BISHOP WILLIAMSON CONFERENCES – conference n°7
The war is right now. It appears that Bishop Fellay has forbidden the Dominicans and the Franciscans to come to the ordinations, and he’s not going to ordain their deacons this coming Friday, in six days’ time. The Benedictines have tried to negotiate. They’ve asked to negotiate, but yesterday evening the answer was still no. So Bishop Fellay is blasting this thing out. He’s turning on the heavy guns and he’s just blasting anybody who dares to oppose him. The war is on. I really don’t know what’s going to happen. It may come to fisticuffs in your own parish. That’s what it can come to. The whole Society may split. If the Society has to split it will be an absolute triumph of Rome, except that God will get out of it, in a manner of speaking, a purifying of the resistance to all of this, so whether the resistance reforms outside the Society, because Bishop Fellay retains control of the Society, or if the resistance manages to push Bishop Fellay and his friends out, whichever way, on the one hand Rome wins because it splits the Society. On the other hand, God wins because the resistance will have a much clearer idea of what it’s about. The liberals and the anti-liberals will separate, and the anti-liberals will have a much clearer idea of what they’re about, but then, as I say, another ten years later it will start all over again. That’s the way it is.
Who was it who said that the Society would [inaudible 04:01] for 40 years and then it would start to [inaudible 04:04]?
It’s an interesting question. When I was at Econe, Fr Barrielle was an old French priest. He was born in 1897. When I knew him he was in his 70s and 80s, and he died in 1983, I think, at the age of 86. He was a priest in France during the Second World War, and he had been parish priest of a big French parish in Marseilles, and he had some parishioners who went off to do the Spiritual Exercises for five days with a certain Spanish priest called Fr Vallet, which is actually a French name but he was from Catalonia. Fr Vallet had been a Jesuit. He died in 1947. He understood the Exercises. He was a brilliant preacher of the Exercises. Certain parishioners went from Fr Barrielle’s parish to do the Exercises, and they came back valiant parishioners, much more valiant than ever. Fr Barrielle scratched his head, and thought, “There’s something here,” so off he went himself to do the Exercises, and he was set on fire. So he got permission to leave the diocese and to join Fr Vallet’s little congregation. He joined in 1942, during the War, in Vichy France. He spent then two years by the side of Fr Vallet, and listened to a lot of things that Fr Vallet had said, picked up a lot from him, learned how to give the Exercises, and later it was he who would teach the seminarians of Econe how to give the Exercises, and the future priests of Econe would take the Exercises all over the world.
It was Fr Vallet himself who actually formed the five-day version.
He formed the five-day version of St Ignatius’s 30-day Exercises. In the original they’re 30 days long, but Fr Vallet adapted it in five days so that people today, who can’t take a whole month off but can take a week off, a lot of modern men with modern jobs, were able to do the Exercises, and they were a great success in the south of France during the late 1930s and during the 1940s. In 1944 Fr Vallet had to flee France because of the “liberation”. The Communists were liberating France and they were killing anybody right-wing. They killed a lot of Catholics, especially fervent ones who had got the number of Communists, so the Communists were killing people like Fr Vallet. He fled to Spain, which was under Franco at the time, and there he set up the Exercises again, with limited success for various reasons. He died in 1947, so he was only three years back in Spain, his own country. Fr Barrielle picked up a lot of things from Fr Vallet, and then when he was at Econe, Fr Barrielle frequently quoted Fr Vallet, these things that he remembered Fr Vallet saying. Fr Vallet had studies the Exercises inside out. He studied the history of the Exercises. He studied the use of the Exercises in various congregations down the years from the time of St Ignatius onwards. When Fr Vallet studied the history of the Exercises, he observed something - that any congregation that preached the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, it took more or less 40 years before that congregation was somehow got at and didn’t preach the Exercises any more. In other words, every time a founder started off a society, a congregation or an order, with the Exercises as a major part of its apostolate, the Devil hates those Exercises and within 40 years usually he would succeed in paralysing, crippling, diluting, undoing that congregation or that order. So the Society of St Pius X was founded in 1970. The seminarians began helping Fr Barrielle to preach the Exercises in 1973. I know because I was the first seminarian that was helping Fr Barrielle, so I knew about it, and then plenty of others followed. So he said, “After 40 years the Devil nobbles any order, congregation, house, society giving Exercises.” The seminarians of Econe began preaching the Exercises in 1973. We’re one year away from 2013, which is the 40 years, so there you are.
