"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Archbp. Lefebvre 1980
OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY BISHOP FELLAY, SOCIETY PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS AND FAITHFUL
November 8, 2012 Feast of the 4 Holy Crowned Martyrs
When Catholics during the Protestant Revolution were told: “Accept the Oath of Supremacy or death!” most Catholics took the Oath. But the Lord God was pleased to raise up an army of martyrs and a saint-pope who condemned the rising errors at the Council of Trent.
When Catholics during the French Revolution were told: “Peace at the price of a little incense to the ‘gods’ of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity!” Although most compromised, yet God raised up thousands of martyrs and a faithful Resistance from the Vendee. Then, a Cardinal Pie of Poitiers to combat the Revolution’s “peaceful implementations” of the Napoleonic era. Within a century, faithful Catholics rallied behind the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX, who condemned Liberal Catholicism.
When Catholics were told: “Better Red than dead!” refusing to cooperate in what Pius XI called an “intrinsically evil” economic, political and atheistic system, many did nothing, but millions of Catholics filled the Martyrs’ bleachers in Heaven, and heroic resistance was offered on the part of bishops, priests and laity throughout Russia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Vietnam, Hungary, Spain, etc., etc. In Hungary, the so-called “Peace Priests” were promised their Latin Mass, their churches, incense and vestments as long as they remained silent on the “touchy” issue of Communism. Cardinal Mindzenty, one of the few not to bow down, firmly refused and was imprisoned for 14 years.
When Catholics in Mexico were obliged to conform to the anti-Catholic laws of the Freemasonic government under Calles, many only watched from afar, but there rose up the Cristero Resistance who valiantly resisted them, shouting their: “Viva Cristo Rey!” in opposition to the Federalista’s: “Viva Satanas!”
When Catholics were told: “Obey, and submit to the Vatican II Reforms!” Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, and many priests preferred to appear “disobedient” rather than betray the Faith of Tradition. Unfortunately, most clergy and laity falsely “obeyed” and went along with the enforced directives of Vatican II.
It so tragically happens that, now, 42 years after its founding, the “life-boat” of the Society of St.Pius X is being coaxed with sweets and promises into the “harbor” of Modernist Rome filled with “sunken boats” of numerous traditional communities, once publicly opposing the errors of Vatican II.
The SSPX always resisted openly and valiantly, with the grace of God, up until July 14, 2012, when the new direction towards a practical agreement became a “determined” and “approved” endeavor. This change of principle brought about a whole new orientation in the SSPX policy toward Rome and an official departure from the uncompromising stand of Archbishop Lefebvre, expressed in the Declaration of 1974 and the Statements of 1983 and 2006. Before, it was always: “No practical agreement until there’s a doctrinal agreement;” now, it’s “practical agreement without first the doctrinal agreement.” Dare we say: “Go along to get along? Agree to disagree?” (A small error in the principles leads to disastrous conclusions).
Archbishop Lefebvre was our holy Founder. He not only had the grace of state of a Superior General, but also the grace of state as a Founder of a religious organization, to which he sought to impart his (1) spirit; (2) his principles; and (3) his experience. These were the fruit of many years of leadership in a wide variety of pastures. He was a theologian of high repute (cf. The testimony and praise of Canon Berto, the Archbishop’s episcopal theologian during Vatican II). He was a bishop and later, archbishop (with several bishops subject to him). He was the papal representative for all of French-speaking Africa. He was the Superior General of the largest Missionary Religious Order in the Church. He was a frequent visitor to the Popes in Rome. He was on the Preparatory Commission for the Second Vatican Council. He was a key member of “Coetus Internationalis Patrum” during the Council. He made many interventions during the Council (cf. I Accuse the Council!by Archbishop Lefebvre). He was not afraid to challenge and rebuke both the Council and the Popes of the Council afterwards. He was the man of the Church chosen by Divine Providence to launch the SSPX despite tremendous pressure from inside and outside the Church. His role of saving the Church and Priesthood was prophesied by the Virgin Mary in Ecuador, nearly 350 years ago! From such a man there is much to learn.
Fr. Ludovic Barrielle (so highly revered by the Archbishop) commented in 1982: “I am writing this to serve as a lesson for everyone. The day that the SSPX abandons the spirit and rules of its Founder, it will be lost. Furthermore, all our brothers who, in the future, allow themselves to judge and condemn the Founder and his principles, will show no hesitation in eventually taking away from the Society the Traditional Teaching of the Church and the Mass instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Would it not be accurate to say that Archbishop Lefebvre’s spirit, principles, and experience are summarized in the following response as well as warning, made to his sons? When asked about reopening dialogue with Rome in 1988 (after he admitted that signing the May Protocol was a big mistake), he replied: “We do not have the same outlook on reconciliation. Cardinal Ratzinger sees it as reducing us, bringing us back to Vatican II. We see it as a return of Rome to Tradition. We don’t agree; it is a dialogue of death. I can’t speak much of the future, mine is behind me, but if I live a little while, 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 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 the light of the doctrines of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible! It is useless! Thus the positions will be clear.” (Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican, p. 223, Interview of Fideliter Nov-Dec 1988). [N.B. See more related quotes opposing an agreement, at the end. They far outnumber the few expressing slight hope for some agreement, before 1988.]
