(Note: It is this author's deepest wish that His Excellency Bishop Fernando Rifan should have an opportunity to read this and realize that we non-Indult Traditional Catholics do truly care for him in all Christian charity, but also that we are worried about these new associations he made and their intentions towards him. So we pray for his continued faithfulness in what we all are increasingly coming to see to be truly adverse circumstances, spiritually speaking.)
In the previous installment, we introduced the reader to the means by which bad company ("Satan's Missionaries") introduces souls to sin: 1) Suggestions, 2) Persistence, 3) Loss of Respect for those who refuse to play along, 4) the Tainted Invitation, 5) the False Guarantee, 6) the Accidental Overstep, 7) the Sinful Compensation, 8) the Severance from Goodness, and 9) the Making of an Addiction. We now pick up from the end of the previous article:
It shouldn't be hard to see that the further one allows oneself to be taken in by such bad company, the more difficult it becomes to disentangle themselves, and also the more difficult it become to find in themselves the extreme humility it takes to describe how they were taken advantage of. We often wonder about the mystery of iniquity, why it is that so many villains can be so utterly loyal to Satan and evil, even when it would seem that every compensation available to them would favor their repentance. This brings me to the one real concern I have about the Indult.
Because a part of the Church subsists in a part of the Vatican institution, by decree, the Indult necessarily must also continue. That much is certain. However, I wonder if I may have been a bit too willing to pass over the risks of the Indult situation in my book. While the Indult itself continues to last, particular Indult situations often do not. One sees them degrading again and again and again. The Fraternity of St. Peter, once promised (another False Guarantee here, folks!) that they would never, ever, be obliged to do a Novus Ordo under any circumstances, now find their position gravely compromised by Protocols 1411 and 512. Though they never actually mandated that any Fraternity of St. Peter priest actually do a Novus Ordo, they have taken away their one heretofore accepted excuse for avoiding it, namely that they were not permitted it by the nature of their charter. Now, permitted it, anyone of them who refuses to participate in it (for example at the so-called "Chrism Mass" and other similar such occasions) will be seen as divisive and might not have their approvals renewed.
Again, we have had some shocking reports that Bishop Rifan has been seen participating in some Novus Ordo events as well. First we have him attending a Novus Ordo for a "Jubilee" of the diocese of Campos in Rome, albeit passively. Next, he attends a requiem "Mass" for "Bishop" Navarro, the martinet who drove Catholicism out of all the parish churches of Campos one by one and who is not known to have ever repented of that horrific act.
And then at that occasion Bishop Rifan even receives (for the first time in his life) a Novus Ordo "communion." That he even attended the funeral of such a monster, who in all justice ought to have been denied a Catholic burial, is itself at least as much scandal as saying "amen" over what was called the "Body of Christ" but in all likelihood merely an unconsecrated piece of bread. Then again, from the choir, he provides sacramental validity (something he knew to be otherwise absent) to a Novus Ordo ceremony given "in Thanksgiving for the new cardinal of Sao Paolo" by saying the words of the consecration from that distant point, and more recently going through the motions of a concelebration at a "centennial of the coronation of Our Lady of the Aparecida," although later confessing that he "did not say the words of the consecration" and hence left it (in all probability) invalid, but then as a co-celebrant, received. Needless to say, all the Church's Faithful are gravely scandalized by these actions. But to what extent can we really blame the man?
I really do think that it is great that now even the Indultarian Catholics have a full-time bishop to themselves as befits all the Church's faithful. With each such arrangement, Tradition obtains yet another much needed beachhead in the Vatican institution. Before Bishop Rifan took that step and thereby showed us all what would result, I could even have seen myself accepting, as a cleric (were I a cleric), such an offer from the new Vatican as he and his Society received back in 2002. I truly wish him every success and hope and pray that he will somehow find the strength and means to avoid any future scandals but see to the rest of his job (these are, after all, mere isolated events, not at all in keeping with the spirit of his other actions as leader of Campos' Indult community), and that he would do what he originally set out to do in 2002. Personally, in the abstract I kind of think it's neat having, not only sedevacantist bishops and SSPX bishops, but now even an Indultarian bishop, who are all truly Catholic, canonical equals, and who must one day all work together as the Church's bishops are indeed all obliged. Thanks to the indisputably valid and lawful episcopal succession from Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro-Meyer through Bps. Tissier de Mallerais, de Galarreta, and Williamson, and then Bp. Rangel, we can know that Bishop Rifan is truly, validly, and lawfully a bishop of the Church, and must be so recognized.
