Newsletter of the District
now ready to be sacrificed and the time of my dissolution is at
hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
kept the Faith. As to the rest, there is laid for me a crown of
justice which the Lord, the just Judge will render to me in that
day, and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming”
(II Tim, 4, 6-7)
dear and valiant Bishop Salvador L. Lazo, the little Filipino bishop
who has sent tremors as far as Rome the day he returned to the Faith
and Mass of his ordination, left us, in the early hours of April
11, 2000, for the eternal life. And the just will go to the eternal
life (Mt. XXV, 46).
was the only Bishop among all the Bishops of the world since Vatican
II who accepted the grace to say: Sorry! Sorry! I have been led
astray! Sorry, this New Mass, which I have mistakenly been saying
for 25 years, is favoring Protestantism, is not the True Mass! Sorry!
The path in which the Holy Church is involved, is the wrong path!
Bishops, I am sure, felt that same grace over the years. The Divine
Sower is always sowing the seed of His grace. The Church is His
Mystical Body, it pulses with His Precious Blood, distributed in
all the living members and offered to all the others by His Sacred
Heart. But that seed needs good ground to grow and bring forth fruit.
How many bishops in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II saw that
the Church was engaging in the wrong course? Archbishop Lefebvre
had 454 of them sign the petition to have communism condemned; 74
Council Fathers refused to sign the Declaration on religious liberty.
What happened to them after the Council? If Archbishop Lefebvre
fought a lonely battle for over a decade (Bishop de Castro Mayer,
in Campos, Brazil, joined the fight publicly in 1983), and achieved
so much, by the grace of God, what would 5 or 10 or 50 bishops not
have done? It sure is a mystery to think of all these good bishops
of the Coetus Internationalis Patrum vanishing in the later
part of the 1960s: some retired, some were replaced, many died,
many gave up the fight. The fowls of the air devored in a few years,
sometimes in a few months, all the good work they had done for decades
in their dioceses. One can think of the great Irish dioceses, of
Dublin, in particular, given to the world as the model diocese in
about 1965. In 1972, a mere seven years later, Ireland, without
any fierce opposition on the part of its Prelates, Ireland, Catholic
at 85% then, ceased to recognize the Catholic Religion as the religion
of the majority and introduced the concept of the pluralistic, Masonic
state, where truth and error, Christ and Belial, light and darkness,
are put at an equal footing. Jesus and Barrabas on the same balcony:
choose as you wish. The result is too well known, because “…
the imagination and thought of man’s heart is prone to evil from
his youth” (Gen. 8, 21).
Lazo (main), Archbishop Lefebvre (lower left) and Bishop de
Castro Mayer (lower right)
in the following years, the old guard being gone, or dying out,
other bishops, even Cardinals, even the Pope, saw that there was
a problem. The infamous smoke of Satan, through which the
mirage of a New Church born of a new Pentecost caught every bishop’s
eye, was nevertheless noticed by not a few. They felt uneasy. Some
even wrote about it. This troubled soul is, teaches St Ignatius,
the clear action of the Good Spirit, on those souls who, either
live in sin or live in lukewarmness: the Good Spirit pokes their
conscience, troubles them to try to bring them out of this false
peace into which they are being lured. “From the least of them
even to the greatest, all are given to covetousness; and from the
prophet even to the priest, all are guilty of deceit. And they healed
the breach of the daughter of my people disgracefully, saying: Peace,
peace, and there was no peace” (Jer. 6, 13-14). Here, the Divine
seed fell upon rocky, bushy, thorny ground. It did spring up a little,
but it either withered away, because it had no moisture, or else
it was choked up by the thorns. Our Blessed Lord explains these
details of the parable as signifying a lack of roots or the
cares and riches and pleasures of this life.
we come to the soul of Bishop Lazo. All of us, his priests in particular,
those who were blessed to witness the miracle of his profound conversion,
those who were privileged to meet him, to live with him at home
or travel with him around the world, and those four priests who
got the singular grace to assist him at his last moments, all of
us can testify to his humility (here are the roots) and his
poverty, poverty in spirit and in reality, his detachment from the
cares and riches and pleasures of this life. This is no doubt
why the Divine seed, that powerful grace given to him in 1995 through
the reading of good books, fell on good ground and brought forth
fruit in abundance.
are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God (Mt. 5,
3) I would dare here to draw a parallel
between the poverty of Bishop Lazo and the poverty of St Pius X.
