What’s happening in Rome?
Let us immediately go to the
first point, the things happening in Rome itself. Let me just have a look back
on the Jubilee Year and some very important events which took place.
The first event which is to be
mentioned took place January 25th in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls,
where the pope opened the Holy Door. For the first time in
the whole history of the Church, the Holy Father did not open the Holy Door
alone. He invited the head of the Anglicans and the Orthodox Patriarch to
participate with him in this opening of the Holy Door. Now, you understand that
the Holy Door is a figure of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that to open this Door
means to open the way of salvation. By this action, the pope wanted to give a
demonstration of what the Second Vatican Council meant by saying that the other
denominations are not without significance and importance in the mystery of
salvation. This is why he desired the Anglicans and the Orthodox to participate
in this opening of the Holy Door.
On the 12th of March, then, we
heard the pope apologize for a lot of very glorious things the Church has done
in her history of 2000 years. Every Catholic heart ought to be filled with pain
and sorrow to see such blame charged to our beloved Mother, the Catholic Church.
On May 7th, the pope celebrated,
together with representatives of other Christian denominations, the "common
martyrs" of Christendom. Now, let me ask an important question: Can there be
martyrs outside of the Catholic Church? —Well, we agree that people outside of
the visible framework of the Catholic Church can be in the state of grace by
baptism of desire. If they are in an invincible error, they do not know better;
if they regret their sins and adore God as much as they can, giving praise, then
they could be saved. But who knows about their interior disposition? Who knows
if they are in an invincible error or not? —Only God, who sees the true state of
their heart. We do not know. We only can judge according to the exterior
appearance; and, according to the social exterior appearance, these people are
not in the frame of the Church. And so it might be that they are saved, but we
cannot celebrate them as martyrs; it is absolutely impossible! So, this is a new
attack on the dogma, "Outside the Church there is no salvation,"
understood in the sense that the Church has always understood it.
In July, Cardinal Castrillon
Hoyos, who had become the head in May 2000 of the Pontifical Commission
Ecclesia Dei, in charge of taking care of those traditional-minded Catholics
who were not linked or are not linked with the Society of St. Pius X,
addressed the General Chapter of the Fraternity of St. Peter soon after his
appointment. It is true that at this time things in the Priestly Fraternity of
St. Peter were in a very bad state. There was complete division amongst its
adherents and there seemed no hope of reconciliation between the different
factions. As part of a solution, Cardinal Hoyos imposed, without an election, a
new Superior General, Fr. Arnaud Devillers, then serving as District Superior of
this Fraternity in the U.S. Two things, my dear friends, are very strange in the
Cardinal’s letter making Fr. Devillers’ appointment official.
The first thing is that he
strictly followed the advice of a priest [Fr. Denis le Pivain —Ed.] of
this Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter who had fomented a whole revolution in
the womb of this ecclesiastical community, a whole revolution. In May, just
after Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos had taken over his office, this priest had
written him a letter saying that things could not continue like this, that they
have to make very important changes, that the General Chapter would be very
important, and making him concrete proposals, for example, to install Fr.
Devillers as Superior General. What is very strange is the fact that Cardinal
Hoyos just followed absolutely all these counsels. The second thing, which
astonishes us very much, is the fact that the Cardinal in his letter says that
the New Mass is the true rule of the Church, and so that nobody, by any means or
by any superior, can be forced not to say this New Mass, that it is open for
everybody, because even if the Tridentine Mass is granted to this Fraternity of
St. Peter, this is a special law; and you can never argue with a special law
against the general law of the Church, he says. And so every priest of the
Fraternity of St. Peter has the right to celebrate the New Mass, even if this
would not be the common rule in the Fraternity of St. Peter.
Another very important event took
place the 3rd of September when the Vatican declared "blessed" two Popes, Pius
IX and John XXIII. Now, we agree very much with the elevation of Pius IX to the
honor of the altar, the Pope of the Immaculate Conception, of the First Vatican
Council, the Pope of the Syllabus of Errors, the pope who condemned religious
liberty. We are filled with joy to see him lifted up to the honor of the altars.
But we have very serious questions about the other one, John XXIII. Why? —Well,
in the document about his beatification, the main virtues being considered are
that he favored religious dialogue, that he favored ecumenism, and that he
convened the Second Vatican Council. The impression is being given by Rome that
his beatification is not meant so much to honor the person of John XXIII but to
beatify the Second Vatican Council and its principles. If you ask proof of this,
I can answer you. There is a proof. The feast of the new Blessed John XXIII is
fixed on the 11th of October, a date which has nothing to do with his personal
life, but which is the date of the convocation of the gathering of the Second
Vatican Council in 1962. The Council opened on this date. The beatification of
John XXIII is the beatification of the Council.
The good and bad of
Two days after the
beatifications, a very important document of the Vatican was issued by Cardinal
Ratzinger, the declaration Dominus Jesus—The Lord Jesus. There is
no doubt this declaration contains very good statements, statements which
rejoice us. For example, the Cardinal tries to limit the damage done by
religious relativism by stating that every Catholic has to believe that only the
books of the Old and the New Testament are inspired books, and not other books
found in other religions like, for example, the Koran, or the so-called Holy
Books of the Hindus, or whatsoever. Unfortunately, he forgot to add that if the
Koran is not inspired, you should not kiss it [which the Holy Father has done
himself]. There are other important statements, where he says, for example, that
there is an enormous difference between the personal conviction of those who
follow religious sects and those of the Catholic Faith. He says the Catholic
Faith is a grace, is a supernatural gift, whereas the other is a personal
adherence by experience or convictions but which has nothing to do with faith as
a supernatural virtue. There is an enormous difference. So far, so good. But...,
and this "But" is very important: There are also weak points.
There are also weaknesses in this
declaration, and especially three points of which I want to make note.
What’s in a word?
The first weak point in this
declaration is that it claims that the Church of Christ "subsists" in the
Catholic Church. Now, what about this little word, "subsistit"? This is a
key word of the whole Second Vatican Council. A key notion. Until the arrival of
the Second Vatican Council, it was always said that the Church of Christ is
the Catholic Church. There is a full identification between these two notions.
They are synonymous. The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church. You
cannot explain it better or spell it out better.
Then, in the first draft of the
dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, it was still put
"the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church." But there came all these
liberal spirits, who said, "Well, this statement, ‘The Church of Christ is
the Catholic Church,’ is not very appropriate." Why not? —They answered with
The first reason was, "Because
there are also elements of sanctification and truth outside of the visible
framework of the Catholic Church. For example, Baptism, if it is administered
according to the right formula —‘I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’-—and if it is done with the intention really to
baptize, then even outside of the visible Body of the Church there is a true
valid baptism." Or, in the Orthodox Church, you find even a valid
priesthood, valid Eucharist. So, they said, "Well, it is not so easy to just
identify those boundaries or limits."
Second reason: "If we were to
clearly identify the Catholic Church simpliciter —that is, just simply —with the
Church of Christ, the whole ecumenical movement would burn out. The Protestants
would be angered that the Catholic Church had defined that their churches were
not the Church of Christ!" And, so, the liberal spirits wanted to find
another notion and another word to give the definition. They got the help they
needed from a German Protestant, Pastor Schmidt, an observer invited by Cardinal
Bea to take part in the Second Vatican Council. And he made the written proposal
that in this definition, "The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church,"
the word "is" be replaced by "subsistit in." He handed this
proposal to the then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, who was at this time the Council
expert [peritus] of Cardinal Frings from Cologne, Germany. Fr. Ratzinger
in turn gave the proposal to Cardinal Frings who presented it before the
Council, and the words "subsistit in" were incorporated into Lumen
Gentium. So it has its origin from the Protestants. We were made
aware of this fact by a priest from South Tyrol [old Austria, annexed to become
today’s northern Italy —Ed.], who wrote last year saying that he knew
this Protestant pastor, and that he was still living. We asked him to send us
the address. So we wrote to this Protestant pastor, and he confirmed by a letter
of August 3rd that he was the one who handed over this proposal to Fr. Ratzinger.
So we see that Fr. Ratzinger had taken a very active role to introduce the words
"subsistit in" and rewrite a very important definition of the Catholic
Now, you see the difference
immediately. If the Church of Christ is not the Catholic Church but only
subsists in the Catholic Church, it subsists perhaps today, but tomorrow it
could be otherwise. It could subsist in another denomination, for example, with
the Orthodox, or it could be shared among many. That was, for example, the
position of Cardinal Newman when he was still an Anglican. He thought that the
true Church of Christ was composed of three branches—the Roman Church, the
Orthodox, and the Anglican. He gave up this error and he became Catholic. But
you see that, if there is no longer any real identification between the Church
of Christ and the Catholic Church, the door is open to religious relativism. In
his declaration Dominus Jesus, Cardinal Ratzinger has cut down the cockle
but left the roots in the earth. Instead of pulling out the roots or using
poison to kill the roots, he left them in the earth. And so everything will come
forth once again. That’s one point.
The whole truth about "partial
A second point in this
declaration which it is important to note is that Cardinal Ratzinger says the
Churches which have a true Eucharist, a valid Eucharist, and an apostolic
succession (and he is thinking especially of the Orthodox here) are "true
partial Churches." Now, what is a partial Church? —A partial Church is the
localized Catholic Church in a diocese, with its bishop, its clergy, and its
flock of faithful. So we have the Catholic Church in Chicago, or in Kansas City;
or we have the Catholic Church in Milan, Italy, or the Church in Cologne. These
are local Churches. But you cannot compare those local Churches with the
Orthodox Church; you cannot compare the Orthodox Church as if it were a true
partial Church. That’s absurd, because the Orthodox, even if they have a valid
Eucharist and a valid priesthood and apostolic succession, they have this
apostolic succession only materially, not formally, because they are not linked
to the pope. Moreover, they do not recognize quite a lot of dogmas. For example,
their position concerning Purgatory is unclear and confused; they do not accept
the procession of the Holy Ghost from both the Father and the Son, nor
the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then, especially, they do
not recognize the primacy of the pope. They are schismatics and even, to a
certain point, heretics. How can they then be a "partial Church"? To say
that they are is absolutely irrational.
More ways than one?
The worst of the three points in
Dominus Jesus is a statement taken directly from the Second Vatican Council
teaching that the Holy Ghost has deigned these other denominations to be
"ways of salvation." Now, once again, we do not deny the fact that there is
baptism of desire. We do not deny that people in other denominations can be
saved. But what we deny with all vigor and strength is that they are saved —if
they are saved —by these other religions. We say they are not saved by
these other religions, but they are saved in spite of these other
religions. That is what has always been said.
This makes things very clear,
because nobody can be saved without our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church He has
instituted, the means He has instituted and wanted for our salvation. How can
you argue against God, who has given us these means, saying "Well, I will
choose my own means"? Cardinal Ratzinger quotes the decree about Ecumenism
of the Second Vatican Council in Dominus Jesus, which is very bad and
Once again, we received this
declaration Dominus Jesus with mixed feelings. There are good things in
it —very Catholic things —but any good is absolutely undermined by the bad in
Cardinals and more cardinals
Recently, the Holy Father
appointed 37 cardinals. Yesterday [Feb. 21, 2000], he named seven more for a
total of 44. Among them there are some very valuable theologians and people, for
example, the German, Fr. Leo Scheffczyk, or Archbishop Janis Pujats of Riga,
Latvia. But there are also very dangerous people among the new cardinals. I just
wanted to tell about two of them: the new Cardinals Karl Lehmann and Walter
Kasper. They’re both German. The first one is the head of the German Bishops’
Conference who has resisted with all his force the guidelines set by the
Vatican, from the pope himself. Despite reprimands from Rome, he insisted on
cooperating in the national plan of the German government to sponsor so-called
"counseling offices" for pregnant women. A certificate is issued as proof of
a woman’s reception of counsel regarding her pregnancy, and with this
certificate she is made eligible to receive an abortion. German bishops, in
effect, were in a position to deliver these certificates with which the woman
can go and have an abortion. The pope and especially also Cardinal Ratzinger did
not agree at all with the collaboration of the German bishops in this crime, and
so they asked them to opt out of this whole system of counseling pregnant women.
Cardinal Lehmann resisted strongly and publicly. He finally gave in, but only
after being forced to do so. In addition, his faith in the resurrection of our
Lord is not strong. He denies the historical resurrection of our Lord, as does
the new Cardinal Kasper, his colleague, who himself denies the miracles of our
Lord, questions the divinity of our Lord, His physical resurrection, and who
says there are no definite truths. These are very basic things. These men are
modernists in the worst sense you can imagine.
We are very much offended that
those people now are promoted to be the most highly ranked ecclesiastical
authorities in the Holy Catholic Church. But, in making a little investigation
into how such appointments came to be made, we were told that there were
threats, threats from Germany especially, that if there were not some cardinals
appointed from Germany, then the whole Church in Germany would probably go into
The Society of St. Pius X
and its friends
Let me speak, in this second
point, about the work of our Society and also about the work of those
communities which are affiliated with us. The work of the Society of St. Pius
X, my dear friends, is developing every day under the blessing of God in His
infinite mercy. We have now a little bit more than 400 priests. We have at this
moment more than 70 schools. We are very glad that we have this school here in
Kansas City, and I was just at St. Mary’s [Kansas]. It is wonderful to see
these schools, these children trained. If tomorrow we want to have Catholic
fathers and Catholic mothers, Catholic teachers, professors, doctors, lawyers,
statesmen, journalists, businessmen, and farmers, we must prepare them today. We
must protect our children against this general corruption in the government
schools. This corruption is primarily on the level of the intellectual matters.
The whole history of mankind is completely falsified and the humanities are made
despicable. The government schools are only training in technical regards, in
mathematics, in the natural sciences, and so the whole development of souls does
not take place any longer. Secondly, these schools foster moral corruption, a
corruption of which you are very well aware. Finally, the public school is a
place of religious corruption. They either speak no longer about any religious
matter in the schools, or if they speak, they immediately put all the other
religions on the same level together with the Catholic one; it’s absolutely
common. It is important to protect your children.
Then, we have our priories and
our parishes. And it is a true blessing to see ourselves established in more
than 30 countries with our priories, with our retreat houses. There is no doubt
that this is a modest but real contribution to build up a new Christianity.
If you think about the first
thousand years of the Church, one nation after another was won to the Faith.
Their leaders, the kings, were baptized together with their people, and then the
constitution and the morals all changed according to the law of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and He was really the king of these societies, of these countries.
Certainly, they had human defects, but they are always present because we all
are children of Adam and Eve. Nevertheless, it was a Catholic society.
Today there is no longer any
country in the whole world which in its constitution and its laws officially
proclaims the Catholic Faith. In the first thousand years a progressive
conversion, one country after another, and then, with the Lutheran reform, began
the great apostasy. One nation after another left the Faith, gave up, changed
public life, changed the constitutions, changed the laws, especially after the
French Revolution. And so, our whole society became pagan, neo-pagan, became
One day, I asked Archbishop
Lefebvre, "What can we do to make these countries once again Catholic?"
He said, "In my eyes, there are only two means: the schools for the
children, and the retreats for the adults."—The schools for the children in
order to prepare a Catholic future, a Christian future, and the retreats to
maintain fervor among the Catholic flock and to push them towards Christian
perfection —sanctity —so as to not be happy with a state of mediocrity, of
routine, but prepared to strive for what our religion instituted: to know God,
to love Him, to serve Him.
A network of Tradition
There are not only the
communities of our Society which are maturing, but there are also other
communities linked with us that are gathering momentum. We are very thankful for
this and made very happy.
Think about the Redemptorists of
Fr. Simm, who now have their monastery in Northern Scotland on Papa Stronsay
Island. They are preaching parish missions especially in the English-speaking
countries. They have preached parish missions here in the US. Just recently they
preached them in Australia and New Zealand. Everywhere I went in these places, I
only heard praise about these wonderful exercises. It is absolutely splendid!
Think about the Benedictine
Fathers of Santa Cruz in Brazil and of Silver City, New Mexico, in the US. Just
a year and a half ago, the Benedictines made a new foundation in France [Notre
Dame de Bellaigue, Virlet, France —Ed.] and they were able to buy an old
abbey—wonderful old buildings, a whole monastery.
You have the Sisters of the
Oasis. This community of Sisters was founded by Fr. Muńoz, a Spanish priest.
They are contemplatives, dedicating themselves to prayer, sacrifice, and
silence. Last year they made a new foundation in France, and they are planning
to make a foundation in the U.S. next year in Oregon.
Looking to the East
But I wanted to especially speak
about another community, not of the Western Church, but of the Eastern Church.
In order to do so, I have to give you some historical introduction.
You know that in the year 1054,
there was the Great Schism of the East, that is to say, the Greeks separated
from the Roman Church. They no longer recognized the pope in Rome and
established their own Orthodox Church. Now, afterwards, there were always
attempts to heal this schism, to overcome it, but nothing really lasted. In
1438-39 the Council of Ferrara-Florence, in Italy, was gathered to address this
issue, to bring unity once again between the East and the West, to try to bring
back those people, those Christians living separated from the Western Church.
Isidore, the patriarch from Kiev, which is today the capital of Ukraine, who
lived in Moscow, took part in this Council. Two delegations, one from Kiev and
one from Moscow, were present. When the union was reached, on paper, with the
Ukrainian and Russian peoples, Isidore travelled immediately to the Ukraine to
announce the union, making the people very happy there. Then he went to Moscow.
But, in the meantime, following upon the agreement, the delegation of Moscow had
propagandized the people there according to their vision of things, and Isidore
was ultimately faced with an absolute rejection in Moscow of the union with Rome
by the Great Prince and the clergy. From the year 1054 to this moment, the
Russian Church functioned in a certain state of ambiguity. It was not clear
whether it had been in schism together with the Greeks, or if, in fact, they
held to the See of Peter in Rome. But from the moment the Council of
Ferrara-Florence was repudiated, we must say that the Russian Church became
schismatic. Sometime later they established their own patriarchate in Moscow.
The Great Prince of Moscow put the Patriarch Isidore in prison and persecuted
all those who were in favor of the union with Rome. In the Ukraine, without
Isidore, nobody was able to provide or enforce the guidelines regarding the
practicalities of this union, so it was not ever really realized.
About 150 years later, in 1596,
there was finally an agreement between a very qualified minority of the
Ukrainian people and Rome. This was the agreement of Brest-Litovsk, a very
famous and very important agreement. In this agreement it was decided that the
Ukrainians would return to the unity of the Holy See, that they could maintain
their own Eastern Rite, that is, the Rite of the Greek Church (the Liturgy of
St. John Chrysostom), and that they could maintain their own laws, even the
law concerning celibacy, which states that married men can be ordained priests,
but a priest cannot marry. (That is to say, if somebody who is celibate is
ordained a priest, afterwards he can no longer marry. Or if the wife of a
married priest dies, the priest cannot re-marry. The upper clergy, the upper
ranks, are always to be chosen from the clergy living in celibacy: the abbots
and bishops and so on. And, there are no married bishops.) All these were left
to them and so the union was fulfilled. From this moment on, you have three
communities in the Ukraine: You have, first of all, the Orthodox, who are the
majority. You have, secondly, those who are now called the Greek Catholics;
Greek because they are holding to the Rite of the East, Catholic because they
are united with the Holy See. Sometimes we call them the Uniates, or the
Ukrainians, but the word "Uniates" is not very appropriate. It is
especially used by the Orthodox and is used in a very pejorative sense. So, we
should call them the Greek Catholics. The third community we will speak of
There were people, priests, and
bishops, who worked for the union, among them especially a Polish-born bishop
named Josaphat (1580-1623), who was then assassinated by the schismatics. He
shed his blood for the union with Rome. He was canonized in 1867; his feast is
celebrated on the 14th of November. He was the first martyr of the Greek
Catholic Church. His body rests on the right side of St. Peter’s in Rome.
During the 18th and 19th
centuries, western Ukraine was specially influenced by the West since this area
belonged for a good time to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The whole cultural
and social influence came from Western Europe. These people were very much
influenced in their religion by Polish missionaries going into these countries
who brought devotions normally unknown in the Church of the East, especially the
Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, devotion to the Sacred Heart, and adoration
of the Blessed Sacrament. This influence extended especially throughout five
dioceses in west Ukraine.
The third community in the
Ukraine is the Roman Catholics, those who hold to the Roman Rite. They are
especially the Poles, or descendants from the Poles. They are a very small
minority, but they are a still a community there.
This tripartate situation was the
state of things when Communism took over power in Russia and also in the
Ukraine. The Communists began to persecute the Church. They persecuted all
religious belief but with different intensity. It was especially under Stalin,
in 1946-47, that the Greek Catholic Church was completely suppressed, or, to say
more exactly, it was annexed by force to the Orthodox Church. The bishops were
all put in jail and later all assassinated. One exception was Cardinal Slipye,
who after years in jail came out, and finally went to Rome, where he died in
1984. All the others were assassinated. Most priests were assassinated. The
buildings of the churches were handed over to the Orthodox. There was no longer
any legal existence of the Greek Catholic Church in the Ukraine.
The Greek Catholics had three
options. Either they could accept Stalin’s prescription to join the Orthodox,
which would have meant being unfaithful to the Church, or they could join the
Latin Rite, which was much less persecuted because it was considered a very
small minority left largely alone by Stalin on account of the foreigners living
in the Ukraine; this gave the impression that there was religious liberty. So
Stalin did not persecute Roman Catholics in the same way he did the Greek
Catholics. For example, the Church of St. Louis in Moscow, which was built by
the French in the 19th century, stayed open during all the years of the
Communist domination. There were always services. Nevertheless people who would
go there were observed; there were cameras all around the church, and everybody
who would go there was registered. The facade was just to give a favorable
So, the first option of this
people was to separate themselves from the Church, be unfaithful to the Church.
The second option was to be unfaithful to their own rite, to their own customs,
to go over to the Latin Rite, which they did not want to do at all. It has
another mentality. The third option was to go underground, and this they did.
The Greek Church stayed underground for many years, and finally in 1989-90 when
the Iron Curtain fell, these people came out from the underground. The first
thing they asked for was that their churches be given back to them, and in fact,
they recovered about a thousand churches in west Ukraine, half the total number,
but were refused the other half. This was a further cause for even more
deeply-seated animosity between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics.
These Greek Catholics have looked
for support; these people who had suffered for the Church, for the See of Peter,
who had suffered for their faithfulness. There are martyrs among them, and they
looked for support from Rome, from the bishops, from the West. They were
terribly deceived because, in the meantime, a new wind was blowing through the
Church, the wind of ecumenism and dialogue with the Orthodox. And because of it,
the Greek Catholics were more or less considered to be unwelcome children,
disturbers of this dialogue, and obstacles to Rome’s ecumenical union with the
Orthodox. What a disappointment this was for these people! We cannot imagine the
disappointment they must have felt so see these things!
Some of the Greek Catholic
bishops in the Ukraine said, "Since it is now the new orientation, well, let
us go along with it." In order not to disturb the dialogue with the
Orthodox, they suppressed the Rosary in their churches. They suppressed the
Stations of the Cross. They no longer promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart or
to the Eucharist. People, however, became very worried about what was going on,
and said, "But these are the devotions that helped us to overcome the
persecution. This was our help. These were the means by which we could keep the
Faith in the underground." What did they do in the underground? They said
the Rosary! They said the Stations of the Cross! The people said, "We do not
like this. We want to keep these devotions. We cannot abandon these. These are
identical with our Faith."
These compromising bishops then
did another thing: they began to introduce the vernacular language. Up until the
1990’s, the liturgy was always celebrated in the Old Slavonic language in the
Greek Rite. Now, these bishops wanted to introduce the Ukrainian language, the
vernacular language. People did not want this either. So, certain people began
to look for where the liturgy was still celebrated in the old Slavonic language,
and so began the very same process that we knew 25 or 30 years ago here in the
West when we looked to preserve the Latin language of the Roman Rite.