Against the Rebellious 'resistance'
A Response to the “Sermon” by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer, May 27, 2012
By Mr. Wayne Nichols
It is with acute aversion to circumstances that I find myself obliged to refute certain accusations against the Society of St. Pius X and against its Superior General, Mgr. Bernard Fellay. During the last few weeks, we have been inundated on the internet with “sermons” by various Society priests who seem to have nothing better to do than find fault with their superiors, in particular with Bishop Fellay. I have heard or read some of these. I have also spent more than a week transcribing the “sermon” of Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer, lately of the Asian District, on May 27, which was Pentecost Sunday. I will here take Father Pfeiffer’s “sermon” point by point because I believe it to be typical of what is being said by all of these priests, and so that an answer made to him is sufficient for an answer to all.
1. First of all, the tone of this “sermon” is inappropriate in the extreme. It is not really a sermon, but a denunciation and a harangue. It is bombastic, overly theatrical, interminable, and reminiscent of the preaching style of one renegade Augustinian friar, by name Martin Luther. It is certainly not the manner of preaching inculcated in Catholic seminaries, and definitely not in the seminaries of the Society. One wonders just where Father Pfeiffer learned to “preach” in this fashion. Once we strip away from this theater all its puffery, there is precious little logic that remains.
2. I proceed to the “sermon.” Father Pfeiffer begins: “There have been announcements about the great miracle that is supposed to happen today...the miracle of the reunification, the miracle of the regularization of the Society of St. Pius X.”
Really? By whom? No one reputable has made such an announcement. But then, there are miracles and miracles. There are first class miracles that we expect during a process of canonization. Such events are rare and verified by stringent tests. There are also moral miracles that occur much more frequently and are verified by logical argument. Now the manner in which Father P. proceeds to denigrate the Rosary Crusade victories is totally unacceptable. The whole tone here is all too similar to TIA and the campaign of Guimaraes to sew discord and rebellion in our priests and faithful. It is also all too similar to the tone of sedevacantists who pull down to their level what they cannot reach up to understand. No one has ever even hinted at there being anything resembling a “reunification,” since we are already united with Rome in Tradition. We shall see presently about regularization.
3. Father P. next quotes from the letters of the three bishops and of Bp. Fellay, and concludes the second quote by saying “Those were the words of Bp. Fellay on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic…and the SSPX ship is in danger of sinking.”
I pass over the attitude shown in making this kind of comparison.
4. Father P: “…you’ve been prepared for this day by miracles and miracles and miracles…but Our Lord said in Matthew Chapter 24, ‘There will be many signs and wonders in the last days to deceive, if possible, even the elect.’”
This is a deliberate abuse of a quote from the Bible which has always been interpreted by the Church as a warning on the time of the Antichrist. So here Father Pfeiffer is comparing the Rosary Crusade results with the “miracles” of Antichrist. This is an enormous insult not only to the Society and Bishop Fellay, but more importantly to the Holy Rosary and to Our Lady. Our Lord takes a dim view of such insults done to His Mother.
5. Father P continues: “The miracles of Summorum Pontificum, and the results of the first Rosary Crusade. We were praying the Rosary primarily to get the pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in the fulfillment of the request of Our Lady of Fatima. But instead what happened was the pope released Summorum Pontificum in which he said the Latin Mass was never abrogated. And so Bp. Fellay at Menzingen told us this was a great miracle, it was a miracle of your Rosaries…It was not a miracle…”
I think Father Pfeiffer has got his Rosary Crusades confused, because everyone knew the announced intention of the first one was that the pope would free the Traditional Mass for all priests everywhere in the Church. This was the first Rosary Crusade intention because it was the first condition Bishop Fellay had laid down in order to have groundwork to begin doctrinal talks. So there was no changing of the intention and no alteration of our aims or the aims of the Society.
6. Father continues: “Summorum Pontificum says the Latin Mass was never abrogated. Therefore I Benedict XVI gives a general permission for the Latin Mass to take place by September 14, 2007. In other words, the Mass was never abrogated which means you do not need permission, but I am giving you permission…In other words, when I said it was never abrogated, that was a lie….”
Father Pfeiffer’s interpretation of the pope’s words is rather odd. Generally speaking, when we find one pope admitting that a previous law is still in effect, and then repeating that law with his own permission, we usually say that the pope is confirming the previous law. We do not normally say such a pope is contradicting himself or lying. Summorum Pontificum confirms the old law of immemorial custom which we Traditionalists always knew allowed us the have the Traditional Mass.
7. Father P goes on: “The first condition was, you must accept the New Mass as the Ordinary Rite of the Church, and the Old Mass, the True Mass, is Extraordinary, which means only tolerated in special circumstances…and this is an abomination. The Blessed Virgin Mary does not approve of the New Mass! The Blessed Virgin Mary does not accept the New Mass as Ordinary, and she does not accept the True Mass of her Son as something which is Extraordinary, and she doesn’t accept that the Mass is only by the grace and permission of Pope Benedict XVI…it doesn’t depend on Pope Benedict XVI. It was not a miracle. But it was hailed as such…”
There are a couple of problems with this idea that a moral miracle, like admitting the Mass was never abrogated, cannot have the trappings of liberalism about it. First, a person can be a liberal and a Catholic at the same time. This is admitted in moral theology. Second, Our Lady is not going to take away the free will of the pope. Neither does she, any more than Her Son, knock someone off a horse and convert him instantly as a normal occurrence. The miracle is that she can bring about the freedom of the Mass even without the conversion of the person who is carrying out her will. And even more, we are not only dealing with the will of the pope here, but as Bishop Fellay reported to us previous to this decree’s release, we are dealing with the ill will of many in the papal household.
