Adversus Hæreses: Lefebvrism
©Prax Maskaren. 9th April 2003.
Long ago, immediately after I had left the Antichurch and became a Sedevacantist, in 1993, I allowed myself to be persuaded by a Lefebvrist to visit the SSPX facilty near Nazareth in the deep south. I stayed there for some three or four days before I returned. Before returning I asked Fr. Eric Simonot, the then Superior of the SSPX in India for the logic of recognizing that the post-Conciliar 'popes' are heretics, and yet insisting on recognizing them as legitimate popes, in opposition to Catholic theology. He said that he would not answer. Now his refusal to answer did not absolve me from inquiring to the reasons, and I was forced to confirm my conclusion that the SSPX is schismatic. This is what I wrote in my page on Lefebvrism.
This article is written in response to apologies tendered in favour of Lefebvrism in reply to posts on the Traditionalist Catholics' Club D-List. In this article, I merely intend to refute the arguments made in defence of Lefebvrism. No offense is intended to any particular person; any offensiveness is purely incidental and not intended personally.
In reading the two apologies, one notices that, for people who are vaunted as lovers of the Church and her tradition, they are remarkably ingnorant and poorly informed of Church Teachings, history, precedents, etc. That is something that always makes me suspicious, for the first thing I did was to seek information on Church teaching on these topics, and I found it. I not only read Dr. Coomaraswamy's works on the subject, but I also ransacked my parish library and went atleast once a week to the Diocesan Pastoral Center at Kane Road, Bandra, Bombay, to read books in the library - both pre-Vatican II and post. The late Fr. William Astbury, S.J., at St. Peter's Church, Bandra, helped me much and allowed me access to the Catholic Encyclopedia volumes. I purchased pre and post books at the St. Paul's Press, Bandra and at the Examiner Press, Fort, Bombay. I found a wealth of information. And it should be obvious that Bombay is not exactly integrated with the rest of the world, this being one of those 'Third World Countries' that always are whining about being undeveloped, but which sedulously shirk actual development.
The second thing that one notices about these defences is their recourse to emotionalism over cold reason. Not something that speaks well of the apologist or of his cause, does it?
The culpability of the person occupying St. Peter's Chair is for God to decide and is not for us. According to the Church-Laws, only a Pope can judge another Pope. Also the School of Cardinals are authorised to appeal to the Pope to correct his actions. But today we see this will not happen.
As Catholics, we are bound by Church Teachings. And that teaches us that in the External Forum, we can and must discern the actions and culpabilities of persons and their acts of commission and omission, and act accordingly. We are forbidden from judging in the internal forum, where only God can and does.
Imagine if St. Paul had thought along these lines: "Oh, I can see that brother Peter is doing wrong, alright, when he stopped dining with Gentile Christians. But since only God can judge and since I do not know what is actually going on in Peter's mind, I cannot do anything about it." History, and the Bible would probably be different today!
That 'only a Pope can judge a Pope' is true only of formal judgement in the external forum.
But let us take this extraordinary argument to its logical conclusions.
At one time, there were even three men claiming to be the true pope. Now since we cannot judge the pope, we must necessarily accept and acknowledge all three of them as popes, for only a pope can judge a pope, and we cannot.
If we could, we could judge who is true pope and who is not - precisely what we are told we cannot do in this day and time, arbitarily with regards to Roncalli, Montini, Luciani and Wojtyla.
And going further on this road: Today, there are something like twenty five or more men claiming to be the true pope, including some half a dozen 'Pope Peters II'. And since we cannot judge who is and who is not, we must necessarily accept each and every one of them as being legitimate pope. Have I got that right?
Remember, some of them have got a better moral standing in the eyes of the Catholic Church than Karol Wojtyla. So, if we must follow this idea, we must necessarily accept not just this clownarch, but the whole bunch of papal claimants!
How can there be no Visible Head for the Church? Where will the New Pope come from in the future? Which Cardinals will elect him? Which Bishops will become Cardinals? Who will appoint them as Cardinals? What authority will such a group have? Does Our Lord want us to tinker about like this? Will such a tinkered outfit have any APOSTOLIC Succession or Traditional Legitimacy? Sede Vacantism will End up as a SCHISM, putting people OUTSIDE the Arc of Salvation. It has already done so!
When I first realized in 1993 that the 'crisis' in the Church was no crisis at all, but stagemanaged, created and cultivated by Roncalli and company, continuing under Karol Wojtyla, I faced this same dilemma. So I studied. Now one of the most remarkable and easily accessible sources of Catholic teaching is the Catholic Encyclopedia, and I literally went through the volumes one by one. Today, I am aware that it is also on the net, at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen. In this, I found articles, principally, on the Election of the Popes, Papal Elections, the Council of Constance; the three articles which give the relevant information on Church Teaching.
Now this is in itself a large topic which I cannot cover here and in short. Therefore I refer readers to access these articles for themselves, or at my website, at http://www.geocities.com/orthopapism
However, as an relevant subject, I would suggest that readers look up the subject of Conclavism, a movement thrown up by Catholics in response to these Church Teachings. And one Conclavist site that I could refer to is St. Gabriel's.
Conclavism follows the logical course that makes one, first of all, a Sedevacantist. It follows the logical course to seek the election of a pope by the ALTERNATIVE means taught by the Church, its theologians, doctors, confessors, popes, etc. over the ages.
The ignorance that exists in Lefebvrist circles is extraordinary and surprising.
And the insulting insinuation to 'tinkering' is totally uncalled for.
It is good to remember that Our Lord appointed St. Peter as Pope before His Passion. Our Lord JESUS knew that St. Peter will disown Him in the future and still ordained him as the first Pope. Then our Lord prayed for the Pope, "Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren." (Lk.22:32) Our Lord asks St. Peter to confirm his brethren inspite of his impending fall, for St. Peter was the Pope. St. John who witnessed the fall of the first Pope also didn't disown St. Peter!!
I would like to see Church pronouncement on this claim that Peter was constituted Pope at the time when our Lord made His promise to him, at Matt. 16:18. I, for myself, going merely by the grammatical understanding of the text believe otherwise. Our Lord said, "I will," or "I shall" and it is distorting to pretend that by this He actually did it at the very moment He pronounced these words of promise. But my understanding and I think that it is Church Teaching is that Peter actually received his office only at the moment of his formal restoration to Divine Favour, when our Lord, post-Resurrection, after asking him, "Peter, lovest thou me?" and procuring the response, "Thou knowest that I lovest Thee," said, "Feed my sheep," "Feed my lambs," "Feed my sheep."
At Fatima our Holy Mother repeatedly asked us to "Pray for the Pope." Did we listen to Her? Have we obeyed Her atleast now? Did She not know that all these Calamities will befall the Church in our times? Yes. SHE knew everything and predicted every thing for us and still She said, "Pray for the Pope." (SSPX prays for Pope in every Holy Mass) She did not ask us to fabricate a Pope!
I do not know from where this thing about our Lady 'predicting everything for us' comes from. And I, from a purely Catholic viewpoint, give prominence and supremacy to Holy Public Revelation, subordinating any and all Private Revelation to it.
But, now, if we accept this argument, we must posit that at Fatima, our Lady promulgated a New Revelation that abrogated and superceded that given previously and which ended with the last Apostle. Echoes of Vatican II, which also pretends to be a NEW PENTECOST, instituting a NEW DOCTRINE?
The remark, 'She did not ask us to fabricate a Pope' is purely an insult and has its basis in nothing more than sheer ignorance of Catholic Teachings down the ages. It is not those who choose to be faithful to the declared and unobfuscated teachings of the Church and her theologians and doctors and confessors and popes down the ages who are fabricating themselves a pope, but the Lefebvrists, who desperately seek to portray a ravening devil as a legitimate pope.
A Pope is needed to fulfill Her order of Collegial Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, so that today's abominations could be thrown out.
See my answers as above.
The Pope is needed to obey our Lady so that the 'HOLY MASS of All Times' is unfettered to facilitate our salvation.
I have already answered this in bulk. However, it remains that Divine Revelation prophecies that the Holy Mass will be for a time unavailable. So, how does this jell with that prophecy?
It is the manifestation of the Divine guidance, that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre avoided the Sede-vacantist pit-fall. The poor souls who unwittingly left the fold on this point must return immediately to this Firm ground.
SSPX, following in the foot-steps of Archbishop Lefebvre will not do another Campos, for the SSPX has been selected by Providence to preserve the 'HOLY MASS of All Times' and provide for the 'Continuance of the Apostolic Tradition'.
It is bad enough that Lefebvrists should think in this way about their founder, Marcel Lefebvre, it is much worse that they should parrot the same thing in public. This smacks of a cult member's brainwashed mind.
I ask, Taking purely Catholic Teaching for our starting point, what is the basis of such a claim being made Marcel Lefebvre or Thuc or des Lauriers or Shuckhardt or Vezelis or any particular person, for that matter? This transgresses all limits of Catholic thought!
The cultist might rue that some choose to stop playing these mind-charades and start awakening to reality and leave, and they may petulantly demand as much as they desire that all come and join them, but that should not bother us at all, should it?
