Rorate Caeli

Open thread: the future of H.E. Bishop Richard Williamson, FSSPX

Dear readers, is it not strange that a couple of weeks ago the official website of the American District of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) published an article which was clearly and openly critical of one of its bishops, Richard Williamson? [Here is a link to the McCall article] 

We think we know what this means. Yet, we want to know what you think it means. Keep it civil but opine now.


PreVat2 said...

I believe that Bishop Williamson's time as a member of the Society is rapidly coming to an end. There is simply no way Bishop Fellay can continue to allow one of his own lieutenants to openly criticize Fellay's leadership at every turn. The only question now is: Where will Williamson go? Who will he take with him?
Semper Fi

Whats Up! said...

HE will be asked to leave the Society.
HE will comply and lead the newly "broken away" Strict Observance SSPX.

His leaving will have no bearing on Rome regularizing the FSSPX.

Adfero said...

Reminder: we do not allow anonymous comments.

skladach said...

Yes, passing strange for a Traditional religious community to publicize criticism of one of its members (a bishop, no less). But note that the critique did not originate from the SSPX but was reprinted from The Remnant. Bp. Williamson has done plenty of "coloring outside the lines" of his own recently, so he can hardly stand on ceremony.

RogerThat said...

The damage is done. The divide to conquer strategy is working.

PS: And it seems to be working deep down in the souls of poor faithfuls.

Sixupman said...


..... and +Williamson has played right into the hands of the Vatican anti-SSPX mob. More to the point, the German Bishops' Conference and the German State are virulently anti-SSPX and they appear to be controlling BXVI's (apparent) decisions at the moment.

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...

Bishop Fellay is destroying the SSPX at an incredible rate of speed.

Whats Up! said...

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...
"Bishop Fellay is destroying the SSPX at an incredible rate of speed."

How so?

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...

Quote: "..they appear to be controlling BXVI's (apparent) decisions at the moment."

If Pope Benedict is capable of writing scholarly books, he's also mentally capable of making his own decisions. The same excuse covered PJPII's entire pontificate. If the Pope is afraid of being martyred for standing up for the faith and the life of the church, then he should either bravely go to martyrdom or resign.

Alsaticus said...

It would be interesting to have more infos on SSPX-SO the splitter from the Society.

Moreover Bp de Galarreta delivered a violent homily stating Vatican II is supposed to be the total destruction of priesthood, gravely twisting the conciliar constitution Lumen gentium.
When the Society was founded under the umbrella of ... Presbyterorum ordinis decree.

If Bp Williamson is this time on a way out of the Society, will he be the only bishop to go away ?

It seems Bp Tissier de Mallerais lashed at Fr Chazal for splitting from the Society.


St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...

How so? Internal dissension, from the level of bishop, to priest, to affiliated religious communities, to laity. Leadership in the style of a dictator. Secret dealings. Pursuing an agenda with Rome that endangers the Society's fight for the faith. Denying the sacraments - ordination, Communion and absolution in the confessional - to opponents who speak out.

Sixupman said...

St. Anthony of Padua:

Brave words, but you are not in the position of BXVI, are you? Words are cheap.

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...

How so? Internal dissension, from the level of bishop, to priest, to affiliated religious communities, to laity. Leadership in the style of a dictator. Secret dealings. Pursuing an agenda with Rome that endangers the Society's fight for the faith. Denying the sacraments - ordination, Communion and absolution in the confessional - to opponents who speak out.

Lucas said...

Williamson will leave or the SSPX will invite him to leave.
That some will follow him, there is no doubt. They will form a new hard line fraternity. Sedevacantists and the Williamson people will join hands, wich is a little ironic considering the history of the nine priests expelled from the SSPX when Williamson himself was the rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. All the past will be forgotten and forgiven.
In a future Richard Williamson will consacrate a new bishop (maybe two or three) to help him to "save souls from the heretical Rome and from the heretical SSPX", leading people to the true and pure tradition.
Soon these new bishops will start to cry out that Williamson has abandoned the original mission of archbishop Lefebvre or they may say that Williamson is no longer a traditional bishop because he accepts the 1962 roman missal (I don't know...) when a truly traditional catholic only accepts the 1570 missal, or whatever other reason.
Williamson will be put aside.
His new fraternity will be splitted. They'll seek apostolic succesion in every corner, no matter how dark and insane it might be, very similar to anglicanism today. Also ironic.
His fate is the same of other bishops like Ngo Dinh Thuc, Carlos Duarte Costa or Milingo.

Sorry guys, I know my english is not very good but I think you all got the message.

Adfero said...

Lucus, your English is better than most Americans'! Your prophesy is also spot on.

Ted Maysfield said...

It wasn’t too long ago that Williamson was being laughed off as a nut case. The fact that the SSPX official website saw fit to publish a lengthy rebuttal to the bishop shows that is not the case. He is being taken seriously and he is very lucid (except perhaps in certain areas of World War II history, to which he has a right of conscience and which should not be a test of determining his Catholic status, as Archbishop Muller has implied. If Sister Pat Farrel is Catholic, so is Bishop Williamson).

My problem with him is that he is pretty much a sedevacantist but doesn’t admit it. If you look at his characterizations of the Church under the past three popes as “newchurch” this is not hard to see. He believes the strict observance of the SSPX is the Church; and the pope, cardinals and bishops are something else, heretic “newchurch." That is sedevacantism.

He seems like an honest man. Why won’t he admit his sedevacantism, get out of the SSPX and start his own church? There about 25 different “We are the True Catholic Church” sects now in America, including the various Church of the Home-Alone-ers. He could start “True Catholic Church” #26.

These are the bad effects of schism. I too am wary of the Vatican and worried about Bishop Fellay’s course. But I have also seen the mental deterioration of “traditional Catholics,” some of whom have gone, and are going, literally insane before my very eyes, as they move from one form of extremism to another in their soul-destroying, Protestant-like pride. Bishop Williamson has a good dose of that, I’m afraid. In the end, these types are too disobedient and schismatic to even tolerate each other, and there are splits upon splits, like Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians.

I had to smile when the SSPX recently called Frs. Chazal and Pfeiffer disobedient. When you are disobeying the Roman Pontiff himself, how do you have spiritual standing to tell your priests it is wrong to disobey an SSPX bishop?

Alan Aversa said...

Even if he leaves the SSPX, he's still a Catholic bishop, right?

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...

Sixupman, your comment is a reflection of the degree to which Western Civilization has become feminized. Every Baptized Catholic is called to be willing to suffer and die for the faith. The Martyrology is filled with mere girls who have done so. Each of us should be praying every day for the courage to die for the faith, knowing well that the new world order will demand its share of martyrs, and that of ourselves we are incapable.

JabbaPapa said...

The explanations of Brian McCall of the "leaked document" seem logically sound, and theologically defendable, just as an aside.

I'd say Willamson needs to be divorced from the SSPX, both for the good of the Society and for the more general good of the Church.

Rebellion for rebellion' sake is never justifiable.

The Church has no need for Willamson ; the Church has a growing need for the priests of the SSPX.

It is sad to see the Society in this crisis of disunity at this particular juncture in its history, and the history of the Church, but the actions of Williamson have clearly made this inevitable, IMO.

SSPX unity is less important than the Catholic Unity.

elijahcarmelite said...

''Also ironic.
His fate is the same of other bishops like Ngo Dinh Thuc, Carlos Duarte Costa or Milingo.''

You really have absolutely no understanding of the SSPX. You just rant off with your own indult bias and assume that somehow you are just correct. You are the type of person that loves to be legally okay, and whoever rejects your notion is of schismatic mentality or in schism outrightly.

In the first place the 4 Bishops were chosen by Archbishop Lefebvre, and they have all been faithful for the past 22 years. It is incredible how scandalous 99.999999% of Bishops out there are. They are either outright heretical, wimps, cowards, or work against the Holy Institution of Our Lord. Since you have nothing solid against any of these good Bishop's you just outright calumny and false prophesy.

