September 2005 - District Superior's Letter
The Society makes a pilgrimage of reparation to Fatima, Portugal where Our Lady appeared in 1917. Twenty seven Canadians and 65 Americans joined the pilgrimage. We received an ice-cold Novus Ordo welcome. Rome considers the relations with the Society purely as a matter of discipline whereas it's also and more importantly a question of doctrine.
SSPX pilgrimage of reparation to Fatima
No doubt you now all know about the SSPX’s pilgrimage of reparation to Fatima. Bishop Fellay invited traditional Catholics from around the world to Fatima to make reparation for the scandalous and sacrilegious inter-faith prayer meeting with the Buddhist which took place earlier this year. About 3000 were present from all over the world: Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America.
Suffice it to say, we received a novus ordo welcome
I accompanied a group of 27 Canadians and 65 Americans. The Canadian contingent left Toronto on August 18th and returned on the 30th. We arrived in Portugal on the 19th and our first stop was in Santarem, the site of a Eucharistic miracle in the 13th century. After Mass celebrated by Father Somerville, we left for Fatima. I will not go into all the details of our stay, as you can read them in John Vennari’s article in Catholic Family News. Suffice it to say we received a novus ordo welcome. Again Bishop Fellay had to offer the pontifical high Mass in a field on Sunday. On Monday 22nd, after Mass the clergy and faithful processed to the Shrine. After the Shrine authorities had given permission for our coming they tried to stop or at least disrupt our prayers. We were not agitating against Rome, against the Pope or the Shrine’s rector. There were no speeches. We were a group of 3000 ecclesiastics and faithful praying the Rosary! What else do you do in Fatima? But I guess our purpose of offering reparation did not sit well with them. This was good for all to experience. First, Our Lord tells us to rejoice when we are persecuted for His name. Secondly, if any one has any thought about the fight between tradition and modernism being over this would have opened their eyes. Interesting to note that while we were praying the Rosary at Fatima and making the act of reparation an earthquake shook Rome.
On Tuesday 23rd, we left for Burgos Spain where we visited the beautiful cathedral and stayed overnight. We left for Lourdes where we arrived on the 24th and stayed for 2 days. On the 26th, we left for Avignon to visit the palace of the Popes when they were in exile in the 1300’s, a sad period in the history of the Church. Saturday we visited a place called Notre Dame de l’Osier or Our Lady of the Willow with a beautiful basilica in the middle of nowhere! That’s France. It was the site of an apparition of our Lady to a Protestant man who converted. That evening we were in Ars to visit the Curé, St John Mary Vianney. His incorrupt body is on display in the basilica. On Sunday morning we left for Paray-le-Monial where the Sacred Heart appeared to St Margaret Mary asking for reparation for sacrileges against the Bl. Sacrament. In the afternoon we stopped in Nevers to venerate the incorrupt body of St Bernadette, who saw Our Lady at Lourdes. That evening we were in Paris. On Monday, we went to Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle, Mass at St Nicolas du Chardonnet which is the SSPX church in Paris. In the afternoon we visited la Rue du Bac where our Lady appeared to St Catherine Labouré and gave her the Miraculous Medal. St Catherine’s body is also incorrupt and can be venerated by the faithful. After we went to see St Vincent de Paul whose body is also incorrupt. Then the bus drivers took us for a spin around the main sites of Paris. We only had one day in Paris which is a shame as there is much to see both religious and historical. But we ended up at the foot of the Eiffel Tower where many pictures were taken of course. We returned to Canada on Tuesday the 30th, exhausted but happy. I’m sure everyone’s faith in the Catholic Church and the means of sanctification was confirmed at the site of the apparitions, miracles and incorrupt bodies.
Relations with Rome
As you also know Bishop Fellay accompanied by Father Schmidberger were received in audience by Pope Benedict XVI who was accompanied by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, head of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. I’m sure many of you have read on the Internet all the armchair experts and theologians who were predicting the collapse of the SSPX. Bishop Fellay simply presented the Pope with another statement of our positions notably the two pre-conditions for the lifting of the ban on the traditional Mass and acknowledging the right of all priests to offer it without special permission or indult and the retraction of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops. We do not want a universal indult. An indult or special permission is not necessary. An indult means that the Mass was abrogated and that they had the right to take it away from us. The Mass was never abrogated and they have no right to take it away from us. The retraction of the so-called excommunication against the bishops because even according to the 1983 code of canon law, when something is done out of necessity there is no penalty. Either the law applies or it does not. If it applies to them it applies to us also. So our Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer and our 4 bishops were never excommunicated. They agreed to continue the meetings.
Not simply a question of discipline
But as Father Schmidberger said in an interview the solution to the problem does not appear to be months away but years away. The theological points which oppose us are not minor details; they are matters of faith not merely disciplinary. The constant effort to make us accept Vatican II and the new mass, the ongoing ecumenical scandals do not bode well. Nor can we accept to be looked upon as returning to the Church we never left. To accept what they call, the “restoration to full communion” would mean to accept we left the Church, that we created a schism, which of course we do not accept. You cannot create a schism by keeping the Faith! We are in full communion with the Church. It would also mean that we were wrong in resisting the novelties of Vatican II many times condemned by the previous Popes. If we were wrong they were wrong. This is not possible. Our positions are what they taught nothing else. This is why we can be sure of our positions. If it were only our opinions then fine. But the faith is not matter of opinion as Benedict XVI himself said while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. This is why the discussions we want to have are not negotiations. One cannot negotiate the faith.
So we need to continue being patient. We know the solution will come from Rome, when the Roman authorities return to the fullness of the Catholic faith.
Continue to pray and sacrifice for this intention. When enough Rosaries have been said and enough sacrifices made our Lady will see fit to have the Pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the crisis will end. Be assured of my grateful daily prayers for you and yours.
With my blessing,
Fr. Jean Violette