BISHOP WILLIAMSON CONFERENCES- conference n°3
Let me read to you a conference given by Archbishop Lefebvre to priests in Econe in the autumn of 1990, a few months before he died in the spring of 1991. I think it’s a little like his last will and testament. He is pointing the way forward for his priests - “Two years after the consecrations, we must not waver, we may not compromise.”
Archbishop Lefebvre’s address to his priests at Econe, Switzerland, September 6th 1990, transcribed and slightly adapted from the French -
“Concerning the future, I would like to say a few words on questions which the laity may ask you, questions which I often get asked by people who do not know too much about what is happening in the Society, such as ‘Are relations with Rome broken off? Is it all over?’ I received a few weeks ago, maybe three weeks ago, yet another telephone call from Cardinal Oddi.”
Cardinal Oddi was a relatively good guy back then.
“‘Well, Excellency, is there no way to arrange things, no way?’ I replied, ‘You must change. You must come back to Tradition. It’s not just a question of the liturgy. It’s a question of the Faith.’ The Cardinal protested, ‘Oh, no, no, it is not a question of Faith, no, no.’”
These Romans, they pretend that there’s not a problem of the Faith. They pretend that it’s something other.
“‘The Pope is ready and willing to receive you. Just a little gesture on your part, a little request for forgiveness, everything will settled.’”
That’s the Cardinal speaking, as though it’s a minor, little personal problem. They don’t get it. They don’t understand that there’s a war to the death between the religion of God and the religion of man. One is God-centred and the other is man-centred. They don’t want to get it. They don’t want to admit that they’ve got a problem of the Faith. They don’t want to admit that there’s been a change in the Faith.
“That’s just like Cardinal Oddi,” says the Archbishop, “but he’s going nowhere. He understands nothing or wants to understand nothing.”
These characters aren’t as stupid as they give out. They don’t want to understand.
“Unfortunately the same holds true for our four more-or-less Traditional cardinals.” At that moment, Palazzini, Stickler, Gagnon and Oddi. “They have no weight, no influence in Rome. They’ve lost all influence. All they’re good for any longer is performing ordinations for St Peter’s Society. They’re going nowhere.”
That’s realism – the good guys in Rome are powerless and weightless, and it’s the same thing today. I remember Fr Schmidberger getting all delighted about a certain Bishop Ranjith. Bishop Ranjith was from Ceylon. He really was understanding a lot of things, so when he’s been around a little he gets made a cardinal and shipped back to Ceylon, so there’s a good guy in whom Fr Schmidberger put his hopes, with reason, because he was a good guy, and he was understanding what the whole thing was about. Rome is in the hands of the Freemasons. The Freemasons have taken a couple of hundred years to infiltrate the Vatican and to control it, and they’re not going to roll over and play dead. They’ve got control. Yes, I am a conspiracy theorist. I believe that there are bad guys who are organised in order to do down Our Lord Jesus Christ. They exist. It’s for real. It’s not a fantasy. “Oh, but you’re a conspiracy nut.” Yes, I am a conspiracy nut. Yes, you bet I am. It’s the way the world works. Who thinks that 7/7 was an inside job, in London a few years ago? It’s very interesting on the Internet, somebody sent it to me - a possibility that there will be another of these things at the Olympic Games in London, an atomic explosion. They’re setting up anti-aircraft batteries. Somebody knows something. Or it may be in the Underground. They may set off a big explosion in the Underground. Do you remember V for Vendetta? These characters take delight in flashing warning signals, which nobody takes seriously. Practically nobody notices. Before 9/11 there were several of these films about crashing into the Twin Towers and so on. They send signals to their friends in a way that most people don’t notice. There are signals of that kind going out about some explosion at the Olympic Games, so be prepared.
Do you think that 7/7 and also the riots in London last summer could be trial runs to see what would happen and how they could control it?