To compare His Lordship Williamson, with other heretics is unfair, intellectually dishonest and not funny at all. It is thinking that completely is anti-Scholastic which fails to make proper distinctions. Just because we don't agree with everything someone says does not mean that we are not in communion with each other. Some of these questions deal with prudential judgment and are not doctrinal questions. As such that means they are open questions which demands wisdom to understand. You are a liar, and as such should apologize to all the readers here just because, there is such a thing as netiquette.

-From El Paso's faithful.

God Bless you all.

David Werling said...

"Leadership in the style of a dictator."

In other words: collegiality is bad, until, of course, the alternative becomes inconvenient.

Is that a dirge or a dance I hear?

Alan Aversa said...

@Ted Maysfield: Even though the SSPX may have formed in a schismatic act (which many canon lawyers deny), the current Holy Father in no way considers them schismatic.

Benedict Carter said...

I am a little uneasy with Rorate Caeli airing this thread so soon after the successful SSPX meeting at which the Society's unity, somewhat strained by + Williamson as well as the pressures of the discussions with Rome, was again established and strengthened.

Having said that, the blog has picked this up from an SSPX so fair enough perhaps.

As for the Bishop - well, he is a splitter by nature and I am pretty sure that he enjoys it. He won't take too many with him into the oblivion that he will find himself.

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us said...

Ted Maysfield quote:

"I had to smile when the SSPX recently called Frs. Chazal and Pfeiffer disobedient. When you are disobeying the Roman Pontiff himself, how do you have spiritual standing to tell your priests it is wrong to disobey an SSPX bishop?"

Bingo! Especially when the named priests claim the same basis for disobedience: protecting the faith.

dcs said...

perhaps in certain areas of World War II history, to which he has a right of conscience and which should not be a test of determining his Catholic status

No, of course not, but it may be a test of whether he is fit to be a Catholic prelate. My own opinion is that what he believes about the Holocaust is not an issue, the issue is his propensity for accepting and promoting conspiracy theories under the guise of feeding and sanctifying the faithful.

Woody said...

It appears that Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer has also been expelled from the SSPX basically for insubordination. Of course, correct me if I am wrong. It is interesting to recall that in 2005 or so when I happened onto the grounds of the SSPX chapel in Phoenix, looking for a bookstore, Fr. Pfeiffer invited me into his office to talk and was very gracious and encouraging to me, as a kind of quasi Trad, but not someone really committed. His tone was a very pastoral and kind one, not at all that of a grouchy defensive person. I was very edified.

Alan Aversa said...

(Clarification: Above I am speaking primarily of the SSPX after the Ecône consecrations.)

Donnacha said...

It would seem that Rome is expecting the SSPX to keep pressure on +Williamson so as to make it utterly uncomfortable for him to remain associated with them both. When there is a "mutual break" among them, it will have fulfilled another requirement from the Vatican for SSPX's return.

Tradical said...


"It is sad to see the Society in this crisis of disunity at this particular juncture... but the actions of Williamson have clearly made this inevitable"

That the SSPX is experiencing a cultural crisis should not be surprising. Every time the Pope 'moved' towards the SSPX (2007, 2009, 2012) there was great upheaval and vocalizations in the Church.

The SSPX as an organization is no different. When the Bishop Fellay ,as leader of the SSPX, moved closer to the Pope, the underlying tendencies and assumptions about the mission of the SSPX have been tested.

Those experiencing 'culture shock' at this rude awakening, have three choices:


BTW: I in no way believe that the SSPX has deviated from its mission and the path set out by its founder. The situation is caused because this particular set of circumstances have not occurred previously in the life of the SSPX. Namely, the possibility of a no-compromise regularization.


Ivan K said...

Just before the release of Summorum Pontificum Bp. Williamson decided to make a spectacle of himself and advartise his amateur historical theories on Sweidish television, knowing full well that he would bring scandal to the SSPX, the Holy Father, and sabotage the rapprochement of the SSPX and Rome. He chose his Holocaust hobby, his intellectual pride and vanity over the good of the Church. Those are not the actions of a responsible Bishop.

Adfero said...

Ivan, yesterday he denied 9/11 again, writing:

“We elected you to tell us good, strong lies, and to hold us tight in our godlessness. Please do a 9/11, a 7/7 (U.K.’s 9/11), or anything you like, just so long as we can go on believing in you as a substitute for God to look after us. The bigger the lie, the more we will believe it, but you must hold us tight. Tighten up our police states as much as you like, but you must keep out God.”

Adeodatus said...

I'm not saying what should or should not be done, but does Bp Fellay even have the canonical capacity to remove Bp Williamson? I would have thought that such a move would require recourse to the appropriate dicastery of the Curia.

Also, to what private assets does Bp Williamson have access? If he were to be sacked, would he end up in a hovel somewhere? Sleeping on someone's couch perhaps? It seems like arrangements for his upkeep would have to be made.

Adfero said...

"I would have thought that such a move would require recourse to the appropriate dicastery of the Curia."

He'd just say they were modernists and their decision was invalid anyway.

"Also, to what private assets does Bp Williamson have access? If he were to be sacked, would he end up in a hovel somewhere? Sleeping on someone's couch perhaps?"

Whatever he gets is what he deserves. Whether he is right or wrong, he's completely insubordinate, and has disgraced his office. What happened to obedience, suffering in silence, accepting blame even when innocent, the teaching of the saints? He's still Protestant. Period.

Jacob said...

Bishop Fellay will probably give Williamson life in solitary.

Floreat said...

According to certain websites to which Bp Williamson likes to leak information, he was served with a final canonical warning two weeks ago and has until tomorrow night to confirm that he will refrain from any unauthorised public statement or activity; will take down his website and cease distribution of his weekly newsletter, and express public repentance for his behavior.

Anyone familiar with +Williamson's attitude problem, particularly in matters relating to humility or obedience can probably foresee that the chances of this happening are somewhere between nought and zero.

It's also pretty clear from chatter on the same websites that there are plans for an association of sorts with sedevacantist trads, most likely with a few of the Nine that, ironically, he expelled from Ridgefield for sedevacantism and disobedience back in the 80s.

As soon as an independent +Williamson consecrates a priest, I'd guess that re-excommunication will follow swiftly.

A sad and farcical end to the career of a deeply flawed and destructive man.

Adfero said...

Floreat, Rorate has been told many similar things, but we will not confirm anything because, until/unless it happens it's all hearsay.

Let us pray that Williamson comes to his senses and avoids doing something he can never undo..

Thomas said...

I predict that Williamson will join forces with Dolan, Cekada, and company within a couple of years. I think he's long been with them in spirit; soon he'll be with them in word and deed.

Let us pray for the souls of all who have fallen off the Barque of St. Peter.

JabbaPapa said...

Adeodatus :

I'm not saying what should or should not be done, but does Bp Fellay even have the canonical capacity to remove Bp Williamson?

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently stated "Williamson ... is not a Catholic Bishop". Whether you agree with this or not, his Superior therefore has a lot of leeway to deal with Williamson as he should think necessary.

Really then, his legal status relating to SSPX is basically defined by the Constitutions of the Society.

The Society's irregular status probably does not void its juridical existence.

SSPX is legally defined as a pious association. The canon laws concerning dismissal of members briefly say :

Dismissal: To dismiss a member, there must be a just reason and this must be done in
accordance with the law and the statutes (C. 308). In public associations those who have been
lawfully enrolled but who fall into one of the categories in C 316.1 are to be dismissed (cf. C 316.1).
The one who is dismissed always retains the right of recourse to the corresponding ecclesiastical
authority (316.2).

In other words, any dismissal would need to obey Swiss Law, as well as the canon Law.

If Williamson wanted to appeal the decision, I'm not sure which the "corresponding ecclesiastical
authority" would be -- but most likely, either the diocesan Bishop, or the Ecclesia Dei Commission itself. (?)

Cluny said...

Alan Averse said: "Even if he leaves the SSPX, he's still a Catholic bishop, right?"

Wrong. Actually, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has said on several occasions that the clergy of the SSPX exercise NO legitimate ministry in the Catholic Church.

Scott Quinn said...

