We are releasing this statement of Fr Brendan King (originally given as a sermon) with his permission –
INTRODUCTION AND STATUS QUESTIONS
I would like to speak to you today about a very important matter which concerns us all. This matter is the question of what direction the Society is to take in the future. Do we have to follow the same path that we have followed since the Society was founded by the Archbishop in 1970, or is Providence guiding us now in a different direction ? Should the Society and Catholic Tradition maintain the same course given by its founder, or must we now change our position to make us more acceptable to the modern world and to the post conciliar and liberalized church? May I remind you of the stance and position of the Society since its inception which always was to take the middle course between sedevacantism on the right and liberalism and modernism on the left. This was always the prudent and wise choice of our holy founder, to avoid these two erroneous extremes. I believe and so do many others, clergy and laity, that for several years the Society leadership has been moving away from this prudent and safe middle course, to take a new direction towards some kind of rapprochement or reconciliation with modernist Rome. When did this new direction begin and what were the circumstances that favoured it ? I would say its origin and cause was the very successful pilgrimage to Rome in the Holy Year of 2000.
BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
Let us now go back in time to the year of the consecrations, 1988. On June 30th of that year, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four Bishops for tradition and was punished for this heroic act by a most unjust excommunication. This act the Society has always considered to be invalid. The Archbishop replied in his defence, “ excommunicated by whom and from what.” The following twelve years were like a cold war between the Society and the modernist Roman authorities. The Archbishop was called to his eternal reward in 1991 and Rome was hoping and expecting the Society to fall apart in the years that followed. In fact, the opposite happened as the Society by the grace of God developed and expanded throughout the world and the fruits of Tradition were rich and abundant. The Roman authorities recognized this and the remarkable progress and expansion of tradition was in sharp contrast to the parlous state of the post conciliar church, victim of the poisoned fruits of Vatican II. The observation of Paul VI that the smoke of Satan had entered the church and that the church was destroying itself, was becoming more and more of a reality as the years progressed. The church was experiencing the greatest crisis in its history and the blind apostles of liberalism and modernism occupying Rome were calling it progress and renewal. This is surely what Sister Lucy described as the diabolical disorientation in the church and the most profound crisis of faith that was leading the church into apostacy. Against this background of disintegration, the Society and Tradition was flourishing simply because it was being faithful to tradition and THAT MIDDLE COURSE which was safe and secure.
This was more or less the state of affairs when in the year 2000 the Society organized a very successful pilgrimage to Rome in the August of that year. It was so successful that the Roman authorities began to take a deeper interest in the work of Tradition and new contacts were established. The Romans could clearly see that the Society was a serious and flourishing organisition and they appeared to be well disposed towards us.
It is important to remember at this juncture that the Archbishop always looked to Rome as the centre of unity and took great pains to avoid the accusation of schism by maintaining contact with the Roman authorities. He was also very much aware that he was dealing with liberals and modernists who would use catholic terminology in a different sense. For this reason he would maintain a healthy detachment, keeping a safe distance from the modernist contagion, but always with respect for the office.
Following the success of this pilgrimage, friendly contacts continued through the final years of Pope John Paul’s pontificate who was succeeded by Joseph Ratzinger in 2005 as Pope Benedict XVI. This Pope began to take a great personal interest in the ‘problem’ of Tradition and the Society and began to work energetically towards granting the Society a proper canonical status in the church. Modernist Rome was becoming even more friendly and sympathetic towards the Society. Bishop Fellay petitioned Rome to grant full freedom for the Tridentine Rite of Mass and to lift or withdraw the excommunication of the four Bishops. For the Society this was necessary to establish genuine goodwill on the part of Rome towards Tradition and to foster an atmosphere of confidence and trust amongst the Priests and Laity. Rome acceded to this request as Pope Benedict published Summum Pontificorum and lifted the excommunications in January 2009. A major obstacle was now removed and the process of drawing closer to Rome was gaining momentum. Many in the Society remained unconvinced of Rome’s genuine goodwill given their obstinate attachment to the erroneous teachings and false principles of Vatican II. Still the momentum continued despite the high level theological discussions which took place during this time between Society and Roman theologians. These talks, which Rome has never published, only served to further demonstrate how far from the Catholic Truth modernist Rome has fallen.
The situation was now developing rapidly to the point that Rome was now offering a concrete practical agreement in early June 2012 and it seems clear that Bishop Fellay was ready to sign it. It appears that the Society would have been granted a Personal Prelature rather like the status of Opus Dei, but the local Bishops would have to give their approval/permission for our apostolate in their dioceses. This was clearly going to be a major problem. At the last minute, inexplicably, Cardinal Muller insisted that the Society accept Vatican II and the New Mass. Bishop Fellay refused the agreement and the talks collapsed. Or so we thought !
You will remember that Bishop Fellay visited us in June 2013 and gave a conference in Liverpool explaining his actions and strategy in dealing with modernist Rome. He told all the Priests of the District in Preston that he engaged in this long and drawn out process of negotiation with the Roman authorities because he wanted to find out what they really thought. He kept repeating that it was never a question of a purely practical agreement, but if that was the case then what kind of agreement was it that he was on the point of signing ? (We must bear in mind that the 2006 General Chapter had decided that there would be no practical agreement with Rome, without Rome’s clear and unequivocal return to Catholic Tradition). He told me privately that he felt it was his duty to engage the Society in these talks and negotiations. That is quite reasonable of course, but didn’t we already have the overwhelming evidence of what the Roman authorities thought and believed and this was emphatically demonstrated anew through these recent talks and their inevitable collapse. The Romans always want us to accept the New Mass and Vatican II – it always was like that in the time of Archbishop Lefebvre and it is even more so today under this revolutionary Pontificate of Francis ! Why then we ask, are the negotiations ongoing and they clearly are? The impression we had after the agreement collapsed was that we would withdraw now from these close contacts as the intention of the Romans had become crystal clear. However, contacts were maintained and this was confirmed recently by Archbishop Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission.
Just to go back to June 2012. I was at Econe for my Priestly Jubilee and the atmosphere was tense to say the least. I wanted to speak to Fr. Nely who as the second assistant is one of Bishop Fellays close advisors. He agreed to receive me and I expressed my concerns about a purely practical agreement with Rome without their genuine conversion to Tradition. I then put to him the question: was it no longer possible for the Society to hold to the position laid out by the Archbishop, which is this MIDDLE COURSE ? He did not answer the question directly but said that a whole generation of Catholics are growing up not knowing what it is to be in a normal relationship with Rome. That is not normal he said and if we don’t do something about our Canonical situation then we will become schismatic or sedevacantist. It was a very interesting revelation of what thinking lay behind this new strategy of negotiation with Rome on the part of Menzingen. It said it all in fact. The problem was not with modernist Rome but with the Society which was in an abnormal situation. Who and what had caused the abnormal situation in the first place if not the Council and the modernist conciliar Popes ? Did not the Archbishop often say (I heard it repeated with my own ears) “I have no personal views in matters of religion.” He used to say that in the years following the Council he found himself in an increasingly isolated position until he was finally alone. He hadn’t moved or changed at all but the church after the Council had abandoned him and rejected two thousand years of tradition to embrace modernist doctrines condemned by the Church. We all rallied to him because we all felt abandoned and betrayed too and we recognized in his voice and his actions the voice of Him Who is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
Will there be a signed agreement ? Many argue that nothing has been signed so there is nothing to worry about. This is to miss the whole point as the facts all reveal that there is a tacit agreement already in place. If the marriage has not yet been consummated, the spouses are engaged and betrothed. Many have observed the lack of critical language coming from Menzingen with regard to the scandals and abuses in the Conciliar Church in the last few years and particularly during the present Pontificate. Silence for the most part and when there is a response, at best it is weak and half hearted. Perhaps there will never be a signed agreement, deemed unnecessary because the Society is already well on the way to becoming another Society of St. Peter and is to a certain extent, already under the control of the modernist authorities.