Furthermore, I do not doubt that if only he could be elected to lead the Vatican after Bishop Wojtyla's departure, things there could really begin returning to normal. He wasn't compared (in Dr. David Allen White's book, The Mouth of the Lion) as being to the priesthood what Pele was to the soccer field for nothing. Even when coerced (as the price of his episcopacy in the first place) into allowing that he might be willing to do a Novus Ordo himself, he even then indicated his pastoral concern that he doesn't do it because it would cause trouble to the faithful. He has taken a brave step, going where angels (and all other truly Catholic bishops) fear to tread, and allowed us all to see what would happen to one who does what many doubtless wanted to do. Given the man's staunchly Catholic stance, so well established over many years and showing its defining strengths in the stand he took in 1986 when he refused the offer for an Indult for himself so as to stand in solidarity with his fellow priests and faithful, how can the above listed scandals have occurred? I put it down to bad company. It is easy to see the use of all the steps.
First, he is given an invitation to come to some informal "get-together" with his fellow (Novus Ordo) "bishops" at some meeting at the local (Novus Ordo) Cathedral. (Tainted Invitation, as we shall see) He is promised that it is only to be some informal meeting, where they talk and chit-chat and compare notes, and at most a simple generic blessing might be said over them, which he might even be allowed to be the one to do. (False Guarantee) Then he arrives, and upon arriving finds that the only way he will be allowed to give that blessing (which he was counting on being able to do as a way to be a good influence on the rest of them - an admirable goal in itself), is to participate in a Novus Ordo service they are starting. If he objects saying that only an informal get-together was supposed to happen, someone there could simply point out that "Hey, if it were only some informal get-together we had planned, we would have scheduled it in the meeting hall across the street! We don't have informal 'chit-chat' get-together meetings in the Cathedral itself! Duh!" and there is the Accidental Overstep. "Oops, if you had not been so naive you would have known that." What is he to do now? Walk out in a huff? That would accomplish nothing (so he thinks), and indeed it might have ended his precarious membership in the Vatican institution. Besides he was already primed and committed to doing the blessing, which means paying the piper! Then they all put pressure on him not to be "divisive" (Loss of Respect for those who refuse to play along).
"Oh well," he tells himself as he does his best to treat the situation as though it were a Novus Ordo wedding or funeral of some close family member that he is socially obliged to attend, albeit passively. Next, it's "Please attend this funeral ('Oh well, it's only a funeral,' he tells himself) for 'Bishop' Navarro." I had a cousin who committed suicide. He was not Catholic nor even religious or even concerned with anything of the kind. He wasn't even an ethical person. As a diabolically handsome younger ladies' man, it would have been perfect typecasting for him to be "Pride" in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. As an older man, he beat his wife, never held a job, and gradually cut himself off from all members of our family, one at a time, last of all ending with myself. The chances of his being in Purgatory or Heaven are so incredibly vanishingly small..., and yet on occasion I pray for him anyway, privately of course. Perhaps Bishop Rifan might have felt like doing the same thing for someone even more hopeless. But morally speaking all such prayers ought be kept private. Anyway, he attends (probably being told that it would be a closed affair, again a False Guarantee), and this time the positions are arranged such that he cannot avoid receiving the Novus Ordo "communion" without being conspicuous, and so on it goes through successive further impositions on his generous willingness to try to go along to get along.