I disagree with Whats Up! when he writes that Bishop Williamson's dismissal will have no bearing on Rome regularizing the SSPX. I think such a move is the sine qua non for Rome. I also have a hypothesis that the unpredictable B16 is setting the table for regularization with his recent (and long-standing too) statements on how to look at VII. It's more of a gut feeling, but I do think B16 is going to find a way to make it happen.

Floreat said...

Agreed, Adfero. Please treat my post as speculation and feel free to remove it if it's inappropriate at this point.

I feel strongly that the continued presence of +Williamson and his associates within the FSSPX can only be damaging to the holy work of ABL, and I seriously doubt whether he could ever be trusted to put the interests of the Society ahead of his own ambitions.

Nonetheless, I will pray for Bp Fellay, for the continued integrity of the Society and also for the intentions of Bp Williamson.

Anthony said...

Neither of the other bishops will follow. In fact, while it may seem desirable for the group of priests who have already split to have Bp. Williamson join their ranks, in the long term it can only have a detrimental effect. After the honeymoon period is over how long will it be before he starts to undermine his new superior via his Eleison Comments. If he starts his own 'society' would one have to suscribe to his own peculiar doctrines (e.g. "911 was an inside job")? I don't see a future for him in the SSPX nor long term with any other group. He will become "Bp. Thuc II". It is all very sad.

Matamoros said...

Ted Maysfield sai: "My problem with him is that he is pretty much a sedevacantist but doesn’t admit it. If you look at his characterizations of the Church under the past three popes as “newchurch” this is not hard to see. He believes the strict observance of the SSPX is the Church; and the pope, cardinals and bishops are something else, heretic “newchurch." That is sedevacantism."

No you need to look at what the SSPX means by expressions like "Conciliar Church" or "Newchurch". They're talking, not about a separate jusrisdiction which they don't recognise, or another church, but that section of the Catholic Church (most of it) which is imbued with a new spirit which they reject. Archbishop Lefebvre went to Rome; Bishop Williamson has been to Rome. Whatever one may think of their views, they recognise the Pope, and are not sedevacantists. Bishop Williamson can't end up in the same boat as Dolan, because they don't agree.

Alan Aversa said: "Even if he leaves the SSPX, he's still a Catholic bishop, right?"

You got it!
What astonishes me is the pompousness and sectarianism of a certain kind of goody two shoes traditionalist. How is it that they cheerfully excomunicate and throw out of the Catholic Church someone like Bishop Williamson? He and the entire SSPX and all the faithful who receive sacraments from them are recognised by Rome as members of the Catholic Church (whatever the disagreements about VatII and canonical status).

We can have opinions about his opinions till the cows come home but "Newchurch" says Williamson is our brother in the faith and a member of Christ's Mystical Body.
Think about this and try to remember those who are responsible for almost wrecking the Church.

NIANTIC said...

The comments are of course all pure speculation and nothing whatsoever based upon official facts.

I am sorry, but I do not think this subject is worthy of consideration at this time by us, the uninformed.
Why fan the flames with wild speculations? It seems to me to be unworthy of us, who love Tradition and the Holy Roman Church to speculate on,and prejudge, a matter which is purely internal to the SSPX.

We ought to pray for the unity of all Traditionalists, clergy and laity alike. We have a common enemy to fight and that is Modernism, the religion of Man, which is destroying the faith of millions of Catholics.

So let us pray without ceasing that ALL Traditionalists will unite and work together for the restoration of Christ's Holy Roman Catholic Church. Pax Christi.

Floreat said...

I guess that the Pope is still a fairly authoritative figure in the Church, and he has publicly stated that +Williamson is not a Catholic bishop.

+W has certainly not conducted himself as a Catholic Bishop. Serially disobedient to his Superior General, he does as he sees fit and feeds the sheep exclusively on conspiracy theories and apocalyptic predictions.

He has deliberately courted controversy and has blithely scandalised the faithful. Rather than seeking forgiveness, he continually seeks new opportunities to create scandal, to sow strife and division within the Society and in its relationship to the Church.

He enjoins priests not to join the Society as it's far advanced in apostasy, albeit not so far gone as Rome (in his opinion).

The Society has lost schools, had its publications banned in certain countries and has had church purchases fall through because of his publicly voiced, far-right political views.

His associations with atheists and far-right political extremists have long taken precedence over his duties to the priests and faithful of the Society.

He has publicly referred to his Superior as a 'bad guy' and called for rebellion to oust +Fellay from the Superior Generalship. He has referred to priests who may choose to leave the Society for full communion with Rome as 'bad rubbish'.

A man singularly lacking in priestly qualities, such as humility, obedience and loyalty, he has been a public embarrassment for decades.

I don't think that he's anyone's idea of what a Catholic bishop should be.

Matamoros said...

Hello there Floreat,
don't shirk the issue. You may have all kinds of gripes against Bishop Williamson; you may think neither he nor your plummer is what anyone's idea of what a Catholic bishop should be. It doesn't alter the fact that Rome, and the Pope,considers him to be a member of the Catholic Church, along with the rest of the SSPX (please provide papal declaration to the contrary - I'm not holding my breath).

I personally don't like the practice of putting people beyond the pale and not treating them as human beings. This was done in the Soviet system for many years. Dissidents were delcared insane - they became non-persons. Bishop Williamson is not only a human person, he is your Brother in the Faith. That is the present state of afairs like it or not. You may disagree strongly with his opinions, but YOU cannot put him outside the Church.

I also have to advise you that he has also been very good at landing on his feet in the last few decades. Williamson-baiters would do better to find other targets.

Adfero said...

Metamoros: Williamson-baiters would do better to find other targets.

Do you really think he's being baited, or is he, against the orders of his superior, spouting off on his own? You know the answer.

Malta said...

An extreme Liberal such as Kung is allowed to stay in the Church.

+Williamson is eccentric and has strange views; but not as strange as Cardinal Kasper--why the vitriolic hatred towards him?

He's a brilliant man, and loves Beethoven just as much as our Pope does!

Give the man some slack; he has done a ton of good through the years...

Matamoros said...

I don't care. It is a matter for the SSPX to sort out. In the meantime, we who are all Catholics might stop excomunicating each other. I for one, have not forgotten who ransacked the church where I was baptised and made it look like a Lutheran temple.

Malta said...

Alan Averse said: "Even if he leaves the SSPX, he's still a Catholic bishop, right?"

Wrong. Actually, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has said on several occasions that the clergy of the SSPX exercise NO legitimate ministry in the Catholic Church.

Sorry Sir, but you are wrong, he will still be an illicitly, but validly, concentrated bishop.

Hidden One said...

It seems to me fromt hat article that Bp. Williamson might be called 'juridically sedevacantist', by which I mean that while there may be a Pope, he lacks papal authority.

This is an interesting time. Ut unum sint.

backtothefuture said...

Pray for the bishop and pray for all priests. Their judgement will be much harsher than ours.

Matamoros said...

The question of juridical status and the nature of the SSPX ministry is under discussion. Alan Averse wasn't arguing the toss on this one. He stated that Bishop Williamson would still be a Castholic bishop, which indeed he is, even according to Pope Benedict.

joseph said...

We should pray for him. He has a great mind but is too caught up in the conspiracy theories. It's really unfortunate. I don't agree with the theory that "Divide & Conquer" has taken place: Bishop Williamson was already creating problems for the FSSPX with his statements on the Holocaust, which he should have had the prudence enough to at least keep private, for the common good of the FSSPX. But no, it had to be broadcast on Swedish TV. What was he thinking? It was not the Vatican that caused that problem, it was himself. He caused this isolation and only he can remedy it by being obedient to his legitimate superiors. If I were him I'd go to the Pope and get to confession! We all need a dose of humility.

dcs said...

They're talking, not about a separate jusrisdiction which they don't recognise

I think the article cited in the original post makes it abundantly clear that Bp. Williamson does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Pope -- he implies that the judgments of SSPX tribunals ought to be irreversible. How is it possible to maintain this while simultaneously holding that the Pope has universal jurisdiction over the Church?

dcs said...

It is incredible how scandalous 99.999999% of Bishops out there are. They are either outright heretical, wimps, cowards, or work against the Holy Institution of Our Lord. Since you have nothing solid against any of these good Bishop's you just outright calumny and false prophesy.

