So, Campos is fallen. The two dozens priests with their own bishop who for 20 years from distant Brazil were the re-assuring comrades in arms of the Society of St. Pius X in its lone stand for Catholic Tradition have gone back in with Conciliar Rome. What happenned? What will happen? What does it mean?
What happened can be briefly told: in Shakespeare’s phrase, the Campos priest had greatness thrust upon them. They laid the burden to one side.
The story of how the diocese of Campos came into the limelight of Catholic Tradition after the Second Vatican Council is known to many readers from the book “The Mouth of the Lion” by Dr. David White. Before the Council, the Brazilian country diocese of the seaside city of Campos, lying three hours by car to the north of Rio de Janeiro, was gifted with a truly Catholic bishop, Antonio de Castro Mayer. As is clear from his marvelous “Catechism of Opportune Truths Opposed to Contemporary Errors”, written for his diocese in the 1950’s, Bishop de Castro Mayer thoroughly understood the danger of the heresy of modernism. All the pernicious errors then and since then devasting the Catholic Church are laid in all their deadly charm. Opposite, the bishop presents the the Catholic truth, less charming but free of poison. Beneath, he explains where the poison lay hidden and why the Church’s teaching on the matter is the truth.
This bishop, whether or not he was conscious of the impeding desaster of Vatican II, in any case by his insistence on true doctrine, as Dr. White expresses it, earthquake-proofed his diocese in advance of the earthquake. When the Council happened (1962 to 1965), his priests and people were prepared, so that the bulk of them kept the true Faith, and when the New Mass was introduced (1969), while a few of his priests took it up and left for another diocese, most of his priests made use of his permission to continue saying the old Mass.
Not that the bishop was defiant of Pope Paul VI, or heedless of the Pope’s pressure to introduce the New mass. But he had written to the Pope a most respectfull letter, asking for doctrinal problems that he had with the new rite of Mass to be cleared up, and when he received absolutely no answer from the Pope, he acted upon what he knew to be good doctrine, and gave his priests the permission to stay with the rite that was safe and sure.
So his diocese, priests and laity, in large part followed him until his mandatory retirement at age 75 in 1981. The official Church appointed to succeed him a bishop who would by force and violence wrench the diocese away from the old religion and establish it as a "normal" part of the Newchurch. But the priests formed by Bishop de Castro Mayer resisted, almost to a man, and the laity followed their good priests, with the result that when these priests were - of course- thrown out of their parishes, the best of Campos' laity rallied behind them and built - this is not a wealthy diocese! - ten brand-new churches in which to continue the brand-old religion. I can hardly believe my ears when I ear that none of the Campos laity (or priests) are protesting the putting back under Rome of these churches expressly and expensively built to resist that very Rome, but this is what we are told that has happened! Have the priests been up front with their laity?
But back to the story. When Bishop de Castro Mayer had to resign and the Newchurch put in a wrecker to replace him, for ten years the resistance movement flourished in the form of the St. John Mary Vianney Union of Priests. But in 1991, one month to the day after the Archbishop died, Bishop de Castro Mayer died. At the Union’s request, three SSPX bishops consecrated a successor, Bishop Liciano Rangel, so that the Campos Catholics would continue to receive Confirmations and Ordinations. However, as we know now, replacing Bishop de Castro Mayer as Confirler and Ordainer was the easy part. The hard part was to replace the anti-liberal leader. And we are back into the mystery of neo-modernism, this incredible mind-rot capable of rotting apparently the most Catholic of minds.
For there can be no doubt of the Catholic Orthodoxy of the Campos priests and laity that Bishop de Castro Mayer left behind him. Nor, at least until the summer of 2000, was there any trace (as far as I know) of deviation from the line of defense of Catholic Tradition laid down by the two great bishops (Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and de Castro Mayer) in the 1970’s and 1980’s. But from the time of Tradition’s pilgrimage to Rome in August of 2000, maybe discrete contacts between Campos and Rome were re-established (or fortified?). In any case there emerged last year the recent agreement, proclaimed all over the Newchurch media in the middle of January, 2002.
