January 30, 2002
volume 13, no. 18
What price for the Campos Compromise? |
by Father Peter Scott
"If it was Assisi, in 1986, that convinced Archbishop Lefebvre of the destruction of the sense of the Faith and the gravity of the crisis in the Church and decided him to consecrate bishops, it is Assisi II that is our wake up call that ecumenism is still alive and well, that it continues to destroy the Church within, at its very marrow, and that it is our duty to stand firm and make reparation for it. It is certainly not by accepting to be united in diversity with ecumenists that we will do this."
Many of you have heard of the reconciliation between the traditional priests of Bishop de Castro Mayer, of the diocese of Campos, Brazil, and Rome, and some of you have asked what we are to think of it. In effect, negotiations have been going on for several months between Rome and Father Rifan, representative of the Priestly Union of Saint John Mary Vianney, and its superior, Bishop Licinio Rangel, who had been consecrated by the Society's bishops in 1991, after the death of Bishop De Castro Mayer. These negotiations were carried on without the knowledge, let alone the agreement, of the Society's superiors. As far as Bishop Fellay was concerned, the negotiations ceased after Rome refused to even respond to his letter of June 22. That letter, published in the August 2001 issue of The Angelus, responded to Rome's refusal to grant the conditions, namely that it be stated that all priests in the world have the right to celebrate the traditional Mass, and that the Society was never schismatic and never broke communion. In response to Cardinal Castrillon's refusal to accept that we have the right to reject the errors of Vatican II, he explained the state of necessity that is the basis of our refusal of compromise. The response to those who attack the Society for working on a hidden agreement is that there have been no discussions since then, since there is no common ground to work from.
Last summer, the priests from Campos were united with the Society, and accepted our firm position, based upon principle. However, Cardinal Castrillon's efforts to contact them, and induce them to overlook questions of doctrinal and principle, in order to come to an arrangement, bore fruit. It was on Friday, January 18, after months of negotiation, that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos presided over the ceremony in the name of the Pope and in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio and the Novus Ordo bishops of the region and of Novus Ordo priests of the diocese. The purpose of the ceremony, as advertised by Bishop Rangel in a joint communiqué with Bishop Guimaraes, the diocesan bishop of Campos, was to:
"sign the letter of entrance into full ecclesial communion of the priests of Campos from the Priestly Union of Saint John May Vianney and of the Catholic faithful they minister to, being then thus considered perfectly inserted in the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church."
The theme of this joint ceremony between modernists and traditionalists was "unity in diversity". In fact, such is the basis of the Indult Mass, as contained in John Paul II's Motu Proprio of 1988 Ecclesia Dei adflicta, and such is the basis for this reconciliation as described in the joint statement of Bishops Rangel and Guimaraes:
"We further remember the invitation of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II: All pastors and other faithful must have a new consciousness not only of the legitimacy but also of the riches that the diversity of charisms, traditions, spirituality and apostolate represent for the Church. This diversity also constitutes the beauty of unity in diversity: this is the symphony that, under the action of the Holy Ghost, the earthly Church elevates to heaven's (Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta). It is thus with intense happiness that we communicate to all this gesture of kindness of the Holy Father, the Pope, wishing an ever-increasing union among Catholics Unity in diversity as the Holy Father wishes, for the greater glory of God and honor of the Holy Church".
Those of you who regularly read this letter will have no difficulty in drawing your own conclusion concerning such statements. The September letter explained that the cardinals in Rome had no intention of promoting Tradition and of disavowing the New Mass and the post-conciliar revolution. The November letter showed how Archbishop Lefebvre's clarity of vision in this time of crisis, based upon the spirit of the Church, as clearly taught by Saint Pius X and Blessed Pius IX, is the basis for our present superior's refusal to compromise. The December letter explained how firmly Bishop De Castro Mayer embraced the positions of Archbishop Lefebvre, refusing any third, intermediary position or Indult Mass as a liberal compromise of our duty to profess the Faith. Last month's letter mentioned how the situation in Rome has worsened even further by the Pope's own initiative, through the prayer meeting of all religions in Assisi.
We must certainly respect the good intentions of the priests from Campos, who have not attacked the Society's refusal to make a deal, but simply stated that their situation is different, given that they are all in one diocese. We also must acknowledge that they have not compromised in the same way that the priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, who have accepted in principle the celebration of the New Mass and the post-conciliar theology.
Nevertheless, it certainly saddens us that they have backed down on the clear position so well expressed in their 1999 book Catholic, Apostolic & Roman, and that this rift in tradition has come about for the sake of a canonical status, and that the priests of Campos have opted for the easy way out, the path of least resistance. So different were the heroic words of Bishop De Castro Mayer in a similar situation, on June 30, 1988:
"I want to manifest here my sincere and profound adherence to the position of His Excellency Archbishop Lefebvre, dictated by his fidelity to the Church of all centuries. Both of us, we have drunk at the same spring which is that of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church" (Archbishop Lefebvre & the Vatican p. 124).