It’s just an interesting coincidence, but what is logical is that the Devil hates the Exercises, because the Exercises really put Catholics back on their feet, men and women. It’s better for men because men are more logical, and these Exercises are very logical, but they do a lot of good to women, as well, especially when the women then go home and send their husbands - “Honey, you’d better do those Exercises. Honey, I’m telling you, you do those Exercises.” “Yes, darling, yes, darling, yes, darling.” Today the truth is many women today are more manly in a good sense than many men are. It’s terrible. Many men today are dishrags. It’s incredible. The men are undone because their minds are not functioning. The prerogative of woman is the emotions, and she’s much better at emotions, but the mind of women doesn’t always function or it doesn’t always kick in, so if the Exercises appeal to the mind, appeal to the reason, appeal to logic, that is not where you get women. You get women by making them weep. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but there are exceptions. Mrs Thatcher was the best man that England had at the time.
How many of you have seen the Meryl Streep film on Mrs Thatcher? It’s worth seeing. What would you say about it?
It’s more like a woman with dementia who also happened to be prime minister. They concentrated too much on that.
That’s it. The filmmakers are all left-wingers. The left-wingers feel challenged by this right-wing figure who really stood for the right wing successfully, and so the left-wingers have to deal with that, and so they come back to it like the moth to the flame. They come back to these right-wingers who have really got some convictions, because the left-wingers can’t understand that people have convictions opposed to their religion, because Socialism is their religion. The New World Order is the religion of left-wingers. When they come back, they have to pull her down, so they’re driven to come back to her but they’re also driven to pull her down, so they present her, essentially, in old age, as a demented old woman but with flashbacks which give you some of her career. She was a remarkable enough woman to make even the flashback presentations worth it, I would say. The acting of Meryl Street is exceptional. She’s a left-winger, but she, too, feels called out, if you like. She felt this was a person that she wanted to get inside the skin of, and she certainly got inside the skin of Mrs Thatcher. It really is very like her – the voice, the inflection, everything. It’s a brilliant piece of acting. It’s not a handsome piece of work altogether, but it does allow you to get a good glimpse of Mrs Thatcher, who was not Catholic but she had something. She didn’t like the new world. She didn’t like Europe. She had a lot of good, old British values, which people most people had abandoned by then, or had abandoned, and they’ve abandoned even more, but she stood for many things that Britain used to stand for, and she stood successfully because she was so convinced. There are some good quotes of hers in the film. She calls the liberals “implacable placators” and “lily-livered liberals”. She’s got some good phrases. It’s interesting to see.
So that’s the phrase about the 40 years. It really looks as though the Society is going to have to split. It’s very sad and very serious. Humanly it’s a disaster but divinely it may be a great and good purification. What you men need is to get your minds functioning and to get your ideas and the principles clear so that you can judge in the light of high principles what’s going on, so that you don’t follow just by your emotions. You don’t get led around by the nose by your emotions – “Oh, Rome! Oh, Rome! Oh, the Archbishop! Oh, the Archbishop!” Several fools sing that little song. The Archbishop would have been the last person to want to have people singing his name and his praises. The Archbishop - “If you stand for what I stand that’s fine, but don’t stand for me. I’m not what it’s about.”
This is the 1989 interview. Here’s another classic objection - “Danger of Schism? Question – ‘Are you not afraid that in the end when the Good Lord would have called you to Him, little by little the split will grow wider and we will find ourselves being confronted with a parallel Church alongside what some call the “visible” Church?’”
