Cardinal Hoyos justified this heavy-handedness in his letter of June 29, 2000 to the Fraternity: “You know quite well that your seminary is observed by many people in the Church and that it must be exemplary in all respects. In particular, it is required to avoid and combat a certain spirit of rebellion against the present-day Church, which spirit easily finds followers among the young students, who like all young people, already are included to extreme and rigorous positions.”19
In a later statement to 30 Days, the Cardinal further defended his actions as necessary “to strike a balance between their original charism and the outcome of their insertion within the ecclesial reality of today.”20 Whatever “the ecclesial reality of today” is supposed to mean, it cannot possibly mean traditional Roman Catholicism, for if it did, there would have been no motive for the Cardinal to intervene.
Now, the absurdity of the Cardinal’s statement that the priests of the Fraternity exhibit a “spirit of rebellion” could not be more manifest. There are countless seminaries in the United States and throughout the world percolating with rebellion, apostasy and homosexual corruption which Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos — for seven years as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy — has never addressed in any way approaching his swift and decisive intervention against the Fraternity. (On the contrary, the Cardinal and his Congregation have shown great solicitude for due process and the rights of the accused when it comes to such matters as the homosexual predation of young boys by homosexual priests.)
On the other hand, since Vatican II a wholly traditional Roman Catholic priest would indeed be perceived by some in authority as having a “spirit of rebellion” against the “ecclesial reality of today,” precisely because “the ecclesial reality of today” represents the abandonment of Roman Catholic tradition. But, in any event, it is a cold, hard fact that the Fraternity of Saint Peter has never been a force of public resistance to Vatican II and the New Mass. On the contrary, we have been told by certain Fraternity of Saint Peter priests that a fundamental principle of their diocesan apostolate is “not to make waves”. A go-along-to-get-along approach has been central to the Fraternity’s policy since day one of its existence — much to the chagrin of many of the younger priests and seminarians of the Fraternity who are prepared to take a much more active role in the Catholic counterrevolution, but who as yet are not being permitted to do so. Yet, even though the Fraternity does not rock the post-Conciliar boat, the mere suspicion that some of its members might do so prompted the Cardinal to come down on the Fraternity like the proverbial ton of bricks.
The Cardinal’s own words and actions reveal that he views his role not as a defender of traditional belief and practice among the clergy, but rather as an enforcer of what could rightly be called Post-Conciliar Correctness in the Church, or PCC, the ecclesiastical equivalent of Political Correctness, or PC, in the realm of secular politics.
But let it not be thought that the Cardinal’s enforcement of PCC has been limited to the Fraternity or the SSPX. In his attempt to browbeat Father Nicholas Gruner into submission to the “ecclesial reality of today,” the Cardinal has
All of these abuses of power have been detailed in the canonical complaint Father Gruner filed with Pope John Paul II himself on December 20, 2000.22 The abuses reveal a prelate who will not hesitate to use his power to crush any priest who too effectively opposes the reign of PCC.
This is the man who now smiles at the Society of Saint Pius X, assuring them that they have nothing to fear in trusting present-day Rome. With such a man at the levers of negotiation, the Society of Saint Pius X has ample reason to question whether its future after “regularization” will truly be guaranteed.
Cardinal Ratzinger’s Former Contempt for Traditional Catholics
The scorn displayed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is worrisome enough, but, as was previously reported in each of our journals, Cardinal Ratzinger has, in the past, shown himself less than favorable to Traditional Catholics — at least to those who go beyond a mere “preference” for the Old Mass and publicly oppose Vatican II. In his 1984 Ratzinger Report, he said:
“It is likewise impossible to decide in favor of Trent and Vatican I, but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two Councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called ‘traditionalism’, also in its extreme forms.”23
The so-called “extreme forms” of “traditionalism” certainly include Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his Society of Saint Pius X. In 1975, Archbishop Lefebvre clearly enunciated the need to resist the Vatican II revolution:
“Defending his Faith is the prime duty of every Christian, all the more of any priest or bishop. Wherever an order carries with it a danger of corrupting Faith and morals, disobedience becomes a grave duty.