But the Lefebvrist is so much infected with this cultitis, that he sincerely believes this Lefebvrist bit of presumption and arrogance that the 'SSPX will not do another Campos' and that it has been selected by Providence to preserve the Holy Mass and provide for the perpetuation of Apostolic Tradition.
What can be the basis of this presumptive and arrogant self-conceit, if not presumption and arrogance purely in itself?
As for the Campos Lefebvrists, certainly like the SSSP (Sacerdotal Society of St. Peter) which pioneered this rapprochement with the Antichurch and its clownarch, they too had, prior to their rapprochement, affirmed mightily that they would not do precisely what they have now gone and done.
The Lefebvrists may delude themselves that they are some divine cult with a hotline to God, but they are on the same path of self-destruction. And, as is commonsense, it is this cult's arrogance, self-conceit and presumption that will pave the way for its fall!
In a family if the Head, the elderly Father contracts a sinful, a wasteful habit and become a slave of that habit how should his responsible children react? Is the matter settled if they all say, "You are no more my Father"? Does his Paternity roll-back? Just because they said it, will he cease to be their Father? Can he cease to be one even if he wishes? We almost have a similar situation with our Holy Father. We must accept him to be in the Catholic Church.
Sad, sad. It is very sad that this old, hackneyed and foolish argument, long refuted and consigned to the garbage can, keeps on being pulled out and forced to walk the streets and to seek to deceive souls even now!
But since it is, here goes once again!
We have had bad popes. Some of them really, really bad. Some of them just foolish once in awhile. Like Peter, who dissembled at Antioch when Jewish Christians came from James of Jerusalem. Like numerous popes who had liasions and mistresses, or even worse, committed adultery. Foisted their illegitimate sons on the Church and its patrimony. Or the numerous popes who foisted their nephews on the Church. And so on and on.
Now bad enough as these were, they never did constitute heresy and schism, but only moral wrongs. And so, Catholics were only obliged to refuse to accept these actions and to rebuke bad popes, but had no moral justification for withdrawing allegiance on the ground that the particular pope had committed schism and so was no longer pope.
However, it is a fact that popes did come perilously close at times, were rebuked and corrected themselves.
In the clownarchs of the Antichurch, on the contrary, what we have are not immoral Catholics, but incontrovertible public and manifest heretics. And Church law is clear on the point that none of these four clownarchs had ever legitimately become pope, or could, for that matter.
Certainly, it is opposite and contrary to Catholic doctrine, teaching and law to force ourselves to accept such a public and manifest heretic as being 'within the Church.' Such is nothing more than a grievous and deliberate act of mortal sin and also an act of contumacious schism!
It's a relief to know that one of us finally has it ALL figured out. Tell me, though... by what authority or insight do you judge the state of souls that attend the Lefebvrist Churches, or even the N.O.? Where does the accountability lie with those that go to those places? How do you define that?
The above was stated by the second apologist for Lefebvrism. Now, in reading this second apology, one notices immediately that while the first made emotionalist demands only once or twice, this second apology is shot-through with it...
But to answer: We judge, or rather discern, as commanded by the Church, and according to its criteria, in the External Forum. Our Authority is the Authority of the Church itself, in so far as we keep within the safe boundaries set by the Church.
But it is interesting that the same argument is being made here that the New Church makes for itself. That is, 'on what basis do we judge?' Of course, this is only asked when we challenge it for permitting a woman to preside, or woman priests, or a homosexual to attend, or an infamous heretic openly teaching without any rebuke from his superiors. And so on and on.
Interesting that the thinking of the Antichurch and of its faction, Lefebvrism, is so alike...! Interesting that both baul out that their 'liberty' is being encroached upon when we challenge their wrongdoing!
I don't know if there are any NO or perhaps fence sitting people viewing this site who may be considering the Trad. Mass as the way to go... but I'm reasonably sure that your sharp and arbitrary classifcations of people will do nothing to build the Traditional movement or appeal to people's hearts, which is ultimately where the true faith must be firmly rooted. Perhaps Saint Paul said it best "...but if I have not charity, I have nothing."
We all call ourselves Traditionalists and we flatter ourselves as being better than the New Church and its Ecumenist sewage. And yet we are zealous, not for the truth, but that we should be ecumenical among our own varying schools of thought, rather than insisting upon full and complete adherence to the incontrovertible teachings of the Church over the ages.
Well, here's news: Catholicism was never about Populism!
We do not seek to appeal to the heart as much as to the mind, and to the soul. And, more than anything else, the truth is not up for compromise!
Charity is not about countenancing prostitution, whether physical or spiritual! It is not about conniving at evil. It is not about refusing to rebuke one's brother when he is doing wrong.