Our dear Founder clearly saw “three surrenders” by making a merely practical agreement with Modernist Rome, regardless of the number of conditions, which are: (1) surrender to Rome’s ultimate power of veto on the major decisions of the Society; (2) surrender of the power of veto over any future elected Superior General; and (3) surrender of the power of veto over the names of candidates proposed as future bishops. With these influential powers handed over to the enemies of Jesus Christ, “they will string us along little by little; they will try to catch us in their traps, as long as they have not let go of these false ideas.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Dec. 13, 1984 Address to Priests of the French District).
And further: “That is why what can look like a concession, is in reality, merely a maneuver.” And more: “We must absolutely convince our faithful that it is no more than a maneuver, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the hands of Conciliar bishops and Modernist Rome! It is the greatest danger threatening our people! If we have struggled for twenty years to avoid the Conciliar errors, it was not in order to, now, put ourselves in the hands of those professing these errors!” (Archbishop Lefebvre Interview, Fideliter, July-August 1989).
“I said to him [Cardinal Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVI] ‘Even if you grant us a bishop, even if you grant us some autonomy from the bishops, even if you grant us the 1962 Liturgy, even if you allow us to continue running our seminaries in the manner we are doing it right now—we cannot work together! It is impossible! Impossible! Because we are working in diametrically opposing directions; you are working to de-Christianize society, the human person, and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them. We cannot get along together!’ Rome has lost the Faith, my dear friends, Rome is in apostasy! I am not speaking empty words! That is the truth! Rome is in apostasy! One can no longer have any confidence in these people! They have left the Church! They have left the Church! They have left the Church! It is certain! Certain! Certain! (Marcel Lefebvre, by Bp. Tissier de Mallerais, p.548. The above is an accurate translation from YouTube audio of the actual voice of Archbishop Lefebvre).
But the objection can be heard: “That’s exaggerated, Father, there’s no agreement yet, and there won’t be one under this pontificate, all is back to normal!”
Such are the words. But why so many actions to the contrary? Why, then, was the General Chapter Declaration of 2012 not amended to conform to all the previous SSPX Declarations? Why were the “6 Conditions” left to remain flimsy and uncorrected? (In other words, why is the “For Sale” sign still out on the front lawn?) Why do the expulsions, silencing, refusal of Holy Communions, threats and punishments not desist for those openly opposing a false agreement? Why the expulsion of Bishop Williamson who openly adhered to the non-compromising line of Archbishop Lefebvre? Why the sigh-of-relief expressed by an SSPX spokesman upon the expulsion of Bishop Williamson: “The decision will certainly facilitate the talks [with Rome]?” (Fr. Andreas Steiner to the German News Agency DPA).
Why, upon the 50th Anniversary of “the greatest disaster in the history of the Church” (Archbishop Lefebvre) Vatican II, the overwhelming silence on the official websites (cf.SSPX.org and DICI) of our Founder’s condemnation of the errors of the Council, unless it be to avoid such “polemical hindrances” towards an agreement? Why the recent “Ecclesia Dei” press release about negotiations still continuing? Why such a minimum reaction, in comparison with that of Archbishop Lefebvre, to the trampling of the First Commandment at Assisi III? Why were the ambiguous interviews of CNS, DICI and YouTube (granted, “cut and paste” but) not promptly corrected and still, as yet, not clarified? (For example: “…We see that, in the discussions, many things which we would have condemned as being from the Council are, in fact, not from the Council, but the common understanding of it [….]. Many people understand wrongly the Council [….] the Council presents a religious freedom that is a freedom that is very, very limited.” (Bishop Fellay, CNS Interview, May 11, 2012, 1:06 until 1:23). What happened to the “I accuse the Council,” pronounced by Archbishop Lefebvre?
Your Excellency, please return to your former preaching of the “Truth in charity!” When you once openly warned the priests of Campos, Brazil not to make a practical agreement with Modernist Rome. You once traced the fall of Campos under Bishop Rifan, and a similar pattern is now engulfing our dear Society! You once said: “For the time being, however, things are not yet at that point (i.e. Rome’s conversion to Tradition) and to foster illusions would be deadly for the SSPX, as we can see, when we follow the turn of events in Campos.” (Bishop Fellay’s Letter to Friends and Benefactors #63, Jan. 6, 2003).