There is also the little matter of the “experiment of Tradition.” This was the expression used by Archbishop Lefebvre (quoted hereafter) when he repeatedly asked that his Society and his seminaries be given a fighting chance against the liberal establishment. The Archbishop did not immediately demand that the Novus Ordo be suppressed, even though that might be desirable. He did not demand that all priests cease saying the Novus Ordo and commence at once to offer only the Traditional Mass. He knew that this would never work and would cause confusion in the Church, and confusion means the loss of souls. He asked that the Mass of All Time be recognized as the Mass that it is, and that all priests be allowed to say it again. The dear Archbishop knew that if once this were allowed to happen, the grace of the Mass would do the rest. Conversions to Tradition would commence. When enough souls had been converted, especially at Rome, then the Novus Ordo would be suppressed at the proper time.
This is why the admission by the pope in Summorum Pontificum that the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated is truly a miracle in the moral order. As a result of this miracle, the “experiment of Tradition” desired by Mgr. Lefebvre can now take place with the results which he foresaw. So this is really a victory of Our Lady through her Rosary and it most certainly is not an abomination as Father Pfeiffer says.
8. Father again: “And then comes the second miracle: the lifting of the excommunications, on January 21, 2009. The four bishops had their excommunications lifted, and Bp. Fellay asked that we sing the Te Deum. Many priests refused throughout the whole earth. But he asked that we sing the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops. Now if you go back and look at the pictures of the event back in 1988, you will discover that there were six bishops involved. There was Bishop De Castro Mayer, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and the four bishops. And all six of them were declared excommunicated. And the excommunication is lifted only for four of them, which means, that according to Rome—neo-modernist Rome—Bishop De Castro Mayer and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre remain excommunicated. They are right now in heaven. But according to the pope, they remain excommunicated…”
If we look at the letter of Bishop Fellay at that time, we see the Society never accepted the excommunications as valid, but recognized that they caused suffering to the faithful who were “stigmatized and condemned” unjustly for the correct action of Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop De Castro Mayer (see http://www.fsspx.org/en/organization/the-general-superior/his-press-releases/letter-of-the-superior-general-of-the-priestly-society-of-saint-pius-x/). Father Pfeiffer also ignores what has been observed regarding the canonical wording of the decree. The new decree of 2009 says the decree of 1988 (which was announced in Ecclesia Dei of John Paul II) “no longer has juridical effect.” This means that the excommunication of Abp. Lefebvre and Bp. DeCastro Mayer are also removed even without their having been named, simply by taking back the effects of that first decree. So, in fact, the pope has granted exactly what we prayed for. (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cbishops/documents/rc_con_cbishops_doc_20090121_remissione-scomunica_en.html.)
9. Now Father P: “And then doctrinal talks. Now we’re going to make a deal. And after the doctrinal talks it was declared ‘Rome has not changed its position. Rome still believes in modernism. Rome is still rejecting the faith. And the Society is still holding the faith. Nothing has changed.’ So says Bp. Fellay. And now it’s changed. Now we’re going to make a deal. Now we’re going to be accepted and regularized. Now we’re going to receive a personal prelature. And all the documents are secret, and all the communications are secret, and all the going back and forth is secret. You don’t keep truth a secret. You don’t keep good a secret. But you do keep lies a secret. And you do keep evil a secret. And you keep deception a secret. That’s why all the secrecy of the last several years. Because if Bp. Fellay, and Fr. Pflueger, and Fr. Nely, and the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X stood up boldly and told the truth to us, a year ago, or two years ago, everyone would have rebelled. And so they said: Have confidence. You don’t know all the details. You’re just foolish, stupid, idiotic, moronic sheep. And your job is to never think, only pay, pray and obey. You don’t need to know your faith. You need to have confidence in the holy superiors. You don’t need to know what he’s doing with your faith. Their secret communications—what are these secret communications about? They are about the faith. And the faith was not meant to be placed under a bushel, so said Jesus Christ, but upon the candle stand. The faith is meant to be publicly confessed and publicly professed, and unto the time of death…”
Now, before even looking at the substance of what Father alleges here, let us look at the manner in which he presents his charge. Instead of assuming that he does not know everything since he is not the one talking with Rome or with Menzingen, Father Pfeiffer immediately assumes that Bishop Fellay and the General Council are being false and deceptive, and that they are sneering at the simple faith of those in their charge. This is a monstrous assumption! And yet, we note, Father insists on making it. He repeats this “deception” allegation throughout this harangue. Is this the way Catholic priests behave in the pulpit? In fact, when we subtract attitude from the discussion, this point says little else. There is no “agreement” with Rome being contemplated by anybody. There is the possibility of a canonical arrangement which will not compromise the Society’s integrity or its mission in the Church. That’s all. So basically, Father’s argument is: They are lying deceivers because I say they are, and if I repeat it long enough you will eventually believe me.