I don't know. It’s very possible that the riots were organised. There’s a spark that’s organised but the heap of tinder waiting to get set alit is not organised. That is to say that these characters play on a weakness in a situation. They don’t create the weakness. The weakness is there. They just work out how to exploit it, so they strike the match. All of these people living the suburban life are very frustrated, especially the blacks. That’s the way it is. Not only the blacks, for sure, but they will usually take part in something like that. That heap of discontented people the conspiracy doesn’t create. It simply exploits it. So if you’ve got a healthy society with nothing to exploit, there’s not much the bad guys can do or there’s much less that they can do.
“Meanwhile,” says the Archbishop, “the problem remains grave, very, very grave. We absolutely must not minimise it, pretending it’s just a lightweight thing. This is how we must reply to the lay folk who ask such questions as ‘When will the crisis come to an end? Are we getting anywhere? Isn’t there a way of getting permission for our liturgy, for our sacraments?’ Certainly the question of the liturgy and the sacraments is important but it is not the most important. The most important questions are questions of faith. This question is unresolved in Rome.”
The Archbishop kept on saying again and again, “Whenever I’m talking with the Romans, I keep on raising the question of the Faith, the question of the Council. They never want to discuss it.” The Archbishop said again and again and again, “The bad guys in Rome never want to talk about the basic problem of the Faith caused by the Council. They never want to talk about.
“This question, for us it is resolved. We have the Faith of all time. The Faith of the Council of Trent, the Catechism of St Pius X, hence the Faith of the Church, of all the Church councils, of all the popes prior to Vatican II.
“Now the official Church is persevering, we might say pertinaciously, in the false ideas and grave errors of Vatican II. That much is clear. Fr Tam,” who was then a Society priest, an Italian, “is sending us from Mexico a number of copies of a piece of work he is doing, most interesting work, because he is compiling cuttings from the Osservatore Romano, hence cuttings from Rome’s official newspaper with the speeches of the Pope, of Cardinal Casaroli and Cardinal Ratzinger, official texts of the Church and so on. It is interesting because such documents of public record are irrefutable.”
It’s not “a conversation I heard” or a rumour. It’s absolutely in the official text.
“Published by the Osservatore Romano, so there is no doubting their authenticity. Well, these texts of Cardinal Ratzinger, and so on, are astounding, quite astounding. I will quote you a few texts shortly. It is incredible. In the last few weeks, since I am now unemployed, I have been spending a little time rereading the book by Emmanuel Barbier on liberal Catholicism.”
Emmanuel Barbier was a French priest around the time of Pius X, around 1900, and it was a few volumes.
“It is striking to see how our fight now is exactly the same fight as was being fought then by the great Catholics of the 19th century in the wake of the French Revolution …”
Great Catholics following the line and helping the 19th-century popes fight Liberalism – Louis Veuillot, Cardinal Pie, Dom Gueranger – certain heroes of the True Faith in the 19th century up against Liberalism. Emmanuel Barbier is writing this book about the fight between the liberal Catholics trying to adapt Catholicism to the French Revolution and the genuine Catholics who say it won’t mix. The Archbishop says that his fight at the time of the SSPX was exactly the same fight as 100, 150 years before.
“… and by the popes - Pius VI, Pius VII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X down to Pius XI. Their fight is summed up in the encyclical Quanta Cura with the Syllabus of Pius IX, and Pascendi Dominici Gregis of Pius X. These are the two great documents, the Syllabus and Pascendi, sensational and shocking in their day, laying out the Church’s teaching in face of the modern errors, the errors appearing in the course of the Revolution, especially in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, 1789, 1790, 1791. This is the fight we are in the middle of today, exactly the same fight.”
What’s going on inside the SSPX today is exactly the same fight.
“There are those who are for the Syllabus and Pascendi and those who are against. It’s simple. It’s clear. Those who are against the Syllabus and Pascendi are adopting the principles of the French Revolution, the modern errors. Those who are for the Syllabus and Pascendi remain within the True Faith, within Catholic doctrine – Pius IX, Pius X. Now you know very well that Cardinal Ratzinger has said that as far as he is concerned Vatican II is an anti-Syllabus.”
In other words, Vatican II was against the great Syllabus of Pius IX.
