Beware the Wolf!
A little over a year ago, at the end of 2012, the enquiring internet user in search of information on Third Orders might have come across the following page on the US District website, specifically relating to the Franciscan Third Order:
“In the United States, the TOSF is under the auspices of the Society of St. Pius X, receiving information and counsel from the traditional Capuchins in Morgon, France. The director for the USA District is SSPX priest, Fr. Jacques Emily.”
Prior to this there had been no English language website of the Franciscan Third Order in the USA, although there was one run by a tertiary in Canada, an enterprising gentleman who was already known to be on the side of the Resistance. Earlier in 2012, this website had been praised by Fr. Emily as containing much valuable information and he recommended Franciscan tertiaries to visit it and make use of it. In December 2012, however, Fr. Emily suddenly changed his tune. He wrote warning Third Order Franciscans to have nothing to do with the same website he had been recommending only a couple of months previously. Why the sudden change? Had the website been altered in any way? Not at all. All that had happened was that it had come to Fr. Emily’s attention that the man who had created the website, the TOSF Prefect in Toronto, Canada, supported the resistance. Although, as Fr. Emily was forced to admit, the website was “not [being used] to attack Bishop Fellay or our Society” (i.e. it contained no information about the Resistance and was not partisan in any way), and that on the contrary, it did contain a lot of very good and useful things, yet the fact that it was run by a man who disagreed with the new line of Menzingen was enough to justify using his position of trust to attack its owner who dared to disagree with the party line. Here is what he wrote:
“We are very pleased to announce that Father Rostand, our District Superior, has encouraged the publication of our website within the links of the US District website. I wish to express, on behalf of our Tertiaries, our sincere gratitude to Father Rostand, but also to Fr. Duverger and Mr. Louis Tofari, the District Webmaster, for their support and the work they have done which have resulted in this publication. I would like to suggest that going forward, you use our US website rather the Canadian site. The Canadian website is run by a layman who has recently taken a position against Bishop Fellay and our superiors. In no way can I recommend or support his work [...] I cannot either encourage our Tertiaries to correspond with him or to visit his website, however attractive or well-documented it appears to be, it is simply dangerous. Even though this person does not use his TOSF website to attack Bishop Fellay and our Society, the negative attitude of this person against the legitimate authority of Bishop Fellay and of our superiors is subversive and is certainly not animated by the spirit of Saint Francis. It is, then, my duty to warn you, since it is the responsibility of the shepherd to keep the wolf away from his sheep. Beware of the wolf!”
So, in summary: some Franciscan Tertiaries north of the border, including the Prefect, support the Resistance. That man runs a website for Franciscan Tertiaries which we admit is very good. We also admit that he has neither done nor said anything wrong that we can point to and that he does not use his website to attack Bishop Fellay or the SSPX; nonetheless we are given to understand that his opinion on the question of a deal with Rome is different to ours. He is therefore ‘subversive of the legitimate authority of Bishop Fellay’ and must therefore be regarded by everyone as a wolf.
One effect of all this, intended or not, was to make the Franciscan Third Order in the USA look like little more than a branch of the US District. If there is one thing which appears conspicuous by its absence from Fr. Emily’s letter, it is surely the Capuchins of Morgon themselves. In amongst all the pious angst about people who are “subversive” of “the legitimate authority of Bishop Fellay and our superiors [i.e. Fr. Rostand! -Ed.]” there does not appear to be any mention of how Morgon feel about this or what they have advised about the matter. Were they even asked? The US district website makes it sound as though Morgon has some input of some sort into the Franciscan Third Order in the USA, but remains diplomatically vague about the quantity, type or nature of their “counsel.” It may be relevant to recall that earlier on in that same year (2012) the Franciscan ordinands, along with those of the Avrille Dominicans, had been refused and denied priestly ordination at Econe by Bishop Fellay purely, it seems, because he suspected how loyal their own superiors and communities would be towards him in the event of a deal with Rome being struck. Later on, in the Autumn of 2012, Bishop de Galarreta performed those ordinations which should have taken place several months earlier.
As mentioned above, this took place a-year-and-a-bit ago, near the end of 2012. Near the end f 2013, nearly a full year later, two Franciscan priests from Morgon accepted an invitation to visit the US District. The purpose of the invitation was clearly to lend approval and credibility to Fr. Emily US District. And that is exactly what happened. They were escorted by Fr. Emily and photographed next to him and “his” tertiaries. That they accepted the invitation and allowed themselves to be used in this shameful way is thus to be regretted. To what degree they were aware of just what exactly they were lending their approval to (the French are not noted for how closely they follow what goes on in America) may be a matter of conjecture, but they are after all intelligent, grown men, priests and religious, and they must be presumed to be responsible for their actions. Given that a priestly colleague from the same mother house of Morgon (Fr. Jean, OFM) recently preached a strongly resistance-leaning sermon a recording of which was subsequently placed on the internet, and furthermore that he did so, so he said, with the full knowledge and approval of his superiors, perhaps someone ought to let those same superiors know what is being practiced in their name on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. If Fr. Emily is to be believed, the Franciscans of Morgon approve of his partisan manoeuvrings, his promotion of a blind and total subservience to Menzingen and to “legitimate authority of Bishop Fellay,” and his constant taking of St. Francis’s name in vain to further those ends (see below). If, on the other hand, Fr. Jean is to be believed, the Franciscans of Morgon are still wary of Bishop Fellay and Menzingen and are not in any way in favour of the nonsense of 2012. Certainly the fact that Bishop Fellay refused to ordain their candidates in June 2012 appears to bear that out.
