Declaration of 1974

Momentous Decision

Momentous Decision posted in Eleison Comments on October 27, 2012

So the exclusion from the Society of St Pius X of one of the four bishops consecrated for its service by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 is now official. It is a momentous decision on the part of the SSPX leaders, not for any personal reasons, but because of the removal of what many people took to be the single biggest obstacle within the SSPX to any false reconciliation between Catholic Tradition and Conciliar Rome. Now that he is gone, the SSPX may the more easily continue its slide into comfortable liberalism.

If the problem was merely his person, there might be no serious consequences. He is 72 years old (and “more or less gaga”) with not too many active years left ahead of him. He could be safely ignored, or further discredited if need be, and left to rant and rave in his isolated retirement. But if indeed his exclusion does mean the repudiation of that opposition to Rome which he represented, then the SSPX is in trouble, and far from resolving its interior tensions by having made an example of him, it is liable now to be racked with silent dissension or open contradiction.

This is because Archbishop Lefebvre founded the SSPX to resist the Council’s destruction of the Catholic Faith by its 16 documents, and of the practice of that Faith by the New Mass above all. Resisting the Council was built into the very nature of the Society. Now to undo a thing’s nature is to undo the thing. It would follow that with this exclusion the SSPX of Archbishop Lefebvre is well on its way to being undone, and it will be replaced by something quite different. Actually that transformation has been observable for many years. The exclusion is merely one final blow.

Not that the Archbishop was primarily, or only, against the Council. Primarily he was Catholic, a Catholic bishop, a true pastor of souls, as is clear from his writings prior to the Council. But once that unspeakable disaster for the Church had taken place, he soon saw that the most urgent task in defence of the Faith was to resist the Vatican II Revolution which was taking over millions and millions of Catholic hearts and minds. Hence his founding in 1970 of the SSPX which would use exclusively the Tridentine rite of Mass. Hence his famous Declaration of November, 1974, which was like a charter of the Catholic principles inspiring the SSPX’s resistance. Only the conversion and reversion of the Church authorities to the true Faith can justify the abandoning of those principles. And has such a conversion or reversion taken place? By no means. On the contrary.

And the future? To fill the vacuum left by abandoning the purposes of the Archbishop, probably the mainstream SSPX now hastens into the arms of Rome, especially if Benedict XVI’s conscience is driving him to end the “schism” before he dies. The bishop’s exclusion may or may not have been a pre-condition set by Rome for a Rome-SSPX agreement, but in any case it certainly favours one. SSPX priests who see clear might lie low for the moment and wait for a flock of chickens to begin to come home to roost. SSPX laity might attend SSPX Masses for the time being, but they should watch out for the moment when the transformation mentioned above begins to threaten their faith. As for the excluded bishop, any donations to him or his cause will have to wait a little until the necessary arrangements can be set up. But be sure of one thing: he is not thinking of retiring.

Hang tight, everybody. We are in for one “helluva” ride. Let’s just make that a ride to Heaven!

Kyrie eleison.

Reversible Declaration

Reversible Declaration posted in Eleison Comments on September 22, 2012

Not everything about the General Chapter of the Society of St Pius X held in Switzerland in July may have been disastrous, but of its two official fruits, the “Six Conditions” were “alarmingly weak” (cf. EC 268, Sept. 1), and its final “Declaration” leaves much to be desired. Here is the briefest of summaries of its ten paragraphs:—

1 We thank God for 42 years of our Society’s existence. 2 We have rediscovered our unity after the recent crisis(really?), 3 in order to profess our faith 4 in the Church, in the Pope, in Christ the King. 5 We hold to the Church’s constant Magisterium, 6 as also to its constant Tradition. 7 We join with all Catholics now being persecuted. 8 We pray for help to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 9 to St. Michael 10 and to St Pius X. This is a Declaration not lacking in piety, which St Paul says is useful for all purposes (I Tim. IV, 8). However, to his two disciples, Timothy and Titus, he is constantly emphasizing the need for doctrine, which is the foundation of true piety. Alas, the Declaration is rather less strong in doctrine. Instead of blasting the Council’s doctrinal errors which have been devastating the Church for the last 50 years, it has in its most doctrinal paragraphs, 5 and 6, only a timid condemnation of those errors, together with a tribute to the unchanging Magisterium (5) and Tradition (6) of the Church, accurate but constituting an argument all too easily reversible by a Conciliarist. See how:—

Paragraph 5 mentions Vatican II novelties being “stained with errors,” whereas the Church’s constant Magisterium is uninterrupted: “By its act of teaching it transmits the revealed deposit in perfect harmony with everything the universal Church has taught in all times and places.” Which of course implies that Rome should take Vatican II to the cleaners to take out the stains. But see how a Roman can reply: “The Chapter’s expression of the continuity of the Magisterium is wholly admirable! But we Romans are that Magisterium, and we say that Vatican II is not stained!”