“Therewith the Cardinal placed himself clearly against those who are against the Syllabus. The Syllabus is anti-liberal. Those who are against the Syllabus are liberal. Those who are against those who are against are anti-liberals.”
The Cardinal is on the side of the liberals.
“If then he is against the Syllabus, the Cardinal is adopting the principles of the Revolution. Besides he goes on to say quite clearly, ‘Indeed, we [Vatican II] have now absorbed into Church teaching, and the Church has opened herself up to, principles which are not hers - liberty, equality, fraternity.’”
So – “We of Vatican II have adopted the principles of the French Revolution. We have built them into Church.” That’s like building into an ice salesman the program of putting his wares out in the sunshine. He’s not going to sell very much ice if he puts it all out in the sunshine. It will melt before he can sell it. Ice and sunshine don’t go together. The French Revolution and the Catholic Church don’t go together.
“We,” says the Archbishop, “stand where Cardinal Pie, Monsignor Freppel, Louis Veuillot stood, Deputy Keller in Alsace, Cardinal Mermillod in Switzerland. They are all heroes of the anti-liberal fight.”
They fought the good fight, together with the great majority of the then bishops, so most of the Catholic bishops were on the side of the good guys at that time. What’s unique about Vatican II is that then the majority of bishops were on the side of the bad guys. It was a complete overthrow.
“At that time they had the good fortune to have the large majority of the bishops on their side. Monsignor Dupanloup,” a famous liberal, “and a few bishops in France who followed Monsignor Dupanloup were the odd ones out. The few bishops in Germany, the few in Italy, who were openly opposed to the Syllabus and, in effect, opposed to Pius IX, they were the exception rather than rule, but obviously there were the forces of the Revolution, the heirs of the Revolution, and there was the hand reached out by Dupanloup, Montalembert, Lamennais and others”, famous French liberal Catholics of the 19th century, “who offered their hand to the Revolution and who never wanted to invoke the rights of God against the rights of man. ‘We ask only for the rights of every man, the rights shared by everyone, shared by all men, shared by all religions, not the rights of God,” said these liberals. ‘We’re not standing for the rights of God. We’re only standing for the same rights of man as everybody else is standing for.’”
It’s sweetie-pie but it’s not good enough. Catholics have got to stand for the rights of God.
“We must not waver. Well,” says the Archbishop in 1990, “we find ourselves in the same situation. We must not be under any illusions. Consequently we are in the thick of a great fight.”
Since 1990 to 2012, that’s another 22 years of the fight getting heavier and heavier. It’s not getting easier.
“We are fighting a fight guaranteed by a whole line of popes. Hence we should have no hesitation or fear.”
In other words, “Why should we be going on our own? After all, why not join Rome? Why not join the Pope, especially if the Pope says he wants us to do stuff for him? The Pope is nice and we’re nice and everybody’s nice, and we’ll all have a nice party together, and everything will be nice in the garden. Why not?”
Little Red Riding Hood - “Oh, Mr Wolf, what nice, big teeth you have.” “All the better to gobble you up with, my dear.”
Rome is crammed with Freemasons. They’re wolves. These Romans of today are wolves, just as much as ever. They hate the Church. They hate Our Lord.
Why not join Rome? Why not join the Pope? Yes, if Rome and the Pope were in line with Tradition. If Rome was back in line, no problem at all, but Rome is way out of line. If they were carrying on the work of the great popes of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, of course, but they themselves admit that they’ve set out on a new path. They themselves admit that a new era began with Vatican II. You’d better believe it. The great mass of the Church swung off track. They admit that it is a new stage in the Church’s life based on new principles. You’d better believe it. We don’t need to argue the point. They say it themselves. It’s clear.
“I think that we must drive this point home with our people in such a way that they realise that if they stay on line they’re in line with the whole history of the Church, going well back beyond the Revolution, of course. It’s the fight of the City of Satan against the City of God clearly, so we don’t have to worry. We must, after all, trust in the grace of God.
