The following letter is the (at the time of writing) latest newsletter by Fr. Gerardo Zendejas. It is taken from the website which publishes his newsletters: www.thebluepaper.org
His prose style can be at times obscure and we apologise for any headaches caused to those attempting to read and understand it all, however in the interests of honesty and fair play we feel it our duty, as always, to reproduce it in full. Those with less patience or less time will find our own commentary at the end, discussing the main points of his thinking and his message to the faithful. Once again, as always, we invite the reader to draw his own conclusion.
“The Blue Paper” No. 300 |
The Pact of Silence: A Virus for Tradition
If there could be salvation outside the Conciliar Church, then is there salvation “outside the SSPX” or other traditionalist groups?
As Catholics we are always compelled to choose between Truth and “obedience.” Moreover, we must likewise choose between practicing the dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” and the present ecclesiastical orientation, which thinks and believes otherwise—between the immemorial teaching of the Church, which states that schismatics and heretics are “outside the Catholic Church,” and the modern ecclesiastical orientation, which started with the spirit of the council (Aggiornamento). This Modernist spirit has been continued nowadays by the New Evangelization’s fever, and is being promoted by the attitude of the “Hermeneutic of Continuity” in traditionalist groups.
In the conflict between “obedience” and Truth, better-informed Catholics have chosen the Truth, as did Archbishop Lefebvre. In his thinking, with the Church according to Tradition, the Archbishop’s sensus fidei maintained that only Truth will ensure union with the invisible Head of the Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, he resisted the Post-Vatican II ecclesiastical orientation (religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality), in order to remain in the one Church of Jesus Christ. He continued to act “within the Church and according to the Church,” resisting the new ecclesiastical tide in the measure that it attempts to distance itself from the doctrines and practices of the Faith, kept and transmitted by the Catholic Church, and desiring—in spite of many disappointments—that union with the Vicar of Christ can be re-established as soon as possible without having to compromise on any point of doctrine. No matter what, this is what he stood for!
Hence, the apparent conflict between “obedience” and Truth rests on AMBIGUITY. For instance, at the time of Vatican II there were those ambiguous terms, which could be understood in one way by Catholics and in another (contradictory) way by Modernists, like some post-Conciliar prelates who want to preach about things like “unity in diversity,” or “silent apostasy while keeping the faith.” Certainly, deeds speak louder than words. In today’s Official Church Pope Francis is an ultra-Modernist prelate—a master of contrarieties, who says he is not against Catholic teaching and yet favors a humanistic world! By the same token, the ranks of traditional priests—in particular within the SSPX, the backbone of Tradition—are being infected again with such a dilemma between Truth and “obedience,” a note of our confusing time.
In the days of the Council, the teaching of novelties about humanism (man-centered Church) were opposed and then silenced by more or less honest means and men, but adherents thereof have since been installed in key positions of power during the post-Conciliar period, so that the new system DEMANDS obedience to such “personal” orientations against the whole previous Magisterium of the Church.
In this perspective, the break between the unity of faith and a pretended “unity of communion” with the hierarchy (to do what the Council says, or to be with the Pope), which omits, keeps quiet or alters the doctrine received from God and transmitted by the Church, creates in the Church militant an “extraordinary” situation—a state of affairs that is neither ordinary nor regular. Is this a crisis of Faith? Or is this a crisis of authority?
The normal and ordinary situation of the Holy Catholic Church is that the orientation, which is exteriorly commissioned to the hierarchy, should favor, or at least not contradict, the orientation which springs from the invisible Head—Our Lord Jesus Christ—and was given to the Church originally, continues to be given through grace.
The conflict is between the new orientation, which some strive to force upon the Church, and the Catholic sense of faithful; in other words, between the new direction which is imposed on the government of the Church, and the conscience that each and every bishop or priest should have in his mission of helping the salvation of souls.
In this state of “uneasiness,” the faithful find their religion attacked by those very people who are supposed to guide them, and so find themselves conscience-bound to resist those whom they would wish, in normal circumstances, to follow as Pastors, in particular the Bishops.
