On the day of the consecration, please God, of Dom Thomas Aquinas as third bishop for today’s Catholic “Resistance,” it seems appropriate to reproduce the testimony of a close friend of his, Professor Carlos Nougué, now leading a House of Studies attached to Dom Thomas’ Monastery of the Holy Cross. This testimony, which many of you may not have seen, is only slightly adapted from the original, which is accessible on the excellent Mexican site, Non Possumus. Note in particular the good influence of Corção, the close connection with Archbishop Lefebvre, the refusal to approach neo-modernist Rome and the Stalinist methods of Bp Fellay.
Miguel Ferreira da Costa was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1954. Before beginning his career in the law, he studied at Saint Benedict College in Rio de Janeiro, where I had the opportunity to be his classmate for a brief while. He took part in the traditionalist and anti-modernist movement organized around Gustavo Corção and Permanencia magazine; then he began his life of “faithful warrior and veteran of the post-Conciliar war for the Faith” – he quit the law to become a monk with the name of Thomas Aquinas, in the French monastery of le Barroux, where Dom Gérard was Prior at that time, and he was ordained priest in 1980, in Écône, by Archbishop Lefebvre. There he enjoyed the friendship, the example and the teaching of the SSPX’s Founder.
In 1987 he came to Brazil with a group of monks from le Barroux to found the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Nova Friburgo, up in the hills behind Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But in the meantime Dom Gérard, despite the grave warnings of the Archbishop, was advancing towards an agreement with Conciliar Rome, to which Dom Thomas Aquinas was also opposed. A split was inevitable. The Monastery of the Holy Cross, with Archbishop Lefebvre’s support, became independent in 1988, while retaining good relations with the SSPX. However, upon written advice of the Archbishop, the SSPX was not to have jurisdiction over him, because as Prior of the Monastery he needed autonomy.
Providential advice, because relations between the SSPX and the Monastery were deteriorating, especially with the approach of the SSPX to neo-modernist Rome. Dom Thomas refused to sing at Sunday Mass the Te Deum asked for by Bp. Fellay to celebrate Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio on the Mass. Similarly, for the “lifting of the excommunications” by the same Pope, Dom Thomas wrote to Bp. Fellay a letter refusing to follow him towards an agreement with Conciliar Rome. Thereupon I myself saw Bp. De Galarreta and Fr. Bouchacourt when they came to the Monastery to tell Dom Thomas that he had 15 days to leave the Monastery if he wanted the Monastery to continue receiving help and the sacraments (including Ordinations) from the SSPX.
I wrote to Bp. Fellay to complain about this injustice. He answered me that Dom Thomas had a mental problem, and as long as he did not leave the Monastery, it would not receive the Society’s help. I replied: “Then I should have the same mental problem, because I have known him for twelve years and I never realized.” It was truly like Stalinism, with its psychiatric hospitals for opponents of the Stalinist regime. But Dom Thomas hesitated: if he left the Monastery, that would be its ruin regarding the Faith, but if he stayed, he would deprive it of needed help. Then Bp. Williamson wrote to Dom Thomas promising the Monastery all the sacraments it would need. This meant Dom Thomas could stay.
This was enough for all of us to start reacting: it was the beginning of what is now known as the Resistance, which had as its first organ the website called SPES, no longer on line. The Monastery then became a reception center for refugee priests from the SSPX with nowhere to live. It was where Bp. Faure was consecrated, and now it is where Dom Thomas Aquino Ferreira da Costa himself will be consecrated, my spiritual father and the closest friend that God could have given to me.