“Two Errors”: +Williamson’s Eleison Comments 259

Number CCLIX (259)
30 June 2012

Whether or not the Society of St Pius X survives its present severe trial, liberals will keep coming back with false arguments to persuade it to commit suicide. Let us look at two more of them.

The first has come up constantly in recent debates over whether the SSPX should accept some practical (non-doctrinal) agreement with Conciliar Rome. It is simple: a Catholic leader (or leaders) has graces of state from God, therefore he should not be criticized but automatically trusted. Answer: of course God is offering to every one of us at all times, and not only to leaders, the natural assistance and/or supernatural grace we all need to begin fulfilling our duty of state, but we have free-will to co-operate with that grace or to refuse it. If all Church leaders always co-operated with their graces of state, how could there ever have been Judas Iscariot? And how could we ever have had Vatican II? The argument from graces of state is as foolish as it is simple.

The second argument is more serious. It was put forward last month in a ten-page article by a Mr. J.L. in a conservative Catholic periodical in England. It favoured a Rome-SSPX practical agreement. Here it is, abbreviated of course, but not distorted. The Catholic Church is today under heavy attack, from without (e.g. by the USA government) and from within (e.g. by bishops who love the good life but do not know their theology), and at the topmost level by a Vatican administration riddled with scandals and in-fighting. The Pope is besieged on all sides, and he is looking to the SSPX for help to re-establish within the Church the sane influence of the Church’s past, in which he believes, even if he also believes in Vatican II. Monsignor Bux gave voice to the Pope’s appeal: if only the SSPX would respond by accepting a practical agreement, it would immensely benefit not only the whole Church but also the SSPX itself. Fr Aulagnier, a former high-up SSPX priest, clearly sees as much.

Dear J.L., full marks for your love of the Church and recognition of its problems, for your concern for the Pope and your desire to help him, but low marks for your grasp of where those problems come from and of what the SSPX is all about. Like one zillion souls in today’s Church and world, including Fr. Aulagnier, you miss the absolutely basic importance of the doctrine of the Faith.

The USA government attacks because the Church is weak. The Church is weak because the bishops’ poor behavior follows on their poor grasp of the doctrine of Heaven, Hell, sin, damnation, redemption, saving grace and the Redeemer’s ever-present sacrifice in the true Mass. The bishops have such a poor grasp of these world-saving truths because, amongst other things, the Bishop of bishops only half believes them. The Pope only half believes them because the other half of him believes in Vatican II. Vatican II undermines all the true religion of God by the deadly ambiguities planted throughout its documents (as you recognize), and designed to put man in the place of God.

Dear J.L., false doctrine is the basic problem. By the grace of God the SSPX has up till now upheld Jesus Christ’s true teachings, but if it put itself under Church authorities only half-believing them at best, it would soon stop attacking error (as is already happening), and it would finish by promoting error, and with error all the horrors you mention. God forbid!

Kyrie eleison.

Biographical note: The author, +Richard N. Williamson, was one of four men raised to the episcopate by Abp Lefebvre in 1988. Formerly an Anglican, and briefly a novice of the London Oratory, +Williamson read English Lit. at the University of Cambridge, where he obtained a lower second-class degree. Since 2009 he has lived in Wimbledon, England. Eleison Comments is his weekly column.

Get AQ Email Updates

30 comments on ““Two Errors”: +Williamson’s Eleison Comments 259

  1. tradical on said:

    I had to pause and ponder this latest edition of the EC.

    I didn’t have to pause because of a weighty in-depth analysis and assessment.

    I had to pause to think about the things that +Williamson doesn’t seem to want to address or leaves wanting.

    First, is the ‘grace of state’ focus that has been evident in a number of the EC’s. While it is true, I have yet to see an answer to a principle that +Fellay described regarding a request from the Pontiff etc.

    Second, are the words “… if it put itself under Church authorities .. it would soon stop attacking error (as is already happening) …”. This struck me because of the above principle and the ‘stop attacking error … etc’ comment has instilled FUD into the mix.

    I think a distinction needs to be made. Attacking error is not necessarily the same thing as combating error. Historically, the ‘attack’ mode has been ‘contra’ V2 etc. In business it would be termed negative reinforcement.

    Before I get flamed let me explain.

    Negative reinforcement has its place and uses. However, it is not the only way to achieve a desired outcome. In fact, it is not the best way at all, in both business and the spiritual life if used exclusively.

    In the Church negative reinforcement is akin to saying: If you do that you’ll go to Hell. The person doesn’t do the action, because they don’t want the negative consequences of their action.

    ++Lefebvre had a comment about the formation of the Sisters of the SSPX. He asked that they include more study on the virtues.

    If you don’t promote virtue then you get a hollowed out spiritual life. The danger is formalism.

    Combating error is more than just being clear about what is error and denouncing it. Combating error should go beyond this to include expounding the true doctrine of the faith to the members of the Church.