Different also were the words written by the same priests on the occasion of the episcopal consecration of Bishop Rangel:
"Given the present situation of extraordinary crisis through which the Church is passing, with its hierarchy directly and indirectly bringing about its destruction 'auto-demolition¹ and for this very reason systematically and only naming bishops that have compromised with progressism, this extraordinary episcopal consecration is imposed upon us as an act that we call Operation Survival of Tradition".
Dom Laurenço Fleichman, OSB, formerly of the monastery in Barroux, France, in an open letter to Bishop Rangel and the priests of Campos, dated October 30, 2001, draws a sad parallel between Dom Gerard¹s betrayal of Archbishop Lefebvre and this decision by the priests of Campos. The full text will be published in the February issue of the Angelus. Allow me simply to quote his conclusion here:
"In 1988 I said to Dom Gérard, and I repeat it to you today: thousands of Catholics wait anxiously for you to confirm them in the Catholic Faith, in the combat required of us by Divine Providence, without allowing yourselves to be overcome by tiredness, weakness or without becoming entrapped by the chant of the bewitching singers of legality. Our Lord requires martyrdom, drop by drop, and the full and clear profession of the Catholic Faith, without compromise with the modernists in the Vatican.
Furthermore, we cannot help but deplore their implicit acknowledgement that they were outside of full ecclesial communion until this ceremony took place. The Society had insisted, as a matter of principle, on a statement that the excommunications were null and void, that Archbishop Lefebvre had sufficient reason to consecrate bishops and that we are and have always been Catholics in good standing, as a pre-condition for any arrangement to be even discussed. This principle has been abandoned. Moreover, the modernist concept of degrees of communion has been accepted in the place of the traditional teaching of being either inside or outside the Church contained in the dogma "Outside the Church no salvation". Before Vatican II, there was no such thing as perfect or imperfect ecclesial communion. One was either a Catholic, inside the Church, or excommunicated, outside the Church, on the way to eternal perdition. There is no in between. However, for the modernists other Christians and other believers are in various degrees of imperfect communion although not actually members of the Roman Catholic Church. This is the concept that destroys the whole idea of one true Church that underlies the statement that the Campos priest are only now in full communion.
"Yes, we are for the Papacy, and yes we are for juridical legality. But above all else, let us respond to the clear call of God for the combat for the Faith. The day the Pope truly converts, it will appear more clearly than the light of the sun. Clearly, it is not by kissing the Koran or by going to pray in a mosque that he shows us this conversion"
However, worst of all is the acceptation of the Indult principle of "unity in diversity", namely that we can be one with other "Catholics" in their diverse expressions of religious experience, including charismatics and modernists of all kinds. The principle of unity is not diversity. This is a pure contradiction for anybody who does not hold to the modernist conception of religion is the collection of everybody's personal experiences from within. To the contrary, the principle of unity is Catholic Tradition, as expressed in the catechism, namely "to profess the same Faith, have the same sacrifice and sacraments, united under one and the same visible head, the Pope". We are only one with Novus Ordo Catholics inasmuch as they hold fast to these truths, despite the revolutionary direction given by the modernists in the Church, and we are certainly in no way one with any that knowingly and willingly depart from any one of them.
The coincidence of Assisi II, last week's world prayer meeting for all religions, with this ceremony of regularization, just adds to our sorrow. If it was Assisi, in 1986, that convinced Archbishop Lefebvre of the destruction of the sense of the Faith and the gravity of the crisis in the Church and decided him to consecrate bishops, it is Assisi II that is our wake up call that ecumenism is still alive and well, that it continues to destroy the Church within, at its very marrow, and that it is our duty to stand firm and make reparation for it. It is certainly not by accepting to be united in diversity with ecumenists that we will do this. It is for this reason that Bishop Fellay has asked that in our priories and principal chapels a day of reparation be held. Since it is the duty of adoring the one true God, contained in the first commandment, that this ecumenical prayer meeting denies, the best reparation is an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. If all of us would do this, it would have a powerful effect on the all-merciful Sacred Heart to pour forth in abundance the divine light needed to overcome the blindness and paralysis of ecumenism, and the pretension that we can please God in any religion. I do hope that all of you will take this to heart.
Yours faithfully in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Father Peter R. Scott
Taken from the Traditionalism List at Subscribe to the Traditionalism List
For previous articles regarding matters that affect the Ecclesia Dei commission, see Archived installments
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
volume 13, no. 18
Exspectans exspectavimus Ecclesia Dei