From thearchives - Published from 1982-96, Fidelity magazine was the predecessor of Culture Wars.
Letters on “The Society of St. Pius the Tenth Gets Sick”
From the December 1992 issue of Fidelity magazine
(These letters responded to the October 1992 Fidelity article, The Society of St. Pius the Tenth Gets Sick, by Thomas W. Case. Included are letters from Frs. Ramon Angles, headmaster of St. Mary's College and Academy, and Peter Scott, District Superior of the United States for the Society of St. Pius the Tenth, and Mr. Cases’ responses.)
Their True Colors
This letter is written in response to your article on the problems surrounding the Society of St Pius X (SSPX). To begin with, I disagree with the conclusions drawn by Mr. Case in regard to the status of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the current status of the Society. I have attended Masses of the Society for more than 16 years. Nothing has ever led me to believe that Archbishop Lefebvre was validly excommunicated for any wrongdoing. What he did was follow his conscience in what he felt was necessary for the preservation of 2,000 years of Catholic Tradition.
Neither do I believe that the Society of St Pius X is currently schismatic, excommunicated or a cult. However, I do believe that, not the Society as a whole, but a few individuals within the Society, have taken certain actions which could possibly be grounds for schism to them personally.
Also, while I do not see the Society as a Cult, I do see a ''cultic" attitude which seems to be growing among a portion of the clergy as well as a good number of those who attend their Masses. Nowhere else is their cultic attitude better displayed than here in the town of St Mary's.
Your article caused an uproar which in my opinion got them to show their true colors. In other words, your article caused a reaction among SSPX followers which proved that, while the Society is not a cult, many of its followers treat it as if it were.
For example, one traditionalist here was overheard to say, in response to your attacks on Father Ramon Angles "I would go to Hell for that man." What kind of a twisted mind it must take to make such a statement. I am a Roman Catholic and my loyalty goes to Our Lord God and the Roman Catholic Church, not an individual priest.
As for the charges made against Fr Angles, they have all been totally dismissed as complete lies by the congregation as well as the authorities here. Sorry to say, but I knew from firsthand experience that many of these accusations are not falsehoods, but, are, indeed, fact. I have seen with my own eyes a Nazi ceremonial dagger in Fr. Angles' office. Though I did not attend, I was invited along with another boy, by Fr Angles, to watch the Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will. I know personally three persons who were refused Communion by Fr. Angles. I personally saw, and read, portions of the menacing letter which states that anyone who crosses Fr. Angles meets with tragedy. I personally know several people who were denounced from the pulpit on false accusations at Sunday Mass.
The life purpose of a priest is to administer as many of the sacraments to the faithful as possible in order to save souls. It is well-known, however, that Fr. Angles does not have this attitude with regard to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It is true that he has willingly performed a few marriages in the past few years, but it is widely known throughout this town that, for the most part, he avoids performing marriages and even refuses to do them.
I have also been told by a few seminarians that Bishop Williamson has this same attitude towards women's confessions.
These problems have been brought to the attention of the authorities within the Society and they have refused to act. The only way these problems will be solved is to force the authorities within the Society to act by going public with the truth. This is what I have done in my own small way. I do this because it is my moral obligation to do so.
I will probably be persecuted and shunned for what I write here, but it is the truth, and, if I'm persecuted for telling the truth, then, so be it.
Mark Gianelloni -- St. Mary's Kansas
Fidelity: Satan's "Black Agent"
Under the general title of "The Society of St. Pius X Gets Sick," the October issue of Fidelity Magazine publishes a dossier about the works of the Society of St. Pius X in the United States. The author, a Thomas W. Case, dedicates pages 40 and 41 to St. Mary's College, the Academies and the parish, and very particular mention is also made of yours truly.
The Homeric laughs which resulted from my public reading of the article before the college and high school students, as well as the general feeling of outrage which spreads throughout St. Mary's while I am writing these lines, seems to suggest that I must not take any personal action and leave my parishioners and students to answer if they wish to do so. But, since the charges are as false as serious, and since the power of the media is tremendous, I believe it would be good to make a written declaration for the private orientation of the friends and benefactors of St. Mary's who could be confused and who require an explanation.
1) The American flag is present in the chapel, in the classrooms, at every public event which takes place in St. Mary's. The National Anthem is solemnly sung at every academic ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance is said every morning by all the American students, a patriotic hymn is sung and a prayer said for the welfare of America, before the magnificent flagpole which Fr. Angles erected last year to honor "American icons" (see the different issues of our alumni bulletin Alma Mater). The students are taught to love, respect and defend, even with their blood, their country as a duty of piety and Justice.
2) Fr. Angles teaches in his college classes, and maintains in public and private, that both monarchy or republic are acceptable forms of government, providing they safeguard the rights of Christ the King and His Church on earth. Fr. Angles does not revere Hitler; he does not want him "rehabilitated," nor does he consider him a model for anyone. He does not have even one Nazi object; his family does not own anything related to the Nazi dictator. He neither shows, nor owns, any Nazi movies and he never heard about Riefenstahl, nor has he visited South America in his life.
3) Children are happy and very satisfied in St. Mary's. State departments (Health. Social Rehabilitation Services) visit the campus regularly, check the employees' files and the teachers' credentials, talk privately to the students and make sure that no abuse of any kind takes place. The Children of Mary is a wonderful group of girls directed by the Sisters in spiritual works.
In 1990-91, eight students were expelled and seven left on bad terms because their parents disliked our educational system. The expulsions were for faults such as possession and exhibition of pornographic material sexually explicit, written obscenities concerning priests and sisters, gross disrespect towards teachers, use of tobacco products in dangerous areas. . . all completely justified in our handbook, which parents receive and sign in conformity every year.
Fr. Angles has never refused Holy Communion, not even once, since his arrival in 1989. The stories about the child in the snow, the woman condemned for using pants and the children being raised against their parents are absolute fabrications without the slightest touch with reality.
4) The story about the child, the mother and the doctor is completely false. Please call the town physicians if you need further information: Dr. Seeley and Dr. Carroll. Dr. Carroll's children attend the academy. Regarding the implicit accusation of lack of academic or social preparation in our students, you can read my previous letters mentioning their many awards in national tests as well as their excellent performance in standardized tests, recognized with university scholarships for our Seniors.
5) I never heard about this Sandy Cossette, her daughter or family. Another absolute falsehood.
6) The only house burned in St. Mary's since I arrived was the apartment occupied by my friend Mrs. Eleanor Chavez, our teacher of Spanish. I brought her to St. Mary's and she remains on our staff. You can contact her at the Academy address or telephone during business hours. As for the menacing letter from the administration, never was such a letter nor any similar one sent.
7) The local gun dealer, Mr. Terence MacGuire, informs me that he, and not a Fr. Angles crony, indeed purchased 15 non-automatic rifles for his shop. The whole reference to a sort of Fr. Angles posse is a total lie, from beginning to end.
All this Is written on my priestly honor and having as witness the God who will Judge me one day.
Fidelity Magazine dishonors itself with the publication of such an absurd and abominable article, unworthy of a Catholic paper. Thomas W. Case has written a collection of calumnies which indicate his pitiful indulgence of professional skills as well as his total vacuum of essential ethics.
Since this vile slander will certainly hurt our reputation, I ask you to pray for the wonderful work of the Society at St. Mary's, that the one who is, here the Queen and Mother, will crush the head of the Father of lies the ones of his black agents.
Father Ramon Angles -- Rector and Headmaster -- St. Mary's College and Academy --St. Mary's, Kansas
Mr. Case responds:
When I researched The Society of St. Pius X Gets Sick, I tried to get my sources to reveal their names. Most of them refused, primarily because they were afraid of retribution. Around St. Mary's several people said they were afraid of their houses being burned down. I think those fears are exaggerated, but the fact that so many people are intimidated by Fr. Angles and his loyal followers illustrates the sick atmosphere of the town. One person told me that everyone feels like he is being watched.
In order to answer Fr. Angles flat-out denials of just about everything I wrote about St. Mary's, I went back to my sources and was able to get some of them to go public. Some have also agreed to write letters to the editor of Fidelity verifying the information revealed in the article.
1) Former St. Mary's Academy high school student Joe Souther confirms that teachers and Society priests in classroom situations would often run down the American form of government, teach that the U.S. Constitution was the product of a Protestant/Masonic plot - or claim that the U.S. government was evil in its birth because it did not establish the Catholic Church as the National Church. Another recently graduated high school student, Ted Remark, confirms that these things were taught in his religion classes by Society priests and seminarians who had been sent down from Winona. The remark about the Statue of Liberty being a French prostitute was related by another student in one of the classes.
These St. Mary's teachings are right in line with the position of U.S. District Superior, Father Peter Scott. In a letter to William Grossklas, of Elmhurst, Illinois, [see link in Navigation Bar at left - About Site Originator] (May 5, 1992), Fr. Scott says in answer to Mr. Grossklas' defense of the U.S. Constitution: "The question is simply a question of whether the American Constitution is Catholic or not. And if it is not Catholic, as it is manifestly not, then how could you dare to argue that 'In the makeup of this government there is nothing incompatible with the rights of the Church.' Excuse me, but the American government, like all our other modern liberal democracies, recognizes none of the rights of the Church, for it is does (sic) not recognize the Catholic Church as the unique Mystical Body of Christ."
Having school children recite the Pledge of Allegiance "to the Republic..." (that Republic which is founded on the U.S. Constitution), when the Society's viewpoint is that of the above, is disingenuous at best.
(2) Ted Remark and Joe Souther also confirm that, according to teachers at the Academy, the Untied States should be a "Catholic Monarchy." An eighth grader was taught the same thing, according to a parent in Omaha. Ted Remark and Joe Souther were the two young men who watched the Nazi propaganda films Triumph of the Will, in Fr. Angles' private office on campus, in May 1990. All particulars of that event, as noted in my article, are confirmed by both of these students. A third student tells me he was also invited to watch the film, but declined the invitation.
Joe Souther recalls Fr. Angles telling him about Hitler's Mercedes owned by Angles' family. A further confirmation of the Mercedes ownership comes from a conversation between Fr. Pazat and Mark Mateyka in Phoenix.
Fr. Angles also boasted to Joe Souther that he knew Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, the producer of Triumph of the Will, quite well, and that they talked on the phone frequently. Ted Remark confirms that Angles told him that he and his family were friends of Leni Riefenstahl. On a second visit to Fr. Angles, Joe Souther was shown a book written by a Waffen SS Colonel which contained a signed dedication to Fr. Angles. Fr. Angles told Joe Souther that he (Angles) had given last rites to the SS Colonel. On that visit, Souther noticed stacks of anti-Semitic literature in the apartment. Nazi memorabilia was also in evidence in Angles' apartment. Among other memorabilia, Souther particularly recalls seeing the ebony and silver ceremonial daggers worn by high officers in the SS.
I phoned the St. Mary's College bookstore and elicited the information that the fraudulent anti-Semitic tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is on sale there. The lady I talked to said another equally scurrilous book, The Talmud Unmasked, is on sale also, but not in stock at this time. She said she could order a copy for me. One can imagine a large university having these books on sale for a course in the history of anti-Semitism, but at little St. Mary's, in the context of Bishop Williamson's diatribes and Fr. Angles' predilections, I think we can put a different interpretation on the matter.
(3) The daughter of an SSPX family was a member of the Children of Mary. That family confirms that the Children of Mary were ordered to watch the behavior of the other girls on campus and report any "deviant" behavior to their superiors. The nuns pumped the girls for information about their families. The luggage of student boarders is opened and searched. Both incoming and outgoing mail is opened and read by administrative superiors before being passed on to the student or, in the case of outgoing mail, to the Post Office. The luggage search and mail censorship is confirmed officially in a Handbook given to parents.
I have a list of the 50 students suspended, expelled or withdrawn from the Academy in the 1990-91 school year. If Fr. Angles claims that the expelled students were kicked out for various kinds of deviant or outrageous behavior, it is up to the parents involved to speak up as to the truth. I have in my files several letters from parents; one from Frank Denke of Nampa, Idaho, the father of one of the expelled students. He writes, "It appears. . . that an 'elite student' for St. Mary's should be, among other things, absolutely obedient to any authority there, submissive (unquestioning, willing to report others for deviating from a rule or exhibiting a 'bad attitude' (e.g., grumbling), pious and, hopefully, scholarly. Anyone failing to exhibit these traits runs a definite risk of being returned home."
The mail censorship, the room and luggage searches, the tattle-tale atmosphere, and the evidence from distraught parents all suggest a student community under tight control. If a cult leader wanted to form an army of psychologically rigid, suspicious and unhappy slaves, he would do just what Fr. Angles and his fellow priests are doing to the children.
Fr Angles refused Communion to the mother of Alice Souther, because Alice Souther was on the Angles enemies list.
The child punished by being made to kneel in the snow was five-year-old Teresa Gainer, god-daughter of Sandy Cossette. The incident occurred during the regime of Fr. De La Tour.
Women in town are condemned, intimidated and castigated as evil for wearing slacks. A cadre of Society women dressed in old-fashioned ankle-length dresses performs this Godly duty. The Society campaign against pants-wearing women has been fomented by issues of Bishop Williamson's newsletter, Letter from Winona. All sources agree that women who wear pants are condemned from the pulpit at Mass. In addition, there is the evidence from the "Pledge of Modesty: Sodality of the Immaculate Heart," circulated in St. Mary's, which begins by specifying "no slacks or shorts."
