Volume 2, Chapter
article by Professor Louis Salleron appeared in the October 1979
issue of the French daily L’Aurore. It seems more pertinent
today than when it first appeared. Professor Salleron warns us of
a sociological phenomenon which is extremely relevant to traditional
Catholics. They are consistently rejected, denigrated, and even
ridiculed by those in authority in the Church, and sometimes by
the parish clergy and their Catholic acquaintances. When a minority
group is treated in such a fashion it is far from unusual for its
members to develop the characteristics which they had been falsely
accused of possessing. Traditional Catholics are frequently accused
of being schismatic and after years of consistent rejection by the
official Church it is hardly surprising if, for practical purposes,
some no longer continue their fight for tradition within the Church
but as a clearly defined group outside her. Professor Salleron's
warning was confirmed dramatically in October 1981 when a group
of such Catholics, who had declared that the Holy See was vacant,
took the ultimate step of having their own "sedevacantist"
bishops consecrated by an elderly Vietnamese Archbishop, Mgr. Pierre
Martin Ngo-Dinh-Thuc. These "bishops" have since consecrated
others, and now in Europe, Mexico, and the United States there exists
a de facto schism, what can be termed accurately a sedevacantist
sect. The fact that those adhering to this sect may have been provoked
and scandalized beyond what they could humanly endure does not alter
the gravity of their action. Archbishop Lefebvre has rejected sedevacantism
firmly and consistently, and has taken what must have been for him
the very sad step of expelling priests from the Society of St. Pius
X for accepting the thesis that the Holy See is vacant. A statement
which he made on this subject is included as Chapter XL.
's article follows:
is a Schismatic?
On 12 May 1965
– already fourteen years ago! Mgr. Pailler, the Archbishop and Coadjutor
of Rouen, stated at a meeting of Catholic Action: "I do not
think that I am being pessimistic when I say that by the end of
this year, that is to say at the end of Vatican II, especially after
the promulgation of the texts on Religious Liberty and the Schema
XIII, there will be a grave risk of schism within the Church."
it must be remembered, was the first "seed" of what was
to become the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes which
dealt with the Church in the modern world.
by Mgr. Pailler was hailed by the Progressives and the Modernists
as a condemnation of the Traditionalists. The majority of Catholics
were no less astonished. The first shock was caused by the ambiguity
of the remark, as Mgr. Pailler's pessimism seemed to welcome a complete
extinction of the Traditionalists: they would be excommunicated
proprio motu. On the other hand, it was difficult to understand
how a Council which claimed to be pastoral and not doctrinal, a
Council which proclaimed liberty for all and the end of condemnations,
could cast out of the Church those Catholics who wished to remain
faithful both to dogma and to Tradition.
In fact, the
whole thing was perfectly logical. Father Congar has described Vatican
II as "the October Revolution." By this he meant that
the liberty granted by Vatican II was the liberty proclaimed by
the Revolution which meant, in effect, “No liberty for the enemies
of liberty." This was quickly to become evident: “The Conciliar
church” as it was called by those who were fashioning it, proved
to be a thousand times more authoritarian, more sectarian than anything
that had been previously seen in the traditional Church. We are
still living in a climate of persecution and de facto excommunication.
the book entitled Letter to John Paul II, Pope of the Year 2,000
I was brought to a halt by a penetrating remark made by Saint-Beuve
and quoted by Father Bruckberger, author of the book. The remark
referred to the Jansenists of Port Royal: “Many imputations and
provocative accusations themselves create, in the long run, the
very evils which they had supposed to exist.” This is a subtle idea
but completely true. It can happen that when a tendency, a perfectly
legitimate religious opinion, is attacked fiercely by a powerful
body within the Church, its supporters become so hardened in its
defense, that they justify the accusations of schism and heresy
levelled against them. This happened to the Jansenists. Today certain
groups of traditionalists are on the brink of making the same error.
It is precisely because of this that Father Bruckberger, himself
a traditionalist, quotes Saint-Beuve.
In fact, if
one were to take at its face value what is said and what is written
in some circles and in some publications, where John Paul II is
almost denouced as the anti-Christ, one could conclude that schism
But this is
only the result of irritation and will undoubtedly die in time,
and in any case, it applies to only a limited number of people and
should not be confused with that vast number of Traditionalists,
wounded in their faith and the practice of their Religion by the
destructive violence of those who have entrenched themselves within
the Church in France, and whose power is precisely more and more
schismatic in view of their systematic opposition both to Rome and
to the Pope. It is this official or officious "Church of France"
which tends to become mother and teacher - mater et magistra
- of which Jansenism, Gallicanism, and early Modernism
were but a faint shadow.
If one may
speak of a schismatic situation, this situation is not necessarily
a full-blown schism in the strict sense of the word which implies
a minimum of coherence and a structure with a known leader. A spreading
of schismatic ideas, a proliferation of various heresies, does not
constitute a schism. A general weakening of the Faith cannot lead
to a denial of belief which is the essential characteristic of a
schism. It should be regarded more as a heretico-schism.
aspirant to the leadership of the subversive organization is becoming
even clearer. It is Hans Küng, the Swiss theologian who writes on
many subjects, and who has long since abandoned the role of a controversialist
for that of a magisterial teacher to whom everyone, beginning with
the Pope, must defer with humility because the evidence for what
he says is so overwhelming that it must convince us as totally as
it has convinced him. As "an act of charity" he has just
sent John Paul II a "fraternal reprimand" (sic) and he
has no doubt that the Pope will receive it "without preconceived
ideas" (Le Monde, 17 October).
The Pope of
Rome, enlightened by the pope of Tübingen, will then realize that
the rights of man must be respected by those in high places within
the Church. What then are these rights? Well! The right of priests
to marry and their right to leave the ministry: the right of women
to be ordained, etc. All this in the name of the Gospel and in the
name of Truth.
We do not know
whether French theologians will have been flattered or annoyed that
their Swiss colleague chose the French language and a French newspaper
to "reprimand " the Pope in a brotherly way, and to invite
him to reconcile himself with progress, with Liberalism, and with
modern civilization. In any case, most of them share his views.
Like him, they want the destruction of the Priesthood, and the democratization
of the Church by the people of God – Soviet style.
Such is the
Conciliar Church clearly defined by its pope. Will John Paul II
submit, or will he declare Hans Küng a schismatic?
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