We could never appreciate enough the great blessing of having Archbishop Lefebvre to lead the battle for the Faith! Here is a reminder of his Catholic instinct as regards talks with Rome:
Among those words from the Vatican News on June 16, 1988, concerning the Protocol between Rome and the SSPX, there are certain expressions “to be used as a basis … for reconciliation.” At that time, the Archbishop himself, and the SSPX as well, were committed “to an attitude of study and of communicating with the Holy See, in avoiding all polemics on the subject of the points taught by Vatican II or with the reforms which followed and which they found difficult to reconcile with Tradition.” This was clearly to be “a pact of silence,” no longer to criticize the innovations of the authorities.
The bitter experience of the years following Vatican II has proven that to dialogue “in an attitude of study and communication” with the Roman hierarchy—even with different prelates and their various temperaments and ecclesiastical understandings—has been an utter drama, not only regarding the critical status of Catholic teaching throughout the world, but also in the decline of unity of teaching among bishops, priests and faithful related to the SSPX structure.
In fact, the only foreseen result of the “agreement” was the reduction to silence of the unique, authorized and solid voice, which made itself heard at the time by Archbishop Lefebvre’s battle on behalf of Catholic Tradition, confronting the auto-demolition of the Church.
As we know, Tradition does not mean exterior customs, such as Latin and rubrics. Indeed, Tradition conveys and transmits the TRUE REVELATION given to the Apostles by Our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to be kept with all its integrity and to be passed from generation to generation until the second coming of Our Blessed Lord. St. Peter, as the first Pope, did defend this Treasure and Deposit of Faith, until his martyrdom for Christ’s sake. As it was St. Peter’s duty, so must it be that of the present Pope. Evidently, that is not the case with Pope Francis.
Catholic Tradition is not to be regarded “as an SSPX-particular charisma,” as Cardinal Gagnon himself stated during his official interview with the Avvenire on June 17, 1988, “On our part [the Roman part], we have always talked of reconciliation; Archbishop Lefebvre, on his part, of recognition. The difference is not small. Reconciliation implies that both parties will make an effort to recognize past errors. Archbishop Lefebvre wants only that it be declared that he was right all the time, and this is impossible.”
In consequence, the Archbishop wanted not to be asked to recognize “errors” which he had not committed. His fight for the Treasure of the Faith should not be ended with surrender, because that would mean that Tradition would no longer be part of the Truth Revealed by God—in Whom there could be no change, Who is eternal Truth.
For the Archbishop it was clear that talking to Rome was impossible, so that “to collaborate” with a hierarchy that turns to a “living Tradition” as a way of adapting the Faith to the modern world would end—sooner or later—in some compromise or surrender, or at least in some cooperation by silence.
Unfortunately, this is the scenario in which many traditional priests and faithful are involved, in our current struggles to defend the Catholic Church. Needless to say, the real problem is still in Rome, wherein the “official authorities in keeping the true faith, but not in safeguarding there administrative individual authority in a frame which looks in exterior order yet is diabolically disoriented.”
In like manner, so it has been for traditionalist faithful (including priests and bishops) since the SSPX General Chapter of June 2012. During the three-year “theological discussions” all of us were told to keep silent. As a matter of fact, not only two SSPX bishops mostly wanted to keep silent but also very many priests desire to remain exteriorly so, and when circumstances brought pressure to bear they have chosen “obedience” instead of Truth.
So, Modernist tendencies work as virus in our blood stream, from the inside out, and from the heart to the head, and then to the members.
Was Archbishop Lefebvre right in dismissing the requirements of recognition? Could it be that his concept of Tradition is not as arbitrary as today’s superiors would like to assume? Could it be that Tradition as the simple transmission of the Deposit of Faith is not incomplete and contradictory at all?
He did not keep silent!
¡Viva Cristo Rey!
So what’s so wrong with all this then? Why bother wasting nearly two-and-a-half pages of this newsletter (not to mention, a certain portion of your valuable time) with what one priest has to say about Vatican II? It may not be easy read but he seems to be generally against it, doesn’t he? He’s one of us, isn’t he? Isn’t what he says more or less right? ...Look again!
