An Interview with Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
by Stephen L. M. Heiner
Bishop Tissier de Mallerais
Remnant Editor's Note: Due to the controversial nature of some comments made in this interview, we have decided to open up a small readers' forum at the conclusion of the interview. Comments should be sent to editor@RemnantNewspaper.com. MJM (32 Responses)
Interviewer’s Note: I had met His Lordship Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais of the Society of St. Pius X on only one occasion previously. It was the 1997 ordination of Fr. Frank Kurtz, after which I had the chance to ask His Lordship some questions. I was struck by his courtesy and gentleness, especially as I had just seen him celebrate Mass in one of the most precise and holy ways I had ever seen. Recently, I expressed a desire to Michael Matt to interview His Lordship for The Remnant. Mr. Matt allowed me to “track him down” and line up an interview while the Bishop was here in Colton for Confirmations. The interview was recorded in person and took approximately 45 minutes. The text below has been vetted by His Lordship for textual and factual accuracy. Before being published here in The Remnant, the text was approved and signed off on by His Lordship. (Please note that I use and prefer “Your Lordship” to the more contemporary “Your Excellency” when referring to a Bishop.) SH
Stephen Heiner: My Lord, Zenit.org released a text on 7 April from the French episcopate on the occasion of the end of their plenary assembly which included the following statements: “Truth implies being clear on our points of dissension. These points include acceptance of the Magisterium more than questions of liturgy, in particular, that of the Second Vatican Council and of Popes of the last decades. Communion may be accompanied by questions, requests for precision or further reflection. It cannot tolerate a systematic rejection of the council, criticism of its teaching, or denigration of the liturgical reform decreed by the council.” Furthermore, AngelQueen.org recently released an “exclusive interview” with Bishop Rifan from the diocese of Campos. Within the text of the interview, His Lordship states (through a subordinate) that essentially so-called “practical, effective” communion within the Roman Rite is demonstrated by concelebration in the Novus Ordo, citing canon 751. How do you as a Roman Rite bishop, who recognizes the valid election of Benedict XVI, respond to these comments?
His Lordship: Firstly, I am not familiar with this text. I do not know it. It is not interesting to me as I do not follow such news. That is not the problem here. The problem is not “communion.” That is the stupid idea of these bishops since Vatican II – there is not a problem of communion, there is a problem of the profession of faith. “Communion” is nothing, it is an invention of the Second Vatican Council. The essential thing is that these people (the bishops) do not have the Catholic Faith. “Communion” does not mean anything to me – it is a slogan of the new Church. The definition of the new Church is “communion” but it was never the definition of the Catholic Church. I can only give you the definition of the Church as it has been understood traditionally.
SH: And what is that, My Lord?
HL: The Church is a visible society, of those who are baptized, profess the Catholic faith, and submit to the Roman Pontiff. These three elements are essential and necessary – so that is all that matters to me – “communion” means nothing to me. If I had something important to tell you it is that these people have lost the Faith – especially faith in the mystery and dogma of the Redemption. Because, you know, the Second Vatican Council did not say a single thing about Redemption. The liturgical reform, yes, it falsified completely the mystery of redemption.
SH: Well, this Council, of course, was something that the Holy Father worked closely on as a theologian. You were acquainted with him when he was Cardinal Ratzinger in 1988 and I know that you dealt with him closely regarding the “negotiations” at the time. You’ve had the chance to observe him over a year (it has just been a few days since the anniversary of his election). Has there been a change in his words, actions, or tone since he has become the Holy Father?
HL: I knew him as a negotiator, who wanted to reconcile us, to reintroduce us into the Conciliar Church. He was thus to me, a man of intelligence, interested in the project of “re-integration.” We avoided his initiatives. But now he is the Pope and he has special graces, but he doesn’t use those graces because he does not do anything for the Church. It has been a year now, and he has done nothing!
SH: It has been said that he feels a certain guilt about 1988, because externally he appeared to be “fighting for” the Society. Do you feel this is true?
HL: He was honestly persuaded that we were outside the Church and that he had the duty to re-introduce us to the Church. This is of course, ridiculous, because we are not outside the Church. We never have been. This was a great desire for him (reconciliation). This was some months before my consecration to Bishop. But now he is the Pope! He should do something for the Church! But he does nothing!
SH: So you have seen nothing concrete that he has done, My Lord?
HL: No, nothing.
SH: In the recent consistory he increased the voting power of Europe at the expense of the other parts of the Church. It is said that he wants Europe to again take the reins of leadership for the Church. But Europe is infected with the rise of Islam. In the wake of the recent riots and a February excerpt in DICI website regarding the rise of Islam in Europe, what is the state of the Church in Europe? Is Europe prepared to take the reins, so to speak?
HL: This is not a question regarding Benedict XVI; this is a question of the governments in Europe allowing Islam to grow unchecked. The French government, for example, practically invites these Muslims to France. The government wants to control their religion, so they make regulations and laws in order to control it. The bishops do not see this danger – well, they are contradictory. On one side they see the danger and they do not want to give them (the Muslims) the churches (to be used as mosques). And on the other hand, they say that Christians and Muslims must reconcile – that there is no difference between the religion of Christians and Muslims, and that Islam is a very “tolerant” religion. So, they are completely contradictory with themselves.
SH: You would say that this is the attitude of the bishops in Germany, France, Switzerland—there is no difference?
HL: Yes, absolutely no difference. They are completely contradictory. They see the danger – because they will be obliged (under French law regarding public buildings) to give empty churches to the Muslims. But then they say that Islam is very good, and tolerant.
SH: Well, then, Benedict’s “European project” has many obstacles. You said that you saw him as a negotiator. Bishop Fellay recently said that he is very closely tied up with the Council. What are the main ideas that this Holy Father holds that are at odds with Tradition?
HL: Collegiality, for instance. He wants to rule the Church with the bishops, with the cardinals. He becomes unable to rule the Church. This is evident because he has been the Pope for one year and he has done nothing! Collegiality paralyzes him. Voila – yes, collegiality paralyzes the Pope.
SH: And he is willing to be paralyzed?
HL: Yes, he believes it (in collegiality)!
SH: Regarding ecumenism, it is said that he was not happy about Assisi…
HL: Ecumenism is another thing; yes, it was said that he despised Assisi, but we are not sure, and now he has gone into the synagogue many times, with the Jews, so, it is not clear…because he has an inclination towards the Jewish religion.
SH: Did he not reduce the independence of the Franciscans at the Basilica (of Assisi)?
HL: Yes, but this is not a major matter.
SH: When I was on the phone with Bishop Fellay to clarify a quote from his conference in Denver, I had transcribed (I did not tape the event) that “He (Benedict) believes that the secular state is the preferred mode of existence within the Catholic view of social organization.” Bishop Fellay corrected me by saying “it is the only mode of existence.” Are these not always the “big three” topics? That is to say, collegiality, ecumenism, religious liberty? Is he not completely committed to these ideas?
HL: Yes, he is committed to these three errors. Regarding religious liberty he is almost exactly like John Paul II. They are convinced that no government can be Catholic, that no government can acknowledge Jesus Christ as true God. This is, of course, contrary to Catholic teaching, specifically the teaching of Pope Pius XI, in Quas Primas.
SH: Yes, and the Syllabus…
HL: Yes, but the Syllabus was in the 1860s and Quas Primas was in 1925, so it is not so old – so outdated, as they would like to say.
SH: Well, I have some more personal questions for you. I recently read your work on the Archbishop. You knew him so well. Were there any surprises for you in writing and researching this work?
HL: My great surprise was the great affection and respect that all these progressive fathers had for him – even if they did not agree with him – it was amazing. They respected him so much for his Christian, his Catholic personality. All of them testified to this when I met them – this – they loved him, even though they did not understand him. Because, truly, they could not reconcile the gentleness, the charity, the frankness, and yet, on the other hand, his strength in the Faith. They could not reconcile this.
SH: If they saw His Grace’s Christian personality, how did they not see his Christian conclusions?
HL: Because they were liberal, hence they could not understand that a man could be so kind and yet so strong at the same time.
SH: You are coming up on your 18th anniversary of consecration. What have been your thoughts about the episcopate? That is to say, what did you not expect in June of 1988?
HL: My great surprise is that the crisis in the Church has been so long. We had prayed that the good Lord would send us a truly Catholic Pope, a holy Catholic Pope, just a few years after my consecration, and here we are, 19 years, and it is the same. It is a great disappointment. The crisis lags, and we have to continue to fight. That is the great difficulty – not for me, but for the faithful especially. The faithful have to be heartened, they must be encouraged not to be fatigued, to be tired. We must continue to fight.
SH: So in your role as a bishop you must travel all around the world to see the faithful. What is a common link between the traditionalist faithful?
HL: I think it is the great esteem for large Catholic families – that is common. The grace of Christian marriage and the desire to have many children – they understand that the future of the Church and the future of their homeland revolve around a fruitful marriage. And that is the grace of Archbishop Lefebvre – that, and the Holy Mass. That is what he preached.
SH: My Lord, the General Chapter of the Society is this summer…
HL: Ah, yes.
SH: There is some confusion among the faithful as to whether someone who has been the General Superior may be elected again. For example, Fr. Schmidberger has been Superior General – can he be so again?
HL: Yes, there is no limitation.
SH: Yes, Fr. Schmidberger was Superior General after you were consecrated, so you, as a bishop, had to report to a priest. I think the feeling among the faithful was, that once Bishop Fellay was elected, that a bishop would continue on in that position, as opposed to a simple priest. Is this true? Well, let me be more specific without asking you for a prediction. Is it likely that the situation of having a bishop as Superior General will continue?
HL: No, it is not normal. Actually, the most normal thing would be for a simple priest to be Superior General.
SH: Why do you say that, My Lord?
HL: Because it is in our constitutions, and because the existence of bishops within our Society is something extraordinary – not foreseen. It is not normal – so I think it would be very normal for a simple priest to be Superior General, and I would be ready to obey, to submit, to him.
SH: So it is an extraordinary situation for the Society to have bishops, but you can accommodate yourself to the idea of reporting to a priest – well, obviously you did so with Fr. Schmidberger. Let me ask you to clarify this: the constitutions do not prevent a previous Superior General from being re-elected?
SH: So Bishop Fellay could be re-elected.
SH: There are always troublemakers, especially on the Internet, who quote so-called anonymous “inside sources” who often know really nothing, and who seem to seek to splinter the Society by talking about a so-called “schism within the Society” if and when Bishop Fellay were to make a “deal” with Rome. My question is this: when Bishop Fellay speaks, or makes a statement, does he so “on behalf of the bishops” of the Society?
