March 2001 - District Superior's Letter

In these relations with Rome and with offers of a practical solution, rumors and other false information circulates because we pay attention to it. In this letter the question as to why we have relations with Rome at all is answered. During Lent pray and offer up sacrifices not only for the Society but for the Church.

Dear Faithful,

SSPX discussions with Rome; pay no heed to rumors
By now all of you have heard about the discussions between Rome and the SSPX.  I have read all kinds of ridiculous, and pompous declarations concerning this; how the SSPX is going to betray, turn everything over to Rome etc.  It’s odd how people who have no idea of what is going on can make up all kinds of stories and suppositions and rumors. What is going on?

It seems that indeed the Roman authorities were so impressed with our pilgrimage last August that they want to find some solution for these “5000 excommunicated” who went to Rome to pray for the Pope and the Church.  Following our pilgrimage cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, mandated by the Pope to find some solution, had a first contact with the SSPX bishops. This was reported in one of Bishop Williamson’s letters.  More meetings followed between the cardinal and Bishop Fellay.  In January of this year the general council and the 3 other SSPX bishops met with a representative of Bishop Rangel of Brazil to discuss how to deal with this new situation.

This situation is a new one.  Rome being the instigator of the proceedings it is normal that the SSPX examine it seriously.  But seeing what cardinal Castrillon Hoyos himself has just done to the Fraternity of St Peter and seeing that Rome is continuing with its post-conciliar attitude how can we trust them?  Bishop Fellay told the cardinal that if anything ever transpired from these meetings we want guaranties that we will not be ensnared like the FSSP.  He asked for two signs on the part of Rome which would give us some proof of their good will: first that the traditional Mass be made free for all priests all over the world without any restrictions i.e. the simple application of St Pius V’s Bull Quo Primum and secondly the withdrawal of the censures against the our bishops. Recently I’ve just received news that Bishop Fellay had stopped the talks because Cardinal Hoyos while making available interesting terms to the SSPX did not deal adequately with the 2 requests especially the first one: freedom for the Mass.  It was to be expected in a way.

But then why even talk to them?
Firstly to affirm the truth of the Catholic faith in Rome.  This is why Archbishop Lefebvre never refused to go to Rome.  The truth must be affirmed above all in Rome, to all these modernists who occupy the seats of authority in Rome.  Let no one be under any illusion.  These talks do not signal a return of Rome to tradition.  The corruption of minds is so deep, the belief in Vatican II so firm as proven by the declaration Dominus Jesus of cardinal Ratzinger last year and the Lutheran Accord of 1999 and the continuing ecumenism.  It will take time for them to return, to accept they have made a mistake.

Secondly, no matter what any one says, the solution to the present crisis will come from Rome.  It will not come from Ecône, nor from America, or from the UK, from France nor from the traditional clergy getting together to elect a pope.  The end of the present crisis will come when the Roman authorities, present or future, return to the faith and it will happen one day.  When? We don’t know, but it will happen.  We have a duty to do what we can to bring this about were it only to bear witness to the truth.

Thirdly it is a chance for us to state clearly our positions.  These talks are not really a negotiation, search for an agreement.  When there is question of an agreement there is a question of bargaining, of give and take.  When it comes to the faith there is no agreement possible.  Such is the case here.  We are not bargaining.  We want to speak about doctrine, we want them to accept us as we are or not at all.  They want to speak about unity, probably aware of the contradiction of their attitude towards us when they bend over backwards for the Lutherans and Orthodox.  It may all come to nothing; it may happen that they are not ready to accept us as we are.  Then we will simply continue has we have done for the past 30 years until God sees fit to change the minds of those in authority.

Fourthly we must not think that the Modernists’ return to tradition will be instantaneous, it could be if Our Lord so decided, but chances are it will not.  It will take time; the war will still go on.  But the restoration has to start sometime.  I think it would certainly be a start if Rome did recognize us as we are.  If the so-called excommunications were retracted we would be free to continue our work and people would no longer be scared away by lies.  But this can only come without compromise.  The SSPX wants absolutely nothing to do with the new Mass and other modern errors nor do we want to be muzzled.

We want to keep our freedom not only to continue our apostolate but also to fight the modern errors including the new Mass, ecumenism, religious freedom, collegiality to name a few. Recently a new study on the new Mass by some of our priests was completed and was given to Cardinal Hoyos, Ratzinger and Medina and other dignitaries in Rome.  The Ottaviani intervention showed how the new Mass departed from the teaching of the Catholic Church on the Mass, this new study shows where the new Mass is going, what it is built on: a totally new theology of redemption which is not Catholic, it is barely Protestant!  So the SSPX has no intention of modifying its principles and line of conduct.

During Lent pray and make sacrifices
Dear faithful it is providential that these events happen as we enter the Lenten season.  Certainly this intention is worthy of our prayers and sacrifices.  It is essential that we keep before our eyes the big picture.  What is at stake is not just our little Mass centers  and the SSPX but the Catholic Church, millions of souls who are lead astray by the scandals coming from Rome and the diocesan chanceries all over the world. I wonder if most of our faithful are not becoming too complacent and comfortable.  I fear many have lost the fighting spirit.

Lent is a time to rekindle this spirit.  Lent is as much a part of the Catholic faith as the Blessed Sacrament, the Immaculate Conception and the seven sacraments.  It is a time to prove we are Catholics, not just in words but also in deeds by our good works of prayer, penance, alms and retirement from the world.  It is therefore a time of great grace, a time of payers: the rosary, daily Mass, the Way of the Cross, a retreat, a good general confession etc; a time of penance: fasting and abstinence are still the mind of the Church for the 40 days or at least a few days each week; a time of charitable works: alms for the poor, for the missions, for our schools by supporting St Joseph’s Bursary or Fr le Roux’s recent appeal; a time for fleeing the world: TV, radio, sports, video games, Internet, movies, parties.  We must purify ourselves and unburden ourselves of our sins if we want to be pleasing to God and ask Him to hear our prayers.

“Let us Catholics remember that amidst the great religious movement which is now going on, it is our duty to be not only most firm in our faith, but also most zealous in the observance of the laws of the Church, such for example Lent. The apostolate of example will produce its fruits; and if a mere handful of Christians was to the Roman empire like that leaven of which our Saviour speaks, and which leavened the whole mass, what results might we not expect in a country like our own, which has retained so much Catholic practice and doctrine if the Catholics themselves were but zealous in the exercise of their duties.” [1]

Be assured of our gratitude and our daily prayers for you and all your intentions especially at the daily Rosary which is offered for all our friends & benefactors.  As usual the monthly Mass for friends & benefactors will be offered on the last Sunday of the month. 

With my blessing

Father Jean Violette



[1] The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger Vol. 5 Lent, p. 161