“Eleison Comments” by Mgr. Williamson – Issue CCLIV

I am posting this for information/discussion purposes. I disagree strongly with the spin given to Dignitatis Humanae (Bishop Williamson omits to mention the document’s reference to “due limits” for religious liberty) and Bishop Fellay’s remarks in his recent CNS interview.

DOCTRINE UNDERMINED

Entire books have been written on the subject of religious liberty as taught by Vatican II in its Declaration of 1965, Dignitatis Humanae. Yet the Revolutionary teaching of that document is clear =: given the natural dignity of every individual human being, no State or social group or any human power may coerce or force any man or group of men to act, in private or in public, against their own religious beliefs, so long as public order is observed (D.H.#2).

On the contrary the Catholic Church always taught up until Vatican II that every State as such has the right and even duty to coerce its citizens from practising in public any of their false religions, i.e. all non-Catholic religions, so long as such coercion is helpful and not harmful to the salvation of souls. (For instance in 2012 freedom is so widely worshipped that any such coercion would scandalize the citizens of nearly all States and make them scorn, not appreciate, the Catholic religion. In that case, as the Church always used to teach, the State may abstain from using its right to coerce false religions.)

Now the precise point on which these two doctrines contradict one another may seem quite limited – whether or not a State may coerce the public practice of false religions – but the implications are enormous : is God the Lord or the servant of men? For if on the one hand man is a creature of God, and if he is social by nature (as is obvious from men’s naturally coming together in all kinds of associations, notably the State), then society and the State are also creatures of God, and they owe it to him to serve him and his one true religion by coercing false religions at any rate in the public domain (which is the State’s business), so long as that will help rather than hinder the salvation of souls.

On the other hand if human freedom is of such value that every individual must be left free to corrupt his fellow citizens by the public practice and proselytizing of any false religion he chooses (unless public order be disturbed), then false religions must be left free to flourish in the public domain (e.g. Protestant sects in Latin America today). So the difference between false religions and the one true religion is less important than human dignity. So the true religion is not so important. So the worth of God compared with the worth of man is not so important. Thus Vatican II down-grades God as it up-grades man. Ultimately Vatican II is replacing the religion of God with the religion of man. No wonder Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society of St Pius X to uphold the transcendent dignity and worth of God, of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in a world and Church gone mad, drunk on man’s dignity.

But now comes a religious leader who pronounced in public earlier this month: “Many people have an understanding of the Council, which is a wrong understanding.” Religious liberty, he said, “is used in so many ways. And looking closer, I really have the impression that not many know what really the Council says about it. The Council is presenting a religious liberty that is a very, very limited one: very limited!” Asked whether Vatican II itself, i.e. as a whole, belongs to Catholic Tradition, he replied, “I would hope so”.

See for yourselves the interview, given in English and accessible on YouTube under the title, “Traditionalist leader talks about his movement, Rome”. Can anybody be surprised if “his movement” is currently going through the gravest crisis of its 42 years of existence?

Kyrie eleison.

© 2012 Richard N. Williamson. All Rights Reserved.

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32 Comments to ““Eleison Comments” by Mgr. Williamson – Issue CCLIV”

  1. tradical says:

    “… now comes a religious leader …”
    I assume that Bishop Williamson means his superior Bishop Fellay.

    “… religious liberty that is a very, very limited one …”
    The only way this situation will get resolved is if the Pope is going to introduce a definition on Religious Liberty that brings it in line with pre-Council Church Teaching, this makes sense. I further noted the absence of reference to the statement made by Bishop Fellay about the rights of error (ie the lack thereof), an essential part of the pre-counciliar doctrine. It is important to look at the entire doctrine on a subject in order to avoid loosing perspective.

    “… I would hope so …”
    What Bishop Williamson seems to be leaving out is that:
    A. This is a prudent answer to a liberal journalist. Frankly, I wish that Bishop Williamson had demonstrated the same level of prudence in speaking to the press.
    B. Ultimately, the authority who can make the declaration about the status of the elements of the council documents is the Magisterium (keeping in mind Cardinal Felici’s statement on the theological note and Mr. John Lamont’s recent paper)

    “… Can anybody be surprised …”
    Now this is the real issue, is it not.

    Bishop Williamson, in my opinion, is attempting to place the blame for a supposed “crisis in the SSPX” on the shoulders of Bishop Fellay.

    However, ultimately, this ‘crisis’ is because the Superior General of the SSPX (ie Bishop Fellay) is going in a direction that “they’ are uncomfortable with in varying degrees. It is their ‘disobedience’ in spirit (if not in action at this time) that is the cause of the ‘crisis’ if it really exists at all to the extents implied.

    There is only one way out:

    Prayer
    Penance
    Patience

    Without the buckler of patience, you will not be long without a wound.

  2. genevieve says:

    Rather sickening disrespect for his superior.

    The pope is bp fellays superior…if he asks the SSPX for theor assistance in the Church and the faith isn’t compromised…Bp fellay must obey.

    St Michael vanquisher of rebel spirits pray for us.

  3. penitent99 says:

    Once again Bishop Williamson nails it, and once again he is vilified by people who believe that the Conciliar rot is what the deposit of faith has consisted of all along.

  4. Perpetua says:

    I am appalled by Bishop Williamson’s direct and public attacks on his superior. For some reason, even more so than his attacks on the Holy Father. 

    I think he needs prayers. 

  5. gpmtrad says:

    *In the very moment when all you-know-what appears to have been unleashed ( I am not quite convinced it has ), both within the SSPX itself as well as within the byzantine concourses of power politics inside the Vatican, it really isn’t terribly sporting to gang up on one individual, possesed of the best possible intentions, who is giving actual voice to the courage of his internal convictions – the shimmering Catholicity of which are unmistakable.

    Now, I do not agree with Bp. Williamson on a few particular matters, here and there.  However, his articulation and the grounds for his ecclesiastical theorizing highlight disturbing issues of great moment.  Whether he is absolutely sound on each point, or not, he is raising issues others are doing their utmost to dampen and even keep out of the light of scrutiny altogether.  And, again, this occurs in the midst of a moment of perceived crisis regarding “regularization” ( which I do not think is a crisis at all ).

    That the hierarchy du jour of a Catholic Church hijacked for 50 years by nouvelle theologie advocates has become internally divided, doctrinally comatose and liturgically leprous seems pretty well established.  It literally has no future since its present is falling apart before its own eyes.

    So, just how, or whether, one docks with such a floundering mass of self-contradictions is no easy matter to settle.  Philosophically and even theologically schizophrenic hierarchs are not the sort of folks in whom reasonable souls ought to place every confidence.  And, there is another reality to consider as well: Almost every race and creed of Modernism, liberalism and garden variety theological quackery has its champions among Church hierarchs, various pontiffs of recent history included.
     
    But who champions the Traditionalists? ( Which could change were Pope Benedict to come out publicly favoring the existence, mission and “good Catholic standing” of the SSPX and institute a papal commitment to defend the Society against its episcopal enemies… a very, very long shot. )

    The most recent comments of Bp. Fellay indicate that he is approaching matters quite judiciously in order to defend the very purpose of the Society.  It would also seem that Bp. Williamson saw fit to prepare his most recent commentary prior to those remarks by his superior.

    Give matters time.

  6. Columba says:

    If error has no rights, what error’s critics? Leaders, members, and followers of the SSPX have always maintained a right to criticize errors associated with Vatican II, even those emanating from the pope himself. Is the superior general now held exempt from such criticism?

    If Bishop Williamson honestly believes that Bishop Fellay’s comments were soft on errors of Vatican II, who says +Williamson has no right to criticize?

  7. tradical says:

    @penitent

    ” Bishop Williamson nails it, and … is vilified by people …”

    You are slinging a lot of accusations around without responding to the actual issues that have been brought up. 