“If there could be salvation outside the Conciliar Church, then is there salvation “outside the SSPX” or other traditionalist groups?”
The first sentence of the entire letter does not make sense. It looks like a conditional clause but is really a non-sequitur. There is no question of if there could be “salvation outside the Conciliar Church [sic].” Archbishop Lefebvre said that it was your duty to separate yourself from and have nothing whatever to do with the conciliar Church. If one has to ask such questions, one ought rather to ask if there could be salvation inside the conciliar church! One rather suspects the answer is a resounding “No!” at least for the likes of you and I. The second part of the sentence asks about there being salvation outside the SSPX “or other Traditionalist groups” (so, outside of being a Traditionalist, in other words). This is very much a Bishop Williamson preoccupation, as the very latest Eleison Comments it making clear. It is neither useful nor helpful to speculate and one wonders why he should open his letter by sowing doubt in the mind of the reader about the usefulness of Tradition or whether even one can find salvation outside the conciliar Church!
“As Catholics we are always compelled to choose between Truth and “obedience.” ”
This statement is simply not true. Was it just a slip of the pen, perhaps? The two alternatives are not really alternatives but belong to different choices. Either we are compelled to choose between truth and error, or we are compelled to choose between obedience and disobedience. Truth and obedience are not alternatives, they go together. Of course, it is true that since the Council many Catholics have had to choose between truth and the appearance of obedience, but that is not what Fr. Zendejas says. Furthermore, that appearance of obedience is only a mirage: in reality, by obeying an unjust law or ruler, we are disobeying a higher law, a higher ruler: the truth, Almighty God; just as in disobeying something unlawful, we are really being obedient. Ss. Thomas More and John Fisher chose the truth over the mere appearance of obedience: in reality, in disobeying Henry VIII they were being obedient to Almighty God. St. Thomas teaches that a law which is unjust or evil (the abortion act, would be a good example) in reality is no law at all, since the authority for laws must come from God. But Fr. Zendejas is not making this distinction. Notice, for example, that he says that we are always compelled to choose (not “often”, not “since Vatican II…” nor even “...in modern times…”). Likewise he begins not with: “As Traditional Catholics...” but: “As Catholics…” This seems to suggest that it is a normal state of affairs, whereas it is really a symptom of the crisis in the Church. Authority is a good thing and exists for a good reason: it is there to help compel us to do the good which we might otherwise be too weak to do even if we know it. Fr. Zendejas’s words appear to destroy confidence in authority itself. (Again, I wonder if I am imagining the preoccupation of a certain Bishop in his writing…?)
“Present Ecclesiastical” what…??!
“Moreover, we must likewise choose between practicing the dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” and the present ecclesiastical orientation…”
Throughout his whole letter Fr. Zendejas skilfully avoids naming what the problem with the Council is, or what it has constructed. There reference in the first line to the “Conciliar Church”[sic], (asking whether there can be salvation outside of it!) is the one only reference to that abominable pseudo-institution. For the whole rest of the letter he seems to rely on euphemisms, with “the present ecclesiastical orientation” being only the first of many such.
Gently Exonerating the Council
Fr. Zendejas then goes on to talk about the: “modern ecclesiastical orientation” [again, what is that exactly?] “...which started with the spirit of the Council” - ah, so the spirit of the Council is to blame, not the Council itself then? Bishop Fellay himself could hardly have put it better! He goes on:
“The Modernist spirit has been continued nowadays by the New Evangelization’s fever..”
Notice the phrase “Modernist spirit” where you would expect to read simply “Modernism”. The two are not the same thing: think about it. And what is this “New Evangelisation’s fever” which is responsible for continuing a bad “spirit”? Who knows. It can get very confusing very quickly when you try to decipher what Fr. Zendejas is saying. Just purely out of interest, I counted the number of other euphemisms he uses in the letter. “New orientation” appears three times, “orientation” twice, as well as “new direction,” “new system” and “new ecclesiastical tide” once each.
