As most of you are aware, His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson and the Kentucky Fathers (Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer and Fr. David Hewko) are at odds with each other. Things really started to heat up after His Excellency’s infamous comments regarding active attendance at the Novus Ordo Mass spoken in June 2015. Eventually it got to the point where the term “Fake (or False) Resistance” was applied by the Kentucky Fathers and their supporters towards Bishop Williamson and his supporters. The Winter 2017 Issue of Gladium published by the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Seminary defines the Fake Resistance as such:
“The Fake Resistance was a movement, beginning in 2013, engineered to neutralize the real Resistance, and lead souls in the very same direction of compromise, while at the same time appearing to be ‘conservative’.”
Then it continues:
“What is wrong with the Fake Resistance? Why are their teachings so unclear? The answer is in the DOCTRINAL errors of the Fake Resistance. Led by Bp. Williamson, it is meant to channel Traditional Catholics to the novel idea that the New Mass and Vatican II are indeed bad and harmful, but that they are merely a secondary problem. So they will insist that the New Religion can help you live your faith, but not that it is really deadly to souls. They insist that the problem of Vatican II is that it is ‘ambiguous’ but not that it is erroneous and heretical.”
Prior to the publication of this issue of Gladium, Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko gave conferences (see here, here, and here) in September 2017 on the errors of Bishop Williamson. Fr. Hewko, on August 28, 2016, preached (see here) that we should tell Bishop Williamson not to come to the missions to give confirmations until he renounces his errors. Here is a clip from this August 28, 2016 sermon:
Fr. Hewko has also preached on several occasions that we should not attend the Masses of Bishop Williamson. Now I must admit that I have never heard Fr. Pfeiffer publicly say these things. However, I remember driving Fr. Pfeiffer to the Toronto airport after Mass on March 12, 2017 and I asked him whether he would celebrate Mass with Bishop Williamson. Fr. Pfeiffer responded that he doesn’t think he would. Nonetheless, the true (and even fake) Resistance faithful know that if a bishop or priest publicly teaches errors we should avoid his Masses. We apply the red light to neo-SSPX Masses and the same we do to fake Resistance Masses.
Given, then, what I have written above, I was disturbed to read on The Catacombs forum a post made by a forum member, who goes by the name of Machabees and is an avid proponent of the Kentucky Fathers, that Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko wrote in May 2018 to Bishop Williamson to come administer the sacraments at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church and seminary, and that they have been doing this every year. Here is the quote:
“The SSPX-mc priests (Frs. Pfeiffer and Hewko) wrote another letter (sent via confirmed email) this past May 2018 to Bishop Williamson, as they do every year, requesting Holy oils, Confirmations, and elevations to priesthood for the Traditional Catholic seminarians present serving the Church.”
Here is a screenshot of part of Machabees’ post:
When I read this, I said to myself, “What!” How could Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko preach that Bishop Williamson teaches errors and, in the case of Fr. Hewko, preach that we should not go to his Masses, and yet write to him to come administer the sacraments? Another forum member, Fidelis, in the very next post iterated some of my thoughts on the matter:
“Shouldn’t BW recant first his heresies regarding the New Mass and openness to the Sedevacantist before one receives the Sacraments from him or it doesn’t matter considering the dire circumstances? If that is the case then what is the problem of going to the Orthodox Bishop or NovusOrdo for the ordination? The way I see it and please clarify, the False resistance must be treated with caution like the NeoSspx until they convert back to the stance of combat for the Faith!”
Here is a screenshot of Fidelis’ post:
My friends, please consider this. Imagine if Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko wrote to Bishop Fellay to come to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church and seminary to administer the sacraments despite the fact they preach that Bishop Fellay teaches errors. What would be your reaction? I hope it would be one of shock! Now if Bishop Williamson is the leader of the fake Resistance, does that not place him in the same category as Bishop Fellay? Yes; it does. The common ground is that they both teach errors. The difference between the two bishops, then, is only a matter of degree and not of substance. So for Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko to preach one thing and then do another is very troubling. Furthermore, the Kentucky Fathers’ willingness to have Bishop Williamson come administer the sacraments is a variant of tradecumenism, which was also condemned by them (see here). Therefore, the question needs to be asked whether or not Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko are also part of the fake Resistance. I wrote to the Fathers at least twice regarding their letters to Bishop Williamson and neither of them responded to me.
Now some defenders of the Kentucky Fathers might argue that the need for future true Resistance priests takes precedence over Bishop Williamson’s errors. If that is the case, then those defenders should have no problem with the Kentucky Fathers asking a neo-SSPX, Sedevacantist, or a Vatican II adhering bishop consecrated before 1968 to come and perform ordinations for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel seminarians. After all, as long as we have a moral certitude of validity, what’s the problem? Well, the problem is that doctrine comes first. Our fight first and foremost is a doctrinal one. To set aside doctrine is no better than what the neo-SSPX is doing with Modernist Rome. To set aside doctrine really undermines the very basis of our decision to be in the true Resistance in the first place. How, then, will the Catholic Church continue without future priests? This is not the concern of Fr. Pfeiffer or Fr. Hewko because being simple priests they do not have the sacerdotal power to make new priests. A seminary requires a bishop because the output of that seminary are priests. A priest has a moral obligation to run a seminary only if he is commanded to do so by a legitimate superior, but it is that superior that must provide the bishop. Since Fr. Pfeiffer, a simple priest, runs the Our Lady of Mount Carmel seminary, but is not being commanded to run it by any legitimate superior (who would anyways need to provide a bishop), he has no moral obligation to run it. Yet he speaks and acts as if he does have moral obligation to do so. This leads him to seek out the ministerial services of a compromising bishop (or even one that has questionably valid orders). This places in danger the Faith (or even the validity of the sacraments) for the sake of a seminary. In essence, that which Fr. Pfeiffer is morally obliged to provide (e.g., the Faith and valid sacraments) becomes endangered by that which he is not morally obliged to provide (e.g., a seminary).
In my communications with Fr. Rafael, O.S.B., regarding this matter, he stated that Fr. Pfeiffer should not set aside doctrine for the sake of the sacraments and should be willing to lose each and every seminarian rather than compromise with the fake Resistance or questionably valid bishops. I must agree.
Let us keep the Kentucky Fathers in our prayers.
Addendum – screenshots of the YouTube videos linked to above: