Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a real pleasure to greet you all and to see some of you again, it is also an honour to be with such lucid and courageous faithful.
During a conference he gave at the end of January, Father de Caqueray asked for it not to be released on the internet because a verbal conference does not have the precision of a written text; there are also circumstances [surrounding the conference] which do not allow a full understanding of things, and therefore considerations do not have the definitive aspect one obtains with hindsight.
I do not want to cast any doubt upon the sincerity of this request, however I cannot help but wonder why what he was saying to the faithful of Mantes-la-Jolie on January 26th would only be of concern to the faithful of that parish, especially since he was giving them very interesting information on Bishop Fellay’s commitments - the result of a very long telephone conversation…
A conference on the internet does not become a written text… its colloquial style is perfectly preserved and it isn’t difficult to place in context, which is much more difficult to do when the conference is circulated as a written text.
It is incidentally much more instructive to listen to the audio recording of the conference given by the French District Superior than to read the written text… the numerous hesitations, the expression always heavily punctuated with the conditional tense and an innumerable number of “if” really give the impression that Father de Caqueray is trying to convince himself of the truthfulness of what he is saying, even that he is lying to himself, or at the very least trying to reassure himself.
I do not want to hurt his feelings, but after all the things he told me in the past, it is impossible not to notice a weakness in him nowadays.
“The scales which had fallen from his eyes”, to use his own words, are starting to obscure his vision once again. He gives me the impression of a mouse caught by a cat that is playing with it…
Personally, I don’t surf on the internet a lot, but is it too much to say that internet is a means which has preserved us from an ignorance that some people wanted and would still like us to be in?
In Couloutre on April 21st 2012, Father de Caqueray had read to Father Schaeffer and myself, in confidence, the letter from the three Bishops (how he had gotten hold of it himself, I do not know)… I cannot express the relief I felt when I learnt that this letter was available on the net.
Whoever leaked it on the internet has been accused of having committed a grave fault, in a report from Menzingen. I do not know if Menzingen is qualified to make such a judgement? In any case, Father Schaeffer now likes to say “O felix culpa”, happy fault!
All these warnings against the internet resemble an invitation to stupidity and ignorance… and this from people using the internet a lot, including some priests. If there is a risk and danger in the use of the internet, it is more regarding forums, because on forums anyone can express anything without having the slightest competence on the subject – and their opinion, sometimes completely wrong, finds a worldwide audience.
But one has to recognise that in the current situation, the great majority of the documents which it is useful to know have been made accessible thanks to the internet, and I congratulate the people who are dedicating a reasonable amount of time to the internet release of these serious documents which enlighten us in our current predicament.
Let us therefore use these means without excess, let’s get the information where it is, and use it with intelligence.
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With regards to the recent events in the SSPX, one of you has asked me, at the end of January, to touch upon these events briefly. I am more than happy to do so.
Since my exile in Austrian Siberia, my eight-month house arrest, my interrogations, my appearance before a tribunal and my condemnation, have I perhaps become, despite my best intentions, an object of curiosity? I could have done without it, believe me, but since Menzingen wants it, I will not shy away from it.
What are these ‘recent events’? In chronological order:
November 8th 2013: The conclusion of the trial announced 8 months previously with the publication of the sentence. Nothing less than a suspensio a divinis.
December 12th 2013: Letter from Bp. Fellay notifying Father Pivert of the publication ban on the special edition of the magazine “Combat de la Foi Catholique” entitled “Our Relations with Rome”. To this letter is attached a 14-page study, “...which corroborates my judgement on this book”.
Christmas 2013: A retreat preached in Flavigny to the Brothers of the French District by Bishop Fellay’s First Assistant – the few notes which were published have aroused an understandable emotion; without exaggeration one could say this conference constitutes a grave scandal which calls for some explanation and reparation... maybe even a trial, why not! Multiplying these trials is probably the best way to perfect the judicial machine which doesn’t seem in perfect running order yet…
Early January 2014: The theft of Father Salenave’s private correspondence and his expulsion from the Swiss District, his meeting with Bishop Fellay on January 5th. This type of fraudulent activity will become commonplace in the Society…
January 16th 2014:Publication by Bishop Fellay of a Critique of the Critique of Father Pivert’s book, or a readjustment of this Critique!
January 19th 2014:Release of a ‘Letter to the Faithful’ signed by enough priests and religious to attract the attention of Father de Caqueray, who gave a conference in Mantes-la-Jolie on January 26th condemning this letter and accusing the signatories of the sin of precipitation.
This letter to the faithful must be read with its accompanying text: “Why I signed this ‘Letter to the Faithful’” by Father Bruno.
It is also appropriate to add the sermon by Father Jean (from the Capuchins in Morgon), given in Ambérieux with the permission of his Superior, that same Sunday 26th January.
It is a whole series of events linked with each other by the same cause which isn’t hard to identify.
To start with, I will talk a little about my trial and condemnation, first topic of the conference, and if time permits, I will talk about the events which followed.
On October 28th last year, at the end of an eight-month trial, Father Wuilloud signed my sentence of suspensio a divinis, for an indeterminate period… This sentence is one of the gravest sanctions which the Church can inflict on a priest; to be precise, I am forbidden absolutely and totally to exercise my priestly ministry in public or in private, I am left only with the recitation of the breviary and am allowed to wear my cassock. Of course, to merit such a punishment, you are allowed to think that I have gravely sinned. There can be no doubt.
What could I have done to go so low? I am glad that Bishop Fellay didn’t choose Fr. Gleize as judge, since he apparently said in a conference on his recent subversion: “Father Pinaud’s trial was conducted with indulgence, almost weakness, you don’t know the file! I’ve read it, and I would have been much more severe!”
These words, if they are his, surprise me: I didn’t know this timid priest was so ferocious… unless he too has become a “useful idiot” in the service of a cause which dishonours him… If I say “useful idiot” it is because that is how he described Father Salenave during that same conference in which he talks about “the agents of subversion, fully conscious and complicit, who act in darkness. They recruit naïve souls. Those who make themselves very public are often “useful idiots”; an example: Father Salenave…”
Thanks on his behalf!