HL: No. I would say he speaks as the Superior General of the Society. Simply that.
SH: So, as bishops your primary role is…
HL: To give Confirmations and do Ordinations, simply. That is the role that Archbishop Lefebvre gave us. So we have no “leading role” in the Society, per se, we simply submit to the Superior General.
SH: So, if there were to be a restoration within the Church, the bishops within the Society would not be necessary?
HL: If there were Catholic bishops in Catholic seats, no, we would not be necessary.
SH: My Lord, The Angelus recently reprinted a study by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P. which postulated that the new rite of consecration for bishops was valid – something which has been under some discussion of late since the Holy Father is the first pope to have been consecrated a bishop in the New Rite. There are, circulating on the Internet, statements that the Archbishop doubted the validity of the new rites of episcopal consecration…
HL: No, no, no. He never discussed the matter, never. No, no.
SH: So there has never been a question in the Society about the validity of any of the new sacraments?
HL: Archbishop Lefebvre never discussed the validity of episcopal consecrations.
SH: No, not about the episcopacy?
HL: I do not know his mind on this subject. The New Rite regarding episcopacy, he did not know it. He did not study these matters – or read it. Because, simply, he continued with the Old Rite.
SH: I think I have one more question: where is the Society growing the fastest in the world?
HL: The essential thing is that we re-establish Catholic families, Catholic schools, these are the great means of the growth of the Catholic Church. Indeed, many of our priests come from our schools. We insist to our faithful that they send their children to Catholic schools.
SH: Well, that’s all my questions, my lord. Now, when I type this I want to make sure all my quotes are accurate, so I will send you a transcript before you go to Veneta…
HL: No, no, these questions, you have not addressed the essential things – I appreciate your questions but you did not touch anything essential in your questions.
SH: What more, My Lord?
HL: Well, for instance, that this Pope has professed heresies in the past! He has professed heresies! I do not know whether he still does.
SH: When you say “has professed,” do you mean he still does?
HL: No, but he has never retracted his errors.
SH: But My Lord, if he has not retracted them, does he not still retain them? Of what are you speaking? Can you be more specific? I must admit I am no theologian and I have not read any of his works. Was this when he was a cardinal?
HL: It was when he was a priest. When he was a theologian, he professed heresies, he published a book full of heresies.
SH: My Lord, I need you to be more specific, so we can examine the matter.
HL: Yes, sure. He has a book called Introduction to Christianity, it was in 1968. It is a book full of heresies. Especially the negation of the dogma of the Redemption.
SH: In what sense, My Lord?
HL: He says that Christ did not satisfy for our sins, did not – atone – He, Jesus Christ, on the Cross, did not make satisfaction for our sins. This book denies Christ’s atonement of sins.
SH: Ah, I’m not sure I understand…
HL: He denies the necessity of satisfaction.
SH: This sounds like Luther.
HL: No, it goes much further than Luther. Luther admits the sacrifice…the satisfaction of Christ. It is worse than Luther, much worse.
SH: My Lord, I must return to the beginning of this line of questioning: are you saying he is a heretic?
HL: No. But he has never retracted these statements.
SH: Well, then, what would you say, My Lord, that it was “suspicious,” “questionable,” “favoring heresy”?
HL: No, it is clear. I can quote him. He rejects “an extremely rudimentary presentation of the theology of satisfaction (seen as) a mechanism of an injured and reestablished right. It would be the manner with which the justice of God, infinitely offended, would have been reconciled anew by an infinite satisfaction…some texts of devotion seem to suggest that the Christian faith in the Cross understands God as a God whose inexorable justice required a human sacrifice, the sacrifice of his own Son. And we flee with horror from a justice, the dark anger of which removes any credibility from the message of love” (translated from the German version, pages 232-233).
SH: What other heresies, My Lord?
HL: Many others. Many others. He has put up doubts regarding the divinity of Christ, regarding the dogma of the Incarnation…
SH: This cannot be true…
HL: It is very true. He re-reads, re-interprets all the dogmas of the Church. This is it. This is what he calls the “hermeneutic” in his discourse of 22 December 2005.
SH: This hermeneutic is also known as the “living tradition…” It would interpret existing doctrines in new lights…
HL: Yes, exactly. According to the new philosophy, the idealist philosophy of Kant.
SH: These are very strong words, My Lord, but yet, the Society is not sedevacantist…
HL: No, no, no, no. He is the Pope…
SH: But these are strong words…
HL: Ecclesia supplet. The Church supplies. It is even in the code of canon law: “in case of doubt, the Church supplies the executive power.” He is the Pope. Ecclesia Supplet. But we must know he has professed heresies.
SH: My Lord…has there been such a dark time in Church history?
HL: That is difficult to say. I would not say such a thing. It is sufficient to say that he has professed heresies.
SH: My Lord, I must emphasize that the paper I am writing for has wide circulation in the English speaking world…are these the words you wish to use?
HL: Yes. Yes. I have read Joseph Ratzinger, and have read his books. I can assure you that it is true.
SH: Well, then I’d like to know what was the Archbishop’s opinion of him when he was Cardinal Ratzinger?
HL: He did not read him. He never read him. He saw him as a man of negotiation. An intelligent, honest man, with dangerous initiatives regarding us.
SH: This line of discussion which you have introduced, My Lord, leads us back to the 1988 Protocol. One of the points there is that the Society would interpret the Council “in the light of Tradition.” Is that still the case today?
HL: Absolutely not. Not any more.
SH: So then what would be said, that the Council needs to be revisited, revised entirely?
HL: No, we would read the Council in the light of the “new philosophy.” Yes, that is the real “light” [chuckles]. That is the only “light” by which you can read it.
SH: So you would say the Society reads the Council in the light of the “new philosophy.”
SH: And hence rejects it?
HL: That is the only way it can be read. You cannot read Vatican II as a Catholic work. It is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.
HL: Exactly, German idealism.
SH: So if you say that the proper way to interpret the Council is in the light of the “new philosophy,” how must the Church deal with this Council?
HL: I will say, one day the Church should erase this Council. She will not speak of it anymore. She must forget it. The Church will be wise if she forgets this council.
SH: Let me read it back to you from my notes. “The Church must erase this Council, not speak of it, forget it.”
HL: Forget it, yes. As a blank – tabula rasa. Ah, you must excuse me, Stephen, I must go hear confessions before Mass. Please excuse me.
SH: My lord, it has been a great pleasure, and both interesting and surprising.
HL: Likewise. It has been a pleasure.
So there it is. These are some of the strongest words I have ever seen from a bishop of the Society of St. Pius X. No further commentary beyond the fact that Bishop Tissier was very calm and clear as he spoke, and I thought it was interesting that he stopped me from ending the interview because he felt I had not asked some important questions. I’m grateful for the opportunity that Michael Matt gave me in pursuing this interview for The Remnant.
Stephen Heiner is the editor of TrueRestoration.com.
He currently resides in Anaheim, California but will be moving to St. Marys, Kansas, this June.
Reader Response Forum
Editor's Note: Mr. Jacob Michael has prepared a thoughtful and well-researched critique of Bishop Tissier's comments regarding Father Joseph Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity. Please see I accuse the Pope. In the meantime, Fr. Lawrence Smith has responded to Mr. Michael. Father's comments appear below. Should there be further substantive reactions to this debate over the next day or two, we will post them here on this forum. Comments may be sent to: Editor@RemnantNewspaper.com
Dear Remnant Editor:
Here are some thoughts I shared with Mr. Michael regarding his response to the claim of heresy leveled against Father-then-Cardinal Ratzinger:
1) There is still lacking in Father Ratzinger's explanation the specific necessity of salvation predicated on the Sacrifice of the Son accessed by man only through the Cross, only through the Mass, and only through the Catholic Church. That God could have effected salvation in other ways is true, but the fact is that He does so only in the way in which He did so. The human subject, therefore, is obliged to receive salvation only in that way. However it is described, and that issue accounts for the growth and development of the conceptions of the Redemption down the centuries, the fact remains that what is necessary is the Cross, the Sacraments, and the Church. A corrective to Father Ratzinger would be a clear statement of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.
2) Have you read C.S. Lewis', That Hideous Strength? There is a character named Withers who perfectly personifies the incomprehensibility of Vatican II, and serves as an archetype for the conciliar and post-conciliar theologians adopting its style. It is a matter of obfuscation as a means to deceive, which leads to point
3) This is vital to understanding the modernists’ modus operandi: They do not intend to make an outright denial of perennial truth so much as to effect an inability amongst the faithful to assert the truth. This is accomplished through confusion, obfuscation, and misapplying traditional terminology in such a way as to lure the faithful into heterodoxy without technically bringing the Magisterium into error. At the end of the day, Ratzinger and his ilk can claim not to have officially condoned error. They will claim that the error lies in ascribing “meaning [to] the propositions…[which do] not belong to the authentic position of [the modernists], but to conclusions that may possibly have been drawn from the reading of [their] works." Cardinal Ratzinger would have himself absolved in the same way and on the same grounds that he sought to absolve Rosmini. (This is a quote from my comments on James Larson's critique of Cardinal Ratzinger)
4) The caution you offer Bishop Tissier about care necessary in accurately stating one's position is equally applicable to Father then Cardinal Ratzinger. If indeed the Bishop was rash in his judgement, it is as well the case that Father Ratzinger was indiscreet in his descriptions, making it likely that his words would be misinterpreted.
5) You make mention of the fact that Father Ratzinger did not write in a vacuum. How true! The context for his thoughts includes his first year in the Pontificate, in which he has repeated gestures of false ecumenism, endorsed an Americanist notion of Church-state relations, and elevated men of questionable moral character to the Cardinalate. In understanding his difficult theology, one must also keep in mind Father then Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict's actions. A distorted collegiality still informs how the papacy approaches lesser prelates, a protestant ethos still infects Catholic worship, and concessions to the structures and mindset of the world go on unabated.
6) The essence of modernism is an unnatural and erroneous wedding of the true and the false in which confusion makes impossible the perception or declaration of the truth. That Father Ratzinger's writings (and the ambiguous texts of Vatican II) make nigh on impossible a certain declaration of their meaning in itself disqualifies them as being accurate representations of Catholic truth. Catholic truth is most certainly capable of bearing many interpretations, but it is never expressed in ways in which an error or omission forms part of the expression. An example of such an error would be this statement from Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 3:
“The brethren divided from us also carry out many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. In ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or community, these liturgical actions most certainly can truly engender a life of grace, and, one must say, can aptly give access to the communion of salvation.”