    First, if I had wanted to ‘vilify’ Bishop Williamson, it would be quite easy to go into a long tirade.  But that was not the point of my comments – solicited by the poster who desired an interaction.

    Second, Bishop Williamson hasn’t actually ‘nailed’ anything as none of the comments that I’ve read respond to the fundamental issues identified by Bishop Fellay.  

    To be specific, as I mentioned in an earlier posting:

    1. Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ

    2. The Vicar of Christ has in some manner intervened directly in the discussions with the SSPX.

    3. In this intervention the Vicar of Christ has asked/ordered the SSPX to accept regularization and has not required comprises on the Faith, Liturgy etc. 

    Bishop Fellay has a choice between obedience and disobedience. 

    In this situation, the required course of action is clear. Obedience, until such time as it becomes obvious that it is a trap.  

    Merely suspecting a person of malicious intent does not prove it.

    @Columba,

    “… who says +Williamson has no right to criticize? ”

    Well first of all, let’s be clear as to what has been occurring:  Bishop Williamson in his ‘Eleison’ newsletter has been criticizing his superior in a ‘less or more’ public forum.  It is one thing to be critical in private, but to publicize said criticism has little value beyond manipulation, agitation and division.  Agitation and division are clear from the various criticisms and actions of SSPX priests and faithful.  Manipulation in that now Bishop Fellay has to contend with loud squeaky wheels screaming at him, other priests and the faithful.

    It is obvious that the secrecy surrounding the doctrinal discussions was wise. Imagine if the same level of indiscretion occurred regularly over the last two years.  

    Now my own thoughts on this thread:

    IMO Bishop Fellay will soon have a decision put before him  by the Vatican. Either way people are going to leave the SSPX.  

    If he accepts an offer to be regularized: Then the SSPX will be regularized and some people will decide to leave the SSPX ostensibly for ‘abandoning the path of Archbishop Lefebvre’.

    If he declines: Then people will leave the SSPX ostensibly for ‘abandoning the path of Archbishop Lefebvre’.

    Some would call this a no-win situation.  But that would be inaccurate.  If he determines that there are no barriers to obedience, then the SSPX ‘wins’.  If he determines that there are serious barriers to obedience, then the SSPX ‘wins’.  

    The only losers are those who decide to leave the SSPX because of their own individual ‘obedience’ decisions.

    Prayer

    Penance

    Patience

  8. Columba says:

    @tradical

    “It is one thing to be critical in private, but to publicize said criticism has little value beyond manipulation, agitation and division.”

    The SSPX has a long track record of public criticism concerning errors associated with Vatican II. The archbishop, all the bishops, many priests, and many lay followers have publicly criticized everyone from the pope on downward, including many other traditionalists, despite accusations of “manipulation, agitation and division.” What Catholic principle can you invoke at this time to exempt the superior general from such public criticism?

    Perhaps you think that such criticism is theoretically justifiable, but that Bishop Williamson’s particular arguments do not rise to that threshold. If so, what is deficient in the EC comments of this week?

  9. Columba says:

    @GordonG

    “Bishop Williamson omits to mention the document’s reference to “due limits” for religious liberty”

    Can you define “due limits?” +Williamson does refer to “unless public order be disturbed.”

    • Columba says:

      At the link you provided, Fr. Harrison suggests that:

      in predominantly Catholic societies, the public manifestation of non-Catholic cults might, as such, be considered a transgression of the “due limits”, and hence subject to legitimate repression.

      It seems that +Harrison hopes the two words “due limits” can be made to nullify all the previously stated points in DH. Such unlikely contortions are necessary for straight-jacketing the hermeneutic of continuity onto Vatican II.