To talk like this does not seem very honest because I know that when Father Salenave was in charge of the website antimoderniste.info, like other priests he asked his advice, and Fr. Gleize didn’t seem to consider this questions as subversive… I would not want to reveal his responses… maybe is it because of these responses that Father Gleize’s name is present in the line of questioning which Father Salenave went through before his appearance in front of his judges.
As for me, I have never been in contact with Father Gleize, but apparently he read my file, I don’t know how, and had he been my judge, he would have judged me more severely than with a mere suspensio a divinis… I leave you to imagine what was in that file, and to imagine what he could have invented to punish me: I can only think of the death penalty, which he would have given himself!!
He even mentions in his conference that “in the Middle Ages the Church had its prisons: one could neutralise subversive people. Jan Huss was burned at the stake.”
Once again, I must admit, I got off lightly.
Fr. “Theologian-of-the-SSPX”, have you lost your mind?
He read the file, but, ladies and gentlemen, you will now be able to do so as well and therefore make up your own mind.
This is not, however, Fr. de Caqueray’s advice, and actually, so as to keep you properly informed, I must warn you that he has now signed a letter dated 11th February which he sent to all the French District priories informing them that he had already called the book’s author, Fr. Pivert, forbidding him from publishing it. Admitting the failure of that attempt, he writes:
“...needless to say this book cannot be sold and circulated in our repositories and that one must not recommend it. It is an illusion to think that these kind of untimely initiatives will help the Society in the difficult times it is experiencing. I exhort you to prayer and penance.”
If there hadn’t been two trials, things could have been different. But when people undertake a trial, they have to bear the consequences.
And, Fr. de Caqueray, allow me to ask you the following question: “What does the reputation of one of your fellow priests, who was your subordinate for a very long time, mean to you?”
Allow me to remind you of what you told me on June 11th last year: “Be careful, they are capable of destroying your reputation once and for all”… whom were you talking about?
Fr. Beauvais, not wanting to stay passive after my condemnation was announced, called you to tell you he wanted to do something… do I need to remind you what your answer was? In any case you seem to have returned from Menzingen with your head once again turned!
As for the exhortation to prayer and penance, it is a turn of phrase which doesn’t cost much, it is always welcome, but it isn’t the appropriate remedy to make amends for lies and injustices.
Remember this quote from the Pere Calmel:
“These false spiritual people, who betrayed the obligations of honour and justice, have killed in their hearts the possibility of true contemplation; they have sunk into a prayer of lies. […] Charity for our neighbour does not make sense outside of the sense of honour. Therefore, not to defend the subordinates who are in our charge, to abandon them, to let them be calumniated, crushed, exiled, when we are their legitimate leaders, to give up on them, and to do so with pious words, in one word to behave as a coward, is evidently a lack of honour and justice, but is it also and at the same time, a grave lack of charity. The leader who behaves like this might be avoiding difficulties and problems for himself, but he commits an iniquity. After that you can tell me that he is a man of prayer, I will say to you that he is rather a pious hypocrite. He ignores one of the first obligations of active life, which is to love enough to practice justice, even to one’s own detriment.”
(Itinéraires No 76, The Contemplation of the Saints).
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But to come back to Fr. Gleize. Does his advice help the Society? Fr. de Caqueray might tell us it does, but either way this professor at Ecône doesn’t hesitate to give it.
I will now tell you of the private advice of a fellow priest who, after reading that same file, sent the following letter to the members of the council and to the Bishops on November 17th 2013: he has been a priest for 6 or 7 years, and it might be important to say that I practically do not know him.
This letter was sent to the three Bishops, to the two assistants, and to Father de Caqueray, to the three members of the tribunal and to the condemned one:
In your function as Bishop of the Tradition, in charge of this formidable burden of being a light and a sure guide for the confused faithful in these times of crisis, I am writing to inform you of my protest and to tell you of my grief in the current situation.
I protest with all my strength against the sentence which has been rendered towards Father Pinaud. The news is spreading at the moment like wildfire: Father Pinaud, after an eight-month trial (eight months!) has been suspended of all power of order and jurisdiction, and this without any limit in time. “Silence means consent”, it is said, and I wouldn’t want to condone such a condemnation with my silence.
On a first reading, the ridiculous competes with the grotesque in this sentencing.
Let us remember that Archbishop Lefebvre was declared suspended a divinis – unjustly, no doubt – for an act which was nevertheless a serious matter in canonical terms, performing priestly ordinations without the express consent of the Roman authorities. We see here the very same sentence brandished for having corrected some spelling mistakes and having approved in private a document which was judged subversive.
But a reading of the penal precept shows that the heart of the problem was never touched upon. The case of Father Pinaud was linked to that of Father Rioult like a wagon to an engine, and was judged by analysing acts without ever taking into consideration the reasons behind these acts. That is how the Roman authorities in their day judged Archbishop Lefebvre, examining the act and knowingly omitting the circumstances which had pushed him to act in this way. How is it possible to punish a colleague of ours with the heaviest possible sentence – as even the ability to say Mass has been taken away – without examining the reasons behind his actions? Since when do we judge an act without examining the circumstances which surround it and in particular the reasons which motivated it?
At the end [of the sentence], however, at reason number 6, the heart of the problem is mentioned, but only as a sign of pertinacity. We read: “Not only has Father Pinaud approved a letter which incites to division, but he also persists in the reasons which led him to act like this”, reasons which are merely mentioned in passing but still have never been examined. Each of the articles of the code is scrutinised under a magnifying glass, yet they avoid the real substance of the problem, as some would strain at gnats and swallow a camel. How can our Society legitimise such procedures? I object to this condemnation which is an offence to justice and beg your Excellency to act and nullify this sentence.
But beyond a protest which I saw as my duty to formulate, I want to examine the cause and testify to my grief at seeing our Society thus torn apart. At the meeting of French Priors which was held in Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet [Paris] on November 8th 2013, Father Nely was telling us that unity needed to be restored. There is truly work to be done in that area, and it is a true resurrection we need, because unfortunately, whether it is doctrinal unity or the bond of charity, one can only observe the total disappearance of both.
