SATURDAY-SUNDAY
October 15-21, 2001
volume 12, no. 152

The 'Practical Problem' of the Faith remains the Roadblock between the SSPX and Rome

By Bishop Richard Williamson

    In all the series of contacts between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) since June of last year, we had hardly heard in public from the SSPX bishop residing in Spain, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, until there began circulating recently the text of a sermon he gave at the SSPX's main seminary in Switzerland on June 3.

    When "nice" liberals make a "practical" offer, he says, it will still be a nasty offer. That is why the SSPX was right to refuse Rome's recent offer, even if not all contacts with Rome need be cut off. Let me translate his text for you, while abbreviating and adapting certain parts to bring out his interesting analysis. Bishop de Galarreta speaks:

    "…..From the beginning of these contacts with Rome, the SSPX wished to get into the major questions of doctrine and theology, faith and apostasy, while Rome wanted to give the contacts a purely practical character. We then somewhat lost interest because we knew where that would end up... Sure enough. To the two pre-conditions laid down by the SSPX for the resumption of SSPX-Rome discussions (liberation of the Tridentine Mass, nullification of the 1998 excommunications), Rome at last replied officially a few weeks ago by implicitly laying down its same old condition for the SSPX's `re-integration', namely acceptance of Vatican II, the New Mass, etc.. In other words Rome would accept the SSPX as it stands, so long as it stopped opposing the Conciliar Revolution.

    "But the SSPX as it stands is bound to oppose the Council. So Rome would be granting everything to the SSPX while taking it all away. Truly a fool's bargain! For Rome began by saying, `Let us be practical and not doctrinal. Come in!' The SSPX replied, `Fine! To be practical and not doctrinal, let us come in as we are, opposing the Council'. To which Rome replied, `To be practical and not doctrinal, come in as you are but do not oppose the Council'. We had, of course, run right back into the problem of Catholic doctrine against Conciliar doctrine. `Practicality' was a mirage.

    "It was only to be expected. Today's modernists in Rome divide broadly into two groups: on the one hand the theoretical modernists, more logical and more consistently liberal and so less friendly to ourselves; on the other hand the pragmatic or practical modernists, closer to real life and so more friendly to ourselves, but correspondingly less consistent with their liberal principles and therefore objectively (I do not speak about personal sincerity or intentions) more false and two-faced in their dealings with ourselves.

    "So when last year one of Rome's practical modernists made us an apparently golden offer, the danger was not of the SSPX giving way in theory or in doctrine, because for all of us the doctrine of Tradition is beyond doubt or question. The great danger was rather of our giving way in practice by taking our desires for reality, by thinking that liberals (modernists) really can be nice, by believing that Rome was offering us what it really was not offering us, namely their acceptance of us on our own terms. In fact, as this official answer at last made clear, they will accept Tradition only on the Council's terms. Rome having said it, at last things are now clear. It's a shame, but that's how it is.

    "As for Rome's offer being merely `practical', remember that it was by mere `practicality' that modernism was foisted upon the Catholic Church in the 1960's and 1970's. Take for example the New Mass. It was a select group of theologians and liturgists who concocted it almost out of thin air, and when Msgr. Bugnini presented it to Catholic bishops in 1967, it was rejected by a large majority. Yet it was the selfsame rite of Mass that Paul VI forced upon the Church in 1969, because a select few had constructed their new liturgy to fit their new religion, unwanted in the cry by the mass of faithful, priests and bishops. But since this mass of Catholics out of obedience then practiced the new liturgy, so they came to accept and to believe in the new religion. Doctrinal Modernism had triumphed by `practicality'. Cranmer used exactly the same `practicality' to enable Protestant doctrine to take over the Church in England in the 16 century.

    "Now Rome is trying to do the same thing again. The SSPX is to be granted everything in theory, so long as it accepts the Council in practice. That is like saying to policemen, `Talk as much as you like in theory against theft and crime, but do not lay a finger on any thief or criminal. They have their rights, and in practice they must be left to do what they want'. It is like telling the SSPX, `Play Don Quixote to your heart's content, tilt at all the theoretical windmills you wish, but do not touch the practical realities'.

    "But the SSPX cannot accept such a ‘practical’ deal. In practice, modernist Rome is destroying the Faith. It is not a problem of persons or obedience or charity or discipline or respect or whatever. IT IS A PRACTICAL PROBLEM OF THE FAITH. We can accept no ‘practical agreement’ which would mean silencing the voice of Tradition, the voice of the Catholic Faith. We can only defend the Truth, yet the Truth is what Rome is asking us to keep quiet. That is why we can only refuse Rome's `practical' offer.

