to The Reverend Fathers in God
Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais,
Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta,
on 13 June 1988
On behalf of the Society of St. Pius X, I thank the four of you. When it comes down to it, Rome never answers the essential question. They demand of us a statement which would make us tilt ever so little in their direction, but on their side there is no calling in question of their basic liberalism and modernism. Yet I keep bringing up their modernism.
As I wrote to them on June 2, (1988) however courteous our conversations have been, they have persuaded us that the moment for an understanding has not yet come. We must, have some protection against the spirit of Assisi. They never tackle the basic problem, never! So all our efforts have gone for nothing. We have been at cross purposes in these conversations. On our side, we are expecting the return of Tradition to Rome. On their side, they do not budge.
The Holy Father answers me that in organizing these conversations he has been concerned for unity. Thus the May 5, (1988) protocol was to allow the Society to stay within the Church, in line with the twenty one ecumenical Councils, down to, and including, Vatican II. I still have to reply to this answer of the Holy Father, but the truth of the matter is that we should be demanding of them to pronounce the Anti-modernist Oath and to accept "Lamentabili" and "Quanta Cura." We should be questioning them on the Faith! But they will not reply. They merely persist in their errors.
Yesterday de Saventhem told me that I will be the one responsible for any break. But just look at seminarian Carlo's letter on the total failure of "Mater Ecclesiæ''. He writes, "I was wrong all down the line". Look also at his letter of entreaty to Cardinal Ratzinger. He wrote to the Cardinal several times. No reply! For two years Rome has made fun of these young men. They are being forced to toe the line. Whether it's Garrone, Innocenti or Ratzinger, it is always the same attitude towards ourselves.... In any fight between conservatives and the official Church, Rome always sides with the Conciliar bishop, and condemns Tradition.
De Saventhem (then President of the conservative, — though not Traditional, — organisation, "Una Voce") objects, 'But these are only minor details.' I reply that these details carry enormous weight. They mean to draw all we do over to the spirit of the Council. With the May 5 Protocol, we would soon have been dead. We would not have lasted a year. As of now we are unified, but with that Protocol we would have had to make contacts with them, there would have been division within the Society, everything would have been a cause of division. New vocations might have flowed our way because we were with Rome, but such vocations would have tolerated no disagreement with Rome — which means division. As it is, vocations sift themselves before they reach us.
On their side, Archbishop Decourtray is offering to one of our colleagues, Fr. Laffargue, a Traditional parish, on condition he quits the Society... They are pulling in our people, they are pulling us over to the Council... Whereas on our side, we are saving the Society and Tradition by carefully keeping our distance from them. We made an honest effort, to see if we could keep Tradition going within the official Church. It turned out to be impossible. They have not budged, except for the worse, for instance Msgr. Casaroli's visit to Moscow.
However, our people will go mad with joy to be given some bishops. Ninety percent of them will breathe a great sigh of relief!
Ah, yes, they object, but the May 5 Protocol offered us a bishop. We would never have got him. On television and radio the Bishop of Sion, our diocesan bishop here in Switzerland, said that the Vatican had refused all candidates we put forward. They would accept Dom Gerard, Fr. Pozzetto, Fr. Laffargue. But our own candidates they would have put off, put off, put off. As for de Saventhem, he argues just like one of them!
Your function will be to give the Sacraments, and to preach the Faith. You will be at the service of the Society. Rome only dealt with me because I had the Society behind me. It is a valid entity. Remain very united among yourselves, to lend strength to Tradition. It will be up to the Superior General to take the major decisions...
As for being bishops without the Pope's approval, that is not in itself schismatic. It only became schismatic from Pius XII onwards, with the Chinese problem.
In Rome they are most upset. De Saventhem gave me Cardinal Ratzinger's fax number. They have spiritual AIDS down there. They no longer have God's grace, their immune system has shut down. I do not think one can say that Rome has not lost the Faith. As for eventual sanctions, the unpleasantness grows less with time. The humble people will understand, it is the clergy who will react.