Archbishop Lefebvre – “This talk about the ‘visible’ Church on the part of Dom Gérard and Mr Madiran is childish.” Dom Gérard was the abbot of the Benedictine abbey that split away from the Society immediately after the consecrations. Jean Madiran was the editor of a prestigious Catholic journal called Itinéraires during the 1960s and 1970s, and which rendered great service to the Catholic cause, but then when John Paul II became pope, Madiran became all gooey. A very intelligent man and he went all gooey, and so he also quit the Archbishop. Don Gérard and Madiran both criticised the Archbishop for setting up a Church opposite the ‘visible’ Church - the ‘visible’ Church is the Catholic Church, therefore if you’re outside the ‘visible’ Church you’re outside the Catholic Church. The Archbishop said such talk is “childish”.
“It is incredible that anyone can talk of the ‘visible’ Church meaning the Conciliar Church as opposed to the Catholic Church, which we are trying to represent and continue. I am not saying that we are the Catholic Church. I have never said so. No-one can reproach me with ever having wished to set myself up as Pope, but we do truly represent the Catholic Church such as it was before because we are continuing what it always did. It is we who have the notes of the ‘visible’ Church – One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. That is what makes the visible Church.
“Mr Madiran objects – ‘The official Church also has infallibility.’ However, on the subject of infallibility, we must say, as Fr Dulac said in a suggestive phrase concerning Pope Paul VI – “‘When years ago the Church had several popes, one could choose amongst them. Now we have two popes in one.’”
We have a pope of the modernised Church, and he’s the same as the pope of the Catholic Church - the one pope with two churches. Instead of ways back, two popes for one church, now it’s one pope for two churches.
“Each of these recent popes is truly two popes in one. Insofar as they represent Tradition - the tradition of the popes, the tradition of infallibility - we agree with the modern popes, but we are attached to him insofar as he continues the succession of Peter, and because of the promises of infallibility which have been made to him. It is we who are attached to the Pope’s infallibility. But he, even if in certain respects he carries the infallibility within his being pope, nevertheless by his intentions and ideas the Conciliar pope is opposed to infallibility because he wants nothing more to do with infallibility. He does not believe in it and he makes no acts stamped with the stamp of infallibility. That is why they wanted Vatican II to be a pastoral council and not a dogmatic council, because they do not believe in infallibility. They do not want a once-and-for-all truth. They do not want a fixed, stable, unchanging truth. The truth must live and it must evolve. It may eventually change with time, with history, with knowledge, whereas infallibility fixes a formula once and for all. It makes and stamps a Truth as being unchangeable. That is something that the liberals can’t believe in, and that is why we are the supporters of infallibility, and the Conciliar Church is not. The Conciliar Church is against infallibility. That’s for sure and certain.
“Cardinal Ratzinger is against infallibility. The Pope is against infallibility by his philosophical formation. Understand me rightly, we are not against the Pope insofar as he represents all the values of the Apostolic See, which are unchanging, of the See of Peter, but we are against the Pope insofar as he is a Modernist who does not believe in his own infallibility, who practises ecumenism. Obviously we are against the Conciliar Church, which is virtually schismatic, even if they deny it. In practice, it is a Church virtually excommunicated because it is a Modernist Church, and then we are the ones that are apparently excommunicated while and because we wish to remain Catholic and we wish to stay with the Catholic Pope and the Catholic Church. That is the difference.
“For Mr Madiran, who otherwise has a good grasp of the situation, to say that we are not the ‘visible’ Church, that we are quitting the ‘visible’ Church, which is infallible, all that is just words which do not correspond to reality.”
“Benevolence towards Tradition? Question – what should we think of the attitude of Rome as characterised by Cardinals Ratzinger and Mayer, who up till now are showing a certain tolerance towards Traditional groups like Le Barroux, the Fraternity of St Vincent Ferrer, the Society of St Peter? Do you think that these cardinals are sincere? Is it a double game that they will keep up until they have exhausted all other means of rallying other Traditional groups to Rome, and then once the game is over, those that have been reconciled with Rome will be asked to submit to the Council, or should we credit these cardinals with taking a turn for the better?
