Cardinal Pie of Poitiers (d. 1886) used to say “The Catholic Church is intolerant when it comes to principles of the Faith, but tolerant and charitable in practice; while Liberals, on the contrary, are tolerant when it come to principles (e.g. “coexistence” of all beliefs), but intolerant in practice.”
We can see this applied to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, when it came to upholding principles of the Faith he was intolerant of error and boldly accused the Second Vatican Council of introducing novel principles against the Faith (e.g. Ecumenism, Pluralism, Religious Liberty, etc.) and stood opposed to them. But when it came to people, he was gentle and tolerant with their shortcomings, his kindness stands out in the memory of all who knew him.
But with Liberals, as an example, we can just look at Pope Francis who is tolerant of pagan idols (e.g. Pachamama) in the name of Vatican II’s teaching on “inculturation;” he tolerates Protestantism, divorce, sodomy, Modernism and just about every evil under the sun! But with Traditional Catholic people he is absolutely intolerant, calling them “backward,” “obstacle to the progress of Vatican II,” “blind bats,” and his favorite, “rigid.” He shuts down “conservative” Novus Ordo religious houses and seminaries adopting the Latin Mass and punishes outspoken “conservative” Novus Ordo bishops. Pope Paul VI did the same by “intolerantly” leveling a phony suspension on Abp. Lefebvre, while at the same time “tolerantly” prostrating himself before a schismatic orthodox bishop. Then Pope John Paul II followed suit, by “intolerantly” punishing Abp. Lefebvre with an illegal excommunication while at the same time “tolerantly” receiving the pagan ritual-mark of Shiva on his forehead! Indeed, Liberals are tolerant with errors but intolerant when it comes to Truth and Catholics faithful to Tradition!
The same applies in civil society. Catholics and most honest men rooted in the Natural Law, defend the unborn and are intolerant of contraception and abortion; while, on the other hand, Liberals are tolerant of every error and vice under the label of “pro-choice”, but intolerant with unwanted babies, and resort to every sort of cruelty dripping with blood, in order to exterminate them by abortion! Indeed, LIBERALISM DRIPS WITH BLOOD!
FIRSTLY, UNITY IN THE FAITH!
This brings us to the absolute importance of the primacy of the Faith; the primacy of Doctrine! To survive this apostate age, the Catholic must be unshakably rooted in the Truth! We must never give any attention to those incorrectly calling traditional Catholics “schismatics," in fact, after fifty-seven years since the Council, we should be used to it! Let us never forget that the profession of the Faith is always the first foundation for true unity! This bond of unity is built on the solid, unchanging principles of the Catholic Faith. All unity in the Catholic Church must first be founded on this rock on which Christ said to build. It is the rock on which St. Peter’s successors are commanded to stand and not build on the sands of Modernism!
Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum, speaks about the true unity of the Church,
saying: “Such great and such absolute concord among men must have as its necessary
foundation, the union of understanding and agreement of intelligences; from which will naturally flow the harmony of men’s wills and agreement in action. This is why, according to the Divine Plan, Jesus wanted the unity of the Faith to exist in His Church; for Faith is the first of all bonds that unites men to God and it is due to this that we are called ‘faithful’.”
Pope Pius XI repeated the same idea when he said in his Encyclical condemning false
ecumenism, Mortalium Animos: “Since charity is founded on an honest and sincere faith, it is the unity of the Faith which must be the principle bond uniting the disciples of Christ.”
From this insistence of the traditional Magisterium, it is clear there is a much higher foundation for unity in the Church than just a nebulous “unity of communion” or “unity of luv”: it is the unity of Faith! The foundation for all unity in the Catholic Church is firstly built on the Faith!
From this it is clear that Traditional Catholics are anything but “schismatics” or their own
“marginalized church” because the first real schismatics are heretics. “Heresy," says Cardinal Billot, “is schism, for it directly opposes the unity of the Faith.” So, one can go against the “unity of communion” without going against the unity of the Faith, but one cannot go against the unity of Faith without going against the “unity of communion,” since the former is the foundation for the latter. The unity of all members professing the Catholic Faith is the fundamental basis on which rests all other unity of the Pope, bishops, priests and laity.
THOSE WHO DEVIATE FROM THE FAITH MAKE THE SCHISM
Now, looking closely at the situation of the Church since the Second Vatican Council, we see all those in positions of authority are imbued with Liberalism and Modernism; extending from Abp. Annibale Bugnini and Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope John XXIII and Pope Francis. They have imposed reforms that destroy the Church because they oppose the Traditional Faith, Mass, and Sacraments. Thus, they have broken with the Tradition of many centuries which is, ultimately, the unity of Faith; and the “unity of communion” they are always trying to achieve is only a “pseudo-unity” because it has lost its true foundation.
The Modernist hierarchy, as Modernist, is heretical: it is opposed to the unity of Faith by the spreading of its errors and promotion of their pseudo-unity or “unity of communion.” In other words, as Abp. Lefebvre often repeated, it is the Conciliar Church that is truly schismatic, because it seeks a unity that is no longer a Catholic unity!
Abp. Lefebvre didn’t mince words when he said: “The Conciliar Church is practically schismatic. [...] It’s a virtually excommunicated Church, because it’s a Modernist Church” (Fideliter, 70, p. 8). Again, “The Pope wants to make a unity outside the Faith. It’s a communion. A communion with whom? With what? How?... it’s not a unity anymore. This can only be done in the unity of Faith” (Fideliter, 79, p.8).
AND THE POPE?
As Cardinal Journet explains, in his pre-Vatican II work, Church of the Incarnate Word (vol. II, p. 839 sq.), the Pope himself can sin against the ecclesiastical communion by breaking the unity of leadership. This would happen if he did not fulfill his duty and denied the Church the direction she is entitled to expect from him in the name of Someone greater than himself, namely, Christ, Her founder and invisible Head. And this is, unfortunately, the painful situation in which we find ourselves ever since the Council ended, in 1965. If Abp. Lefebvre stayed away from any agreement with the Modernist hierarchy and the Conciliar Church, it was out of fidelity to Tradition, by refusing to join the real schism and breaking with the unity of Faith, as it has always been believed in the Church.
“The Church is not the Mystical Body ‘of the Pope’, but of Christ!” (Fr. Roger-Thomas Calmel, OP, About The Church and the Pope, in Itineraires 173, May, 1973, p. 28). Fr. Calmel goes on to say that if it ever happens that the Pope is so deficient in his office as to promote heresy and schism, then it is better to obey Christ and remain faithful to the Church of all time, even if this means enduring the wrath of the current authorities. Abp. Lefebvre preferred to stay clear of this Modernist hierarchy with its false “unity of communion” saying: “To leave, then, the official Church? To some extent, yes, of course! If the bishops are in heresy, it is necessary to leave this environment of the bishops if one does not want to lose his soul. If we move away from these people, it is absolutely the same as with people with AIDS. We don’t want to catch it. They now have ‘spiritual AIDS’, contagious diseases. If you want to stay healthy, we must not go with them” (Conference at Écône, September 9, 1988, cited in Fideliter, 66, p. 28).
So then, who are the real “schismatics”? It is not those who are attached to Tradition. Rather, in reality, it is those who distance themselves from it! If the traditionalists are not “in communion,” it’s only with the Conciliar Church with whom they are not in communion, and that is precisely, their badge of honor! True communion will be restored when Rome returns to Tradition and “re-crowns Our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Abp. Lefebvre). But to seek union with Rome BEFORE the authorities have returned to the unity of the Faith is to abandon our fight, it is - in a certain way - to betray the Truth, by mingling it in with the pluralist and indifferent system orchestrated by the unfaithful hierarchy in charge. This would be the triumph of the new ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, with its “subsistit in.” For us, it is not enough for Rome to declare: “the Church of Christ subsists in Tradition;” it must declare: “the true Church of Christ is Tradition.”
Finally, following in the line of Abp. Lefebvre, we never have, nor ever will have, any intention of forming some “parallel Church” or some “petite eglise” (“small church”), independent from the one Christ founded. And that is why we do not seek to establish a parallel hierarchy (a veritable danger with the Thuc line) or to live withdrawn in our own circles and closed to others. We simply desire to steadfastly continue in our duty of professing the Faith and Mass of all time!
Only compromise or contacts endangering the Faith must be avoided. Our chapels and
missions are open to all the faithful, the priests’ Mass schedules, sermons and catechisms are publicly available on-line and we are most willing to explain to anyone our position. We do not refuse to meet with others, with necessary prudence, in order to bring them back to Tradition, nor must we be shaken in the face of accusations, such as “being marginalized,” or being a “futile Resistance,” or “renegades” which are nothing but the result of our fidelity to the Faith of all time!
“We are neither schismatics nor excommunicated, we are not against the Pope. We are not against the Catholic Church. We do not have a parallel church. All this is absurd! We are what we have always been, Catholics who simply continue. That’s all! There’s no need to look for Noon when it’s 2:00 AM. We do not make a ‘small church’!” (Abp. Lefebvre, Fideliter, 70, p. 8).
ONE FINAL PRECISION
It must be added that, while speaking of the authorities of the Church as “heretical” or
“schismatic,” it does not mean in the canonical sense or that they have necessarily broken from the Church. For this, it would be necessary that their heresy or schism be declared notorious by canon law, which seems almost impossible, since the authorities of the Church must do this.
Nevertheless, their heresy and schism are no less true, they are breaking with Tradition,
destroying the Faith and the Mass of all time, and influencing the damnation of many souls. Their schism and heresies continue unchecked and are spreading everywhere without them being publicly declared as notorious by law, which makes it a far more dangerous situation, since they continue ravaging souls within the Church, who, blinded by false obedience, do not even suspect the least danger! We have to just stay away from this Conciliar Church and those who compromise with it, and we must continue to denounce their errors. This was the conduct of Abp. Lefebvre and we maintain that position.
One last, crowning quotation from the very theologian who assisted Abp. Lefebvre during the Second Vatican Council, Fr. Victor-Alain Berto, who died in 1968, who said: “What is a
Modernist? He is a man, who no longer has the Faith (since by definition, Modernism is a
heresy), but he has his own way of no longer having it! [...] He retains all dogmatic expressions but radically changes their meanings or accompanies them with contradictions - he is not embarrassed by his contradictions. He does not feel the need to leave the Church, on the contrary, his own style of being heretical implies he remains there. A Modernist outside the Church is no longer a Modernist! He is a ‘Liberal’ or a ‘rationalistic Protestant’, he is an ‘unbelieving philosopher’, or an ‘unbelieving exegete’, or an ‘unbelieving historian’, anything but a ‘Modernist!’ The specific mark of Modernism is to be a heretic inside the Church. The plan of action of Modernism is to undermine dogma from within, as termites in a tree [...] The more Modernist he is, the more difficult it is to recognize him, and all the more he knows how to hide and keep up appearances” (Document of Fr. Berto extracted from the personal archives of Abp. Lefebvre).
Let us turn with all our hearts to our Queen of the Most Holy Rosary! To Her has been entrusted our final life preserver in this catastrophe. At Fatima, She said “Only She can help you!” Let us generously fight on, intolerant with Error and tolerant with our neighbors’ faults, and always trusting in Her powerful assistance!
In Christ the King,
Fr. David Hewko