BISHOP WILLIAMSON CONFERENCES- conference n°8
Bishop de Galarreta says that what the Romans are proposing is “confused, double-tongued, false and essentially bad” and that “the document is substantially unacceptable. It’s worse than the protocol of 1988 in particular with regard to the post-conciliar Magisterium.”
Quote from Archbishop Lefebvre – “Our true faithful, those who have understood the problem and who have just precisely helped us to follow the firm, straight line of Tradition and the Faith, were afraid of the contacts that I made with Rome. They told me that it was dangerous and I was wasting my time” – back in the 1970s and 1980s. “Yes, of course, I did hope up to the last minute that at Rome they would show a little fair play. Nobody can reproach me with having not done everything I could. And so now, to those who come to say to me, ‘You must come to an understanding with Rome’, I think I can say that I even went a little further than I should have gone.” This is obviously after 1988, and he’s talking about how he went nine and a half yards, not just the full nine yards, to meet Rome, and they didn’t want it.
This is a question from an interview – “What do you think of Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction establishing the oath of fidelity and which includes a profession of faith?”
Archbishop Lefebvre – “Firstly it is the Credo, which is no problem. It remains intact. The first and second sections following present no difficulty, but the third section is very bad. It means practically lining up on what the bishops of the entire world think today. In the preamble it is, besides, clearly indicated that this section was added because of the spirit of the Council. It’s referring to the Council and the so-called Magisterium of today, which is the Magisterium of the Conciliarists. They should have added, ‘Insofar as this Magisterium is in full conformity with Tradition.’ As it stands, the formula is dangerous.” The Archbishop is talking about the formulas that Rome is proposing after the consecrations.
“It shows the spirit of these people with whom it is impossible to come to an understanding. It is absolutely ridiculous and false, as certain people have done, to present this oath of fidelity as a revival of the anti-Modernist oath suppressed since the Council. The poison is concentrated in this third section, which seems designed to oblige those who have gone over to Rome to sign this profession of faith and to state their complete agreement with the bishops. It is as though at the time of the Arian heresy they have said ‘Now you are in agreement with everything that the Arian bishops think’. No, I’m not exaggerating. It’s clearly expressed in the introduction. It is trickery. One may ask if in Rome they did not mean in this way to correct the text of the protocol which they offered me.” In other words, for Rome the protocol went too far - I realised afterwards that the protocol went too far in that direction. They thought afterwards it had gone too far in the other direction.
“Although it doesn’t satisfy us, it seems still too much in our favour in Article III of the Doctrinal Declaration because it does not sufficiently express the necessity of our submitting to the Council, and so I think that they’re catching up now. They are, without doubt, going to make these texts signed by the seminarians of St Peter’s before their ordination, and they’re going to have it signed by the priests of St Peter’s, who are then going to find themselves in the obligation of making an official act of joining the Conciliar Church. Differently from the protocol that I was due to sign, by these new texts one submits to the Council and to all the Conciliar bishops. This is their spirit, and one will not change them.”
So Bishop de Galarreta is quoting the Archbishop, underlining the steadiness of the Romans on the line of the Council, that the Romans are intent upon doing that.
The next quotation is also from an interview with the magazine, Fideliter – “Do you think that the situation has got still worse since before the consecrations you entered upon the conversations which ended in the protocol of 5th May 1988? So are the Romans worse than they were at the time of the protocol?”
“Oh, yes,” says the Archbishop. “For example, the fact that the profession of Faith is now demanded by Cardinal Ratzinger since the beginning of the year 1989. It’s very serious because they are demanding of all those who have gone over to Rome, or who might do so, to make a profession of Faith in the documents of the Council and in the post-conciliar reforms. For us that’s impossible.”
So Bishop de Galarreta is quoting Archbishop Lefebvre to the effect that the Romans insist on the Council. It is the same thing today.
Bishop de Galarreta – “In fact, that correspondence is perfectly to the thinking and to the position taken by the Roman commission throughout our doctrinal discussions of the last year and a half.”
Bishop de Galarreta headed the SSPX delegation for every one of the eight sessions, and he comes out of those sessions saying, “What I just quoted to you from the Archbishop from 1988 is exactly the same in 2011 and 2012.”
