Newsletter of the District of Asia

 July - December 2005


Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Credidimus Caritati! We have believed in Charity!

This coming November 29th will mark the centenary of our Founder, His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre. I certainly agree with some of our priests (cf. Fideliter, No. 167) that to reach the core of this personality — “Archbishop Lefebvre was a great man of the Universal Church” said the Holy Father recently — which has marked the life of the Catholic Church in the XXth century, one must go to the very first question asked by the Church at Baptism: “What do you ask of the Church of God? Faith!” More than a missionary, more than the Founder of the Society of St Pius X, more than being the man identified world-wide with the traditional Mass (how many people expressing a desire for the traditional Mass or simply for some traditional practices, such as communion kneeling and on the tongue have been accused of being ‘Lefebvrists”?), more than all these because it includes them all, Archbishop Lefebvre was the champion of the Catholic Faith in these times of crisis of the faith, of destruction of the Faith. He has been its champion, its defender, a true athlete of the Faith.

For those of us who have had the great privilege of being trained in the Front Cover: Bishop B. Fellay posing with the Tokyo faithful on Oct. 23, 2005 2 Society’s first seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, at a time when the Archbishop even gave classes (those of the Acts of the Magisterium), in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we have felt an unflinching preaching at that time: more than the Mass or the Conciliar errors, which were the hot themes of these years (and still are today), it was the simple and fundamental issue of Faith, the accelerated loss of faith, which was his nightmare.

When he spoke of Faith, he always meant Faith in its primordial, objective dimension, the theological virtue of Faith, Faith of the Revelation infallibly passed on by the Church, the Traditional Faith, the Faith of our Fathers. That is why he so often referred to the “Little Catechism”.

Day after day, he saw a new notion of Faith, subjective, personal, ‘chosen’, in short, modernist, growing among the faithful and even among priests and bishops.

To characterize Archbishop Lefebvre above all the calumnies, illusions and ridiculous accusations, we would have to define him by his indefectible attachment to the virtue of Faith and to its objective character rooted in the perennial Tradition of the Church.

It is no doubt on this particular point that we ought to be absolutely faithful in this crisis of the Church, which is continually worsening all around us.

* * *

I was privileged this last October to travel with our Superior General in many of our Asian Missions, some of which he was visiting for the first time, such as Osaka and Tokyo, SSPX Asia Newsletter Jul - Dec 2005 in Japan. There, as well as in Hong Kong, Bishop Fellay gave very interesting conferences on the audience he had with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, last August 29th, in Castel Gandolfo, and on the background and reasons of this audience. As he had previously forecasted in his conference in Singapore, last May 1st, “hope but no illusion’, could well summarize our attitude with the new pope. Six months later, this prognostic has not changed. I would simply like here to highlight some particularly meaningful points of his conferences.

The bishop drew a very interesting parallel between the attitude of Rome vis-àvis the New Mass and vis-à-vis the Society of St Pius X. In relation to the mass, we could summarize the argument thus: The Tridentine Mass was clearly not suppressed, or abrogated by the New Rite in 1969. However, the impression that it was has prevailed in the whole Church until now. (For inst. Msgr Perl, secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission still maintains that the only legitimacy of the Tridentine Mass today is the Indult of Oct. 3, 1984!) The 1986 Report of the 9 Cardinals to the Pope, and recent statements of various Cardinals show clearly that the Vatican knows “that there are no theological nor juridical grounds to suppress the Tridentine Mass”. In Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ words: “ The pope agrees: the Tridentine Latin Mass has never been abrogated. All the Heads of Dicasteries (i.e. Roman Congregations) agree (Cardinals Sodano, Medina, Castrillon Hoyos, Herans, Ratzinger): the Tridentine Latin Mass has never been abrogated. But there are the secretaries and undersecretaries!! They don’t agree! That’s why we can’t give it to you…” Incredible, but unfortunately true.

So, the situation with the Tridentine Mass is one of an apparent but invalid suppression maintained by the Establishment because of some all-powerful secretaries.

It is practically the same with the Society of St Pius X. Legally approved by the Church on November 1st, 1970, then apparently but invalidly suppressed in 1975 — which invalidity is often recognized in practice by the Roman Authorities (for inst. on Dec. 8, 1987, when Cardinal Gagnon, as the appointed Visitor from the Pope attended the Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lefebvre in which some 20 seminarians joined the SSPX) — the said Roman Authorities do not have the courage to proclaim the truth under the pressure of the Establishment which is maintaining the lie. Back in 2001, the French Bishops threatened to go into disobedience if anything were granted to the SSPX, and now, on the occasion of the World Youth Day, it was the turn of the German Bishops to express the same.

The condemnation of the SSPX as schismatic, excommunicated, is in many ways denied in practice by the Vatican authorities. For instance, there is a law in the Church (CIC 1917, c. 2372) that says that young Catholic men who left the Church in order to receive Holy Orders in a schismatic sect, if they later repent and return to the Church, may not make use of the Orders they have received but must act as laymen. In the case of SSPX priests who have left the SSPX and went to be ‘reconciled’ with Rome, the Church authorities have always recognized them as true priests and allowed them to act as priests. Conclusion? In practice the SSPX is truly considered a part of the Church, and not schismatic at all.