10. Father P goes on: “Now they avoided heresy, they avoided heretical statements, until the last two weeks. Now the deal is almost done. The betrayal is almost complete. And they think we can do nothing about it anymore. And they have the iron fist of Menzingen held over us. Father Cardoza, a Spanish priest, an Argentinian priest I believe, in South America—he preached against the agreement a month and a half ago, and now he can no longer say Mass in a Society church. Now he’s living in a monastery—now he is in exile. Prepare for the iron fist to come down again…We don’t know the deal, we don’t know the circumstances. We don’t know the details. Why not? I’ll read to you the details. When Bp. Fellay was in Austria, he spoke to one of the priests telling him about the deal (sarcastic emphasis), the personal prelature. Told him about the deal—then that priest told the faithful, and that faithful put it on the internet. Here’s the deal. Now remember these are only rumors. So far every other rumor has turned out to be true—because Menzingen is telling us nothing. When a rumor comes out, they verify that it’s true.”
Father Pfeiffer now brings in the charge of heresy, but then delays to talk about it, as though whetting the appetite of his audience. We have to wonder what kind of people he believes he is preaching to. His continued reference to a “deal,” to “betrayal,” and to a priest who has, like himself, spoken in an incendiary fashion of the Society and Bishop Fellay indicates that his judgment of his superiors has already been rendered and confirmed. Never mind that there isn’t any real evidence.
Then Father P says, “When Bp. Fellay was in Austria, he spoke to one of the priests telling him about the deal (sarcastic emphasis), the personal prelature. Told him about the deal—then that priest told the faithful, and that faithful put it on the internet.” This particular gem sounds all too much like TIA’s rumor mill or similar ones that anyone can find on the net. Bishop Fellay has since confirmed in an interview with DICI that this whole Austrian scene is false. Father Pfeiffer himself says “Now remember these are only rumors. So far every other rumor has turned out to be true—because Menzingen is telling us nothing. When a rumor comes out, they verify that it’s true.” Besides the rather strange logic in this statement, Father seems to be justifying his spreading rumors simply because they are convenient to his purpose. Rather than following the 8th Commandment and avoiding rumors, he is instilling rumors in his faithful.
11. Father continues: “Here’s the latest. What is in the deal, the personal prelature? #1. The pope will decide on who will be bishops of the SSPX, who will replace those who leave or who do not choose to go along with the agreement. Those bishops will be free to leave and they will be replaced. Who are those bishops? Bp. Williamson, Bp. De Galleretta, and Bp. Tissier de Mallerais. They are free to leave. And they will be replaced. Who decides? His name is now Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger. And since that time, he has devoted his cardinal life to destroying Catholic Tradition. He was the one who arranged the deal in 1987 for a small group called Mater Dei, nine seminarians that left Archbishop Lefebvre to form a small group in Rome. And it fell apart—they were deceived. Card. Ratzinger was the one who promised Dom Gerard, who was the closest friend—Benedictine monk—and the closest friend of Archbishop Lefebvre to betray Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988, not go along with the consecrations. And he told Dom Gerard, You want me to visit your monastery? I will make you an abbot. But you have to come to Rome, and you Dom Gerard have to concelebrate the New Mass with the pope. And I’ll be there watching you to make sure you really concelebrate. Dom Gerard agreed because he wanted to be an abbot. He died with his abbot’s miter, three years ago. What was the price? How much did it cost? Who was the one that arranged the betrayal? Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger...The year 2000: the lying releasing of the Third Secret of Fatima. Card. Bertone makes the announcements, lies to the world, and tells to the world ‘We are releasing the Third Secret’ when they knew it was a lie. Who was sitting next to him? Who was in charge? Who was the man in charge? His name was Joseph Card. Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He let Bertone do the dirty talking, but he was the one in charge, and he sat there while Bertone spoke a lie. Who is the most responsible man in the Catholic Church for suppressing the Secret of Fatima? He used to be called Joseph Card. Ratzinger—he now goes by Pope Benedict XVI. He will be the one to choose our new bishops.”
Remember, this information comes from the supposed “leak” from Bishop Fellay to a priest and then a layman in Austria. Even without any more detail, it already reeks of hearsay. Then the threat that will cause the most fear—or would in anyone who credulously accepts Father Pfeiffer’s word—“the pope will decide on who will be bishops of the SSPX…” Now I prefer to leave the details of any canonical arrangement to Bishop Fellay and the superiors to explain, but this is completely absurd. Why should we believe that, after all the insistence of the last 40 years on our autonomy, the Superior General should suddenly exhibit multiple personality disorder (what most call schizophrenia) and accept that the pope should appoint our bishops? Mgr. Fellay would really have to become someone entirely different to agree to this! If this is the first point, and it is obviously rubbish, what can we expect from any further points?
After this assertion, Father goes on at length to prove what everyone knows—that the pope is liberal. So he dredges up again Mater Dei, Dom Gerard, and further along, the supposed release of the Third Secret of Fatima as examples of why we must never trust what the pope says. Now this may come as a shock to Father Pfeiffer and others like him, but we already know whom we are dealing with. Yes, we know, since many of us are older than Father and have fought in this war longer. We already know to be cautious in our dealings with Rome. But we also know that we must continue to deal with Rome to be Catholic.
