The Recusant

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

Whereas we thought the issue had been dealt with, within recent weeks Bishop Williamson has released a series of “Eleison Comments” emails defending and elaborating on his novel position regarding the New Mass. Error, and indeed anything liable to harm or weaken the Faith, must be resisted vigorously, no matter from what quarter it emerges. Therefore some comment on this is necessary and unavoidable. We deal with them in reverse order, the most recent first. All the main (unattributed) quotes are from the “Eleison Comments” indicated.



Bishop Williamson:

More Novus Ordo Madness!



1. ‘Eleison Comments’ No.438 (5th December, 2015) :


“Catholics, be generous! Recognize God’s goal /

/ To save, outside “Tradition,” many a soul.”


“However, these [Novus Ordo] miracles – always assuming they are authentic – have lessons also for the Catholics of Tradition who have to some extent or another stood back from the Novus Ordo framework.”



Is it really wise to “assume they are authentic”? (See 2. ‘Eleison Comments’ 437, p.24)

Secondly, “Novus Ordo framework” seems to mean ‘the conciliar church.’ But Archbishop Lefebvre told us not just to “stand back from” it “to some extent or another”, but to have nullam partem, nothing whatever to do with it! What new lessons do Catholics outside the conciliar church need to be taught, and why? And how do these “lessons” differ from what Archbishop Lefebvre taught us? Here is what Archbishop Lefebvre and the old SSPX had to say about the “extent” to which we should “stand back from” the “framework” of the conciliar church:



“We are suspended a divinis by the conciliar church, the conciliar church, to which we have no wish to belong! This conciliar church is a schismatic church because it breaks with the Catholic Church that has always been. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new worship… The church that affirms such errors is at once schismatic and heretical. This conciliar church is, therefore, not Catholic.

(‘Reflections on suspensio a divinis’, 1976)


“I should be very happy to be excommunicated from this conciliar church… It is a Church that I do not recognize. I belong to the Catholic Church.”

(‘Minute’ interview, 30th July 1976)


“We have never wished to belong to this system that calls itself the conciliar church. To be excommunicated by a decree of your eminence…would be the irrefutable proof that we do not. We ask for nothing better than to be declared excommunicated…excluded from impious communion with infidels.”

(‘Open Letter to Card Gantin’, 6th July 1988)



“Therefore the NOM and the Novus Ordo Church as a whole are dangerous for the Faith, and Catholics are right who have clung to Tradition to avoid the danger. But as they have had to put a distance between themselves and the mainstream Church, so they have exposed themselves to the opposite danger of an isolation leading to a sectarian and even pharisaical spirit, disconnected from reality.”



Why did Archbishop Lefebvre say he was happy about something which is in fact dangerous? Was he really so ignorant and irresponsible? Why did the SSPX superiors in 1988 write to Rome asking for something dangerous?

Or is not this talk about the “danger” of being “isolated” the “mainstream Church” (note - not the ‘conciliar church’) exactly what we have heard in recent years from Fr. Pfluger and Bishop Fellay? Likewise the supposed “danger” of becoming “pharasaical”, “sectarian” and “disconnected from reality” if we are not more open minded towards the conciliar church? Did Bishop Williamson get Fr. Pfluger to write this for him..?!



“...while since the 1960’s a mass of Catholic sheep have become too worldly to deserve to keep the true rite of Mass, [yet] they have loved the Mass enough not to lose it altogether.”



So: people were too worldly to have the true Mass, but they had some redeeming virtue, so God rewarded them a little bit by letting them have the Novus Ordo? Does this not imply that the Novus Ordo is ‘good but not as good as’ the Traditional Mass? Yet the SSPX always used to say that the Novus Ordo is evil. If the Novus Ordo is evil, surely those Catholics who lapsed and ended up with no Mass were better off? Does not the experience of the last 40 years bear this out: Catholics who lapsed forty years ago still sound like Catholics when one talks to them, whereas Catholics who have been pickled in the un-Catholic Novus Ordo for the last 40 years have nothing about them which previous generations would recognise as Catholic. Two generations of SSPX priests have witnessed how the former often convert easily back to Tradition, whereas the latter are virtually irretrievable and much harder to convert. How can God use the Novus Ordo, a rite which replaces ones Faith with another religion, as a reward for those who “have loved the Mass enough”..?