Another interesting point made to the Cardinal by Bishop Fellay is that the excommunication incurred by a bishop who consecrates another bishop without papal mandate (CIC 1983, c. 1382), is not listed among the delicts of Title I – Delicts against Religion and the Unity of the Church, canons 1364-1369 (which is what the document ‘Ecclesia Dei adflicta’ implies when it says that “3. In itself this act was one of disobedience to the Roman pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the Church, … 4. The root of this schismatic act…”), but rather it is listed among those of Title III – Usurpation of Ecclesiastical Functions and Delicts in Their Exercise, canons 1378 - 1389. Therefore the whole argument of ‘excommunication because it was a schismatic act’ falls, since in these grave penal matters, one must be extremely precise and strict, according to the axiom, odiosa sunt restringenda.

It is clear that since the SSPX Rome Pilgrimage, at the occasion of the Holy Year 2000, the atmosphere in Rome towards us has changed, and that Rome wants a solution to the ‘SSPX problem’. What Bishop Fellay is now trying to tell the Roman authorities respectfully, continually and firmly is that the Society of St Pius X is not the problem in the Church, it is only an indication that there is a problem in the Church, it is a reaction in front of a major problem in the Church. Were the SSPX to disappear tomorrow, the Holy Father would still have his hands full with Bishops’ Conference on the verge of cutting themselves off from Rome, with wide-spread scandals in the clergy, with the tragic lack of vocations particularly in Europe, and so on. We are not the problem. Solve the crisis in the Church and the SSPX will no longer be ‘a problem’!

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos once said to Bishop Fellay: “The fruits of the Society of St Pius X are good. Therefore the Holy Ghost is there.” To which Bishop Fellay answered: “But then, where do these fruits come from?” There were no reply…

Another time, the same Cardinal stated: “The Holy Father John Paul II and I like the New Mass. It is pastorally better However, there are some imperfections, some gaps, which need to be completed with a good catechesis.” Bishop Fellay, to whom this was addressed, replied: “The definition of evil is: privatio boni debiti – the absence, or privation of a good which is due. (For inst. a 4 legged chair which lacks one leg is a bad chair). Now, if something must be added to the New Mass, it means it is lacking something which is due. Therefore, it is bad!” The Cardinal couldn’t answer.

During the audience, the Holy Father reproached Bishop Fellay to justify his actions through the state of necessity. But in fact his justification gave us reason: “I am trying to solve the problem”, said the Holy Father. Thus, the Holy Father does admit that there is a “problem”. If there is someone in the Church who knows its tragic present condition it certainly must be Pope Benedict XVI who was for more than 20 years Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, who wrote the Ratzinger Report and many books in which he deplored the tragic loss of faith world-wide. But to think that just because the Holy Father does attempt to do something abolishes the fact of the universal crisis is truly to take one’s thoughts for reality. In fact later in the audience he did recognise that maybe some countries might be in the state of necessity.

In the same week the audience took place, a parish priest came to us, somewhere in South America. The pressure from his bishop and from the faithful was such that he simply could not live a normal priestly life. In another place, it was a nun who showed up at our doorstep. The last straw for her had been when, during a mass, the celebrant fell sick, and the Mother Superior without any qualm went up to the altar to finish the mass! Some time earlier, a Novus Ordo seminarian explained to one of our priests that he had been criticized by the seminary rector for being too conservative. Why? He was always wearing black trousers! As a ‘penance’, the rector asked him to lead the local Protestant service, three Sundays in a row…

This is an application of what Bishop Fellay told the Holy Father: it is no longer possible to live as a normal Catholic, today. Priests, seminarians, nuns, and faithful all over the world who try to practice their faith according to the Traditions of the Church are bitterly persecuted, sometimes even with visible hatred. The Holy Father must change the atmosphere in the Church for them, must show that they are genuine Catholics, full members of the Roman Catholic Church. The world-wide recognition of the Tridentine Mass for all priests in one step in that direction. It is a step which in itself shouldn’t be too difficult: to declare that what has always been approved is still approved!

Let us pray. Twice in the audience the Holy Father mentioned the name of Archbishop Lefebvre. Once he said: “… the venerated Archbishop Lefebvre…”, another time: “Archbishop Lefebvre was a great man of the Universal Church.” Indeed, let us pray that this may be said publicly from St Peter’s balcony in a near future…

The difficulty at this moment is what can be called “the noon devil”, that is the devil that comes in when we are tired of the prolonged fight, a fight which seems to be a lost battle. Some of our fellow-soldiers in this end-of-time clash between the Two Standards loose courage and desert the troops. Let us persevere in these immutable principles which have made all the Saints in the History of the Church, and which will make today’s Saints as well.

“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Word of the Mother of God. Let us cling to it.

God bless you.
Fr. Daniel Couture

Fr. Daniel Couture

District Superior

Sept 5-10, 2005 -
Priests' Retreat in Lobo, Batangas, Philippines, by Fr. Adrien Wee, Carmelite


Home | Newsletters | Library | Vocations | History | Links | Search | Contact