“It is because we believe that our whole faith is endangered by the post-Council reforms and trends that it is our duty to disobey, and to maintain the Traditions. The greatest service we can render to the Catholic Church, to Peter’s successor, to the salvation of souls and of our own, is to say ‘no’ to the reformed liberal Church, because we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God made man, who is neither liberal nor reformable.”24
Cardinal Ratzinger would have no such resistance. His 1984 statement failed to make the distinction about Vatican II made by Council Secretary Cardinal Pericle Felici.
At the end of Vatican II, the Council Fathers asked Cardinal Felici for what theologians call the theological note of the Council. In other words, what is the status of the Vatican II documents? Cardinal Felici replied, “We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which already have been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations.”25
Thus, Cardinal Felici recognized that Vatican II contained novelties no Catholic is bound to accept. These novelties, such as ecumenism and religious liberty, are contrary to what the Church has always taught, and have proved disastrous for the Church and for souls.
How could the Council be anything but disastrous when progressivist Cardinal Suenens, one of the primary architects of the Council, rejoiced that “Vatican II is the French Revolution of the Church”26; and when Protestant observer Robert McAfee Brown gloated that the Council effectively did away with the demand for non-Catholics to convert to the Catholic Church for salvation.27
Walking together on line with the spirit of the Council.
In 1988, Cardinal Ratzinger said likewise of traditional Catholics:
“It is inadmissible; one cannot accept that there be in the Church groups of Catholics who do not follow the general way of thinking of the bishops of the world.”29
What right-thinking Catholic would want to follow “the general way of thinking of the bishops of the world”, when the majority of these bishops received their episcopal elevation due to their commitment to the liberal reforms of Vatican II? Yet in the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, opposition to Vatican II represents a “sectarian zealotry” that “we cannot resist too firmly.”
It must be noted that Pope Benedict XVI and the SSPX both agree that the Church is in crisis. The root of their disagreement is the cause of the crisis. Pope Benedict insists that Vatican II is good in itself, but badly interpreted and implemented. The Society of Saint Pius X insists (and we say, rightly so), that Vatican II is a pile of flawed documents that can only produce bad fruits. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the Council’s history knows the documents were drawn up by radical theologians with revolutionary intent.30
Unfortunately, Father Joseph Ratzinger was one of these radical Council theologians. He does not admit the inherent dangers of these double-minded texts. For him, resistance to Vatican II itself is not an option — a reality which pits him at odds with Archbishop Lefebvre and his stated reasons for resisting in the first place. In I Accuse the Council, Archbishop Lefebvre writes:
“... It is nonetheless certain that the Council was deflected from its purposes by a group of conspirators and that it is impossible for us to take any part in this conspiracy, despite the fact that there may be many satisfactory declarations in Vatican II. The good texts have served as cover to get those texts which are snares, equivocal, and denuded of meaning, accepted and passed.
“We are left with only one solution: to abandon these dangerous examples and cling firmly to tradition, i.e., to the official Magisterium of the Church throughout 2000 years.”
Not so, says Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict —the Council must be saved. Its richness must still be “discovered” — again, constituting irreconcilable differences with the Society of St. Pius X. What, then, could possibly constitute grounds for negotiations, unless the Vatican moves far to the right or the SSPX moves equally far to the left?
For Traditional Catholics, there is no shaking the revolution from the Council texts. Resistance to Vatican II, ridding the world of its curse, and returning to Catholic Tradition is the only way out of the current upheaval. This Traditional Catholic position is embodied by the Society of Saint Pius X, and will find no welcome with today’s hierarchy.
Our Lord warned His Apostles that certain men will “kill you... thinking they are offering worship to God.” (John 16:2) It is thus likely that today’s Vatican leaders, despite their current smiles, will try to kill the anti-Modernist resistance of the SSPX, “thinking they are offering worship to God”. No doubt, today’s Vatican has convinced itself that the Hegelian amalgamation of the SSPX into the modernist “ecclesial reality of today” is a holy mission for the good of the Church. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos clearly displayed this attitude in his dealings with the Fraternity of Saint Peter.