“Today they’re not ready to give up the Second Vatican Council. It’s essential for our question today” - this was the end of 2011 – “to remember what we clearly recognised on that occasion - they are not willing to give up Vatican II, nor the liberal doctrines of Vatican II, and their intention and their clear will is to bring us over to Vatican II.” That’s what the discussions were as far as Rome was concerned.
“At the very most, Rome would accept a re-balancing and a better formulation, but it will always be within the limits of the Pope’s hermeneutic renewal in continuity, and there we’re allowed to enter into discussion, and we may even be useful in order to rubber-stamp their renewal of the reform with continuity.”
Bishop de Galarreta is saying that Pope Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic of continuity means interpreting Tradition in such a way that it’s not out of whack with the Council, and interpreting the Council in such a way that it’s not out of whack with Tradition. So it’s a head-on clash. You can’t reconcile that and that, but somehow Benedict XVI is doing some dance which is both that and that. It can’t be done, but that’s the hermeneutic of continuity. So Bishop de Galarreta says that the Romans in the discussions were pushing to get us to go with the hermeneutic of continuity. It’s not possible. It’s contradictory.
“The document proposed merely confirms that it is an illusion and unrealistic to believe that we could arrive at a practical agreement which would be good, suitable and guaranteed and even simply acceptable for both parties. Given the circumstances, it is certain that at the end, after much talking, we would arrive at absolutely nothing, so why bother to get involved in such further discussions?”
Bishop de Galarreta says that we’re not going to agree and that it’s just not possible.
“Following on the Roman proposition, the crucial question is the following – must we enter on a way of a possible agreement which is primarily practical? Is it prudent and suitable to maintain contacts with Rome in view of a primary practical agreement? For me the answer to this question is clear. We must refuse to enter on this path because we cannot do an evil in order to bring about a good, besides an uncertain good, because that will necessarily cause certain evils for the common good that we are in possession of for the Society of Pius X and for the family of Tradition.”
So there again he’s announcing what he’s saying. He’s saying it’s purposeless, not suitable and wrong to get involved in discussions in view of a practical agreement. He’s very clear. He’s not hiding what he thinks.
“Here is a summary of some of the reasons for my point of view.” It’s mainly quotations of the Archbishop – “One, how can we submit to or obey authorities who will continue to think, to preach and to govern like Modernists? We have completely opposite purposes and aims, even different means. How can we work under their orders?”
It’s common sense. Unless you want to become Conciliar, how can you work under Conciliarists? They’re going to do everything they can to make you conciliar, and if you put yourself under them, they’re going to make you Conciliar.
Archbishop Lefebvre – “Those are things easy to say. To re-enter the Church - what does that mean? What Church are we talking about? If you’re talking about the Conciliar Church then we who have struggled for 20 years against the Conciliar Church because we want the Catholic Church, we would be going back into the Conciliar Church supposedly to make it Catholic? That is a complete illusion. It is not the subjects who make the superiors, but the superiors who make the subjects.”
Second quotation of Archbishop Lefebvre - “I do not think it is a true return of the Romans to Tradition. It’s like in a fight when you have the impression that the troops have advanced a bit too far, you hold them back and you put on the brakes, and they’re now putting brakes on the thrust forward of Vatican II because the supporters of the Council are going too far too fast. Actually these theologians are quite wrong to be upset. These bishops are completely won over to the Council and to the Pope’s Conciliar reforms to ecumenism and Charismatism, so they needn’t be afraid.”
What the Archbishop is saying is that these Romans who are putting brakes on the bishops needn’t be afraid because there’s no question of the bishops backtracking on the Council.
“Apparently they’re now doing something a little more moderate, with a little more traditional feeling about it, but it doesn’t go deep. The great fundamental principles of the Council, the errors of the Council, they welcome them and they put them in practice. That for them is not a problem. On the contrary, I would go so far as to say that the ones who are a little sweet are the hardest with us. The ones who are putting the brakes on a little are the ones who are hardest with us. It is they who would require the most that we submit to the principles of the Council.” In other words, those who seem to be a little less rabid are amongst those who are the hardest towards Tradition.