How could we really have doctrinal unity when we see at the top a division between two contradictory ways of speaking: April 2012 and the other texts dating back to this period on the one hand; April 2013 and similar declarations, on the other hand. This crack runs right the way down to the base and leaves our Society divided into two camps: the priests resolutely opposed to the April 2012 declaration, and those who silently or enthusiastically support it. This declaration isn’t dead since it was withdrawn only for extrinsic reasons, because it divided us, or because it wasn’t properly understood. Only the text itself has been withdrawn, not the ideas which underpin it and still live on, ideas which are expressed elsewhere, in other texts, text which haven’t been withdrawn at all. These ideas are actually the real motive behind Father Rioult’s attitude, Father Pinaud’s trial, and the departure of numerous zealous albeit sometimes excessive priests. How many more priests will we continue to lose and how many priests will you have to account for before God?
This April 2012 Declaration was without doubt meant to be clever, but it has now effectively become ambiguous, to the point where one needs a special pair of glasses to understand the ideas behind it. These ambiguities have not been retracted but only laid aside, and they continue to divide us, much more so than all the websites put together. The best proof of that is that there are still websites formulating criticism which is more or less gimmicky, from ‘Virgo Maria’ to ‘Le Forum Catholique’… These sites had only managed to worry a few tormented faithful and never to divide us profoundly. It is therefore obvious that the cause of our ills is not to be found on the internet, which has only served as a catalyst.
As for the bond of charity, I can only observe that it as good as no longer exists. We have entered into a warlike war frame of mind, and civil war too. A lot of wounds were still bleeding, and Father Pinaud’s trial, far from bringing appeasement, might well open new wounds. A Society without brotherly charity or doctrinal unity, we will soon be a body without a soul, a gathering of priests united by the common table they are sitting at but no longer united in their hearts. Such ‘unity’ cannot last long, as alas the example the Institute of the Good Shepherd shows.
Excellency, in the face of so many ills, your episcopate gives you the means to act. The wicked sentence against Father Pinaud is only the result of a more profound ill which will end up ruining the fight for the faith if you do not remedy it. Priests and faithful have their eyes on the teaching Church. How much longer will we continue to tear each other apart?
This letter has turned from protest to supplication to implore your Excellency to bring us back to peace, tranquillity and order. It is not through sanctions that this peace will return, but by mending the breaches, by tending to the wounds they have caused, and by restoring a clear, coherent doctrinal line around which priests and faithful will rally. It’s not just a question of the Society, but the fight for the faith, the defence of Tradition for which the one to whom we all owe our priesthood, Archbishop Lefebvre, gave more than his life.
Your Excellency, please forgive the somewhat vivacious tone of this letter. This is not the time for smooth and aseptic words, when one sees priests such as Father Pinaud being treated the way they are, when the Society is so divided, when the fight for the faith is made so fragile.
Please accept your Excellency…etc, etc.”
I admit it is a little long, but it has the merit of being clear and I admire the courage of this young priest whom I would now like to thank.
I do not think I am mistaken in saying that this priest has only received one response, that of Bishop Tissier which he read to me. I remember that Bishop Tissier wrote that my “sentence was null because the formal cooperation of which [I am] accused is non-existent.”
I already knew Bishop Tissier’s opinion on the matter as he had written exactly the same thing to the Superior of a religious community who had told me so.
Bishop Tissier ends by noting the firm tone of the above letter, whilst not reproaching its author for it, and then he adds: “As for me, I am not a candidate for suicide!”
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Here is another judgement, this time from another young priest, and one who isn’t a candidate for suicide either! Asked by one of his faithful who was horrified by the severity of the sentence, he replied as follows: “A tribunal of the Holy Roman Catholic Church has rendered a judgement, I have nothing to add!”
I am not sure this formula will make history but maybe is it only the sign of human prudence, because, as we know, times are dangerous, and it is not good to say out loud what one thinks when the thought police go as far as punishing the correction of a few spelling mistakes! This is unheard of in all the history of the French language!
Well anyway, if Bishop Tissier has written to others about my condemnation, he has written a letter to me, on 31st December 2013, but I only got the letter on January 27th, because life as a homeless priest doesn’t make corresponding by letter any easier!
I will read you a few sections of this letter, and in doing so I am imitating Bishop Fellay, who, in his revised criticism of Father Pivert’s book sent to priests on 16th January, also quotes Bishop Tissier; but I will imitate Bishop Fellay with this difference, I will not insert my own comments in between the paragraphs like he did…
Here is what Bishop Tissier writes to me:
“It seems to me, based on the papers which I have read:
That there is on your behalf only a material and non-formal cooperation to the editing of this “Letter of the 37” and no proven cooperation to its publication;
That the sentence which was rendered against you should have been limited to a specified timescale or until your repentance, which is nowhere to be found in the sentence;
That the sentence should have taken into account the time already spent under house arrest and without apostolate in Jaidhof;
That the public minister, or the prosecutor (the same thing) from the headquarters could not be the assessor, to be precise the judge, according to the saying “no one can be judge of their own cause.” And it seems that Father Quilton occupied two positions: he wrote the act of accusation and he was the judge! Canon 1613 seems to forbid such a combination: «Judex cognoscendam ne suscipiat causam (…) in qua antea advocatum aut procuratorem egerit» [ “A judge may not take on a case in which he has previously acted as advocate or procurator.”-Trans.]. If this canon does not have in mind exactly that type of case, then the analogy of the law according to canon 20 must be applied
Finally, it seems to me that sum total renders the sentence null.
Finally on the substance of the sentence: it practically forces you to leave the Society. I beg of you not to do so at all, but to appeal this sentence.
Furthermore, in place of the lawyer who was denied to you, you should have chosen another lawyer - Father Ramon Angles would have been an excellent one - or at least enlist the help of a canonical counsel for the writing of your defensio.
If the first pages of your defensio were excellent, the rest was unnecessary: you were putting Bishop Fellay on trial, which is outside of your competence as defendant and accused and you made your case worse by attacks you should have absolutely kept out of a tribunal.