The Resistance: “People of Such Bad Faith!”
It is when we get to Fr. Emily’s most recent Third Order newsletter, however, that a real can of worms opens up. He dedicates this newsletter to the topic of - you’ve guessed it! - the Resistance! And more specifically, to telling his readers what a thoroughly bad lot we all are, not least the aforementioned Canadian gentleman, whom (for the unpardonable crime of sending around a two-line long email to some fellow Third Order members) he does not shrink from attacking by name!
“Of course, Mr. La Rosa continues to spread his venom of division among our members, like the enemy who sowed cockle in the
fields of the Lord ... He goes so far as to ask for prayers that our dear Capuchin Fathers may join the Resistance.
These words of Mr La Rosa clearly reveal his spirit of dividing the family of our Third Order. His spirit of division is obviously
opposed to the spirit of St. Francis which is a spirit of peace, charity and union among brothers.”
(TOSF newsletter No 9, Feb. 2014)
Need we comment on this? Let us not dwell on the embarrassingly condescending tone and the simplistic ‘See-Spot-Run’ arguments, which appear to assume that his readers have all the maturity and wisdom of a six-year-old child (“Look at him! He’s causing division! He says bad things! He’s bad! St. Francis wouldn’t like him!”), please bear the above-quoted extract in mind, with its talk of one (named) man spreading “venom” and being like the “enemy who sowed cockle,” when you read what else he says in the same letter, and see if you can spot the gigantic dose of hypocrisy!
Continuing in a similar vein, the Resistance, writes Fr. Emily, is:
“...pitifully launching deplorable, personal attacks against our Superiors and of our Society …we do not want to judge their
intentions … people of such bad faith!”
As someone else recently remarked: obviously it is hypothetically possible for someone to spread false information innocently. But no one can innocently be in bad faith! Thus, Fr. Emily himself here judges not only our actions but also our persons. And as Fr. Emily himself says, in the same letter:
“As long as we see our opponents [making] personal attacks…our choice between the two parties is simple”. (Ibid.)
Like his Superiors, Fr. Emily is very quick to accuse his opponents of making ‘personal attacks.’ Yet when one compares any number of articles by the Resistance about the neo-SSPX with articles by the neo-SSPX about the Resistance, the one thing that stands out a mile is precisely that our side do not make gratuitous personal attacks, whereas they do! Why would we seek to attack persons, in what way would that further our cause? We are not concerned with the person, but with words, ideas, actions, teachings, doctrine. If Fr. Emily had not decided to talk such a lot of nonsense and to tar us all with such an unworthy brush, had he not provided us all with such a very clear example of the way in which the Menzingen Propaganda Machine works, it is very unlikely that he would have found his name gracing the pages of this newsletter! It is not so much him as his crusade against the Resistance that is at issue. The reader can re-read this article and look for any ’personal attack’ against him which is not in reality a disputing of his specific words which he has written and published.
In a similar vein, readers of The Recusant will recall occasions (Burghclere, to name the last such) where Bp. Fellay himself has complained about being misquoted, misrepresented, or ‘personally attacked,’ but he never gives his audience the benefit of even one example. Here Fr. Emily likewise gives not one single example of a “deplorable” personal attack, except in the sense that his whole letter is one big example of it, albeit not in the sense he intended it!
Spot the non-sequitur!
From the same letter comes the following expression of outraged disbelief:
“How dare these people accuse Bishop Fellay of wanting an accord with the modernists of the Vatican when he has repeated for
more than two years that there is no accord and that there will be no accord!” (Ibid.)
Of course, the answer to the question posed is frighteningly simple: Because Bp. Fellay himself expressed the desire several times during the past two years, that’s how! Now let us re-read Fr. Emily’s statement carefully, and notice what he tries to say, and what he in fact says. Firstly, the two halves of his sentence are not in any way contradictory, nor mutually exclusive of one another. Saying that “there is no accord [i.e. agreement] and there will be no accord” does not preclude “wanting an accord”. Indeed, in many of Bishop Fellay’s talks, he says more or less that: that he himself would be willing to make an agreement, were it only possible, were Rome only as willing as he. Here, for example, is what he said in public, a little over a year ago:
“And um... That’s the situation...everything is blocked. I still now wonder what we can do to continue doctrinal discussions. [...]
The problem is in Rome, not in us. And the problem is that we have the modernists who would like to finish the story of the
Society, with a condemnation, and we have some people who still hope that we'll get to something. [i.e. An agreement, an ‘accord’,
or a ‘recognition’ - Ed.] I frankly don't know how it would be possible. For me, this situation now is really blocked. Really blocked.”
(Bishop Fellay, Canada, 28th Dec. 2012)
What is this, if not an admission that he himself would welcome any opportunity for an agreement, that he positively desires one, or at the very, very least that he is completely open to the idea, and that the only reason that there is no agreement or ‘accord’ is that the modernists in Rome are blocking it...?
“There is no accord, and there will be no accord”
Secondly, notice the blatant falsehood: Bishop Fellay “has repeated for more than two years” that there will be no agreement! Has he indeed? More than two years would take us back before February 2012. Here is what Bishop Fellay said in March 2012, which, at the time of Fr. Emily’s writing, is less than two years previously: