December 2003 - District Superior's Letter
Father Aulagnier expelled from the SSPX. The reasons for his expulsion are discussed herein. This gives us cause to reflect on the position of the SSPX vis à vis Rome.
Sad news: Father Aulagnier expelled from SSPX
Unfortunately I have sad news to end the year. Some of you may have seen it on the Internet. Indeed Father Aulagnier, one of Archbishop Lefebvre’s first and closest companion in the resistance, assistant to the Superior General, founding district superior of the French district had to be expelled from the Society. Last September we were saddened by the interview of Father Aulagnier to the Wanderer. At first I thought of replying earlier but then decided to wait to see how this affair would end. This interview, along with an extended article published in French on his website as well as in a French daily newspaper proved to be the last straw.
For a long time now, since 1998, he had publicly and virulently opposed the Society’s stand regarding negotiations with Rome. As well he disobeyed our constitutions and repeatedly disobeyed Bishop Fellay’s explicit orders thus giving a bad example. He had also created a very difficult situation within the Society trying to sway its members in pursuing an accord with Rome thus trying to cause division and even rebellion against the legitimate authority. The problem was not that he had contrary opinions but that he was airing them in public and trying to undermine the Superior General and the Society. This state of affairs had lasted long enough. Because it was Father Aulagnier and the respect he commanded in the Society, Bishop Fellay and the General Council were very patient but sometimes, even patience can be a fault.
After reading Father Aulagnier’s interview a few questions come to mind: why grant an interview to a newspaper, which is clearly against the SSPX? Are birds of a feather starting to flock together? Secondly Father Aulagnier seems to imply that those who disagree with his opinion and agree with the Superior General and the majority of SSPX members regarding the so-called reconciliation are “yes men”. This is not only insulting it is ludicrous. On the contrary as we will see, the SSPX’s present stand would seem more faithful to the Archbishop.
Now I have not read Father Aulagnier’s French articles I’ve only read the interview in the Wanderer. According to this article, I think we can summarize Father Aulagnier’s arguments in favor of a “reconciliation” in the following way: 1. The danger of schism. 2. His friendship with the “heroic” priests of Campos. 3. “The attitude of Rome is new.” 4. “Additionally I think that there is a danger in seeing this conflict last for ages.” Let us consider these points.
1. The danger of schism.
Our resistance is not rebellion. It is the necessary attitude of Catholics who want to keep the faith when faced with prelates who attack, deny or threaten it. We do not want to become Protestants! We continue to believe in the divinity of Our Lord and His social Kingship, His Church. The fact that we keep the faith and we continue to speak with the Roman authorities shows there is no danger of schism because we still recognize their authority. Dispensations and other ecclesiastical permissions have been sought and received from the Roman authorities. What is in question is not their authority but whether we can trust them or not. It is not just a matter of having a majority in a Roman commission. It is a matter of can we put ourselves under them and trust them to protect our Faith? Unfortunately the present Roman authorities have proven over and over they cannot be trusted, that they have not changed as we will point out later on.
The solution to this crisis will come from Rome when the Roman authorities come back to the integrity of the Faith. But until then we do well to continue our resistance. How long this will take is not our problem but God’s. But we cannot for the sake of a fake unity join those who promote errors, who reduce the Church to a human institution, or simply one religion among others thus destroying it. So we continue Tradition and continue to denounce those who reject it in the name of a new conciliar church. As Archbishop Lefebvre said: by cutting themselves off from the previous popes, the modern Roman authorities are the ones who are schismatic. When Rome returns to the Faith the only matter for discussion will be who will become a bishop and who will he replace?
2. His friendship with the “heroic” priests of Campos.
Friendship is indeed a noble sentiment. But does it come before one’s duty or before one’s Faith. Further, I simply ask the question: Does it take heroic virtue to capitulate in the fight for Tradition in order to obtain recognition? Did it take heroic virtue to renounce their spiritual father, Bishop de Castro Mayer, to abandon and turn against their former comrades in arms? I don’t think so. Is Father Aulagnier also on the verge of choosing between the pre-Vatican II and the post-Vatican II Archbishop Lefebvre? As if there was a difference.
3. The attitude of Rome is new
This is the most unbelievable reason of all. Where has Father Aulagnier been for the past 5 years? Have the modern Roman authorities really changed? Has he forgotten what they have done to the Fraternity of St Peter, which is their own creation? Has he forgotten about the two sacrilegious prayer meetings of Assisi? The last one took place a week after they granted recognition to the “heroic” priests of Campos who did not say a word about it. By the way, hasn’t he noticed how quiet the “heroic” priests of Campos are since they signed their agreement? Doesn’t he know that on May 24 2003, at the same time as Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was offering the traditional Mass in St Mary Major, the Pope was giving the Catholic church of Saints Vincent and Anastasius, which contains the embalmed hearts of 22 popes, to the Bulgarian Orthodox to share? Some change!