And that brings me to the last comment on this passage. “He used to be called Joseph Card. Ratzinger—he now goes by Pope Benedict XVI.” What does Father mean that Cardinal Ratzinger “now goes by Pope Benedict XVI”? I’m very sorry to have to say it, but this sounds like a sedevacantist statement. We Catholics do not say that a pope “goes by” his new papal name, as if there were something suspect in the whole process. That is the pope’s name from the time of his elevation to the papacy. Like him or not, liberal or not, Benedict XVI is the pope, and he is our pope. There is no other and there will be no other till the next conclave. The implication in Father Pfeiffer’s statement should not sit well with any of the faithful of the Society.
12. Father continues: “Now #2. No new structures are allowed to be erected without the approval of the diocesan bishops. Do you think Bp. Carpallio (sp) will approve of our new church that we want to build down at the bottom of the hill? Do you think that the new bishop will approve of our new church at the bottom of the hill? No new structures without the permission of the diocesan bishop. That is the death of the growth of Tradition.”
Again, as Bishop Fellay has noted, the Society’s arrangement with the pope will not be accepted if anything about the structure of our parishes, priories, schools, churches, convents, seminaries, or of those affiliated with us is compromised. Is this not clear enough? No details of the exact nature of this “prelature” have been finalized. We should certainly not be taking the word of this dubious source which Father Pfeiffer is citing.
13. Resumes Father: “…Any building less than three years old must be closed down. Any building older than three years may remain up and running. I was the pastor in Denver, CO, and we built the church there, a large church called St. Isidore’s. It was completed in 2001. That’s more than three years ago, so the building can be saved. But it became a priory only three years ago, and the priory building which is on a different property was donated to the Society a year and a half ago. Will the priests in the Denver priory have to leave their priory?...And now we gotta know, can I go and bring Jesus Christ to the souls in need, please give me permission? I’m so sorry, but the bishop said, you can go to hell. I’m so sorry—or I’m so happy the bishop allowed me to be a Catholic priest. You should also be happy because the bishop allowed you to be Catholics. As we mentioned a couple of months ago, when you get married, you come before the priest and you kneel down in front of the altar, and you say ‘I do’ in front of the priest and in front of the altar. And you are married until death do you part. You don’t come back to Father seven years later ‘Father, can I still be married?’ It’s done. It’s finished. Live a miserable life until you die. You can’t change it. So likewise, when we are baptized, we are Catholics. And no pope can take away my Catholic faith, and no bishop can take away my Catholic faith, and no priest can take away my Catholic faith. And no king, and no magistrates, and no authority can take away my Catholic faith. But now, we gotta ask permission to be Catholic.”
Again, such details of the final arrangements in the canonical structure are simply not known, so Father Pfeiffer certainly cannot know them. He is needlessly scaring people with these bogy-man ideas of his about having to leave properties that belong to the Society. And as for relying on liberal bishops for permission to give the sacraments to the faithful, Father Pfeiffer is a few light years short of the earth. When has any Superior General of the Society ever agreed to anything that would put our faithful in this position? And where is the real evidence that Bishop Fellay would ever remotely agree to something that would compromise souls in this manner? This is a total reductio ad nauseam.
14. Again, from Father P: “On June 13, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre gave a talk to the four bishops. One of them was Bp. Bernard Fellay. And at the end of his talk, which was recorded, he said the saints and the martyrs always had to choose between faith and authority. They chose faith over authority. That was in ’88. In 2012, Bishop Fellay says, ‘You three bishops make a dialectic between truth and faith on the one side and authority on the other. And this is against the spirit of the priesthood.’ In other words, authority can never be against faith. And if there seems to be a conflict between authority and faith, you must obey the authority. That is exactly the opposite of what Abp. Lefebvre said to the four bishop-elect. Did he forget what the Archbishop told him 24 years ago?”
If Father Pfeiffer is not a sedevacantist, he is making a good impersonation of one. No doubt Abp. Lefebvre had to make it plain to the four bishops-elect in 1988 that when authority orders something contrary to faith, “we must obey God rather than men.” This is nothing new, and no one is in disagreement on this point. But the issue is, we do not make a disagreement between faith and authority where there is not one. We do not make it an issue of faith or obedience before there needs to be such a choice. The Archbishop tried every other avenue available to him before he finally had to make the choice to apparently disobey the pope—apparently, because in reality he was obeying what the Church has always done. As His Grace said many times, we cannot disobey the pope without a serious reason, without our needing to protect or defend the faith and avoid sin. If this applies to the pope, it also applies to the superiors in the Society. Unless the superiors order something that is obviously against faith, those subject to them are obliged to obey them, and they have no excuse to foment rebellion against them.