However difficult to follow Fr. Zendejas may sometimes be, however, what is clear is what he is not saying. One can search the letter in vain for any talk of “errors of the Council” or the fact that several things pronounced by the Council are irreconcilable with what the Church has always taught (concerning Religious Liberty, for example), or even any discussion of how doctrinal error sooner or later makes itself felt everywhere: in the law, in the liturgy, in the whole post-conciliar chamber of horrors. Nothing of that. Thank God Archbishop Lefebvre never spoke or wrote this way, or there would have been no SSPX and no Tradition! And while we’re speaking about Archbishop Lefebvre…
Taking Archbishop Lefebvre’s Name in Vain
“In the conflict between “obedience” and Truth, better-informed Catholics have chosen the Truth, as did Archbishop Lefebvre. In his thinking, with the Church according to Tradition, the Archbishop’s sensus fidei maintained that only Truth will ensure union with the invisible Head of the Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ. “
First of all, remember what we said above: he ought to write about “the apparent conflict between obedience and Truth,” since the two in reality can never be in conflict. (Perhaps that is why “obedience” is always in quotation marks, but if so he does not make that clear anywhere and the rest of what he says tends rather to suggest otherwise).
Then there is his talk of “better informed Catholics”, an unfortunate choice of words. The experience of many shows that “better informed Catholics” after the Council tended to lapse, to become modernist, to go along with the changes and not to resist. Like the Resistance to the conciliar neo-SSPX, the Resistance to Vatican II was not composed of “better informed Catholics” - it was a mixed bag of all kinds of people, some well informed, some not very well informed, some in between. Saving your soul is not primarily a question of intelligence or of wide-reading. Hell is doubtless filled with some of the most well informed people ever to have existed. Neither does Archbishop Lefebvre deserve to be lumped into this category; history will not remember him as the most “well informed” of the council fathers, but the most virtuous, the most courageous, the most apostolic, the one who loved souls and the truth most, etc. Likewise, surely any Catholic of the Resistance worth his salt must protest at the outrageous statement that it was “the Archbishop’s sensus fidei” which motivated him (a ‘sensus fidei’ means a mere instinct for what is Catholic, usually spoken of as belonging to the laity).
Thus, he resisted the Post-Vatican II ecclesiastical orientation (religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality), in order to remain in the one Church of Jesus Christ.
Notice that the errors of the Council are referred to once again with a euphemism. What did Archbishop Lefebvre resist? He resisted the post-Vatican II orientation! Please note: not only is he said to have resisted an “orientation”, but it is the post-Vatican II orientation, not the orientation of Vatican II. What is the difference? Your guess is as good as mine, but I would say that if I were an indult/novus Catholic, I would have no problem denouncing a post-conciliar orientation as all that that implies is that something bad happened after the Council (which in turn implies that the problem is not necessarily in the Council itself).
What did he stand for?
It gets worse:
“He [Lefebvre] continued to act ‘within the Church and according to the Church,’”
This sounds like the sort of thing Bishop Fellay might write. Of course Archbishop Lefebvre was within the Church! That fact should be so obvious to the author and his readers that to say so only gives the effect of calling it into question. Bishop Fellay does this all the time.
“...resisting the new ecclesiastical tide” - not the actual Council itself, in other words! - “in the measure that it attempts to distance itself from the doctrines and practices of the Faith,” - so he didn’t even resist this ‘new tide’ completely, only in the measure that it was different from the Catholic Faith (which suggests that it was not always different!).
“...and desiring-in spite of many disappointments-that union with the Vicar of Christ can be re-established as soon as possible without having to compromise on any point of doctrine. No matter what, this is what he stood for!”
Read that last bit again. What was it that Archbishop Lefebvre stood for? According to Fr. Zendejas, he stood for re-establishing union with the Pope (when did he break it?) as soon as possible and without having to compromise doctrine. Fancy that. And there was me reading the Archbishop’s own writings and mistakenly thinking that he had no desire to belong to the conciliar church!