He seems to have forgotten what Archbishop Lefebvre knew well and denounced: there are two Romes: Catholic Rome and the neo-modernist Rome. As did Archbishop Lefebvre, we adhere with our whole heart to Catholic Rome but reject the neo-modernist Rome. Catholic Rome has been infiltrated and is occupied by Modernists. This is a fact. The proclamation by Cardinal Castrillon that “The old Roman rite thus conserves in the Church its right of citizenship” is nice but changes nothing. It is perfectly in line with the neo-modernist ecumenism of the neo-modernist Romans, which is: Why not accept also the Mass of St Pius V? We accept everything else.
But we are not looking for acceptance. We will not be happy if at the next Assisi prayer meeting Bishop Fellay stands closer to the Pope than the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama shouldn’t even be there. We hope that at the next prayer meeting at Assisi to pray for peace the Pope will be surrounded by all the Catholic bishops consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is where the true peace is. Encouraging prayers to false gods will not bring peace.
So the words of Archbishop Lefebvre to John Paul II in 1988 are still valid today: “The time for cooperation has not yet come.” Absolutely nothing has changed. The present Roman authorities continue to be faithful to their principles of the new theology, new ecclesiology new evangelization exemplified by the spirit of Vatican II and Assisi in which they want to draw us and of which we want no part.
The SSPX also continues faithful to the Catholic principles transmitted by the Archbishop. “We do not view reconciliation in the same way. Cardinal Ratzinger see it in the sense of bringing us to Vatican II. We see it as the return of Rome to Tradition. We cannot come together. It is a dialogue between the deaf.” For the renewal of the dialogue with Rome “I will raise the question on the doctrinal level: ‘Are you in agreement with the great encyclicals of all the previous popes? Are you in agreement with Quanta cura of Pius IX, Immortale Dei, Libertas of Leo XIII, Pascendi of Pius X, Quas primas of Pius XI, Humani generis of Pius XII? Are you in full communion with these popes and their teaching? Do you still accept the anti-modernist oath? Are you in favor of the social kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ? If you do not accept the doctrine of your predecessors it is useless to talk. As long as you refuse to reform the council in light of the doctrine of these popes who preceded you there is no dialogue possible. It is useless… The opposition between us is not a small thing. It is not sufficient for then to tell us: you can say the old Mass… No the opposition between is not there, it is the doctrine.” 1
4. “I think that there is a danger in seeing this conflict last for ages”.
In my opinion, I think we might see here the real reason for Father Aulagnier’s change. The fight is dragging on. He has been at the center of this fight for over 30 years. Maybe he is tired of the fight! But this is not the first time that a conflict over the faith has lasted for ages. The Arian crisis lasted over 70 years, the papal exile in Avignon 68 years, the great Schism 39 years. Is this a reason to abandon the fight to come to some arrangement? It’s a good thing St Athanasius didn’t get tired of being exiled, threatened, falsely accused, excommunicated etc. He wouldn’t be St Athanasius.
He seems to have forgotten that: “In other times heretics and schismatics left the Church. Today, as St Pius X warned us, they remain to make her evolve from within and to seduce, if it were possible all or part of the flock of the holy bishop… But one does not deal with this kind of enemy all the more so that he is cunning. One does not negotiate with him a false and separate peace. One fights him till the end, strong in his right – Deus vult - God wills it – reminding him of the truths he attacks in vain… Rome knows it made an error, a grave error: the excommunication (against Mgr Lefebvre). How to repair the error? Time will tell. In any case not without a frank return of the hierarchy to the total and integral confession of the catholic faith whole and entire. The day will come when Rome by its conversion will find our serenity.2 Seems like has lost his serenity.
Dear faithful do not lose your serenity, stand calm firm in the unchanging faith of all times. Do not abandon the fight. Sure it is dragging out. But we will win.
As usual we thank you for your continued support and assure you of our daily prayers for you and yours especially during the holy season of Advent and Christmastide. May you all have a happy and blessed Christmas and may the newborn Lord and His holy Mother and St Joseph reward and bless you in the coming year.
With my blessing
Father Jean Violette
1. Fideliter #66 November-December 1988
2. Father Paul Aulagnier Fideliter #65 September-October 1988