Archbishop Lefebvre – “It was perfectly clear and it illustrates their state of mind. There is no question of them abandoning the New Mass. On the contrary, that is why what may seem to be a concession is in reality only a manoeuvre to separate from us as many faithful as possible. This is why they seem to be giving always a little, and they sometimes even seem to be conceding a lot. We must absolutely convince our people that it is no more than a manoeuvre, that it is a danger to put oneself in the hands of Conciliar bishops and Modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger threatening our people. If we have fought for 20 years to avoid the Conciliar errors, the moment is not now come for us to put ourselves in the hands of those who profess those errors.”
Bishop de Galarreta goes on – “Obey whom, obey what? And the answer is it would mean obeying the Council. It would mean obeying the supporters of the Council. Second reason – diminishing the confession of the Faith.” In other words, the complete Faith would not be completely professed any longer. Already the Society is discouraging criticism of Benedict XVI and criticism of the Council. I remember when Campos fell, which I think was 2002, I wrote an article called Campos Is Fallen, and I remember Bishop Fellay calling me up and saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t say that like that.” So I changed a few phrases, but he didn’t want me to say “Campos has fallen” way back in 2002. Bishop Tissier wrote a very good essay on the theological errors of Benedict XVI, called The Faith Imperilled by Reason, and it’s never been published by the Society. It was only published by the Dominicans in Avrillé, because Bishop Fellay didn’t want it published because it’s against Benedict XVI. Another work is Fr Calderon’s excellent synthetic condemnation, an overall condemnation of the Council - very closely argued, very coherent - a real bird’s eye of the rottenness of the Council. It’s in Spanish. It’s been translated into French, but the order has come from above it may not be published by the Society in French. The translation is all ready, the translation is there, maybe they’ve even set it up in print, the book is all ready to go – red light, because we don’t want the Council being condemned and we don’t want Benedict XVI being condemned. For the SSPX, this is nuts. It’s worse than nuts. It’s suicide. It’s the suicide of the SSPX. It’s like buying a watchdog and then refusing to let him bark - muzzling him every night so that he can’t bark. What’s the point?
Bishop de Galarreta - “If we went into an agreement, how would we not diminish the public confession and defence of the Faith? How could we not be going against the necessarily public protection of the faithful and of the Church?” If you’re going to defend the flock you’ve got to go public. It can’t be done in private. Private is not enough. You’ve got to go public. You’ve got to condemn the errors in public that are threatening the sheep. You’ve got to condemn the wolves in public. He says, “If we get into a practical agreement we’re just not going to be able to defend the people against the errors of the Council.” It’s just obvious. “In this respect, if we make a practical agreement, we are, in the present circumstances, already getting into double-tonguedness, duplicity and ambiguity. The very fact sends a message to everybody. We would be getting back into ‘full communication’ with authorities who remain Modernist.”
How can that not send a message to the people that Modernism is not that bad after all? Or else the people say, well, in that case the SSPX is bad after all? So necessarily there’s going to be a diminution of the defence of the Faith if we link up with people who are destroying the Faith, who have got principles that destroy the Faith. It’s common sense.
“We cannot abstract from the context - that is to say from the constant events and teachings in the life of the present-day Church - repeated visits to temples, Protestants and synagogues, beatification and soon canonisation of John Paul II, Assisi III, preaching in time and out of time religious liberty and so on. We would necessarily be tying ourselves into all of that.” That’s the garbage we’ve been fighting now for 40 years. “Besides,” says Bishop de Galarreta, “if we make an agreement we will lose our freedom of speech. We will have to bank down our public criticism of the authorities and even of certain texts of the Council and the post-conciliar Magisterium.” That will all have to be closed down, and it’s already being closed down within the SSPX in the way I’ve been telling you.
“To understand and illustrate these points, it’s enough to see what happens to the Traditionalists that go over to Rome, from St Peter’s down to the Institute of the Good Shepherd. They are inevitably faced with the alternative of giving way or betraying their engagements, and they prefer to give away.” In other words, the pressure is put on them - you’ve got to get more Conciliar and less Traditional. Either they defy the pressure or they give way to it, and mostly they choose to give way to it, so backtracking doesn’t happen. You can’t say the practical agreement would be OK because we could always go in and then come out again. That’s not the way it works.
