March 1, 1996
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Our Lord Jesus Christ is God, his one and only Catholic Church is infallible - how then can the normal teaching authority of that Church, the Catholic bishops in their dioceses spread throughout the world, go wrong in the Faith, and if they do, how must the Catholic people react? That was the major question for our times tackled by Fr. Philippe Marcille, Society of St. Pius X priest stationed in France, when the second half of the Society's Congress opened in Albano, Italy, two months ago, to continue the study of problems posed for the Catholic conscience by the Second Vatican Council: how can a Catholic in the name of the Faith resist the authority instituted by Our Lord for the defense of the Faith?
For indeed in 1870 the wholly Catholic First Vatican Council taught that infallibility belongs not only to the Pope teaching solemnly "ex cathedra", but also to the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, i.e. to the Catholic bishops teaching in their dioceses throughout the world. However, ever since the mass of Catholic bishops either taught or tolerated heresy in the Arian crisis of the fourth century, it has been obvious that diocesan bishops cannot be followed blindly, even if they are in union with the Pope, because at that time Pope Liberius also faltered.
Fr. Marcille explained that God's protection of His Church cannot allow such crises involving the bulk of the bishops and the Pope to go on for too long, otherwise the Church would be destroyed, which is impossible. But the question remains, what must Catholics do in such a crisis? Fr. Marcille replied that what the scattered bishops teach infallibly is to be recognized by its oneness, precisely because scattered bishops will normally teach scattered things, so only under divine guidance will scattered bishops teach one thing, especially in different ages.
If then Catholics notice the bulk of diocesan bishops even in union with Rome to be changing the Faith, as in the Arian crisis, then they must keep to what was taught "always, everywhere, and by everybody", because that teaching is locked into the past and can no longer be tampered with. Then Catholics must resort to any Catholic bishop clearly keeping that Faith for all further aid they need, up to and including the consecration of bishops necessary to ensure the continuance of faithful priests, if religion's very survival is threatened, if the local bishop is powerless, and if there is no hope of help from Rome. Fr. Marcille quoted several examples from Church history.
The question of the teaching authority of the bishops in general was followed by that of Vatican II in particular, upon which the judgment of Fr. Pierre Marie, editor of the French Traditional Dominicans' quarterly magazine, "Le Sel de la Terre", was quite severe. Proceeding in logical order, he examined first whether the Council documents come under the Church's extraordinary or ordinary infallibility — not under extraordinary infallibility, he argued, because both Pope John XXIII and Paul VI explicitly said the Council was making no definitive declarations; nor under ordinary infallibility, both because (see above) the Church's bishops were no longer scattered at Vatican II, but gathered together in such a group as to expose them to group pressures which could and did falsify their judgments; and because the bishops of Vatican II presented none of their doctrines as requiring definitively to be believed.
Nor, Fr. Pierre Marie went on to argue, are these doctrines even part of the Church's authentic (i.e. ordinary, non-universal) teaching, because the bishops expressed no intention to hand down the Deposit of the Faith, on the contrary their spokesmen (e.g. Paul VI) expressed their intention to come to terms with the modern world and its values, long condemned by true Catholic churchmen as being intrinsically uncatholic. Therefore, concluded Fr. Pierre Marie, the documents of Vatican TI have only a Conciliar authority, the authority of that Council, but no Catholic authority at all, and no Catholic need take seriously anything Vatican II said, unless it was already Church doctrine beforehand.
The next three conferences dealt with influences upon the Council coming from France, the United States and Germany. Firstly, Fr. Benoit de Joma, Society District Superior of France, presented the thinking on the Church of Fr. Yves Congar, the French Dominican priest, made Cardinal by John-Paul II, who had an enormous influence on Vatican II. As far back as the 1930's Congar was working out the distinction between the Church as visible hierarchical institution confined to baptized "Catholics", and the Church as an invisible mystic reaching out to include all mankind.
Now in truth, Christ did tell his Apostles to go to all nations, but they were not to go to them without teaching them his doctrine and giving them his sacraments, starting with baptism (Mt. XXVIII,18-20) - that is true ecumenism. But the ecumenism of Vatican II, following Congar, suggests that God works through all "churches" to save men, that men have supernatural grace by their mere nature, that merely by being a human being one belongs to the true Superchurch of the cosmic Christ, now emerging in a New Advent, announced by Congar like a new John the Baptist, and in which the God of the Universe (-- who is he? --) will be revealed. Heaven help us!
Next the influence of the United States upon the Council was presented by your servant. This conference may soon be appearing in the Angelus so there is no need to go into detail here. The conference showed firstly how religious liberty is the key ingredient in the “spirit of America”; secondly, how this world-conquering spirit clashed with the Catholic Church in the last century; thirdly, how that spirit finally conquered the bulk of the Catholic churchmen at Vatican II when they approved of the Declaration on Religious Liberty; lastly, how the spirit of that document and of the Newchurch are in perfect harmony with the Masonic spirit of America. Heaven save the United States and Mother Church from Freemasonry!