Here is my advice, Father…”
It is only advice, but it is quite interesting. His advice to choose Fr. Angles as my lawyer was of course a little bit too late on 31st December 2013, but it so happens that I had contacted Fr. Angles, on July 7th 2013…
Fr. Angles was one of the three lawyers who had been offered by my judges after they refused Fr. Pivert without any avowed reason…
This proposal, coming as it did from my judges, didn’t exactly inspire me with confidence – as you will understand – but on the advice of a colleague who is amongst the most senior men in the Society, who assured me that Fr. Angles was extremely competent and especially that he wouldn’t be gullible or let himself be intimidated by Menzingen, one Sunday afternoon I decided to call this friendly fellow priest.
Fr. Angles said he was astonished to learn that the Tribunal had recommended him along side Father Puga and Father Laroche as potential lawyers.
“What idiot put my name on this list?” he blurted out, “I cannot be your lawyer because I am legal counsel to Bishop Fellay! And need I tell you, if you are in the Resistance, that’s not my cup of tea, because we really need an agreement, it is necessary, otherwise we are going to end up schismatic. Look at Bishop Fellay, he has more power than the Pope! It is unbearable. I have resigned from my post as Superior because I do not want to condone this attitude anymore. Unfortunately an agreement can’t be made under Bishop Fellay, he has completely discredited himself; he cannot say two words without sowing doubt all over the globe.”
Then he went on to ask me some questions in order to understand my situation, asked me if I had had meetings with the superiors, especially Bishop Fellay. I told him I hadn’t had the slightest contact from a single superior… he asked me to read him the famous Penal Decree which I was under since March 7th and which intrigued him quite a bit.
After reading the opening words: “Invoking the Holy Name of God...”, I heard a great roar of laughter. “It’s theatre,” he told me, “a great comedy orchestrated so as to impress you. This penal decree is ridiculous and what’s more it is null… You know, this administrative procedure from the 1983 code, it is an easy way for the Superior-General to punish you without having to do so himself”.
Our conversation lasted two hours, and I truly regretted that Father Angles could not be my lawyer. Before hanging up, he pointedly advised me to be extremely careful:
“They are capable of anything, make copies of all your documents, and keep them under lock and key”.
That wasn’t very reassuring, but I had already had some experience in the matter… and it isn’t very pleasant to find out – and this is only one example – that your name has been used to trick your friends. Identity fraud is a lie, that’s pretty obvious, but the prosecutor, who is a professor of Moral Theology at the Ecône seminary, calls it a “a mental reservation”.
I don’t recommend you ask him to be your spiritual director, him and some others…
Fr. Gleize complains that “Confidence in Ecône and in the teaching community there is being destroyed: especially in Fr. Quilton who read the indictment.”
What can I do about it… “contra factum…” [“One cannot argue with the facts.” - Trans.] Read the indictment; you will be astonished by the talent of the man who wrote it. Because it was an indictment, he thought he could write anything he liked! He has the makings of a true novelist!
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Just as I have never been able to find out the criteria for selecting my judges, these same judges themselves refused, without giving any reasons, to let Fr. Pivert assist me. I didn’t know him, but I had chosen him for my lawyer upon the advice of a good priest from my ordination class who had assured me of his great knowledge. I do not regret it.
If you read the acts of the trials [in Fr. Pivert’s book] you will understand that Fr. Pivert wasn’t rejected for his lack of competence, but maybe rather for being too competent!
I want to take this opportunity to express publicly tonight my profound gratitude for his legal assistance without fail all throughout this judiciary adventure. I confess I have learnt more about canon law during these last few months than during all my years in seminary.
It’s always the same, practice makes perfect!
Of the three names offered as a replacement to my personal choice (Fr. Pivert), only two therefore remained, Fr. Puga and Fr. Laroche, since Fr. Angles couldn’t be my lawyer.
So I called Fr. Puga, but after hesitating a while he declined the mission: “I do not want to endorse the discrimination which can be the only motive for refusing Fr. Pivert as your lawyer. He is, by the way, much more competent than I am. It is a purely arbitrary refusal and it is totally unacceptable.”
This refusal seemed to me legitimate and even honourable but I regretted it even more that I had greatly appreciated the finesse of his defence speech during Fr. Salenave’s trial. You can read that too, it is published in the chapter about Fr. Salenave’s trial [in Fr. Pivert’s book].
That left Fr. Laroche, who had been my professor of canon law. I admit, I didn’t dare call him for fear he would remember his student only too well, and his student also remembered that in the three years he taught us, this professor was not able to tell us which code we should be following: that of 1917 or that of 1983.
So I represented myself, though not quite on my own, since, as I was telling you earlier, Fr. Pivert always immediately answered all the questions I had; and numerous other priests, young and less young, read and reread my speeches, gave me their own observations, remarks, opinions, advice, sometimes very judiciously; but I must also thank some lay people who gave me precious advice, as much on the form as on the ideas behind it.
All this is good, you will tell me, but the question remains: what can Fr. Pinaud have done to be so severely punished?
One could also wonder, in an affirmative way, “What he did must have been extremely serious to deserve this severe sanction.” That’s true, and that is what makes the trial interesting. It is one of the reasons which persuaded me not to avoid it.
Imagine if I had been punished without trial – like most of my fellow priests – you could really say : “He must have done something very serious for his superior to punish him like this… let us keep our imagination in check… what could have happened at Couloutre?… one can imagine all sorts of things…”
But what is interesting in a trial, is that the accusations become public – on March 7th 2013 Fr. Thouvenot published urbi et orbi a gravely calumniating letter – and everyone can access it… that is the reason for the publication of the acts of the trials in their entirety.
It is impossible to say, as Bishop Fellay said recently to the author of an article summing up this entire affair:“You do not know everything Sir, this trial is only the tip of the iceberg”.
No, Bishop Fellay, if you were honest you wouldn’t say such things. Since it is a trial, the sentence must necessarily correspond to the charge and the victim must necessarily have had the possibility to defend himself before knowing the sentence, otherwise the whole trial would only be a dishonest undertaking…
So what did I do?