    Practicing virtue is the path to Heaven.

    The Church needs to know what happened, but it also needs to know how to get back on track. Mindlessly chanting the mantra ‘reject V2’ isn’t all that useful and fundamentally would be counter productive.

    Looking forward to your thoughts.

    • Columba on said:

      As is often the case, I am left speechless by this week’s EC with nothing to add because His Excellency has said it all. Apparently, you also have nothing to add since you have not directly addressed any of his arguments, either to agree or disagree, which were:

      1. Even if the SSPX survives this present close call, liberal sirens will continue to beckon.

      2. Grace of state does not ensure correct decision-making for leadership any more than for others.

      3. The SSPX has no power to help a pope who does not share the Faith entire.

      4. The vast majority of people today do not recognize the power of uncompromised Faith.

      • tradical on said:

        Thank you for your consistency.

        Grace of state:
        Implied in this statement is +Williamson’s judgement that +Fellay is not complying with his Grace of State. – FUD

        “either to agree or disagree’ – look for the word FUD in my comments. It means I disagree.

        Now the real question: What constitutes an uncompromised Faith?

        • Columba on said:

          Menzengin’s argument was that Bishops Fellay’s grace of state entitled him to make a private decision without consulting the General Chapter or anyone else.

          Claiming “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) is not a direct disagreement. You did not dispute the argument that fear of putting the SSPX in the hands of Modernists is well justified.

          “Now the real question: What constitutes an uncompromised Faith?”

          That is only a question for Modernists. For traditionalists, uncompromised Faith is acceptance of the perennial teaching.

          • tradical on said:

            “…Menzengin’s argument was that Bishops Fellay’s grace of state ….”
            Sorry Columba, that is incorrect. The charter of the SSPX provides that power to the Superior General.

            “hands of modernists” – again the principle evoked by +Fellay is consistent and iron clad and he has rightly abided by it. If there are no compromises to the faith etc, then you have to obey in such conditions. Everything with respect to the ‘state of necessity’ etc falls apart if this offer had (which it was not) been made in that manner.

            For traditionalists there is a danger in only understanding the faith as constituted in opposition to what the mods have put forward.

            Case in point is the ‘muslims worship the same God’.
            Check out the reference I quoted elsewhere on this blog, both you and the Mods have the same problem: You don’t expound the whole doctrine concerning the point in the question.

            In both cases neither has put forth the truth whole and entire.

            • Columba on said:

              Unnecessarily placing oneself under Modernist control is to enter an occasion of sin and therefore to compromise the faith

              • tradical on said:

                ‘… Unnecessarily placing …’
                Columba, are you a sede-vacantist? The Pope is the central point of authority that marks the unity of the Church. Please ponder your response to this point carefully.

                Ultimately this crisis will find its solution in the Pope, which is where it originated from.

                Was St. Athanasius afraid to submit to a Pope who was obviously under the influence of heretics and excommunicated him etc? The answer is no.

                Did he submit to the heresy no.

            • tradical stated, “Check out the reference I quoted elsewhere on this blog, both you and the Mods have the same problem: You don’t expound the whole doctrine concerning the point in the question.

              In both cases neither has put forth the truth whole and entire.”

              John Paul II kissed a Koran and Benedict took off his shoes in the Blue Mosque and bowed towards Mecca.

              Expound on that.

              • tradical on said:

                Irish, Columba,

                Let’s work on a principle:

                If the Pope asks you to do something that does not compromise the Faith, you have to obey.

                All the conspiracy theories or ‘what might happen’ are not valid in that condition. You have an obligation to trust in God, see His will in the the command of your superior, humble yourself and obey.

                Do you agree with this Catholic principle?

                With respect to the Koran etc – those are not relevant to either the principle noted above nor the Church teaching concerning these false religions. If you don’t study your faith and have a solid spiritual life you are fodder for all sorts of errors etc.

                With regards to sins against the first commandment (Koran etc) – we can work on that one later on if you like but don’t muddy the waters with side issues unless you can draw the appropriate link between them in a coherent defensible manner.

                • “If the Pope asks you to do something that does not compromise the Faith, you have to obey.”

                  Absolutely. But how can I obey something I’m not privy to? You sound like Pelosi stating we have to pass Obamacare so we can see what’s in it.

                • Columba on said:

                  If the Pope asks you to do something that does not compromise the Faith, you have to obey.

                  All the conspiracy theories or ‘what might happen’ are not valid in that condition.

                  Suspicions of superiors proven untrustworthy are not “valid”? Justify your assertion. Consider this hypothetical example of the principle you expound:

                  Superior: “Tradical, slide your head into this guilletine.”

                  tradical: “I guess I have to obey because I don’t know for sure whether he will drop the blade even though he has recently chopped the heads off several of my colleagues.