“The NOM [Novus Ordo Mass] may have been allowed by God to make it easier for Catholics to leave the Faith if they wanted to, but not impossible to keep it if they wanted to.”



This seems to confirm our suspicions about the portion quoted above. Last year an SSPX priest told the London congregation that whereas the Traditional Mass gives a waterfall of grace, the New Mass gives only a trickle of grace. This idea that the New Mass is only “not as good as” the Traditional Mass seems to be what Bishop Williamson is advocating too when he says that it “makes it easier for Catholics to leave the Faith … but not impossible to keep it.” This is very, very different from saying that it actually destroys and is harmful to one’s Faith. Not having Mass, a chapel, the Blessed Sacrament to visit, a priest to confess regularly to, being poorly catechised as a child or ignorance of Catholic doctrine generally, having a non-Catholic spouse - these are all things which make it easier to lose the Faith. To use an analogy: not having enough food or water, shelter or warm clothing in winter makes it easier to die. But if an evildoer puts arsenic in your tea or turns the gas at night on so that you are poisoned to death while you sleep, that is something altogether different. One is a mere defect, the other a positive evil. Once again, here is Archbishop Lefebvre:


“Let there be no mistake. It is not a question of a difference between Mgr. Lefebvre and Pope Paul VI. It is a question of the radical incompatibility between the Catholic Church and the Conciliar Church, the Mass of Paul VI being the symbol and the program of the Conciliar Church.

(Note to Agence France Presse, 12th July, 1976)


“Well! It is precisely the insistent demands of those sent from Rome that we change our rite which makes us reflect. And we are convinced that this new rite of Mass expresses a new faith, a faith which is not ours, a faith which is not the Catholic Faith. This new Mass is a symbol, an expression, an image of a new faith, a Modernist faith.”

(Ordinations sermon at Econe, 29th June 1976)


“This Mass is not evil in a merely accidental or extrinsic way. There is something in it that is truly evil. It was based on the model of the Mass according to Cranmer and Taize. As I said in Rome to those who interviewed me: It is a poisoned Mass”

(Abp. Lefebvre, 1981, see: ‘Biography of Marcel Lefebvre, p.465)




2. ‘Eleison Comments’ No.437 (30th November, 2015):


“The eucharistic miracles are where /

/ God shows that He Himself is truly there.”


“Facts are stubborn - as long as they are facts. If readers doubt that the eucharistic miracle of 1996 in Buenos Aires is a fact, let them undertake their own research..”



The limited research of this author, given limited time and resources, suggest a couple of concerns, not least that there seem to be several accounts of what took place, particularly how/where/when the host was dropped, and also that at least two of the scientists whose testimony plays a major part in the story are Novus Ordo Catholics.


“But if their research of that case leaves them unconvinced, then let them look up the parallel case of Sokólka in Poland, where a whole centre of pilgrimage has arisen around a eucharistic miracle of 2008. And a little more Internet research would surely discover accounts of more such Novus Ordo miracles, with at least some of them being authentic.”



In other words: “There are lots of miracles! There are so many that at least one of them has to be genuine!” Non sequitur. If one is false, they might just as easily all be false. Like the man who falls for one scam after another and says to himself: “One of them has to be genuine!” If there are bogus Saints and bogus miracles in the Novus Ordo, then all that tells us is that we cannot trust the Novus Ordo to give us genuine Saints and miracles.