Let me give you a perfect example, which brings us up to the present day and clearly demonstrates to what extent the Society has changed and has come under the influence of modernist Rome. On the 19th March, the feast of St. Joseph, Bishop Williamson consecrated Michel Faure a Bishop in a Benedictine monastery in Brazil. Father Faure was ordained in 1977 at Econe by Archbishop Lefebvre and was chosen by the Archbishop as his personal choice to be consecrated with the three other candidates at Econe on 30th June 1988. Father Faure informed the Archbishop that Alphonso de Galaretta would be a more worthy choice and so it was the latter who was consecrated and not Father Faure. Had Father Faure remained silent, he would have been a Bishop of the Society for the past 27 years. It was therefore a wise choice and surely a necessary act in order to ensure the continuation of the Priesthood, the Sacraments, the Apostolic Succession and for the salvation of souls. Menzingen issued a statement the following day saying that the Society denounced the consecration; “ The Society of St Pius X denounces this episcopal consecration of Father Faure, which despite the assertion of both clerics concerned, is not at all comparable to the consecrations of 1988. ” The one thing that is necessary above all else for the life of the Church is the Priesthood and without Bishops there can be no Priests and the Faith will be destroyed. How can the Society denounce this action as the crisis in the Church is immeasurably worse than it was in 1988 ! I as a Priest of the Society do not denounce it but on the contrary, I applaud it as a most necessary and heroic act. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this denunciation is that the authors no longer think that the crisis is very serious and that they have now a new found confidence and trust in modernist Rome to provide Catholic Bishops for the future. Objectively considered, this consecration was a positive good for the church of the highest order and I personally cannot understand any reason for denouncing it. If one does, logically one denounces the consecrations of 1988 also. As long as the crisis of Faith continues, such consecrations must be necessary and performed to continue the life of the true Church of Christ. Bishop Fellay and Menzingen have denounced the very act necessary for the survival of the Church ! Such an act is a most necessary part of operation survival and close cooperation and entente with conciliar and modernist Rome is operation suicide.
STATEMENT OF POSITION
We are not against a return to a normal juridical status in the Church for Catholic Tradition, but the circumstances and timing have to be right.
In our opinion we think close co-operation with the post conciliar authorities at the present time would be harmful and even destructive for the goal that we are working towards which is the full restoration in the Church of Catholic tradition and the establishment of the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the aim and objective of our founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and that of all the modern Popes up to the time of Vatican II.
Rome has always been the centre of Catholic unity and the Papacy the guardian of orthodoxy for two thousand years. Tragically, Catholic Rome and the successors of Peter have for the past forty years succumbed to the powerful influences of liberal protestantism and modernism leading to the weakening of the faith of millions of souls and drawing the Church of Christ towards apostacy. As a consequence of this, devout Catholics have been obliged to withdraw their obedience and allegiance from the post-conciliar authorities in order to preserve their faith and Catholic way of life. We must obey God and the authority of Catholic Tradition, rather than the false modernist shepherds of contemporary Rome. This situation and choice has been forced on traditional Catholics by modernist Rome because Vatican II is the cause of the crisis.
We do not accept that Rome is now more sympathetic towards Tradition and is more favourably disposed towards the Society. Rather and on the contrary, there are so many instances of a very aggressive attitude towards any group or individual turning to tradition coming under ecclesiastical censure. It is beyond dispute that Rome is now more modernist and liberal than during the Pontificate of John Paul II, so rather than seek a rapprochement with Rome, we need to maintain our position of prudent but respectful detachment.
Surely, our firm and constant adherence to the perennial magisterium of the Church is the best witness we can give to modernist Rome. We have no right to imperil the hard earned fruits of forty years of combat for the Faith simply because the Roman authorities are nice and approachable and tell us we can trust them. We have far too much to lose and in our opinion such a rapprochement would be an enormous gamble. We must not and cannot squander the glorious legacy and heritage of Archbishop Lefebvre.