The Recusant

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

Why the Resistance?

by a layman member of the Catholic Resistance

This article does not offer anything particularly original, but simply places before you certain passages from Fr. Edward Leen’s Why the Cross? (first published in September 1938 by Sheed & Ward, London), together with some very basic, even obvious, considerations. Members of the Resistance often say that they are keeping fidelity to the heritage of Archbishop Lefebvre. That is true. But as the passages from this Holy Ghost Father’s book demonstrate, the Holy Ghost Father Archbishop Lefebvre was simply keeping fidelity to the heritage of Christ. In what follows, the excerpts from Fr. Leen’s book are given in normal type. My comments, such as they are, appear in italics.

Christ was uncompromising in His assertion that all human affairs, personal, social and political, should have as their regulating principle the mind and the will of God. This unyielding, adamantine quality of Christ’s views of the relation of human affairs to God exasperated His contemporaries, as the reiteration of the same views by His Church continues to exasperate men all through the ages. (page 300). Except that the official, ‘Conciliar’ Church has now given in to such exasperation.

In His reproach to the Pharisees, Jesus placed His finger on an inveterate evil tendency in proud human nature, namely, the tendency to reject God unless He can be contracted to fit into man’s petty rational preconceptions and his purblind notions of the congruous in things. Someone has remarked with cutting, though appropriate irony, that God, in the beginning, made men to His own image and that in the process of time, man repaid the compliment by making God to his. (page 301). Vatican II, surely?

The central and pivotal truth that Christ was appointed to maintain and vindicate was that God is Lord and King over all creatures, and that from His hands, He, the Saviour, holds His Kingship. (pages 301–302). And they (the modernizers) have uncrowned Him. What truck should the faithful friends and disciples of Christ and His Father have with the modernizers? Even more so, by what right should so-called faithful disciples cuddle up and make cosy deals with the ‘uncrowners’?

The children of the First Adam, in direct opposition to the Second Adam, ever seek to restrict God’s right, to put limitations to His overlordship, and to set qualifications to their own subjection to Him. They claim to withdraw whole spheres of human activity from His authority. They resent, as an intrusion, His interference beyond limits prescribed by themselves. To Jesus this was the wrong of wrongs, the supreme falsehood, the flat contradiction of the truths it was His office to champion. Christ’s life was the living expression of this great truth, that God is Supreme and Absolute Lord. (page 302). How can so-called ‘faithful’ disciples of Christ make deals with people who subscribe to documents and policies that put Christ and His One True Church on a par with those who would limit His Kingship, and who would abandon the unflinching (and uncomfortable) mission given to His Church to be the sign of contradiction to sinful man? Like Esau of old, they would sell for a mess of pottage their birthright… the birthright to live and to serve and to suffer as did their Divine Lord? Or has Christ ceased to be God?

It was this that drew upon Christ the frenzied hatred of His contemporaries. But with humility He stood rooted in the position that He saw to be His and that He saw, too, to be that of all men. Their pride spent itself fruitlessly on the rock of His humility. He did not quail before the storm that He created, for true humility inspires utter fearlessness. The Christian virtue is not the nerveless, spineless, spiritless thing that it is supposed to be by those who rail at it as destructive of human dignity. Christ was humble, yet no one could surpass Him in courage and dignity. He was humble, yet He was truly great, not in spite of His humility, but because of it… To be humble is to be true to what one is in thought and to have conduct based on that thought. Christ was the personification of Truth. Satan is Satan, or the adversary, because “he stood not in the truth” (St. John viii, 44). Pride is the mark of Satan and of all those who, in greater or less measure, swerve from the essential truth preached by Christ. (pages 302–303). And the Archbishop set at nought the warning that he would not gain his Red Hat… whilst another just might be in line to receive one, if a “deal” is done…

Standing in the very centre of reality, Christ saw all things in proper perspective and in their right proportions… His enemies, viewing everything through the distorting medium of their pride, saw all things out of proportion. To them the interests of men were magnified exceedingly and the interests of God dwarfed correspondingly (page 303). Sinful man yearns so much to be accepted and esteemed by his fellows. Yes, it is difficult to be a sign of contradiction, to be the elephant in the room, to be shunned by the worldly ones for taking up a Christ-like stance. But who… or, should I write, Who comes First??? God… or man?

For Christ there could be no such thing as compromise with the world ranged against God… (page 303)—and His unchanging Faith, His unchanging Tradition, His essentially unchanging Church.

He knew well to what this uncompromising attitude of His committed Him. He saw that it was inevitable that His unyielding humility should call forth the most violent explosions of the intolerance of pride. (Such as bullying and often eliminating priestly persons on spurious charges of disobedience).

He was not blind as to the fate to which He was committing His followers during all time when He said to them: “That which I speak to you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both body and soul into hell” (St. Matthew x, 27–28). (page 304).

He was not as one addressing, from a position of safety, a stirring call to others to face death without fear. He was an exemplar of the fortitude He inculcated, the foremost in facing the fate to which He exhorted His followers. He entered the conflict provoked by His doctrine, armed only with His innocence and humility. His enemies opposed Him inflamed with hate and equipped with all the resources of malice… He could not yield the position to which He was assigned by His humility. His stand was in the truth, and He was cut down where He stood. (page 304).

But He rose to life again, triumphant in the Truth!

And the disciple is no greater than the Master. As the Master has done, so should we, grounded in His humility and patience, in refusing to stand by or cave in whilst the latest attacks against God’s Truth begin to afflict the little flock of the heritage of Christ and His faithful, humble Archbishop.