False religions, even with valid sacraments, have absolutely no power to save. That is a dogma defined and repeated throughout the entirety of the history of the Church. The communion of salvation can not be accessed outside of the Catholic Church. Period.
7) Yes meaning yes and no meaning no should be the guiding principle behind all dogmatic theology. Speculations running amok can not but lead to heresy, if not in the theologians themselves, then quite possibly among the less informed. It would serve the Church very well if theologians refrained from speaking unless and until they are able to offer a clear teaching capable of leading the sheep of the Flock toward greater sanctity.
God bless you,
Many thanks for this wonderful interview and for giving us the opportunity to comment on it. Stephen Heiner is to be congratulated on conducting such an informative interview.
The facts about Father/Cardinal Ratzinger's professed heresies are crucially important to publish and you do the Church a marvelous service by so doing.
May I suggest that The Remnant initiate a petition of some sort to which we can all contribute online as well as by hard copy means, in order to bring the Pope face to face with his position and ask him to retract these heresies without delay? Giving chapter and verse examples in the introduction and widely publicizing this petition might well do much good. He needs to face up to the terrible scandal his heretical views are causing since we have to presume that he continues to hold these false beliefs unless he tells us otherwise.
Just a thought! Let me know if our humble publication in Scotland (which is read south of the border in England and Wales and on every continent including your own) can be of any practical assistance if, as I sincerely hope, you do decide upon some such course of action as a follow up to this excellent, if troubling, interview.
Editor, Catholic Truth (Scotland)
I regard to your offer of readers comments to Mr. Michael's article on the "Introduction to Christianity", I would point out this.
That in saying that the shedding of Christ's blood is not the cause of our redemption, but only the destruction of the personality of Christ, the "real cause", Fr. J. Ratzinger errs by implicitly holding that the death of Christ caused or resulted from the destruction of Christ's Personhood or personality. But Christ, we must remember, though perfect God and perfect man, is a perfect Divine Being and a perfect human being, He is not a human person; but rather a Divine Person.
The ignoring of this distinction is the vital flaw in Fr. Ratzinger's critique. Let me explain why.
First, a person is according to the ancient definition of St. Severinus Boethius, " an individual substance of a rational nature " [rationalis naturae individua substantia ], or according to the more exact definition, approved of by Sts. Thomas and Bonaventure, of the medieval Franciscan Theologian, Alexander of Hales, a person is "a supposit of a rational nature distinguished by a property" [rationalis naturae suppositum proprietate disctinctum].
For us men, a person is constituted at the instant that God creates and infuses a human soul into the body which is conceived by our parents. A human person, therefore, is an individual being which belongs to the category of human beings. Such an individual member (which in medieval logic is called a "supposit"), is constituted as an individual by a single and unique, individual human soul and a single and unique human body, which when separated, cause the death of that individual, and hence the destruction of the human person.
Thus when a human person is offered in sacrifice, there is offered not only the life, soul and body of that person, but also the person himself, since all these, but the soul, are destroyed in his being sacrificed.
But it was not so with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Because in Christ there are Two Natures and one Person. One nature, which is Divine, the other, which is human. But the one Person is divine.
This is because, when the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father became man, for our sake, in the spotless womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, He was already God, and the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity; that is, He already was a Divine Person and a possessor of the Divine Nature. In becoming man, He assumed into the embrace of His Divine Person, the human nature which Our Blessed Lady conceived: a human nature composed by a human soul, created and infused by God, and an immaculate human body, taken by the Holy Spirit from the womb of the Immaculate, Ever-Virgin Mary.
Thus, Jesus Christ, had two natures, the Divine Nature and a human nature; but one Person. Thus, when He died upon the cross, which He freely did, and which resulted from His free act of acceptance of death -- just as He said, "No one takes My life from Me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again, for thus has it been given to Me by My Father"
-- His human soul was separated from His human body, and as man, He died.
But His Divine Person and personality, was not destroyed, because as Son of God, He remained an individual supposit, or sharer, in the Divine Nature; and since His human body and soul, though separate from one another, remained united to His Divine Person.
This is the common teaching of all the Doctors and Fathers of the Church.
And is de fide.
Now to apply this directly to Fr. Ratzinger's critique: From this we can see that, the efficacious value of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross, CANNOT result "really" from the destruction of His "I", His "personality", because His "I", or "personality" WAS NOT DESTROYED. Rather what was destroyed was His human life. And Scripture alludes to this, when Christ Himself shouts out from the Cross, "It is consummated!".
If Our Lord and Master redeemed the word by the destruction of His "I" or "Personality", then the consummation would only come after His death. But He declares that His Sacrifice is consummated prior to His death, yet in such a way that He truly dies on this account. The merit of Christ's Sacrifice then is accomplished, consummated, by the completion of His Suffering, and all that entailed, not because His "I" was annihilated, nor because His Body and Soul where annihilated, because none of these 3 things were annihilated.
For this reason, Fr. Ratzinger's critique of what he sees as a crude misunderstanding of the Redemption by the masses of the laity, is itself based upon an erroneous understanding of the nature of Christ's Sacrifice.
We have a case of the Theologian seeing speck in the layman's eye, and not seeing the beam in his own.
Finally, if Fr. Ratzinger wants to emphasize that the merit of Christ's Death lay not so much in His Passion but in his Death, nevertheless, he is thus confronted by a more profound truth, namely, that death itself cannot be meritorious; but only the acceptance of death and suffering. Because death is not an act or passion of human nature; it is something which a human being undergoes, but he cannot as man, without committing the sin of suicide, cause his own death. And thus the merit of the Redemption must lie elsewhere, very close to the actual Death, but not the actual death, rather in the suffering which inevitably and naturally would lead to human death, though, as I said, in Christ's case, it was rather His Will laying down His life, rather than being in any sense compelled to death by the force and violence of His Sufferings.
For this reason all Catholics can merit with Christ, not only by our actions, motivated by faith and charity and hope, but also by our sufferings, and the voluntary acceptance of our own deaths, in howsoever a manner God has ordained from all eternity that this come about. If Fr.
Ratzinger were correct, we could not merit with Christ, because Christ would have never merited by the destruction of His "I" or "personality", because, as I said, these were not destroyed; and if they were not destroyed, there would be no merit in Christ's Death, if their destruction was the "real" cause of the Redemption.
Is this kind of error in Father Ratzinger's book a heresy? I do not think so; I think rather that, in attempting to critique the medieval synthesis of Catholic theology, by rejecting Scholastic categories, Fr. Ratzinger shows his profound ignorance of theology and philosophy, and that he is more a politician of theology, than a theologian.
Sincerely in the Risen Lord,
Br. Alexis Bugnolo
The Franciscan Archive
Let us not make too much of the words of a man whose primary language is not English. He accepts Benedict XVI as a valid pope. Good! He says the first year of the new pontiff has been a disappointment. All agree. To say the Supreme Pontiff has done "nothing" is close to the truth, but a melodramatic overstatement. The Supreme Pontiff's demotion of "Assisi" organizer Fitzgerald is at least "doing something" and evidence of ecumenism weariness. At the Cologne synagogue he said we should know each other better to resolve differences and come to the truth, not exactly the religious indifferentism of recent memory. Benedict XVI's impending sacking of Cardinal Sodano should bring a chorus of cheers.
I do believe Bishop Bernard saying Joseph Ratzinger in 1968 denied the redemption and the incarnation is an uncharitable slander arising from a narrow interpretation of vague concepts expressed in German by one likely reading a translation in French. Let us not make mountains of mole hills.
Richard N. Nicoletti
Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the excellent interview with his Lordship. I have just been kicked off Angelqueen for posting some links to the superb series of articles by James Larson in Christian Order on the heresies contained in the published works of the present pontiff. I highly recommend them. I did not (and neither did Mr. Larson) call the Pope a heretic. This would be quite wrong, and indeed his Lordship adopts the same position. But unless words have lost their meaning the Pontiff's previously published writings harbour obvious heresies. I pray for the Holy Father daily and of course now he is pope he receives the graces to go with an incredibly high office so I could never imagine his teaching the aforementioned heresies as pope. There does seem to be a tendency though, to a kind of knee jerk reaction with regard to criticism of the present pontiff's literary corpus. I suppose it is very strange for Catholics to be in the position of having to defend the Catholic Faith against the heresies of a reigning pontiff!
My wife and I are members of the Pius X Chapel in Post Falls, ID. After reading the interview with Bp. Tissier, I was quite upset frankly. Since I am merely a layman and not a theologian, I am unable to turn an appropriate theological phrase or two, or offer a lengthy, reasoned critique of the interview. All I have at my disposal is simple logic: If, as his Lordship declares Ratzinger's writings contain a "negation of the dogma of the Redemption," and, if additionally, according to His Lordship, ”He (Ratzinger) says that Christ did not satisfy for our sins, did not – atone – He, Jesus Christ, on the Cross, did not make satisfaction for our sins. This book denies Christ’s atonement of sins."...then where does that leave us? What is more, if Ratzinger wrote, as His Lordship affirms, "He (Ratzinger) has put up doubts regarding the divinity of Christ, regarding the dogma of the Incarnation…: we are, as His Lordship readily admits, dealing with raging, blatant heresy And, if so, how does the mere declaration that "He's the Pope" shield Ratzinger from a charge of what, in fact, he is- a heretic? Why doesn't the Bishop call him what he is? Does Bp. Tissier imply, reading between the lines, that a true pope could never be a heretic? I frankly wonder whether this SSPX bishop is clear in his own mind.
I have read the Bishop's interview; Mr. Michael's response; Fr. Lawrence Smith and the follow-up letters. Being a parishioner of Corpus Christi, Tynong established by the Society of Pius X my reaction initially to the interview itself was very similar to your last correspondent, Tim Moore, except for wondering if the bishop is clear in his own mind.
Of course he is clear in his own mind. Like Mr. Moore my thoughts crystallised around the idea that the words of theologian Ratzinger are "professed heresies, (that) he published a book full of heresies." Father Paul Kramer in his book, "The Devil's Final Battle" virtually says the same thing, especially when analysing Cardinal Ratzinger's portrayal of the official version of the third secret of Fatima. Therein the Cardinal said clearly(or unclearly) that anyone in a state of grace can be said to have an immaculate heart. Of course it is a logical question for ordinary garden-type Catholics to ask, that if a person 'professes heresies" and "published a book full of heresies" then is he not then a heretic? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck then it is a duck.