  10. tradical says:

    @Columba
    “…have publicly criticized everyone from the pope on downward …”
    I would be focused on the object of the criticism. The criticisms of the
    SSPX are focused on deviations/contradictions of Catholic Doctrine in
    conditions where the salvation of souls is a stake (NB: Not the common
    usage of scandal) is risked due to public actions.
    As an example, criticizing the kissing of the Koran is due to the sin of
    scandal that it causes. Extending this to critiques of the declaration
    on religious liberty based on the pre-conciliar magisterium and actions
    by Cardinal Kasper where he promotes only one aspect of Catholic
    Theology while downplaying (or in some case outright contradicting)
    other ‘less palatable’ aspects.
    These items are risking many souls by putting forth error as truth by high
    placed members of the hierarchy and therefore the argument is that there
    is an obligation to speak out.

    “What Catholic principle can you invoke at this time to exempt the superior general from such public criticism?”
    The principle to be applied in religious life is that unless the superior
    is asking you to do something that is morally wrong and/or against the
    faith, one has a duty to obey. This is the principle that Bishop Fellay
    has indicated he is following in handling the request from the Pope.
    Further,
    in criticizing a superior it is necessary to first attempt in private,
    directly and failing this by contacting the superior’s superior.  If
    this is unsuccessful and the salvation of souls is at stake, then a
    public remonstration is required. This remonstration would have be done
    in charity.

    “…  criticism is theoretically justifiable…”
    So the first question that needs to be asked is: Has anyone been publicly scandalized
    (led into sin) by the action of the superior (Bishop Fellay). Did he
    commit an objective action (or statement) that is a danger to souls? Did
    he commit a moral evil or is this transgression only in the minds of
    the readers (Bishop Williamson in this case)?

    As noted above, criticism of a superior is necessary when other avenues
    have been attempted in private have been of no avail AND the salvation
    of souls is at stake (sin of scandal). The contents of the CNS interview
    do not meet the above criteria for a public remonstration of a
    superior.  Even less do they allow for the public derision of a
    superior. This is never allowed and is contained in the final two paragraphs.

    • Columba says:

      criticism of a superior is necessary when other avenues have been attempted in private have been of no avail AND the salvation of souls is at stake (sin of scandal)

      The three bishops certainly did make their case in a private letter, before that letter was publicly released. Clearly, +Williamson indicates that the salvation of souls is at stake when he comments “Ultimately Vatican II is replacing the religion of God with the religion of man. No wonder Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society of St Pius X”.

      In the CNS interview, Bishop Fellay stated that his position on Vatican II has changed as a result of the talks. He now says that the Modernist errors did not come from the council, but only from its faulty interpretation. Do you agree with that?

      • tradical says:

        Let’s see: Someone in the UK leaks a private letter and you seem to think this justifies public derision of their superior for a statement that does not constitute the inducement of a sin of scandal.

        With respect to ” stated that his position on Vatican II has changed as a result of the talks.” – I believe this has been handled by St. Justin below.

        I will add that you may want to read Bishop Fellay’s statements made when he is not front of a CNS camera crew – such as Pentecost.

  11. Marie auxiliadora says:

    Brilliant sermon by SSPX Fr. pfeiffer on Pentecost Sunday. Please listen.
     

  12. St.Justin says:

    I don’t believe that is exactly what he said.

  13. gpmtrad says:

    Coumba, thanks for bringing up the central issue. Anyone not aware of the massive body of documentation prior to the Council against which such Thomistic scholars as Fr. Edward Hanahoe, Msgr. J. Clifford Fenton ahd Fr. David Greenstock wrought in the most dire terms – before the Council even began – is urged to consult Catholic Family News for more information. In sum, the nouvelle theologie crowd ( which included Popes Paul VI through JPII ) was in full formation, parade uniforms and all, and making themselves battle ready long before that ill-omened morning in October, 1962 when the Vatican’s doors opened on a New Age. There is always a call for making distinctions. Nevertheless, it would seem that with so much published information as to the position of the progressivists on the record, long before they hijacked the Council on day one, it is a real stretch for anyone to argue that matters of both substance and “interpretation” were not settled long before the Council even began. The liberals knew what they wanted.  They got it.  And they have been shoving it down everyone’s gullet for 50 years.  It is all of a piece.