If these cardinals are being nicey- nicey to certain Trad groups, are these cardinals being genuinely nice or is it a game?
Answer of the Archbishop – “There are plenty of signs showing us that what you are talking about is simply exceptional and temporary. They are not general rules applying to all priests throughout the world. They are exceptional privileges being granted in precise cases. Thus what is granted to the Abbey of Fontgombault or to the sisters of Jouques or to other monasteries – but they do not say it - is according to the Indult of 1984. Now the Indult is an exception. It can always be taken back. An Indult confirms a general rule. By its nature it’s an exception. The general rule in this case is the New Mass and the new liturgy. Hence what these cardinals are doing is making an exception for these communities” - an exception of which confirms the rule.
“We have an example in London where the Cardinal Archbishop has inaugurated three Masses around the Society’s church in the capital of Great Britain in order to try to take away our people. ‘I am trying it for six months,’ he said. If our faithful begin to leave the SSPX centre he will keep up the experiment. If, on the contrary, the faithful stay with us, he will suppress the experiment. If these Masses are then suppressed, the faithful who have regained a taste for the traditional liturgy Tradition will no doubt come over to us.
“It seems that Cardinal Lustiger in Paris is envisioning giving a church to the priests who left us, but he would require that New Masses also celebrated at these churches. In our discussions in Rome with Cardinal Ratzinger in May 1987, he told me when we were moving towards an agreement that if authorisation was given to use the old liturgy at St Nicolas du Chardonnet, there would also have to be New Masses. That was perfectly clear, and it clearly shows their state of mind. For them there is no question of abandoning the New Mass. On the contrary. That’s obvious. That is why what can look like a concession” – same thing exactly today – “is in reality merely a manoeuvre to separate from us the largest number of faithful possible” - or a manoeuvre to split the SSPX down the middle. “This is the perspective in which they seem to be always giving a little more and even going very far” – the negotiations of the last few months. “We must absolutely convince our faithful that it is no more than a manoeuvre, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the hands of Conciliar bishops and Modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger threatening our people. If we have struggled for 20 years” – now 40 years – “to avoid the Conciliar errors, it was not in order now to put ourselves in the hands of those who profess these errors.”
How much more clearly can it be said? That’s it. What characterises these Conciliar people is that they profess errors. They profess things contrary to the doctrine of the Church. If you’re taking your stand on the doctrine of the Church, how can you schmooze people that are changing the doctrine of the Church? It’s not possible, but that’s what they’re doing. That’s what they want to do. It doesn’t make sense.
Question – “When all is said and done, you then have no regrets?”
Archbishop’s answer – “No, none at all. I think that everything that happened about the consecrations was brought about in a truly providential and almost miraculous way.”
Today, as well, we may watch God acting in a providential and almost miraculous way to protect and save and purify Tradition. I don't know what’s going to happen but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the end result. Humanly, it looks like a horrible mess. Divinely, it may be the Lord God sorting out Tradition.
The Archbishop goes on – “Many people were urging me, ‘You’re growing old. If you happen to disappear what will become of us?’ I could have ordained bishops three or four years ago at least. It would even have been reasonable, but I think that the Good Lord wanted things to ripen gently, to show Rome clearly that we have done everything we could to manage to obtain the authorisation to have truly traditional bishops.”
He did all he could to get the official authorisation to carry on with Tradition. The official Church refused the authorisation. That’s why the Archbishop went on his own.
“Even while signing the protocol, Rome refused to give us three bishops, and if we had gone on, in practice we would have had every imaginable kind of difficulty. I truly think we had to come to the decision which I took, and we were at the very end of our rope.”
Two and a half years later he’s dead.