As I understand the matter, an official procedure is required to proclaim a person to be a heretic. We've all seen these things done in the past. And only a Pope can authorise this judgement (for that is what it is). So Bishop Mallerais cannot say Joseph Ratzinger is a heretic. He does not have the authority - full stop. However, he can tell us that heresy is involved, surely. I doubt if there are many traditional Catholics who do not share this view.
May not this be compared to the state of the Society of Pius X itself? We have not been 'formally' excommunicated - therefore we are not excommunicated .I agree with the Bishop that the whole thing is 'worse than Luther'. All the confusion so aptly shown in Mr. Michael's analysis and in subsequent responses, is like living in a kind of limbo of uncertainty. Father Smith's seven points are priceless. Spoken with the clarity that lay-Catholics understand and 'hear' as sheep that know the voice of the Master. I especially appreciate the statement that "Catholic truth is most certainly capable of bearing many interpretations, but it is NEVER expressed in ways in which an error or ommission forms part of the expression." (Well said Father!) We have nothing to fear when we plant our feet firmly on the dogmatic teachings of the Church of all ages. Nothing to fear that is, if we pray unceasingly. Our Lord is not going to let us go astray and when we hold fast to what has always been taught through and in the Church founded by Christ, then the Holy Spirit cradles us in the Bosom of the Father.
I am amazed by the Bishop’s statements. Two concerns arise for me. One is the inevitable flurry of reaction within Tradition, which will be closely scrutinized by her enemies. Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. This will be one more instance where Tradition is publicly held up to be a disunity – a bad fruit. The Lord says, if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. On the contrary, conservative novus ordo Catholics (practical modernists) appear quite united in their opposition to the arguments of Tradition. Nonetheless, the seeming disunity in Tradition is nothing more than a sign of the times, for in spite of the apparent seamlessness of the modernist garment, the unity of Holy Mother Church has been completely shattered by a great apostasy on the part of the members of the hierarchy.
Two is that the Bishop, an indisputably thoughtful man, may have chosen the wrong vehicle to make public his convictions. An interview as a format for communication is suitable when one wants to inject a few sound bites into the public discourse; but it is an absolutely inefficient vehicle to disseminate precise theological affirmations of the most profound import. Furthermore there is a substantial problem with idiom. Perhaps it were better if his thoughts were presented within the framework of a theological study, translated from an original written in either French or Latin; for the current presentation of his thoughts, being as raw as it is, can come off to English-speakers as borderline hysterical.
In spite of the articulated concerns, this interview is good because it will provide the impetus to initiate a thorough and scholarly analysis of the Pontiff’s writings. It is imperative that the falsity of the New Theology be constantly put before the eyes of the clergy and the faithful, no matter how much persecution the telling of the Truth will bring, and no matter how calumniated and reviled be Tradition Itself. I stand in support of Bishop Tissier. Were it not for this man’s importunate and dogged persistence in beseeching Archbishop Lefebvre to act on behalf of seminarians perhaps none of us would have our Catholic life. In the end it may be said that this man issued forth the battle cry that commenced the final and decisive campaign against the Church’s enemies. Let us not forget that we have the blood of Crusaders running through our veins. They have seized the holy places. They have made a mockery of God. In the end it will be fidelity in combat that does the overthrowing. We can sift through theological texts in an attempt to render the Bishop’s statements more cogent; or we can split hairs over an espresso or beer as to whether the Pope’s writings contain heresies. As for me, I will use the standard the Lord gave me: By their fruits you shall know them.
In Christ Jesus,
It's very interesting that this topic should come up now. In 2004 and 2005, The Christian Order website ran a series of articles by a James Larson from Long Prairie MN about some of the errors in Cardinal Ratzinger's writings. I do not believe he mentioned the issue of the Redemption that Bishop Tissier de Mallerais discusses in this interview, but he did present some very perplexing and disturbing quotes from the then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the exact nature of the change in the Eucharist and the nature of Original Sin in the human race.
The late and great Michael Davies (may he rest in peace) was outraged at Mr. Larson's assertions but did not really reveal Mr. Larson's supposed errors of interpretation or even really discuss the points Larson raised. Someone tried to explain to me, after reading Larson's article, how Cardinal Ratzinger's explanation of transubstantiation was not the same as Luther's consubstantiation. Perhaps it's not, but I don't see how it is fully compatible with orthodox Catholic teaching on this subject either and I find it rather scandalous.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Pope is a heretic. Often in the past, popes have condemned the writings of various authors. Sometimes the author in question would come to explain himself and his writings to the pope. It usually went something like "What I meant by that phrase was XYZ". The pope would, essentially, say "that's good that you meant to express the orthodox teaching, but your words themselves are erroneous or even heretical". In other words, Cardinal Ratzinger might truly be orthodox on these subjects but expresses himself badly. I am reminded of a talk I heard by Dr. William Marra where he bemoaned the fact that Pope John Paul II unfortunately "writes like a German". Pope Benedict, of course, is a German, and German philosophers are notoriously abstruse.
As regards whether all this could lead to Sedevacantism, I quote from Larson by way of The Christian Order:
"I have carefully re-read all my articles on Cardinal Ratzinger. I find nothing that I can, in good conscience, now deny as being my firm conviction. His writings clearly contain what must be considered objective errors or heresies.
Even more certain (with the certainty of faith) is my complete submission of intellect and will to the dogmatic teaching of Vatican Council I (in three very striking passages) that a Pope cannot lose his personal Catholic faith."
See http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2005/features_apr05_bonus_2.html for an index of the articles by Larson and the rebuttals by Davies.
In St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Pius X,
In connection with Bishop de Mallerais' interview, I am aware that web browsers interested in accessing James Larson's series of analytical articles critical of Cardinal Ratzinger's personal theology, alluded to by some of your correspondents, are having difficulty finding them on the Christian Order website. Here then are the direct links to all the Larson articles (they can also be accessed through the "Features" button on the CO home page, under the relevant month and year of publication given below):
The War Against Being - Part I - October 2003 (which contains the links to Part II - Aug/Sept 2003 - and Part III - Oct. 2003)
The Heart of Betrayal
Rosmini's Rehabilitation and the Ratzinger Agenda: When To Be is Not To Be
The Point of Departure
Michael Davies' defence of Cardinal Ratzinger against Larson can be found at
and the Larson response to Davies at
The recent article called "An Interview With Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais," raises the question of "who speaks for the SSPX?"
Regarding the question: "One of the points there is that the Society would interpret the Council ‘in the light of Tradition.’ Is that still the case today?"
The Bishop answered, "Absolutely not. Not any more."
On the other hand, just last June I sent the following letter to the SSPX, and received the following reply:
I recall the position of Archbishop Lefebvre regarding these two issues as basically:
(1). Acceptance of the validity of the Novus Ordo as promulgated by Rome and said with the right intention and, (2). Acceptance of Vatican II in the light of the traditional teaching of the Church.
Is this still the formal position of the SSPX regarding these two subjects. The SSPX remains in my prayers, and sincere thanks for your response,
Dear Mr. Frank Denke (July13, 2005)
I never thought it would happen, such a frank opening up of the blood veins of the Society of St. Pius X. I am a former priest of the Society having departed in 2001 and have never publicly disclosed my reasons for leaving because I had no desire to attack the SSPX or hamper its apostolate with a public statement. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has done it for me.
He disclosed that the Society has abandoned the position of Archbishop Lefebvre on accepting Vatican II interpreted in the light of Tradition. As you can read in the APOLOGIA PRO MARCEL LEFEBVRE, Vol. II, the Archbishop assured Pope John Paul II first verbally in person and then at least two times in writing that he would accept the Council on those terms. Now there is a reversal. I was utterly shocked when I first discovered the SSPX's reversal. Further I was told by a priest colleague that Bishop Tissier de Mallerais held the positiion that Archbishop Lefebvre didn't really mean what he said but used mental reservation. To this day I refuse to believe it. Such dissimulation, if it proves true, will dash hopes for the
Archbishop's canonization when full Catholic Restoration arrives. That's not reservation, that's deceit because Pope John Paul II took him at his literal word. I asked His Lordship about this and Tissier de Mallerais just shrugged his shoulders after saying that in conferences the Archbishop firmly held there were passages in the Vatican II that could never be reconciled with Tradition.
Myself, I can't shrug off casually such a critical point of principle.
The Remnant used a lot of ink publishing Christopher Ferrara fight against the sedevacantists and now His Lordship just demolished all the good work.
From now on the sedevacantists are going to quote, quote, quote...from "Cum Ex Apostolatus" of Pope Paul IV that a heretic cannot become a valid pope, and quote it to great harvest for themselves with the help of the SSPX.
And for those who knew Michael Davies well, you know how much he feared the SSPX would place permanent obstacles to any reconciliation with Rome.
Fr. John Peek
West Roxbury, MA
I’d like to add a few short comments. I do not think Mr. Michael has grasped the import of Fr. Ratzinger’s language. Whether or not he was intending to vitiate the dogma of Redemption, I do not know. On the other hand, what we have before us in "Introduction to Christianity" is something that, if interpreted according to the accepted meaning of terms used in Catholic theology, is an implicit emptying out of the content or essence of the Redemption carried out by Jesus Christ as the one Mediator between God and man. In fact, Fr. Ratzinger would appear to reject even St. Thomas’ doctrine concerning ‘expiation’ which Fr. Ratzinger denies of the Cross. He states that, “It [the cross] does not stand there as a work of expiation which mankind offers to…God” (Ratzinger 215).
Indeed he mocks the very notion of ‘expiation’ by referring to historical pagan religions of the world. Not only that, but he paints a caricature of the fact that God’s honor did indeed demand infinite satisfaction and expiation. Ratzinger refers to the concept of “infinite expiation” as “false”, not only the image he paints of a supposed distortion of the doctrine, but rather the whole idea of expiation in reference to God’s righteousness and wrath. He cannot seem to resolve the idea of the wrath of God and His Love. Thus, God is not wrathful, but a “foolish lover” who condescends to save man (Ratzinger 214-15).
He claims that the cross is not a part of a “mechanism of injured right”, but rather an “expression of the radical nature of love”. This contains a seed of truth, but the negation of any notion of satisfied justice maligns his whole thought. This is not a mere emphasizing of the concept of love as a motivation for redemption, but rather he takes from the right what he gives with the left by negating the essence of redemption, which is first and foremost Jesus restoring the injured right of the Father and offering Him, indeed the whole Blessed Trinity, the ultimate act of reparation. The motive was out of love principally for God, but the act itself was intrinsically related to the justice which God’s nature demanded.
