July 2003 - Superior General's Letter #64
A non-catholic way of thinking has been the norm in the Church since Vatican II. This non-catholic way of thinking is the source of the destruction of all that is traditional. This new way of thinking has destroyed the religious and the priestly life. The Pope's encyclical on the Eucharist and Cardinal Castrillon`s Celebration of the Tridentine Mass are not a return to Tradition but rather a mixture of truth and error. Rome desires that we accept truth mixed with error as a condition of our “regularization”.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
A catholic way of thinking is incompatible with a non-catholic way of thinking
When commenting on an incident that took place during Vatican II with respect to collegiality, Bishop Henrici declared that it “at least clearly demonstrated the opposition between two different traditions in theological doctrine, which were not, deep down, mutually compatible.”1 This brief sentence is not a passing comment of little importance. In its very brevity, it describes the great tragedy that has overcome the Church for the past forty years. A merciless combat has been engaged between two opposing ideas, two ideas that are mutually exclusive. At stake is nothing less than the direction in which the Church is going.
Fifteen years after the Council, Pope Paul VI expressed more or less the same thought to his friend, Jean Guitton. “There is, at the present time, a great disorder in the Church, and it is the Faith that is at stake. When I consider the Catholic world, what frightens me is that it seems that a non-Catholic way of thinking seems to be becoming prevalent within Catholicism itself, and that it could even happen that this non-Catholic way of thinking could take over in the future, although it will never represent the mind of the Church. A small flock must continue to exist, as small as it might be”.2 Beforehand, the Pope had wondered if we were in the last times.
In his Declaration of November 21, 1974, expressing his unshakable adherence to eternal Rome and his equally determined rejection of modernist Rome, Archbishop Lefebvre did not speak any differently.
We cannot help but be struck by the agreement in the analysis of the three persons quoted above, and especially from the fact that these three analyses come from widely disparate points of view. All three see the existence of an extraordinary rivalry between two ways of thinking, two world visions that are incompatible, but which yet exist in the bosom of the Catholic Church. One of these is nothing other than traditional Catholic teaching, which the Church has always and everywhere taught: the Catholic Faith along with all its practical consequences. The other is a modern way of thinking, denounced by Saint Pius X as evolutionary and agnostic, and which has transformed itself from the threat that it constituted at the beginning of the 20th century to a truly gangrenous wound, corrupting the entire life of the Church, during the second half of this same 20th century. At the time of the Council this non-Catholic way of thinking effectively triumphed. Since then, it has paralysed the Faith and the supernatural life, by so many reforms imposed upon the Church in the name of the Second Vatican Council.
Since Vatican II, this non-catholic way of thinking has guided all reforms
There is in every system of thought, a logical coherence. Every system of thought tends towards a concrete realization, towards an action. So it is in the nature of things with this ensemble of changes that are called post-conciliar reforms. Reflecting the spirit of Vatican II, they have provoked the disaster, from which the Church has suffered since the Council. This way of thinking is in itself foreign to the Church. Through whatever cracks, the smoke of Satan has penetrated into the temple of God. Adorned with an ecclesiastical exterior, it plans on making itself accepted as the Catholic rule. If we have been condemned, it is because of our opposition to this new system. Catholic Tradition as we embrace it, has been rejected from the Church’s life, or at least pushed aside and disparaged as henceforth out of date.
This new way of thinking destroys both the religious and priestly life
Let us consider, for example, in order to become more aware of this, the gravity of the changes imposed upon the religious life. For the religious life is that so precious flower of the way of the counsels that expresses to ordinary faithful and men of the world the complete separation from the world which is the path of Christian perfection. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt. 16:24) Let him sell his goods… It is not just the physical separation from the world, object of the evangelical counsels, that has been in large part lost in the desire to reform the religious life and to adapt it to today’s world. It is above all and more profoundly the rejection of the world that the Church demands of us when we make our baptismal promises, along with all the requirements of baptism that are necessary for salvation. This loss can be seen in innumerable details of the life of religious congregations, as for example in the suppression of the religious habit.
The same must be said of the priestly life. This way of thinking, so foreign to the Church, and which has pushed its way into her midst, has profoundly destabilized an element which is even more profound and necessary to the life of the Mystical Body: the priesthood. The loss of the notion of sacrifice in reparation for sins, the loss of the sense of sacrifice and even the rejection of the cross are to be found in a surprising number of priests, intimately linked as they are with the new way of thinking that has been engendered by the New Mass, the Novus Ordo Missae. The same applies to all the reforms. Everything is bound together, and with frightening internal consistency. Indeed we must say it and repeat it, the overturning of the Church’s life imposed since the Council is the fruit of the eruption in its midst of a way of thinking that is contrary to and destructive of what is specifically Catholic.
The greatest tragedy in this whole situation comes from the fact that this non-Catholic way of thinking has been assumed by the Church’s authority figures and imposed in the name of obedience. This has, alas, made its diffusion all the more efficacious and prevented a normal reaction of rejection of such a deadly poison throughout the Mystical Body.
Rome's anti-traditional line
When we consider the different events that have taken place over recent months, it seems to me important to recall the tragic plot that weaves itself through our history. In effect, our criterion of judgment by which we analyze events in the Church and the world must necessarily include this fundamental truth: we can only consider as valuable, determining and truly good those events that influence this whole series of events in a positive way. Simply put, we will believe that Rome truly reaches out towards Tradition if and when it, in one way or another, changes and corrects the general anti-traditional line that continues to infect the Church.