There is a great similitude between the two. It was his love of
poverty, in the imitation of Christ, that gave St Pius X one of
his most difficult victories: the victory over the French Freemasons
who wanted to subdue the Catholic Church to their evil goals. The
French government had put its cards on the Papal table: either you
accept our proposal of the associations cultuelles (actually
it was exactly what we now see in so many places today: parishes,
dioceses run by a committee of clergy and lay people), or else,
we shall confiscate all Church property in France. This meant that
all the churches, presbyteries, Catholic schools, hospitals, institutions
of all sorts owned by the Church would be confiscated by the French
State. “All these I will give you, if falling down thou wilt
adore me” (Mt.4, 9).
X, Saint Pius X, the last canonized pope, replied: “Keep thy
money to thyself, to perish with thee, because that hast thought
that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8, 20).
It was the decision that saved France, that rallied all the Catholics
around the See of Peter and defeated the enemies of the Church.
They themselves admitted it in Parliament: “We had expected everything,
but not that.” They were not used to dealing with real Saints.
This saintly Pope had no time for the golden calf.
was also Bishop Lazo. His poverty saved him. Poverty, here, at its
peek, reaches humility, at its summit. He retired in 1993 from his
diocese of San Fernando de La Union, and with his sister, he built
a little house in a suburb of Manila. He had not much, very little
in fact, but he had seen the profound corruption caused by material
goods in the clergy and he fought it silently by his spirit of poverty,
lived in his own house.
the news of his return to Tradition reached the Hierarchy, the assault
against him was not a doctrinal one. No one, from the Nuncio, through
Cardinal Sin, down to his many confreres in the episcopacy, tackled
him on his Declaration of May 21, 1998. One does not argue with
St Paul’s logic and lists of those who ”cannot inherit the kingdom
of heaven”. Bishop Lazo’s Declaration was thoroughly pauline.
So, the bait chosen to bring him back to line, to the party line,
the line of the CBCP, the line of the ‘Second Vatican Catastrophe’,
as a reporter wrote recently, was the worldly one: “Your Excellency,
do you need mass stipends? medical insurance? food? money?”
He was even offered a position in Manila’s archdiocese! Those clerics
who made such offers didn’t know Salvador Lazo, whose heart was
similar to the heart of a St Cure of Ars. A prelate sent to him
even tried the ‘burial’ argument: “Your Excellency, you ought
to be buried in your Cathedral of San Fernando. What will happen
to you after your death if you stay with the SSPX?” Reply:
“I can always be buried in my backyard!”
fact, he has received a funeral worthy of a true prince of the Catholic
Church. Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, flew
all the way from Zurich to Manila to give to this courageous bishop,
thanks to the 10 priests present, including Father Paul Morgan (who
came from the USA) and Fr Thomas Blute (from India), a most beautiful
Pontifical Requiem Mass with its five absolutions reserved for V.I.P’s.
of the Church and of the State. He is now buried in the church of
Our Lady of Victories, in New Manila.
times we have heard Bishop Lazo stating that if he was trying to
alert his fellow bishops to the reality of the crisis in the Church
and the remedies to it, it was because he did not want to go to
Heaven alone! As we recommend him to the prayers of our readers,
let us also continue his struggle, by prayer and by any action offered
to us, to awaken here or there a bishop to Tradition to take his
place along the side of all those ‘fighting this good fight’.