I assume the author of this statement is being ironic as it would be absurd to accuse someone of calumniating Bp. Williamson while at the same time calumniating the entire Church hierarchy.

Matamoros said...

Hello there dcs.
It doesn't really matter to this question whether the opinions of Bishop Williamson or the SSPX are inconsistent with their recognition of the authority of the Pope as you say -they are often misunderstood - what is important is that that recognition of the Pope and his authority is there. They are not sedevacantists.
If you want to argue that they are not obediant enough or nice enough that is another question, but this is not sedevacantism. This idea was never used by Archbishop Lefebvre or the bishops he consecrated to justify saying no to Rome on occasion. If you don't like the reasons they have given for their actions by all means say so, but let's not put words and arguments into their mouths which are not there.

John McFarland said...

Let me try to bundle up the accurate observations made by a number of people with a few of my own. My son is a priest of the SSPX, but I am not trading on any inside information.

For all the reasons noted, it is hard to see why the Society would tolerate Bishop Williamson much longer.

Presumably the reason for not dismissing him long before now is fear of its provoking a major rebellion. But the recent rebellion of which +W has been the inspiration, and probably a more or less active figure behind the scenes, is a manifest bust.

+W himself played practically no public role, perhaps because he could see that the rebellion had no chance. Only Frs. Joseph Pfeiffer and Francois Chazal, two notorious loose cannons who had been exiled to Asia for earlier bad behavior, have done anything worth mentioning, and that has consisted of making trouble in a few Asian priories. So the notion of the hero bishop common in the hardline blogosphere seems to do His Lordship more than justice. He has been little more than talk, and not even much of that for public consumption.

It's also worth noting that the theoretical backing of the rebellion is basically non-existent. What he has said in the Eleison columns has been vague and unsupported. What he has said in his Bristol lectures is not much better, if a shade more temperate than what his knuckle-dragging supporters say in the blogosphere. So those who consider his premises as implying sedevacantism are correct; but I see no evidence that +W has come anywhere close to clarifying his premises, much less working out their implications.

I for one are not at all surprised at this lack of intellectual content. In my view, His Lordship is overrated intellectually. He is a talented teacher of concepts he has learned from others -- very good at breaking things down, as my teacher daughter has observed; and I among many others have profited from his skills. But he is not very good at generating his own concepts, and has not tried in years to generate a line of argument longer than would fit into one of his op ed-length Eleison Comments. I prophesy that he will offer no rebuttal to Professor McCall; I think that he is aware of his limitations. But if he does, I prophesy that he will embarrass himself.

The dismissal of +W would eliminate one bone of contention between Rome and organized Jewry (OJ) as regards the SSPX. But anyone who thinks that OJ will be satisfied with anything but the condemnation of traditional doctrine regarding the Jews as anti-Semitic is hopelessly naive. Bishop Fellay has said that the Jews put pressure on the Pope not to regularize the SSPX, and I prophesy that the dismissal of +W will not cause any letup in that pressure. OJ has got Rome to bend its doctrine; but it will not be happy as long as it is not broken.

JabbaPapa said...

Malta :

An extreme Liberal such as Kung is allowed to stay in the Church.

My theory about this is that it's in order to try and prevent him from creating his own little sedevacantist schism, or even trying to set himself up as some kind of pseudo-Pope.

Louise said...

Woody, it was Fr Timothy Pheiffer who was based in Phoenix not Fr Joseph.

Floreat said...

"...An extreme Liberal such as Kung is allowed to stay in the Church.....

Kueng is on the far left of the political spectrum, Williamson on the far right.

Kueng set up Weltethos so that he could be his own little Pope. Williamson will likely follow a similar route.

If there's any difference between them, in essence, it's in scale, not implication.

Floreat said...

t is possible for a man to be Roman Catholic and a bishop, but also for that same man not to be a Roman Catholic bishop.

Richard Williamson is not a Roman Catholic bishop — he is a bishop of the FSSPX, and his consecration as a bishop in 1988 led to his excommunication from the Catholic Church.

Williamson was partially re-incommunicated as a Roman Catholic - emphatically not as a Roman Catholic bishop.

Whether he continues to be a bishop of the Society is another question.

FranzSales said...

The Mass is said.
There will be no reunion with Rome and the SSPX, despite of what will happen to Williamson.
Not only Williamson, but the whole fraternity is on the fringe of sedisvacantism. It's only a matter of time until it will break through.

The offer of the pope was a kairos for the SSPX. We all see clearly now.

Hans said...

Almost all these comments turn around spiritual problems. But in order to know, what the future of Bishop Williamson will be, something much more worldly is decisive. What about the money? What is the financial situation and structure of the Pius Society? Has Bishop Fellay all the money in firm control? Is it possible for one who leaves the society to survive materially? If anybody has serious and solid informations about this, please share them.

John L said...

When I heard Bishop Fellay give a talk to the SSPX faithful in Sydney a couple of months ago he said that the Society was going to lose one bishop. So that seems to have been on the cards for a while.

Adfero said...

Oliver, anyone who refers to a priest, especially a traditional one, as a "brat" is not welcome here. Please stop commenting -- and reading this blog.

Floreat said...

Hans, the Society learned a hard lesson in the 1980s when Frs Dolan, Cekada, Kelly, Sanborn et al dragged Abp Lefebvre into court and managed to abstract Society property in the US.

Since then, real property has been held in a series of trusts, with Menzingen the beneficial owner. I'm not sure of the position in countries where ownership by foreign entities and individuals is prohibited by law.

My understanding is that Bp Williamson was given the option of an amicable agreement, which would have provided for his material support, or removal from the Society which would not.

If he has chosen the latter option, by continued disobedience and attempts at rebellion, then it is unlikely that use of credit card, free board, travel and lodging currently provided by the Society would continue.

Bp Williamson comes from a wealthy family and may well have his own resources. He is also likely to be much in demand on the right wing political scene and among the sedevacantist community.

I doubt that he will want for material security.

Kathleen said...

Mr. McFarland,

Thank you for your post.

It is helpful.

The Society remains in my prayers.

Philip Lloyd said...

Mr McFarland commented:

"I for one are not at all surprised at this lack of intellectual content. In my view, His Lordship is overrated intellectually."

I think it is only Americans who consider him intellectual. Americans seem to think anyone who speaks with English received pronunciation, even if it is an affected form like Williamson's, is automatically a member of MENSA.

As an English person myself, I have never found him impressive in the least. Just in terms of his speaking alone, he often uses malapropisms, stammers, stops mid-sentence (sometimes mid-word) either to correct himself or qualify himself needlessly and then to qualify his qualification. He literally using Jack and Jill analogies to explain concepts that are already simple or familiar.

I think those outside of the SSPX who know him here in England often see him as not much more than an eccentric. I know Oratorians who knew him when he was younger who think of him in this way. Obviously he has his admirers, but these are small in number and the admiration is more about shared eccentric views on such things as 9/11 and The Sound of Music than anything else.

mjstro said...

If my memory serves me correctly, Our Lord said many things that the church leaders of his day did not like. He said many things that rubbed layfollks the wrong wat too! So much so they wanted to exile Him and demanded His death. To this day however, no one has been able to say exactly what He said that was untrue.

Many folks accuse H. E. Bishop Williamson of horrible things. How many of you have met him? How many of you have experienced his kindness and true Christian charity? Many folks dislike what he says and demand his exile and death from the Church. But one must ask, what does he say that is not true?

Lily said...

Father Timothy Pfeiffer was never in Phoenix. He was in El Paso and in my own parish, San Antonio. Father Joseph Pfeiffer very much was in Phoenix as pastor and retreat master. I attended a number of them myself.


jeff said...

That the removal of +Williamson would not soften the stance of at least some curial bishops prone to shoving spanners in the works is absurd.

Of course the removal of Williamson will help in a reunification.

Floreat said...

Our Lord said many things that the church leaders of his day did not like...Many folks accuse H. E. Bishop Williamson of horrible things. How many of you have met him? How many of you have experienced his kindness and true Christian charity? Many folks dislike what he says and demand his exile and death from the Church. But one must ask, what does he say that is not true?

