I want to give you an update on
our relations with Rome, which will include, of course, those with the diocese
of Campos, Brazil. I will also have to discuss the situation of the Church
because everything is related.
We are able to say that a new
phase in the history of the Society of St. Pius X has begun. It touches
seriously on the question of our existence and of our future. This concerns us
deeply together with the many rumors being spread about us. I want to inform you
first-hand in order to dissipate the stories that are circulating and to
demonstrate our perspective. Where does the Society stand? What does it
expect? Where does it go from here?
Before reviewing the facts of the
events, we first have to remind ourselves of the principles which guide us. The
first is that we are Roman Catholics and we want to stay Roman Catholics. Thatís
why we are here. We want to stay faithful. And the first principle of belonging
to the Church is the Faith. All other issues, such as, for instance, union with
the pope, etc. -
all definitely very important - come afterwards. In the First Vatican Council,
it is said that without the Faith, it is impossible to please God. Itís a quote
from Holy Scripture. The Council continues very clearly by saying it is
impossible to be in the state of grace, to enjoy the communion of the saints, or
to go to heaven without the Faith. And so, to stay Catholic, we have to resist
any kind of attack against the Faith. Unbelievably enough, however, attacks
against the Faith have occurred within the Catholic Church itself. It is
an absolute necessity to resist them. Some of them are very visible, some of
them are not. Some occur by way of consequence.
The second principle is that the
Catholic Church is our Mother, that the bad things that happen to the Church
hurt us, crush us. We donít want these things to happen, but, unfortunately,
A third principle is that we are Romans! Peter has
received from Our Lord special privileges. Amongst them is, "Who listens to
you, listens to me." Thatís why whenever we look to Rome, we expect to
hear the voice of the Lord from the mouth of the Vicar of Christ and, in fact,
the whole Curia. What a disappointment when the voice that comes out doesnít
sound like the voice of Our Lord! However, when Rome approaches us, our
first reaction as Catholics is to look at it with a favorable eye because we
constantly expect that one day we will be able to hear again the voice of the
So now, letís go to the
facts. Letís see if Rome has really changed its attitude towards Tradition.
I would like to flash some light on different aspects of the situation. I
could do this by reviewing chronologically the events of the Societyís
recent relations with Rome while also including the Fraternity of St.
Peter and even Una Voce. In fact,
while Rome was making this new approach towards us, they engaged in very
interesting behavior towards the Fraternity of St. Peter and Una Voce.
Divine Providence was good enough to give us the necessary information to know
what was happening within them so that the Society of St. Pius X could
position itself correctly in its negotiations with Rome. Finally, I will speak
of Campos because I imagine some are asking the questions, "If Rome is
granting Campos something so attractive, why not to the Society of St. Pius
X?" or, "Why doesnít the Society make the same move?" I hope the
facts I will give you will provide the answers.
and the Fraternity of St. Peter
In 1999, an interesting thing
happened within the Fraternity of St. Peter. Sixteen priests signed a letter
which they sent to Rome, accusing the Superior General of St. Peterís of making
it a Lefebvrist
society. At the same time, some bishops complained to Rome that a certain number
of priests of St. Peter refused to concelebrate in the new rite, or, when
members did accept to concelebrate, the Superior General scolded and punished
them. Rome moved against St. Peterís and the other Ecclesia Dei
societies with Protocol 1411 (July 3, 1999) [see The Angelus, November 1999
which stated that the general law in the Church is the New Mass, and as such
every Catholic priest has a strict right to make use of the general law.
Conclusion? Any superior in an Ecclesia Dei society is forbidden to
prohibit their priests from celebrating the New Mass. It was a knock-out blow in
the sense that these societies did believe, as much as I can make of it, that
they had an exclusive right to celebrate only the Tridentine Mass. We have to
give credit to Fr. Bisig [Superior General of the Fraternity of St. Peter at
the time - Ed.] that he had fought all these years to celebrate only the
Tridentine Mass. When Fr. Bisig heard that decree, he went to Rome to appeal the
Protocol with a fellow superior of an Ecclesia Dei society. They met with
Cardinal Medina who told them, "I am your best friend." This was the
cardinal who issued that decree! The following day they met with Cardinals
Medina, Ratzinger, Felici and Msgr. Perl. They protested the Protocol. They
begged to have it remain unpublished. Msgr. Perl replied that he did not see
anywhere in the Fraternityís statutes an exclusive right to the Tridentine Mass.
