December 2003 - Superior General's Letter #65

The Church has just celebrated 25 years of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. During this time, more damage has been caused by the reforms of Vatican II, than did other events such as the French Revolution. Most of the reforms were made in the name of ecumenism which, explains Cardinal Kaspar, will destroy all that is strictly Catholic in the Church, not bring back the separated bretheren. Your prayers are asked for a group of Ukrainian priests and their parishioners who are being threatened with major excommunication.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The Church has just celebrated 25 years of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, one of the longest pontificates of her entire history. It is also a pontificate that has presided over one of the most decadent periods the Church has ever experienced. The French Revolution, the two World Wars and Communism caused less damage to the Church than the reforms of Vatican II. This internal sickness has given rise to a greater loss of faith, a greater spiritual devastation, especially in Europe and North America, than all the ills brought about by the Church’s external enemies. Are we not right to think that the Council has had the effrontery to give the Church a new mission, a new goal: that of being “the sacrament of the unity of mankind”? Hitherto the Church’s first and sole purpose was to save souls, to wrench them from the hands of sin and the devil, and lead them to God by faith and the grace of the sacraments. Quite simply, concern for the unity of mankind is utterly foreign to her. The Church, essentially supernatural both in her aims and her means, has no business with any earthly and purely humanitarian mission. Of course she is familiar with a supernatural unity, and she does actually create a human unity among her faithful, but this is purely accessory to her purpose; it is only a consequence of their union in faith and charity. At the same time she knows how to appreciate the proper value of the bond of peace, the vinculum pacis.

The more we go on, the clearer it becomes that one of the keystones in the vault of the Conciliar and post-Conciliar enterprise is ecumenism. The Roman authorities constantly harp on it.

Most of the reforms were made in the name of this ecumenism, and the greatest “successes” are attributed to it. The liturgical reform, the new relations with Christian and non-Christian religions, the ecumenical Bible: all these things have infected the faithful with a number of attitudes and a new vision which have very little to do with the Church’s teaching and discipline that have come down to us through the centuries.

We must go further, however. Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, recently gave a conference that throws much light on what ecumenism really is: it is a large-scale enterprise to demolish all that is specifically Catholic in the Church. It is quite clear that we are fooling ourselves if we think that ecumenism is a dialogue-based movement with the aim of bringing the separated sheep back to the fold of Holy Church.

He takes it as axiomatic that the Church is meant to be the leaven of mankind’s unity, and from that he goes on to examine the causes of division. Suddenly it becomes plain that what divides Christians and men generally are precisely the specifically Catholic things. (Wasn’t Our Lord himself a sign of contradiction and a stumbling-stone?) Kasper tells us that ecumenism is not a movement towards conversion; it is not the return of wanderers who have left the one true fold. This idea of unity is foreign to him. For him, ecumenism consists in bringing about a new unity, a unity together with these wanderers who —all of a sudden —are not wanderers at all! We must follow “a common path towards a unity in a reconciled diversity.” As for this unity, the Cardinal tells us that no one knows what it will be like, because “the Holy Spirit is always able to come up with a surprise.” Clearly, this man, who is responsible for the promotion of unity, does not know where he is going; but he does know what he is doing: he wants to remove from the Catholic Church everything that is specific to her. That means he will have a big job!

The first division, of course, comes from our profession of faith. Our good Mother, Holy Church, has produced these dogmatic formulas —as it was her duty to do —to protect the faith that saves and gives eternal life, against the deceivers and false prophets who preach a gospel that is equally new and false. Practically all the heresies have been stopped in their tracks, blocked, by a succinct and incisive formula that shows with the utmost clarity the abyss that exists between truth and error, faith and heresy. Cardinal Ratzinger, following Urs von Balthasar, wrote that the urgent issue of the moment was to “dismantle faith’s bastions,” but Kasper goes further and says that today we must transcend these “unfortunate” and divisive formulas and discover a unity that we had never really lost… sharing the one faith under different creeds… “This is the result of our efforts to reach nuanced agreements that transform yesterday’s contradictions into complementary assertions…” According to this view, the dogmas are nothing but antiquated polemical formulas.

Once Kasper gets to work, there is no stopping: the sacramental life, the ecclesiastical ministries —including the episcopate itself —and, finally the pontifical Primacy (the stumbling-stone par excellence in the way of unity) are all given the same treatment: everything must be changed in the Church and reduced to the lowest common denominator.

Kasper does not know whether tomorrow’s pope should be held to possess a jurisdiction or infallibility; it will depend on the needs of the moment. It is a “variable geometry” kind of papacy, imposed by a dogma that is now seen as historically conditioned and distinct from its permanent content. This is pure modernism.

Cardinal Kasper is the pope’s right hand man in what the latter regards as “the most important duty of his pontificate.” Even if the Cardinal gives this conference as his own personal vision, there can be no doubt that it governs his official action; furthermore, he is not the only one to think in this way. The way he presents his ideas is daring, but he is only expressing the dominant view, the “official line.”

Here is a very recent illustration of it: at the beginning of October a new inter-religious meeting took place at Fatima. It is the same thing as Assisi. But now it is at the heart of a Marian sanctuary. The building of a great multi-religious temple there has been announced, under the aegis of the Vatican and … (wait for it…) the UN!

How can any agreement [with Rome] be possible under such conditions? How can we pass over such aberrations in silence? We reject all “nuanced” agreements, we affirm the contradiction between the true and the false, and we assert our firm will to have nullam partem (no part) in such an enterprise. Why? Quite simply, because we want to remain Catholics. We must turn our backs with horror and disgust on such a way of seeing the Church and living in “communion.” How can anyone claim that modernist “Rome” has changed and is becoming favourable to Tradition? What delusion!

In our struggle to maintain the Catholic identity we have been asked to come to the aid of a group of Ukrainian priests. For some years now we have been helping them, particularly by setting up a seminary, that had been clandestine for a long time. This year our wholesome action was brought under the spotlight. Their bishop, Cardinal Husar, summoned the superior of the Fraternity of St. Josaphat and asked him to explain himself and to make his position clear: “It’s me or Bishop Fellay.” He has threatened him and all the priests (about ten of them), and the faithful who follow them (more than ten thousand) with major excommunication. This means many trials, penalties or persecution in a country where Communism is not dead. We commend them to your prayers. In November, in Warsaw, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais ordained the first priest to have come from this seminary.

On the eve of the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, let us renew our adoration and our firm will to serve Him and follow Him to the very end. Let us ardently implore His grace so that we may carry out His holy desires. Be assured of the prayers of all our seminarians, who have returned to the seminaries in good numbers this year. Taking all our seminaries together, we have sixty new entrants beginning their year of spirituality. May Our Lord deign to reward your faithful generosity with His abundant graces, and may our good Heavenly Mother deign to protect you throughout the New Year.

† Bernard Fellay

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

8 December 2003