You may be surprised at how many people have met Bp Williamson and how many have observed his behaviour and its fruits.

Tens of thousands of people receive his weekly Eleison Comments and have seen his astonishing conference films, uploaded to the internet by Williamson supporters.

No Catholic who has seen and read such material would confuse the author with Our Lord, nor would they resort to sentimentality to attempt to justify it.

dcs said...

If you want to argue that they are not obediant enough or nice enough that is another question, but this is not sedevacantism.

I did not say that Bp. Williamson was a sedevacantist. I said he did not recognize the Pope's jurisdiction. And if one claims to recognize Benedict XVI as the true Pope, he must also recognize His Holiness's universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, lest he fall under the anathema of Pastor aeternus.

Long-Skirts said...

John McFarland said:

"...But the recent a manifest bust."

The "rebels" are a small group within the Society but sound "big" because they are "posting" all over the internet while the majority of Catholic faithful assisiting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass confected by the SSPX Priests in their Chapels and filling their schools, convents, seminaries, retreat houses, etc. are "posting" themselves in front of the Tabernacle and praying for our ++Pope, +Bishop Fellay and God's will to be done for the Greater Glory of God and for the Good of the WHOLE Church!


They have struck the sheep
Just words they shout
Fleecing the flock
Confuse with fake doubt

They have struck the sheep
Wise owl hoots, "Who?"
"The sky is falling!"
Scream hysterical ewe

And facing the flock
They lure a pale wedge
Eyes to eyes backing
Nearing cliff's edge

But in the lower
Pasture green -
A Good Shepherd guards
For each lamb a grace glean

He stands, turns east -
He leads, they follow -
Toward thunder's roll
No time to wallow

Like others before
Crook and Mitred for attack -
"Mine sheep know me"
And we've got his back!

mjstro said...

But what does he say that is not true? Documetable truth! Simply because one does not like the message, does not make it untrue!

Observer said...

Archbishop Lefebvre -

“No doubt we suffered from the departure of some priests and seminarians. But, that is a little like the pilgrimage of Chartres, which this year split in two, into a traditional and a conservative pilgrimage. We may thank the good Lord for having allowed those who are not completely in agreement with us, who do not completely understand what we are fighting for, to leave us. In this way we are stronger and surer in our actions. Without that we would all the time be mixing with people criticizing us, who do not agree with us, within our own congregations, and that would cause division and disorder.”

Observer said...

Louise said...

Woody, it was Fr Timothy Pheiffer who was based in Phoenix not Fr Joseph.


I am not sure if Fr. Tim Pfeiffer was ever stationed there, but I do know that Fr. Joe Pfeiffer most certainly was stationed in Phoenix at one time.

Observer said...

The question of whether or not Bishop Williamson should be removed from the SSPX has nothing to do with the issue of the Jews or "negotiations" with Rome. It has to do with his out of control behavior. If he cannot be reigned in and cannot control himslef - he is a liability all the way around. If he is to always be operating on his own agenda, he has to go. He must be obedient to the General Superior. He has not been commanded to do anything sinful, therefore he must obey. Instead, he publically disobeys and insults the General Superior. He uses his blog, email, and travels to undermine the General Superior regularly. He is causing division and disruption to the SSPX and it is time that this all comes to an end.

He may not have acted With Fr. Chazal and Fr. Pfeiffer, but he was the instigator behind their actions. They only took action AFTER a visit by Bishop Williamson.

Truly, one has to ask, what are his real motives for lurking in the background and causing all this trouble? Not just now, but leading back to his "imprudent" TV remarks aw well as all his public conspiracy theory remarks, and his association with some very questionable sorts, etc.

cliff said...

For some twenty five years or so during the destruction of our Catholic Church under the guidance of JPII - Bishop Williamson was a loud and clear voice that helped sustain and strengthen many a Catholic attempting to hold on to what was being taken away.I question whether the SSPX would be any where near as strong today had Bishop Williamson not been there during those times. In my opinion I am indebted to His Excellency for his strength and guidance and am sure many others in the SSPX are as well. I am thankful we have him and I just pray this is somehow worked out and he stays. I will always look forward to hearing anything he has to say !

Matamoros said...

First people outside the SSPX declaring Bishop Williamson outside the Church, or putting him there themselves. Now we have people from a minority connected to the SSPX trying the same thing. It does them no honour.

Incredible when dealing with a Bishop so forthright with his views, 95% of the vitriol directed against him is purely personal: Scribblings about his worthiness as a priest, his sanctity, his sanity, lying about his real views, whether he needs to go to confession? It's sickening.

Dear John McFarland, Bishop Williamson has never used premises "implying" sedevacantism any more strongy than those of Archbishop Lefebvre. Shall we start quoting them both chapter and verse? I think not, it's boring and you may be discomforted by what Archbishop Lefebvre has had to say.

The SSPX has different tendencies, more sentimental than doctrinal really. Archbishop Lefebvre knew that all were necessary. Bishop Fellay knows it too and doesn't really want Bishop Williamson to go, nor does Bishop Williamson really want to leave. It's a matter for the SSPX and it's a disgrace to try to force the issue as those who published the anti-Williamson article have done. Bishop Williamson isn't trying to expell anyone but his enemies don't look at themselves.

There are hawks and there are doves. It's true the hawks are not very tolerant of the modernists (the Church's main internal enemy - and not beaten yet!), but their intolerance pales into insignificance when it comes to the righteousness, bile and bitchyness directed by certain "doves" towards people they consider to be too hardline, and who they will not tolerate under any circumstances. It's always been like this - let's not get carried away. They probably both need each other and Bishop Williamson is obviously used to it.

Nobody cares whether he is a great intellectual or not. What is required from him as a bishop is that (like the other three) he do exactly what he's been doing for the past decades. We have become so used to pathetic and gutless bishops that when one stands up unapologetically and provocatively for the truth - he quickly aquires an image akin to "Bloody Mary". We live in a liberal society. It's unbelievable people are still counting the chicks that will be hatched after we've finally "gotten rid" of Bishop Williamson. The enemies of the Church are not like the doves - wake up.

As for Bishop Williamson not being a Catholic bishop - well it must be a huge triumph to feel able to declare Bishops Fellay and Williamson to be as high-ranking juridically as altar boys. What blindness to the reality of the Church today. Does anyone seriously suggest that the Vatican in lifting the excomunications of the four SSPX bishops was only intending to give them life-long membership of the Sistine choir? Of course there's an argument about jurisdiction. The Vatican would like to regularise the situation to its satisfaction. If anyone thinks that in the shambles around us today these bishops may not exercise their ministry that is their affair.

The crisis in the Church was not caused by canonical irregularities! It won't be resolved by canon lawyers because we are dealing here with a case of the flu affecting just about everyone with jurisduction - nothing personal but we're taking precautionary measures - if we're to come to the party - as long as the epidemic lasts.

Can we stop the silly caricaturing and character assassination of Bishop Williamson? It's not wise even from the point of view of the opponents of the SSPX; the other three bishops are just as "hard-line" - perhaps more. It's also not right for us to behave like this.

As an old Irish school-teacher once said to her students: "Let's pray children that the bad people become good and that the good people become nice".

Crannied Wall said...

Dear Matamoros: There may be a dozen words in your last comment that I myself would not have used or would have used a bit differently. That said and excepted, however, I ask your permission to associate myself entirely with your comment, and I thank you for making it.

The SSPX bishop who appears to me to be ever more out of control is Bishop Fellay. Many years ago he openly defied Archbishop Lefebvre's express desire in seeking the superior generalate, and his goal of retaining it for the rest of his corporeal life has become evident to all but them that will not see. Furthermore, his continued employment of Maximilian Krah calls into question his motives and his very competence to govern a pious Catholic organization. That questions related to this disgrace are brushed away contemptuously or blamed, with the aid of pretzel logic, on Bishop Williamson beggars belief.

Your sentence "The crisis in the Church was not caused by canonical irregularities!" is as true of the SSPX as of the larger church, which still effectively disowns the brotherhood. Your description (I paraphrase somewhat) of the actual tolerance of the so-called hardliners and the iron-fisted hardness of those who like to think of themselves as going the extra mile to reach out to conciliar Rome but will not do likewise to their brother priests is painful to repeat, primarily because it is true.