“Our dear friend, Bishop de Castro Meyer, is so tired now that he can no longer say his Mass, and that is less than one year after the consecrations. I truly think it was all miraculous - his coming, his journey, his admirable Profession of Faith, his acceptance to perform with me the ceremony of the consecration of our bishops - all that was miraculous. The press did not realise the importance of his being there, but for me and the bishops who were consecrated, that was truly quite an exceptional grace. The fact that there were two bishops to consecrate them is very important. As for me, I feel well. I have no grave illness, but nevertheless I feel the tiredness and I’m going to be obliged to give up completely performing the ceremonies which I still accept to perform because I no longer have the strength. I would now be quite incapable of making these worldwide journeys as I used to do. They insist on my returning to the Argentine or that I go to the United States to see the new seminary of Winona, but there are limits and I have reached my limits. I’m only going to keep up the things which are now not tiring, like a blessing of a chapel, the taking of the veil with the Carmelites, attending a first Mass – in sum, little compared to what I used to do before. I can clearly feel that for me, too, 30th June of last year was my limit. I think that the Good Lord wished things to happen as they happened. All those who attended the ceremony retain an extraordinary memory of it. All of that was providential. What one may hope is that the faithful should become more and more numerous, that they open their eyes and finish by seeing where the Truth is and recognise that salvation is in Tradition and not in the Conciliar Church, which is more and more schismatic.”
Question – “Of course you realise your name has disappeared from the latest edition of the Annuario Pontifico, the papal year-book, edited in Rome.”
Archbishop’s answer – “I think that my name has not disappeared from the year-book of the Good Lord - at least I hope so, and that is what matters.”
Throughout the Archbishop’s life, did he become more cynical towards the end of his life or was it just an acceptance of the reality of the situation?
I wouldn't say cynical. I don’t think it’s the right word. He just recognised the Romans for what they were. He hoped against hope that they would be better than what he thought, but he was realistic. He didn’t go in for wishful thinking. He wanted the Romans to authorise but he suspected they wouldn’t. He wasn’t confident they would. Sure enough they didn’t. Then he acted on his mind. He didn’t act on his feelings. I don’t think it was a question of cynicism. It’s just that he had a lot of experience. He knew the world, he knew these churchmen, he knew that they were not all that they should be, and he knew they were going way off track, but I don’t think that’s cynicism. That’s just realism, I would call it. So he was realistic, and driven to be more realistic than ever at the end, yes, but I don’t think cynicism.
What you have just related to us about the news that various Traditionalist congregations in France will not be able to have their deacons ordained - this is an act of war.
Yes, this is war.
Those Traditionalist congregations may express their reservations to Menzingen about this deal, yet Menzingen has overreacted, which indicates an intransigence and also impatience with any form of opposition.
That’s it. It’s a tyranny.
So surely this will open many eyes in France.
One may hope, but liberals are dreamers and they don’t want reality. They don’t want to recognise reality, so it won’t open the eyes of a lot of people, but some it will open the eyes of, yes.
Are relationships between Silver City more cordial?
The only thing I’ve heard about Silver City, which is the Benedictines in the United States, is that they are on the side of Bishop Fellay. I don't know if it’s true. I’ve had no confirmation of that, but that’s what I’ve heard. To tell the truth, it wouldn't surprise me.
It seems ironic that Bishop Fellay is treating those orders like the Redemptorists were treated when they decided to go towards Rome in the sense that again it’s illustrating the switch of attitudes in Menzingen.
Bishop Fellay was happy to treat them as pariahs at the time, and now the situation has completely turned around.
Yes. Now Bishop Fellay must be on the side of the Redemptorists because they’ve gone the route that he’s wanting to go. It’s incredible. It’s a 180-degree turn. Or you can say that Bishop Fellay internally was always going in this direction. It’s just that he pretended to be going in the direction of the Society and then now he’s really going his own direction, which was his direction for a time, but in any case it’s a complete about-turn.
It’s the modern world against Our Lord Jesus Christ. What are the ideas about State and Church, God, man, life of the Catholic Church, and what are the ideas of the State and Church, world, man, God, the ideas of the New World Order. They clash head on and the Syllabus lays out the Catholic ideas, which is what Tradition is basically defending. The Archbishop said, “The Syllabus is where it’s at.” In other words, the Syllabus nailed the modern errors, the modern world, and that’s what the clash is all about.