“First, man could thus see how much God loved him, and so would be aroused to love him ... Second, he gave us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and of other virtues which his passion revealed and which are necessary for man's salvation ... Third, by his passion, Christ not only freed man from sin, but merited for him the grace of justification, and the glory of beatitude ... (Summa Theologica, III, q. 46, art. 3; Blackfriars edition [Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., 1965], p. 13, emphasis added)”
This quotation is beside the point of discussion. St. Thomas delineates the exterior moral efficicay of the cross by the example it leaves men. We are discussing the intrinsic nature of the Sacrifice of Calvary.
“A man effectively atones for an offence when he offers to the one who has been offended something which he accepts as matching or outweighing the former offence. Christ, suffering in a loving and obedient spirit, offered more to God than was demanded in recompense for all the sins of mankind, because first, the love which led him to suffer was a great love ... (Summa, III, q. 48, art. 2; ibid., p. 79, emphasis added)”
It is this very notion which Fr. Ratzinger seems to impugn. Is this not the “much-coarsened” version of St. Anslem? Is this not the “sinister light” in which he is desperately trying to save the much distorted doctrine of Redemption from? After all, St. Thomas says that, “man effectively atones for an offence when he offers to the one who has been offended…” He also implies that God in fact demanded recompense for the sins of mankind. According to Ratzinger, it is this very notion of expiation and redemption that non-catholic religions have held throughout history. He claims implicitly claims that the doctrine of St. Thomas has encroached upon the true Scriptural theology of the Cross. “In other world religions,” Ratzinger explains, “expiation usually means the restoration of the damaged relationship with God by means of expiatory actions on the part of men”. He then claims that in the New Testament, the “situation is almost completely reversed”. Yet St. Thomas states clearly that, “Sacrifice, properly speaking, designates what men offer to God in token of the special honour due to him, and in order to appease him”.
He then further reflects on Scripture that apparently contradicts his notions just previously exposited. He begrudgingly admits that, “In a whole series of texts it does appear as the upward movement of mankind to God, so that all that we have just rejected seems to rise to the surface again.” Again, he does not reject a distortion, but rather the entire conept of expiation of the wrath of God through a sacrifical offering of the High Priest on behalf of mankind. He calls this the 'upward movement' as opposed to his theory of the 'downward movement' of God towards man. I wonder what happens to the concepts of merit, mediatorship, and Christ’s office of High Priest? Here is some basic doctrine that has been passed over with contempt:
“By atonement we understand the reparation of any wrong or injurgy, either material (damnum) or moral (offense, iniuria). Material injury can be repaired only by satisfaction or atonement in the strict sense of the term. The Roman Catechism defines “satisfaction” as “nothing else than compensation for an injury offered to another”.”
“Atonement, in the sense in which the term is used in Soteriology, presupposes an offense committed against, or an injurgy done to, God. It is for our sins that God demands satifaction. Sin and satisfaction are consequently correlative terms” (Soteriology, Pohle-Preuss, 1914)
Mr. Michael's acquiescing of the Sedevacantist mindset for the purposes of bolstering his analysis will not hold; for it is obvious that merely authoring heresy in a book does not make one a heretic. Fr. Cekada did not nail anything on the head for he has erected a false, glass-like notion of what it means to be a formal heretic. It is simply not true that the moment one finds even a bona fide heresy a text automatically means that the author himself is a heretic. This is horrendous moral theology in practice and his intellectual rashness is nothing more than a stain on traditional Catholicism. It could be that the propositions were proximate to heresy. That is left for the determination of proper authority. It could also very well have been that Ratzinger was not at all attempting to pervert the Redemption – if he has no will to deny dogma, then he certainly cannot be called a formal heretic. Not to mention the fact that what is being materially denied in writing has never been defined as an article of faith. Alas, if the Sedevacantist would not assume that one can peer into the internal forum, we would all be better for it. Nothing of the Bishop's comments "logically lead to Sedevacantism" for that is like saying sound reasoning will lead necessarily to unsound reasoning. Sedevacantism is not based upon logic or even doctrine, but rather it is based upon the movement of individual wills to a negative proposition that can never be proven.
P.S. What seems to be just as troubling is Fr. Ratzinger's treatment of the Article of Faith: He descended into hell, in his work "Introduction to Christianity". It is truly an abomination if it can be considered a complete and coherent thought on the matter.
I have just this moment returned from a Conference at Tynong given by Father Schmidberger, 1st Assistant ofthe Soc. St. Pius X. He clarified what Archbishop Lefebvre meant when confirming his statement accepting Vatican II in the light of the traditional teaching of the Church.
The Archbishop's intention was (a) that he accepted in Vat.II that which was always the traditional teaching of the Church, (b) that anything confusing be clarified according to the traditional teaching of the Church and (c) that anything against tradition be eliminated.
In other words, Traditional teaching was the yardstick against which to measure everything. This is still the Society's position.
He also explained in detail the errors of those who are adhere to sedevecantism; the Society's absolute loyalty to Rome and recognition of the post-conciliar Popes as true Popes. He emphasised most powerfully our obligation to pray unceasingly for Pope Benedict XVI. And finally that the only superior to the Pope is God Himself. That he cannot be judged a heretic.
Finally, Father related the situation re: Pope Honorius as have made statements that contained heresy. Such statements were judged posthumously by a later Pope to be banished - but he was not judged a heretic.
It was so refreshing to read direct crystal clear statements without surrounding them with uncertainties and expressions of escape.
The Pope has done nothing to end the crisis in the Church.
Thank you for making this interview with Bishop Tissier de Mallerais by Stephen Heiner available, Mr. Matt. I noticed however, that you seem to have left out the bishop's statement on Fatima, which the bishop confirmed for public release. According to a transcript available at Mr. Heiner's blog, the passage omitted consists of the following exchange:
S. Heiner: "My lord, apart from possible guilt about 1988, it is said that Benedict feels guilt about Fatima. You and the bishops have obviously gone to Fatima to make an act of reparation…what can you say regarding the continued silence about Fatima dating all the way back to Pius XII?"
Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: "I cannot say anything here. Fatima is a private revelation. Excuse me, but I don't speak of it." (End quote)
I hope you will kindly restore this passage to the interview you have made available online. With regard to the statement of one of your letter-writers, that Benedict XVI's visit to the synagogue in Cologne is not a case of religious indifferentism, I would point out that to give any suggestion that prayer to the one true God or worship of the one true God is conducted in a synagogue, is itself a heretical act of betrayal (John 14:6). This is the scandalous example the Pontiff gave when he prayed in "the synagogue of those who say they are Jews and are not" (Rev. 2:9).
The synagogues of Talmudic Judaism today blaspheme Jesus and gloat over His murder. They are the citadels of historic deadly enmity for true Catholicism. Judaism consists in self-worship of the Judaic male, not of God (Bava Metzia 59B). Judaism is not an Old Testament religion. It is the new religion formed when the oral tradition was committed to writing and institutionalized, in the wake of the rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah of Israel. The Old Testament is nullified by the Talmud (Mark 7). The Old Testament is not a principal focus of study in Judaism (Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:11). The rabbinic traditions of the Pharisees as contained in the Mishnah, Gemara and Midrash, together with the halakha of Maimonides and Karo, are the primary canonical texts of Judaism, not the Pentateuch (a fact recognized by Pope Gregory IX).
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, in spite of having a reputation as a great scholar, continues to disseminate rank nonsense about "elder brothers in the faith" and Judaism being an Old Testament faith. This disinformation is ruinous to evangelism and conversion efforts, as well as the ability of the Church to combat subversion, in particular internal subversion; while it is exceedingly helpful to Zionism, Freemasonry and the whole hellish program of the western occult in general.
In response to my colleague Tim Moore, I would say that Tissier de Mallerais is absolutely correct to bear witness to the presence of heretical statements in Benedict XVI's writings --as a shepherd, how could he do otherwise?--without thereby formally declaring the pope to be a heretic; for the reason that no one may judge a pope. None of us have that authority. This is my disagreement with the sedevacantists, some of whom I number among my friends. It is true that we cannot follow a pope in those cases where he endangers our souls or those of our children, but it is false to maintain that any priest or layman has the authority to judge the pope in the formal sense of a declaration that he has lost his office. This is for God alone, working either through a future pope, or by emergency means in the present known only to Him. The Vatican would like nothing more than for Bishop de Mallerais to fall into the trap of making a declaration about Benedict XVI's status as pontiff. The bishop has done what is required of his office: he has sounded an alarm about a wolf. The alarm itself should be sufficient to arm those faithful who have eyes to see and ears to hear (not all do, of course).
Thank God for the Christ-like plain-speaking of Bishop de Mallerais, in the midst of so much cant and papalolatry! The Remnant is owed a debt of gratitude for helping to sound his alarm.
Michael A. Hoffman II
Re: Miss Donelly’s comment above regarding Pope Honorius. It is interesting to note that a council (Constantinople II, I think) condemned Honorius for heresy, but the pope who presided over this condemnation, Leo II, specified that “"We anathematize the inventors of the new error, that is, Theodore, Sergius,...and also Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted." In other words, Honorius was called a heretic not because he personally embraced heresy, but because he did not do what was his duty in order to stamp it out and thus became an accomplice of it (Monothelitism, in this case).
I think this sheds light on the “heresy” of the post-conciliar popes. It is not necessarily heresy in the sense we usually mean today, but in the sense that they are, presumably unwittingly, abettors of various heresies by their failure to act and by their unfortunate lack of clarity and confusion of ideas and terms.
It was in this same sense that Archbishop Lefebvre used the term “antichrists” to refer to the highest leaders of the Church in his letter to the future bishops prior to the 1988 consecrations.
Tracy B. Hummel
In the pre-Vatican II Church of my youth the eternal truths of the Catholicism were unashamedly proclaimed for salvation’s sake. Moreover, they were perfectly understandable because God is simple, not complex. Accordingly, Extra ecclesiam nullus salus was not nuanced into needless levels of increased confusion in a Church already rife with it, or worse, denied outright by the allowance of theologically bankrupt “some can still wait for the Messiah” theories by people who have long since lost the faith! What other explanation can there be? It is Catholic dogma that to speak of the values of salvation of another religion is heresy. The Catholic Church is the one ark of salvation. No one outside the Church is saved by his erroneous and false religion. Rather, they may be saved in it due to an invincible ignorance, but this salvation comes solely from the vehicle that Christ clearly intended upon His founding of the Church on Peter the Rock. None can be saved by their erroneous and false religions, since none can be saved by error. Formerly, error was not accorded rights it does not deserve! This seminal truth is basically what I see reinforced by the comments of His Excellency, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais.