Floreat said...


I'm sorry to see the usual distortions and disingenuousness that so often characterise the arguments of Williamson and his supporters.

Arguments which invariably seek to attack any contrary viewpoint and seek to perpetuate the image of Williamson as martyr in strictly emotional terms: a brave, heroic bishop standing up for truth in a cruel, satanic world where every man's hand is turned against him.

Facts are unfailingly distorted, minimised or dismissed as 'vitriol'. Comments incompatible with the myth are dismissed as 'scribblings' and incoherent sentimentality used to distract attention from their fundamental and inconvenient truth.

Like Mr McFarland, I see the logical consequences of a position which declares the Pope to be apostate and unworthy of any obedience. Sedevacantist or schismatic, it ends in the same thing.

I do agree that Bp Fellay has not wanted Bp Williamson to leave the Society. Ultimately, that decision rests with Bp Williamson and whether he is capable of acting in the best interests of the Society and of modifying his behaviour.

From statements made on film, during his 'doctrinal conferences' in Bristol last June, I think it's fairly clear to everyone who has watched them that Williamson was not only calling for Bp Fellay to be overthrown at the General Chapter, but was invoking Our Lady to this end.

I doubt that AB Lefebvre would have tolerated such behaviour, and history provides ample evidence that he would not.

If Williamson cannot publicly repent for his behaviour and conform himself to the basic need for discretion, charity and obedience, there is nothing left to be said - he should leave the Society as soon as it can be arranged.

JabbaPapa said...

mjstro :

If my memory serves me correctly, Our Lord said many things that the church leaders of his day did not like

Daring to compare this flawed, mortal individual to our Lord the Christ is very very unsound.

Matamoros said...

Dear Floreat you are against the SSPX so it can probably do without your advice on how to run its affairs.

One does not need to believe in any kind of myth concerning a person in order to avoid the kind of vitriol we have seen in Bishop Williamson's case. If you think these scribblings are the normal way of dealing with people you disagree with then you are very lucky you are writing on a blog. Since we're supposed to be people who love the Church, it's even stranger. It's curious that Bishop Williamson and his "supporters" don't feel the need to indulge in such base personal denigration.

Despite Bishop Williamson and Arbishop Lefebvre's very strong statements concerning the post-conciliar Popes, they always recognised them and their authority. If you consider their "obedience" less than perfect, that is another matter, but it is not sedevacantism. THAT is not very factual of you.

mjstro said...

Are we all not to immitate Christ?

When one can not argue facts they attack the person. Where are the errors in Bishop Williamsons words? Many on this blog attack the messenger and how he delivered it, but none have pointed out which part of his message is untrue!

Malta said...

This is my story about my pilgrimage to Chartres (the photo is of our Lady in Chartres); just because a blogger, supra, mentioned Chartres. But it is more than that; it is about the transformation from our Holy Mother Church from true Catholicity; which I think +Williamson (despite his faults, and we are all sinners, me especially) is fighting tooth-and-nail to preserve!

But the Medjugorie connection is just this: it is creating a new, New Age, counter-part to the True Faith; and it is frightening to behold...

Floreat said...


You persist in asserting as fact your prejudices and misapprehensions.

I care very much about the future of the SSPX. If I did not, I would not be commenting here.

If you see nothing wrong with calumny against a superior, calls to rebellion, continual disobedience, attempts to split the Society and a flat out refusal to recognise that the Pope has any authority whatsoever, then you and I patently do not share the same faith.

I notice you choose to avoid commenting on these subjects: perhaps they are entirely compatible with Williamsonolatry, but they are not compatible with Catholic belief.

dcs said...

Where are the errors in Bishop Williamsons words?

I think they have been discussed at length by Mr. McCall. I also believe that Mr. McCall merely points out what has been evident for some time.

Both defenders and detractors of Bp. Williamson are fond of pointing out his adherence to conspiracy theories and the like -- the former to claim that His Excellency is being unjustly persecuted, the latter to claim that he should not be considered a member of the Church. But both miss the point. Forget what Bp. Williamson says about the Holocaust, 9/11, The Sound of Music, and women attending university. His ecclesiology is flawed. His *theology* is flawed (I refer the reader to Eleison Comments 125-127, in which he demonstrates a total lack of understanding what the sacramental intention "to do what the Church does" is). "If he really thinks the Church is a sort of Club for Believers in Being Nice, that Mass is their community picnic and Baptism the rite of initiation into their Club, he may achieve the picnic and initiation, but never Catholic Mass or Baptism." (Eleison comments #126)

mjstro said...

Again, solid, concrete, examples of words taught by H.E. Bishop Williamson that contradict the millennial teachings of the Church would be nice. Mr. McCall has not done this. Even such conspiracy theories do not contradict the millenial teachings of the Church.

Brian said...

Unfortunately, all of this was entirely predictable.

As I wrote when this process began, the effort to officially and formally re-unite the SSPX with the Church was premature and predictably led to increased problems and splintering.

My prayer remains that our Holy Father would please simply declare that the SSPX has valid and licit sacraments and leave the matter be.

Similarly, if our Holy Father could be so gracious to the SSPX, I would pray that Bishop Fellay would similarly leave Bishop Williamson to be Bishop Williamson, without expelling him.

The Old Calendar Eastern Orthodox began with legitimate complaints regarding compromises made by New Calendarists. Unfortunately, the movement fragmented into multiple groups, all condemning each other. Let's not slip down that slippery slope. As Catholics, we remain united in our acceptance and honor of the Pope as our Holy Father.

Our Heavenly Father is the source of both Justice and Mercy. I pray that our Holy Father and Bishop Fellay both exercise mercy at this time and allow justice to unfold in God's good time.

Matthew Rose said...

I thought Rorate considered itself too good for fruitless blog speculation? Perhaps an exception gets made just for Bishop Williamson, that evil trad boogeyman. "We are trads, BUTOHWAIT NOT LIKE BISHOP WILLIAMSON, do not worry. We are not crazy!"

By the way, to correct some who insist upon passing around inaccurate information, "The Nine" were not removed for sedevacantism. They were expelled/left due to things such as the insistence upon the 1962 Missal, disagreements over Conditional Ordinations, and Diocesan Matrimony Tribunals.

Also, the labeling of +Williamson as some crackpot because of his beliefs about 9/11 and Nazi Genocide sidestep the real issues, and I think those who use these issues know that. I really highly doubt His Lordship really confuses these things with the Faith itself.

(For what it is worth, I am not an "SSPX-er" nor a sede nor attender of another independent Chapel.)

Matamoros said...

Hello there floreat. Bishop Williamson has never expressed a "flat out refusal to recognise that the Pope has any authority whatsoever", on the contrary, while (like Archbishop Lefebvre) sometimes describing the Pope in apocalyptic terms, he has always recognised his papal authority. Please provide some evidence for your emotional claims.

Your statement that we do not share the same faith because I don't agree with you is typical of the sectarianism on display by some who in liberal fashion cannot tolerate the intolerant. You simply refuse to consider what Bishop Williamson (and the other three, and A.B Lefebvre and the SSPX have said).

Why should I comment on whether Bishop Williamson is being a model member of his religious congregation? I'm only interested in seeing bishops and priests contiuing to say the kinds of things that spoil your sleep. Internal discipline is a matter for the SSPX, not for me or you or family members of SSPX members or journalistic articles. Please spare us the crocodile tears for the internal peace and well-being of the SSPX.

Perhaps you care a lot about the future of the SSPX but you do not agree with them - on the Council, on the N.O., on the consecrations etc. etc. You will have a pasteurised SSPX or none at all it would seem. That is not being a "friend" of SSPX as well you know. Actually the departure of Bishop Williamson would not change the position of the Society, because all he has ever done is express the Society's position (in his idiosyncratic way) on questions to do with the Church. In all organisations people can fall out for non-transcendental reasons and who knows, it could happen here. It would be a pity because B. Williamson has become a symbol, whether he deserves it or not, for all that liberals within and outside traditionalism hate about the SSPX.

You've been answered squarely. Now tell us again: why is it OK to say he's not a Catholic,when the Pope considers him one; why is it OK for him to be called a sedevacantist, when he's always rejected that position; why is OK for him to showered with the personal abuse that has appeared in various posts above (must I repeat these gems item by item for you to agree that they are examples of personal denigration?).

He's recognised as your brother in the Faith by the Vatican, and a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. Why not start treating him as such. Isn't that part of our faith, or would that be "Williamsonolatry"?

Bp Williamson's fruit is BAD said...

Bishop William just plain needs prayers. If you do not think so, then name the saint you think he mostly closely resembles? If you cannot, then sit down and shut up.

Malta said...

Paul withstood Peter to his face - Galatians 2:11

But there is no mention that Peter (our first Pope) ever changed his mind.

Here is what says on the matter:

I withstood: The fault that is here noted in the conduct of St. Peter, was only a certain imprudence, in withdrawing himself from the table of the Gentiles, for fear of giving offence to the Jewish converts; but this, in such circumstances, when his so doing might be of ill consequence to the Gentiles, who might be induced thereby to think themselves obliged to conform to the Jewish way of living, to the prejudice of their Christian liberty. Neither was St. Paul's reprehending him any argument against his supremacy; for in such cases an inferior may, and sometimes ought, with respect, to admonish his superior.

My point here is twofold: first, I think +Williamson should stay in the fold of the SSPX, and suck-it-up, so to speak.

But two, I think he should be allowed to continue his Eleison comments (so long as they keep the tone they have kept), and not be silenced by bullying, such as the tone I think Mr. McCall has taken.

So what if he believes in "conspiracy theories"; who doesn't, to some extent?

+Williamson has been mistreated; and it is disheartening. His years of stressful, brilliant work, at the Seminary in Argentina are being cast-usunder by a few words (which may have been not the wisest to say). But McCall's piece borders on slander.

Show me one instance where +Williamson has denied Catholic doctrine or dogma. If you can't do that, one should rattle on about de facto, de jure, and use such legalese language just to sound smart.

This is a fine Bishop; he hasn't left the Society (to my knowledge). But let the chips fall where they may!

Malta said...

By the way, and for the record, Mr. McCall has written some great pieces, THIS being one of them.

We shouldn't confuse disagreement over the +Williamson affair to be a personal attack on Mr. McCall.

I guess we Trads need to agree to disagree better!

Btw: went to the 2pm TLM at San Miguel Chapel today in Santa Fe; beautiful service and holy, very elderly, ex-military chaplain, but still-spry priest! If you are ever in this town, go there!

Don said...

Seems to me that Bishop Williamson, is writing from a position of distrust.
He is suspicious of Rome.
Bishop Williamson wants some promises.
Many Catholics say/think HOW DARE HE make these demands!
I am nobody, but I would suggest Look at the SSPX and MOST Tradition Catholics(so`called) treatment by Rome over the last 5 decades..OUCH That still happens today with grave regularity.

Rome is about to put a happy face on the 2nd Vat Council and make another run with the ball. I suppose we are now asked to lay the destruction of the last 5 decades on? Anywhere but the councils feet.

I am worried for my Children, and my own soul.
I was not put through the 1st crucible of the 1960/70 persecution/revolution .I came after the Nostalgia crowd(just love that bit of marganilization) I with my Traditional Catholic Family have been finding(like hide and seek, gotta love those nostalgia types) this Mass for 20 years now.
Fortitude Please God

Mercy Jesus Mercy

Anonymous said...

I have not followed the goings on within the Traditionalist movement since returning to Byzantine Catholicism shortly after the death of Dom Gerard Calvet, who led the traditionalist Benedictine revival. Having said that, I was wondering why a number of my old traditionalist acquaintances, of all camps, have recently gotten back in touch with me.

Anyway, here are my thoughts from someone who for the past several years frequents the traditional Mass according to the rite of St. John Chrysostom:

1 - The division is not between Bishop Williamson and the other three bishops, but between Bishop Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger (and likely Fr. Paul Aulagnier in the background) on the one side, and Bishops Williamson, Tissier de Mallerais and de Gallereta on the other.

2 - Bishop Williamson's Holocaust reductionism has made him persona non grata among Fellay and Schmidberger in a way that is personal given that one of Holocaust's victims was none other than Archbishop Lefbvre's father.

3- The Sedevacantist Nine will not accept Williamson into their ranks. Or at least not Daniel Dolan and Anthony Cekada, the most well-read sedevacantists of the group, as they have already stated publicly back when it first broke that Bishop Williamson's public Holocaust revisionism was totally unacceptable for a Catholic bishop. In fact, they were even more harsh in condemning Williamson over this incident than most secular liberals.

4 - There is now an incredible cultural divide between FSSP chapels and SSPX chapels as both groups have evolved further apart and there are fewer folks in-between. A big difference I noticed between my FSSP friends today and my FSSP friends ten years ago is that today most rank-and-file FSSP don't keep tabs on the current situation with the SSPX or current controversies within the SSPX, and vice-versa with most SSPX who I am in touch. Thus I am not sure that both groups could reunite if Bishop Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger led a FSSP faction into regularizing the FSSP's canonical status. I do think we would likely see some cooperation between the two groups, but it would be as two distinct traditionalist movements within the Church.

5 - The SSPX of Strict Observance is merely a sideshow that will likely vanish into a historical footnote, perhaps after a merger with the SSPV (perhaps through Fr. Ringrose who I believe was a former independent who worked closely with the SSPV), unless they can somehow bring Bishop Williamson on board. However, I don't think it is likely to happen any time soon given that Bishop Williamson still appears to enjoy great support within the SSPX.

Pete Vere

Pete Vere said...

Since returning to Byzantine Catholicism some years ago, I have intentionally avoided commenting publicly on anything having to do with the traditionalism on the Latin side of the Church, other than to write the obit of my friend Dom Gerard Calvet, founder of the traditionalist Benedictine renewal. However, with all the speculation over everything going on currently, the one popular prediction that is most unlikely is that Bishop Williamson will join up with the Sedevacantist Nine whom Archbishop Lefebvre expelled from the U.S. seminary in the early 80's. Two reasons:

1) The sedevacantist nine have since split into two groups, the SSPV and those who remained with Sandborn, Dolan and Cekada.

2) Dolan and Cekada were even more critical in their condemnation of Bishop Williamson's holocaust revisionism than most liberals were, as you can read here:

John Fisher said...

Bishop Williamson has been considered unstable even before 1988. His suitablity as a choice for bishop was questioned even then. Why? because his character lacks empathy and is just obsessive without any let up/ Jokes made about gasing a particular seminarian who had a Jewish surname in boat shed. Who cares what Williamson thinks. He was an Anglican who converted and his whole life is a repudiation rather than an affirmation. A big obsessive negative!

Catholic Mission said...

Bishop Williamson was expressing an opinion when he did not express his trust in Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict and his Curia have openly said that Jews do not have to convert in the present times.

Does Bishop Fellay and the SSPX accept this?

The pope and his Curia have rejected the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus since they believe that the baptism of desire are known, visible cases on earth and so are exceptions to the dogmatic teaching.

Do Bishop Fellay and the SSPX accept it ?

Did Bishop Fellay ask for a correction from Cardinal Muller when he said in his last interview with the National Catholic Register that Bishop Williamson denies the Holocuast ?

Does Bishop Fellay not know or is he afraid to say that Bishop Williamson has denied the politically acceptable figure to the left of the the deaths in the Holocaust and the existence of gas chambers.

So the issue is : is Bishop Fellay just protecting the SSPX property from being targeted ?

Will he also give up other Church teachings in the future, like the Vatican Curia, just to protect the SSPX?

dcs said...

Again, solid, concrete, examples of words taught by H.E. Bishop Williamson that contradict the millennial teachings of the Church would be nice.