Part of this insertion into the “ecclesial reality of today” is for the Vatican to grant traditionalist groups “regularization,” provided these groups do not publicly oppose the New Mass and Vatican II’s ecumenical orientation. It is a kind of Vatican-Moscow Agreement for Traditional Catholics.
In the early 1960s, Pope John XXTTT made a pact with Moscow that in exchange for Moscow allowing Russian Orthodox observers to attend the Council, Vatican II would not criticize or condemn Communism. Archbishop Lefebvre believed this pact with Moscow was, in and of itself, enough to condemn the Council:
“The refusal by this pastoral Council to issue any official condemnation of communism alone suffices to disgrace it for all time, when one thinks of the tens of millions of martyrs, of people having their personalities scientifically destroyed in the psychiatric hospitals, serving as guinea-pigs for all sorts of experiments. And the pastoral Council which brought together 2,350 Bishops said not a word, in spite of the 450 signatures of Fathers demanding a condemnation, which I myself took to Msgr. Felici, secretary of the Council, together with Msgr. Sigaud, Archbishop of Diamantina.
“Need the analysis be pushed any further to reach its conclusion? These lines seem to me to be enough to justify one’s refusing to follow the Council, these reforms, these trends in all their liberalism and neo-modernism.”31
This Vatican silence was pleasing to the Communists, of course, since the Communists do not really care if you are against them, providing that you do not publicly oppose them. Likewise, the modernist Vatican does not care if Traditional Catholics dislike the new Mass and the new ecumenism, providing they do not criticize them. Up until now, this has been the Ecclesia Dei agreement with “Catholics attached to the Tridentine Mass.”
In fact, this is precisely what one of us was told when visiting Rome’s Ecclesia Dei Commission in 1994. An Ecclesia Dei official explained that a central condition for “regularization” is that the traditional group agrees to voice no public opposition to Vatican II or the New Mass.
We believe that to make such a deal, trading silence for recognition, is immoral. Medical doctors should not merely promote good health, but fight killer disease. Pro-life activists do not just “choose life”, they vigorously oppose abortion! Even more so, Catholic priests are bound not only to teach the truth, but combat error. Yet, up until now, the Ecclesia Dei compromise tells priests there are certain errors they are not allowed to combat. And these errors are the most prevalent in our day.
Such an approach is ludicrous. It is like telling Saint Thomas Aquinas he is free to celebrate the Old Latin Mass providing he says nothing against the Albigensians. Or it is like telling Saint Ignatius that he and his Jesuits are free to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, providing they say nothing against Protestantism.
We can only imagine how far these modern-day Quietists who trade silence for “regularization” would have gotten with Saint Athanasius, had they even so much as suggested that he concentrate on what Catholics are “for” and leave off criticizing what they are against — namely, Arianism! He would have laughed in their faces.
Trading Vatican recognition for silence against Vatican II’s errors has resulted in many good Ecclesia Dei and Indult priests not voicing criticism of the post-Conciliar changes since they are terrified to upset the local bishop who may then take away their weekly Indult Mass. Too often, those who make this deal lose the sense of Catholic militancy that our present time demands. This is particularly evident in the quick collapse of Campos.
The priests of Campos, Brazil, once a body of opposition to Vatican II, are now a spent force. Campos’ Bishop Rifan takes part in the New Mass and the clergy’s public resistance to post-Conciliar modernism has fizzled. On this point, Father Peter Scott, Rector of the SSPX’s seminary in Australia, wrote in late 2004:
“How is it that these 25 priests from Campos, who for 33 years refused all collaboration whatsoever with the New Mass, who put together these famous reasons for refusing to assist at or collaborate in the New Mass, who so well defended the canonical status of traditional priests, persecuted precisely because of their refusal to celebrate the New Mass, have suddenly changed their tune? It was not the death of Bishop De Castro Mayer, 11 years before this compromise took place, nor the need of a bishop, for the Society of Saint Pius X had provided them with one. It was quite simply the political exchange, the compromise required in return for the recognition of their Apostolic Administration. It truly was the devil’s tail. Not only were they forbidden all missionary work outside the diocese, not only were they subject to the diocesan bishop in all their apostolates in Campos, but now they are forced to positively cooperate in the New Mass, and to justify it as well.