No doubt from his own standpoint he feels nearly guiltless as he thinks to himself, "What COULD I have done here?" "How might those scandals have been avoided?" Are these things accidents? No doubt they feel so to him, as he does not recall willing that any of them should occur. Somehow, just being around Novus Ordoites manages to get him in trouble. Or could they be more than mere accidents? For one need not look far to see at work the strategies of the Evil One at work, as listed above:
1) Suggestion - How many more such scandals has Bishop Rifan found himself invited to, but thankfully somehow able to get out of, perhaps by getting away with saying "Oh, I'm not yet ready for that," or being sick or having his car break down, or some other specific duty that conveniently calls at the particular time? He alone knows the actual number, but without a doubt there have been many such occasions of sin.
2) Persistence - Nevertheless, there have been so many such invitations, such occasions of sin, that a small few passed muster with him and he couldn't get out of them gracefully. Whenever this happened we all saw the results.
3) Loss of Respect for those who refuse to play along - Every time he did say no, but could provide no excuse, what evident loss of respect was he subjected to? Nothing violent or dramatic, mind you, just a somber expression and a "Well, I am very disappointed to hear you say that; I really was expecting more of you than that. I hope you won't disappoint me this way again. I practically had to move Heaven and earth to be able to extend this opportunity to you; don't insult me by rejecting it."
4) Tainted Invitation - Any "event" where a large number of Novus Ordo clerics plan to gather will generally tend to be some occasion of sin; rarely if ever does Bishop Rifan get to set the agenda for any of these shindigs so as to keep them pure.
5) False Guarantee - At each of these scandalous events, I have no doubt that he had been assured that there would be no scandal, "We're just having a little get-together," "The funeral will be private," "We'll put you up in the choir where no one can see you," "It will be reverently done, without altar girls or lay 'Eucharistic ministers' or any other abuses," and so forth. And of course, subsequent events have borne out the fact that these guarantees were all lies.
6) Accidental Overstep - "In the Cathedral? Of course it'll be a [Novus Ordo] Mass,' what else did you expect?" "Who said it would be private? These things are never private." "Oh that's right, I forgot to tell you that the choir was moved downstairs to where everyone can see it. There wasn't room for them all in the choir loft." Finally, altar girls, lay "Eucharistic ministers," and all manner of abuses, exactly as [un]promised. What next?
7) Sinful Compensation - Have you never found your foot unconsciously tapping along to those fancy Brazilian drumbeats during the service, Your Excellency? And don't forget: "You came! We're SO very glad to see you here! You're really a Team Player now," and of course "Well, it looks like we can give you that extra parish church (or new school, or new honorary title...) after all."
8) Severance from Goodness - See for yourself what the scandals have done. By them many Catholics have been estranged from you. Your former compatriots in and with the SSPX, to whom you owe your training and formation and ordination, your consecration as a bishop and your canonical legitimacy, have no recourse but to criticize these events that I know you find embarrassing to have ever been a part of and then how many times have your Novus Ordo bad companions told you "They will never accept you back; your only chances are now with us."
9) Making of an Addiction - The one "big lie" that prevents more people from recognizing the downfall of the Novus Ordo is their repeated insistence that one needs them, or their approval, to be Catholic. This of course flatly contradicts the declarations of Vatican II itself, but their own conservative and Indultarian members never hear about this. As long as Bishop Rifan thinks he needs them in order to keep his legitimacy or faculties or jurisdiction (not true; he doesn't, again "thanks" to Vatican II itself), he will continue associating with these bad companions and doubtless be led into many far more serious sins.