“This is because the NOM, like Vatican II which it followed, is ambiguous, favours heresy and has led numberless souls out of the Church…”



The last part, that the New Mass “has led numberless souls out of the Church” is correct. That Vatican II “is ambiguous”, however, is a dangerous lie, one subscribed to for years by many a Novus Ordo conservative, and sold to us more recently by Bishop Fellay and the liberals in the neo-SSPX. There are many things in Vatican II which are not ambiguous, which have only one interpretation, and which are irreconcilable with Tradition (Dignitatis Humanae’s teaching on ‘Religious Liberty’ being perhaps the most infamous).



“Doctrinally, the NOM [Novus Ordo Mass] is ambiguous, poised between the religion of God and the Conciliar religion of man. Now in matters of faith, ambiguity is deadly, being normally designed to undermine the Faith, as the NOM frequently does. But as ambiguity is precisely open to two interpretations, so the NOM does not absolutely exclude the old religion.”



“Normally” designed to undermine the Faith? Which it “frequently” does?! So not always, then? In other words, it is not intrinsically evil, only sometimes; whereas sometimes it does not undermine the Faith! Likewise, the Novus Ordo is not merely “ambiguous”! As Archbishop Lefebvre says, “There is something in it that is truly evil”. Since the rest of what Bishop Williamson writes is based on that false premise (that the Novus Ordo is only ambiguous), his conclusion, that the Novus Ordo “does not exclude the old religion” is equally flawed. Again, Archbishop Lefebvre talks about the “radically incompatibility” between the old religion and the new one, epitomised by the New Mass. How can a thing be radically incompatible with something but at the same time not exclude it?


“That does not make the NOM acceptable as such, because its intrinsic ambiguity still favours the new direction, but it does mean for instance that the Consecration can still be valid, as Archbishop Lefebvre never denied. Moreover, if the eucharistic miracles are genuine, clearly not all Consecrations of Novus Ordo bishops or Ordinations of Novus Ordo priests are invalid either.”



Discussion of validity is surely beside the point altogether. A priest who is a secret Satanist or Freemason, for example, might confect a valid sacrament in order to perform sacrilegious desecration. That it is valid is no consolation whatsoever, and is certainly no indication of whether good can ever come from attending it. Attending a satanic Black Mass would not help you get to heaven, even if it were valid.


“In brief, the NOM as such is bad as a whole, bad in parts, but not bad in all its parts.”



All evil is only “evil in parts but not all its parts.” There is not such thing as “pure evil”, because the definition of evil is that it is the absence of a due good. A table with only three legs is a bad table. A table missing all its legs and the table-top cannot be so described. Only one part evil makes the whole evil. Therefore, what Bishop Williamson ought to say is simply “The Novus Ordo is evil.” (why ‘bad’?). As it is, what looks like a redeeming qualification is really no more than an rhetorical illusion.




“What specified Vatican II and the NOM was precisely the officialisation of the modernist heresy within the Church. So does it not make sense that in punishment of their modern worldliness these sheep would broadly lose the true rite of Mass, while in reward of their desire for Mass they would not lose every valid Mass?”



No, it does not. Almighty God does not “reward” people by giving them something evil, something poisoned, something radically incompatible with the Catholic Faith. One fares better attending no Mass at all than attending the Novus Ordo. Once again, the idea that the New Mass is somehow not as good as the Traditional Mass but still better than nothing, is novel, untrue, disproved by the experience of the past forty years. In its full implications this idea is also very, very dangerous to the Faith.



3. ‘Eleison Comments’ No.436 (21st November, 2015) :


“God has worked miracles with the N.O. Mass? /

/ That’s what the evidence suggests. Alas?”


“When in June of 1976 Archbishop Lefebvre was on the brink of ordaining the first large batch of SSPX priests despite Rome’s disapproval, a Roman official came to promise him the end of all problems with Rome if only he would celebrate one Novus Ordo Mass. On principle, for doctrinal reasons, he refused. Then how can Almighty God have worked eucharistic miracles with and for this new Mass? Read here next week a suggested answer.”