15. Again Father Pfeiffer: “And now the errors. The warning was, for many priest, and for the three bishops, do not go to bed with the modernists, because when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. If we make a deal with Rome, we will enter into the Roman mystery and we will become modernists. Modernists will not become Catholic. It’s already happening. On May 11, 2012, CNS, Catholic News Service, visited Menzingen, Switzerland. Many priests have tried calling there, but they don’t answer the phone. The priests of Mexico who are completely against this foolish agreement have tried to call Menzingen, have tried to get a message through to Menzingen, but they’re not available—they’re not available. But they were available for the Novus Ordo Catholic News Service, and they had lots of time to talk to Bp. Fellay. The video cameras came in and the bright lights, and one of the main liberal outlets of communication of heresy in the United States. And the Catholic News Service asked Bp. Fellay some questions, ‘What do you think about the SSPX vs. Rome? Is there a fight between the SSPX and Rome?’ And Bp. Fellay said ‘No, there’s no battle between SSPX and Rome, that’s not the right way to look at it. Rather that there’s some bad men in positions of authority.’ ‘What about the Council? You SSPX people are always against the Council of Vatican II. What about the Council?’ Bp. Fellay said these words: ‘We learned from the doctrinal discussions that what we would have before condemned as an error of the Council was in fact not an error of the Council, but only an error of the common interpretation of the Council.’ Let’s go over that again. ‘There’s nothing wrong with the Council. The only problem is the abuses and the bad interpretation of the Council.’ This is the lie of the liberal Novus Ordo for the last 50 years…The Council teaches heresy, particularly the error of religious liberty and ecumenism. But Bp. Fellay learned (sarcastically) from the doctrinal talks that what we have taught over the last 40 years is incorrect. He’s already converting. He says he’s going in to convert the modernists, but he’s already speaking modernist language.”
Father correctly denounces the Novus Ordo media for disinformation, and then he immediately accepts what this same media broadcasts as correct information. So which is it? Bishop Fellay granted them an interview, and perhaps that is a mistake because they distorted what he said by truncating it for the segment they wanted to fit. So very simply: no, Bishop Fellay is not changing anything he has stated before for the benefit of CNS. No, he did not change his stand regarding the Council and the errors that are found in documents of the Council. What he tried to emphasize is the fact that some churchmen, particularly the pope and some eminent cardinals, are no longer putting the emphasis on full acceptance of the Council as a criteria for recognition by Rome. This is obviously a piece of news that the liberal Catholics do not want to get around to the rest of the Church. Of course they distorted what Bishop Fellay actually said, so that now he appears to change his views. But this is not what has happened, not on this or on religious liberty, or on whether Vatican II is part of Tradition. Nothing has changed. Father Pfeiffer ought to have known better.
16. Continuing with Father P: “Now Bp. Fellay is telling us we don’t need to change anything. We don’t have to give in anything. We’re going to be able to walk in without any changes. But Rome is saying you gotta accept Vatican II. Now we have the doctrinal preamble. Finally the bishops got their hands on the doctrinal preamble in the last couple of days, that secret doctrinal preamble. Ambiguities, foolishness… So now, we’re going to make a doctrinal preamble with Rome. Rome believes in modernism. Rome hates the Catholic faith. Rome is living the prophecy of Mary. And the Blessed Virgin Mary said ‘Rome will lose the faith.’ And if we unite with Rome, we also lose the faith. Mary knows more about Rome than Menzingen. And the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Holy Mother Mary said, in Quito, Ecuador 400 years ago that at the end of the 20th century the priests will lose their compass. They will lose the divine compass. And the Church will attack the seven sacraments and they will abuse and destroy all seven of them. And the priests will not know what it means to be a priest of God, and there will be a great loss of faith. That’s what the Blessed Virgin Mary said 400 years ago. She knew more back then than Menzingen knows today. Mary knows better. And in 1846, the Blessed Virgin Mary in the 20th century, Rome will lose the faith, and it will become the seat of the Antichrist. She knows better than Menzingen. According to Menzingen, it’s getting better now. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it cannot get better until Russia is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart. Russia has not been consecrated, therefore things are not better. And if Bp. Fellay and the office help think things are better they think differently than Our Holy Mother. We will stick with Our Holy Mother. And the Blessed Virgin Mary told in Quito, Ecuador, the entire world—she said the same thing at LaSallette, she said the same thing at Fatima—and again in Akita, Japan, most recently in ’73. And Mary said, ‘When the devil has had his greatest conquest, when it is the darkest hour, when it seems as though the kingdom of hell is about to conquer, and the kingdom of heaven is about to completely collapse, this will be my hour. This will be my hour, the hour of Mary. This will be the hour that I show in a most magnificent way my power and crush the devil.’ So what do we followers of Mary believe? We followers of Mary believe that things are going to continue to get worse until she fixes it. And therefore, as the world gets worse, we have a double heart. One part of our heart is sorrowful because of the number of souls that are being lost. But another part of our heart is filled with great confidence and filled with great joy because as things get worse it means we’re getting closer to the Marian victory.”
Of course, the preamble as it was sent from Rome was not acceptable. That is why changes were made in it before it could be signed and returned to Rome. Now we are all awaiting the pope’s reply. But here is Father Pfeiffer using private revelations the way Protestants use Sacred Scripture. Because the work of conversion of the world needs to originate with the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart and with the conversion of Russia, does this mean that none of us has anything to do with it? No, because before the pope acts, he must convert. That means someone must convert him to Tradition—or at least convince him that the request of Our Lady at Fatima must be fulfilled. Then there must also be a sufficient number of bishops who are likewise convinced enough to act in union with the pope, for this is what Sr. Lucia stipulated. So in order for Russia to be converted and the Immaculate Heart to triumph, the pope and bishops must first be acting in the manner of Our Lady wants. For this to occur, there must be preparation of some kind. Prayer and penance certainly, but normally something more. Short of direct divine intervention, the normal means that God has used throughout the Church’s history is the work and good example of a religious institute of some sort. In other words, in order to bring the Church back to what it must be for the Consecration of Russia to take place, the Society must be prominently placed in the field of the Church so that it can convert many in high places. A concession from Rome must happen, if not necessarily a conversion outright. Then everything will be in place for Our Lady’s work to be done.
