February 1, 2001
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
As many of you know, official contacts have been renewed between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X in the last few months. In theory we should all be re-assured by this proof that the Society is not after all a non-entity in Rome’s eyes, as Rome has since 1988 been pretending. In practice, all kinds of rumours are flying around, and many Catholics who love their Faith are anxious. What is going on?
Now on the one hand, nobody reasonable will expect somebody in my position to tell everything I know. On the other hand, the interests of the Society are the interests of every Catholic, so in this sense every Catholic has a stake in the Society, and in this sense it is reasonable to tell every interested Catholic as much as may help him both to understand the issues involved and to take his part in the defence of Mother Church, wherever Our Lord has placed him on the battlefield. Here then is less a blow-by-blow account of recent contacts than an overview of all such encounters, their framework, their parameters. For it is less important to know exactly what is happening than to know why whatever happens does happen. Similarly, none of us at this point in time knows exactly what will come of the recent contacts but all of us need to know how to react if this or that does come from them.
Firstly, let us be very clear that the initiative for these latest contacts came from Rome. It was Rome that opened up these latest contacts last summer with the Society, and not the Society that opened them up with Rome. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos opened the fire with a letter to each of the society’s four bishops, beginning “My dear Brother”, and declaring that the Pope’s arms were wide open to embrace us ( I almost wept with emotion on reading this – but not quite! ).
Secondly, it was inevitable that Rome would re-open the contacts with the Society, not because the Society is the Society or has nice blue eyes or whatever, but because by the grace of God and by a measure of human co-operation with His grace, the Society happens to have guarded the Deposit of the Faith around which Our Lord’s Church officials, if they themselves lose it, must hover like moths around a flame. Therefore if the Society loses the Deposit – humanly, more than possible – and if Rome continues to reject that Deposit, then tomorrow Rome will be hovering around whatever other flame God will have subsequently lit to take the entrapped Society’s place.
Thirdly, so long as any organization like the Society has the Truth while Rome has not, then the Society is in the driving seat for all Catholic purposes, and any behaviour, shape, size or form of negotiations which would allow this Rome to get back into the driving-seat would be tantamount to a betrayal of the Truth. Of course from the moment when Rome returned to the truth, Rome would be back in the driving-seat, because that is how Our Lord built his Church: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Mt XVI, 16). However, when Peter has for a prolonged period of time, as now, demonstrated in word but above all in action that he has to a significant extent – albeit not entirely – lost the Truth, then however much the organisation in the Society’s position may even supernaturally long to scuttle back under the skirts of Rome, the burden of proof lies with those who say the moment for negotiations has come, and not with those who say it has not come. To enter into negotiations at the end of such a period without that proof would, again, amount to virtual betrayal of the Truth.
This is because, fourthly, Roman Church officials are masters of negotiating, of dealing, of manoeuvring, of out-manoeuvring their opponents. They have top-class brains, state-of-the-art networks of informants and information, and 2,000 years of experience in out-witting whoever happens to be facing them. When all these assets are used truly in the service of Our Lord, the results are magnificent. But when they are used, as today, in the service of Vatican II, then automatically the Society is in peril if it tries to cut a deal with these Romans. Our Lord said to his disciples, “I send you out as sheep amongst wolves”, but that is no excuse for putting oneself in the wolf’s throat, outside of extreme necessity. True, the Romans may always convert, but, again, given a track-record such as the Vatican’s over the last 40 years, then the burden of proof lies with those who claim they have converted, and not with those who assume, by the Romans’ fruits, that they are still wolves and foxes and sharks!
However, fifthly, Rome still being, by Our Lord’s design, the command-centre of the Catholic Church, it follows that if an organisation like the Society can, by negotiating, wring important concessions from the “sharks”, then those concessions may benefit the Universal Church, and this is the best-case scenario which must tempt an organisation in the Society’s position. But if the “sharks” remain sharks, in the service, for instance, of Vatican II, how can they possibly put into honest practice the concessions? And if in exchange they have succeeded in putting a leash and/or muzzle upon the Society which was until then free to serve God as best it understood, what will such a Society have gained in exchange for the freedom to serve God which it will have lost?
