August 3, 1995
August 3, 1995
From four weeks in Europe I returned to the United States ten days ago with impressions of foreboding and re-assurance curiously entangled. It may be interesting to disentangle them.
Firstly, the foreboding. Europe is under sentence of death. One need not be Catholic to see that. For instance, two brave and serious young Americans saw it and said it back in the 1920's, neither of them Catholic: T.S. Eliot and Whittaker Chambers. Catholics saw it and said it much further back, from the time Freemasonry took root in the 18th century to replace Christian civilization with a dream of life free from nature and free from God. The Catholics warned of darkness descending. On schedule, it has descended.
For example, I was for a few days in Spain in the little village in the north, San Sebastian de Garabandal, where one may think that the rugged virtue of the peasants and their simple way of life in the mountains thirty years ago helped draw down the Mother of God in their midst at the time of the Second Vatican Council for an extraordinary series of apparitions to warn the world and the Church in which direction they were heading. Howsoever that be, certainly in the 30 intervening years television and the pay-check have put paid to that old way of life. As people living in the village told me, the villagers are - interestingly - loath to give up any of the objects "kissed by the Mother of God" those years ago, but otherwise they do not talk about those events long past, and they have given themselves over to the modern ways. If the village streets were once criss-crossed by the Mother of God, now at any rate they resound to the joyful strains of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If the village was the scene of apocalyptic apparitions from 1961 to 1965, now at any rate these have slipped into unreality, their message has been gutted, and except for a few oldsters the true Faith is in the village a thing of the past.Apostasy, even in the Spanish mountains, even where the Mother of God appeared maybe 2,000 times! But of course she had said there, "Many cardinals, bishops and priests are on the road to perdition, and are taking many souls with them'", and the Church authorities repaid her by suppressing her! But God is not mocked. One must fear a frightful chastisement.
Secondly however, re-assurance. Besides Spain, I was in Switzerland for the ordaining of 15 new priests at Ecône in bright sunshine before a crowd of thousands. Young, courageous, well-trained, these young priests take off in mid-August for the four corners of the earth, with Missal and Ritual for sling-shot and with the five priest-administered sacraments for pebbles - a handful of Davids to take on a Goliath of modernity! What a gift of God! What an achievement of Archbishop Lefebvre, to be continuing smoothly after him!
Also I was in England, launching-pad of freemasonry and motherland of liberalism, whose capital city is still corrupting the world with its Babylonian money and materialism, yet in this London there is still enough Faith for a medium-sized Society Church to be filled twice each Sunday for Mass with Catholics who put God far enough in front of country not to mind, even to enjoy, England being lashed by a visiting preacher for her blindness from 400 years of nationalized heresy. Such Catholics could re-make Merrie Englande!
Then I was also in Belgium to visit the Traditional Carmel in Quiévrain where a few older Carmelites (including a natural sister of Archbishop Lefebvre, Mother Marie-Christiane) have been joined by a dozen generous young women who turned their backs on everything the modern world had to offer them, and have now for several years given themselves over to the rigour and renunciation of the strict Carmelite life. For modern girls that passage from world to Carmel must be especially difficult, but there they are, and same 50 more in several other locations (including Spokane, WA) offer their lives and prayers to God for all of us. Those in Belgium listened patiently to a Retreat which was not all sweetness and sunshine. Let us pray for them in return. They deserve well of us.
Finally I was in the south of France to lend the solemnity of a Pontifical Mass to the celebration by the teaching Dominican Sisters in Fanjeaux of the 20th anniversary of their young Congregation. Those 20 years are another epic story of Providence leading and youthful generosity following. The Sisters now number 119, their schools are forming nearly a thousand girls to become truly Catholic women, including some 140 in Idaho here in the U.S.A., and they are still as radiant as sun-flowers! Many thanks, dear friends and benefactors, for all your recent help to them. Their school goes ahead.