17. Again, Father P: “The natural method that is a temptation of adultery that is being given to Menzingen right now: ‘Go inside of Rome. Mix with the modernists. You’ll be able to be a good influence. You holy SSPX priests, you wonderful SSPX priests, you’re going to come in and your halo is going to glow to the modernists—going to walk in, and among them so holy ‘I don’t think I’m going to be a modernist anymore (sarcastically). I feel guilty about being a modernist.’ It isn’t going to work….”
This is mischaracterization of the Society’s work. This is not what anyone from the Society has ever done, not in 1987-1988, and not today. The Society has witnessed to the faith in Rome because that is what the saints have always done. Archbishop Lefebvre witnessed to the faith in Rome. Mgr. Lefebvre did not say, “You are all modernists, I cannot talk to you. Paul VI, you invented to New Mass with Protestants, so I cannot listen to anything you say. John Paul II, you brought all the false religions to Assisi, so I think you are no longer pope.” Quite the contrary. Archbishop Lefebvre continued to go to Rome as often as he was called and to talk with the liberals there, especially the popes as often as he was asked.
“For a long time I have hoped to reach an agreement with Rome, which would manifest a certain tolerance, which would ‘let us perform the experiment of Tradition.’ This is why I went so many times to Rome to talk with the cardinals, and why I carried on a correspondence with Cardinal Seper, then with Cardinal Ratzinger, and why I even turned to the pope, who never followed up on my requests to meet with him… I had also placed some hope in Cardinal Ratzinger, who also seemed well disposed and was alarmed about the degradation of the Church, although unwilling to recognize the causes and to do away with them. But, as the years have gone by, it has indeed been necessary to face the evidence: the prospects of an agreement were becoming more distant (“Malgre les persecutions, l’epopee de la Fraternite,” in Fideliter 59 [September 1987]: 70).
He could not always obey Rome when he was asked to compromise Tradition. But he nevertheless answered when called and continued to speak until nothing else could be said. And this is, as all the evidence clearly shows, what Bishop Fellay is doing again now. He must speak to the pope and the pope’s representatives until there is nothing else to be said. He must continue to treat with them until a solution is given us that we can accept or until it becomes obvious again, as it once did to the Archbishop, that we cannot say more right now.
18. Father Pfeiffer: “Fr. Iscarra, professor St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, SSPX, early May, presents a document for all of us priests on the economy of Christ. That the way of St. Basil, the way that St. Basil condemned the error of the Arians was by hugging them more often, by being nicer to the Arians. It’s the policy of ‘hug the heretic’ and he’ll be better. That St. Basil didn’t use offensive language, he didn’t use the clear Catholic terminology because it would offend the Arians, and therefore he found a nice way of saying the truth that wouldn’t offend the Arians. Try that method with Jeremias the prophet. Did Jesus Christ try that method? Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He was in front of the Pharisees, ‘You brood of vipers.’ When He was in front of Caiphas on Good Friday morning, and He was about to be sent to death, He told Caiphas, ‘Today I go to be crucified. But behold the day will come when you, Caiphas, shall see the Son of Man in great power and majesty,’ Jesus Christ speaking of Himself. ‘You, Caiphas, will see the Son of Man coming in great power and majesty, and He shall judge you.’ This is going to happen at the end of the world. The prophet must speak the truth and must condemn the errors, and hugging heretics does not make them into saints. We must condemn the errors.”
So is Father Iscarra mistaken in his presentation of St. Basil’s words? Or is St. Basil mistaken in his method of dealing with the Arians? Father Pfeiffer does not make it clear which he objects to. And are we to prefer the words of Our Lord in the gospel to those of the saints in this situation? What about St. Francis de Sales, famous for converting Protestants, who said “We can catch more sinners with a teaspoon of honey than with a barrel of vinegar”? Is there truly a contradiction between him and Our Lord? I do not think there can be a real contradiction between a saint and his Master. Rather what we see is a difference in method suited to bringing the truth to different souls in different times and circumstances. The Truth is not changed, only the manner of presentation. Apparently, what Father Pfeiffer means to imply is that we cannot treat with heretics, or more accurately with liberals, unless we condemn them all the time. Well, we always condemn their errors, and we have never changed in that. But “hate the sin, love the sinner” is the Catholic way. The Society will not be showing any change by treating these liberals as the Church has always treated sinners and by leading them back to Tradition.
19. Continuing: “And now another modernist comes forth. His name is Fr. Celier. He’s being brought forth in the English-speaking world for the first time. You can find him on the SSPX.org website. Fr. Celier is a priest ordained by Achbishop Lefebvre in 1986, SSPX priest. In 2007 he wrote a book, and in this books he talks about the union between the New Mass and the Old, and that we can have some kind of hybrid Mass by which the New and the Old can somehow mutually enrich each other. When he tried to sell this book in France, the French Traditional Catholics about killed him. So he had to be put on the back burner until May of 2012. Now Bp. Fellay has put him forward again. Only this time, Fr. Celier is teaching us the proper interpretation of the teaching of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. See, we all know that Abp. Lefebvre said no to neo-modernist Rome. We know Abp. Lefebvre said have nothing to do with the Novus Ordo heresy. We know what he said firmly and unequivocably for the truth against all odds. But you know what? Let’s go back and look at it again, says Fr. Celier. Let us remember that he was speaking in specific times, according to practical circumstances that were prevalent at that time in 1975, in 1988. You know what that’s called? The heresy of modernism. What do the modernists teach? The modernists teach the Council of Trent was wonderful in 1545. Vatican Council I was wonderful in 1870. They were the right medicine for the Church at that time. But in the 1990’s and in the 2000’s they no longer apply. Now we need a new doctrine. We need a new council. We need a new way of looking at things. Modernists believe that truth changes with history, just like evolution of species. And so now Fr. Celier, a priest of the Society of St. Pius X—the saint that condemned modernism, is going to use modernism in order to reinterpret Abp. Lefebvre.”