It should be clear by now that Bishop Williamson’s ideas about the New Mass are at radical variance with those of Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X of old. Archbishop Lefebvre was quite right to refuse to say the New Mass and to prefer suspension in 1976. With his final question (“The how can Almighty God…?”), Bishop Williamson sows doubt into the mind of his reader not only about the orthodoxy of the Novus Ordo Mass, but also about Archbishop Lefebvre and what he stood for. Was the Archbishop perhaps deliberately being difficult towards the Romans, just to make a point, where he could have chosen to be more accommodating and not been any the worse for it? Is it enough to say that he refused “on principle, for doctrinal reasons” and leave it at that? It is true, his refusal was principled, and it was for doctrinal reasons. But I rather suspect that Archbishop Lefebvre would have said that he had no right to say the New Mass, since it was evil and poisoned and was destroying the Faith of countless millions; that he had no option, that to have agreed and said the New Mass would have been a sin.


As to Bishop Williamson’s “suggested answer” to his own question, presented in the two subsequent Eleison Comments, we have already examined it above. In short, his answer is that the Traditional Mass is a reward for fidelity and lack of worldliness, whereas the New Mass is a lesser reward for ‘loving the Mass’. It is not as good as the Traditional Mass, but still good and does not exclude the old religion. If you feel tempted to leave the Faith, the New Mass will be less of an obstacle than the old Mass.


One thing we have avoided touching on is whether the Novus Ordo miracles are really genuine. Well? Are they? The simple truth is I do not know, at least in the scientific sense, but every Catholic instinct in me says no. Three possibilities occur. The first is that they are fakes and frauds. That is not impossible. The world is full of lies now like it never was before. Lies throughout the media, education, banking and finance, everywhere. People generally are more used to the idea that one tells lies to get ahead, they are numb to it. We know that the conciliar church is not above a little dishonesty, now and then, in order to get its way (if they can’t be trusted with the Third Secret of Fatima, why should they suddenly be trusted concerning these ‘miracles’?)


The second possibility is that we are witnessing something like the “signs and prodigies” which Sacred Scripture prophesies will be seen towards the end of times. Certainly, if these ‘miracles’ have the power to lead many Traditional Catholics including some souls with the Resistance and one bishop (who is not, though many think he is) to a softening towards the abominable Novus Ordo, then that might well be an example of “deceiving, if possible, even the elect.” I only suggest it as a possibility - I may be wrong, and I await correction from any priest who would care to put me right.


The third possibility is that they are genuine and are sent as a warning from Almighty God against the sacrilege of the Novus Ordo Mass. There have been cases of miracles warning people off sacrilege. In Belgium, a couple of centuries ago, some Jews stole a host and stabbed it with knives. It bled. They converted. Clearly, desecrating a host by stabbing it with knives is not something God wants us to do, and the miracle does not lend approval to the action which prompted it in any way.


One thing is certain. That Almighty God can be using miracles to give His divine seal of approval to the New Mass is not a possibility. What is worrying is that Bishop Williamson discusses none of the three possibilities mentioned above. Nowhere in three separate ‘Eleison Comments’ does he even entertain the idea that the ‘miracles’ might be fakes or prodigies. Nor does he suggest that they might be a warning against sacrilege. Instead, he begins with the assumption that they are genuine (which in itself is staggering, when you think about it) and talks about “facts” being “stubborn” as though the matter were already proven beyond question. He then proceeds to use that unfounded assumption to push through a novel teaching about the New Mass of his own device, one which is completely at variance with Archbishop Lefebvre. The entire fiasco is summed up neatly in, and hinted ominously by, one word: the last word of the little jangle at the start of the first email. (“Alas?”), its question mark loaded with suggestiveness.


I am not much of a dab hand at silly rhyming couplets, but in an attempt to summarise the whole sorry business, here is my poor offering:


The Bishop thinks the New Mass can be good?

That’s bad enough. What’s worse is why he would!