But thirdly, the foreboding returns,despite such encouraging signs of vitality of Tradition in these several countries. Why? Because the world is naughty, and I cannot help wondering if these dear young priests and nuns know just how naughty it is; if, in brief, they know what they are doing. For indeed even the servants of Our Lord are, whether they like it or not, part of the society that surrounds them ("I have sent them into the world ... I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world," says Our Lord to his Father – (Jn. XVII, 18, 15), and today's society is insidiously undermining people's sense
Of course the young shock-troops of Tradition, priests or nuns, do not accept the great lie of man's independence from God, or man's being God, which is the foundation-stone of the great fantasy of modern life, whereby man is the measure of all things and may do as he likes, there being no objective reality nor objective truth nor moral law, but only the present day to eat, drink and enjoy, for tomorrow we are all saved. However, when the minds of nearly all men around me are slipping their anchor in reality, when even what would normally be the minds of good and serious men are launching out on the dreamy waters of everything being allowed with no unpleasant consequences, when there seems to be no longer anything or anybody to administer a reality check or rebuke or warning, is it not difficult to remain untainted by the folly?
Take for instance the present enormous bubble on Wall Street. The American stock exchange has been going up and up, especially in the last few years, with no foundation in reality: the US government owes a huge and unpayable debt of soon five trillion dollars, US heavy industry is being dismantled, the dollar is sinking, the people have no savings and their mentality - "me, the people"-renders their government incapable of taking any serious action. The system is not working. There must be a huge crash, but it is being delayed and delayed, perhaps because, as a friend in France surmises, the criminals leading the dance are now even themselves afraid of losing control, so everybody is conspiring to keep the party going on and on. In any case, reality is kept at bay, and the facts of life are hidden from the best of men.
Another example: a Californian radio newscaster matter-of-factly announces news of research to discover hormonal treatments for men to enable them to produce breast-milk! The horror here is not only the declaration of independence from the biological structure of men and women, but the taking for granted of the assault upon that structure (Might the friends of slacks at last see the wisdom of taking a stand on dresses?).
Now the Wall Street bubble and male milk may seem fantasies too gross to deceive or even to interest the young servants of Our Lord, but beware! Did not these fantasies follow on, were they not made possible by, the most senior and respectable Catholic churchmen, "cardinals, bishops, and priests", being tricked onto "the road of perdition", almost to a man, in the 1960's? Are not now numberless Catholics (from the Pope downwards) buying into a brand-new religion (whereby all men are saved — fantastic!), while remaining convinced they are Catholics? Are not the churchmen and churchwomen in fact prime targets for the devil to draw into fantasy-land, and has not his "operation of error" intensified since the 1960's, with fewer and fewer people to recognize it or call it by its name? The world is going completely mad, and the madness is more and more normal.
That is why I am afraid for the brave young shock-troops of Tradition, priests or nuns. Of course their youth is an ailment they get over day by day - each Dominican Sister was one year older, wiser and stronger than last year, and the Society of St. Pius X now has a phalanx of priests in their 30's or 40's with 10 to 20 years of priestly experience. Nevertheless, never having known the relative normalcy of even the 1950's, how can these comparative youngsters have the measure of what they are up against? May they not be tempted to ignore how naughty a world they live in, and be deceived accordingly?
But then, fourthly and lastly, several considerations arise to give re-assurance. Above all, the young priests and nuns may be blissfully unaware of the depth and breadth of iniquity around them, but so long as they guard the ancient and unchanged Catholic Faith, they have the means of rising above any storm of wickedness let loose beneath them. Their Faith is their victory over the world. Contrast how the mass of poor materialists will react when their material goods, the only goods they know, are stripped away! Already the frustration and despair are coiled up inside! The young priests and nuns will need to be angels of mercy!
Then there is a God, He is in control,the devil cannot lift a finger to tempt anyone without His permission, He will not abandon anyone who has not first abandoned Him (St. Augustine), and He will not allow anyone to be tempted above their strength (St. Paul). Let the young servants of Our Lord be faithful and continue fervent in His service, and He will lead them safely through fields of land-mines, to the perplexity and fury of their enemies!
Then again God can use the very ignorance of His own servants. Outside of Our Lord himself, which of them ever had a total vision of his own situation? How many might have given up out of discouragement if they had seen what they were up against? Thearchitect of the Second Spring of Catholicism in 19th century England for one, St. Dominic Barberi. Archbishop Lefebvre always sought for older priests to help him with building the Society of St. Pius X, but with a few noble exceptions only the ignorant youngsters would take the heat!
Dear readers, take heart, you are in good hands. As the preacher at Ecône said on June 29, the Society of St. Pius X offers Our Lord a handsome collection of nobodies, but that is what he can work with! "Watch and pray." "Have confidence, I have overcome the world." "Pray without ceasing." "He that perseveres to the end will be saved."
With all good wishes and prayers for your courage and perseverance,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Richard Williamson