You once told us: “I think Rome’s friendliness towards us is because of its ecumenical mentality. It is certainly not because Rome is now saying to us, ‘Of course, you are right, let’s go.’ No, that’s not the way Rome thinks about us. The idea they have is another one. The idea is an ecumenical one. It is the idea of pluricity, pluriformity!” (Letter to Friends and Benefactors #65, Dec, 8, 2003). This ecumenical mentality has only increased with Pope Benedict XVI (e.g. the scandals of Assisi III, visits to the Mosque, Synagogues, admittance of Anglicans without renouncing their errors, etc.).
As for Rome “changing towards Tradition,” we can recall similar conditions promised to the Le Barroux Monastery to freely preach against Modernism, and have the True Mass, but under the agreement, they collapsed to compromise, accepting the New Mass within 5 years after! As recent as March 2012, the Good Shepherd Institute has been seriously pressured by Rome to teach Vatican II in their seminary and adopt the New Catechism. The Redemptorists in Scotland were officially put under the diocesan bishop as of August 15, 2012. Our dear Founder explained the reason why up to nine traditional communities yielded to compromise the Faith, because “IT IS NOT THE SUBJECTS WHO FORM THE SUPERIORS, BUT THE SUPERIORS WHO FORM THE SUBJECTS.” (Archbishop Lefebvre 1989 Interview One Year After the Consecrations). (“Let him who thinks he stands,…”).
Seeing the sorrowful direction of our dear SSPX now only confirms more and more that it really is determined to enter into an agreement with the Conciliar Church without a doctrinal resolution and, as the 6 Conditions prove, willingly enter an agreement that will, by that very fact, subject the SSPX to Modernist Rome. “We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization” (General Chapter Statement of SSPX, July 14, 2012). It is not rumors, it is there, “in stone.”
How is it possible for a priest of the SSPX to be true to his anti-Modernist Oath and, therefore, obliged to preach against Modernism, against Rome’s being infected with Modernism, and the insanity of making a merely practical, impossible agreement with Modernist Rome, and yet consequently, be continually silenced?
Recent events show such priests are subject to punishments by silence, punitive transfers or expulsion. How is it possible for a priest to preach the Truth “in season and out of season” in such an atmosphere?
So, I desire with all my heart to maintain the anti-Modernist Oath I made before the Most Blessed Sacrament and intend to keep it, by keeping the same sense and meaning of the doctrine of the Church of all time. Furthermore, I cannot speak for other priests, but I cannot abandon the clear, unambiguous stand of our Founder, Archbishop Lefebvre (who would doubtlessly fiercely oppose this new direction since July 2012) and choose to appear “disobedient” while, in fact, truly obeying the directives of our Founder.
To our young Catholic people, “be strong, let the Word of God abide in you, and you will overcome the wicked one” (I John 2:14). The Archbishop once said: “Some people call me ‘dissident’ and a ‘rebel,’ and if that means against the Vatican II Council and the Liberal Reforms, then yes, I am ‘dissident’ and a ‘rebel.’” So, I humbly add, that, if, to oppose this direction towards subjecting Catholic Tradition to Modernists who do not hold the integral Catholic Faith (and thereby endangering the eternal salvation of countless souls!) then yes, following Archbishop Lefebvre, I too am “dissident” and a “rebel.” On the contrary, the truth appears to be that the “rebellion” has been committed by SSPX members who favor an agreement and thereby rebel against the principles and tradition of the Society. In good conscience, I cannot follow in that direction.
So, therefore, after several months of much prayer and reflection, it seems clearly the Will of God that I help in the Resistance to the dismantling of Archbishop Lefebvre’s work, by assisting the priests who want to maintain his principles. The present address is:
16 Dogwood Road South
Hubbardston, MA 01452 .
(Warning: Be slow to believe cyberrumors such as “this is a repetition of ‘the 9’ in 1983.” Stay with the actual documents, letters and facts. See especially the well-documented work, Is This Operation Suicide? by Stephen Fox).
Doubtless, I seem bold in expressing myself in this manner! But it is with ardent love that I compose these lines, love of God’s glory, love of Jesus Christ the King, love of Mary, of the souls, of the Society of St. Pius X, of the Church, of the Holy Father, the Pope! Just as the SSPX had always continued the Archbishop’s work, until Rome returns to Tradition; so the SSPX priests of the Resistance will continue his work, with God’s grace, “without bitterness or resentment,” until the leaders of the SSPX return to our Founder’s principles.
Your Excellency, I would be happy to see you when you pass by.
May your Excellency deign to accept my gratitude and the assurance of my most respectful devotion in Our Lord,
Fr. David Hewko
“The greatest service we can render the Catholic Church, the Successor of Peter, the salvationof souls and our own, is to say ‘NO’ to the reformed Liberal Church because we believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son-of-God-made-Man, Who is neither liberal nor reformable!” -(Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (Sept. 3, 1975, Letter to Friends and Benefactors #9)
“It is, therefore, a strict duty for every priest wanting to remain Catholic to separate himself from this Conciliar Church, for as long as it does not rediscover the Tradition of the Church and of the Catholic Faith.” - (Archbishop Lefebvre (Spiritual Journey, p. 13)