Objections and Replies |
Illusion and Appearance
"Far be it from me to set myself up as pope! I am simply a bishop of the Catholic Church who is continuing to transmit Catholic doctrine. I think, and this will certainly not be too far off, that you will be able to engrave on my tombstone these words of St. Paul: 'Tradidi quod et accepi - I have transmitted to you what I have received,' nothing else. I am just the postman bringing you a letter. I did not write the letter, the message, this Word of God. God Himself wrote it; Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave it to us. As for us, we just handed it down, through these dear priests here present and through all those who have chosen to resist this wave of apostasy in the Church, by keeping the Eternal Faith and giving it to the faithful. . . " Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, June 30, 1988
I am now continuing to answer objections that can be or have been brought up against my theses in installments 1-5, which exonerate Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishops Antonio de Castro Mayer, Richard Williamson, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Alfonso de Galarreta, and Bernard Fellay from the charges of excommunication and schism due to the illicit episcopal consecrations of June 30, 1988. In installments 6-9, I answered 24 possible objections. This is where I'm picking up now.
Objection 25: You traditionalists from the SSPX are hypocrites. Look at what your dearly-beloved Pope St. Pius X said in a speech in 1909: "Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her... But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)" [Pope St. Pius X (May 10, 1909)]. Is this not precisely what the SSPX has been doing, trying to evade the authority of the Pope and the other ecclesial superiors in the Vatican while always saying that they love the Church and fight for her?
Answer: This is surely a most favorite passage for Novus Ordos to quote against traditionalists, especially since it came from the great St. Pius X. Clearly, what we have here is the Neocatholics trying to fight us with our own weapons, but it really amounts to not much more than beating a person with his own arm. Of course, St. Pius X had in mind exactly those very people who are today running the Church: the modernists. He chastises them for their lip service to the Pope and the Magisterium while they are actually working to undermine the Church. It would be preposterous to suggest that once these very people he condemned are actually in charge of the Church, that we should then no longer seek to defend the Truth and appeal to perennial Church teaching and discipline in order to protect ourselves from their errors, their novelties, their spiritual danger and harm. The very hierarchy of the Newchurch is the one that "despise[es] the [previous] shepherds of the Church and even the Pope" by attempting "all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments…."
Let's face it: the modernists at Vatican II broke and circumvented their anti-modernist oath, which they all had to take as a requirement for ordination. Today's hierarchy thinks it is no longer bound to obey previous Church doctrines, as they are "outdated," "pre-Vatican II," or simply "belong to the past." They may not put it that way, but we can always see that when they appeal to the "development" of these doctrines that has supposedly occurred with or after Vatican II. Vatican II is now used, legitimately or not, as an excuse to ignore, contradict, or obfuscate perennial Church teaching. Does not John Paul II claim to be a devoted son of Mary? Does he not pretend to defend and love the Church and her teachings? Does not Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz claim to be orthodox? Does not Cardinal Hoyos claim to respect and love the Traditional Mass? Make no mistake about it: it is those very people that are now running the Church that St. Pius X talked about when he made his statements about those who only claim to fight for the Church when they are actually disobeying Church authority, doctrine, and discipline. Somehow, people nowadays think that being loyal to the Church only means being loyal to what's coming from the Vatican right now, as though they could safely disregard the warnings, admonitions, teachings, and condemnations of the previous 2,000 years, as long as the "current Vatican" pretends that they are no longer relevant, applicable, or in force. Case in point: the Vatican's de facto teaching that the Jews are in a saving covenant with God, and that they need not become Catholic to go to Heaven. If that doesn't contradict perennial Church teaching, then the word "contradict" has no meaning.
Through the horrendous decisions of John XXIII just before Vatican II, many of the heterodox "theologians" who have shaped the post-conciliar church were rehabilitated practically overnight. Take Fr. John Courtney Murrary, S.J., for example. In 1955, he was forbidden to propagate his heterodox theory of religious liberty. Ten years later this very heresy was "official Church teaching," as they like to call it.
I appeal to you, dear reader, to examine the fruits. Examine the fruits of the teachings of traditional Catholicism, and then compare those fruits to those of the Novus Ordo church---and you tell me which is the rotten tree. You tell me who is really loyal to the Pope (not just the current Pope but all Popes!) and who really loves the Church. In his speech of May 10, 1909, St. Pius X mentioned that if those heretics and dissenters he was rebuking indeed love and defend "the church," then we're no longer talking about the same church! And this is eminently clear now. There is no question that people like John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Arinze, Cardinal Kasper, George Weigel, etc., no longer have an accurate picture of the Church. For them, the "church" starts with Vatican II, for all practical purposes. They look at the Church through the irremovable prism of Vatican II, and what they see is not the Catholic Church but some sick mockery of the Holy Church. How accurate was the vision that the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich received of the "new church" that the modernists have been building?
"I saw many pastors cherishing dangerous ideas against the Church. . . . They built a large, singular, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, and all denominations, a true communion of the unholy with one shepherd and one flock. There was to be a Pope, a salaried Pope, without possessions. All was made ready, many things finished; but, in place of an altar, were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be, and it was for it that he had set fire to the old one; but God designed otherwise" (K. E. Schmoger, Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Vol. 2, pp. 352-53).
The Neocatholic objection to the traditionalist and especially SSPX position here by quoting St. Pius X is one more piece of evidence that they have fallen into the trap that the Masonic blueprint for the subversion of the Catholic Church, the Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita, has laid: "You wish to establish the reign of the chosen ones on the throne of the prostitute of Babylon, let the Clergy march under your standard, always believing that they are marching under the banner of the apostolic Keys" (please see John Vennari's lecture on the evidence of the Masonic infiltration of the Catholic Church). And so now since the pontificate of John XXIII, we have had the blind leading the blind! What is the result? They "both fall into the pit" (Matthew 15:14).
Objection 26: The truth is that the SSPX suspend obedience to the Pope to such a degree that, in reality, they do not acknowledge his superiority at all. Anything the pope says is questioned, meticulously dissected, and critiqued by the SSPX.
Unfortunately, the situation in the Church has reached such a horrendous state that it is indeed most prudent to dissect everything that comes from this Pope. I mean, let's put it bluntly: our Pope is a modernist. I believe he is also a Sillonist, a humanist, and an indifferentist. It would be the height of foolishness to simply take everything that comes out of Rome and accept it. We must be so stringent because we must take very good care of our souls, as the True Faith is the most precious pearl we have! It is a most lamentable pity that this is how we must proceed, but the state of the Church and the salvation of souls simply requires it. This has nothing to do with denying his authority or superiority.
Objection 27: As regards the SSPX's defense against the accusation of schism, Pope John Paul II warned Archbishop Lefebvre that the illicit consecration would be interpreted by him to be a schismatic act. In his letter to Archbishop Lefebvre dated June 9, 1988, the Pope wrote: "I exhort you, Reverend Brother, not to embark upon a course which, if persisted in, cannot but appear as a schismatic act whose inevitable theological and canonical consequences are known to you." Therefore, Lefebvre cannot say after the consecrations that the schismatic nature of his act is not in canon law, as the Supreme Legislator, the authentic interpreter of Canon Law, the Pope, made clear to him that his act would be considered schismatic. So there.
Answer: Please go back and read my answer to Objection 1, for it deals with what constitutes a schismatic act, and that is not arbitrary, which is what it would be if it depended merely on the Pope's say-so and nothing else. The truth is that a papal statement on whether something is schismatic is neither sufficient nor necessary in order to make it schismatic. So, even if John Paul II told Archbishop Lefebvre that he would consider his illicit consecration a schismatic act, that by itself doesn't make it schismatic. Yes, John Paul II is the authentic and ultimate interpreter of Canon Law, but interpreting existing canons is one thing; inventing new ones is another.
Now, of course the Pope can very well add new canons to the Code. But my main argument here is that the Pope cannot make something schismatic that is not inherently so, and besides, though the Pope mentioned this in a private letter to the Archbishop, this was not included in the canonical warning of June 17, 1988! In fact, as I said before, absolutely no mention of schism was made in the canonical warning of June 17! None whatsoever!! The only issue was excommunication.
Now, what is Archbishop Lefebvre expected to go by as far as the canonical issues are concerned if not the Vatican's very own canonical warning? For all we know, Archbishop Lefebvre could have thought that the Pope had withdrawn his caveat of schism since it was no longer mentioned in the canonical warning. It should be clear that as far as canonical weight is concerned, the canonical warning trumps the private letter.