                  Untrustworthy superiors should be resisted and, if possible, removed.

                  • tradical on said:

                    The fallacy you just presented is called the straw man fallacy.

                    In which an exaggerated view of the opponents argument is presented in an effort to refute it.

                    Try again … it is too easy to demonstrate that this in not the case.

                    • Columba on said:

                      If you are stumped, withdraw your assertion. If you allege a straw man, specify where it is?

                    • tradical on said:

                      Strawman: the guillotine is an established fact. The bad faith of the Pope is not.

                    • Columba on said:

                      Newrome has grievously betrayed every single one of the previously independent trad groups suckered into agreements.

                  • tradical on said:

                    Who determines when a superior is untrustworthy?

                    • Columba on said:

                      Who else but the person deciding whether or not to obey?

                    • tradical on said:

                      “… Who else …”

                      A. Definitely not you

                      B. The principle you are acquiescing to is that the power of the governor comes from the governed. Congratulations you have taken the next step to heresy.

                      C. Get behind me Luther …

  2. Columba on said:

    GG: Your posting of that goofy picture of Bishop Williamson seems to have been inspired by those disrespectful youtube videos against Bishop Fellay.

  3. +Williamson: “the Bishop of bishops only half believes them. The Pope only half believes them because the other half of him believes in Vatican II. Vatican II undermines all the true religion of God by the deadly ambiguities planted throughout its documents (as you recognize), and designed to put man in the place of God.”
    I’ll take a stab at it:
    +Williamson is stating that since the Pope holds erroneous doctrinal views on Catholic teaching (these errors emanate from Vatican II), his faith in the teachings of the Church have been weakened, and that to such an extent that he no longer “confirms his brethren in the faith.”
    I believe that +Williamson does not want to state that the Pope is a heretic, or not a Catholic; he doesn’t want to go that route; so he merely affirms that his faith is damaged or corrupted by erroneous teachings.

  4. Columba on said:

    Objectively, Pope Benedict is lacking in faith. It would be almost impossible to directly disagree, but you indirectly question this observation by bringing up unwelcome conclusions that could result.

    Archbishop Lefebvre has pointed out that one need not unseat the pope to resist his errors. If the modern popes are someday declared anti-popes, these errors we resist will be the primary reason. However, trying to unseat a pope while he (or his handlers) retain full control of the Vatican would result in complications distracting from the prime imperative of unified resistance to the errors for the duration of the emergency.

    Obviously, Catholics find it painful to resist the pope’s errors and are tempted to surrender.

  5. Well, according to some posters here; the Church is neither black nor white, She’s “speckled”.

    • Columba on said:

      But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one. Mat. 5:37

      • tradical on said:

        re Spekled: Sorry – I should have focused on the members of the Church.

        re yea,yea, nay,nay:
        Ok here’s some hard truths:

        Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessors while lacking in some points remained sovereign pontiffs of Holy Roman Catholic Church.

        +Williamson has demonstrated exceptionally poor judgement in making statements concerning the holocaust in front of a tv crew in 2009.

        Further he has expounded upon various conspiracy theories (911, JFK, Oklahoma). This to the point where he has entered such material into the formation of priests under his care.

        His lack of judgement in these cases is demonstrated in preferring a conspiracy theory that a missile struck the Pentagon, instead of agreeing with the tens if not hundreds of eye witness accounts of an airplane striking the Pentagon.

        There … how’s that from some straight talk.

        Do you agree with these factual statements of not?

        • Columba on said:

          Bishops are not allowed warn the flock about suspected hoaxes or conspiracies? Please cite your source for this assertion.

          • tradical on said:

            Be specific about which factual statement you take exception to?

            • Columba on said:

              You appear to be saying that bishops are not free to speak about whatever topic they think is important for their flock. Which Church law or teaching do you allege that Bishop Williamson has transgressed by his controversial warnings?

              • tradical on said:

                read my comment again.

                I’m saying that +Williamson has demonstrated POOR JUDGEMENT.

                You also diverted from the question.

                Do you agree with the factual statements or not?

  6. He does not sound lost-in-the-cosmos and evolved-from-monkeys-and-garbage to me. He does not sound like Hans Kung. He sounds fairly solid.

    The sun orbits the Earth not Vatican II popularity contests and international Judeo-Masonic liberalism and the Bank for International Settlements and Fox News, etc.; and NASA never landed a man on the moon, not once, nor any rover on Mars and the Foucault pendulum at the Judeo-Masonic UN is a ridiculous hoax. It’s driven, damped, and tuned. They cannot even correctly tell you which way the moon goes, how long it takes for it to orbit the Earth, how it got there, and why, like the Earth, it does not rotate.

    Church tradition always sparks a better Christmas light than secular humanism, E = MC^2, and Einstein. Bishop Williamson would also be a great guest for the Muppets. He needs a better publicty agent.


Leave a Reply