Newsletter of the District of Asia

 Jan - Mar 2002



In the second part of his masterpiece of the Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius proposes one of his most famous meditations: “#136  A Meditation on Two Standards, the one of Christ, our Commander-in-chief and Lord; the other of Lucifer, mortal enemy of our human nature.”  In the first Prelude (#137) which opens the meditation, the Saint gives us as the story illustrating this exercise, “It will be here to see how Christ calls and wants all under His standard; and Lucifer, on the contrary, under his.”

By becoming Catholic, the Philippines chose the Standard of Christ.  It was obvious then that the “mortal enemy of our human nature” would not remain inactive.  The following pages will show this battle, this clash between the two Leaders, “the supreme Commander-in-chief of the good, Christ our Lord; and the chief of the enemy, Lucifer.”

The principles of Freemasonry are applied worldwide strategically.  In many countries of the old world, Masonic anti-clericalism can be very blunt and aggressive.  This has been described as Freemasonry of the Latin type.  In the relatively new countries, mostly Anglo-Saxon countries, the battle is more subtle, it seeks to soften the resistance, using the ‘fish-bowl’ technique by slowly warming up the waters in order to do a ‘gentle’ killing.

The Philippines saw both of these approaches in its recent history.  In the late XIXth century, Freemasonry sought to cut off this Catholic Nation from its Spanish Catholic roots (see The Revolution of 1898).  Thus, the Masons were very militant, less tolerant, much more intransigent, so much so that President Roosevelt himself thought it was the wrong approach (see The Masons at work).  Later, throughout the XXth Century, thanks to the American presence, Freemasonry mellowed its aggressiveness seeking to reconcile the irreconcilable, the Church and the Revolution.  To help them in this, at the same time, they sponsored the first ever Protestant sects that came to the Philippines (see Two Major Sects).

But, thank God, Our Lady of the Rosary and the hard apostolic work on the part of great priests (see The Soul of a Nation), they haven’t yet succeeded completely as can be seen by the recent condemnation of Freemasonry on the occasion of the death of one of its high-ranking members (see The Masons at work).

However, one cannot but feel a sense of betrayal, of contradiction, between the troops, however weak, still fighting the enemy on the far-away battlefield and the HQ plotting with the same ‘mortal’ enemy, or certainly appearing to do so.  I refer here to the Religious Meetings of Assisi (in 1986 and in 2002), which amazingly, not to say shockingly, proposed the same means for the same end as those proposed by the Secret Societies.  The contradiction between the present attitude of the Vatican authorities and the previous teaching of the Magisterium will be made manifest in comparing them (see The Masons at work n. 4 and 5).

On the SSPX front, the defection, last January, of the Campos clergy in the fight for the integrity of Tradition, increases our resolve to remain humble in the line of and with the principles laid down by Archbishop Lefebvre. 

The arguments used by the priests of Campos can be reduced to three.  The Vatican’s offer should be accepted, they said, because 1) many new persons would rejoin Tradition; 2) we would have a foot in the door of modernist Rome for preaching Tradition; 3) we could still go back to our former position in case we were unduly pressured. 

Fr. Laurenço Fleichman O.S.B. a former monk in France under Dom Gerard who abandoned Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 for similar reasons as Campos’ reasons today in a beautiful Open Letter (see Angelus, March 2002) replied to these tempting arguments:

“These are precisely the same arguments as those of Dom Gerard in 1988; to me, shockingly so. Firstly, because then you knew how to critique Dom Gerard's position, as was so necessary at the time. Second, because today the logical conclusion you are obliged to reach is that Dom Gerard was right! He preceded you by ten years, which obliges you to believe that his assessment then was better than yours.

I think that the following affirmations are undeniable: 1) The new people that will join you will not desire to convert to true Tradition. They will come to you because the legal obstacles have been removed, and not for reasons of faith. They will be very sympathetic, but they will not be seeking the whole truth with the doctrinal conviction that leads souls to martyrdom; 2) Being in modernist Rome—and this is proven invariably—results in contamination by the guiding principles of Vatican II, administered in homeopathic doses until the fruit falls, as St. Peter's Fraternity fell; 3) As for going back :  who among them has ever returned to his former position? They would rather concelebrate with the Pope than go back. And if they did go back, what would become of the faithful in their parishes? Would they all go back? How many would be entangled over the question of legality? I consider such an attitude reckless; it does not take into account the constancy of the souls that Providence has entrusted to you. You regularize on paper a phony problem of excommunication, and the faithful have only to follow and obey, and then, tomorrow, to about face and retreat with you!  I cannot quite see in this the respect for souls the priestly life requires.

Back in June 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre, in a letter dated June 12 to the four bishops elect had already answered the same objection:

“The Traditional Benedictine Prior, Dom Gerard, tells me that an agreement with Rome would have opened up for us a huge field for the apostolate. Maybe, but in a world of ambiguity, facing in two directions at once, which would make us go rotten in the end. They insist: ‘But if you were with Rome, you would have more vocations.’ But vocations like that, if you breathed one word against Rome, would make life in our seminaries impossible! And if we ‘came to an agreement’ with Rome on that basis, then the diocesan bishops would say ‘ Then come along and join in the dioceses’, and little by little Tradition would be compromised.

All the Traditional Sisters and nuns in France are against an agreement. They tell me, ‘We do not want to be dependent on Cardinal Ratzinger. Imagine if he were to come and give us conferences! He would split us down the middle!’ ”

Bishop Fellay recently said that it is true time will tell if the Campos clergy can survive.  But already, they have sacrificed the right to speak up.  On the very day of the Consecration of Bishops, June 30, 1988, Bishop de Castro Mayer recalled the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas on the necessity to make public acts of faith when circumstances required it.  “St Thomas Aquinas teaches that there is no obligation to make a public Profession of Faith in every circumstance, but when the Faith is in danger it is urgent to profess it, even at the risk of one’s life.” (See Angelus, July 1988, p. 34)

The actual text of St Thomas (IIa-IIae, q.3, a.2, corp.) is worth reading:

“Thus then it is not necessary for salvation to confess one's faith at all times and in all places, but in certain places and at certain times, when, namely, by omitting to do so, we would deprive God of due honor, or our neighbor of a service that we ought to render him: for instance, if a man, on being asked about his faith, were to remain silent, so as to make people believe either that he is without faith, or that the faith is false, or so as to turn others away from the faith; for in such cases as these, confession of faith is necessary for salvation.”

Now, a public scandal, such as the Day of Prayer in Assisi, on January 24, 2002, required a public act of Faith.  This time, however, nothing was said against it from the Society of St John Vianney, in Campos, a Society approved by Conciliar Rome one week earlier.

Let us continue to pray.  “Oportet semper orare et numquam deficere – We ought always to pray and never to faint” (Lk 18, 1). The battle is not over and might still drag many more years. “He that shall persevere to the end shall be saved” (Mt. 10, 22).

Happy Easter to all our readers.

Fr. Daniel Couture

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