“Another question that the laity ask – ‘Well, how is it all going to end?’”
The Archbishop says, “Look, I don't know.” Even the Archbishop didn’t know the answer to that question. “It’s God’s problem. It’s not our problem. It’s His Church. What’s He going to do with His Church? I don't know. I’m not God. But I do know that here and now this is the line we have to stay in.”
We cannot go tiptoeing through the tulips.
“‘What is going to happen? How is it all going to end?’ That is God’s secret,” says the Archbishop. “A mystery, but we must fight the ideas presently fashionable in Rome, coming from the Pope’s own mouth, Cardinal Ratzinger’s mouth, Cardinal Casaroli’s mouth. It’s clear, because all they do is repeat the opposite of what the popes have said and solemnly stated for 150 years. We must choose, as I said to Pope Paul VI, ‘We have to choose between you and the Council on the one side and all your predecessors on the other side. The one is a straight line and the other is bent all out of shape - either with your predecessors who stated the Church’s teaching or with the novelties of Vatican II.’ Reply of Paul VI – ‘Ah, this is not the moment to get into theology. We are not getting into theology now.’”
These liberals do not think. They don’t want to get into doctrine. They don’t want to study the real questions. It’s just feeling.
“Hence we must not waver for one moment, either,” and this is an interesting section, “in not being with those who are in the process of betraying us. Some people are always admiring the grass in the neighbour’s field. Instead of looking to their friends, to the Church’s defenders, to those fighting on the battlefield, they look to our enemies on the other side.”
After all, we must be charitable! We must be kind! We must not be divisive! After all, St Peter’s and the Institute of Christ the King and the Institute of the Good Shepherd, they are celebrating the Tridentine Mass! They’re not as bad as everyone says because they’ve got the Tridentine Mass!
“They are betraying us,” says the Archbishop. Yes, Institute of Christ the King, which didn’t exist then, Institute of the Good Shepherd, St Peter’s - they are betraying us. For goodness sake, don’t flirt with people who have abandoned the fight. They are not our real friends. They are shaking hands with the Church’s destroyers. What about all the SSPXers currently going down to Rome, and I’ll bet you every time they meet the Pope or the Cardinal or whoever it is, they’re shaking hands with them. They’re shaking hands with the Church’s destroyers. Stop and think. What the Archbishop is saying makes sense. They are shaking hands with people holding Modernist and liberal ideas condemned by the Church. St Peter’s, the Institute of Christ the King, and so on, God knows their intentions, I don’t have to judge, but objectively they’re doing the Devil’s work because they’ve compromised. They’re agents of compromise, and you can’t lovey-dovey with agents of compromise. You may like them personally, but the Faith is on the line. The Faith is at stake.
“Thus, those who were with us and were working with us for the rights of Our Lord, for the salvation of souls, are now saying, ‘So long as they grant us the old Mass, we can shake hands with Rome, no problem.’ But we’re seeing how it works out. They’re in an impossible situation.”
That’s true today for the Institute of the Good Shepherd and St Peter’s. They’re trying to defend Tradition when their bosses are telling them, “You can’t defend Tradition.” They’re between a rock and a hard place. The Archbishop never wanted to get into that situation, and he refused to get into that situation, and now these leaders of the SSPX are wanting to get into that situation. It doesn’t make sense. They’ve lost the plot. Listen to the other side. Make up your own minds.
“Stay in touch with them to bring them back to Tradition, yes, if you like. That’s the right kind of ecumenism, but give the impression that after all one almost regrets any break, that one likes talking to them – no way. These are people who call us corpse-like Traditionalists.”
They are living, they’re getting with Rome, they’re with the times, they’re acceptable, they’re drinkable, and they’re OK! We are, oh dear, we’re retrograde and we’re backwards! They condescend to shake hands with us, but they don’t deserve it, says the Archbishop.
“They say ours is not a living Tradition; we are glum-faced; ours is a glum Tradition.”