Questions put to Archbishop Lefebvre – “When we see Dom Gérard and the Fraternity of St Peter obtaining and keeping both the liturgy and the catechism without, they say, having given anything away, some people who are troubled at finding themselves presently in difficulties with Rome may be tempted in the long run to go over to Rome out of tiredness. These people say, ‘Look at Dom Gerard and St Peter’s - they’re getting on with Rome and they haven’t given anything away.’”
The Archbishop’s answer – “When they say that they haven’t given anything away, that’s false. They’ve given away the possibility of opposing Rome. They can no longer say anything. They must be quiet, given the favours that Rome has granted to them. It’s now impossible for them to denounce the errors of the Conciliar Church. Little by little they are adhering - be it only by the profession of Faith now being demanded of them by Cardinal Ratzinger - to the errors of the Council. I think that Dom Gérard is on his way to putting out a little book written by one of his monks on religious liberty, which will attempt to justify it.”
Actually I think it’s six volumes. It’s Dom Basil, who wrote a six-volume book justifying religious liberty - the one that Archbishop Lefebvre says is an “odious blasphemy” - religious liberty according to the Council. So you start going Conciliar, you just give way. You put your little finger in that mechanism, you get your hand eaten, your elbow, your shoulder, and then you’re just gone, you’re Conciliar, and that’s happened to many of them. They’re now completely Conciliar. Bishop Rifan is now celebrating the New Mass, and a pretty ugly New Mass, apparently. I haven’t seen it.
Another quote of the Archbishop - “Question – since the consecrations there have been no more contacts with Rome. However, as you told us, Cardinal Oddi rang you up saying, ‘We’ve got to sort this out. Just write a little apology to the Pope, and he has his arms open to welcome you. Why not try this last step? Why does it seem to you impossible to accept Cardinal Oddi’s offer? Just a little note of apology and everything will be fine.’”
Archbishop Lefebvre – “That is absolutely impossible in the present climate of Rome, which is becoming worse and worse. Let us be under no illusions - the principles now directing the Conciliar Church are more and more openly contradictory of Catholic doctrine. In front of the Commission of the Rights of Man of the United Nations, Cardinal Casaroli recently declared, ‘I wish to dwell for a little upon a specific aspect of the fundamental liberty of thought and action according to one’s conscience, meaning religious liberty. The Catholic Church and its Supreme Pastor, who has made of the rights of man one of the great themes of his preaching, have not failed to recall that in a world made by man and for man, all organisations of society has sense only insofar as it makes of the human dimension a central preoccupation.’ To hear that in the mouth of a cardinal – not a word about God.”
The Archbishop goes on – “For his part, Cardinal Ratzinger presenting one of these huge documents on relations between the Magisterium and the theologians affirms for the first time with clarity that decisions of the Magisterium may be not the last word on the subject as such but a sort of provisional disposition – ‘The core may remain fixed but the particular aspects which have had an influence, the circumstances of the time, may need a further rectification. In this respect we may point out the declaration of the popes of the last century, the anti-Modernist decisions rendered a great service in their day but now they are out of date,’ and so we turn the page and the problem with Modernism is gone. Such thoughts are absolutely senseless,” says the Archbishop.
Finally the Archbishop says, “The Pope is more ecumenical than ever. All the false ideas of the Council continue to unfold, to be restated with evermore clarity. They are hiding them less and less. It is therefore absolutely inconceivable that we may accept to collaborate with such a hierarchy.”
Bishop Fellay doesn’t agree with that. Fr Pfluger, Fr Nely, Fr Schmidberger, Fr du Chalard - these leaders of the Society today that want the Society go to Conciliar, they pay no attention to what the Archbishop says, or they say “Rome has changed”. That’s their great theme – Rome has changed. Well, I wish Bishop Fellay could come here to try to persuade you, or to give you his arguments why Rome has changed. When Bishop Tissier went to Menzingen and listened to Bishop Fellay, he said, “OK, Your Excellency, you say Rome has changed. Give me your arguments.” Bishop Fellay gave him a series of little indicators, of little anecdotes, little things, little swallows - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven swallows, and he said, “Seven swallows make a summer.” No, they don’t. It’s straws in the wind. It’s not a real change on the part of Rome, and the proof is Assisi III and the beatification of John Paul II. If Rome was really understanding Tradition, how could it possibly beatify John Paul II?