The influence of German theologians upon the Council, especially that of Fr. Karl Rahner, was presented by a Swiss priest stationed in Germany, Fr. Niklaus Pflluger, Rector of the Society's Seminary at Zaitzkofen in Bavaria. Like Congar, Rahner wished to overcome the division between grace and nature: grace, he held, is built into man's nature, so all men are saved, non-Christians are all anonymous Christians (i.e. saved by Christ, but unaware of it), and non-Christian religions are all means of salvation. So the Catholic Church must get together with them by ecumenism.
Under Pope Pius XII, said Fr. Pfluger, according to a familiar pattern, these grave errors were disapproved of and held in check, but as the Council dawned, so Rahner's moment came. Appointed theological expert to the Council by Pope John XXIII himself, he was of all "experts" the best prepared and the most often quoted. At the Council's first three sessions, 1962,1963, 1964, Fr. Rahner personally exercised enormous influence upon the Council Fathers and among its theologians. When for instance a classical text on the sources of Revelation was proposed for discussion on the Council floor, it was Rahner who prepared an alternative "ecumenical" text, following which, in the decisive week of Nov. 14 to 21, 1962, the Council Fathers swung leftwards once and for all. Even experts disagreeing with Rahner had to admire his increasing prestige, while the progressives would drop everything "to listen to the genius of a master".
Yet by the fourth session in 1965, Rahner was no longer so active in the Council. "The Council is boring", he wrote in a letter in October of that year. No doubt he had done his work. The Church had been changed.
With Thursday's final conference by the Italian layman, Dr. Carlo Agnoli, the Congress was reaching to the heart of the evil influences on Vatican II: "Freemasonry and the Council". From 1738 to 1958 the Catholics Popes steadily and repeatedly condemned Freemasonry as the central source of the particular evils of the modern world. With ample references and documentation Dr. Agnoli proved that the common source of the novelties and errors of Vatican II was Freemasonry, whose main tool was Pope John XXIII. He concluded with several arguments (amounting in the case of Freemasonry, he said, to proofs) that Pope John XXIII was himself an initiated Freemason. There is not space enough in this letter to do justice to the importance of this conference, so we pass to the two conferences of the final day of the congress.
Professor Romano Amerio, Italian lay author of a masterly account of modern errors, "Iota Unum" (“one jot or one title shall not pass of the law" -- Mt. V,18), spoke on "The dislocated teaching function of the Church after Vatican II". He explained how, following on the Council, the bishops and even the Pope, have abdicated the function entrusted to them by God of laying out the one unchanging, supernatural Doctrine of Jesus Christ, and are instead giving their personal views. By thus falling in with the modern world, John-Paul II is dissolving his papal authority which holds the Church together through proclaiming that Christianity is not just the fulfilment of all men's religious feelings, but the revealed word of God.
In place of this one Divine Word, we are given today a multiplicity of theologians' opinions, contradicting one another, resting on no stronger authority than their own human thinking. Thus the mind is broken up, and love, love, love takes over. But in the beginning was the Word, not love, because Love (God the Holy Ghost) proceeds from the Word (God the Son), because there can be no love of something not first known by some word. Without the Truth, minds rot; and rotten minds follow rotten hearts. Holy Father, tell us Christ's Truth!
The sixteenth and last conference of the Congress was given by the Society's Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, on the speeches made by Archbishop Lefebvre on the floor of the Council. Surveying the series of these speeches (published by the Angelus Press in book form as "I Accuse the Council"), Bishop Fellay noted how the Archbishop's style changed as the Council wore on: if at the beginning he used diplomatic phrases smoothly rounded like the head of his crazier, by the end he was attacking and defending vigorously with its pointed tip!
The Archbishop spoke at the Council mainly on Communism, on collegiality, on the Church in the world, but most often on Religious Liberty where he must have sensed the worst error of the Council. The Archbishop's warnings are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago, said Bishop Fellay, because everything he said was based on Catholic Tradition.
To conclude the whole Congress Bishop Fellay quoted words spoken by the Archbishop concerning the Constitution "Gaudium et Spes", but which the Bishop re-applied to Vatican II as a whole: “This so-called pastoral Council is neither pastoral nor catholic: it does not feed men or Christians with the evangelic and apostolic Truth, nor has the Church ever spoken in this way. This is a voice we cannot listen to, because it is not the voice of the Bride of Christ, nor is it the voice of the Spirit of Christ. The voice of Christ, our Shepherd, we know. This voice we do not know. The skin is sheep-skin, but the voice is not the shepherd's, perhaps it is the wolf's."
Dear Friends and Benefactors, continue to pray quietly and steadily with an unshakable trust in God. Vatican II will eventually be washed out of the Church's system, and the Catholic Church will emerge again mare brilliant than ever. For this holy intention amongst others let us offer our lenten penances.
Most sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Richard Williamson
Letter to Friends and Benefactors