Witnesses to the Faith, martyrs, always had to choose between Faith and authority. We are re-living the trial of Joan of Arc, only with us it is not a disagreeable few months, it has been going on for 20 years!
Letter to Bishops elect
June 12, 1988
It's over! The talks between Rome and ourselves are over! The more one thinks about it, the more one realises their intentions are not good. Look at what happened to the traditional leaders, Dom Augustin, Fr. de Blignières, who went over to Rome and have been swallowed up. Rome wants everything to go Vatican II, while they leave us a little bit of Tradition.
De Saventhem (then President of the conservative [not Traditional] organisation, "Una Voce") tells me we could still come to an understanding. But I tell him the misunderstanding is not over little things. They are not changing their position. We cannot put ourselves in the hands of those people. We would be fooling ourselves! We do not mean to let ourselves be eaten up!
The traditional Benedictine Prior, Dom Gérard, tells me that an agreement with Rome would have opened up for us a huge field for the apostolate. Maybe, but in a world of ambiguity, facing in two directions at once, which would make us go rotten in the end. They insist: "But if you were with Rome, you would have more vocations." But vocations like that, if you breathed one word against Rome, would make life in our seminaries impossible! And if we "came to an agreement" with Rome on that basis, then the diocesan bishops would say "Then come along and join in the dioceses," and little by little tradition would be compromised.
All the traditional sisters and nuns in France are against an agreement. They tell me, "We do not want to be dependent on Cardinal Ratzinger. Imagine if he were to come and give us conferences! He would split us down the middle!"
As for the risk of some of our priests leaving us if bishops are consecrated, it will be no worse than in 1977, when a block of priests and seminarians walked out of Ecône all in one go. They have all now gone over to Rome or dispersed. It is time to take a second decision to face up to this Rome. What else can we do? And if they insist that it is worse this time round, because this time it could mean excommunication, well, I reply that the basic problem remains unchanged: Rome means to exterminate Tradition, while the sedevacantists have no love for us…
You four will be bishops for the Church, at the service of the Society of St. Pius X, as laid out in the Protocol of May 5. (1988) The Society has the standing to deal with Rome! Rome wants us to go Conciliar...! It will be the Superior General's job, when the time comes, to pick up the threads again with Rome.
Your function will be to give the sacraments of Holy Order and Confirmation and to KEEP THE FAITH, and to protect the flock... You will be an immense support for the Society. Let all four of you be of one mind, without too many personal initiatives, for instance when it comes to requests for ordination. Do not ordain men who are on their own, and if they form part of a community, take a good look at the community.
You will have to make the rounds once a year, Once every two years for Confirmations. As for ordinations, I am presently doing twenty-five to thirty ceremonies a year, but from 30 June (1988) onwards, I am not moving from Ecône! I will have done my work, by giving to the Society the structure it needs. And then, as I told the Pope, as soon as Tradition comes back to Rome, the problem will be over.
As for an eventual excommunication, it will mean nothing, because they are not looking out for the wellbeing of the Church. However, excommunicating us will be a nuisance for them. They are trying to get to me by fair means or foul, through de Saventhem, a Czech bishop, and so on and so on. They even wanted to send Mother Theresa of Calcutta. But there is no point in such meetings. It has all been talked out long ago.
Let anyone just read the letter of the former seminarian of Ecône, Carlo, who went over to Rome to set up a conservative organisation there, called "Mater Ecclesiæ," who tried to corrupt our seminarians by getting them to leave us, but whose eyes have since been opened wide by the trickery of Rome. In that letter he admits that Rome treats them like outcasts, that they are forced to take off the cassock, that nobody receives them. He has found out what this Rome is like. Rome wants to turn the Society into another "Mater Ecclesiæ." And when the first "Mater Ecclesiæ" collapsed, Cardinal Ratzinger rejoiced.
So why should they keep their word to us? We were protected by God when He allowed the agreement of May 5 to come to naught."