The Recusant

An unofficial SSPX newsletter, fighting a guerilla war for the soul of Tradition!

Defending the Indefensible
by Fr. Fernando Altamira

Recently, Bishop Williamson said that one could attend the new Mass. He was replying to a lady in a “Questions and Answers” session, after a public conference. When we gave news of this, it provoked a defence of Bishop Williamson’s words by the priest who runs the website Non Possumus.

To do this is to defend the indefensible. Once such a thing happens, and the more so when what has been said is very serious, one has a duty to warn people, regardless of who might have said it. The priest in question is doing with Bishop Williamson what he would not accept doing with Bishop Fellay (and this is a risk which concerns us all).

With Bishop Fellay, warn about all the bad things he says.  With Bishop Williamson, make excuses for him and give a false interpretation of what he really meant to say, despite the literal meaning of his words. Thus one falls into the trap of the supporters of Bishop Fellay: he is always the object of misinterpretation.

Let us return to Bishop Williamson. The news of this which we gave did not include everything which he affirmed publicly. We strongly urge all those who understand English to watch this video, in which one finds all the incriminating words. But let us look briefly at the short text which we put out:

Bishop Williamson and the New Mass

This piece of film represents the words of Bishop Williamson saying that one can assist at the New Mass. This seems to us to be something very serious on his part. One can watch this video at the following link: We do not approve the somewhat mocking tone of the video (from about half-way through, more or less), but the content is quite correct. Bishop Williamson’s words last for 12 minutes and the video is in total 30 minutes long. 

–At Minute 0.55: “There’s the principles and then there’s the practice” -At Minute 6.46: “There have been Eucharistic miracles with the Novus Ordo Mass.” –At Minute 8.56: “There are cases when even the Novus Ordo Mass can be attended with an effect of building one’s faith instead of losing it.” –At Minute 9.53: “Be very careful, be very careful with the Novus, stay away from the Novus Ordo, but exceptionally, if you’re watching and praying, even there you may find the grace of God. If you do, make use of it in order to sanctify your soul.” 

 -At Minute 10.37: “Therefore I would not say every single person must stay away from every single Novus Ordo Mass”.

It is sad to say, and I do not say it maliciously (I know I am not lying), this shows the sad state of the spirit of this priest, the things which he is ready to do: defending Bishop Williamson blow for blow. I insist: before, he would not have tolerated this kind of attitude from Bishop Fellay, whereas now…

In the defence which he makes, this priest forgets the heart of the problem and seems to use (we suppose that he does so unconsciously) a sophism to defend the indefensible. If my memory serves, this sophism is called “ignorantio elenchi” (which means answering a question with something which is beside the point).

Let us say things clearly:

The New Mass is bad (I hope that this priest will not change his view of that). That being the case, there is a universally valid moral principle of capital importance: nobody (not even a priest or a bishop) can positively advise someone to do something bad. But that is exactly what Bishop Williamson did several times over with this lady: he advised her to assist at the New Mass.

This principle is absolutely certain. And if this priest wrote that knowingly and not in ignorance (which should have been the case, since he is a priest and it relates to his duty of state), he must assume responsibility for his words. And if he is writing out of ignorance, well that’s not very glorious either.

If it is really necessary, when a priest speaks with one of the faithful who is of good will (a simple soul) who goes to the New Mass, he could keep quiet, out of prudence, if that faithful is still not ready to hear the whole truth. But keeping quiet is one thing, positively advising him to go to the New Mass, as Bishop Williamson did, is something else.

The priest who tries to defend Bishop Williamson even goes so far as to use as an argument the fact that Bishop Williamson was replying to a woman who was sobbing. Well, firstly one does not hear any sobbing in the video. Secondly, even if there were, what kind of an argument is that? Otherwise, we would be reduced to the absurdity of having to declare the following moral principle: “To someone asking if they are allowed to do an evil act (e.g. assisting at the New Mass, abortion, etc.) one may answer in the affirmative, on condition that the person is sobbing.” Comment would be superfluous.

What is more, Bishop Williamson returns insistently to the question of the validity of the New Mass (they “can” be valid). But hold on: first of all we don’t know and we are justified in saying with as much likelihood (if not more so!), that Novus Ordo Masses can be invalid. Secondly, to even suppose that Novus Ordo Masses are valid, all or some of them, that’s not where the problem is at. It is well known: even in such a case it is still not permissible to assist at a Novus Ordo Mass since, whether or not it is valid, this rite is bad in se and is displeasing to God. Thirdly, the Masses of the heretical Russian Orthodox are certainly valid and yet it is obvious that we’re not allowed to assist at them. So: what should we say concerning the New Mass?

At the end you can read the quotes from Bishop Williamson.

I think that we priests who reacted against what Bishop Fellay is doing are wrong to hide the problems which also exist on our side. [Editor’s note – the same surely goes for “we laymen who reacted…”] And there are so many that the only positive attitude one can have is neither to hide them nor to seek to excuse them but to confront them calmly, proving our realism, and trying to remedy them. That is the only constructive thing we can do. Otherwise God will not bless us, nor will He bless what we are doing, and it will all end badly.

And so I cordially greet this priest at Non Possumus, without any hypocrisy, in the hope that this writing will help contribute to improving the current situation. May the Most Holy Virgin Mary come to our aid.

Fr. Fernando Altamira

28th July, 2015


-Minutes 10:45 and 22:05: “If they can trust their own judgment that this…attending this mass [the New Mass] will do more good than harm spiritually… but it does harm in itself, there´s no doubt about that. It´s a rite designed to undermine Catholics´ faith… […]”. 

And at that point, the authors of the video add: “Remember: The new mass is poison! But if poison is good for you, then go ahead”.

-Minute 11:27: “But exceptionally… The wise thing would be probably to say in private this to that person, but here I am saying it in public, that may be foolish.” 
Note no one has the right to advise someone to do something wrong (such as assisting at the New Mass) either in public or in private. That’s an absurdity, it’s evil and it’s an error (cf. main text)

-Minute 6:36: “I don´t know if any of you know, again, I´m going to get hanged! But that´s in the contract…”

-Minute 8:56: “There are cases when even the Novus Ordo Mass can be attended with an effect of building one´s faith instead of losing it. That´s heresy, almost heresy within Tradition.”

-Minute 1:10: “Therefore, the Archbishop (Lefebvre) would say, in public he would say stay away, keep away from the New Mass.”

Note these words about Archbishop Lefebvre (“in public he would say…”) seem to be insinuating that in private he would say something different: such an insinuation is disgraceful!