acrimony, without bitter zeal, but I need to make you understand where the problem is, where the division is: It is in the minds of people. It is not a matter of priests or communities which are not with us any longer. The division is in the minds of the people in our traditionalist world; in our priories, in our convents. That’s it. It is in the minds, because there are minds who profess a principle held for years, which Archbishop Lefebvre left us, and there are those do not admit this principle anymore, who say that this principle is not valid anymore, that it isn’t good. That’s the problem. So what is this principle? I think most of you have already understood. It is the principle that we cannot sign a practical or canonical agreement with the Roman authorities if we do not agree, first of all, on the doctrine, if we do not profess the same truths. And that is a Catholic principle. You have the photocopied letter at the back; you can read it peacefully at home, read well the arguments which I wrote to show you that it is based on Holy Scripture, on the Fathers of the Church, on the practice of the Church. The practice of the Church, I insist on that point, because it has been the attitude of the Popes until Pius XII, for instance with the Orthodox. When the Orthodox, since the Great Schism, since the 9th century with Photius were trying to negotiate with Rome to reunite with Rome, to have a practical agreement, to be reunited to the Roman hierarchy, well, it always stalled on questions of doctrine. Always: the primacy of the Pope, in particular, and the Filioque in the Credo. And when there were agreements, such as the Uniats[iii] in Greece and Russia, certain orthodox communities were reunited with the Roman Catholic Church, became catholic again, Rome never compromised with doctrine. Never. But with regards to the practice, the liturgy, no problem. With regards to the marriage of priests, no problem; it is traditional for you, always has been, no problem. A little example: with the Uniats in Ukraine, the Ruthenes, in the 17th century, Rome said: you must accept the doctrine of the Filioque, which is that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son; you must not say that it is a heresy. And the Uniats, or those who were going to become Uniats, said: Alright, we accept this doctrine, we have studied the matter again, we see that is in Tradition, that it is what the Church has always taught and we agree with the Filioque. Then Rome said: Actually do not ask that you say it in your Credo, because you have never sung it in your Credo even in the first centuries. So you won’t have to sing it in your Credo. Actually, a century later they asked to sing it in the Credo! So you see, Rome was very firm on a point of doctrine. Doctrine first. We must agree on doctrine, and then we will discuss practical matters, liturgical matters, that can be arranged, but one does not compromise with Faith; in that we are intolerant, absolutely, and proud to be so. Faith does not belong to us. It is a sacred deposit which we have received, it is above us. No one is allowed to touch it, not even a Pope.

 
Now to our current problem: for years, until the consecrations [of the 4 bishops in 1988] Archbishop Lefebvre tried to negotiate with Rome; since 1975, year of the unjust and null condemnation by Rome of the Society St Pius X, until 1988. When he was called to Rome, Archbishop Lefebvre always went there, and talked about Faith, about doctrine first; then he would look at the practical aspects, is there a way to sort things out, etc. There was always this doctrinal and practical aspect in play. So, sometimes, Archbishop Lefebvre made declarations which touched on the practical aspect, saying, let us experience Tradition, and we ask only for that, that we may be allowed to experience Tradition, and we will sort things out like that. Because he was a churchman, he always had this desire to be, if possible, in communion with the hierarchy.
 

Then he realised that he had gone too far when signing the protocol. He had gone too far because he had compromised on doctrine. He had put practice first. He recognised it, when he declared it in Fideliter n°66[iv]; those of you who have it at home can read it. In this Fideliter n°66 which dates back to December 1988, on the cover there is written “If talks resume, I will set down my conditions”. That is what Archbishop Lefebvre said after the consecrations and until his death and that is what he bequeathed us.
 

What are these conditions? You can find them in Fideliter n°66 and you know them anyway: “I will go to Rome with the encyclicals of the Popes and I will tell them: Are you in full agreement with these encyclicals? Quas Primas, on the kingship of our Lord Jesus-Christ? Mortalium Animos, on false ecumenism? etc etc.” Are you in agreement with the doctrine of your predecessors? ». There is a second point which Archbishop Lefebvre adds to his conditions: “Are you ready to reform Vatican II based on these encyclicals?” Because Vatican II says the opposite of Mortalium Animos and the opposite of Quas Primas and others encyclical, for instance on liberalism by Gregory XVI. “Are you in agreement, not only with the doctrine of your predecessors, but are you also ready to change, to reform Vatican II based on sound principles?” Those were Archbishop Lefebvre’s conditions. Read Fideliter n°66 very carefully. You can also buy it, or we can make copies for you if you’d like. In other declarations, In Flavigny, Archbishop Lefebvre said (and we already gave you copies of this declaration): « In Rome they uncrowned Our Lord Jesus-Christ, we cannot agree until they have crowned him again, before they affirm once more that Our Lord must reign over society”. So, let us remember, dear brethren, that after the consecrations Archbishop Lefebvre has always firmly maintained this principle: “I will set out my conditions: the doctrine, the encyclicals of the Popes. Do you agree, yes or no? If you do not, then there is no need for negotiations.” It is written in Fideliter n°66. If we do not agree on doctrine, it is pointless to discuss practical questions any more. That is what Archbishop Lefebvre bequeathed us until his death. And our movement of the Tradition has always been perfectly united as long as we have upheld this principle. And you will read on the copy which is at the back of the church the declarations of the 5 bishops, Archbishop Lefebvre and the 4 bishops he ordained, defending this principle; it is clear-cut and unambiguous. Bishop Fellay, in an October 2008 Letter to Friends and Benefactors which was attached to the French District newsletter, which you would be able to find in your old papers, says this principle is in the order of nature. It is like that of the driving side. It imposes itself on us. It is an order of nature. We must agree on doctrine before talking about practical arrangements.
 

Unfortunately, and it has been so for a while, I would say since after the discussions with Rome, around autumn 2011, well, little by little, we are forced to observe that the authorities of the Society are abandoning this principle. I say it without acrimony, without bitter zeal. I say it peacefully. I am ready to take responsibility for what I am saying and they [the authorities] cannot contradict me because it is public. It first started with Bishop Fellay saying that one might allow exceptions to this principle. He gave a conference in Canada where he said: with the Orthodox for instance, Rome agreed [with the Orthodox] on the question of marriage; divorce was allowed in certain cases. Bishop Fellay said:  this principle does not hold, there are exceptions, one can compromise with it.  But when one looks carefully at the question of marriage with the Orthodox, it wasn’t a question of Faith! It was a question of discipline; very different. Then Bishop de Galarreta, in a conference given in Villepreux[v] on October 13th 2012, said: Alright, these questions of practice, doctrine, we put all of these together, and if we can come to an agreement; we will fight the good fight from inside [the Church], we will be the spearhead inside, we will fight them from the inside. And then recently Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, in a conference given in Toulon last June said, and he confirmed it in writing (I had an exchange of letters with him), that Archbishop Lefebvre had always looked for a practical agreement. And I wrote to him saying, before the consecrations, yes, there had been declarations from Archbishop Lefebvre that showed that he was sometimes less strict with this principle. But after the consecrations he was always very clear and I remind Bishop Tissier that in Fideliter n°66 Archbishop Lefebvre had said: “I will set out my conditions, etc”. And Bishop Tissier answered me, I have his letter dated 11th September 2013, “He did say it, but he would not have done it”.
 

Again I repeat, I am not against anyone, I am not against Bishop Fellay, I am not against Bishop de Galarreta, I am not against Bishop Tissier. I pray for them. They are Bishops and one of them conferred the Holy Orders to me, and again, if possible, I would like to be at peace with everyone. But what I am telling you now are public statements, in Canada, in Villepreux, in Toulon. They are known, I am not telling you hidden things. I am merely trying to make sense of the current problem for you. There is a division in minds. This principle which was kept for years, behind which we all rallied, is being abandoned now.
 

In 2006 the Society had a General Chapter where it solemnly reaffirmed this principle. In 2012 it abandoned it. It set out 6 conditions, and if they [the Roman authorities] agree on the six conditions, then we can have a canonical agreement, a practical agreement. And Bishop Fellay wrote to Pope Benedict XVI in June 2012, and said: here is the path we chose, we are leaving aside unresolved doctrinal problems, let us first work towards a practical agreement and then we will see about the doctrinal agreements. And Bishop Fellay said to Benedict XVI: “I truly intend to continue on this path”. He clarifies it, he says it clearly, it is his intention. Then a month later, on July 2nd, there was a meeting of religious superiors in Paris, with 2 bishops, Bishop Fellay and Bishop de Galarreta. And, after Bishop Fellay was saying he regretted certain things, a Dominicain priest rose up and said, but your Excellency, shouldn’t the Society come back to the principle set out at the General Chapter in 2006? And Bishop Fellay answered: No, no, no, no. This principle isn’t clear, it isn’t sure. Even though 4 years earlier he had asserted that it was an order of nature, which means something which cannot be changed. There is no possible exception to an order of nature, it is philosophical, it is nature.

 

So you see my dear brethren, where the problem is. That is what I have tried to explain, without trying to take sides, without attacking people even if I have given names. But I have only given you publicly available information.
 