As if that weren't enough, see what further steps have been or can be taken, as briefly mentioned in the first part of this article:
1) Test of Betrayal - I don't know that this has happened as yet. Perhaps in a small way in that, having been invited to give a blessing and a homily (as a draw to some Novus Ordo scandal), he then doesn't even get to do the blessing or homily after enduring a slew of Novus Ordo nonsense. Or else they stand idly by while he stands accused of some crime he never committed and faces some secular penalty even while he knows who it is in the Vatican institution who is actually guilty of it. Or else perhaps this test will happen after the next thing:
2) The Burning of Bridges - Already, there are pressures being put on him in subtle and sneaky ways to get him to formally excommunicate his former (and as yet, as I write this, still present) colleagues and canonical peers, the SSPX bishops, in some formal, dramatic, and public manner. With such an action he would thereby schismatically sever himself from the ecclesiastical means of Grace. Perhaps the Test of Betrayal that would follow would be that, having maneuvered him into such a shocking evil, the Vatican would then distance itself from such a peculiar and schismatic declaration, leaving him to twist in the wind without any support of any kind while having to face the (by then well-deserved) scathing denunciations of his fellow Catholics that he will have thus wronged. Consider Our Lord's omen in Luke 16: 9-13.
3) The Holding of Information about one - Again, I don't know if this has occurred, probably not I would suspect. And until it does, they will never really trust him. But let them set him up do some heinous crime, such as molesting a child or satanic practice or some compromising position they could lure him into, and then they will protect him as long as he goes along, but it would emerge and put him in the secular courts if ever he should buck the tide. Only when they should have something of this sort on him will they really and truly trust him. It's called blackmail.
4) Promotions within the Echelon of Evil - Obviously they have already found ways to make him feel "important," with frequent supposed "Papal" audiences and "official recognition" and all similar such candy to puff up his pride and make him feel superior to his peers of the SSPX. But of course whatever titles they give him won't amount to a hill of beans until such time, if any, as they can come to trust him.
5) Building one's own Kingdom of Evil - Strictly speaking, Bishop Rifan has no such "Evil Kingdom" as yet, but this would have to come much later, when he is fully weaned of tradition. Then he can have all the Novus Ordo "dioceses" or even "archdioceses" he wants, though most likely without even so much as a Monthly Indult Mass anywhere within.
6) Enlistment of Innocent Others - Perhaps he could say, "But the people I am working with are not this duplicitous; they mean well, and simply don't hold all the cards, that's all." That may indeed be the case, as evil often works hard at maneuvering innocents into doing what only innocents can do, namely truly woo saints into capers that the innocent ones themselves believe as sincerely as he himself to be without risk, and who also really believe in the False Guarantees.
7) Gradualism - Obviously we can see the gradual introduction to the Novus Ordo religion - first a mere passive attendance, then merely receiving a false communion, then other slightly more and more severe scandals
There is also the terrible time distractions as well. No doubt many more invitations are for events that are entirely legitimate in themselves, but there are so very many of them that the cumulative effect of them all is to envelope one in the whirl of a busy social calendar, with all manner of audiences, state dinners, ambassadorial events (and for all I know balls and soirées as well). This is done to deprive one of the time (and eventually, they hope, the inclination) to tend to the needs of the flock, or even have a chance to find out what those needs are. One can take a useful lesson from the story (novel and movie) titled "Flowers In the Attic" in which a woman whose husband has died leaving her no insurance and four kids to feed finds herself pressured by her rich but psychopathic family (from whom she hopes to inherit soon) into having her children concealed in an attic. At first she visits them frequently and reassures them of her love and lets them know her progress, but with time her visits become rarer and rarer until they stop altogether, and she is even brought to the point of participating in an attempt to murder them by feeding them arsenic-laden cookies and having them unceremoniously buried in the back yard.
Do they really intend all of this? See what one of their own people, a certain "Fr." Cottier, theologian of the "Papal Household," had to say:
"Little by little we expect other steps: for example, that they also participate in concelebrations in the reformed rite. However, we must not be in a hurry. What is important is that in their hearts there no longer be rejection." Dear God, there it is: an open admission of their bad faith with regards to Bishop Rifan and his "Apostolic Administration." The Vatican institution of today is not merely weak, or laden with corrupt individuals (as indeed has happened to the Church at various times in days gone by), but rather, a conscious and willing participant and even initiator in the destruction of the Faith itself in the souls of any within its reach.