I confess it without any regret and you can verify it by reading the book:
I corrected a few unforgivable spelling mistakes in a document which was sent to me in private, for private advice.
This document has become and will remain famous, it is worth re-reading it, it can be found in the acts where it figures as a piece of evidence, and it is known as the ‘Letter of the 37’.
The March 7th memorandum from Fr. Thouvenot asserts that this open letter to Bishop Fellay contains calumnies, detraction, disparaging remarks and mix-ups.
In his circular about this same document, Fr. de Caqueray used the following terms: “lies”, “attitudes which are not based on anything objective”, “irrational distrust”.
It is very easy to talk about lies, attitudes which are based on nothing objective, irrational distrust, mix-ups, detraction, calumnies, and more, but all these terms do not by themselves refute any of the said facts.
I readily believe the three fellow priests who have told me that Fr. de Caqueray regretted these terms which he had employed to compromise with Menzingen, once again.
For instance, when I read in this open letter to Bishop Fellay:
“For more than 13 years, Bishop Fellay has authorised a priest not to cite the name of the Pope and the local Bishop in the Canon of the Mass, (this was after the signature of a document by Catholics and Protestants) and he told this priest he understood his choice!”
There is no calumny, no detraction, no mix-up. This is no lie. I know this priest and he is currently member of the SSPX.
After that, the accusations of sedevacantism which are meant to be disqualifying seem to me uncalled for.
As for the letter itself: I was in no way the inspiration behind it. And despite what the Penal Decree signed by Bishop Fellay says, I didn’t write it, I didn’t circulate it, and I can add that I would never have written it or circulated it if its author hadn’t done so. But I do admit that I did correct a few unforgivable spelling mistakes… which my judges learnt about through the theft of my private correspondence with Fr. Rioult.
My suspension a divinis therefore punishes the correction of a few spelling mistakes…
When I think that in school I always lost marks for leaving spelling mistakes in my work, and now I am being punished for correcting them… it shouldn’t be said that nothing ever changes, on the contrary, everything changes!
That is the reason for my exile in Jaidhof, my eight-month detention and for this sentence… they could only reproach me with the correction of a few spelling mistakes… and on the basis of stolen correspondence…
It is interesting to reread how the Secretary-General [Fr. Thouvenot] announced it in his letter to all our priories around the globe and to the communities allied to the Society:
“In close collaboration with Bishop Williamson, Fr. Olivier Rioult is the mastermind behind this enterprise of insubordination, together with Fr. Nicolas Pinaud and Fr. Matthieu Salenave. They enjoy the support of other priests, some of whom have recently been expelled from the Society for subversive acts, as well as some lay people very experienced in the use of the internet and internet forums with seditious goals. These priests will not back down and say they will go on to the end.
So as to completely tear away the mask from these agitators who have lost view of the obligations of their priestly vocations, they have been told today that they are not to exercise their priestly functions, and that they had to go to other priories. An ecclesiastical trial will be held against them, unless they prefer to remain in their disobedience, in which case they will be expelled from the Society.”
During my trial, I remember well, one of my judges, obviously embarrassed, never looked me in the eye. I wonder if Fr. Thouvenot will ever look me in the eye again?
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Unfortunately, the precautions taken by Bishop Fellay towards me, that is the eight months of isolation and solitude, do not seem to have had the desired effect: that I cease thinking that Bishop Fellay committed, not “imprecisions” (as he himself recognised in the Summer 2012 edition of Cor Unum, or “ambiguities”, as Fr. de Caqueray maintains, having put a lot of water in his wine these days), but grave errors which have never been amended and which are mainly expressed in that terrible declaration of 15th April 2012.
I say this, “...without abandoning myself to passions and emotions, but looking, with calm composure, as a Catholic and as a man, for the greatest objectivity”, to paraphrase the terms used by the Superior of the French District this past January 26th.
My defence gave me the opportunity to express this very clearly, I think, but also, unfortunately, to aggravate my case to such a point that I became worthy of the death penalty:
Here is the true motive for my punishment:
No 6 – Furthermore, Father Pinaud has shown no regret about the whole thing; on the contrary, he continues to formulate critiques against his Superiors; in his last defence he went as far as saying: “Because of the numerous concessions made to the Council and unacceptable conciliar reforms, the doctrinal declaration of April 15th 2012, by itself, constitutes a peril for the faith which legitimates this revolt, because this Doctrinal Declaration is not a “minimalist” text, as Bishop Fellay wrote in the editorial of Cor Unum No 102.”
That’s the mortal sin – not the correction of a few spelling mistakes in that ‘Letter of the 37’ – Father Wuilloud hasn’t actually shown much regard for spelling in his letters - but on the contrary, rejecting the recognition of the legitimacy of the New Mass, that comes with a high price.
I have no regrets, for my trial gave me the opportunity to publicly pose these questions:
Your Excellency, do you maintain your acceptance of the new Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity to assume a new charge within the Church? (DD II note 1)
Your Excellency, do you maintain that the new mass and the new sacraments were legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II? (DD III, §7)
Your Excellency, do you maintain that Archbishop Lefebvre accepted in 1988 the “legitimacy or the legality of the Novus Ordo Missae)”? (your presentation note of the Doctrinal Declaration published in Cor Unum No 104)
Your Excellency, do you maintain your acceptation of the new Code of 1983? (DD III, §8)
To this day, only one response has been given to me: a suspension a divinis! Bishop Tissier wrote to me:
“If the first pages of your defensio were excellent, the rest was unnecessary: you were putting Bishop Fellay on trial, which is outside of your competence as defendant and accused and you made your case worse by attacks you should have absolutely kept out of a tribunal. ”.
Well, no! Your Most Reverend Excellency Bishop Tissier, I did not spend eight months in Jaidhof and I didn’t voluntarily appear before my judges at Schlieren on 19th October 2013 at 1.30pm to talk about spelling, but to talk seriously about grave matters which have mortally wounded the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X. Even at the price of my life. It was a question of honour.
