Bishop Antonio De Castro Meyer

“Resistance” Failing?

“Resistance” Failing? posted in Eleison Comments on August 23, 2014

Some readers of these Comments no doubt objected to the reference made last week (EC 370) to the “Resistance” presently making “little apparent headway.” They might have preferred a valiant call to arms. But we must stay real. For instance, when the Traditional diocese of Campos in Brazil fell back into the arms of Newrome back in 2001, did not several of us say that out of some 25 priests formed in Bishop de Castro Mayer’s school, at least a few would break ranks? Yet not one of them has gone independent since then to continue defending Tradition as Campos had always defended it, and so all of them are more or less on the neo-modernist slide. However, if we do stay real, there is not nothing to be said.

First of all, God is God, and he is conducting this crisis his way and not ours. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, your ways are not my ways, says the Lord” (Is. LV, 8). We dream of the clear-sighted priests and laity banding together to stand up to his enemies, but God does not need anybody’s “Resistance” to look after his sheep or save his Church. Forty years ago when Archbishop Lefebvre hoped for and looked for a handful of fellow-bishops to stand beside him in public and throw up a real road-block in the way of the Conciliar steam-roller, surely he might have found them, but he never did. In fact when God intervenes to save the situation, as he certainly will, it will be obvious that the rescue was his doing, through his Mother.

Secondly, more than five centuries of rampant humanism have made man so ignorant of God, the Lord God of Hosts, that mankind has to be taught a lesson which it will not learn except the hard way. The ninth of St Ignatius’ 14 Rules for the Discernment of Spirits (first week) gives three main reasons for a soul’s spiritual desolation, which can be applied to the Church’s present desolation:‍—

1. God punishes us for our spiritual lukewarmness and negligence. God alone knows today just what a worldwide chastisement is deserved by our worldwide apostasy and plunge into materialism and hedonism.

2. God puts us to the trial to show us what is really inside us, and how we depend on him. Does not modern man seriously think that he can do a better job of running the universe than Almighty God? And might it be that the truth will not sink in until all of his own little efforts have failed?

3. God humbles us with desolation to cut short our pride and vainglory. Coming from the chief ministers of the one true religion of the one true God, was not Vatican II an unprecedented outburst of human vainglory, preferring man’s modern world to God’s unchanging Church? And the little Society of St Pius X thought that it could save the Church? Unless the “Resistance” remains duly modest in its claims and ambitions, it is doomed in advance.

Then what should those ambitions be? First and foremost, to keep the Faith, without which it is impossible to please God (Heb. XI, 6), and which is expressed in doctrine, in the Catholic Creed. Secondly, to give witness to that Faith, especially by example, if necessary unto martyrdom (“martyr” is the Greek word for “witness”). So howsoever the “Resistance” is or is not organized, it must devote its resources, however meagre, to whatever will help souls to keep the Faith. Then, since its stand for the Truth is bound to be recognizable as such, merely by existing it will not be failing, because it will be giving witness.

Kyrie eleison.

Sarto, Siri?

Sarto, Siri? posted in Eleison Comments on September 29, 2012

In a sermon for the Feast of St Pius X I found myself uttering « almost a heresy »: I wondered aloud whether Giuseppe Sarto would have disobeyed Paul VI’s destruction of the Church, if, instead of dying as Pope Pius X in 1914, he had died as a Cardinal in, say, 1974. Within the Society of St Pius X that must sound like a heresy because how can the wisdom of the heavenly patron of the SSPX be in any way flawed? Yet the question is not idle.

In the 1970’s Archbishop Lefebvre made personal visits to a number of the Church’s best cardinals and bishops in the hope of persuading a mere handful of them to offer public resistance to the Vatican II revolution. He used to say that just half a dozen bishops resisting together could have seriously obstructed the Conciliar devastation of the Church. Alas, not even Pius XII’s choice of successor, Cardinal Siri of Genoa, would make a public move against the Church Establishment. Finally Bishop de Castro Mayer stepped forward, but only in the 1980’s, by when the Conciliar Revolution was well ensconced at the top of the Church.