  14. gpmtrad says:

    Sorry: “wrote”, not “…wrought in the most dire terms – …”

  15. gpmtrad says:

    Besides, a simple equation negates the “interpretation” canard…. Pascendi = contra the sum of ALL errors = contra nouvelle theologie ( from the moment of inception to the point of natural death of the nouvelle theologie ) = impossibility of segregating presence of Modernist influence within the conciliar texts from post-conciliar “interpretations”. Ecumenism, religious liberty, liturgical chaos, the “new ecclesiology” (sic!) and colleigiality are all directly traceable to various branches of Modernist theory. Anathema sit… as of 1907! Everything else is just passing time ( and gas ) in pointless conversations.  Roma locuta est.  Causa finita est…. 1907.

  16. Columba says:

    Here is the text of the interview: Many people have an understanding of the Council which is a wrong understanding. And now we have authorities in Rome who say it. [...]
    I may say in the discussions, I think, we see that many things which we would have condemned as being from the Council are in fact not from the Council but the common understanding of it. [...]
    Looking closer I really have the impression that not many know what the Council said about it. The Council is presenting a religious liberty which in fact is a very, very limited one, very limited. In our talks with Rome they clearly said that [thinking] it means that there would be a right to error, a right to choose [one’s] religion, is false. [...]
    thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/2012/05/rorate-already-passed-this-on-as-have.html

  17. Columba says:

    You say my words were incorrect? Where?

    • St.Justin says:

      1. “Bishop Fellay stated that his position on Vatican II has changed as a result of the talks.”

      No where does he say that.

      2. ” He now says that the Modernist errors did not come from the council, but only from its faulty interpretation.”

      No where does he say that.

      • Columba says:

        Bp. Fellay: “I may say in the discussions, I think, we see that many things which we would have condemned as being from the Council are in fact not from the Council but the common understanding of it.”
         
        Before talks: many things [...] we would have condemned as being from the Council”
         
        After talks: “are in fact not from the Council”
         
        Change: many “things” (errors) are no longer thought to come from the council
         
        Newly discovered source of errors: “the common understanding of it,” i.e. faulty interpretation of the council
         
        If you still disagree, I look forward to seeing your own detailed evaluation of the text.

  18. St.Justin says:

    I will finish my post on this with this thought.
    People tend to read documents or post with their own prejudices causing them to see them differently than others. I don’t know that your understanding is wrong but it is certainly different than mine.

    For example the term “many “things” ” to me doesn’t mean he is saying that there are no errors in the council. In fact I tend to agree that most of the errors are the result of faulty understandings of what the documents say and not what the words actually say but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that there are errors in the actual words of the documents.

  19. Marie auxiliadora says:

    St. Justin,

    Sounds like you need to sign a preamble with columba.

  20. St.Justin says:

    ” Looking closer I really have the impression that not many know what the Council said about it. The Council is presenting a religious liberty which in fact is a very, very limited one, very limited. In our talks with Rome they clearly said that [thinking] it means that there would be a right to error, a right to choose [one’s] religion, is false. [...] ”

    The above clearly does not say what you said:
    “Bp. Fellay stated that discussions changed his mind to no longer believe that the error of religious liberty comes from the council.”

    In fact it says that:
    “that there would be a right to error, a right to choose [one’s] religion, is false.”

    If you read his post it repeatedly says “they say” and never says he in any way agrees with what “they say”.

    • Columba says:

      Bp. Fellay states that his position on what the council says about “many things” has changed, including religious liberty.

      I have not opinionated on whether the change is good or bad, but merely taken Bp. Fellay at his word that his understanding of Vatican II has changed as the result of discussions. Why is this so hard to swallow? You are just shooting the messenger.

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