Actually the real problem is this - that on the part of Benedict XVI it’s a real benevolence because a subjectivist can welcome even the Truth in his system as long as the Truth doesn’t claim that it’s the exclusive truth. If I’m willing to go into the collection of all religions as a nice, little Traditional boy, and I look at everybody and I love everybody and I admire everybody and I make myself to be admired and liked, and I get on with everybody - that’s OK. That kind of castrated Tradition is fine, but if Tradition goes in there and says “You are all a bunch of liars, easily most of you, because of your denial of the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the rest of you because you’re denying the Holy Eucharist, and/or denying the claims of the Pope, and you are all on the road to hell and you’re all damned” - that kind of Tradition is not allowed. It’s not kosher. It’s not permitted. That’s what the Archbishop is saying. I put it in a slightly coloured way when I say it like that but that’s what it is.
So the argument of those wanting now the Society to go with Rome is that Rome has changed, but it hasn’t. Well, you can argue whether it has or hasn’t. Listen to the arguments and see if they persuade you. If they persuade you, fine, but they certainly don’t persuade me when I see things like the beatification and the things that the Romans keep on saying and doing. Everything the Archbishop mentions is 20 years ago. What Bishop de Galarreta is talking about is the doctrinal discussions of 2009 to 2011, which is only one year ago, so it’s quite recent, and Bishop de Galarreta says that these characters are talking the pure Council and they want us to go over to the Council. That’s the end of contacts with Rome, but – “Oh, no, since we know now what Rome thinks and Rome now knows what we think then that’s the moment to start talking again.” That’s what Fr Pfluger said. So they just aren’t functioning on doctrine. Like so many people today, they don’t understand the primacy of doctrine.
What is doctrine? What is faith? Every man has some faith. He believes in something. He’s got some idea of what life is about, what life is for. It might be wine, women and song. It might be making a million dollars. It might be becoming the best tennis player to ever appear at Wimbledon. It might be getting to heaven. In any case, every man has some doctrine, some faith, some purpose in life, some conviction of what life is about and some doctrine which expresses that conviction, so every man in a certain sense has some doctrine. Now the main difference between human beings is between those who have the Catholic doctrine and those who don’t. That’s the biggest difference, because those who have the Catholic doctrine are marching to a completely different drum from the world, whether it’s Wimbledon or money or prestige or glory or wine, women and song, whatever it is, all of those are worldly things. The Catholic is not marching to this world. He’s marching to a heavenly drum. Therefore the Catholic is in a class on his own. He’s the only one that is convinced that if he dies in a state of grace, thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ, with the help of the sacraments he’ll get to heaven and he’ll be happy for eternity. There is a next life. There is a heaven. There is a grave risk of hell. All of that is doctrine, which the Church teaches, and the doctrine is simply the expression of a reality.
St Thomas says, “When I say I believe in God, I’m not believing in the proposition ‘I believe in God’. I’m believing in God.” There’s a reality which is the object of my faith, and the doctrine is the expression of that reality. I believe in God – so there’s the proposition. There’s the doctrine. God exists is the doctrine, and I believe in the God that exists. I believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Eucharist. I believe in these things. They’re realities. I believe that they’re realities. If a man doesn’t believe them he’s marching to a completely different drum. How can people marching to completely different drums march in step? The Council changed the drum. The Council switched from believing in heaven to believing in this world – Gaudium et Spes – this wonderful world, everything is from man and for man, not from God and for God but from man and for man. Crazy.
It’s because people don’t grasp the importance of doctrine that they don’t see why the Society’s got to stay on the line of Archbishop Lefebvre. They think that Catholic life means being nice to everybody and so we want to be nice to the modern world, so we want to go with the world, so we want to go with the Council. No. Pope John Paul II was nice to everybody. He believed in religious liberty – your religion is great, shake hands, your religion is great, shake hands, photo op. Television people have lost their grip on doctrine. They’ve lost their grip on reality. They’ve lost their grip on thinking. They’ve completely lost grip on the truths of the Faith, and they’re all of them marching to some worldly drum or other. They just don’t understand the importance of doctrine any longer. How many people still today think, use their minds? On things material, on things electronic, on Sudoku - plenty. On the realities of the next life - very few.
