Monday, July 8, 2013
Vol. 24, no. 189
Authority Crippled II in a Lively Debate


Bishop Richard Williamson

      Editor's Note: A Kartov Syndrome is when a chess player can't find the right move after giving it a lot of thought. Then, under pressure, he suddenly makes a move that can be dangerous when he looks back on what he should have done. Such is the case that could be facing Bishop Richard Williamson as we bring you his Eleison Comments #311 and #312. He is not deaf to the encouragement he's been given to be the bishop all hoped he would be for the "Resistance". He puts forth arguments in playing the Devil's Advocate himself on what course he should take as he reasons that it's all about jurisdiction and he cannot give that to himself. He brings up Ecclesia supplet, but rationalizes that it has to come from a pope. Of course there is no true pope and the CONciLIAR cabal doesn't deem that there is an emergency. Oh, but there is! Yes, we must turn to God for Deus providet, but He also expects us to realize when to act and that time is now. It's both encouraging what the Bishop says, but also discouraging that he's afraid to act. He urges patience, but the more patient we are, the more damage is done to souls. What is even more puzzling and discouraging is that he is waiting for the "pope" to come to his senses. Your Excellency, that will never happen! The apostate Mr. Bergoglio the unFrancis is a lay wolf in sheep's clothing who was weaned on liberation theology. Ol' Jorge, a Peron disciple, is out to destroy whatever is left of the Petrine Primacy, so devastated by his five apostate predecessors. It's your move, Your Excellency. Choose wisely.

    Again I am being urged by a valiant participant in today's Catholic "Resistance" to put myself at the head of it. The reason given continues to be that I am the only bishop yet taking any part in this movement of opposition to the internal collapse of the Society of St Pius X. But God gave the dying breath of true Church authority to Archbishop Lefebvre, whose successors have cruelly abused it. Why should He give it again? The crisis of the Church has far advanced between the 1970's and the 2010's. At the risk of annoying many of you, here are the good soul's main arguments, with answers which I propose to anybody but impose on nobody -

    1. The wide diversity of opinion amongst Resistance priests confuses the laity. * But to control opinions requires authority (see above). And maybe Catholics deserve to be confused after so many blindly followed Vatican II, and are now blindly following the SSPX. Maybe God has had enough of blind obedience. Maybe He wants Catholics to use their heads and think for themselves, and not just blindly "obey", as a lazy way to Heaven.

    2. In particular there is confusion over whether to jump ship, i.e. stop attending SSPX masses. * But why should one opinion fit all cases? All kinds of different circumstances can bear on such a question. Granted, to stay with the SSPX on its present false course involves a real danger of gradually sliding, but souls need sacraments, and by no means all SSPX priests are yet traitors. In France recently the first edition of a 350-page book, 90% of which consists of quotations from Archbishop Lefebvre, sold out in two weeks. It was put together by an SSPX priest, Fr. François Pivert. That is a positive sign of hope. God bless him!

    3. The friction between Resistance priests could make the Resistance self-destroy. * There has always been, and there always will be, personal friction amongst priests. Doctrinal friction is much graver. It is doctrinal fidelity that mainly held the SSPX together until now, and doctrinal infidelity that is now destroying it. It is doctrinal fidelity that will guarantee our one and only Faith which is the basis of whatever will survive of Catholicism in the Church, or in the SSPX, or in the "Resistance".

    4. There is no Church without a head or hierarchy. God wants us organized. * Normally indeed there is no Church without head or hierarchy, but modern man has created an abnormal situation. Whereas the pagan centurion in the Gospels (Mt.VIII, 6-10) had a natural sense of how to command and how to obey (the two go together), "democratic" man has, in the name of liberty, wilfully unlearned how to do either. Thus arbitrary commands and excessive obedience are presently destroying the SSPX, as they have largely destroyed the mainstream Church. This is because both rulers and ruled lack the sense and love of that objective truth which is above both of them, and which when heeded has no difficulty in harmonizing their authority and obedience. Perhaps God wishes us to pursue doctrine rather than organization.

    In conclusion, this exceptional trial of the Church will last for as long as God needs it to last for the purification of His Church. Meanwhile in the early 21st century there seems to me to be just not enough Catholic straw left to make a Catholic brick like the SSPX of the late 20th century. Patience. God will have His way. It is His Church, and He is looking after it. Patience.

    The problem of crippled authority (see these "Comments" of June 1 and above) is rousing some lively reactions amongst readers. On the one hand valiant Catholics tell me that I AM a bishop, therefore I must ACT as a bishop by taking command of the "Resistance" movement. On the other hand a valiant priest with long experience of "sedevacantism" warns me not to let loose parallel churches by consecrating any more bishops, except in the case of World War, physical persecution or paralytic old age (well, there are those who would claim that the last has already set in...).

    Of course the problem goes back to Vatican II, when at the bottom end of a 700-year slide the Conciliar churchmen by abandoning Church doctrine split Catholic Truth from Catholic Authority, and by so doing so discredited official Church authority that souls like those mentioned above no longer see the need for it. But central Church authority, given the natural diversity and original sin of all mankind, is absolutely necessary to ensure Church unity (and therewith survival) not only in the Truth but also in the sacraments and in Church government.

    That is why a bishop or priest needs not only the sacramental power of his Orders, power he can never lose for all eternity, but also the power of jurisdiction, which is the power of saying (dictio) what goes, or what is right (ius, iuris). This second power does not go with his Orders, and he cannot give it to himself, he can only receive it from on high, from a Church Superior, ultimately from the Pope, and the Pope from God. Hence when valiant souls tell me that I AM a bishop (by my Orders) so that I am delinquent if I do not ACT as such by telling (dictio) the "Resistance" what to do (ius), most likely they are confusing the two distinct powers of the bishop.

    However, they may be instinctively hitting upon another doctrine of the Church and of common sense, namely that of supplied jurisdiction: in an emergency where for whatever reason the Superiors are not providing the jurisdiction needed for the salvation of souls, the Church supplies it. For instance, a priest may have no jurisdiction as is normally needed to hear Confessions, but if a penitent asks him to hear his Confession, then in case of need the priest may hear it and the sacrament will be valid. Now for sure and certain the vast emergency created in the Church by Vatican II has even been aggravated by the notorious mid-April Doctrinal Declaration from SSPX HQ, which is documentary proof of the crumbling of the last standing fortress of the true Faith.

    But supplied jurisdiction has a weakness, because not being official, it is much more open to dispute. For instance, Conciliar Rome denies that there is any such thing as a Church emergency created by Vatican II, and they put corresponding pressure, all too successful, on the Society of St Pius X to submit itself to Conciliar authority. Such is the need for authority to be official. Even Archbishop Lefebvre lost maybe a quarter of the priests that he ordained, because he had no power to stop them from simply walking away. Such is this unbelievable crisis of the Church. So if a priest or layman asks me to give him commands, he may himself dispute it a few months later, or as soon as he receives what he considers to be a command he need not obey.

    But the crisis remains real, and it is only going to get worse until God intervenes to bring the Pope to his Catholic senses, which God will do when enough Catholics are begging him to open the Pope's eyes. Between now and then the sharpening emergency is set fair more and more to fortify unofficial authority, but may Almighty God help us to avoid unnecessary anarchy.

    Kyrie Eleison.

+ Most Rev. Richard N. Williamson

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    Monday, July 8, 2013
    Vol. 24, no. 189