Let me now then give you what Bishop de Galarreta prepared for the Superiors’ meeting in Albano of 7th October last year, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Bishop de Galarreta wrote a text, which is twelve pages long. It’s not all that long, but it’s very clear and it’s right down the line. It’s called Reflections Concerning the Roman Proposal. We’re talking about the Roman proposal of 14th September.
Unfortunately I don’t have the text of 14th September. I certainly don’t have it with me. I’m not sure I have it in London, but I was never sent it. I’ve never seen it. I’ve been on the outs for a few years now. Bishop Fellay doesn’t send anything to me, or very little, anyway. He keeps all of these things secret. Why is he keeping all of these things secret? Normally somebody keeping things secret has got something to hide, and what he was hiding was his sell-out. That’s what I would say. That’s what it looks like. He would have a different version of what he was doing. He would say that it was the Romans that insisted upon confidentiality. Well, again my answer to that would be that when it came to the discussions, it’s the Society that was in the driving seat and not Rome. Normally, of course, Rome is always in the driving seat because it’s the supreme authority, but if you have the Truth, and Rome doesn’t have the Truth, the Truth is in the driving seat, and therefore the Society was in the driving seat. Therefore if Rome said, “We want these discussions to be confidential,” Bishop Fellay should have said, “No way, and if you don’t like the condition that they’re going to be completely transparent and open then there are going to be no discussions. We don’t want these discussions. It’s you that wants these discussions.” Then the Romans would have had to backtrack and think twice and come back again with some other idea. Then whenever Bishop Fellay did something with the Romans, he would have immediately published it to the whole world. He would have said, “This is what they’re proposing and this is what we answered. This is the latest text.” That’s what Archbishop Lefebvre did. Archbishop Lefebvre had nothing to hide because he wasn’t planning to double-back on what he was doing. He was going to stay on what he was doing and stay, stay, stay, but Bishop Fellay had the idea way back in 2000 very soon after the Cardinal’s peanuts, as they’re called - that famous lunch of August with the three bishops and the Cardinal. Soon after that the Cardinal is meant to have said, “If it depended on Bishop Fellay alone, he would be signing,” way back in 2000, 2001.
In 2001, I can remember, the fax machines were running white hot because people were so concerned that Bishop Fellay was going to sign away the Society. It’s 12 years ago. So he’s been working in that direction, but he’s had to hide it because still there’s always been too much opposition from inside the Society. Therefore he’s had to pretend that he wasn’t selling out the Society, or handing the Society over to Rome, but that’s what he’s really been about. He’s been putting district superiors in place who will agree with him. He’s been making these moves all this time in that direction. I know, for instance, that Fr de Cacqueray, who’s the French district superior, says that it’s only last year that he understood what Bishop Fellay was up to. Prior to that, Fr de Cacqueray was a loyal and obedient servant to Bishop Fellay for many years. From when he became district superior he was very loyal and obedient, and he would not entertain the idea that Menzingen could be way off track or moving towards handing the Society over to Rome. He wouldn't believe that, but in August of last year something happened which opened his eyes, and he saw what Bishop Fellay was really up to, and since then he’s now absolutely against the negotiations with Rome. He’s absolutely against selling out the Society to Rome. He’s an example of somebody who for a long time went along with it and has only recently opened his eyes. I think more and more people are now opening their eyes.
“The Roman text, if I limit myself to the preliminary note and the doctrinal preamble of one month ago, I must say straightaway they are confused, equivocal, false and essentially bad.”
That’s not somebody who’s talking backwards, cleverly and diplomatically. These Romans’ documents are confused, double-tongued, false and essentially bad – that’s it.
“This document is substantially unacceptable. It is worse than the protocol of 1988, especially with regard to the Council and the post-conciliar Magisterium.”
END OF CONFERENCE