Note, please, how quick Father Pfeiffer is to name Father Celier a modernist--without any authority to do so. He complains about the “iron fist” of Menzingen, but he seems free to use his own “iron fist.” Now, I cannot speak to any history behind Father Celier since I do not know him. So I leave it to the superiors to defend this priest and any previous works of his. However, since Father Pfeiffer has not proven himself very trustworthy in his other statements, I cannot say I trust him for this one either. I have read the article on the interpretation of the Archbishop’s words (http://sspx.org/archbishop_lefebvre/interpreting_words_of_archbishop_lefebvre_part_1_5-22-2012.htm). I do not find what Father Celier says equivalent to liberals’ trying to render doctrinal definitions of previous Councils unfit for our own day. The Archbishop never changed his stand on the Novus Ordo or on liberalism as shown in the Council documents. However, he did change his manner of speaking and acting when dealing with the changing situation presented to him. This is normal, for the Church always adapts herself to the changes of times and places and persons she encounters without altering the Gospel. This is what Father Celier is explaining for us. It is not, as Father Pfeiffer would have us believe, a modernist’s interpretation of the Archbishop.
20. Again: “And now come the re-education classes. In October of 2012, there’s going to be a meeting in Kansas City in the US, the headquarters of the United States District of the SSPX, and they’re going to talk about the papacy. There’s a big banner with a smiling Pope Benedict XVI. St. Pius X’s picture cannot be found. We’re going to learn about papal authority or we’re going to relearn. We’re going to learn about the danger of sedevacantism. We’re going to learn about the importance of obedience, obedience, obedience (dramatic). Don’t take the faith over obedience. As of May in 2012, many many priests of the Society of St. Pius X are worried and are firmly against this agreement. But they’re also afraid because of the iron fist of Menzingen. It has already crushed some. I go to America next week. I come back in theory July 5th. Will I survive the month? This may be the summer of the divorce. And they tried to keep it a secret until the last moment.”
Father Pfeiffer speaks of “re-education classes,” and then immediately talks about a meeting in Kansas City. Well, a meeting is not a class. There are no classes planned. As always, when anything new is learned about the situation with Rome, the Superior General or one of his Assistants makes visits throughout the world to explain what is happening to the faithful. So in reality, nothing is “secret.” They will tell us when they learn anything. Meantime, this repeated use of the word “agreement” is also completely out of place. There is no agreement in the sense of doctrinal acceptance. The Society is not accepting the errors of Vatican II. Period. And now Rome is not insisting on it either. Father Pfeiffer also describes a future meeting as though he has already been there, which is rather bizarre. We can tell from his inflammatory tone that he despises the idea that sedevacantism could ever be an issue. But I dispute entirely that “many” priests of the Society are “firmly against this agreement,” or that they are “afraid because of the iron fist of Menzingen.” There are some that I have heard of speaking in similar fashion to Father Pfeiffer. It is one thing for priests to voice concerns to their superiors. But it entirely something else for them to preach hearsay and rumor to the faithful and to harangue from their pulpits on something they know only in theory. And notice how Father Pfeiffer calls any discipline which might justifiably be imposed on him this summer as “the summer of the divorce.” This is outrageous, for it is he that is asking for this “divorce” from the Society to whom he has sworn obedience.
21. I leave out some paragraphs which repeat previous points. Father Pfeiffer: “What is going to happen? Maybe we’re going to have to go back in the catacombs again. Many priests are afraid. Maybe we won’t be able to come back to our rectories. Maybe we’ll be driven out in the street. There are many against, in May of 2012, but when the axe falls how many will stay against?...The SSPX is now, for the first time in its history, in a practical state of division. Even if Bp. Fellay doesn’t sign on the dotted line, even if the pope doesn’t come through with a miracle today, he will come through with it tomorrow or next week. From now on, there’s going to be liberal priests in the Society and there’s going to be priests faithful to Abp. Lefebvre. Up until this day, the smart priests and the stupid priests, young and old, lazy and hardworking—all of them—believed the same faith. But now you will find two directions. Pope Benedict XVI is the master of disaster. He has been destroying and dividing Tradition for the last 20 years, 30 years. Now he has Bp. Fellay in a diabolical disorientation. He has the bishop believing that the new friends in Rome are gonna help him, and he’s gonna help them become good Catholics. And he doesn’t need his old friends anymore. He doesn’t need the three bishops anymore. And you will see a purge, barring a miracle, you will see a purge. This priest was expelled from the Society because he’s disobedient, that one because he’s crazy, this one because, you know, we can’t tell you, you don’t want to know. We must stand firm for the faith. Many souls are in grave jeopardy today because Bp. Fellay has decided to play with fire and smile, because he’s got the grace of state. Faith is greater than the grace of state (to me?). Faith is first. And the father of the family does not have the right to jeopardize his family. He doesn’t have the right to tear it apart. He doesn’t have the right to compromise. For what? More promises have they made. They have lied to the others, they have destroyed the others.”
