Tradition

Archbishop’s Wisdom

Archbishop’s Wisdom posted in Eleison Comments on December 29, 2007

Working through the monthly letters from Winona Seminary between the years of the episcopal consecrations (1988) and the year of Archbishop Lefebvre’s death (1991), I have been reading through a number of the direct quotes from those last years of his life. What clarity of vision!

Here are a few samples from mid-June of 1988, in other words after he had taken the decision to consecrate, but before the consecrations actually took place:

“It is not true that between ourselves and Rome it is just a question of details to negotiate. The basic problem is always there – Rome’s liberalism and modernism. They [the Roman churchmen] mean to bring us and all our works round to the Council while leaving us a little Tradition . . .”

Cardinal Ratzinger [as he then was] “put before me a letter to the Pope that I should sign, apologizing for my errors! But it is we that should be questioning them on their faith! We should be demanding of them to pronounce the Anti-Modernist Oath . . . But whenever I bring up their liberalism and modernism, they never reply. They just persist in their errors.”

“The more you think about it, the more you realize their intentions are not good . . . We cannot put ourselves into their hands . . . We made an honest attempt to continue Tradition under Rome’s protection, but it did not work out . . . They never intended to secure a place for Tradition within the Church. I entered these negotiations” (of May, 1988) because of “a faint hope that these churchmen had changed. They have not changed, except for the worse.” In conclusion: “I do not think one can say that Rome has not lost the faith.”

And by 2007, 2008, have we seen anything coming out of Rome to persuade us to the contrary? If anyone thinks so, let him show us his evidence.

Kyrie eleison.

Latest Encyclical

Latest Encyclical posted in Eleison Comments on December 15, 2007

To illustrate what is appealing and what is most dangerous in Pope Benedict’s latest Encyclical Letter, Spe Salvi (“By hope we are saved” – Rom. VIII,24), here is a comparison.

In a river flowing fast towards a deadly waterfall, men are happily swimming and drifting downstream, apparently unaware of the danger. On the bank one man has tied a rope to a firmly rooted tree, and he cries out to the men in the water to grab hold of the rope which he is throwing out to them as their last chance of rescue. But the men in mid-stream seem deaf, and few grab hold of the rope.

Seeing this lack of response, a second man on the bank unties the rope from the tree, fastens it around his waist and begins to wade out towards the men in danger, hoping that by getting that much closer to them he can make himself heard. Alas, the current sweeps him too off his feet, and too late he realizes that he will share the fate of the doomed drifters.

The river is our swiftly passing life in this world. The men in mid-stream are the mass of its inhabitants, drifting blithely towards eternal damnation. The tree is the saving doctrine of Catholic Tradition, thrown out afresh to each age by the rope of the Magisterium. The first man represents Catholic Traditionalists. The second man represents Conciliar churchmen like Benedict XVI, who in their concern to reach modern man have untied their teaching from Tradition and tied it to themselves. But in this condition they can no longer rescue modern man, they can only perish with him.

The appealing side of Benedict XVI and his latest Encyclical is his evident and sincere desire to reach out to modern man by, for instance, his abandoning of the classic precision of concepts such as faith, hope and redemption (no less!), in order to “refresh” their content in a way meaningful to humanists today. However, such humanizing gravely foreshortens and distorts the Church’s divine doctrine. Immensely dangerous, to take just one example, is the strong suggestion (Section #46) that “the great majority of people” go to Purgatory, and so are saved. Our Lord said on the contrary, “Many are called but few are chosen” (Mt.XX,16), and “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat” (Mt.VII,13).

Holy Father, you are drifting to destruction, and you risk taking many souls with you. We pray for you!

Kyrie eleison.