Itís terrible what I say now, but it is an example of how
Rome is arbitrary. They know where they want to go, and they just go! They
are above the law. There have been several examples of this. In 2000, Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos intervened in the
St. Peter by removing Fr. Bisig
as Superior General. The majority of the chapter made recourse against this
decision of the Cardinal. Now, when you make a recourse, it is to a higher
authority from whom you seek justice. In this case, however, the appeal was
returned to Cardinal Castrillon. They were obliged to make the recourse to the
same person who made the decision! Of course, it was a done deal!
It was also during this time that the Ecclesia Dei Commission
especially Msgr. Perl - wanted to introduce the 1965 rubrics of the Mass to its
societies. It is apparent that Msgr. Perlís intention is to oblige Ecclesia
Dei to have an Old Mass which looks as much as possible like the New Mass.
This means to suppress, for example, the prayers at the foot of the altar,
having lessons only in the vernacular, etc. There was even a rumor about
introducing the new calendar.
In September of the same year, Michael Davies,
representing Una Voce, and Cardinal Castrillon spoke about these matters.
In an exchange of letters between them in October, you see affirmed by the
cardinal an absolute power of decision without reference to any right or custom.
Nothing! They just decide. In one letter he obliges all Ecclesia Dei
priests to give Communion in the hand to faithful who request it. They base
their argument on the fact that in the Roman Missal of 1962 nothing definitive
is said about the faithful necessarily receiving Communion on the tongue. We
could argue, of course, that in 1962 the 1917 Code of Canon Law then in
effect clearly expressed how to receive Communion. But they just donít care:
they just go to their point.
In this letter to Mr. Davies was included a reminder that
the first condition for an Ecclesia Dei community to be granted the
Indult Mass is to have nothing to do with those who question the legitimacy of
the New Mass. Well, thatís the Society of St. Pius X! Yet, barely a
month later Cardinal Castrillon sent me an invitation to visit him in order to
prepare a visit to the Pope!
towards the Society
Already in April , Msgr. Perl had said,
Weíve got to do something with
the Society of St. Pius X. Theyíre jeopardizing our ecumenical efforts. Weíre
losing credibility. Listen, we try to get unity with all these Protestant
groups, Orthodox, etc., and here in the house we have a problem.
Soon after, Cardinal Castrillon is appointed President of
Ecclesia Dei. He is the first president of this commission who is not
retired and is less than 80 years old.
At the beginning of May, he sent his first letter to the
four bishops of the Society. He announced his presidency, how he knew Archbishop
Lefebvre from his days in Columbia, South America, that he respected his
attitude towards the liturgy, and invited us to start something with him. It is
true, by the way, that the cardinal knew Archbishop Lefebvre, which means that
we knew him! Cardinal Castrillon helped change the
constitution of Columbia to make it a non-Catholic state. During his time in
Columbia, he was a major mediator between the guerillas and the government. Thus
we can presume that he is qualified as a professional mediator! In all
honesty, his behavior in Rome is understood by everybody there as conservative.
As Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, he definitely has a real care for
the priests, and he wants his priests to be priests. He insists that the priests
have a good formation, and that is to his credit.
I decided that each bishop could do what he wanted with
the letter. I trust our bishops enough to know that there would be no
discrepancy in our answers, which in fact, happened. All four answered
similarly, that is, we are not schismatics, we are still in the Church.
The important event in 2000 was
the Societyís Jubilee Pilgrimage to Rome [in August]. It shook the Vaticanís
conscience. It was a very simple demonstration. Someone in the Curia was
reported to say, "What can we
do for these people? They are Catholic!" One of the radio stations
reported that this kind of pilgrimage had never before been seen in 2000 years
of Church history: 6,000 schismatics praying for the pope in St. Peterís!
The porter of the house where Cardinal Ratzinger and all the other cardinals
live said to one of our priests, "You gave us a strong lesson."
At the conclusion of the pilgrimage, Cardinal Hoyos
invited all four Society bishops for a meal with him. For nobody to go would be
impolite; for all of us to go would be too military. Finally, three of us went.
Throughout the discussion, it was obvious that the cardinal tried to diminish
the problem with us, almost to the point of saying there was no problem!
We had to say, "Oh yes, there is a problem." Up to now, our
attitude was always to say we are Catholic, we are not schismatics, as though we
were saying, "There is no problem." Then, Rome was saying, "Oh yes,
there is a problem! Youíre excommunicated; youíre schismatics!" and so
on. Now, they use exactly the contrary move. Rome says thereís no problem and we
are the ones to say there is one.
I tried to start a discussion on the Mass. The
said, "I am not an expert." The President of the Ecclesia Dei
Commission said that! That means, of course, "I donít want to discuss
the matter." How could I start to speak to the one who is responsible for
the Latin Mass when he tells you that he is not an expert? He continued,
"There are so few things that separate us." He said, "We believe in the
same God." Okay, good start. "We believe in the same Eucharist." So I
answered with some very broad affirmations. After some time, Bishop Williamson
said, "Your Eminence, itís two religions." The cardinal seemed taken
During our half-hour together alone, the
cardinal said to
us, "I donít want the Roman Curia to know what we speak about." So thatís
the level of trust you find in the Vatican. During the meal, the monsignor in
charge of accompanying us on the pilgrimage made his very favorable report to
Cardinal Castrillon. It was highly praiseworthy of the Society, no doubt about
it. This monsignor asked me to bless him. Cardinal Castrillon said, speaking of
the Society, "The fruits are good. Hence, the Holy Ghost is there."
And then I asked him, "But your Eminence, where do these fruits come from?"
Silence; no answer. When I saw that he didnít want to speak about important
matters, I offered to send him a memorandum about the problems. He agreed to
that. I directed Bishop Tissier de Mallerais to send him a letter asking him to
free the Latin Mass for all priests, anywhere, any time, without any special
permissions, without any problems. That was the first approach.
In October, later that year, I gave an interview to 30
Days magazine. It was curious because 30 Days reported all the
positive remarks about us and Rome, and just dropped the negative. It made a
favorable impression in Rome which was not exactly accurate, but Cardinal
Castrillon used it to lay some groundwork for me to meet with the pope. I didnít
know what to expect. Cardinal Castrillon started very quickly saying:
shown the pope your interview in 30 Days and he has given me the mandate
to solve your problem." "Iím sorry," I said, "but this article is
not fair to the reality.
Cardinal Castrillon said it didnít matter. This
showed me that the article was just a convenient excuse. What he wanted was to
of December 29th
A meeting between Cardinal Hoyos and myself was scheduled
for December 29 . At this meeting I wanted to stress two things, the first
of which was that whatever happens - even if there is an agreement with Rome - the
Society of St. Pius X is going to "continue to fight against Liberalism,
Modernism, and Freemasonry." Cardinal Castrillon didnít respond at that
time, but he kept this phrase in his report, which he later handed to the pope.
The cardinal told me that when the Holy Father read that the Society insisted
- no matter what - to "continue to fight against Liberalism, Modernism, and
Freemasonry," he pointed at it with his finger and said in Italian,
"Thatís us! Thatís us!" When the cardinal told me this, I thought,
But the pope didnít mean what I thought he meant. The
did not mean that he represented the Liberalism, Modernism, and Freemasonry that
we are fighting against. No, he identified himself as a fellow fighter in the
fight the Society is waging! He was saying that he was fighting against these
things with us! Weíre saying what the pope does is Modernism, is Liberalism. In
principles, heís linked to Freemasonry to a certain extent. Yet, the pope says,
"I am fighting the same fight as you." How can you understand that?! Thatís why I tell you, I donít understand this pope. If youíd speak only of
abortion, fine. But Assisi, for example, is a typical example of Modernism. And
the pope wants it. Itís his idea. The Society attacks Assisi with
all its possible weapons; it shouts to the blasphemy, to the abomination we have
there. How can it be said that we and the pope are fighting together?!
The second thing I spoke about dealt with the Mass and the
Fraternity of St. Peter. The cardinal said, "I donít understand the question
of the Mass." I answered, "The Protestants do." From there, I tried to
show whatís wrong with the New Mass, saying, "How is it possible that a
Catholic Mass could be a Protestant service at the same time?" Does he know
the Confession of Augsburg recently invited the different congregations of
Lutherans to make use of the Catholic missal for their Last Supper
services? They did! There is a Protestant professor of theology who said,
"Now that the idea of sacrifice has been lifted from the Mass a Protestant can
feel at home with the New Mass."
I also gave him a quote from an ex-canon
[a type of high-ranking priest - Ed] of the Church,
Paul Roca, who died in 1890. In one of his books he wrote that the Mass will one
day receive a deep transformation thanks to an ecumenical council which will
bring it in harmony with the principles of this world. He died in 1890, and was
able to make a prophecy so very precise. That is striking; that shows that
hidden forces have been working, that have enough influence in the Church to do
Renan [French intellectual, (1823-1892)], who wrote about
the eventual death of the Catholic Church, was asked on his deathbed if he
believed in the Catholic Church? Near death himself, he answered, "I believe
in the Church of the future." To be able to say such things means occult
forces have for a long time planned to transform the Church.
Alice Bailey, foundress of the New Age movement, wrote a
book  entitled The Exteriorization of the Hierarchy. She said that
toward the end of the 20th century the Catholic Church will have adopted Masonic
principles. It will keep, however, the appearance of religion to avoid
alienating the faithful. God knows how and why He allowed plans like these to be
fulfilled. Itís surprising.
So I told all these things to the
cardinal and then he
said, "So, hereís what Rome proposes to you: We want a solution in which we
solve the problem of bishops, bishops who would be ordinaries, that is, true
bishops, maybe with dioceses, and priests and faithful." He spoke about an
arrangement like that of Opus Dei, that is, a personal prelature. He
foresaw our difficulty in having the pope himself choose the bishop to head this
personal prelature, for this is the usual procedure. He said either the
Societyís priests or the Societyís bishops should present three names to the
pope every time another bishop is needed for Tradition.
I must tell you this first proposal looked very, very
interesting to me, especially since I had been very hard on Cardinal Castrillon.
I had dismissed his earlier attempt to make the May 5  Protocol a basis of
discussion, saying to him, "Iím sorry, but this will not work now. That
Protocol had been hastily authored. The current crisis and the high stakes
demand more clarity." I re-stated all our objections to Vatican II - religious
liberty, ecumenism, collegiality. I spoke of the new Code of Canon Law. I
threw a lot of punches and I was really amazed to see how much he was able to
absorb and still continue in a pleasant way. I really admired that. I thought,
well, he is really a mediator, because I really threw a lot of things at him.
One of my arguments was, "We donít trust you. You are
very kind in what you say, but we donít trust you. Not you personally, but
Rome." I let him know Romeís actions against the Fraternity of St. Peter
didnít help my confidence. Rome has tried to crush the Fraternity of St.
Peter. The Fraternity claimed to be with the pope, with Rome, accepted the
Council, accepted the New Mass, etc. The cardinal explained to me why he
had to remove Fr. Bisig:
I have nothing against somebody who wants to
celebrate only the Old Mass, but Fr. Bisig wanted to make an oath against the
New Mass. I cannot accept someone who defies a general law of the Church on
Actually, in fact, the story is that during a kind of reconciliation
meeting of the Fraternity of St. Peter [Fr. Bisig] tried to impose on the
priests of St. Peterís a promise to celebrate the New Mass only once a year.
I had been insistent with the cardinal that I did not
trust Rome because of what happened to the Fraternity of St. Peter. "You
make promises to the Society, but look at what you did to St. Peterís," I
said. Every time he gave a similar response: "Oh, itís not the same. St.
Peterís is against the New Mass. You are in favor of the Old!"
Should we trust such an answer? The cardinal says, "Yes, but..." Yes,
but... what? But we are more of a threat than St. Peterís! Another time he
said, "Well, St. Peterís wasnít protected." But the cardinal was
appointed their protector! Itís like a policeman who would shoot a child and
then say, "He didnít have a bullet-proof vest on." But the job of a
policeman is to protect the child, not to shoot him! So, here is Cardinal Hoyos
saying they were not protected. So how can the Society expect to be protected?
The cardinalís position is evident from his interviews
such as in 30 Days: "Itís fine to celebrate either Mass, but please donít pit
one against the other. Donít make use of one against the other." Well, the
Society is definitely against the New Mass. We even say that it is
"intrinsically evil." Thatís a delicate label that needs a little explanation.
By this we mean that the New Mass in itself - the New Mass as the New
Mass, as it is written - is evil, because as such you find in it the
definition of evil. The definition of evil is "the privation of a due good."
Something that should be in the New Mass is not there and thatís evil. What is
really Catholic has been taken out of the New Mass. The Catholic specification
of the Mass has been taken away. Thatís enough to say that it is evil. And look
at the terrible fruits.
What does Cardinal Castrillon say about whether the New
Mass is evil? "No, we cannot say so because the pope has approved it."
This reply is a reference to the infallibility of the pope: "The pope has
promoted the New Mass, hence the New Mass is infallibly good." Thatís the
final argument of Rome, and when Rome uses this argument, no discussion is
possible. The only discussion that we can start at that point is to question
that premise. Clearly, our next step in discussions with Rome will be to
question this premise: "Did papal infallibility enter in the promulgation of
the New Mass?" It will be delicate, but if we want Rome one day to question
some things about the Second Vatican Council, we have to dig in on that point.
And we will. We are continuing our studies on the Mass and preparing, so to
speak, the next rounds of ammunition.
All this was our first meeting. The
cardinal seemed to be
happy with my answers. I was really wondering what was going on in his mind. He
even had said several times, "We want you to fight against Liberalism,
Modernism, and Freemasonry in the Church!" I said, "What am I hearing?!"
At the end of the discussion, he asked, "When will you be back in Rome?"
I said, "Around January 15th." "Okay, come here, weíll have a formal meeting,
and weíll sign an agreement." Done. Two weeks. I replied, "No, thatís not
possible." He said, "Weíll have a little meeting with the pope and
once itís signed weíll have a formal meeting with the pope." Without committing
myself, I anticipated I would receive a visit around January 15th.
Later that evening on December
29th, I received a phone call from Cardinal Castrillon: "The meeting with the
pope is scheduled for
tomorrow at 11am." I said, "Iím sorry, but my planeís at noon." I
asked if he could reschedule. "No," he answered, "thereís a general
audience at St. Peterís Square." I tried to change my plane, but couldnít,
so I called back and said, "I canít, Iím sorry. Itís Saturday; Sunday, Iím
busy. I cannot be there at 11am. There are no seats available on the planes."
The cardinal said, "Iíll take care of that." And he did. He got me on
each plane from Rome to Zurich on that Saturday afternoon and night. I donít
know how he did it. Itís unbelievable, really. So, I had no excuses.
At about 11am we were ready to
see the pope. It seems that
there was a misunderstanding about the time between the papal secretary and
Cardinal Castrillon because, when we arrived at the door of the palace, there
was a phone call from the secretary who asked, "Where have you been? The pope
is waiting for you. St. Peterís Square - 50,000 people - is waiting for the pope
who is waiting for you! Itís already been a quarter of an hour!" Obviously,
there was a misunderstanding because we were on time.
The pope had waited 20 minutes
when we entered the chapel. For two minutes we were in silence together before
the Blessed Sacrament. Then, the pope recited the Our Father, stood up, and turned towards us. We
greeted him. He asked the cardinal, "Were you able to discuss, to meet?"
The cardinal said yes. The pope wished us "buon anno," that is, "Have
a happy new year." It was December 30th. He repeated it in French. He said,
"I bless you." We received his blessing. He gave us his rosary. Again, "Buon
anno." And thatís it. So, not much.
Cardinal Castrillon had intended
to hand to the pope the relation of the discussion of the previous day. Some
things in the report displeased me, especially the way he spoke about religious
liberty. I had the feeling that it was not the same thing for him and for me. I
wanted to emphasize that point and so I asked him to make a couple of
corrections. The under-secretary of the pope was called to make these notes. I said, "This
text of the Council hides the social kingship of Christ." But the
under-secretary of the pope did not know what the social kingship of Christ
meant! The cardinal and I had to explain it to him. If the under-secretary of
the pope himself doesnít know this, where are we?!
I spoke now about the agreement of Brest-Litovsk as a
possible model for a solution. Brest-Litovsk was the agreement which brought the
Ukrainians back into the Catholic Church at the beginning of the 17th century.
The Ukrainians said, "Okay, we are ready to come to Rome if you can accept us
as we are, with our own liturgy, language, our own calendar, our own discipline,
and so on." And it was granted to them. Thatís why I mentioned
Brest-Litovsk. The papal under-secretary said, "If I understand you well, you
would like to keep some of your traditions." I replied, "No! All of
When we were finished with all
our remarks, the cardinal brought me to the window in the big hall which is just
in front of the private apartment of the pope. From that window, we looked down
upon the pope addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peterís Square. That was
On January 13th, I convened a
meeting of the bishops of the Society. I invited Bishop Rangel [of the Priestly
Union of St. John Baptist Mary Vianney in Campos, Brazil - Ed.] to come to reflect on this
proposal from Rome with us. He was sick so he sent a priest of the Priestly
Union, Fr. Rifan, to represent him. We talked the whole day about what we were
going to do with this proposal from Rome that had come so unexpectedly. We
agreed that we needed a sign from Rome proving it really wanted Tradition. The
proposal [of an apostolic administration for the Society of St. Pius X]
was something interesting in itself, but it wasnít enough. We had been cheated
so many times before that we needed something clear showing us that Rome really
wanted Tradition. Taking advantage of our knowledge that there is a
movement in the Vatican in favor of the old Mass, we planned firstly to ask that
the Latin Mass be allowed to be celebrated by all priests of the world as a rite
which has never been abrogated. Secondly, because the Vatican has managed to
marginalize us with this scare of excommunication, we requested that it retract
the decree of excommunication.
Here, we made use of the encyclical Ut Unum Sint.
There the pope explained why he has lifted the excommunication of the Orthodox.
I paraphrase what he says: "You know, with such a penalty, itís difficult to
have a dialogue, so we have taken it away." So we said, "Well, you want
to dialogue with us, take the excommunication away, too." Why donít they?
They did with the Orthodox, but with us they donít seem to do it.
Why did we use these two
prerequisites? There are several reasons.
For one, a cruel injustice is done to the whole Church by
maintaining that the Latin Mass is prohibited. To remove such an injustice will
again allow the flow of graces to the Church. Secondly, we by no means want to
be considered as a zoo. If we are the only ones with permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, we are in a zoo, that is, we are a secluded group. We donít
want that. The Latin Mass is the Mass of the Church, not of a peculiar
group. Thatís why we insist that every priest have the possibility of
celebrating the Tridentine Mass.
If Rome was to declare publicly - as we ask it
to do - that the Latin Mass has never been abrogated, it would be a public
admission that the New Mass itself has not been strong enough to eliminate the
Latin Mass. It would be security for the future that Rome will not take this old
Mass away. Until now the popular line out of Rome is that the Tridentine Mass is
a kind of indulgence. Itís tolerated. "It is just for a part of the Church.
Its permission is only provisional, only temporary." Those were the words of
Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re in 1986. By default, the general law of the Church
is considered to be the New Mass. To avoid all seclusion and separation, we are
asking that the old Mass be made the general law as well.
On this point, a further reflection evolved: There is a
kind of identification between the Mass and the Society of St. Pius X. If Rome
is capable of standing up and fighting to defend the old Mass against all the
attacks of the progressivists, we thought it might be also ready to stand up and
to fight in favor of the Society of St. Pius X.
On January 16th I returned to
Rome to meet the cardinal
again for a half-hour to say that we were open to discussion but we needed proof
that Rome was trustworthy. I wanted an agreement where we were sure the words
meant the same for both sides, and that I would sign only when I had total peace
of conscience. He seemed to agree with all this reasoning. All of this was put
into a letter sent January 21st. On February 12th, Rome answered. Let me
summarize the letter:
Basically, the pope agrees to say that the old Mass
has never been abrogated, that every priest can celebrate it. And so do Ratzinger, Sodano, Medina, and myself [Cardinal
Castrillon]. But, you know, the secretaries of the Congregations and the
under-secretaries do not agree. They say it appears to blame Pope Paul VI and
all the work they have done these many years. So we cannot grant this permission
When I read
this, I thought, "Itís over." It was proof to us Rome was not ready to
stand up for Tradition.
We prepared our answer on February 19th and sent Frs.
Selegny and Simoulin. I sent Fr. Selegny because heís the Secretary General of
the Society and co-author of
The Problem of the Liturgical Reform on the
New Mass, a project on which he spent two years. I had called a
commission back then to prepare some new arguments on the New Mass. They were
preparing a 500-page book! I told them, "Thatís much too big. Make something
100 pages." Just at that time, the book was ready. I asked Fr. Selegny to
give it to Cardinal Castrillon and that the cardinal might give one to the pope.
I wanted them to know the enormity of the problem with the New Mass. The Society
will never celebrate it. We want every priest in the world to be able to say it
[the traditional Roman Mass - Ed]. We know that everybody can say it, but we want
Rome to say they can and stop saying that it is forbidden. I told Fr.
Selegny to speak in my name at this meeting and tell the cardinal that Bishop Fellay
was suspending the discussions because Rome would not grant our prerequisites.
The cardinal was unhappy, of course, but he was told,
Eminence, it is impossible for us to go forward into a practical agreement
before we discuss doctrinal matters."
The reason for this I give you now with a little example:
Itís like Rome telling the Society,
Hmmm, look at your car. You
have flat tires. You have a lot of dings and dents in your car. It really is a
sorry-looking car... Let us give you a new car, a beautiful car!
true, the car is beautiful. An apostolic administration is a fine "car"; itís
beautiful. The Society tells Rome,
Yes, itís a very fine car and
itís very kind of you to give us such a car. We receive it with great pleasure,
but please, before we use it, remove the nails on the street. If you donít, even
with your new car, tomorrow we will have flat tires again.
In other words, the same causes
produce the same effects. Our relations with Rome are made difficult because of
the behavior of Rome itself, which does unbelievable things and, on the other
hand, allows bishops to do even worse things. As long as Rome continues like
this, we will continue as we do. Even if Rome gives us a beautiful
administration, weíll continue to fight where we must fight. That is why we
request that we enter into real, true discussion on doctrinal matters. But they
donít want to.
In January, Cardinal Castrillon had incorrectly written
that with some conditions I would accept Vatican II. Since I wanted him to know
exactly what I think about the Council, I handed him Catholicism and
Modernity, a booklet in French by Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau in which he studies
the Council and shows how the spirit of the Council is radically opposed to
Catholicism. It is, we may say, a total demolition of the Council.
During the month of March, something very curious
happened. We continued to hear stories that we had not terminated
discussions with Rome, that they were continuing to such a degree that the pope
was convening all the cardinals of the Curia to give advice on our question. The
word came out that the pope wanted the whole thing to be solved by Easter! I was
wondering, "Is he going to do it without us?!" I thought, I have to do
something, so I sent a strong letter to Cardinal Hoyos relaying all my
discomfort and the severity of our position on the New Mass. I also mentioned
that I was troubled to learn of a recent letter he wrote to the Sri Lankan
Bishopsí Conference in which he said the Society was in "schism". In all our
talks, he had carefully avoided that word. I asked him to explain how at the
same time he could give me the impression we were almost normal but to others he
was calling us schismatic. Well, I never got an answer to that letter.
On Good Friday  the cardinal called and said the
pope cannot grant permission to all priests to celebrate the Latin Mass because
of too much opposition from the bishops. In the meantime, we had heard that
Cardinal Lustiger of Paris had gone to Rome and had spoken with the pope and
Cardinal Sodano. We know that to one or the other he threatened, "If Rome
grants the Society freedom in France, 65 French bishops will enter into
disobedience." That is to say, 65 French bishops will rebel against Rome if
you allow the Society to work freely in France. This is the way France is
In the meantime, there was the nomination of new cardinals
in February of 2001. You may recall there were two waves of nominations with a
weekís hiatus in between. We had a visit in between from Cardinal Castrillon
during that week. I heard from another cardinal that when Cardinal Ratzinger
heard that Kasper was about to be nominated he went to see the pope and said to
him, "Kasper is a heretic!" Castrillon explained to me how the Vatican
was obliged to give a cardinal to Germany. The nominations were made during the
big fight in Germany over Church-assisted abortion. "If we hadnít
named a German cardinal," he said, "Germany would have quit the
Church. So, we thought it better to have a bad guy in the Vatican whom we would
be able to control rather than to have somebody far away in Germany who was out
of control." This was a thinly veiled reference to Karl Lehman, who, by the
way, was nominated a cardinal four days later. That is two wolves whom Cardinal
Ratzinger calls "heretic." A few weeks later, a bishop told us
the story of his dining with the pope. The pope said at that time, "I have received so
many critics of the nomination of these German cardinals, and I donít know why!"
This is not hearsay. The pope doesnít know why?!
In May , Cardinal Hoyos wrote me a letter inviting
me to continue discussions. We cannot grant you the Latin Mass, he wrote. He
said that faithful bishops judge that the Mass cannot be allowed to be
celebrated by all priests because it would be understood as a depreciation of
the New Mass. As an aside, I can reveal that a bishop of France told us the
Church needs us to give a form to the New Mass. It means at least one bishop
recognizes the New Mass has no form. Well, if it has no form, drop it! Donít try
to save it! Let it go!
The cardinal said the pope is ready to lift the
excommunication of the Societyís bishops when the agreement is signed. I
wondered, "If not then, when?!" We asked this as a first step, not
as a last step. I answered him in June, the following month: "No. You place
us in a dilemma. Itís a dead end. If you want to continue discussions," I
wrote, "we have to change the state of the question, that is, how do we look
at these things?" The further gist of the letter was that we are
not guilty, we are just a consequence of a situation which has been caused by
Rome. The problem is not with the Society, it is with Rome. We have changed
nothing. We are just keeping Catholic Tradition and discipline, what the Church
has always done, what has always sanctified the faithful, the priests, the
bishops throughout the centuries. Thatís what we do. We do not change anything,
so the problem cannot be on our side. On the contrary, the problem is in Rome. I
asked him to consider how Rome is demolishing the Magisterium, how it is, so to
speak, cutting off the branch on which it sits.
It seems the cardinal was not
happy with my letter, though he called and said he would give a strong reply
after the holidays, about the beginning of September. I still donít have a
reply. I know he prepared an 11-page response but he was advised by someone to
whom he showed it not to send it to me. And so we are at a standstill.