APRIL 2003
Easter Time
volume 14, no. 23

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Objections and Replies

Part Three:


Rome is burning and still the Pope refuses to recognize the fires of destruction

    Part Eight of the Series:

    The Illicit Episcopal Consecrations of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

       "...the very fact that the Pope does not think there is a problem in the Church today, contributes to that state of necessity and makes it more acute, as pointed out before. Imagine that almost your entire hometown is on fire. Would you think that's a state of emergency? Yes, of course. Now imagine further that your mayor does not think there is a problem; he simply turns a blind eye to the fires, and no firemen are allowed to come into the city. Would you not agree that this behavior on the part of your mayor makes the state of necessity even worse? Of course you would! It would make it much worse! And what else could you possibly do but try to bring in firemen on your own, even against the prohibition of the mayor!"

   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 Marcel 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 and 7, I answered 7 possible objections. This is where I'm picking up now.

    Objection 8: There was no reason for Lefebvre to worry about the future of the True Mass. John Paul II is a friend of the traditional Mass; he has said that he respects the rightful aspirations of those who are attached to it, and he has made it more widely available than any Pope since John XXIII.

Answer: First, practically the only Pope between John XXIII and John Paul II was Paul VI. John Paul I's reign was too short to be able to say much about it. So it is really misleading to say that John Paul II has made the traditional Mass "more widely available than any Pope since John XXIII." He simply made it more widely available than Paul VI. Secondly, though the Pope granted an "indult" in 1984, it was practically without consequence, and the indult of 1988 did not take place until after Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated the four bishops without the Pope's permission. Thirdly, I pointed out in Installment 6 that the "indult" is a compromise, a trap, a trick, and an insult, really. Accepting the indult means accepting that the traditional Mass was forbidden, which, per immemorial custom, is impossible. Fourthly, it is simply not true that Pope John Paul II is a friend of the traditional Mass. In his little-known apostolic letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, which was published after the 1988 indult was granted, and which is not available on the Vatican web site in English but only in Italian, the Pope writes:

    "Ne sono risultati atteggiamenti diversi ed anche opposti nei confronti della riforma: alcuni hanno accolto i nuovi libri con una certa indifferenza o senza cercar di capire n é di far capire i motivi dei cambiamenti; altri, purtroppo, si sono ripiegati in maniera unilaterale ed esclusiva sulle forme liturgiche precedenti intese da alcuni di essi come unica garanzia di sicurezza nella fede." [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_04121988_vicesimus-quintus-annus_it.html]

   My fellow-columnist, the reknowned Atila Sinka Guimarães, kindly translated this into English for us:

    "There are different and even opposite approaches that resulted from the reform [of the Mass]: some people received the new books either with a certain indifference or without understanding the reasons for the changes or to make others understand them. Others, unfortunately, returned, in a unilateral and exclusivist way, to the former liturgical forms, which they considered to be the only guarantee of security for the Faith." (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, sec. IV a; December 4, 1988; emphasis added).

   There you have it. The Pope deplores the traditionalist movement. He does not want it to grow. He does not want it at all. He considers it a mistake to want to return to the True Mass, and it is certainly not his objective to foster the traditionalist movement. Why, then, the indult? The only possible answer I can think of is that it's supposed to be a temporary "grace period" for those who still can't quite put up with the New Mass, and who need a little "extra time." The indult is not meant to be permanent-as soon as enough of these "rigid, unwieldy traditionalists" have "died off," then they will scrap the indult, and whoever will not get with the new program will then finally be "excommunicated," thrown out, denounced as a schismatic. Come on, we can all read between the lines here!

   And this is why the SSPX bishops, prudent as they are, refused to fall into the "Campos trap," and we thank God for that. Campos thinks it has finally reached the long-desired goal, full acknowledgement by Rome and the traditional Faith and Mass. But they have apparently still not understood how things work in Rome. The New Religion of the New Vatican and the traditional Faith or the traditional Mass do not go together. And Rome will not tolerate the Old Faith. Before long, Campos will have to fully walk in line with the New Religion or face charges of dissent, insubordination, schism, excommunication. I know of no single indult community that has not yet had to compromise. And it will be no different for Campos. The SSPX bishops warned Campos, but they would not listen. In my personal estimation, the death of John Paul II will herald the death of the indult. They may wait with Campos until Bishop Rifan grows old and wants a new bishop, before they will confront them with the choice of either the New Religion or Excommunication. And then it will be 1988 all over again, so to speak.

   In the quoted passage from the apostolic letter, John Paul II implicitly argues that the New Mass is a "guarantee of security for the Faith." I am at a loss for words at such a ludicrous claim.

    Objection 9:: You sometimes say that Archbishop Lefebvre acted without papal mandate when consecrating those four bishops. However, he not only acted without but against papal mandate.

Answer: Absolutely, yes. He acted against papal mandate, because the Pope had told him explicitly not to ordain those four bishops. But I am not aware that there is a canonical difference between acting without and against papal mandate. Against papal mandate implies without it, and, to my knowledge, there is no canonical difference between the two.