This agreement whereby the Campos Traditionalists are "welcomed back into the Church" looks like a sweetheart deal for the priests and laity of Catholic Tradition. In return for putting an end to their resistance to the Newchurch, they are granted what is called an "apostolic administration", meaning, more or less, a personal diocese coming directly under the Pope, and depending only upon the person of their own bishop, presently Bishop Rangel. They are allowed to keep the Tridentine liturgy, in other words they may continue to say the true Mass. It looks too good to be true!
And, of course, it is too good to be true. For instance, as everybody knows, Rome better than anybody, Bishop Rangel is stricken with cancer, and his days are numbered. The Campos priests must believe that he will be replaced, but if Rome is in control when he dies, what will stop Rome either from choosing the most liberal priest in the group, or from declaring that the mainstream bishop in Campos is sufficient for all Catholics, mainstream or Traditional, now that they are all in together again? Already, the Pope’s theologian in Rome, Fr. Cottier, is reassuring any conciiliarists alarmed by the apparent concessions to Tradition in Campos:
"Little by little we must expect other steps, for example that they (the Campos priests) 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. Communion found again in the Church has an internal dynamism of its own that will mature." (Interview, Jan. 20).
Indeed. Indeed. Another classic exemple of "internal dynamism" of “communion maturing” in the Vatican II Church was provided recently by the appearance in Rome last November of a little book entitled “The Jewish people and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible”, written by Rome’s Biblical Commission and prefaced by Cardinal Ratzinger, no less. This book’s thesis is that “The Jewish wait for the Messiah is not in vain”, a typically ambiguous statement, capable of meaning that the Messiah will come at the end of the world either a second time (perfectly true), or for the first time (horrendously false).
When questionned about the ambiguity, the Pope’s (Opus dei) spokesman, Dr. Navarro-Valls, replied: “It means that it would be wrong for a Catholic to wait for the Messiah, but not for a Jew”! In other words Jesus of Nazareth truly was and truly was not the Messiah promised in the Old Testament! In other words, there is no objective truth. Truth depends on who you are!
So the Campos priest are also losing their minds. They are putting their trust in Romans to protect the absolute truth of Catholic Tradition when these Romans believe in no such thing. What do the Romans believe in? In making us all feel good. And that is what the Campos priests are switching over to. The Campos priests claim they will continue their fight for Tradition from inside the mainstrem Church. But what chance do they have up against the insanity of modern Rome, as continued for instance in another Assisi meeting, clearly condemned by Bishop Fellay at NULLAM PARTEM.
The poor Campos priests! Having given away the store (the sanity of their mind) in order to come in from the cold (the marginalization of their hearts), they will almost certainly from now on go along with anything the Romans say, rather than have to go back out into the cold of being “excommunicated”, “schismatic”, etc.. Like St. Peter’s Fraternity, they will have paid so dearly (with their sanity and integrity) for acceptance by Rome, that they will pay anything further in order not to lose acceptance. Which Rome well knows, and will exploit to the full, but “little by little”, as the Pope’s theologian says.
Incredible. But let us throw no stones. Today’s confusion is universal, and is coming from the top - “the shepherd is struck, and the sheep are scattered” (Zach. XIII,7; Mt. XXVI,31). In war, bullets fly, comrades go down. One spends half a minute with one’s handkerchief to wipe away a disfigurement, or wipe away a tear, and then the war goes on. Rather than throw stones, let us take thought for ourselves. The Campos priests presently falling in with the insanity and betrayal of Rome have had the true Mass, breviary and traditional prayers for the last 20 years, yet still they have fallen. Who then is safe?
I might say that the Campos priests fell because under Bishop de Castro Mayer they had too easy a passage from a pre- to post-Council, so theirs is just a belated case of Fiftiesism. But as recalled above, they were earthquake-proofed before the Council, and had to rebuild from ground zero afterwards. Was that still not enough to vaccinate them against neo-modernist mind-rot? Apparently not. Truly, if these days are not shortened by God intervening, we all of us risk losing our minds. Kyrie eleison. “But when these things begin to come to pass,” says Our Lord, “look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand” (Lk. XXI, 28).
Dear readers, God has thrust upon the greatness of not falling in the madness all around us. For love of Our Lord and His Mother of Sorrows, let us not lay the burden to one side: “He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved” (Mt. X,22).
With my blessing, in Christ,
+ Richard Williamson