To pretend or to seek a compromise as Fr. Petrucci encouraged me to do, since he wanted to see this comedy over quickly, was a compromise whose consequences would have been far too heavy for me.
By going from cowardice to cowardice, I realise now, one can become a bandit.
I preferred the punishment and I give thanks to God for that, but I consider this suspension a divinis as an honour – may God give me more fidelity in his service, as it is not only a matter of being faithful today but every day til the end. And only those who are faithful to the end will be saved.
Bishop Williamson chose “Fideles Inveniamur” as his episcopal motto: it is a whole program indeed, to be found faithful!
- - - - - -
I have said enough on this political trial but you can read everything in the book on the trials of Frs. Salenave and Pinaud.
A few words on the events which followed:
On November 8th 2013, Fr. Nely said to the French priors that “unity had to be restored”.
That same November 8th, while Father Nely was saying this, the Superior of the Austrian District – after having forgotten it in his office for a week – was giving me the sentence announcing that I was suspended a divinis.
Was this sentence going to restore unity? Allow me to doubt it, but after all this condemnation is only about one man. When a man dies the whole of society is not in peril.
But events did not stop there, it must be said, actions for the “restoration of unity” on the part of Menzingen began to multiply!
A month after my sentence, on 12th December, another priest came under attack: Fr. Pivert was banned from releasing his book “Archbishop Lefebvre - our Relations with Rome”.
About 3000 copies have been sold since its release in July 2013, it is therefore a great success, which means that this work was awaited and answers a real need.
3000 copies of a book without pictures, at a time when reading isn’t really an activity in demand, on a topic which is not very attractive… it is an excellent result.
Why does Bishop Fellay intervene only now, six months after the book’s release, which is basically until after the time of circulation is finished, to declare that it is banned and to condemn its contents, which, apparently “twist Archbishop Lefebvre’s position”. Which position? Archbishop Lefebvre’s position with regards to an agreement with Rome.
So Fr. Pivert is supposed to have falsely interpreted Archbishop Lefebvre’s position, this is apparently the Superior-General’s judgement on a book six months after its publication, and after he himself failed in his attempt to sign a practical agreement with Rome without a doctrinal agreement first.
I use the term ‘apparently’ because Bishop Fellay’s motivation is not founded on any work that he personally has done - at any rate he hasn’t published such work, if it exists - but on an anonymous critique which was sent to the author as a justification of the sanction.
It is interesting to note today what Fr. de Caqueray was writing in his famous official commentary on the 27th June Declaration, regarding Fr. Pivert’s book:
“I bring to your attention the fact that the book written by Fr. Pivert has not been banned from circulation by the SSPX headquarters. It is a rumour without foundation, circulated in the “Courrier de Tychique” by Mr Max Barret, who has maintained that I let the book be sold against the authorisation of our Superiors. The reality is that our Superiors have never asked me to withdraw this book from sale. I have asked Mr Barret to rectify this mistake.”
Don’t you want to laugh? What’s Fr. de Caqueray going to ask Mr Barret today??
Today Fr. de Caqueray explains that this whole affair should have remained internal and even very discreet because he rebuked Fr. Pivert for having sent to all his fellow priests, for their information, Bishop Fellay’s letter and the anonymous letter attached to it.
Father de Caqueray has explained that he wished to solve this affair with “obedience and courtesy”, and I do not doubt, with good humour as well… Does Father de Caqueray realise that he is compromising himself more and more every day?
And this discretion surprises me, because it seems to ignore reparation towards the 3000 buyers of the book? If Father Pivert really twisted Bishop Lefebvre’s position in his successful book, truth must be re-established publicly… 3000 readers misled, that seems like a grave matter to me. Never mind the readers misled by a book which falsely interprets Archbishop Lefebvre’s position; what matters is not reparation but internal condemnation…
Father Jean has explained it for us in very simple terms in his sermon of 26th January when he asserts that:
“The condemnation of Fr. Pivert’s book is because he is defending the old principle. No need to look elsewhere. Why is Fr. Pivert’s book now banned from circulation in the [SSPX] priories? Well, because he defends the principle which we have held for 25 years and which is now being abandoned. That is all. And if you have understood that, you will understand a lot of concrete, practical things.”
What is this old principle? It is this one:
No practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement first… and that was officially the only principle until 2010.
My stay in Jaidhof has given me the opportunity to re-read all the editorials of Cor Unum since 1994, which is to say since Bishop Fellay has been the Superior-General of the SSPX.
And I can show you that this principle, if it was that of Archbishop Lefebvre, was also that of Bishop Fellay, which leads us to think that Fr. Pivert did not “falsely interpret Archbishop Lefebvre’s position”…
I will proceed to read you a few sections from the editorials of Cor Unum , which is the internal bulletin of the Society, and which were thus written by Bishop Fellay. It will be a bit long, but I think the effort will be worth your while:
“We must expect that Rome will try to make us part of the universalistic amalgam, where we would end up being offered a place “amongst the others”… we could think that the temptation to go back to being “officially recognised” would be great, in proportion with the offers that ecumenical Rome will make us; by refusing to enter into this game of confusion, we will look like the bad guys”.
“We must flee like the plague from the desire for a prelature, the spirit of the world which comes from pride and a lack of the spirit of faith.”
“The temptation of being officially recognised, that is approved by the official Church, is strong in some circles close to us. If we do intend to be recognised one day, we are not ready to bargain to get there. The spiritual assets we are guarding are far too precious to be risked in such an attempt.”
“In such an attempt, one necessarily looks for the smallest common denominators, one highlights points of agreement, or, on the contrary, one downplays the points of disagreement… this introduces confusion and unease among the faithful who no longer understand what is happening. Whereas, on the contrary, the current confusion requires doctrinal reminders and a practical attitude that is as clear as possible. No Trad-ecumenism with us.”
“Be wary of false charity, which we condemn in the ecumenical attitude.”
“What an honour to serve the Church thus, in the general incomprehension; what a joy to be able to suffer something and in this hidden way, in the name of Jesus.”