Imagine a mother, with many sons, but one named Jim has befriended an unsavory kid who lives down the street on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. Perhaps this mother knows little of what exactly passes between her son Jim and this other boy, whom I shall call Steve, but she does know that many times when Jim plays with Steve he somehow ends up getting in trouble. So she pull him aside and tells him "I don't think I want you playing with Steve anymore; he keeps getting you into trouble." But Jim replies, "I know that mom, but I really am trying to coax Steve into being a better person, and though he has gotten me to do some bad things, I have also gotten him to do some good things. Don't you think Steve's parents would be glad that their son has such a good friend as I?"
So the mother continues, rather grudgingly, to allow Jim to play with Steve, and again, despite his best efforts, he still ends up in trouble once in a while. But then while at the store, mother happens to overhear Steve talking in the next aisle to one of his unsavory cronies saying "Little by little we will make a drug pusher out of Jim. We've already got him to try marijuana and cocaine and LSD, and to steal from stores and break into houses. Soon I will show him crack, and how to make money so as to buy it. All we need to do to make him ours is keep him around us a little longer. And you know what? He actually thinks he's doing me good!" And then both boys laugh a sinister laugh and depart from the store, never seeing Jim's mother, with fury on her face. Needless to say, she would never allow her son to play with Steve again after this.
Certainly, this has served as a stern warning to all Catholic bishops. For that matter, even the schismatic East Orthodox and Old Catholic and all other sacramentally valid bishops are cautioned. See what happens when you go to the Vatican for "approval." Far from serving as the Indultarian's bishop to represent full time that particular third of the Church today, his noble and brave action has instead proved foolhardy and as a warning to all others: Stay away! Their promises are lies! Their guarantees worthless! They are without honor! And this makes any invitation from them a Tainted Invitation no matter how innocent.
This points to the saddest and most serious implication regarding this whole affair. The Vatican institution has been far from neutral in all of this. At least if they were as truly interested in fostering religious indifferentism as they claim to be (and are, with respect to all non-Catholic religions including their own), they could have merely accepted Bishop Rifan into their ranks and more or less left him alone to do the job of a Catholic bishop with merely the one single difference that he has recognition from them unlike all the other Catholic bishops. But instead one finds a clear and strategic plan being carried out so as to yank him spiritually off-center, confuse his mind, engage him in scandalous acts, and pull him away from the Faith.
This manner of pressure is faced by every Indult cleric, and to those who have withstood all those pressures and kept the Faith (and even an Indult to practice it with their blessing) I salute you. But for every such cleric who has truly stood firm, many others have wavered or compromised or even collapsed spiritually. For their spiritual nourishment and stability, even they must look outside their Vatican institution. Indeed, ever since Vatican II, the Vatican institution, though still tolerating authentic Catholic Faith and worship in isolated places, is in no way a sustainer of it.
They have become like ancient pagan Rome, which become so soft and decadent as to have to hire mercenaries to be their soldiers and fight their wars. Only these mercenaries could bring with them the valid arts and disciplines needed for battle, as those had become lost arts among the Romans. The only real Catholicism the modern Vatican can offer today is that which they have siphoned off from other traditional Catholic orders, mostly the SSPX and the Saint John Vianney Society (Campos), though no doubt they would consider it quite a feather in their cap to suck in a priest from the SSPV or the CMRI. Their erstwhile leader, though permitting the Indult, never practices it himself. Good still exists therein, but it is held hostage to the evil.
So what, therefore, ought his Excellency do? Should he quit the position? No, for that would be schismatic. Should he refuse these invitations, come what may? That's a start. How about getting their false guarantees in writing such that any failure on their part to make good on them would entitle him to collecting significant damages in a suit against them? Above all, he must return to the standard where he began, upholding it all in full. This may or may not cost him his Indultarian position, but that's not his call. Let them spit him out if they dare, but if they do then they are the ones taking the schismatic actions. Hardest of all: Even the things already done must be repented and never repeated. We are all praying for you in this, Your Excellency, don't let us down. Above all, don't let down He who gave you life, salvation, and the fullness of the priesthood.