Here Father P. seems to be eliciting sympathy from his hearers. Poor Father! About to be driven into the street by those old meanies in Menzingen! What unadulterated offal! And Father P has either a short memory of the Society’s history or he has never known what warfare was waged before he left home for the seminary. But I remember the 1980’s quite well. I remember the Nine and that they preached to their faithful how terrible the Archbishop was to accept the marriages which Novus Ordo priests had witnessed. And how they called the Archbishop vile names for telling them they could not preach that there was no pope. I also remember that these “pious” priests betrayed the Archbishop and stole property from the Society in this country and misled many faithful into their errors. So do not tell me this is the first time there has been a division in the Society. The question is, who causes such divisions? Is it the Society or those trying to impose their own wills on the Society? A purge? No, more than likely the Society will have to defend itself again, perhaps in civil court once more, against those who pretend to know better and to have better vision of what the Society of St. Pius X is all about.
See also how Father Pfeiffer denigrates grace of state, as though there were a contest between it and faith. Hardly. It is the grace of state which allows us to defend our faith. Parents have the grace of state to defend the faith of their families. Pastors have the grace of state to defend the faith of the parishes. Bishops have the grace of state to defend their dioceses. Likewise, Superiors General have the grace of state to make the necessary defense of their congregations or Orders. So the question is then, who has cooperated with God in using his grace of state well? And who is questioning the grace of state and opposing this grace to the faith? We can easily see the answer to this. There is indeed a “diabolical disorientation” taking place, but not with Bishop Fellay.
22. Again: “…According to Bp. Fellay, the General Chapter, which is going to meet in July, will not be a meeting to discuss the acceptance of the agreement—because it’s already accepted—but simply to learn what the new statutes will be under the new agreement from Rome. We got to go back to the education classes. I’m not going to those classes. The faith does not need re-education…”
No, the General Chapter is not meeting to discuss an “agreement” because there is no such “agreement” at all. There is nothing which has already been accepted. And there will be no new statutes of the Society because the Society is not changing.
23. Father Pfeiffer, nearly at the end of this long-winded oration, makes an involved comparison of Moses finding the Israelites in idolatry to his notion of “faithful” priests finding Bishop Fellay in an idolatrous relationship with Rome. Then this incendiary conclusion to this paragraph:
“And he took those Commandments and he threw them on the ground, and they broke into pieces. And then he said these words: ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? (dramatically)’ No arguments, no theological discussion with the Jews. No telling the Jews all the beautiful things that happened on the mountain. He simply said ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Whoever is on the Lord’s side, come over here. Whoever is not, stand over there. And they divided. Still no theological discussions. Moses then pulled out a sword, and he said, ‘Those of you that are on the Lord’s side, kill everyone of them. Leave not one alive (shouted)! And 40 thousand were killed in that day. It was a bloody day. We are at a time in which arguments have already been made. We already know the tune of the modernists. We already know the tricks. And the modernists say ‘obedience, obedience over faith.’ We’ve heard those words before. Argument, though it must occasionally be done, is not the answer. Now we must decide. Who is on the Lord’s side?”
Besides comparing himself and other rebellious priests to Moses and Josue—how virtuous of him!--the vitriolic manner in which he juxtaposes Moses’ punishment of the idolaters with “Now we must decide” clearly incites the listener to a violent reaction. How can this sort of spleen be spewed from a Catholic pulpit by one who claims to be a “faithful” follower of Mgr. Lefebvre?
24. In his final paragraph, Father Pfeiffer dares to quote from a letter written by the faithful of England’s district. This letter, says Father P., purports to show that the Bishop Fellay of the past is somehow contradicted by the Bishop Fellay of the present regarding the acceptance or condemnation of the Council. Then this last juicy chestnut:
“Abp. Lefebvre used to say ‘I teach you the Truth. Follow it as long as I teach it. But if the day comes that I don’t teach it anymore, then (dramatic) abandon me. For we must be followers of the Truth, followers of the faith.’ Now let us pray for a miracle, and the miracle is that enough priests and enough faithful stand up and preserve the legacy of the Society of St. Pius X which is to continue to stand firm for the faith, and that Bp. Fellay realizes and wakes up from his stupor and realizes that he’s being deceived by the devil…”
What the Archbishop said here is no news at all. And it is typical of him to have said it. The point is that he never changed anything and that is why we continued to follow him. And this is precisely the case again. Bishop Fellay is changing nothing, and so we continue to follow him as well. So I agree, let us pray for a miracle. But let it be this: That the majority of the priests and faithful of the Society of St. Pius X will rightly reject the false reasoning, scare-mongering, and venom of Father Pfeiffer and others of this sort and stand firm with Bishop Fellay and the unchanging stance of the whole Society in Tradition.
Let us all pray to be delivered from such bombast and drama in our pulpits. With Our Lady and Queen, may we all persevere in one mind and heart till her Immaculate Heart triumphs.