Let us get down to the level of the “man in the pew” who quickly maps a constantly changing Protestantized liturgy that has more options than a Wall Street trader, which in some instances would make even Luther cringe due to the introduction of pagan practices, into an equally changeable dogma up for grabs at the whim of whatever dissenter is in power. I equate the Bishop’s resounding NO to be referring explicitly to not observing the needed correction of the dissenters who have de facto been given carte blanche by the Conciliar popes to destroy the Church from within with impunity.
Responsible Catholic parents understand quickly the need for tough love; else, they cease being responsible. Why should the rules be different for our “good shepherds” when the stakes are infinitely higher, eternal life or death? Latae sententiae excommunication no longer suffices for offenses against God that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. Formal excommunication is required! To speak of love means first and foremost to witness to the Truth, Who is a Someone not a something. And Jesus, Who is Perfect Truth, spoke more about the consequences of serious sin than any other New Testament figure.
One does not even have to be aware of the skewed theological history of the liberal periti of influence at Vatican II to logically conclude that those at the highest levels of the Church see no problem with the propagation of dissent by their encouragement of it. Pope Ratzinger, I recall, defended Cardinal Kasper’s vision of ecumenia, when as Prefect for the CDF, he went through a tortured exercise in psycho-babble defending it. In the Church that I grew up in we used to pray for the conversion of the Jews, which a high curial cardinal is allowed to say is no longer necessary. Dialogue ad nauseam now replaces conversion! Where is that at the end of Matthew’s Gospel? Of late we are told that “the lesser of two evils” is Catholic teaching, which is a bald-faced lie! Why is a study on condom usage needed when the Church teaching is so clear?
No, one does not have to go back historically to the theological errors of the liberal periti. All what is left of the faithful have to do is look at the daily news to see that much masquerades for Catholicism these days with the aid and encouragement of those who should be unmasking the Devil, not helping him shop for more disguises. You can talk theology all you want. As a Catholic father and grandfather, I am trying to tread water leaving some semblance of a recognizable faith to my children and grandchildren with little or no help from those who should love my family and me enough to care about our eternal salvation! Thank God for my education when the institutional Church was recognizable as Catholic. I have not forgotten that! Today, the real Church is in the modern catacombs.
Your interview of Monsignor Tissier de Mallerais was great. Since I live and worship in Paris (at the Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet church - I even got married there) I had the chance to meet him and two of our other Bishops. Splendid apostles of Christ, true monuments of faith, and with such shepherds to lead us according to Monsignor Lefebvre's thoughts and intentions, and with God on our side, I have no doubt the Vatican II poison will fade away and that Good shall prevail over Evil.
The recent letter of your two reporters to Monsignor Rifan was also highly appreciated as being fully to the point. It brought quite a few smiles and laughs here.
Keep up your splendid work, and may God bless you all.
Michael L. Bozzi,
When I first read the controversial chapter of Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity, the one identified by the Bishop as heretical, it appeared to me at first glance that Fr. Ratzinger was not so much negating the entirety of the Redemption as he was rejecting a false starting point: the starting point more in line with paganism, whose pantheon of gods are always irrationally angry, and demanding appeasement by means of a blood sacrifice, for the sake of the blood itself.
After reading St. Thomas Aquinas, it became clear that Ratzinger was correct: the starting point for the Redemption is not Man, it is God; it is not a blood-thirsty God (or should I say "god") who loves the smell of sacrificed flesh, it is a God whose Charity extends so far that He would even undergo death itself (mystery of mysteries!) in order to redeem Man. Charity must be the starting point for understanding the Cross, not the offended Divine Justice (although neither must be left out), because - as St. Thomas taught - the offended Divine Justice could have been satisfied by any act of Our Lord.
Since reading Ratzinger, and then St. Thomas Aquinas, I have returned to Ratzinger - not Introduction to Christianity, but a later text: God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life (Ignatius Press, 2003). I did not approach this title expecting to find Cardinal Ratzinger deal with this same subject, so it was much to my surprise to discover that he does. Let's hear what Ratzinger has to say on the same subject, some 35 years after he wrote Introduction:
"The Eucharist is a sacrifice, the presentation of Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.
Whenever we hear these words, inhibitions arise within us, and in all ages it has always been so. The question arises: When we talk about sacrifice, do we not do so on the basis of an unworthy picture of God, or at least a naive one? Does this not assume that we men should and could give something to God? Does this not show that we think of ourselves as equal partners with God, so to speak, who could barter one thing for another with him: we give him something so that he will give us something [we hear the echoes of Father Ratzinger's previous 'mechanism of injured and restored right']? Is this not to misapprehend the greatness of God, who has no need of our gifts, because he himself is the giver of all gifts? But on the other hand, the question certainly does remain: Are we not all of us in debt to God, indeed, not merely debtors to him but offenders against him, since we are no longer simply in the position of owing him our life and existence but have now become guilty of offenses against him? We cannot give him anything, and in spite of that we cannot even simply assume that he will regard our guilt as being of no weight, that he will not take it seriously, that he will look on man as just a game, a toy.
It is to this very question that the Eucharist offers us an answer.
First of all, it says this to us: God himself gives to us, that we may give in turn. The initiative in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes from God ... Christ is not in the first instance a gift we men bring to an angry God; rather, the fact that he is there at all, living, suffering, loving, is the work of God's love. He is the condescension of merciful love, who bows down to us ..." (God is Near Us , pp. 44-5, underlining added, italics in original)
The same themes that were seen in Introduction return here: Charity is the starting point of the Cross, it is God's initiative, Man has nothing to offer God anyway, and Man is not an "equal partner" with God who can exchange quid pro quo: this pound of flesh for blessing, that gallon of blood for benevolence.
But in no way does Ratzinger deny the atonement, the satisfaction of the sacrifice, the aspect of expiation, etc. In fact, he stresses twice in this essay: "God gives to us that we may give," and again, "God gives that we may give. This is the essence of the Eucharistic Sacrifice ... the Roman Canon has expressed it thus: 'De tuis donis ac datis offerimus tibi' - from your gifts and offerings we offer you." (p. 47)
For Ratzinger, the Eucharist is the sacrament which resolves the tension, and here I will quickly sum up his thought: the Holy Thursday Eucharist is an un-cashed check, so to speak, an empty promise, if it is not ratified by the Good Friday Cross (and further, vindicated by the Easter Sunday Resurrection); likewise, Good Friday appears as a cruel and unusual punishment imposed by an angry God - unthinkably - upon His own Beloved Son, if it is not preceded by the self-gift of Holy Thursday, which He then bids His Church to "do this" in perpetuity - to give back what was gratuitously given to us. Charity must precede the satisfaction of Divine Justice.
In all of the texts quoted from Introduction, emphasis must be placed on the right syllable, so to speak. When Ratzinger says, "expiation usually means the restoration of the damaged relationship with God by means of expiatory actions on the part of men," and then says this is "completely reversed" in the New Testament, it is not "expiation" or "restoration of the damaged relationship" that is "reversed" - it is the "by means of expiatory actions on the part of men" that is reversed.
One further comment: the distinction between material and formal heresy is almost meaningless here. It is unthinkable that a man can deny the Redemption, or "put up doubts" regarding the Divinity of Christ and the Incarnation, and still be called "Catholic", much less "the Pope". To accuse Ratzinger of these kinds of heresies and then hide behind a tangled web of "material" vs. "formal" heresy in order to keep him in the Church (let alone on the papal throne) is disingenuous; the logical conclusion of this thinking is that the majority of Protestants are also inside the Church (albeit unknowingly), since their heresies are also "material" and not "formal" (excluding, of course, the handful who have a clue about Catholicism and the Church's claims, and thus reject the Catholic Church will full knowledge and intention). Such thinking is no better than the muddle-headed cogitations of the Modernists.
Ad Jesum per Mariam,
Dear Remnant Editor,
Thank you for Mr. Heiner's interview with His Lordship and for the posting of the Reader's Response Forum. I first read the Interview 3 days ago and have been writing letters in my mind since. Now, your readers have more than adequately echoed many of my own thoughts. God bless Bishop Tissier. More than two years ago my husband and I decided to profess in the SSPX Third Order. Since then, most every attempt to do so has been thwarted. At first, I thought perhaps it was a "sign" that I was "Eve" leading my husband toward the path of excommunication. As I have become more aware of this issue (especially through the work of The Remnant), I have become more convinced that I simply must get to a Chapel and make my consecration. We attend a Traditional Mass celebrated by a priest from the FSSP. I do not think there are many in our community who are SSPX or "endorse" The Remnant. I've never fully comprehended what the reasons for this are, nor have I yet had the opportunity to ask. I suspect "schism", "excommunication", and "internal troubles" are part and parcel. For me, since I learned of Archbishop Lefebvre (may he rest in peace), I have know such love in my heart.
As a somewhat "unshepherded" soul, I find myself looking for definitive statements from church hierarchy which I can cling to. From there, I tend to govern my life. (This is not to say I do not read devotional books or pray unceasingly, rather that I eagerly await your publication and its information.) The question of what is heretical is not confusing. What is confusing is who is a heretic, and if they are, why are they where they are. I am thankful to His Lordship that he says former works of our Pope contain heresies. We have just finished reading The Devil's Final Battle, and though it is about Fatima - which is a private revelation, it is a private revelation that was supported by the miracle of the sun witnessed by 70,000 people. There is little question, at any rate, as to what the then Cardinal Ratzinger did with the message.
Thus, if one lies, no matter how vague or ambiguous their opinions, one is a liar. To my mind, the devil is in the detail, literally. Our Lord said the devil is a liar and a murderer from the start. In some ways, knowing that our Pope has not been truthful is almost scarier than his heresies.
I am relieved to have gleaned the information that one cannot judge a Pope a heretic. This is too much even for my militant soul. However, it was delightful to read from Ms. Romano that the "blood of the crusaders runs in our veins." Yesterday, my husband and I designed our marriage crest alone the lines of the old crusader heraldry. Until there is a call, we have decided to live more contemplatively - yet ever vigilant - and make the 4 hour trip to the closest SSPX Chapel and begin our postulancy. Notwithstanding those in the community who may now shun us, I know in my soul that His Lordship has given me the answer for which I have been seeking.
God bless all of you.
