January 6, 1996
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
A rich diet of Catholic doctrine, analysis and information concerning the Second Vatican Council was provided here at a Society of St. Pius X house in Italy to the ninety-odd participants in the second Theological Congress of "Si si, no no", from January 2 to 5.
Sixteen speakers in turn addressed 55 seminarians and priests, including three bishops, and a few dozen laity in Albano Laziale, about half an hour by train or car south-east of Rome, on the theme "The problems posed for the Catholic conscience by the last Council." Seminary letters are a somewhat cramped medium in which to present the breadth and depth of the case for the prosecution against Vatican II, such as it was laid out by the sixteen high-level conferences. However, the main ideas will not fail to interest and benefit readers.
The tone was set for the Congress by the first conference, entitled "Tradition against the Council", and given by Msgr. Spadafora, a venerable Italian scripture scholar who has been in the front line of the battle for truth in the Church since the 1950's. Enjoying free access to the floor of the Council when it took place from 1962 to 1965, he had first hand knowledge of what happened there. He said that the "inert mass" of 2,350 bishops were dominated by "a dynamic minority" who turned the Council into a "complete disappointment." They were cunning neo-modernists, worse than Luther. Outwardly pious, inwardly heretics, they succeeded in getting the heresy which they had launched in Scripture studies taken over by the teaching authority of the Church, from where it was transmitted to the Church as a whole. Pope Paul VI had no real understanding of Catholic theology and the Pontifical Biblical Commission, as it now operates, is a fraud. Msgr. Spadafora's testimony was as eloquent as it was humble and direct.
Another general view of the Council was taken by the following speaker, Fr. Alain Lorans, Rector of the Society's university faculty in Paris, who undertook with not a little French irony to analyze the famous "Spirit of the Council", summed up by Pope John XXIII himself as "Aggiornamento", an Italian word meaning "up-dating". Essentially, said Fr. Lorans, this meant a shift from objective doctrine of the faith to subjective living or existential living of the faith, in other words a shift from Church teaching to man - the question is no longer what I must believe to be true, but what it suits me in my own life to accept as true. But, concluded Fr. Lorans, supernatural truth is too true to suit man's fallen nature. God's love makes demands upon us which we may not find at all suitable.
Another famous word frequently used to characterize Vatican II, that of being the "pastoral" Council, was studied by the third speaker, Bishop Licinio Rangel, successor of Bishop de Castro Mayer as the head of the Traditional Catholics in the Diocese of Campos, Brazil. Bishop Rangel began by pointing out that very few of the previous 20 ecumenical Church councils were purely disciplinary, most were preoccupied with doctrine, but as such they were all pastoral in the true sense because what the true Catholic pastor feeds his flock with is doctrine. Therefore the word "pastoral" is falsely opposed to doctrinal, and what it in fact meant, when applied to Vatican II, was a turning or conversion to the modern world. Yet suddenly this non-doctrinal or non-dogmatic Council was made into the super-dogmatic Council which Catholics must obey absolutely above all other Councils! The bishop concluded that Vatican II was in many respects a failure, which a Cardinal Ratzinger tries in vain to disguise.
The next two conferences dealt with the run-up to the Council. Fr. Michel Simoulin, Rector of the Society's main Seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, gave an overview of the replies made just before the Council by the world's 2,812 bishops and prelates to the official request by Rome that they make known their desires and wishes for the coming Council Extraordinary! These replies showed few revolution desires, and no desire for such a Church revolution as would actually take place at the Council. Thus one critic dismissed the replies as too orthodox, wishing merely "to prepare another Council of Trent"!
Similarly Fr. Phillippe Lovey, Superior of the Society's Swiss District, showed how the documents or schemata prepared beforehand for the Council to discuss and approve were all thrown out because of their orthodoxy, except for the schema on the liturgy, retained because of its relatively revolutionary character. The "inert mass" of orthodox bishops allowed the "dynamic minority" of neo-modernists to wrench the Council off its orthodox course within two days of its opening!
The next two conferences tackled the actual thinking of the Council. First of four high quality conferences by Italian lay university professors was Professor Pasqualacci's presentation of an analysis by Fr. Johannes Dörmann of the thinking of Cardinal Wojtyla, future Pope John-Paul II and a leading re at the Council. Readers of this letter already have a familiarity with the Cardinal's system of errors as elucidated from his writings by Fr. Dörmann: Vatican II was a new Pentecost, "enriching" the Catholic Faith with insights "complement" Tradition, such as the union of God with every human nature; the natural possession by every man of sanctifying grace, whether he knows it or not; the automatic salvation of all men whether they want it or not, independently of repentance, faith, baptism or charity; and so, naturally, the extension of the Newchurch to include all mankind.
It may be objected that such wildly anti-Catholic ideas belong to Cardinal Wojtyla and not to the Council, but the fact remains that that is what he as one leading participant and fervent believer in the Council took it to be saying. It may also be objected that if that is what Karol Wojtyla continues to think, then he cannot be Pope, but the fact surely is that especially in our super-confused times, one man can hold in his head quite opposite notions. Were the Dörmann - Pasqualucci system of errors all that this Pope believed, his being pope might present a more serious problem, but surely he believes besides still much that is Catholic, and is convinced that the contradictory mixture, or Newfaith, is the true Catholic Faith for today! Such are at least the fruits of Vatican II. Heaven help us!
By comparison, the following conference of Fr. Franz Schmidberger, former Superior General of the Society and now its First Assistant, was plain sailing. His subject was "Protestants and the Council." He gave a clear account of the Protestant system of errors flowing from an exaggeration of the ruination of human nature by original sin. He showed the presence and influence at the Council not only of Protestants officially invited to observe, but also of leading Catholics infected by Protestant ideas. Of particular interest was his presentation of Cardinal Bea, deeply Catholic in his personal piety, at any rate as shown by his retreat notes recently published, and yet a vigorous liberal in his campaigning for everything revolutionary at the Council!
Men are contradictory! For the Church to swing from pre-Conciliar Catholicism to post Conciliar apostasy, there had to be a transition, and surely that transition was incarnated in certain men. Between day and night there is dusk, when one cannot say there is no light. Between an apple ripe and an apple rotten, there is an apple half-rotten, of which one cannot say that the half not yet rotten is rotten, even if it soon will be. When a Catholic turns heretic, there must be a more or less long process, full of contradictions, and of which God alone can have the complete measure. The Church could adequately defend herself against such confusion by means of the Inquisition, but in our time firstly the name and then the thing were gutted. It changed its name to "Holy Office" and then "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", a sign accompanying its change from iron guard of the Church to a paper tiger!
Fr. Schmidberger ended his conference with a swift overview of the Protestant influence on the course of the Council and its final documents, and drew the conclusion that the Christendom split by Luther between truth and error was re-united by the Council Fathers - not in truth, but in error!
The last conference of the first half of the Congress was given by the second Italian layman to speak, Professor Dalledonne on "The undermining of Thomism at the Council." With clarity he sketched out the essential irreconcilability between thomism on the one hand, meaning the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas based on being and adopted by the Catholic Church for nearly 700 years down to Vatican II as her own system of thinking, and on the other hand immanentist humanism, the system of thinking of the neo-modernists of Vatican II whereby not objective being but the subjective interior of man is the measure of reality.
With traces of passion the Professor denounced the various ways in which the neo-modernists, in a phrase of Italy's national poet, Dante, "refuse to consent to the contradiction" between their subjective systems and objective thomism, pretending that St Thomas can be absorbed into their Newthink. Imagine a deal-maker between one man saying two and two are four and another saying they are five, who would propose a reconciliation - whereby two and two would be four and a half! Such mental insanity is everywhere today, it lies at the heart of Vatican II pretending to mix Catholicism with Newthink, and Professor Dalledonne was wholly justified in edging his denunciation with passion. Who on earth would drive cars or walk over bridges built on the idea that two and two are four and a half? Newthink is deadly!
On Thursday January 4 began in effect the second half of the Theological Congress, to which only a second letter can do justice. Suffice it to say for the moment that participants in the Congress left well contented.
Meanwhile January remains the month of the Holy Family, which explains the two enclosures. On brown paper as usual is some reader reaction, a letter written by two teenagers to console the dinosaur who complained one year ago in this letter of being somewhat lonely in his pre-historic attempts to take up the slack in defense of old-fashioned ideas of woman and family. In truth, he is not that lonely. He knows of many girls and women in the United States courageously back-tracking in a Catholic direction. He says Our Lord will reward them
On pink paper is a Pope, Leo XIII, defending family towards the end of the last century by defending Christian marriage, which is the supernatural bond necessary to hold together the natural family. For instance, "Let married couples turn to religion for strength to carry their crosses", he says, in paragraph 50 numbered according to the recent edition of Leonine Encyclicals, published by Tan books out of Rockford, Illinois, and highly recommended. Leo knew ourworld,100 years ago!
Finally, the Seminary may lose the farmer and his family, presently looking after the Seminary's 140-acre farm. The advantage is proximity to the Mass. The main disadvantages are lack of any Catholic school for children, and the reluctance of a Seminary to socialize! Let anyone interested get in touch with the Rector.
With all good wishes and blessing for the New Year, most sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Richard Williamson
Letter to Friends and Benefactors