So how could the best of well-trained minds have been so darkened? How could so few of the best churchmen at that time not have seen what the Archbishop was seeing, for instance that the “law” establishing the Novus Ordo Mass was no law at all, because it belongs to the very nature of law to be an ordinance of reason for the common good? How could he have been so relatively alone in not letting such a basic principle of common sense be smothered by respect for authority, when the Church’s very survival was being placed in peril by Vatican II and the New Mass? How can authority have so gained the upper hand on reality and truth?

My own answer is that for seven centuries Christendom has been sliding into apostasy. For 700 years, with noble interruptions like the Counter-Reformation, the reality of Catholicism has been slowly eaten away by the cancerous fantasy of liberalism, which is the freeing of man from God by the freeing of nature from grace, of mind from objective truth and of will from objective right and wrong. For the longest time, 650 years, the Catholic churchmen clung to and defended reality, but finally enough of the engrossing fantasy of glamorous modernity worked its way into their bones for reality to lose its grip on their minds and wills. Lacking grace, as St Thomas More said of the English bishops in his time betraying the Catholic Church, the Conciliar bishops let men’s fantasy take over from God’s reality, and authority take over from truth. There are practical lessons for clergy and laity alike.

Colleagues inside and outside the SSPX, to serve God, let us beware of reacting like Giuseppe Siri when we need to be reacting like Giuseppe Sarto, with his magnificent denunciations of the modern errors in Pascendi, Lamentabiliand the Letter on the Sillon. And to obtain the grace we need in this most tremendous crisis of all Church history, we need tremendously to pray.

Layfolk, if horrors of modern life make you “hunger and thirst after justice,” rejoice if you can that the horrors are keeping you real, and do not doubt that if you persevere in your hunger, you will “have your fill” (Mt.V, 6). Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, and they that mourn, says Our Lord, in the same place. As for the surest protection against your minds and hearts being taken over by the fantasy, pray five, better fifteen, Mysteries a day of Our Lady’s Holy Rosary.

Kyrie eleison.

Campos Resilient

Campos Resilient posted in Eleison Comments on December 20, 2008

Catholics regularly ask, “What has happened to Campos?” They are referring of course to the Brazilian diocese which Bishop de Castro Mayer, lone hero of the post-Conciliar episcopate alongside Archbishop Lefebvre, maintained in Catholic Tradition until his death in 1991, but which his second successor, Bishop Rifan, led back under the Roman authorities ten or so years later. The question then is, how well is Catholic Tradition faring in the Campos now under Roman control?

And the answer is that the 40-plus-year war between Catholicism and Conciliarism is unfolding along the usual lines: the laity who cleave to Tradition are tranquil in their Faith; the best of the priests now under, ultimately, neo-modernist Rome are suffering from split loyalties; their bishop, loyal to the same Rome – or to his own ambition – is manoeuvring all the time to Conciliarise the work of Bishop de Castro Mayer.

Ambition is the only explanation that the most clear-sighted layfolk can find for the defection to neo-modernist Rome of Bishop Rifan. These layfolk say, “If he was wrong to follow Tradition for so long, why should he be right now? The valid books he wrote then, are they invalid now?” The Bishop threatens them with taking away their priests. Reply of one of these layfolk: “Your Excellency, that’s entirely up to you. As for me, at Easter I will bring in a priest from outside, if necessary.” Over such souls the Bishop has lost all influence.

Some of the laity say that nothing has changed in the eleven parishes of Tradition, and they declare that Bishop Rifan can do no wrong. Others notice the beginning of changes, for instance how the priests no longer tell the people to throw out the television set because it is enough to keep it under control. Logically, for a bishop and priests letting go of the complete truth, their preaching is tending to become more authoritarian. However, they are liable to back down where they sense a resistance which would diminish the numbers of their flock.

Typically, the clear-sighted laity, in particular a group of some 180 souls in three chapels of the Traditional parish of Vari Sai, are turning to priests uncompromisingly Traditional to say Mass for them and to maintain their Faith. Long term, their hope is in the Society of St. Pius X, which is the major support system of such priests, and which is showing no signs of being about to fall in with the neo-modernists of Rome. But the struggle must continue. As Our Lord says, “If these days were not shortened . . .”

Kyrie eleison.