Pope Benedict XVI did not pray in the Cologne Synagogue, let us not publish lies. He presented them a "gift" of the 4 Gospels. The Koran kissing Pope of nudie masses, Aztec dancers and Hindu cursings on his forehead is gone. Saint Vincent Ferrer went to synagogues to convert perfidious Jews, does that make him a judaizer? Of course not!!! Benedict XVI is closer to that spirit than the implicit universalism of Pope John Paul II. He is as legitimate as Rodrigo Borgia. Papal idolatry is expecting popes to be saintly prophets of true purity. His weakness is he is not a forceful man. Beware of traditionalists bearing straw men.
Richard Nicholas Nicoletti
After comparing The Remnant version of Stephen L.M. Heiner's interview of Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais with the original interview on Stephen's website, I am sorely disappointed by your calculated omissions. [SH: "My lord, apart from possible guilt about 1988, it is said that Benedict feels guilt about Fatima. You and the bishops have obviously gone to Fatima to make an act of reparation…what can you say regarding the continued silence about Fatima dating all the way back to Pius XII? Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: "I cannot say anything here. Fatima is a private revelation. Excuse me, but I don't speak of it."] I am beginning to wonder whether you are to be trusted to be completely impartial in reporting news. And please don't tell me you were working under space constraints. That is an insultingly absurd excuse. There is obviously a reason you omitted His Excellency's comments on Fatima. I'd like to know what that reason is.
Scott R. Palermo
Thank you for this opportunity to respond. It is my assessment that in order to fully appreciate the recent words of His Lordship, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, one must first have a candid appreciation of the times in which we live.
To those who do not yet realize we live in a time of unprecedented crisis in the Church (in many respects worse than the Arian crisis of the 4th century), or who do not yet apprehend its full grandeur, His Lordship's words will mean very little--just more spittle for the rumor mill at best for the morbidly curious and the like.
This said, one must realize that these "strong words" spoken by His Lordship do not take up existence in a vacuum. Our Faith is not an academic exercise or an object of countless dialogues and lectures aimed at "reconciling" truth with falsehood.
The battle lines are clearly drawn for those who can see--or wish to see. There can be no serious "dialogue" with ideologies whose singular (but futile) aim has always been the destruction of the Church, eventual or otherwise.
To pretend that the devil is merely interested in comparing lecture notes (all of a sudden) for the sake of mutual enlightenment and fellowship is to be duped by one of the most deadliest of lies since the one about the apple.
His Lordship is a kind, gentle, and saintly man. Yet, he is also courageous. His refusal to mince words regardless of personal cost is a true blessing and an unmistakable mark of a true prophet and, for that matter, a true shepherd. If, on the other hand, one desires vagueness and pastoral platitude, clearly Bishop Tissier de Mallerais is not the man to seek out.
Invariably, I prefer the harsh words of a just and honest man rather than the usual diplomatic duplicity of a hypocrite. I do not stand in judgment of His Lordship, all the while pretending to know more than he does about our grave crisis. Rather, I stand WITH him--to be enlightened and nourished by this true shepherd of the Church.
I wish to make a response to Fr. John Peek. I think that Fr. Peek should find a copy of The Biography of Marcel Lefebvre, written by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, and read Chapter 12 - "In the Turmoil of the Council." Starting with page 306, and ending with page 313, Bishop de Mallerais explains the complications involved with religious liberty being introduced into the Council schema. Archbishop Lefebvre voted against religious liberty to the very end, but he finally signed the promulgation of the declaration Dignitatis Humanae, along with Bishop de Castro Mayer.
Archbishop Lefebvre himself underlined the weight of papal approval in his talk on September 15, 1976, when he admitted having signed lots of Council texts "under moral pressure from the Holy Father," because he felt he could not separate himself from the Holy Father's wishes, and felt morally obligated to sign. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais said there was neither dishonor nor inconsistency in this submission. "This would seem to imply that while on the one hand he gave his final placet to all the conciliar schemas except two (Gaudium et Spes and Dignitatis Humanae), he did not think of the signatures as a promulgation of the Council documents with the Pope, even though he signed them all (as appears in the Acta Synodalia)."
Only later, when Archbishop Lefebvre reread what he had written during the Council, did the Archbishop say: "I admit that the optimism I showed regarding the Council and the Pope was ill-founded" (p.331). Fr. Peek implies that Archbishop Lefebvre lied to Pope John Paul II, and JP II took Archbishop Lefebvre at his literal word. Archbishop Lefebvre accepted only those parts of the Council that were in line with Tradition, and it was never declared otherwise. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais was perfectly honest when he said there were passages in Vatican II that could never be reconciled with Tradition.
And, Fr. Peek should not confuse the fact that Bishop Tissier de Mallerais never took the sedevacantist line against Pope Benedict XVI by calling him a heretic and therefore not a true pope. We cannot judge a Pope, only God, or a Council after a pope's death. And, as far as I know, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio by Pope Paul IV has never been abrogated. People will always use quotes from various sources to try and prove their side of the argument, and it is unfair for him to use that statement as a seeming attack against the SSPX, and in particular Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais is very courageous and I commend him for that courage.
I would respond to Mr. Mr. Nicoletti's objection based upon the fact that Benedict did, pray at the Cologne Synagogue. He ended his address to the synagogue with this phrase:
"I conclude with the words of Psalm 29, which express both a wish and a prayer: 'May the Lord give strength to his people, may he bless his people with peace'. May he hear our prayer!"
It was also reported by many news sources that Benedict joined in praying the Kaddish during the ceremony:
Catholic World News stated that Benedict's visit to the synagogue included a "worship service:"
"The worship service there will begin with silent prayer, followed by the recitation of the Kaddish. Then there will be a reading from Genesis on Creation, and Psalm 22 will be chanted. One of the presidents of the synagogue will speak, as will the rabbi, and then the Pope will address the community."
He also was presented with a shofar as documented here:
One of the writers in this forum insinuates that Benedict XVI entered the synagogue in Cologne last year for the same noble motive as St. Vincent Ferrer: "Saint Vincent Ferrer went to synagogues to convert perfidious Jews, does that make him a judaizer? Of course not!!! Benedict XVI is closer to that spirit..."
Let us see if there is anything of Vincent Ferrer --or Jesus Christ -- in Benedict's address to the synagogue of Cologne. In his speech, the pope decries the expulsion of Judaics from the city of Cologne, an expulsion which was enacted by Catholic rulers. In 2005 the Pope laments what was in 1424 a salutary Catholic act (and by inference he must also lament the expulsion of Judaics from Spain by the heroic servant of God, Queen Isabella). Next, Benedict tells the Judaics in the synagogue that they have Abraham for their spiritual father: "Both Jews and Christians recognize in Abraham their father in faith." This statement is not only a blatant falsehood but a direct contradiction of what Jesus Christ stated in reply to a similar claim made by the Pharisees of His time:
They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do." [John 8:39-44]
I do not doubt that the great Vincent Ferrer spoke in the manner of the Gospel of St. John, but quite to the contrary, far from speaking truth to the Pharisees in Cologne and calling them to a radical self-examination of their crimes and megalomania, Benedict XVI affirmed their diabolic, soul-damning Judaism.
Benedict also told the Judaics assembled in the synagogue that their religion does in fact: "look to the teachings of Moses and the prophets." But Jesus said the very opposite, that they have the blood of the prophets on their hands, from Abel onward. Moreover, the Talmud declares that the prophet Isaiah was justifiably killed for the "crime" of having accused "klal Israel" (the Jewish people) of having "unclean lips." Benedict mocks Isaiah when he says that those who are heirs to the religious system that murdered him, faithfully follow his teachings. As for Moses, the Talmud nullifies the Ten Commandments and creates lawyerly loopholes that allow for stealing, lying and the murder of gentiles. Benedict's statements can only encourage Judaics to remain in their sins and to continue in their destructive pride.
Benedict repeated to the assembled rabbis and Talmudists the delusional words of John Paul II: "...whoever meets Jesus Christ meets Judaism." In which case one must ask, if that is the truth, why did Jesus Christ even bother to incarnate on earth in the first place, if the "traditions of the elders" (i.e. "Judaism," cf. Mark 7 and Matthew 15), which had been murdering the prophets, enraging God and rotting Israel from the inside, was synonymous with Jesus Christ? This is statement is so utterly degenerate and preposterous as to comprise a type of alchemical marriage of opposites, an attempt at an occult resolution of an unbridgeable divide.
In my first letter to this forum (see above), I provided some preliminary data showing that Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament, about which the erudite Joseph Ratzinger is well aware. But for purposes of currying favor with the modern world, which is to say, with Judaic supremacy, he retails the aforementioned lies in a synagogue, which for almost two thousand years no pope had ever entered until the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. And now we are supposed to explain away this horrible act of occult mockery as being "closer to the spirit" of the conversion efforts of St. Vincent Ferrer! There seems to be no end to the absurd lengths to which some folks will go in order to justify or apologize for patent iniquity on the part of the pope.
Fortunately, a Catholic groundwork for a truthful challenge to this charade was provided by John Vennari, Michael Matt and others, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, in their important document "We Resist You to Your Face." For those who fight for the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the prophetic path that is incumbent upon us all. It goes without saying that we must pray to God that He will either miraculously reform (preferably), or quickly remove, Pope Benedict XVI.
Michael A. Hoffman II
I get the distinct impression that Fr Peek is clutching at straws when he accuses Bishop Tissier of ratting on Archbishop Lefebvre. It seems he desperately wants to believe in a quick, practical reconciliation of the SSPX with the Pope, and sees the expression “interpret Vatican II in the light of Tradition” as the solution. So he has his mind already made up on the issue, (which is probably why he left the Society) but it is not as simple and narrow an issue as he imagines.
There has never been any doubt that Archbishop Lefebvre, like his successors, was absolutely convinced that some passages of the Council documents contradicted Catholic truth and that therefore they could not be “interpreted in the light of Tradition”. So when he used that phrase, he must have meant it ironically: as soon as you interpret the erroneous passages “in the light of Tradition”, you expose their errors for all to see!
With all due respect to Fr Peek, I think he lacks imagination (the Archbishop had a brilliant mind and a sparkling wit), or has been “got at” by some traditionalists who favour a compromise with Rome. Fr Peek will remember that Michael Davies on several occasions subjected him to the most unpleasant treatment in the Remnant in 1997 over his remarks about the Novus Ordo.
Fr Peek seems to be ashamed of the Society, which shows that he has lost confidence in their stance. It is sad, really, that Fr Peek, once such a staunch defender of the Society, should be browbeaten into deserting their ranks.
I think that his accusation about deceiving Pope John Paul II is far-fetched. When has John Paul II ever needed such a defence? He was always far too wily a politician to be easily taken in.
Anyway, it matters little exactly which Council documents Lefebvre signed, or what phrase he used on a particular occasion or occasions, it is what he did subsequently that matters. And we are all grateful for that!
(Dr) Carol Byrne,
As a point of reference for this letter, Archbishop Lefebvre, in his own name and on behalf of the Priestly Fraternity of St Pius X (L'Attività della Santa Sede 1988, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, pages 520–521):
As a note in passing, Vatican II contained two Dogmatic Constitutions, both “Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI” – “Dei Verbum” (On Divine Revelation), and “Lumen Gentium” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). The ones the Archbishop disagreed with were: Gaudium et Spes (a “Pastoral Constitution”) and Dignitatis Humanae (a “Declaration”) – neither of which were “Solemnly Promulgated”. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/
As noted above, the Archbishop accepted Vatican II in the light of tradition - specifically paragraph 25 of the Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium” regarding the relationship between bishops and Pope, and their respective teaching authority.
However, since the death of Archbishop LeFebvre, I see a different spirit from that of the Archbishop also exists within his SSPX, one that now rejects what the Archbishop had once accepted. For example, as noted in a previous letter to you, last year Louis J. Tofari, General Secretary of the SSPX, wrote that the position of the Society regarding:
(1). Acceptance of the validity of the Novus Ordo as promulgated by Rome and said with the right intention and,
(2). Acceptance of Vatican II in the light of the traditional teaching of the Church.
- was still “yes” to each, while Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, regarding point (2) above, said in the recent interview you published above, “Absolutely not. Not any more.”
It is one thing to disagree, or even object to an action, or a comment of a Pope (or Bishop). Such things are easy to understand and accept as human imprudence due to our human nature or the heat of battle. It seems quite different, on the other hand, to lend one’s support to arguments that destroy the very foundation upon which any filial trust of the Holy Father can be based, or in the documents he promulgates. Such distrust tempts us into an unreal world. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais said to the interviewer, regarding Vatican II: “the Second Vatican Council did not say a single thing about Redemption” - but “Redemption” is mentioned, for example eight times in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church as well as in other Vatican II documents
According to Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, the man elected by the Church to be Christ’s Vicar formerly negated the dogma of Redemption, denied Christ’s atonement of sins and the necessity of satisfaction; reinterprets all the dogmas of the Church; raises doubts about the divinity of Christ and the Incarnation – all “heresies” that the Pope has “never retracted;” charges made over which there is obvious disagreement, even among traditional Catholics.
Michael Davies, perhaps Archbishop Levebvre’s greatest defender, wrote in his Apologia pro Ratzinger, “The great defender of orthodoxy (Ratzinger) in the post Vatican II Church certainly has no need to apologize for anything he has said, written, or done in the last forty years. Every Catholic who loves the faith is considerably in his debt.”
Nevertheless, from arguments that try to convince us that the fundamental spiritual orientation of our Pope - the very basis of all his thinking - is not Catholic, can flow nothing but a constant, and often exaggerated or untrue criticism of virtually all he does or says. Everything must now be distrusted, so nothing the Pope promulgates – not even by his encyclicals (which are the way the Holy Father addresses the entire Church) – can be trusted, nor are they worth reading. Believing this would seem to make one, at best, a virtual “sede-vacantist” – leading ever elsewhere than to Christ’s Vicar or the Church that elected him for guidance – trusting in any “guiding authority,” except papal.
I admit that in this battle we all face to protect our Faith, it is often hard to know where to “draw the line,” or who to follow. I suspect that the extreme “traditionalism” that always interprets Papal thought - and even Papal intentions - negatively, has probably produced more “popes” in the last 40 years than the College of Cardinals have elected in the last one hundred. While these “popes” have many followers, the only things lacking are the required grace and authority to rule their flock. On the other hand, God does bestow upon one man all the grace to teach and the authority needed to rule His entire Church (us) – plus the guidance of the Holy Spirit - and that is the (current) successor of Peter.
In our mutual spiritual battle, are there not two “guiding” spirits seeking our allegiance: one of reconciliation of all those who should not be separated, and that spirit is personified by Christ, reaching out to draw all men to Him. The other spirit is one of separation, seeking to divide all who should be united in Him, and that spirit is personified by the “anti-Christ.” Both sides offer logical arguments. Only one side draws us towards a deeper spiritual life, union with Christ, and inner tranquility.
There are great spiritual writers, such as the famous Spanish mystic, Fr. John Arintero, O.P, (TAN Publishers) who wrote years ago that “excessive traditionalism” is something as dangerous to our faith as modernism. The antidote to our being mislead is to spend our time developing our own spiritual life as “the best means of guarding against all aberrations and of avoiding and repairing the damage of those exaggerated tendencies of speculative thought, sentimentality, traditionalism, and modernism which cause so much agitation, confusion, and lamentable desertions in our day.”
You are in my prayers,
I would like to respond to Dr. Carol Byrne's comment about my first response. I seem to have lacked some clarification since another write misunderstood me. I didn't mean to accuse Archbishop Lefebvre of and deception of Pope John Paul II. On the contrary, I think the Archbishop meant everything he said when he spoke and wrote to that Pontiff that he accepted Vat. II interpreted in the light of Tradition. At that time he spoke in support of what John Paul II had said at his papal installation Mass: "The documents of Vat. must be understood in the light of Tradition." The pope asked him if he would sign a document saying that and the Archbishop agreed. There were no qualifications or reservations. In spite of it all the Archbishop maintained faith in the Magisterium and would stand back for the Magisterium to have the final decision in interpreting Vat. II as every Catholic is bound to do. To maintain that individuals will decide what is and is not compatible with Tradition is private interpretation. We are free to express reservations but not make final decisions. Archbishop Lefebvre knew the difference and often apologized to Rome in his letters to John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger when his polemics got tough. It's all documented in Vol. II and Vol. III of the APOLOGIA PRO MARCEL LEFEBVRE by Michael Davies. Now Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has emphasized that it isn't a matter of interpretation but that Vatican II must be simply discarded.
Further, Dr. Byrne has me confused with Fr. James Peek. It was with Fr. James that Michael Davies did combat over intrinsic evil in the New Mass. I openly supported Michael Davies and was one of the priests indirectly referred to as among several Society of St. Pius X priests who agreed with him. It's interesting that she brought this up. My position was that the New Mass couldn't be intrinsically evil since it was a Mass and how can a Mass be evil. However, I agreed with Archbishop Lefebvre who didn't want to use the term 'intrinsically evil' toward the New Rite because it could be confusing, but would refer to it as having an evil that was intrinsic, that is, damaged in its doctrinal expression. That was essentially Michael Davies view and I discussed it with him. I was taken to task for this by my SSPX superiors for agreeing with MD and Bishop Williamson stated bluntly that such views put me on a collision course with the direction of the SSPX and predicted that I would eventually leave.
That was in 1997 and I departed in 2001. Bishop Williamson was in the know about the future of the Society and I was in the dark.
Fr. John Peek
West Roxbury, MA
I have been somewhat disturbed by the tumult that has ensued from Mr. Heiner's interview with His Lordship on your website and also on others. Though I am unlearned in these matters, I wish to, if I may, give a few thoughts to my brethren to ponder since I have found them helpful in this. I may be presumptuous in offering them, but I believe I am not.
If we are to be traditional Catholics, loving our doctrines and disciplines, loving our Mass and our traditions, why give weight to those things tenuous and debatable at best over things undebatable? We have de fide dogmas on the Church, Her constitution, and the Papacy. The Church is visible. She shall endure until the end of time. The Papacy shall have perpetual successors. Yet we are so quick to put these aside because of the opinions of Sedevacantists and others. One's sensus catholicus springs into action at this.
It seems strange that the topic of the new Rite of Episcopal Consecration is being debated in tandem with His Lordship's statement concerning Fr. Ratzinger's "heresies". The Sedevacantists have found an opportune moment to press their thoughts, stirring up division. Messrs. Sungenis/Douglass and Mr. Michael quickly provided refutations of the charge of "heresy" and of "invalidity" of the Rite. Perhaps these have satisfied too easily and should cause us to step back to pray and ponder. Those men simply applied what the texts said with their context to the debate. It’s refreshing. Which will be the next point to press, though? Like the Jehovah's Witnesses, if one fails, there is always another. Yet we give ear to the Sedevacantists.
Even St. Jerome, as impetuous as he was, taught that we are to extend Christian charity to our brethren in Christ, seeing them in the best possible light. Why are we so quick to judge our Pope or question his holding of the Office? What measure do we put to him which we don't put to SSPX bishops, the Sedevacantists, or to ourselves. And we pursue this leap of judgement under the shadow of the constant teaching (i.e., tradition) of the Church concerning the Papacy. Are we working for him or against him?
This is our cross. We have to bear it. Joseph Ratzinger is the man which God has been pleased to place as Supreme Pastor over His Church. Christ is handing us our Cross, and we should take it. His failings, whatever they may be, we should bear as we all suffer for the Body of Christ. Pray for the Pope, the Bishops, and the Priests. They need it, and we need it. We need to raise them up to holiness in whatever way we can, and in that Christ will raise us up in humility and charity.
Lastly, as my mother would say, watch your mouth. Folks are reading and listening. People are scandalized easily today, even those who have been sticking it out for years. The Internet has led us to think we can be more free with our words, yet our words carry more weight because we have an audience of billions. Be circumspect with your words, and let them be imbued with the grace of Christ. No one questions the need for debate, discussion, and the dealing with hard truths and situations. All these, though, should lead us closer to Christ and stronger in our faith in His truths, including those concerning the Church’s constitution. What other type of speech will win souls for him?, which he desires much in our day as in others.
Sean R. Whittle
Costa Mesa, CA
I've read with interest both the interview and responses. My question to all concerned is how long do we make excuses for 'bad' theology (dare we say heresy, proximate to heresy, error?) and non-existent philosophy destroying our beloved Church. Let's trash the good bishop for his blunt, and, perhaps, off-the-cuff remarks; but, let's not forget to bend over backwards to find some way, any way, to make 'heretical' remarks look Catholic. Let's give every allowance to the modernist/progressive individuals who destroy everything in their wake, and carry us all to hell; by our miserable, pitiable excuses of "well, he didn't quite mean that". Look, folks, we've had 40 years of the modernist/progressive interpretation of what "they didn't quite mean", and it sure looks to me like they really meant it. Perhaps, the inimitable Fr. Faber's quote is very apt, "... We don't love God enough to be angry for His Glory, we don't love men enough to be charitable truthful for their souls". His Lordship loves God enough to be angry for His Glory, and, he loves us enough to be charitably truthful for our souls.
God Bless You,