Is the new encyclical on the Holy Eucharist traditional?
Has the new encyclical on the Holy Eucharist had this influence? Despite appearances to the contrary, despite the very welcome reminders from the Council of Trent, despite the denunciation of many abuses, all things that are good in themselves and that we rejoice to see, the underlying way of thinking and all the circumstances that surround the encyclical oblige us to reply, unfortunately, in the negative. The Mass to which the Encyclical refers is, from beginning to end, indeed the New Mass, the Mass reformed in the name of Vatican II. This says everything. This means that there is a desire to make some cosmetic and superficial modifications, but not the radical change that is so absolutely necessary for a “return to Tradition”. Nowhere is there even a partial questioning of the liturgical reforms, even if it is admitted that there have been errors, abuses, etc. This encyclical does not plan to go backwards. It simply intends to present in a manner which is not so bad the new teaching on the Holy Eucharist. They might be ready to change the jam, but they are certainly not ready to change the moldy slice of bread upon which it is spread. This is so serious that the rest of it remains indigestible and dangerous for health.
Cardinal Hoyos celebrates Tridentine Mass on May 24th
Can the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos on May 24 in Saint Mary Major’s Basilica, which we are happy to hear about, be seen as a sign of such a return? Could it be interpreted as a feeble expression of a firm will to change the disastrous course of events? Alas, by lack of conviction, by fear of opposition from the progressive wing, this noble gesture will remain a one time act, and is not the happy announcing of the freedom of the Mass that has been so long awaited by the traditional faithful. Indeed, the assistant priest at this Mass, he who had the honour of accompanying the Cardinal at the altar, was refused that very morning of May 24 the right to celebrate the Tridentine Mass at Saint Peter’s, and this despite the fact that he had an Ecclesia Dei celebret. This fact is eloquent in itself.
Mixture of truth and error
There is, consequently, in these events, an incompatible mixture of the old and the new, at least to our way of seeing things, in the light of Tradition. However, the modern mind, which pretends to go beyond the principle of non-contradiction, does not understand it in the same way as we do. It accepts contradictions, but on one condition only, namely that the old way cease to reject contradictions and that it cease to stand for exclusivity.
The contradictory character of the modern Church is to be found in a striking manner in this encyclical when it treats of the question of the admission of non-Catholics to Holy Communion. The distinction between a (non-Catholic) group, to whom Holy Communion must be refused, since they are outside of ecclesial communion, and an (non-Catholic) individual, to whom Communion can be administered so long as he believes in the Holy Eucharist, is unacceptable. For, both Faith and ecclesial communion are independent from the question of belonging to a group.
Theology teaches that the denial of a single truth of Faith suffices to remove the entire Faith (cf. Pius XII, Dogma of the Assumption). Consequently, it cannot be said of the non-Catholic who rejects certain dogmas that he objectively has “Faith in the Holy Eucharist”, and that this condition would be sufficient to receive Communion.
Our relations with Rome and the principle of non-contradiction
We come up against the same problem in our relations with Rome. If Rome desires to receive us, and even invites us, it is in this new broad and pluralistic perspective that accepts that contradictory points of view can coexist (for it does not accept that there is such a thing as a contradiction). This is not a question of divergent acceptable positions that make up the richness of the Church in its diversity. It is rather a question of a non-Catholic way of thinking that wants to make itself accepted at any price by everyone and for everyone.
The Catholic Faith, to the contrary, is exclusive, as is all truth. It cannot grant any rights to contrary ideas, even if exterior circumstances sometimes demand tolerance, in view of the common good.
The Catholic spirit which flows from this Faith is also exclusive, and it is incompatible with the spirit of the world, even if in the life of numerous faithful we can see the incoherence of the mixture of Catholic and worldly elements.
Rome's aim is to impose the Council and its New Mass
We are aware that our explanation is a little schematic. When we speak of modern Rome or today’s Rome, we must add that it is not modernist in an entirely rigid and invariable manner, nor do we deny that even at Rome there are a certain number of prelates who would like to stand up against this catastrophe. But so far, everything indicates that the direction remains that of the post-conciliar Reforms, in the name of the untouchable Council. It is still, implicitly and explicitly, the Council and the New Mass that Rome plans to impose upon us as a present-day and general rule of Catholic life. This is the foreign way of thinking of which we spoke above, and which they desire still and always to force us to accept. Rome has made it the condition sine qua non of our regularization. There remains for us, then, to continue our hunger strike with respect to these novelties, until such time as Rome finally agrees to give us -and to the entire Mystical Body -the nourishing bread of Catholic Tradition for which we have been begging during this already very long night. However, we will never tire of knocking. It is Our Lord Himself who taught us this. It is He who has the words of Everlasting Life. We believe in His Omnipotence, we believe in His promises.
May Our Lady, Mother of the Church, who is so great and motherly in her protection, deign to guide us along the paths of patience and fidelity and “cum prole pia” bless us abundantly.
† Bernard Fellay
On the feast of the Precious Blood
July 1, 2003
1 Peter Henrici, “La maturation du Concile”, Communio, November 1990. p. 85 et sq.
2 Jean Guitton, Paul VI secret
3 “With her divine Son”