And now I will let you pray, I will let you meditate on these things so that each one of us, in conscience, can say: what is God’s will in this matter? That is the most important: what is God’s will in this matter? And do not insult each other saying: they are wrong, we don’t want them anymore, anathema to these priests on this side or that side. If possible let us remain at peace, let us be at peace with everyone. If possible, and it is still possible because there isn’t any official agreement yet. It is still only a battle of principle. It is very important, it is primordial. That is why you have these photocopies at the back of the church, which I invite to read, to understand. All revolutions were run on principles. Our elders told us, we must instil this in our minds. And this question of principles, one must really understand this and then we must follow our consciences because for each of us priests it is a grave problem of conscience. And Bishop de Galarreta had said so during the 2011 Chapter, on October 7th in Albano: “If we abandon this principle, it will mean a grave problem of conscience for priests.” He said it during the Chapter, he gave a warning. And unfortunately this is what we are seeing now. These “departures”, in brackets, come from the fact these priests are facing a great problem of conscience and they are not alone, so do I. What should I do now? Well, let us pray, let us pray a lot now. I think it is part of our prayer intentions, that we may be faithful to what our elders bequeathed us; these principles which, I am certain, come from God, are the will of God in the current crisis, in our dealings with Rome. The condemnation of Father Pivert’s book comes from there; it is because he upholds the old principle. No need to look any further. Why is Father Pivert’s book now banned from sale in the priories? (We still sell it in Morgon by the way). Because Father Pivert upholds the principle which we have held for the last 25 years and which is now being abandoned. That’s it. So if you understand this, you will understand a lot of other very concrete, very practical things.
 

My dear brethren, I hope to have spoken from God, I hope I didn’t cause any confusion in any soul, I would like it on the contrary to be peace. I think that if we are convinced of the will of God we can only be at peace, even in the worst situations. Let us think of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, Stabat Mater. She was peaceful. Stabat, she was standing. She was not revolted, she was not trembling, and she was not panicked; and yet her Son was in extraordinary torture. The heart of a mother and an immaculate heart, how she must have suffered! Yes she was in peace. We certainly are all suffering, my dear brethren, from this situation. All of us in the Tradition! But let us, as the Blessed Virgin, like her at the foot of the cross, stay peaceful and keep our eyes on God, on the will of God. Why was she peaceful? Because she knew it was the will of God that her Son die in these conditions, and that was enough for her to be at peace. Let us ask this grace from Our Lady, and if possible, remain at peace with everyone.
 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
 

http://cor-mariae.proboards.com/thread/1240/sermon-jean-morgon-dimanche-apr?page=1&scrollTo=1947#ixzz2s9zp5uAv

 



[i] I believe that document is the one which is now up on the Reconquista website… in French…

[ii] Pope Clement VII.

[iii] The term Uniat or Uniate is applied to those Eastern Catholic churches which were previously Eastern Orthodox churches, primarily by Eastern Orthodox. The term is considered to have a derogatory connotation, though it was occasionally used by Latin and Eastern Catholics, prior to the Second Vatican Council.

[iv] Link to that interview in Fideliter 66: http://www.therecusant.com/fideliter66-interview

[v] Villepreux is a town not far from Paris where the French District of the Society and other traditional associations  hold an annual gathering for the faithful, their families, etc. See http://www.dici.org/agenda/france-journees-de-la-tradition-les-13-14-octobre-2012-a-villepreux/

 

We thank Suzanne Borgonovo Bretz for the translation from French!

 

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Today is the second anniversary of that infamous sermon given by His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minnesota.  The following is the quote that really caught my ear back then:

 

“We told them very clearly, if you accept us as is, without change, without obliging us to accept these things, then we are ready.”

 

By these words Bishop Fellay publicly opposed the old SSPX adage of “no canonical agreement prior to a doctrinal resolution”.  In other words, he publicly adopted a position in opposition to that of the SSPX founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who from the 1988 Consecrations onward clearly and firmly held the position that Rome must accept the pre-conciliar Magisterial teachings prior to the resumption of discussions regarding a canonical regularization.  It is true that there were almost two years of doctrinal discussions between Rome and the SSPX prior to this sermon, but the conclusion reached was that each party could not convince the other of its position.

 

My friends, does this make any sense?  The SSPX starts the doctrinal discussions with Rome in 2009 with the position that the doctrinal differences between the two parties must be resolved prior to any canonical regularization.  Then almost two years of discussions are held after which both parties cannot come to an agreement on the doctrinal discrepancies.  Nonetheless, soon after Bishop Fellay is willing to accept a canonical regularization so long as Rome accepts the SSPX “as is”.  Huh?  It does make sense, however, if the doctrinal discussions actually convinced Bishop Fellay that Rome was not so wrong after all.  Hmmm.

 

You may also listen to the Feb. 2, 2012 sermon here.  Start at the 39:50 mark if you want to hear Bishop Fellay’s statement quoted above.

 

For a history of the changes in the SSPX leadership’s attitude regarding a canonical regularization, please download the article I wrote one year ago entitled “The Society of St. Pius X and the Diocesan Bishops”.

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