Notice the nice little touch at the end about re-establishing union “without having to compromise” donctrine: Fr. Pfluger and Bishop Fellay have said often enough that they are merely seeking to work inside the Church, and that it is the right thing to do as long as there is no compromise required, etc. Here, for example, is what Bishop Fellay wrote in 2012:
“Let it be understood that we have ruled out the possibility of our embarking on an alliance that would consist of swallowing the conciliar poison and compromising our positions. That is absolutely not what we are talking about.
Nevertheless, considering the lessons of Church history, we see that the saints, with much moral courage and a strong faith, brought back souls that had gone astray in terrible situations of crisis, with much mercy (and firmness), without falling into a reprehensible excess of rigidity, as was the case with the Donatists, for example, or with Tertullian. Notwithstanding the difficulties, the saints did not refuse to work with and in the Church, in spite of the Arian occupation (for example) and the numerous Arian bishops still in office.”
(Letter to Priests, Cor Unum, March 2012)
We have already pointed out often enough before in these pages what is wrong with Bishop Fellay’s thinking. He sees no distinction between the conciliar church and the Catholic Church, and consequently when he sees the historic separation between the SSPX and the conciliar church, he becomes afraid that he is outside of the Catholic Church. It is entirely logical therefore that his priority should be to “re-enter” the [conciliar] Church, and the talk about not having to compromise cannot hide that. In practice modern Rome can afford to generously grant the appearance of no compromise for the time being. Remember how the Good Shepherd Institute some ten years ago announced that “no compromise was necessary” - as did Dom Gerard of Le Barroux. Who had the last laugh? But even if an agreement could be struck which really did require “no compromise”, it would still be wrong, being a mixing of darkness and light, so to speak, and an implicit approval of pluralism.
But as I say, this is old hat. We have discussed it in these pages often enough before. What is fascinating here is that Fr. Zendejas not only shows that he has the same thinking as Bishop Fellay and Fr. Pfluger - worse than that! - he imputes this thinking to Archbishop Lefebvre! “If only we could re-enter the Church! Just as long as we don’t have to compromise doctrine, we have to try to do it as soon as possible, it the most important thing!” That is what he stood for? Poor Archbishop Lefebvre. His thinking and actions falsified, his memory abused, and not only by the neo-SSPX, but now by the neo-Resistance too!
What happened at the Council?
The diligent and persevering reader will have seen how Fr. Zendejas goes on to completely and explicitly exonerate the council:
“Hence, the apparent conflict between “obedience” and Truth rests on AMBIGUITY.”
(Emphasis in the original) It rests on ambiguity? Not error, then?
“For instance, at the time of Vatican II there were those ambiguous terms, which could be understood in one way by Catholics and in another (contradictory) way by Modernists…”
It is true that there are ambiguous passages in Vatican II, planted there by the liberals so as to pass censor by the “conservative” Council fathers and then be interpreted by the liberals afterwards in the most liberal sense possible. However, that is not the whole problem. There are also other passages in the Council which are most decidedly not ambiguous. I defy anyone to read what Dignitatis Humanae says about Religious Liberty and then tell me how it can be reconciled with the teaching of the Church!
“Certainly, deeds speak louder than words. In today’s Official Church Pope Francis is an ultra-Modernist prelate—a master of contrarieties, who says he is not against Catholic teaching and yet favors a humanistic world!”
The phrase “Official Church” is a classic Fellayism, designed as it is to paper over any distinction between the Church and the conciliar church. And the idea that Pope Francis is a man of contradictions is likewise a Fellayism - wishful thinking to the point of lunacy. Pope Francis is a modernist pure and simple. He knows what he thinks and is far more consistent in his thinking than either Bishop Fellay or Fr. Zendejas!
And then of course, we come to this little gem:
“In the days of the Council, the teaching of novelties about humanism (man-centered Church) were opposed and then silenced by more or less honest means and men, but adherents thereof have since been installed in key positions of power during the post-Conciliar period, so that the new system DEMANDS obedience to such “personal” orientations against the whole previous Magisterium of the Church.”
Where does this ridiculous version of history come from? Even Bishop Fellay has not attempted to radically falsify history in this way (not yet, anyway…).