    "However, we are not slamming the door on Rome, because we want to be able to keep presenting our doctrinal objections to the destruction of the Faith. So if anyone says to me we should cut off all contacts with Rome, I reply ‘No’, or ‘It depends'. That is a judgment to be made in each succeeding situation. In general, we should maintain contacts with the Romans because God alone knows when He will give them grace to recognize that we are right. In any case, our duty is to bear witness to the Truth, and to explain our stand, in Rome or wherever, but especially in Rome."

    Thus far Bishop de Galarreta. Three points seem to me to be particularly worth elaborating on: Why is it in the nature of liberalism (of which modernism is one virulent species) for liberals to divide into nasty doctrinalists and nice pragmatists? Why must the nice pragmatists - unless they renounce their liberalism - always prove nasty in the end? Why will the nice liberals frequently appeal to "practicality" when dealing with opponents of liberalism?

    Firstly, liberals are bound to divide into nasty doctrinalists and nice pragmatists (and all shades in between) because liberalism is always two things at once: primarily the rejection or negation of absolute Truth, secondarily the affirmation of absolute liberty. Note that, as clearing ground must precede rebuilding, so liberalism's negation of Truth is prior to its affirmation of liberty. I cannot romp freely unless I am first unshackled. The negation is basic to liberalism.

    Note next that liberalism's negation of Truth and affirmation.of liberty are always in tension because each pushed to its extreme has to override the other. For instance, if I absolutely reject Truth, I will not allow even liberty freely to consent to it - "No liberty for the enemies of liberty". Such are the nasty doctrinal liberals who push liberalism's primary negation of Truth to its logical conclusion. On the other hand, if I absolutely affirm liberty, then I will affirm liberty even to accept the Truth - "Liberty even for Catholic Tradition". Such are the nice conciliatory liberals who turn liberalism's secondary affirmation back against its primary negation. (With this tension and contradiction and instability inside every liberal, compare and contrast the unification and stability wrought within a Catholic by his submission to uncontradictory and unchanging Truth).

    This tension between negation and affirmation, this contradiction intrinsic to liberalism, is why liberalism is constantly throwing up liberals both as nasty as possible and as nice as possible, and all shades in between, according as each liberal cleaves more to the primary negation or to the secondary affirmation. But even the nicest of liberals will never completely abandon the basic negation, otherwise he would cease to be a liberal, and that is the answer to our second question, as to why even nice liberals must turn out nasty in the end, as Rome's nice liberals have just done.

    For indeed the nice liberal's affirmation of truth is quite different from the Truth-teller's affirmation of Truth. The liberal's affirmation of truth rests upon his own consent to "truth", whereas the Truth-teller's affirmation of Truth rests upon Truth's absolute demands and one's natural submission to those demands. In other words, even if a nice liberal accepts "truth", he is still negating Truth's absolute demands, he is still holding to the negation of absolute Truth and so he is still sharing the nasty liberal's basic principle. On the surface, your nice liberal may look like a Truth-teller, but deep down he is operating on the same basis as the nasty liberal.

    That is why, when your nice liberal is challenged by a truth-teller (e.g. a Catholic), unless he gives up the basic negation making him a liberal, he must side with the nasty liberal. What nice liberal Rome just showed to the SSPX was its preference for liberalism's basic nastiness. Kyrie eleison!

    The answer to our third question follows in turn. Why will your nice liberal frequently appeal to the Truth-teller to be "practical", as just did Rome? Because your nice liberal knows that he and the Truth-teller have a basic disagreement on principles (Truth demanding, or "truth" consented to), so he brackets out basic principles and appeals to being nice, having lunch together, using the same taxi, simple practical things. This he does in the hope that shared action will lead to shared beliefs.

    It is a well-known technique of Communists and Freemasons is in their dealings with Catholics. let the Catholics just join them in a common action and they will get the Catholics to end un by believing as they do. How many Catholics have for instance, lost the Faith by behaving in the Knights of Columbus like, or with, Freemasons?

    The SSPX has therefore rightly turned down modernist Rome's invitation to behave like, or with modernists However, as Bishop de Galarreta wisely concludes, the SSPX does not therefore refuse any and all contact with Rome, where more than anywhere else the Truth must be told. We pray for these Romans, because "Great is the Lord, and His mercy endureth for ever".

    With all good wishes and blessings, in Christ,

+ Bishop Richard Williamson

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October 15-21, 2001
volume 12, no. 152
Exspectans exspectavibus Ecclesia Dei
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