Unbelievable, unimaginable. What kind of relations can you have with people like that, with these softies who compromise, who are proud of having put themselves under Rome, but who, since they’ve put themselves under Rome, are no longer capable of defending Tradition, of attacking Vatican II, for instance? That’s the key point. “Oh, it’s all right if you preach spirituality, if you say that God is good and God is nice and we must all behave ourselves” - no problem, but if you say that Vatican II was a bunch of doo-doo, then, of course, the Romans, they’ll come down. If you start behaving like a man and attacking the errors then they come out all guns blazing.
“This is what causes the problem with certain lay folk, who are very nice, very good people, all for the Society, who accepted the consecrations but who have a kind of deep-down regret they’re no longer with the people they used to be with, people who did not accept the consecrations, who are now against us. ‘It’s a pity we’re divided,’ they say. ‘Why not meet up with them? Let’s go and have a drink together. Let’s reach out a hand to them.’” Archbishop’s comment – “That’s a betrayal. Those saying this give the impression at the drop of a hat they would cross over and join those who left us.”
You’ve got to make up your mind, says the Archbishop, you’ve got to choose. It’s one or the other.
“That is what killed Christendom in all of Europe, not just the Church in France but the Church in Germany, in Switzerland. That is what enabled the Revolution to get established. Catholics being soft on the revolutionaries, Catholics going out of their way to please the revolutionaries - the revolutionaries used that in order to advance the Revolution. It was the liberals, it was those who reached out a hand to people who did not share their Catholic principles. We’ve got to make up our minds if we, too, want to collaborate in the destruction of the Church and in the ruin of the Social Kingship of Christ the King, or are we resolved to continue working for the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ? All those who wish to join us and work with us, Deo gratias, we welcome them wherever they come from. That’s not a problem, but let them come with us. Let them not say that they’re going a different way in order to keep company with the liberals that left us and in order to work with them.”
Not possible. It’s absolutely logical. It doesn’t mean to say obviously treat the compromisers like dirt. No, obviously not, but it does say you don’t behave with them as though they’re still the friends that they once were, as though there’s no danger mixing with them, as though they’re just as good as they were before. No.
Catholics right down the 19th century were torn apart, literally torn apart, over the Syllabus, for, against, for, against. Remember in particular what happened to the Count of Chambord. He was criticised for not accepting to be made of King of France after the 1870 revolution in France on the grounds of changing the French flag. In 1871 the French lost the Franco-Prussian War. The loss was a very sobering experience for the French, and there was a movement back to saner ideas, away from liberalism, back towards the monarchy, back towards the Church. That’s when they built the great Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre. That basilica was built as an act of reparation after the French got a really bloody nose from the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Then the French offered the lawful heir to the French throne, they offered him back the throne, but the Freemasons made sure that there’d be conditions attached, that he’d have to take the nationalist, Masonic flag. He said no. It was not much a question of the flag. Rather, he refused to submit to the principles of the Revolution, because the bad guys succeeded in having the offer of the throne back to the lawful monarch so dressed up that he’d have to make a compromise in order to take the throne back. He said, “No compromise. I’d rather not be king than a compromised king,” and the Archbishop said he was quite right. You can’t fool around with principles. He said, “I shall never consent to being the lawful king of the Revolution.” He was right. He would have been voted in by the country, voted in by the French parliament, but on condition that he accepted to be a parliamentary king and so accept the principles of the Revolution. The Count of Chambord said, “If I am to be king, I shall be king like my ancestors were before the Revolution.” He was right. One has to choose. He chose to stay with the Pope and with the pre-revolutionary principles. He refused to compromise.
“We, too,” says the Archbishop, “have chosen to be counter-revolutionary, to stay with the Syllabus, to be against the modern errors, to stay with Catholic Truth, to defend Catholic Truth. We are right, not because we are the SSPX.”
Look at what the SSPX is now doing. The SSPX is perfectly capable of going crazy.
“It’s not because we’re the SSPX that we’re right. We’re right because we’re in line with the Church of twenty centuries.”
That’s why we’re right, in that straight line, and we’re not wanting to swing over to the left.
END OF CONFERENCE