Question – “You said, pointing to Dom Gérard and others, ‘They are betraying us. They are now shaking hands with the demolishers of the Church, with liberals, with Modernists.’ Isn’t that a bit harsh?”
Archbishop Lefebvre – “No, it isn’t. They turned to me for 15 years. They asked me as a bishop to ordain their candidates so that the monastery would have not only just Dom Gérard as a priest but other priests. I ordained them for 15 years. They asked me. I always did it. It’s not I who went after them. It’s they who came to me to ask me for support and to do their ordinations, for the friendship of our priests, at the same time as we opened all their priories to help their monastery financially. They all made use of us as much as they could. We did it gladly and even generously. I was happy to do ordinations for them, to open our houses so that they might profit by the generosity of our benefactors, and then suddenly I get a telephone call – ‘We no longer need you. It’s over. We’re going to the Archbishop of Avignon. We’re now in agreement with Rome. We’ve signed a protocol.’ It hasn’t made me happy to have all of these difficulties with Rome. It hasn’t made me happy that we’ve had to fight like this. We’ve been fighting for principles, to keep the Catholic faith, and they were in agreement with us. They collaborated with us, and suddenly they abandoned the true fight in order to go off and join the demolishers of the Church on the pretext that the demolishers will give them some privileges. That’s not acceptable. They’ve practically abandoned the fight of the Faith. They can no longer attack Rome. That’s what Fr de Blignières also did. He was once a Traditionalist. He wrote a whole book condemning religious liberty but now he writes in favour of religious liberty. One can no longer count on men like that who have not understood the doctrinal question. I think that in any case these people are committing a grave error. They have sinned gravely by acting as they have acted, deliberately and with an unbelievable lack of seriousness.”
Bishop de Galarreta comes to his third point, which is the doctrinal question, which is the essential problem, and it’s subdivided into three sections. For the moment it’s all Bishop de Galarreta. You can see how solid he is.
“We must look at the framework into which they would be intending to incorporate us. An agreement means, whether one likes it or not, integrating yourself into their system, into a thought and into a given way of thinking and given reality which do not depend on us, which depend upon their thinking, their theology, their action, and that’s how they’re going to present it. Now we have just seen in the doctrinal discussions what their idea is. It’s pure Modernism, just revised and corrected. In particular there will be understood three principles that we would implicitly accept – relativism of the Truth, even dogmatic Truth and the necessity of pluralism in the Church.” Relativism of the Truth means that there’s no absolute truth. All truth is relative. Pluralism in the Church means that there can be all kind of churches inside the Church.
“For us we have the experience and the charisma of Tradition, but what we have is simply a partial truth as far as they are concerned” - Tradition has a truth of its own; it has a charisma of its own; it would be incorporated in the big tent because it’s got something to contribute, but an exclusive and absolute Truth - no way for the Conciliarists. “Their Modernist and dialectical system, which calls out for contraries, would allow them to integrate us in the name of unity and diversity as being a positive and even necessary element, provided that we are in full communion, meaning submission to authority and respect for the other Church persons and realities, and that we would remain open to dialogue and that we would always be in search of the Truth.”
Catholics are not in search of the Truth. By the gift of God, we possess the Truth. We are not still and always looking for the Truth. We’ve got it. I can always learn more, but if I learn more that doesn’t mean to say I don’t have what I already have. I have the Truth. I’m not looking for it. I know it.
“The proof of this is that they are ready to accept us after recognition on each side of a necessary and deep doctrinal opposition.”
That’s exactly Fr Pfluger. So Bishop de Galarreta is saying that the Romans, all they want is that the doctrinal differences be clear and recognised. What Fr Pfluger says is that as long as the doctrinal discussions were simply to establish the differences, now we can go forward to establishing a practical agreement.
“How can we implicitly accept such a principle by an explicit integration in their system and by the official interpretation they give of it, when it is the very foundation of Modernism and when it destroys all natural and supernatural truth? It’s accepting the relativism of Tradition and of the one-and-only True Faith. How can the Society go into such a thing? An agreement would mean, one - necessarily relativising the truth; two – the interpretation of Vatican II in accordance with Tradition; three – the evolution of the Faith.”
END OF CONFERENCE