Similarly with paragraph 6. The Declaration states, “The constant Tradition of the Church transmits and will transmit to the end of time the collection of teachings necessary to keep the Faith and save one’s soul.” So the Church authorities need to return to Tradition. Roman reply: “ The Chapter’s description of how Tradition hands down the Faith is wholly admirable! But we Romans are the guardians of that Tradition, and we say, by the hermeneutic of continuity, that Vatican II does not interrupt it but continues it. So the Chapter is entirely wrong to suggest that we need to return to it.”

Contrast the force of Archbishop Lefebvre’s irreversible attack on the errors of Vatican II in his famous Declaration of November, 1974. He declares that Conciliar Rome is not Catholic Rome because the Conciliar reform is “naturalist, Teilhardian, liberal and Protestant . . . poisoned through and through . . . coming from heresy and leading to heresy,” etc, etc. His conclusion is a categorical refusal to have anything to do with the Newrome because it is absolutely not the true Rome.

Pull up on the Internet both Declarations, and see which is an unmistakeable trumpet-call for the necessary battle (I Cor.XIV, 8)! One has to wonder how many of the 2012 capitulants have ever studied what the Archbishop said, and why.

Kyrie eleison.

A Chapter

A Chapter posted in Eleison Comments on August 4, 2012

As many of you know, a certain bishop was excluded from the General Chapter, or meeting of heads of the Society of St Pius X, held last month in Écône, Switzerland. To confirm the exclusion, use was apparently made of the adaptation by “Eleison Comments” (#257, June 16) of St Paul’s seemingly murderous wish that the corruptors of the Catholic Faith be “cut off” (Galatians V, 12). Actually Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine and Chrysostom all think that the wish, in context (Gal.V, 1–12), is aimed at the Judaisers’ manhood rather than at their very lives, and Chrysostom thinks it is a jest.

However, when I heard what serious use was being made of the jest at the Chapter, I must admit that I had a naughty vision: I imagined my noble colleagues in SSPX headquarters looking out of the windows at night to see if there might not be a lanky episcopal Englishman, heavily disguised as Jack the Ripper, prowling around in the bushes with a long carving-knife gleaming in the moonlight, seeking someone to carve to pieces. Dear colleagues, sleep easy – I have no murderous ambitions. Honestly!

But the Chapter was serious business. What did it produce? Above all, a Declaration, made public a few days later, and six conditions for any future Rome-SSPX agreement, leaked on the Internet soon after that (given how many souls are presently entrusting their faith and their salvation to the guidance of the SSPX, I find such a leak not unreasonable). Now all honour to the good men at the Chapter who by all accounts did their best to limit the damage, but if the Declaration and conditions give us the present mind of the Society’s leaders as a whole, then there has to be cause for concern.

As for the Declaration of 2012, it is enough to compare it for a few moments with Archbishop Lefebvre’s Declaration of 1974, to wonder what has happened to his Society. Whereas the Archbishop explicitly and repeatedly denounces the reformation wrought by Vatican II (“born of Liberalism and Modernism, poisoned through and through, deriving from heresy and ending in heresy”), in words that brought down upon him the wrath of the Conciliar Popes, on the contrary the Declaration of 2012 refers only once to the Council with its “novelties” merely “stained with errors,” in terms that one can easily imagine Benedict XVI underwriting from beginning to end. Does the SSPX now think that the Conciliar Popes represent no serious problem?

As for the six conditions for any future Rome-SSPX agreement, they deserve a detailed examination, but suffice it to say here and now that the demand made by the SSPX’s 2006 General Chapter for a doctrinal agreement prior to any practical agreement seems to have gone completely by the board. Is it now the mind of the SSPX that the doctrine of the Romans to whom they would submit is no longer so important? Or is the SSPX itself succumbing to the charms of Liberalism?

For a contrarian point of view, may I venture to recommend a collection of “Sermons and Doctrinal Conferences” of His Excellency Jack the Ripper from between 1994 and 2009, now available on seven CD’s from http://​truerestorationpress.​com/​node/​52, with special incentives to purchase expiring at the end of this month? Not every word in these 30 hours of recordings may be golden, some words are no doubt too temperamental, but at least the effort is made to disembowel the enemies and not the friends of our Catholic Faith.

Kyrie eleison.