“It is necessary to distinguish, as Archbishop Lefebvre did in his November 21st 1974 declaration, between eternal Rome and modernist Rome.”
“One must avoid any attitude of compromise which could, if only ‘a little’, diminish the strength and the demands of Catholic Faith and discipline. The Fraternity of St Peter is giving a lamentable example of this spirit of compromise, typically liberal. Step by step, the Ecclesia Dei has made them give in and is pushing them always further into “the reality of the Church”, the conciliar Church. The way that Rome is treating them shows quite clearly that we are not dealing with friends of the Tradition in Rome. They have moved on from it and we are now only a nuisance to them.”
“… The Vatican approached us at the end of last year through Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and has made us a proposition for an agreement.”
“… but if the intention of our Roman counterparts plays a very important role in our evaluation of the situation, the question of good faith or good will plays no role at all. And, to resolve the question of the opportunity of our Roman discussion, the evaluation of the intention of our Roman counterparts is not enough either; we must be on an objective level, that of the facts.”
“It is clear that Rome’s approach looks to us like an ambush.”
“The situation in Rome isn’t ripe. What Rome is offering us is not what we have been waiting for, the return of Rome to Tradition. The doctrinal gap is immense, our perspectives on the Church are totally different, trust is impossible. To maintain the pressure and attention of the Church on the cause of Tradition, all we have left is to try to get Rome into doctrinal discussions.
Some priests of the Fraternity of St Peter have talked to us about their concerns in our regard: that we do not walk into the trap they walked into! Very legitimate distrust [on their part]!”
“In this atmosphere of war and rumours of war, we must talk about a danger which looms on the horizon. And this one causes us even more grief and preoccupation as it concerns an old friend: Campos. The priests of the Priestly Union of St John Mary Vianney have decided to make a separate agreement with Rome. Are they going to let go, abandon the fight? It is too soon to tell, they are adamant they are not. Here is a brief summary of the events which took place and which are making us fear for them:
. . .
I asked Bishop de Galarreta to go and meet immediately with Bishop Rangel to try and put a stop to that process so doubtful, hidden, and conducted behind our backs. Bishop de Galarreta ended up having two meetings with the Council of the Priestly Union; they are as one; they have an answer for everything, they don’t even discuss it anymore, they justify themselves.
Bishop Rangel says: “That’s your opinion, we have another. It is a question of prudence, and we have another point of view.”
They insist that they intend to continue the same fight, that they remain our friends.
Amongst the arguments given to justify going their separate ways, one can find a bit of everything, arguments which we had never heard from these otherwise remarkable priests. “One must receive with a good spirit what comes from Rome, in other words, be willing to see the good in it”.
“One must not only refuse to be sedevacantist on paper; one must not only obey in law but in facts…” “To refuse the Roman offer would be schismatic”.
All the arguments based on facts, on declarations and actions of Rome on the Fraternity of St Peter for instance, were answered with: “We are different from the Fraternity of St Peter”…
Here’s what Rome is offering, as far as we know: a personal prelature, one more Bishop. The exclusivity of the traditional rite (1962), but the obligation to ask the permission of the local Bishop when Mass is celebrated extra muros or when they wish to open a new place of worship.”
“A prevarication such as Assisi requires this public confession… which we have not heard coming from Campos. The situation would only be interesting again if they suddenly began to resist and were in conflict with modernist Rome.
. . .
Archbishop Lefebvre said in his time that the essential condition for an agreement with Rome is that they accept us as we are. We could add, as a conclusion to his letter to the future bishops: the return of Rome to Tradition. This condition, no more than the first, is not fulfilled, on the contrary.”
“Dear fellow priests, let us not be fooled by the attractive aspect of the proposal: there is another side to the coin.”
“We have a strange feeling. That of not being on the same planet as our Roman counterparts. Only that. And in such circumstances, obviously, signing an agreement would be a catastrophe. It would at least give the appearance that we disavow the last 30 years of glorious resistance which we have just gone through. Even if it were only for the spectators of this strange and formidable battle, we cannot simply go back into the ‘ranks’.”
“There is no doubt that we must pursue the line which was given to us by our founder: very firm on the doctrine of the Church, without compromise or aiming to please so as to obtain partial, and ultimately extremely dangerous, advantages, but at the same time full of mercy towards those who would come to us.”
“The audience went fairly well in the sense that the Pope’s kindness was noticeable. But we have also been able to confirm that Benedict XVI is a Pope of the Second Vatican Council and because of his vision of things, it seems to him impossible to renounce or reject the Council. On the contrary, even if he were ready to grant us the old Mass and a proportionate structure, however everything in the audience indicated that he expected from us the same acceptance and the same impregnation of the Council in our minds.”
“It is obvious for us, without neglecting the canonical aspect, that if the heart of the problem is not tackled and solved in its principle, we’d be building on a floating base, which would bring storms as grave as those which rage today.
Furthermore, the concrete situation of the official Church is such today that in itself it renders all conviviality impossible. To survive, we must keep the autonomy which we have currently. Only on the day when the fundamental principle of Tradition will be firmly anchored again will we be able to go forward on this practical level.”
“To want to do otherwise, to precipitate a practical agreement without the doctrinal foundation, would be suicide.”
Is it necessary to continue?
Father Jean said: “The condemnation of Father Pivert’s book is because he defends the old principle”.
I suppose that all the quotes I just gave and which are were all written by Bishop Fellay put in evidence this old principle…
And after that they try to make people believe that Fr. Pivert’s book falsely twists Archbishop Lefebvre’s position! Not to us!
After what we just heard on the Fraternity of Saint Peter, it is interesting to come back to this anonymous critique which Father Pivert received from Bishop Fellay.
You might have read it, since it is available on the internet – on one hand not everyone agrees on its interpretation of the book itself , and on the other hand some paragraphs caused a scandal because they promote the Ecclesia Dei institutes…
Fr. Salenave, when he met with Bishop Fellay in a one-on-one meeting on Sunday 5th January in the afternoon, complained about these sections that he could not, in conscience, accept.