That obedience should be given priests over and against parents is confirmed by a recent graduation speech delivered by Bishop Williamson: "I am not playing games, Fr. Angles is not playing games, your teachers are not playing games, your parents, by making a sacrifice to bring you here and keep you here, have not been playing games. But if your parents then start pulling you back by disagreeing with priests and nuns, then I'm afraid your parents are beginning to play games, and you must not, at that point, go with your parents -- guarding of course, all due respect. But you must follow the priests and nuns, who your conscience and who the light of God will tell you are those who are teaching you in its completeness the true Faith." (The whole speech is published in the school's alumni newsletter, Alma Mater, Summer/Fall 1992.)
In other words, if ever a real dispute arises between parents, and priests, say on the question of whether parents are Americanist heretics, the child or youth must give his final loyalty to priests. In practice it has already become a prescription for chaos among families in and around St. Mary's, Kansas. It is why so many sources won't give me their names -- they have brothers or sisters or children who are fervent Angles supporters. Sandy Cossette affirms that parents who defend their own children against priestly condemnations are cursed as having Satanic minds.
(4) The story about the psychologically abused boy is confirmed by the Cossettes, friends of the family involved. The doctor involved was someone other than the two doctors mentioned by Fr. Angles.
(5) The incident of Sandy Cossette's daughter being denounced from the pulpit is confirmed by the Cossettes themselves. This incident took place before Fr. Angles arrived to assume the directorship of St. Mary's.
(6) Mrs. Chavez's apartment burned down while she was in the hospital. The point I was making in the article was not that Fr. Angles or his comrades were guilty of arson, but that ever since that incident people are afraid that their houses will be burned down if they dare go against the Angles' regime. This fear is fed by threatening letters like the one written to an ostracized parishioner by an Angles supporter, to wit: "And for your own sake, take a lesson from recent history. . .Mrs. Chavez refused to live on campus, as Father wished -- her home burned with all her possessions."
(7) Mr. MacGuire, a licensed gun dealer, bought an allotment of SKS semi-automatic rifles as part of a pre-arranged group sale. Mr. MacGuire does not own a gun shop. He lines up customers for bulk purchases at a discount. He would not reveal to me who bought the guns from him, but, Joe Souther and other witnesses tell me they ended up in the hands of Angles loyalists. The possession of semi-automatics assault rifles by Angles loyalists is cause for concern, considering what they hear from the pulpit regarding enemies of the Society.
Fr. Angles Did Show Triumph of the Will
I was pleased to read your article about the Society of St. Pius X in your October issue. It addressed many issues that concern a majority of the people of St. Mary's, and I thank you, Mr. Thomas W. Case, and Fidelity Magazine, for taking the initiative to bring all to light.
Besides thanking you, I wanted to let you know and confirm for your readers that I was one of the persons who watched the Nazi propaganda movie, Triumph of the Will. A letter circulating here in St. Mary's, bearing the signature of Fr. Angles, says that ". . . he [Fr. Angles] does neither show, nor own, any Nazi movies. . ." The fact is he did show Triumph of the Will to myself and a friend with me. I also have witnesses who were present when Fr. Angles asked me if I would like to watch it along with having pizza. They have come forward and are prepared to back me up on all of this.
Joseph Souther -- St. Mary's, Kansas
Fidelity Disgraces Itself
The October issue of Fidelity Magazine presented a scandalous article on the Society of St. Plus X. This sensational mixture of lies, gossip and personal attacks merits no reply. However, to overcome the scandal of the innocent, and to show the falsehood of its statements, the following remarks are offered.
The author's argument is very simple. An organization in schism becomes a sect, and consequently shows sectarian behavior, chaos and disorder. Before his "investigation" he had already decided that this was the case with the Society of St. Pius X. These are the principal accusations.
1) SSPX is a protest movement in opposition to authority doomed never to climb back into the Church because it has churches, properties, buildings and mortgages.
Since when has a religious order not been able to possess its own properties? This was always so. The Society was founded in perfect legality and submission to Rome not as a protest but to form true priests. The purpose remains unchanged, even if it does necessarily mean a continual opposition to modernism's continual destruction of the Faith. The expulsion of several sede vacantist and rebellious priests over the years is not the refutation of this, but rather its proof.
2) The 'schism' of 1988 was brought about by Archbishop Lefebvre's intransigent and contradictory declarations.
There is no contradiction between attempting to negotiate with Conciliar Rome, and recognizing the Masonic and modernist infiltration which would eventually paralyze all negotiations.
There is nothing contradictory between refusing the New Mass and admitting that it is not "of itself invalid and heretical, celebrated according to the rite indicated in the Roman edition." Our refusal of the new Mass is based on its danger to the Faith and its incorporation of a large number of Protestant and modernist elements.
There is nothing contradictory between affirming that Vatican II "must be understood in the light of all holy Tradition" and asking for a total revision of the [Council's] Declaration on Religious Liberty. For the light of holy Tradition excludes certain elements of the Declaration on Religious Liberty and requires others to be restated in a more clearly Catholic manner.
There is nothing contradictory between accepting the office of Pope John Paul II and denouncing the "blasphemous event" of Assisi which he must take responsibility for.
3) Archbishop Lefebvre removed those superiors who considered an episcopal consecration as a formally schismatic act and replaced them with others in agreement, notably in the United States.
This is a totally false accusation. The one U.S. superior (Fr. Bolduc) who was removed in 1984 was removed for totally different reasons. Archbishop Lefebvre certainly took counsel from his trusted priests, but that this accusation is false is demonstrated by the fact that he kept his second assistant who was known to be against the consecrations (Fr. Bisig).
4) A one-and-a-half-year propaganda operation was launched in St. Mary's, Kansas, before the consecrations, and imposed on all "believers," saying that the pope had lost all legal authority.
Again a totally false accusation, for no one knew at this stage what was going to happen. In fact, until May 1988, the majority of the faithful who attended Masses by the SSPX priests believed and hoped against hope that the pope would approve the desired consecrations. The reason why so few people left after all the consecrations was clearly not brainwashing (no documentation for such imaginary propaganda can be founded), but the people's trust in a true shepherd, their distrust of Rome, and their clearly seeing the injustice of how the Archbishop was treated.
5) Like Luther, Archbishop Lefebvre founded his own church.
How can Luther, whose very attack on the Church of Rome, "the very kingdom of sin, death and hell" was at the origin of his schism and heresy, be compared to Archbishop Lefebvre, the very reason for whose struggle against modernism was his attachment to Rome. Many times he repeated how strongly he held to his declaration of 1974, which began with the words: "We adhere with our whole heart and with our whole soul to Catholic Rome, the Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of those traditions necessary for the maintenance of that Faith, to eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and Truth."
6) The consecrations were delayed because of the purchase of the seminary in Winona (Minnesota).
This is a totally absurd accusation. How could such an event, announced a year in advance, depend on the purchase of one property in a Society which has so many? In any case, the seminary was purchased a full year before the consecrations took place, nor was it purchased by any single person.
7) Bishop Williamson, bishop for North America, is a sede vacantist, and Archbishop Lefebvre played to the audience on this question.
Bishop Williamson is the Bishop for the United States, for none of the Society Bishops have any jurisdiction or territorial authority (this can come from the pope alone), nor is he a sede vacantist. His Letter to Friends and Benefactors of March 5 1992 is, in fact, a refutation of that position. Archbishop Lefebvre allowed the question of a vacant See to be asked speculatively but refused to accept that he or anyone else had the competency to affirm this.
8) A contention between American patriots and European fascists is ripping the Society apart.
It is true that Father Finnegan in a totally unreasonable and unjustified way accused the non-American priests of being anti-American and anti-patriotic. In fact their teachings on the Social Kingship of Christ and how it is directly opposed to the liberal democratic forms of government found in all modern societies are no different from those of the American priests of the Society. If he was asked to accept a transfer it was because it was clear that his outrageous criticisms of other priests (e.g. destroyers of the Faith, communist infiltrators) were causing a division in the sanctified unity of the Society which the central authority provides. By refusing the function of, and principle of, authority he has accepted the Protestant principle of Private Judgment.
9) A new (Foreign) priest will soon arrive in Post Falls.
The foreign priest is Father James Doran an American from Detroit. He was appointed pastor in Post Falls not to continue a battle over Americanism nor to teach the One, True, Political Faith. There never was any battle over Americanism in Post Falls or elsewhere, nor was there anything political about his appointment or the Faith he preaches. He was appointed to shepherd and administer our second largest parish in the United States on account of his experience, abilities and excellent record in St. Mary's, St. Louis and Kansas City.
10) There was misuse of funds in Campbell, California.
The temporary. inadequate chapel in Campbell was sold for 12 times the sum paid for it. The City of Campbell was about to force us to sell. A replacement chapel and rectory was purchased only about 9.9 miles away, by far the closest possible location. Of course the money used in the building fund (for a new church and rectory facility) was used. It was a magnificent extra bonus that this property is a retreat and camp center, with many buildings spectacularly situated on 26 acres -- all in all a great parish facility.
Father Foley, who had previously been the pastor, was expelled from the Society because of his refusal to keep the rule of the Common Life that he promised before his ordination. He insisted on living in his own house and refused to take even one of the numerous different appointments which were offered to him.
11 ) Father Scott decided to tell the folks in Omaha [Nebraska] that they would no longer have a Society priest.
This is false. No such decision was ever made. The mission had been doing poorly for some time due to ack of enthusiasm on the part of the people. Consequently they had the frequency of Mass reduced temporarily when there was a shortage of priests. When a couple of families attempted to close the mission down it was moved to Lincoln [Nebraska] where it is now doing fine.
12) "If you are not in the Society you are not in the Church" is a Williamson doctrine taught in the seminary and at St. Mary's.
This is an absurd proposition. Not only is the SSPX not sede vacantist, but it gladly admits and accepts the good done by many other independent traditional priests (providing that they are not sede vacantist and they do not compromise with the modernism of the Conciliar Church). Nor does it affirm that the many priests and faithful who remain still in the Novus Ordo and cannot save their souls (although they are in grave danger because of the deception of modernism).
13) The SSPX publications Verbum, Angelus and Seminary Letter are banned in Canada.
One more totally gratuitous and false statement.
14) There is not one American in a position of power in the Society in the United States.
Yet one more false assertion. Americans fill key positions as assistant to the district superior (Fr. Ward) and local superiors or priors in Dickinson, Armada. St. Louis, Kansas City, Browerville, Post Falls, El Paso (seven out of 11 priories).
15) "Fr. Abel's" vitriolic accusations against Bishop Williamson.
Such reported statements as "no women can be saved," "retreats for women are worse than useless," "there can be no forgiveness for the daughters of Eve," Indians are "wogs," "North America should have remained under British domination" were never uttered by Bishop Williamson. Moreover, his comments on the progress of the New World Order have never at any time been an incident to political violence, but rather a simple stating of the fact of a modern world opposed to the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ.
16) (Points 16 to 23 are identical to points covered in Father Angles' letter. See above.)
24) Fr. Post arrived at San Jose airport dressed in the full regalia of an SS German army officer and had to be reprimanded by his superior.
This is once more a totally false accusation, with no grounds at all. Nor is there in the Society a "virulent sickness of hatred and Hitlerism." Once again, the Society has nothing to do with any political movement, especially not one condemned by Pope Pius XI in 1937. Never have children in our schools been taught that the rabidly anti-Catholic Adolph Hitler was a kind of a saint, or that genocide is a Christian solution to the "Jewish problem."
25) Bishop Williamson is strenuously lobbying for position as superior general and will try to have himself elected as anti-Pope.
Another totally false assertion. Archbishop Lefebvre made it perfectly clear that the superior general was not to be one of the bishops (another flip-flop by the Society leadership with the election of SSPX bishop Fellay as Superior General in 1995 - Ed. Note), so as not to give the impression that the bishops that he consecrated had any jurisdiction. Nobody in the slightest way familiar with Bishop Williamson could dream that he would lobby for any office.
Let this slanderous article and the associated gossip be for us an occasion for strengthening our convictions, for an increased effort towards the Social Kingship of Lord Jesus Christ. Let our zeal for the Truth, natural and supernatural, be the great motivation of our lives. Let us be assured that by our refusal to compromise with the modernist errors of the Conciliar Church we will demonstrate a true fidelity to the Catholic Church and bring about a true renewal, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Father Peter R. Scott -- U.S. District Superior -- Society of St. Pius X -- Kansas City, Missouri
Mr. Case responds:
1) Fr. Scott sets up a straw man to beat down. I did not say a religious order shouldn't own property. What I said in the article is that property ownership, churches, mortgages and 20 years of criticism of the Roman Pontiff tend to make it very difficult for a reunion with Rome ever to take place. Real estate provokes permanence and the hanging on of power -- as the contentious property litigations between the SSPX and its split-off groups illustrate.
2) There is certainly bad faith involved when, in the midst of delicate negotiations with the Vatican, Archbishop Lefebvre accuses the pope of being the instrument of a Masonic Mafia "which he put in place and with which he sympathizes."
There is certainly a contradiction involved when Lefebvre accepts the validity of all the Vatican II documents and then declares at least one of them invalid.
3) It is interesting that Fr. Scott mentions Fr. Bisig as a priest opposed to the consecrations who was kept on as a second assistant to Archbishop Lefebvre. In fact Fr. Bisig was removed from his position as rector of the German SSPX seminary two years before the consecrations because of his judgment that they would comprise a formally schismatic act. The vice rector, Father Baumann, was removed at the same time for the same reason. Fr. Bisig stayed on as an assistant," but left the Society at the time of the consecrations, and is today the superior general of the (papally approved) Society of St. Peter.
4) Here Fr. Scott dissembles. Sandy Cossette affirms that a mandatory new "catechism" was forced on students and families at St. Mary's during the two years preceding the consecrations. Everyone was required to attend a series of meetings. If you didn't attend, Mrs. Cossette says, you were asked the reason why in no uncertain terms. At these meetings the parishioners were taught about the many bad or wrong popes in history. They were taught that the up-and-coming consecrations were justified because the present pope had turned away from the Faith. David Melechinsky, of St. Mary's, Kansas, writes in a letter otherwise critical of my article, that "prior to the consecrations we were, it is true, informed of certain points of canon law which did, in fact, make this admittedly extraordinary action justified, given the emergency."
5) Archbishop Lefebvre also said, in 1986, "We shall from now on be more and more obliged to act on the assumption that this new Conciliar Church is no longer Catholic," which was exactly Martin Luther's argument regarding the Church in his time. Luther didn't call himself a Protestant. He claimed to represent true Catholicism, and claimed to uphold the tradition in opposing abuses of his time like the selling of indulgences.
6) Isn't Fr. Scott aware that property deeds are a matter of public record? The Winona, Minnesota, County Recorder informs me that the Thomas Aquinas Seminary property was purchased on May 31, 1988, one month before the consecrations. (Not a year previous, as Fr. Scott claims.) The owner of record is "St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, a Michigan corporation; Rev. Richard N. Williamson, St. Thom. Aq. Sem. Ass. Inc., President." Notice that the property is not owned by the SSPX.
Archbishop Lefebvre's letter to the four prospective bishops was sent on August 29, 1987. In tone and language -- "The Rome of the anti-Christs," for example -- the document reads like a final rupture. It reads as if the Rubicon has been crossed, and the consecrations are imminent. But fully 10 months pass before the four new bishops are ordained. During that 10 months, Williamson is negotiating the purchase of the Winona property. The property deed is finally secured. One month later, Williamson becomes a bishop. So to the charge, by a high-ranking anonymous source, that the consecrations were delayed for the reason I gave in the article, makes sense. The property deed was recorded on June 6, 1988. Read over the section of the article dealing with the dates of those last-minute negotiations and their sudden failure, and see how those dates conform to the dates of the Winona purchase.
7) The SSPX tries to preserve the fiction that its bishops are only such in terms of sacramental powers and not jurisdictional powers. If this is so, why does Williamson dictate to Scott, the so-called District Superior? Why is Scott a District Superior, if the Society has no districts? That Williamson was a sede vacantist early on is attributable to "Fr. Abel," who walked the grounds at Econe with him. The tape recording where Archbishop Lefebvre "speculates" on the question of sede vacantism is in my files. As quoted word for word in my article, it sounds more like an implicit certainty than a speculation. [See also the reply to Fr. Scott's comment No. 12.)
8) Fr. Finnegan is not alone in charging the foreign-born priests and their American lackeys of denigrating the U.S. Government and the Bill of Rights, and he is not alone in being accused of idolizing his country to the extent of annihilating the variously interpreted and ill-defined Social Kingship of Christ. Ask the folks in Omaha, or those in the Oak Park, IL, SSPX chapel. Ask Fr. Hunter in Post Falls, Idaho, who wrote a book criticizing the "Masonic Plot" theory of our governments formation, which he was not allowed to publish; or ask Fr. Rizzo, recently transferred from Post Falls to England and now back to Kansas (1992). It is this issue more than any other that is tearing the SSPX apart.
The Church has always been prudent in dealing with the temporal power. It has, and can, coexist with monarchy, aristocracy, republicanism, or any other form of government that allows It breathing room. Nor is a perfect union of Church and State ever beneficial to the Church. The closer that union has been realized throughout history, the more trouble the popes had in trying to keep the spiritual power independent from the temporal. Do we want to go back to the time when princes appointed bishops, and when nations had a veto power over papal elections? Do we want to return to the Renaissance era when succeeding popes were elected by the Italian version of the Hatfields and the McCoys? Whenever Church and State get too close, it is usually the State that begins to corrupt the Church instead of the Church uplifting the State.
Fr. Scott says Fr. Finnegan's criticisms "were causing a division in the sanctified unity of the Society which the central authority provides." A sanctified unity provided by a central authority is just what the SSPX is lacking, and why it is disintegrating so swiftly. When Archbishop Lefebvre was alive he provided an authority of sorts, and kept the lid on the wilder impulses and crackpot theories of his lieutenants. Now these are rampant, and are ruining the Society. But even Lefebvre lacked the sanctified authority only the pope as the Vicar of Christ can provide, and which has kept the Church together through thick and thin, through all the dizzy aeons. The same lack of central spiritual authority has resulted in the breakup of Protestantism after five centuries into 30,000 denominations.
9) My mistake. A foreign priest was not assigned to Post Falls. The priest who was assigned, Fr. Doran, was overheard at a St. Mary's priests' meeting saying, "Post Falls is in total chaos.'' The source of the chaos, which Fr. Doran will attempt to fix, is the idiotic notion, according to Williamson and his cronies, that a person can love his country without reducing his love for Christ. Pastor Fr. Rizzo and assistant pastor Fr. Hunter thought that notion was not idiotic.
10) Fr. Scott admits that the money intended for a new church and school was used instead for a retreat and camp center. The new property, if only 9.9 miles away, is in the Santa Cruz Mountains, barely accessible for parishioners, and adorned with ramshackle buildings in need of massive repairs. Mrs. Billie Quinn, a 72-year-old lady, was not happy about the move. While trying to pass out leaflets to some parishioners, she was manhandled by the new priest, a Fr. Daniels from Zimbabwe. Criminal charges may be filed against the priest.
Fr. Foley understandably turned down an assignment to Minnesota, calculated to remove him from the scene. He had protested the retreat camp purchase, and had been vilified from the pulpit by Bishop Williamson and Father Peter Scott. He exited the Society and took many former Lefebvrites with him. Fr. Scott is totally disingenuous to say he was expelled "for his refusal to keep the rule of the Common Life."
11) You will get an entirely different view of the events in Omaha if you ask any of the former Lefebvrites in the area. There was no lack of enthusiasm or loyalty before the new anti-patriotic message started coming down from on high. Other concerns were an ultra-scrupulosity forced on students at the college after the arrival of Fr. Angles, and the exaggerated campaign against female "immodesty" emanating from Winona. I am told the new Lincoln, Nebraska, SSPX chapel has four parishioners in attendance.
12) A seminarian at Winona is the source for the Williamson teachings that 1) if you are not in the Society, you are not in the Church; 2) the official Society position is that there is no pope, but for public relations reasons we say that there is a pope.
A priest who has left the Society told me Williamson had told him that in leaving the Society he would be eternally damned.
A priest who attended a recent priests meeting at St. Mary's was told that "outside the Society there is no salvation."
If there is no salvation outside the Society, two things logically follow; 1) There is literally no possibility of salvation outside the Church; 2) The Society is the last and only remnant of the true Church -- which is a prescription for isolation and paranoia.
13) I got the information on the SSPX publications banned in Canada from the Society's own publication. In Verbum, no. 45, Winter 1992, in an article called "The Underground Press," the author writes, "In Canada, for instance, the newspaper you are reading is forbidden to enter the country as are the Angelus and numerous other publications which dare challenge the 'liberal' status quo." Perhaps Fr. Scott should read his own journals more carefully before he calls me a liar.
14) By "local superiors" Fr. Scott means parish or mission pastors. Ridgefield, Connecticut, is a major retreat center. It was formerly the U.S. headquarters for the SSPX. Here the Frenchman Father Jean-Luc Lafitte rules and sends out his Letter newsletter across the country. SSPX members who care for their country might want to take a look at issues no. 17 and 18 of his newsletter Letter (1991). Fr. Scott, an Australian, is U.S. District Superior; Fr. Angles, a Spaniard, is rector of the College and Academy at St. Mary's, Kansas; Bishop Williamson is English. By any fair reckoning, these four are the four most powerful SSPX priests in the country. And in fact the rule of Williamson (although he claims to have no jurisdictional powers) is complete over every SSPX priest in America, as those who have dared criticize his fascist theories have found out.
15) "Fr. Abel's" testimonies regarding Bishop Williamson are made by one who was close to him at Econe, and who continued in close association for many years. The quotes are records of private conversations between the two men. Fr. Scott is in no position to know what was said. It is up to Williamson to deny that he ever said what "Fr. Abel" reports he said, and then it is up to the reader to believe Williamson or "Fr. Abel."
The notion that Williamson thinks no woman can be saved sounds unbelievable on the face of it. I would not have quoted "Fr. Abel" on this point if it did not seem in character. I have numerous reports of Williamson's contempt for women. One story comes from V.J. Gianelloni. Williamson was attending a dinner for an SSPX member and her fiancÚ, a non-Catholic or "Novus Ordo" Catholic. Some words were said which apparently upset the Bishop, who then said, "It's too bad we don't still live in an age when a man could beat up his wife."
Fr. Finnegan testifies to Williamson's attitude towards the fair sex. Williamson told him: "Retreats for women are a waste of time." On another occasion Williamson told him: "A woman, a child, and a dog; the more you beat them the better they be."
It is my thought that Williamson is simply irrational on the subject of women, as he is on other subjects, like politics. For a foreigner, albeit a bishop, to state publicly that the president of the United States is "a terrible traitor to this country" -- I have these remarks on tape -- is something more serious than "a simple stating of the fact of a modern world opposed to the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ."
If Williamson were Jesus Christ, and also the King of the United States, then I suppose we would have the "Social Kingship of Jesus Christ" according to Fr. Scott's definition. Anything less is a matter of Christ-haters and liberals and other assorted demons, like those "idolaters" running the John Birch Society.
16-23) These points are refuted in the reply to Fr. Angles.
24) The report of Fr. Post's arrival at the airport in Nazi dress I got from "Fr. Abel." I checked the report with another priest, who acknowledged the story but belittled it with the comment that Fr. Post is an eccentric with a strange idea of how to have fun. I checked the story with yet another priest, who told me Fr. Post had unrolled a Nazi flag at the airport, and later, at a reception, had worn a Nazi officer's cap. In the congregation was a Polish Catholic woman who had been in a concentration camp. She was outraged. In fact the U.S. District Superior did have to fly out to California to reprimand the "comedian" and soothe the feelings of the angry parishioners.
The "virulent sickness of hatred and Hitlerism" is illustrated by l) Fr. Post's weird idea of fun; 2) the report of Fr. Finnegan that Richard Williamson promoted Hitler's Mein Kampf to his fellow seminarians, including Fr. Finnegan himself, at Econe; 3) the attempt by Fr. Angles to promote the Third Reich by giving them (students at St. Mary's) Coke and pizza and a private showing of The Triumph of the Will; 4) the fact that the vile anti-Semitic tracts, The Talmud Unmasked and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, are sold at the St. Mary's College bookstore; 5) internationally, by the fact that the "Butcher of Lyon," Paul Touvier -- who sent thousands of French Jews to the death camps -- was hidden for decades and then found being given "refuge," in 1989, in an SSPX house in Nice. Williamson puts his own special spin on Touvier's crimes, and then goes on to say that the Holocaust "is largely a myth." (Letter from Winona, June 1, 1989).
That Hitler got a bum rap, that the Jews are evil incarnate, these profound lies are taught more openly to French children in traditionalist circles because their parents already believe them. In France there is historical precedent for a national policy of anti-Semitism, most recently during the World War II Vichy regime. In America these beliefs are alien, so they are taught not formally in classes at St. Mary's, but at retreats -- Alice Souther tells me a boy came back from a retreat in Ridgefield "with his head full of Hitler and Nazi ideas;" by having certain discredited books on sale at the Immaculata Bookstore at St. Mary's; by private film showings; and not least by Bishop Williamson's rabid installments of his Letter from Winona newsletter and speeches.
25) If Bishop Williamson does become Superior General, the fiction of no jurisdiction for SSPX bishops will come to an end (Bishop Fellay was ultimately chosen over the controversial Williamson). In reality it is already at an end. Does anyone seriously believe that U.S. District Superior Fr. Peter Scott tells Bishop Williamson what to do or say? Williamson has been talking and acting like it's time to end the notion that he is on an equal footing with mere priests, and he has certainly been destroying the notion that the SSPX is in any way still connected to the Church of Rome. He visits Europe often, building support for -- what? Read the passage in the article. I do not say that Williamson will try to have himself elected as anti-pope. I raise the question of his papal ambition facetiously -- maybe. Who knows what a man of such unfettered egoism will attempt?
When I started investigating the SSPX in America, I had no idea of the seething discontent in many missions around the country, or the demagogic scenario at St. Mary's. If I had any preconceived notions going in, it was that a schism historically ends up turning into a sect and sometimes into a pernicious cult; and furthermore that, lacking a sanctified center of authority, it would tend to divide and re-divide, following a trajectory previously followed by the Protestants or the Old Catholics.
What I found confirmed my theory beyond anything I had imagined. I think that while the Archbishop was alive, he kept a lid on the wilder theories of his cohorts. Only in the last year or two have their virulent anti-Semitism, the slipshod historical revisionism regarding the Founding Fathers' and, the United States Constitution, the exaggerated scrupulosity, the Manichaean attacks on immodesty, and the new iconoclasm become defining features of the Society under Williamson's tenure.
The fall of the SSPX into revolt on the one side and Big Brother dictatorship on the other side is pointed up in the reaction to the article. In Oak Park, IL, Fr. Peter Scott ranted and raved against the article a few days after it came out. He held a meeting after Mass, and ran head-on into hard questions about his and the Society's new anti-Americanism. Joe Maurer, server-coordinator of the chapel, says my article "lanced a boil." The people in Oak Park are now deciding if they should leave the Society and possibly join Ecclesia Dei (Ed. Note: 150-200 of these people left the Society shortly after Scott's performance on October 18th, 1992). People in Kansas City have stopped going to Mass at the Society chapel and started going to an indult Mass. Parishioners in Campbell, California, are avidly reading about troubles in Post Falls and Phoenix and St. Mary's. SSPX laity everywhere are learning for the first time that their local troubles are shared by other chapels around the country.
It is not my intention to gloat. My intention is to say: "Look what is happening to you. This is happening to you because you have become separated from the Vicar of Christ ecclesiastically and authoritatively. You cannot have the Faith by feeling you have the Faith, or by thinking you have the Truth. Please restore your communion with the Vicar of Christ and help us fight the good fight for a Catholic restoration."
Thank you for having the courage to expose your readership to the now insidious cult of the Society of St. Pius X. Three years ago, I was denounced from the pulpit by Fr. Angles, who leveled a false charge against me and banned me from membership in the parish, thus barring me from Mass and the sacraments. He knows the real reason why he denounced me. Sitting in the sanctuary at the time was Fr. Rizzo, who also knew the real reason why I was the target of Fr. Angles' persecution.
I have wondered these three years why Fr. Rizzo never spoke out in my behalf. On the Sunday that I was publicly denounced, I was expecting Fr. Rizzo for dinner, along with his brother, who told me that Fr. Rizzo would bring Holy Communion to my elderly mother. Fr. Rizzo never came and never called. My mother had been fasting for so long and dinner couldn't be kept any longer. Father's brother told me later that Fr. Angles forbade Fr. Rizzo to come to my home or have any contact whatsoever with me, and he could not bring Holy Communion to my mother. Fr. Rizzo has only spoken to me once in the three years since.
Yes, the SSPX is sick, but the sickness runs deeper than their anti-Americanism and their being anti-women. It is about time Society victims speak out -- especially former Society priests. Souls are at stake, particularly the souls of our young people. The SSPX is nothing they say they are, and everything they say they are not.
Mrs. Alice Souther -- St. Mary's. Kansas
The Impact of Schismatic Catholic Cults
Thomas Case's article on the Society of St. Pius X is very informative. Having been involved in traditionalism from 1978-89, I can verify that the prevailing themes he writes about are accurate. Most traditionalists do not believe there is a pope. They also believe that they are truly Catholic. In this belief they know that it is infallible that, unless you are united to the supreme pontiff, you are anathema.
I ask, "Where is the pope? Where is the Magisterium? Where are the four marks of the Church?" These questions are never answered. Much of the Baltimore Catechism is swept aside because they know they have no answers for these questions. Therefore, their faith life as Catholics is not proven. There is no love for Christ's Church in the fracturing of the Mystical Body.
A result of this mistaken path is an ongoing corruption of these sects, and a degeneration of the people who remain steadfast. The longer you stay, the more disoriented you become. The pathetic part is that the members start overlooking some serious sin. Their minds slip out of reality. Some examples would be thievery of sacramentals, perjury and homosexual molestations. There is a blindness there from the sin of schism itself.
Traditionalists embrace conspiracy theories. Paranoia reigns; "We must build a fortress against the world! The problem is that inside the stockade is rampant vice -- natural and unnatural -- and self-destruction. Why is this? There is no ecclesiastical authority or grace of office to guide them.
The children suffer great harm in cults. Many are unable to hold a job, go to regular college, or marry outside the cult. When they do, it is often short-lived. Some of the kids grow up to lead two lives. In the cult, they are model pre-Vatican II Catholics . Some sneak off to engage in immoral activities and put up some sort of wall of denial. There is also a thrill in the "sneak" and even a perverse thrill in the confessing.
Conversely, you will often see flat, expressionless faces, pasty complexions, and a sense of enclosure about them. It is like an invisible circle that binds them. If they step out of the circle -- like going to Coney Island or the mall -- they will feel strange, thinking, "What will Father So-and -So think of what I am doing? It is said by some to the older kids, "You either grow up gay or rebellious!"
Recently, I attended a Cult Awareness Network lecture with a friend. We both agreed that it is harder to re-enter the mainstream Catholic Church after exiting a cult, than to re-enter a nondenominational Christianity. We de-program from schism, re-enter the true Catholic Church and attempt to find our authentic place as Catholics. It is not easy.
I think that is almost impossible to leave a traditional cult without an exit counselor or a de-programmer. There are so many aspects to mind control and its subjugation to a false idol that professional help is a must. There is guilt, regret, reacquisition of reality, and a return to emotions that have been buried for so long. Simple emotions such as a loving feeling toward family and friends resurface.
I highly recommend that all traditionalists read Robert Lifton's Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. In chapter 22, he develops the eight criteria of totalism. Study it. Get a pen and paper and write your own story after each criterion. If you do this, you will see that you have suffered deeply and you need a doctor. Go to Jesus, His Mother and His Church -- the authentic Catholic Church -- for your medicine, not some false medicine man with inaccurate assumptions and deadly cures.
Susan M. Greve -- Cincinnati, Ohio
"That Jew Liar!"
Thomas Case's article "The Society of St Plus X Gets Sick" (October 1992) was deadly accurate in its vivid description of the narrowness, fanaticism and bitterness of many in the Lefebvrist camp and in the "traditionalist" movements of the Roman Catholic Church.
I first got Involved with "traditionalists" because I deplored and lamented the iconoclasm that the authorities were forcing on the people of the Roman Church. It seemed like a kind of spiritual rape. Back in those days, I regarded Lefebvre as a sort of populist conservative hero, a classy French archbishop thumbing his nose at those nasty autocrats in Rome. What I learned the hard way was that the Catholic right is every bit as nasty and fascistic in its attitudes and approach to life as the left can be.
Lefebvrism is essentially an ugly caricature of pre-conciliar, ultramontane Roman Catholicism as it really was. Yes, they denounce democracy, but wasn't the Vatican saying the same thing 150 years ago?
I spent more than two years with these people until I had enough. Case's article jogged my memory quite a bit. One instance of anti-Semitism I'll never forget was at a party given by Father Wickens' chapel in New Jersey. I mentioned Elie Wiesel's name and heard a teenager shout from the next room, "That Jew liar!" However, I must admit that I never heard any sermons like that at Tridentine Masses.
John R. Beeler -- Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
Doing the Right Thing
This letter is to verify information given by myself to Tom Case in the matter of the article published in your magazine in October 1992 about the Society of St. Pius X in St. Mary's, Kansas.
It is true that a 10 year-old boy was taken out of the Society of St. Plus X school by his parents and evaluated by public school psychologists as being so traumatized he had to go to special classes.
It is also true that a child was made to kneel in the snow for an hour for a minor infraction. In regard to Fr. Angles' comment in his rebuttal about not knowing me or my family, there is no indication in the article that he does.
We stopped attending Society Masses when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated his bishops. We could no longer, in good conscience, support them.
The problems we had with some of the priests, teachers and people who were associated with the Society had been on-going since 1980. Mr. Case's article further proves we made the right decision.
Sandy Cossette -- St. Mary's, Kansas
"Police-State Mentality" Pervades SSPX
Thank you for publishing the excellent article by Tom Case. I have been involved with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) for 10 years, and I can verify that many of their priests and some of their policies are in need of investigation. Many people that go to Church in the Society's missions did not know how to ask questions or were afraid. This summer, my family and I visited St. Mary's, Kansas. What we found was a town run with a police-state mentality where fear was the order of the day. The stories many families told us were too wild to believe.
Phil R. Dowd -- Glenview, Illinois
Scandal Created the SSPX
I read the article, "The Society of St. Plus X Gets Sick" with interest. I am a priest of the Vatican II Church and I celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass. I am not a member of the Society of St. Pius X. However, a few things must be considered regarding the state of the Church today. Perhaps it will explain why there is a Society of St. Pius X. I'm sure that thousands of loyal Catholics are scandalized regarding the supposed "prudent silence" of our leaders regarding such issues as the errors of Medjugorje (Thank God we have Fidelity), the lack of correction for false teachers in the Church and the refusal to baptize, confirm and marry certain Catholics for petty reasons, i.e., they didn't attend a class or the Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults (RCIA), etc. What happened to the zeal to save souls?
Why did the peace service at Assisi ever take place? In fact, why are we even concerned about ecumenism? If we believe the Catholic Church is the true Church, we should be spreading the Faith with all our strength.
Finally, I have heard one of the priests mentioned in the article speak. Although he is a member of the Society of St. Pius X, he has taught me much about dogma and devotion. It seems many of the Novus Ordo priests can only speak about feelings, money, the homeless or "unconditional love."
We must admit that any loyal Catholic wants a priest who is filled with zeal and love for the Roman Catholic Church.
Father Thomas McLaughlin -- Bloomfield, New Jersey
"Come Home to Rome"
Congratulations to Thomas Case and Fidelity for the balanced, compassionate coverage of the problems facing the group calling itself the Society of St. Pius X.
A number of Catholics, appalled by the apparent abandonment by the institutional Church of the traditional beliefs and practices they grew up with have, in desperation, looked beyond their parish and neighboring churches for someplace where they can worship in peace and find instruction for their children in the Faith of their fathers. Some attend Byzantine Rite and other unfamiliar but Catholic liturgies. Some have drifted out of the Catholic Church entirely. Others feel that they have found a refuge in some local independent or SSPX chapel where the traditional Latin Mass is offered.
But a refuge is not a home. Certainly the Church today is in crisis. But as Christ Himself was scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked and spat upon, and nailed ignominiously to the cross to die, can we, the members of His Mystical Body, expect any less than our own agony and suffering?
Just because those of us who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s experienced a peacefulness in the Church doesn't mean that is the normal state of things. Let anyone who thinks so study Church history. Dissent and schism have been a part of that history since the time of the Apostles.
We were born to live at this time. God placed us in this century, not some other. The problems we face are the ones God gives us, the ones we are to overcome in working out our salvation. By the grace of Confirmation, we were made soldiers of Christ. It is up to us to fight bravely, consistently and tirelessly against the enemies of Christ and of His Church.
Everyone can tire of the fight and seek temporary respite, a refuge. But a refuge is not a home.
May many who read Thomas Case's article be inspired to "come home to Rome!" Holy Mother Church needs you. "Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia" -- "Where Peter is, there is the Church." The Holy Father needs you. If the traditionalists do not support him when he does something to uphold tradition, such as issuing Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, no one else is going to encourage such efforts.
Bishops of half the U.S. dioceses are slowly implementing the holy Father's decrees in Ecclesia Dei. How many more would do so if the thousands of Catholics, now isolated and scattered in chapels across the country, united to respectfully insist that their bishops make the Tridentine Mass more widely available!
In November 1988, five months after Pope John Paul II issued his apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei, there were a handful of Sunday Tridentine Masses authorized by U.S. bishops to be said every week. Another half dozen were scheduled monthly. Four years later, the bishops of 55 dioceses in the United States approve a total of 75 Tridentine Masses to be said every Sunday. In another 40 dioceses, more than 60 additional Masses are scheduled once or twice each month.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter continues to thrive. Formed in 1988 by a group of Society of St. Pius X priests and seminarians, who did not wish to follow their beloved Archbishop Lefebvre into schism, this clerical Society of Apostolic Life is fully approved by the Holy Father to offer Mass and all the sacraments in the traditional Latin form. Their seminary in Bavaria, Germany, is over flowing. In Europe, the Priestly Fraternity is active in Germany, Austria and France. In the United States, their priests serve parishes in three dioceses, welcomed by Bishop Charles Grahmann to the Diocese of Dallas; Bishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., to the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D.; and Bishop James Timlin to the Diocese of Scranton, Pa. Priests of the Priestly Fraternity offer daily and Sunday Tridentine Masses in each diocese, and serve the spiritual needs of traditional Catholics. In recent months, three formerly independent traditionalist groups have reconciled with their bishops, one with Bishop Daniel Walsh of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada, and two with Bishop Walter Sullivan of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. One of these is located in Richmond and the other in Chesapeake, near Norfolk. A spokesman for the first group said that what prompted their approach to Bishop Sullivan was the realization that "we can do more for the Church from within than from without.
There are many signs of a growing place for traditionalists within Holy Mother Church, a place where they will be able to worship in peace, have sound catechetical training for their children, and work for the Church from within.
Mrs. Mary M. Kraychy, Executive Secretary, Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei
Index of SSPX articles
Culture Wars •