Moreover, sixthly, even if negotiations, for all kinds of reasons such as above, come to nothing, then the simple fact of having entered into negotiations will have played for Rome and against the organisation in the Society’s position. This is because any Catholic organisation resisting Rome in crisis suffers from the unavoidable internal tension between staying close to Mother Rome and keeping away from her neo-modernist leprosy. So members of the Society will stretch all the way from those for, to those against, any negotiation. Let Rome but make an offer calculated to please the ones as much as it displeases the others, and the Society will be stretched to breaking point. Rome will at least have divided, if not conquered.
In 1921 the Irish rebels had fought the British Empire to a standstill. Cleverly, the British stopped fighting and offered a Peace Treaty which split the Irish down the middle. The immediate result was that in 1922, instead of fighting the British, the Irish began fighting one another! Now the British were cunning rulers of a great Empire at the time, but compared with these Church officials of Rome, the Brits were mere beginners!
All of which means, seventhly, that any organisation in the Society’s position stands a good chance of falling into a Roman trap. At best, it obtains unsure concessions in exchange for a sure loss of freedom; at worst it obtains nothing at all and is divided into the bargain. Wise after the event, we might say that the Society’s best course in the circumstances would be not to talk with Rome at all, but that is for Catholics easier said than done.
However, eighthly and finally, “The Truth is mighty and will prevail”. What is unique about the Catholic Church amongst all organisations of men on earth is that it rises with the Truth and falls with untruth. Neo-modernist Rome has fallen with the untruths of Vatican II. The Society of St. Pius X has, at least until 2001, risen by being faithful to the Truth of Catholic Tradition. As soon as Rome comes back to the Truth – as it will – Rome will rise again, to the joy of us all. Equally, if the Society turns unfaithful to Tradition, it will inevitably and deservedly fall. But “fear not, little flock”, as Our Lord told us, “your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things” (Lk XII, 32; Mt VI, 32). Souls seeking God will never be left without the means of finding Him. That is because God created the whole world only for souls to come to Him. And that is why, as Our Lord on Palm Sunday told the Pharisees who were angry at his disciples crying out Hosanna to the Son of David, if all human beings were to stop crying out the Truth, the very stones of the street would rise up to proclaim it (Lk XIX, 40).
This Rome may then – worst-case scenario – succeed in reducing the Society of St. Pius X to paralysis and silence, but if it did, that would only be a just judgment of God, and the Truth would be upheld elsewhere. What does the Society presently deserve? Time will tell.
Personally I think that in the United States, in France, in fact all over the world, most Society priests are quietly working at ground level to sanctify and to save souls, that such real and humble work is blessed by God, and so I think most Society priests – and the laity who are with them – will be protected by God from falling in with Roman corruption. However, even if I am right this time round, there will certainly be a next attack on the Society from the Devil or from his Rome, and since these days are such that if they were not shortened, even the elect would not be saved, then I do not know if the Society will survive in its present form all the way until that shortening of these evil days.
But it does not matter whether it will or not, whether I know it or not. I do not have to worry today about the problems of tomorrow – “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof” (Mt VI, 34). Let me be the best Catholic that I can, day by day, and the rest I can leave in God’s hands. The rest is His problem!
Dear readers, spring is not far off when one can look around and say with the poet:
“The world is so full of such wonderful things,
Why can’t we all be just as happy as kings?”
Nobody will be able to do away with God, however hard they try. So let us by all means pray for the Society of St. Pius X, because things will be that much easier if it does hold up. But at the same time let us be prepared, if it goes the way of all flesh, not to be stricken with panic. “God alone suffices” – St. Teresa of Avila.
May He love you and bless you.
+ Richard Williamson