    Objection 10: But how can you possibly justify going against a direct papal command? Are you not denying the Pope's authority to command then?

Answer: No, there is no denial of his authority to command. But when my father tells me to sin or do something that harms the family, himself, or myself, then I must disobey. By disobeying, I do not deny that he is my father with the legitimate right to command. Look at what some prominent Catholic theologians have said on the matter of resisting the Pope when necessity requires it:

       "Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff who aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist one who aggresses the souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, one who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed. It is not licit, however, to judge, punish, or depose him, since these are acts proper to a superior." (St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, doctor of the Church; De Romano Pontifice, 2,29)

       "If [the Pope] gives an order contrary to good customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something openly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be licit to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defense" (Fr. Francisco Suarez).

       "A Pope must be resisted who publicly destroys the Church. 'What should be done when the Pope, because of his bad customs, destroys the Church? What should be done if the Pope wanted, without reason, to abrogate Positive Law?' His answer is: 'He would certainly sin; he should neither be permitted to act in such fashion nor should he be obeyed in what was evil; but he should be resisted with a courteous reprehension. Consequently, . . . if he wanted to destroy the Church or the like, he should not be permitted to act in that fashion, but one would be obliged to resist him. The reason for this is that he does not have the power to destroy. Therefore, if there is evidence that he is doing so, it is licit to resist him. The result of all this is that if the Pope destroys the Church by his orders and actions, he can be resisted and the execution of his mandates prevented'" (Fr. Francisco de Vitoria, O.P.).

   Resistance is not merely allowed, it is obligatory in the case of a Pope who destroys the Church. But who can deny that John Paul II has caused grave harm to the Church? Let's remember that destruction of the True Faith, the Sacraments, and, consequently, destruction of souls, is infinitely worse than the destruction of the body. Christ our Lord Himself warned of those who could not only kill the body, but the soul.

    Objection 11: The Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts said: "As far as the state of necessity in which Mons. Lefebvre thought to find himself, one must keep before one that such a state must be verified objectively, and there is never a necessity to ordain Bishops contrary to the will of the Roman Pontiff, Head of the College of Bishops. This would, in fact, imply the possibility of 'serving' the church by means of an attempt against its unity in an area connected with the very foundations of this unity."

Answer: That's simply not true. The PCILT simply made this up. I already dealt with the objection that there's never a need to consecrate contrary to the will of the Pope, in my Answer to Objection 7, installment 7. The statement that a state of emergency must be "verified objectively" runs against the very Code of Canon Law that the PCILT claims to be interpreting. Here's the relevant canon again: "The perpetrator of a violation is not exempted from penalty, but the penalty prescribed in the law or precept must be diminished, or a penance substituted in its place, if the offence was committed by: one who erroneously, but culpably, thought that some one of the circumstances existed which are mentioned in Can. 1323, nn. 4 or 5" (Can. 1324 §1°8; emphases added). As a reminder, Can. 1323, nn. 4 and 5 say: "No one is liable to a penalty who, when violating a law or precept acted under the compulsion of grave fear, even if only relative, or by reason of necessity or grave inconvenience, unless, however, the act is intrinsically evil or tends to be harmful to souls; [or] acted, within the limits of due moderation, in lawful self-defence or defence of another against an unjust aggressor." So there you have it. Even if we give Archbishop Lefebvre no benefit of the doubt, these quoted canons show that the state of necessity does not have to be verified objectively.

   But of course, aside from all this, the state of necessity can be verified objectively-by anyone who knows the True Catholic Faith and has eyes to see. Now, if, of course, the PCILT means that "verified objectively" means "verified by the Pope," then that's a different issue. But the very fact that the Pope does not think there is a problem in the Church today, contributes to that state of necessity and makes it more acute, as pointed out before. Imagine that almost your entire hometown is on fire. Would you think that's a state of emergency? Yes, of course. Now imagine further that your mayor does not think there is a problem; he simply turns a blind eye to the fires, and no firemen are allowed to come into the city. Would you not agree that this behavior on the part of your mayor makes the state of necessity even worse? Of course you would! It would make it much worse! And what else could you possibly do but try to bring in firemen on your own, even against the prohibition of the mayor!

   Finally, the PCILT's claim that consecrating against papal mandate would "imply the possibility of 'serving' the church by means of an attempt against its unity in an area connected with the very foundations of this unity" is fallacious, as it already presumes schism on the part of Lefebvre instead of arguing for or proving it. The PCILT here is simply assuming that consecrating against papal mandate is a schismatic offense, which is not the case by either the old or the new Code of Canon Law, and is certainly allowable in the case of an evil Pope or one who is mentally deranged. Hence, it cannot be intrinsically wrong and the PCILT cannot assume it.

   To be continued in the next installment.

Mario Derksen

    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



APRIL 2003
Easter Time
volume 14, no. 23
Mario Derksen's young and refreshing TRADITIONAL INSIGHTS
www.DailyCatholic.org

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