I gave one -- his error on sacramental intention as expression in Eleison Comments #125-127. Consider Bp. Williamson's words as compared with Card. Billot's (whom I would hope no one here would accuse of Modernism):

The intention of doing what the Church does, whatever that may be in the opinion of him who administers the sacrament, is said to be required. Thus St. Thomas: "Although he who does not believe that baptism is a sacrament, or does not believe that it has any spiritual power, does not intend when he baptizes to confer a sacrament, nevertheless he intends to do what the Church does, even if he counts that as nothing; and because the Church intends to do something, therefore, as a consequence of this, he intends implicitly to do something, though not explicitly." But it is not necessary that the minister think as the Church does, or that he not err concerning her teaching; for it is enough if his intention is towards something which is identically that which the Church intends, or, something which amounts to the same thing, for example, if he intends to do that which Christ instituted, or which is commanded in the Gospel, or which Christians are accustomed to do according to the prescription of their religion. (Thus it is apparent how even a Jew or a pagan can have an intention sufficient for baptizing. Consider for example a catechumen placed in a moment of necessity, who asks a pagan saying, "Do for me, I entreat you, this mercy, that you pour water on me, pronouncing the words, 'I baptize you,' etc., with the intention of doing what I myself intend to receive according to the prescription of the law of Christians.)

In other words, if one "really thinks the Church is a sort of Club for Believers in Being Nice, that Mass is their community picnic and Baptism the rite of initiation into their Club" (Bp. Williamson's words), then the sacramental intention is valid. Bp. Williamson is simply wrong. As a side note I have noticed that many online SSPX adherents are also confused about sacramental intention -- perhaps it was because they were taught by priests who were formed under Bp. Williamson while he was rector of the U.S. seminary.

Adfero said...

Pclaudel, there are many of us who moderate these comments. Please repost your original comment that you say was blocked so I can review. Thanks

MKT said...

MKT - Part 1 (continues to Part 2 below)

Bishops Williamson's big error is that as a Bishop of the Church he chose to undermine his own credibility by denying a fact of modern history - The Nuremberg trials amply demonstrated that an anti-semitic holocaust took place. Certainly one may claim that in blinding himself to such a well demonstrated historical fact, he conducted no injury to Catholic doctrine and therefore should not be excommunicated. But even with such reasoning one cannot make the claim that the man is worthy of high ecclesial office. Moreover, when such a denial of historical fact is gravely scandalous to the Church and the world.

To those however who defame words such as "newchurch" to automatically signify a sedevacantist belief, I counter that + Williamson is not necessarily so.

Certainly, when one uses terms like "newchurch" one COULD signify a loss of Faith that "the gates of hell will never prevail" against the Pope and the Church. And that the enemy has in fact prevailed, meaning that the "old" Church is to be found somewhere else. And such a view would be sedevacantist if believed strictly.

However there is another view of such terminology. One that has been used by some quite orthodox men like Fr Luigi Villa. Where "newchurch" speaks of an outer mask, a visage, an approach and a mindset. So for example, if like Pope Honorius, a number of Popes were material heretics (even if not formal ones), and colluded, abetted or at the very least never challenged or corrected, modernist forces, provided the veneer or outward appearance of a newchurch, while however, not altering dogma and doctrine formally, so that one cannot say the Divine promise of infalllibility has been overturned.

In such a case, one would not be sedevacantist in using terms like newchurch.

I offer three examples - there are many more - to justify the possibility I present:

1. Pre-conciliar Church teaching was clear that infants required baptism for salvation and there was no hope for them save through baptism. This belief directed clear praxis and conduct on the part of clergy and faithful with providing great care to the baptism of young infants. Over the course of the last 50 years, and more recently with the Catechism of John Paul 2 and the recent theological dissertation of Pope Benedict XVI, the idea of "having hope" for these unbaptized infants has penetrated the mind of the Church. Nothing has been declared dogmatically or formally. But a new sense of an unfounded hope now persists quite strongly in the minds of many Catholics, a sense of a 'newchurch'.

2. The pre-conciliar Church was explicit in its condemnation of Freemasonry and the excommunications due to those numbered among her ranks. But then Paul VI and several of his leading Cardinals embarked on a great opening to Freemasonry such that by the late 70s Freemasonic leaders claimed an "excellent relationship" with the Vatican. The explicit condemnation disappeared from the Code of Canon Law, although a clarification or two external to it repeated that such condemnation had not changed. Yet, throughout the world, instances of clerics and bishops pandering closely with Freemasons remain unpunished giving a veneer, an appearance that there is a new belief in place, even if it is not. A sense of 'newchurch'.

3. Communion in the hand was forbidden pre-Conciliarly. Now, even though "communion on the tongue" is still officially "the norm", through the collegial opening of "choices" in certain episcopal conferences, communion in the hand is de facto the new norm, even if not "officially" so. The Church persists in the Divine promise, but the appearance is of a newchurch.

(see part 2 for continuation)

MKT said...

MKT - Part 2 (continues from Part 1 above)

Similarly with the promotion of ecumenism, the almost complete end of ecclesial discipline resulting in excommunication - it is very rare for material heretics to be excommunicated since Vatican 2, the promotion of lay people and women serving as deacons and eucharistic ministers, the attitude towards the literal sense of the Books of the Bible, even the sense of indivisible unity among Catholics (we don't have it any more and the last US VP debate showcased that so clearly), are all examples of how there appears to be a "new" Church, even if it is not truly a new Church.

Still, the use of a term like newchurch needs to be employed very carefully lest one projects a sense of having lost Faith in Christ's indefectable Church. But one must not rush to judge those who use the term as being necessarily "sedevacantist".

Looking at all the apparent "new" "beliefs", apparent through praxis and de facto norms in the post-Conciliar church, it is entirely possible that we have suffered 3 or 4 or 5 material heretics for Popes, who however, as Pope Honorius certainly was, are legitimate successors of the See of St Peter and legitimate Popes, but have erroneously promulgated a sense of a "newchurch".

Our Lady of Fatima shows us the way - pray pray for the Holy Father - believe in his calling and his legitimate status as Pope and serve him as much as doing so does not dishonor God or cause grave harm. Make sacrifice for poor souls who are on the road to hell, be they sedevacantists, or schismatics, or those who appearing "in line" with the "modern" newness of Church beliefs, are actually losing the Traditional Faith given once by Christ and His Apostles to hold firm until the Return of the Lord.

I personally despise the use of the term "newchurch", condemn sedevacantism, and believe the SSPX should have suspended a divinis + Williamson long ago.

Sixupman said...

When at Winona +Williamson created something of a cult around himself and the tenor of such manifested itself in the Mass Centres. There was also engendered an element of facism and a "Wee Free" [extreme Scottish Presbyterianism] mentality.

The creation of "Honor Guards" by one pastor to harass perceived transgressors, whether priest or lay. In one instance declaiming an individual Mass attender from the pulpit and discussing his marriage problems therefrom.

I also refer you to the treatment of Fr. John Rizzo a well respected SSPX priest, well thought of whilst in England, for no other reason he refused to conform to nonsense.

In England, this other Elba, +Williamson has created yet another
following around him and have taken over a 'Forum' where vitriol is poured-out on +Fellay and others. Where Fr. Cedaka also holds sway. A previous Superior, Fr. Black, is referred to in terms of being a quisling and +Fellay a Mossad plant within SSPX - not to mention the "infamous" Kramer. +Williamson can not be divorced from the operation of the Forum in question.

Criticism of +Williamson,on Rorate, are measured and mild in comparison.

John McFarland said...

I think that when all is said and done, those outside the SSPX and its faithful and supporters have only two things to fault +Williamson about.

1. The scandal he caused by His insistence that Catholics were defenseless unless they shared his various non-religious enthusiasms. This has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of his enthusiasms; it has to do with people thinking (correctly or incorrectly) that they are wrong, and being scared away from or even out of tradition. Compare St. Paul on meat sacrificed to idols.

2. The scandal he has caused by his part in spreading the grotesque falsehood that the SSPX leadership was abandoning and indeed betraying tradition. Whether moral support, complicity and/or leadership, it has caused a number of people who looked to him for guidance to be drawn into a web of rash judgment if not mendacity, and in more than one case, mindless and baseless hatred. They are not many, but they exist.

I hope and pray that HE does not bring those scandals unrepentant to his judgment, lest he be one of those of whom the Lord said that it would have been better that he not have been born.