March-April 2006 - District Superior's Letter
Father Violette urges the faithful to take no heed to unsubstantiated information and to listen to the information actually provided by the superiors which God has placed over them. Bishop Fellay's meetings with the Pope and Cardinal Castrillon are described herein.
The infernal enemy seeks to divide, then conquer
It is easy to tell when something important is going to happen. The devil who always “lies in wait for her heel” (Gen.: 3, 15) may have lost the war but he is still fighting every battle. He tries either to prevent the good from being done and if he is not able to prevent it, he at least tries to diminish it. Clearly the devil is pulling all the stops to insinuate doubts, hesitations; create confusion and division in view of the upcoming General Chapter of the SSPX. His purpose is to divide and conquer. If he can divide the traditional movement he will ruin it since a house divided cannot stand. He has of course as in all his attacks associates who carry out his work.
Tactic: Spread rumours and confusion
One of his favourite tactics is to spread rumours. Many of you have read or heard the rumours circulating about H. E. Bishop Fellay and Reverend Father Franz Schmidberger: how they have had secret meetings with Vatican authorities and how they have already sold out the SSPX and the traditionalist movement by secret accords with Rome, and will deliver the SSPX to Rome at Easter; how Bishop Fellay has a direct telephone line to the Pope, etc. Those who spread these rumours are the enemies of the traditional movement and do the devil’s work.
Pay no heed to websites that provide unsubstantiated information
Much of this garbage emanates from a tabloid style website called Traditio and of one who calls himself “Fr Moderator”, whoever this person may be. If he has any proof of what he advances let him bring it forward. It is easy to hide behind anonymity and anonymous sources. The method used is simple: defame and discredit others by rumours and insinuations. Is it jealousy, is it boredom or is it just simply evil? As Catholics, it is obvious we cannot use the same tactics against our opponents.
Take heed to what the superiors are actually saying
Bishop Fellay and Fr Schmidberger obviously do not need me to defend them. But I still write in case some of you might be troubled by these calumnious allegations and to give you the real story. Last month Fr Schmidberger visited Canada giving a series of conferences about the situation. I also heard Bishop Fellay last February in Winona. Neither of them sounded like they were about to compromise. On the contrary it sounded like they have a good grasp of the situation and are standing firm before Rome.
Superior General received by Pope and Cardinal Hoyos
As you know, on August 29, Benedict XVI accompanied by Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of Ecclesia Dei Commission, who has been explicitly chosen by the Pope to deal with us, received Bishop Fellay and Fr Schmidberger in audience at Castel Gandolfo. The audience lasted 35 minutes. The main difficulty between the Society and Rome, which was brought up by the Pope, is the question of the acceptance of the Council, interpreted in the light of the living Tradition, the only permissible interpretation. The Holy Father also spoke on a more practical level saying: “I understand that you require a structure to protect you…” Seeing Cardinal Castrillón’s haste “to solve the problem,” Mgr Fellay expressed that things could not move so quickly and that it was necessary to proceed by stages. The idea of stages was retained in the statement issued after the audience.
On September 3, Bishop Fellay sent a letter to Benedict XVI thanking him for the interview and to point out clearly our differences regarding the Council, because it is obvious that this will be the greatest obstacle during this pontificate.
Another meeting with Cardinal Hoyos
On November 15, Bishop Fellay, accompanied by Fr Nély, the district superior for Italy, met Cardinal Castrillón in his apartments. He was accompanied by two secretaries. The discussion lasted approximately five hours. Wrote Mgr Fellay: This discussion was one of the most interesting that we have had up to now. We were able to develop our objections, presenting with more precision what we expect from Rome: we are wary of Rome and if Rome wants to arrange things, it must start by regaining our trust. This could be done only by concrete acts. Words are not enough. These acts would be, on the one hand, passing judgment on errors, and taking disciplinary and liturgical stances. On the other hand, and in a more positive way, the Church will not overcome the crisis if it does not again support Catholic traditional life in all its amplitude: teaching (doctrines, Faith, Catholic schools), the traditional liturgy focusing the Church on Our Lord, sacrifice and the spirit of sacrifice, morals and discipline, religious life, etc.
Vatican II remains the stumbling block
The main point of discord is and remains the acceptance of Vatican II. As long as this is required of us it is impossible to come to any understanding. As Archbishop Lefebvre said to the then Cardinal Ratzinger since Vatican II: “We are going in opposite directions.” This is why there is not a question of negotiations. As I’ve said many times, we have nothing to negotiate. The question of an apostolic administration or whatever other structure was brought forward by Rome, not by us. Nothing concrete has ever been proposed. On the contrary, the concrete acts we have asked for and continue to ask as a sign that we can trust the Roman authorities, before things go further, are two: freedom for the Mass for all priests and that the so-called excommunication be rescinded. I do not say lifted because it was never incurred. The SSPX and those who adhere to Tradition are not the problem!
Cardinal Hoyos: "Mass never abolished"
In an interview to the Italian Magazine “30 Days” last September, which went almost unnoticed and unmentioned by the media and the Episcopal chanceries around the world, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, confirmed that “the mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished” and the Episcopal consecrations of 1988 “was not a formal schism”. “The Fraternity has always recognized in John Paul II, and now in Benedict XVI, the legitimate successor of Saint Peter. That is not a problem.” Therefore the prohibition of the Mass of St Pius V is not legitimate and no indult or special permission is necessary to say it. Also the so-called schism does not exist and the resulting so-called excommunication is without foundation. We’ve known it all along, but it is good to hear someone in such high authority in Rome say so openly. When we ask for the 2 conditions mentioned above we simply ask for justice. Is this too much to ask for from Rome?
Purpose of these meetings
The purpose of the meetings continues to be the purpose of Archbishop Lefebvre when he met with the Roman authorities: witness to the faith, to restate the Catholic teaching and help them return to the integrity of the faith by clearing their minds of the new philosophy and theology which is responsible for Vatican II and its reforms, especially ecumenism. This is what Bishop Fellay continues, faithful to the Archbishop. Obviously the sedevacantists, who do not believe we have a pope, find it useless to have relations with one whom they do not recognize. But that is their problem. Father Schmidberger dealt with sedevacantism in his conference.
So the fight is far from over and it seems there is another enemy trying to divide. Continue to pray. Again I ask you to offer your first Friday and first Saturday devotions for the General Chapter which will be held in July. Offer your Lenten sacrifices for the Church, the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops. It is very important that we not only pray, but also make many sacrifices. Be assured of our prayers and sacrifices for all of you. Wishing you all a joyful and blessed Easter.
With my blessing,
Fr. Jean Violette