“Father Cottier, O.P., personal theologian of Pope John Paul II, had predicted this more than two years ago, at the time of Bishop Rifan’s consecration, when he stated: ‘We must wait a little before asking for other acts indicating that they have come around to our way of thinking: for example, participation in concelebrations in the reformed rite. Here, we must show patience... Unity rediscovered in the bosom of the Church contains in itself an internal dynamism that will bear its fruits’. Prophetic statements indeed. It is sad to note that it took the Fraternity of St. Peter 11 years to accept Protocol 1411, obliging them to celebrate or concelebrate the New Mass if called to do so by the Novus Ordo bishop, but that it only took the Campos priests 2 years to arrive at the same position. Rome’s politics are very clear: Bring them back in with a canonical status, and then exercise sufficient pressure to get them to cave in, and even to justify themselves. This is nothing less than a complete victory for modernism.”32
There is no reason to believe that “Rome’s policies” have changed regarding the proposed regularization of the Society of Saint Pius X.
There were rumors that the SSPX was going to have a “deal” with Rome in place by Easter, or by the end of Bishop Fellay’s term as Superior General this summer. We never believed these rumors, as it seemed unlikely that the leadership of the SSPX, after doing so well in holding the SSPX together for 18 years since the episcopal consecrations, would suddenly commit an imprudence bordering on madness. One can only imagine the havoc wrought if the present-day Vatican were to have a hand in the upcoming election of a new Superior General.
This rumor, as with various other rumors, was shown to be false.
The Society of Saint Pius X, in imitation of its founder, Archbishop Lefebvre, will continue to keep some lines of communication open with the present-day Vatican. They will also obey the Fatima exhortation to “pray a great deal for the Holy Father”. But based on the observations presented in this document, it seems the time is still not right for serious negotiations towards regularization.
To repeat Bishop Fellay’s wise criteria, the Vatican has not shown any “clear proof of its attachment to the Rome of yesterday,” has not “re-stated with actions speaking louder than words that ‘there must be no innovations outside of Tradition’.” We see little evidence that a regularization orchestrated by today’s Vatican would guarantee the future of the Society of Saint Pius X or in any way benefit the worldwide traditionalist movement.
Lest this Statement be viewed by some as a partisan effort engineered by certain forces inside the SSPX, we wish to make clear that neither The Remnant nor Catholic Family News is an SSPX publication. Further, this Statement is being co-authored by one who attends an Indult Mass regularly and who is convinced that, were it not for the great counterweight that is the Society of St. Pius X, there would be no Indult Mass, no Fraternity of St. Peter, no Institute of Christ the King and no burgeoning international traditionalist movement. If the SSPX is removed from this precarious balance, what guarantee do any of us have that Rome will continue to extend its “generosity” on our behalf?
All traditionalists, therefore, have a vested interest in this. The question we must ask ourselves, regardless of where we attend Mass, is this: How will traditionalism benefit from rapprochement between the SSPX and the Vatican when even the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei makes it clear that there would be no Indult Mass were it not for the SSPX? Even some of the highest-ranking curial Cardinals in Rome are openly admitting that the SSPX has never been in formal schism. So, clearly there is no danger to souls, as there certainly would be were this a case of formal schism. Added to this is the fact that liberal bishops regularly grant permission for Indult Masses purely out of protest of the SSPX. The SSPX is growing exponentially throughout the world, as is the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, etc. In fact, it seems obvious that at this point in time, the entire traditionalist movement benefits from the SSPX remaining exactly where it is. Where, then, is the urgency for rapprochement? For us, there is none. For Rome there seems to be a great deal. Why?