But even aside from that, we can still argue that John Paul II was not clear enough in his letter. In fact, obfuscation, ambiguity, and vagueness are the hallmarks of John Paul II's writings, and so we should not be surprised that the Pope was not precise or clear in his June 17th letter to Archbishop Lefebvre, either. He said: "I exhort you, Reverend Brother, not to embark upon a course which, if persisted in, cannot but appear as a schismatic act whose inevitable theological and canonical consequences are known to you." Now, let's examine this closely: John Paul says that Lefebvre's looming illicit consecrations would "appear" schismatic. Why the vagueness? Are we to conclude that the Pope is trying to say it would merely "appear" schismatic, as opposed to actually be schismatic, perhaps? I can find no reason why the Pope would choose to write "cannot but appear schismatic" when he could have very well written "is schismatic" or "cannot but be schismatic." Besides, something that merely appears can appear in one way to one person and in another way to another person. So when the Pope says that Lefebvre's illicit consecrations will "appear" schismatic, we must ask: to whom? To the Pope? To the clergy? To the faithful? To the world? We are not told.
Of course, we know that upon the day of consecration, during his sermon, Archbishop Lefebvre made it crystal-clear that there was no spirit of schism involved:
"We are not schismatics! . . .There is no question of us separating ourselves from Rome, nor of putting ourselves under a foreign government, nor of establishing a sort of parallel church as the Bishops of Palmar de Troya have done in Spain. . . . It is out of the question for us to do such things. Far from us be this miserable thought to separate ourselves from Rome! On the contrary, it is in order to manifest our attachment to Rome that we are performing this ceremony. It is in order to manifest our attachment to the Eternal Rome, to the Pope, and to all those who have preceded these last Popes who, unfortunately since the Second Vatican Council, have thought it their duty to adhere to grievous errors which are demolishing the Church and the Catholic Priesthood. . . . Far be it from me to set myself up as pope! I am simply a bishop of the Catholic Church who is continuing to transmit Catholic doctrine. I think, and this will certainly not be too far off, that you will be able to engrave on my tombstone these words of St. Paul: "Tradidi quod et accepi - I have transmitted to you what I have received," nothing else. I am just the postman bringing you a letter. I did not write the letter, the message, this Word of God. God Himself wrote it; Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave it to us. As for us, we just handed it down, through these dear priests here present and through all those who have chosen to resist this wave of apostasy in the Church, by keeping the Eternal Faith and giving it to the faithful. . . . We have done all we could, trying to help Rome to understand that they had to come back to the attitudes of the holy Pius XII and of all his predecessors. Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself have gone to Rome, we have spoken, we have sent letters, several times to Rome. We have tried by these talks, by all these means, to succeed in making Rome understand that, since the Council and since aggiornamento, this change which has occurred in the Church is not Catholic, is not in conformity to the doctrine of all times. This ecumenism and all these errors, this collegiality - all this is contrary to the Faith of the Church, and is in the process of destroying the Church. This is why we are convinced that, by the act of these consecrations today, we are obeying the call of these Popes and as a consequence the call of God, since they represent Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church."
Dear readers, I ask you now: are these the words of a stubborn schismatic, someone who denies the authority of the Pope or wishes to separate himself from him?
As an aside, I wish to mention that if Pope John Paul II were truly worried about what might appear schismatic, he wouldn't kiss the Koran, hold hands with the Eastern Orthodox (who deny the primacy of the Pope and several dogmas), allow them to receive Catholic sacraments under certain conditions, or give credence to their false, damnable religion by acknowledging them as "sister churches." Nor would he clear a convent's rooms of Catholic items so that pagans can offer sacrifices to their demons and false deities.
In light of all that, his supposed concern about what would "appear schismatic" appears - pardon the pun! - without serious foundation.
This is it for the fifth Q&A installment. I will add one more, and then I will conclude the series. May Jesus Christ be blest.
Editor's Note: So many of the post-conciliar bishops today refer to those clinging to the true Roman Catholic traditions that were in vogue for 2000 years prior to the reforms of Vatican II as 'fossils,' 'dinosaurs,' 'old folks who will die off soon.' We beg to differ and offer as proof the youthful wisdom and enthusiasm of the younger generation in the Traditional Insights of Mario Derksen who exemplifies the thinking of many more young men and women today who realize the new thinking of the post-conciliar church does not add up to true Catholic teaching. Thus they long for those traditions so tried and true. His insight shows great promise, optimism and hope for the future of Holy Mother Church.
Note: [bold, brackets and italicized words used for emphasis]
For past columns by Mario Derksen, see Archives for www.DailyCatholic.org/2003mdi.htm
Summer Hiatus Issue
Time After Pentecost
volume 14, no. 32
Mario Derksen's TRADITIONAL INSIGHTS