The Council taught not just novelties but error; not just about humanism, but all kinds of error; the errors were not opposed by many, and were never silenced - they are still in the Council texts for all the world to see! And it is false to claim that the “new system” (whatever that is) only came to power after the council through key appointments. The appointments of modernists to key positions was well underway when the Council began, but appointments are as nothing compared to the calamity of false teaching which took place. What is the effect of this fantasy nonsense if not to exonerate the Council entirely from any charge of error? In like manner, a little further on in the letter he goes on to say:
“The conflict is between the new orientation [!] which some [who?] strive to force on the Church [“strive”? Have they not succeeded yet?] and the Catholic sense of the faithful; in other words between the new direction [!] which is imposed on the government of the Church [by whom?/from where?/how?] and the conscience that each and every priest and bishop should have…” (Emphasis and comments mine)
There is much more one could say, but the whole letter is very long and life is too short (and paper and printing are expensive!). Besides, I value my sanity too highly and even though we have only covered around half of the whole letter, surely that is enough to show that something is very, very wrong! The persevering reader who reaches the end will not, I fear, feel any the better for it.
“Resistance to What?!”
I suppose we ought to be grateful to Fr. Daniel Themann giving us this phrase which is so apt in this particular case. Fr. Zendejas is supposedly a “Resistance” priest. A year ago he left the SSPX unannounced for reasons which he preferred to keep to himself, and turned up in the Resistance parish in Connecticut without the invitation of the Resistance priest who was their pastor and founder, announcing to the faithful at Sunday Mass that he was their new priest. He has since “taken over” faithful of the Resistance in Texas and in Philadelphia. He survives on the generosity of souls who, when he “took them over”, were faithful of the Resistance, hence it is fair to say that he effectively lives off the Resistance though he does not even agree with it or share its doctrinal position, principally its unbending opposition to Vatican II. He is the clerical cuckoo in the nest: “in the Resistance but not of the Resistance.” Taking souls away from other Resistance priests but teaching something which in a number of ways is remarkably similar to Bishop Fellay’s teaching. It will doubtless come as no surprise to the reader to learn that he spent the week or two immediately before and immediately after this first “Resistance appearance” (in late 2014) in the company of Bishop Williamson, whose thinking he substantially reflected in his sermons of that time.
So, the question begged is: What is Fr. Zendejas ‘Resisting’? The answer seems to be: the Resistance! Reflect on what we know of the enemy’s tactics: we know who is responsible for the crisis in the Church, and we know the long war which this enemy has waged against the Church. We also know how they wage it, and the successes they have had through dishonest means (infiltration, subversion, replacing Catholic bastions with a hollowed-out shell devoid of true teaching…). We know the dedication and singlemindedness with which they prosecute their campaign, the burning hatred which motivates them to wage war against the Church without giving up or tiring, and we know that they did not give up and go home at Vatican II. The question is not whether or if the SSPX fell victim to them - all we lack is the specific details (who, where, when, etc.) Likewise, we can be assured that they will try the same thing on the Resistance. We know that they use ‘useful idiots’ as their willing pawns, giving them some short term gain for their cooperation in the long term campaign. Whether and to what extent Fr. Zendejas or Bishop Williamson are a conscious or willing part of this will remain a mystery, but in any case, strictly speaking it is not something we need to know. All we need to know is that this teaching is something different. If we accept it, whatever the short term gains, we lose everything in the long run.
I do hope that anyone misguided enough to attempt a defence of Fr. Zendejas does so on doctrinal grounds, on the battlefield of ideas not personalities. In the meantime remember that our most precious possession is the entire, unblemished Catholic Faith, part of which must necessarily be is our “nullam partem” with the Council. The SSPX accepts the Council. And now so too, it seems, does Fr. Gerardo Zendejas. There are a significant number of souls who once resisted but are now being softly and silently led back again in the direction of conciliarism. Do they realise it? Let us pray that at least some of them will wake up and realise the danger before it is too late...
Holy Martyrs of Mexico, pray for us!
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"Viva Cristo Rey!"