October 30, 2001
Most Reverend Bishop Rangel and very dear Fathers:
am not the best placed person for writing you this letter.
I do not think that I shall obtain from you the assent that
you declined to the bishops of the Society (of Saint Pius
X), Bishop Fellay and Bishop de Galarreta, when they tried
to show you the fearful damage that these accords between
you and the Vatican could inflict on the Church and on the
fight for the "survival of Tradition." Nevertheless,
I have a very serious reason for writing you about this, and
I do so with the advice and approval of Bishop Fellay himself.
The reason is that several of our faithful at Niteroi and
Rio come from villages you are responsible for, and they have
always held the "Campos Fathers" in the highest
esteem and reverence. Now they cannot manage to understand
the reason for an agreement (with Rome) made separately from
the Society of Saint Pius X and which, moreover, goes against
the counsel and advice of the Society bishops.
reason that encourages me to write you is the experience I
lived through in 1988 at Barroux, when Dom Gerard Calvet too
wanted to make a deal with the Vatican.
is the first similarity I see between Dom Gerard's attitude
and yours: Archbishop Lefebvre had just refused an agreement
because he had not been able to perceive in the Vatican's
intentions the guarantees that would be necessary to assure
the survival of Catholic Tradition. Dom Gerard, placing the
particular interests of his monastery above the Church's good,
accepted a separation from Archbishop Lefebvre in order to
"normalize" his juridical and canonical status,
thereby letting fall the sword of combat.
equally, the Society has just rejected an accord for the same
reasons as Archbishop Lefebvre, and you prefer to consider
your particular interests and not the common good of the Church.
You have grown weary of the daily fight and of being marginalized.
the similarities do not stop there.
When your Fraternity
was conducting the current negotiations, I spoke to Fr. Fernando
on the phone. He gave me three reasons that he considered
sufficient for going ahead and concluding the agreement, even
though the Vatican has not agreed to allow the Tridentine
Mass: 1) many new persons would rejoin Tradition; 2) we would
have a foot in the door of modernist Rome for preaching Tradition;
3) we could still go back to our former position in case we
were unduly pressured.
are precisely the same arguments as those of Dom Gerard in
1988; to me, shockingly so. Firstly, because then you knew
how to critique Dom Gerard's position, as was so necessary
at the time. Second, because today the logical conclusion
you are obliged to reach is that Dom Gerard was right! He
preceded you by ten years, which obliges you to believe that
his assessment then was better than yours.
think that the following affirmations are undeniable: 1) The
new people that will join you will not desire to convert to
true Tradition. They will come to you because the legal obstacles
have been removed, and not for reasons of faith. They will
be very sympathetic, but they will not be seeking the whole
truth with the doctrinal conviction that leads souls to martyrdom;
2) Being in modernist Rome‑and this is proven‑invariably
results in contamination by the guiding principles of Vatican
II, administered in homeopathic doses until the fruit falls,
as the St. Peter's Fraternity fell; 3) As for going back:
who among them has ever returned to his former position? They
would rather concelebrate with the Pope than go back. And
if they did go back, what would become of the faithful in
their parishes? Would they all go back? How many would be
entangled over the question of legality? I consider such an
attitude reckless; it does not take into account the constancy
of the souls that Providence has entrusted to you. You regularize
on paper a phony problem of excommunication, and the faithful
have only to follow and obey, and then, tomorrow, to about
face and retreat with you!
cannot quite see in this the respect for souls the priestly
regard to the Society of Saint Pius X, I do not understand
how you can so obstinately refuse the requests of these bishops
who have come to your aid time and time again. First, there
was the consecration of Bishop Licinio Rangel, a very courageous
act by these bishops, for many could misconstrue this act,
as was the case for some. It was by thinking of you and of
your faithful that they agreed to the consecration. Also,
the seminaries of the Society have always been open to the
Campos seminarians; they are received as brothers. And then,
when the Society was summoned to negotiate with the Vatican
at the beginning of 2001, you were amiably invited to participate
(in the meetings of the Society's superiors). They were not
obliged to include you, yet, once again, they were generous
and fraternal in the fight for Tradition.
view of these facts, by refusing to listen to the supplications
of the Society, you incur the terrible burden of betrayal.
In that, once again, you match Dom Gerard. Perhaps you do
not see the matter thus, but neither can you deny the bishops
the right to feel betrayed.
just as Dom Gerard's betrayal caused a terrible drama amongst
the French faithful, causing divisions in families and deep
disappointment because of this abandonment and weakness, likewise
you also, today, are for the Brazilian faithful the cause
of the same disappointment and the same divisions.
said in 1988 to Dom Gerard what I repeat to you today: thousands
of the faithful anxiously wait for you to confirm them in
the Catholic faith, in the combat that divine Providence requires
of us, without our succumbing to fatigue, weakness, or the
siren song of legality. What our Lord requires is martyrdom
endured drop by drop, and a clear and simple profession of
Catholic faith without compromising with the modernists in
the Vatican. The Pope, yes; legality, yes; but above all;
respond to God's clear call to the combat of the faith. The
day the Pope really converts, it will appear more clearly
than the light of day. Obviously, it is not by kissing the
Koran or by going to pray in a mosque that he manifests this
the faithful of the chapels of Rio and Niteroi are praying
for you, beseeching the Blessed Virgin Mary to turn your hearts
to the light of truth.
In Christo et Maria,
Dom Lourenqo Fleichman, O. S. B.