As we were completing this Statement, news emerged from Rome that only confirms the need for great caution. Reports claim that Pope Benedict desires to “advance gradually and in reasonable time” toward a resolution to the “Lefebvre issue”.33 Simultaneously, the Vatican’s Cardinal Arinze stresses that the Pope “cannot disown Vatican II in order to make the Lefebvrites happy. The Pope cannot reinvent everything, or act as if Vatican II did not take place.”34 This is a curious comment, since the architects of Vatican II reinvented everything and subverted traditional Church teaching in order to make the modernists happy.
Clearly, we are at an important crossroads. The aging Roman establishment is losing confidence that their conciliar Revolution will survive. Tradition is storming back into the lifeblood of the universal Church as the churches of the Novus Ordo empty out and are sold to the highest bidder. This is obviously no time for traditionalists to back down, nor is the time right for the SSPX to end its standoff in the name of holy Tradition or to agree to anything less than a deal based on Rome’s promise to recall Vatican II.
In the meantime, we must pray for Pope Benedict XVI every day, that he will come to recognize the urgent need to restore the Church, not in accordance with a more traditional interpretation of Vatican II, but rather in the light of holy Tradition itself — the only answer to the cataclysmic chaos unleashed by the post-conciliar revolution. We must also pray that the SSPX will continue to resist the Council and its new Mass with ah1 of their resources. Why? Archbishop Lefebvre answered that for all of us many years ago:
“... The conclusion is inescapable, especially in the light of the widespread turmoil which the Church has experienced since the Second Vatican Council: This destructive occurrence for the Catholic Church and all Christian civilization has not been directed nor led by the Holy Ghost.”35
18. “Rapprochement by unhasty stages, but not too slow either,” 30 Days Magazine, No. 9, 2005.
19. Letter to the General Chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, June 29, 2000.
20. 30 Days, No. 11, 2000
21. Letter to Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, May 16, 2001. See web site: http://www.fatima.org/ apostolate/defense/mayl6docinx.asp
22. “Cardinal Must Be Deposed,” The Fatima Crusader Issue 66, Winter 2001. On web at: www.fatimacrusader.com/cr66/cr66pgsl.asp. See in particular Section II: “The Wrongs Committed by Respondent” for more than is here published.
23. The Ratzinger Report, [San Francisco: Ignatius, 1985]. pp. 28-29.
24. Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to Friends and Benefactors, No. 9, 1975
25. Open Letter to Confused Catholics, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, (Kansas City: Angelus, 1992), p. 107.
26. Ibid., p. 100.
27. The Protestant McAfee Brown applauds Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism: “The document makes clear how new is the attitude that has emerged. No more is there talk of ‘schismatics and heretics’ but rather of ‘separated brethren’. No more is there an imperial demand that the dissidents return in penitence to the Church who has no need of penitence; instead there is recognition that both sides are guilty of the sins of division and must reach out penitentially to one another. No more are Protestants dismissed merely as ‘sects’ or psychological entities alone; instead it is acknowledged that there is a measure of ‘ecclesial reality’ to be found within their corporate life.” The Ecumenical Revolution, Robert McAfee Brown. (Garden City: Doubleday, 1967 — 2nd Edition 1969), pp. 67-8.
28. Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 389-390.
29. Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican, (Kansas City: Angelus, 1999), p. 222.
31. Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to Friends and Benefactors, No. 9, 1975.
32. Southern Sentinel, from Holy Cross Seminary, Letter from Father Scott to Friends and Benefactors, December 1,2004. On web at www.holycrossseminary.com/2004 Decemberhtm.
33. “Pope Presides at First Meeting with Curia’’ Zenit, February 13,2006. Concerning a meeting Pope Benedict XVI conducted on this date with the Cardinals in charge of the Roman Curia in which a resolution to the “Lefebvre Issue” was discussed.
34. “Vatican Official Says Pope Will Fix Liturgical Abuses, Firmly, Gently. Catholic News Service, February 10, 2006. On web at: www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0600806.htm.
35. Archbishop Lefebvre, Preface to the French Edition, I Accuse the Council.