Bishop Fellay told him he couldn’t remember it anymore and that he had to re-read the text to evaluate it…
Did Bishop Fellay even read the document and Father Pivert’s book? One could wonder…
Who are they kidding?
Fr. de Caqueray himself reacted to the reading to this anonymous critique. What was his reaction to the [Fr. Pfluger] retreat notes which the Brothers sent him? I don’t know... But I know that he wrote to the Superior-General and his Assistants about this matter. Fr. Pfluger answered him, and a fellow priest who has read the letter told me it was insulting.
This letter starts with “Enough is enough!”, an expression which I used in my last letter to Bishop Fellay on 14th. January Because really, “enough is enough!”
Fr. Pfluger doesn’t hesitate to rebuke Fr. de Caqueray for his attitude towards the “compromisers” [with Rome], and at the same time Bishop Fellay in his readjustment of this anonymous critique wants us to believe that his opinion of Ecclesia Dei hasn’t changed.
Who to believe and what to believe?
Bishop Fellay wants us to believe– despite the signification of the words used in the critique of Fr. Pivert’s book – that the position of the Society towards the Ecclesia Dei groups hasn’t changed.
But he doesn’t say anything about the conference the First Assistant gave to the Brothers of the French District in Flavigny. A Conference which confirms the change in the Society’s position towards the Ecclesia Dei groups. Who are they kidding?
All this reveals a certain frame of mind.
And it is this which finished convincing our fellow priests to react through this Address to the Faithful.
So, aware of the imminent release of this letter through leaks, Fr. de Caqueray did all he could to prevent this letter from being released, trying to dissuade priests from maintaining their signatures on it, or from signing to begin with it at all, and this through numerous promises of doing something major which would force Menzingen to make reparation for these renewed injustices…
What definitive action took place? What happened?
The coup of the June 27th  declaration!
Allow me to explain: in mid-June 2013, Fr. de Caqueray wrote to Bishop Fellay to request the solemn retraction of this ‘Declaration on the occasion of the 25 years of episcopate’, as for him this Declaration was “scandalous”, and if he didn’t obtain this retraction, he was talking about resigning or some other definitive action of equal importance…
What happened? Instead of a retraction, we were given another unsatisfactory declaration, which Fr. de Caqueray hurried to comment at length so as to reassure everyone:
“Let us fight without bitter zeal, without tiredness and bitterness. If it so happens that we believe our Superiors are not fighting the way we think they should, let us talk to them but let us not murmur amongst ourselves”.
Is it difficult to realise that the Superiors are constantly giving us contradictory orders?
Would not letting ourselves be satisfied with this mean refusing to look reality in the face?
Refusing to admit reality is one thing, but twisting the truth is another.
How can Fr. de Caqueray maintain on 26th January that the Declaration of April 15th 2012 had provoked strong emotions in some because it contained ambiguous explanations, but that Bishop Fellay had recognised that and had withdrawn it?
How can he say that, the same man who said to me on 11th June 2013: “This supposedly withdrawn Declaration, since its publication in Cor Unum has become an amplified Declaration,” because it had to be withdrawn not because of its contents, but because of those who didn’t understand it.
How can he say: “This break, this fissure, when all’s said and done is only the result of a giant misunderstanding?”
Why a misunderstanding? “Because,” Bishop Fellay supposedly said to him during a recent telephone conversation, “to depend on conciliar Rome would be suicidal,” and that is also what the signatory priests are thinking.
We would have waited till January 2014 to discover a giant misunderstanding!
Was Bishop Fellay’s response to DICI in early June 2012 also a misunderstanding?
This was the question:
“Are you ready to accept that future developments might only be possible with the permission of the Bishop in the dioceses where the Society is not currently present?”
Bishop Fellay replied:
“It is still true - since it is Church law - that in order to open a new chapel or to found a work, it would be necessary to have the permission of the local ordinary. We have quite obviously reported to Rome how difficult our present situation was in the dioceses, and Rome is still working on it. Here or there, this difficulty will be real, but since when is life without difficulties?”
Which Bishop Fellay should we believe: the one of the telephone conversation in January 2014 or the one of June 2012? And I could come up with such examples of contradictions until the sun rises tomorrow morning…
Who does Fr. de Caqueray think he is fooling, when he wants us to believe that it is only a “giant misunderstanding”?
But since he thinks this is a giant misunderstanding, Fr. de Caqueray thinks that “Bishop Fellay will do everything in his power so that things do not remain this way.”
It is well known, “promises, like pie-crust, are made to be broken!”
I told you at the beginning, he gives me the impression of a mouse caught by a cat that is playing with it…
The last remark of a lucid faithful during that conference in January was this one:
“Bishop Fellay’s actions need to be in harmony with his speeches and he needs to be seen as the head of all the Society”.
The embarrassment of the District Superior [Fr. de Caqueray] can be seen, but what is incomprehensible is that after his exhortation to the faithful “not to be stupid”, he adds, “if the Society really sways and changes direction, well it will be visible by everyone and no one is saying that now”.
No one is saying it?
The letter of the three Bishops in April 2012 was already saying it:
“Are we not already seeing in the Society symptoms of this diminution of the confession of the Faith?”
And since this letter, almost every month infuriated fellow priests and religious communities rise to say it. Can’t you hear them?
Fr. Altamira was shouting last month:
“We priests must say “enough is enough!” and I believe that our patience has already been excessive.”
As to the precipitation which we are accused of, I am in a good position to appreciate it, having waited, without a valid reason, eight months for a trial which dishonours the Society! I will end this long speech with this extract from Fr. Jean’s sermon which sums up the situation so well:
“The division is in the minds of the people in our traditionalist world; in our priories, in our convents. That’s it. It is in the minds, because there are minds who profess a principle held for years, which Archbishop Lefebvre left us, and there are those who do not admit this principle anymore, who say that this principle is not valid anymore, that it isn’t good. That’s the problem. So what is this principle? I think most of you have already understood. It is the principle that we cannot sign a practical or canonical agreement with the Roman authorities if we do not agree, first of all, on the doctrine, if we do not profess the same truths”.
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"Viva Cristo Rey!"