October 4, 1999
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Confusion continues to pour out of the churchmen now governing the Catholic Church in Rome, but, however good their intentions may sometimes seem to be, the end result every time is the destruction of the Church. By a just judgment of God, His enemies have acquired firm control over the levers of Church power for the time being.
As someone once said of American foreign policy in the wake of World War II, if only occasionally it had failed to advance Communism one might have thought it promoted it by accident or by stupidity, but when that policy's effect was to promote Communism every single time, then one knew that that had to be its deliberate aim. If only occasionally these churchmen would effectively defend the Faith, one might think that its destruction was not their deliberate aim, but as it is...
The parallel is appropriate. Just as the liberals who promoted Communism were convinced they were rendering the world a service and root a disservice (which is why Alger Hiss, the famous 1940's adversary of Whittaker Chambers, emotionally repudiated his factual qualification as "liar" and "traitor" until the day he died), so the churchmen now promoting ecumenism are convinced they are rendering the Church a service, and on their death-bed they will still be convinced of it. Which is why they are so confusing as well as confused. Let us attempt to restore clarity in two cases current.
The first case is no doubt familiar to many of you: the recent moves made by Rome to strangle Tradition within the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. See the enclosed flyer for a very brief account of the moves, and for an extensive evaluation from "Alice through the Looking-Glass"! Yes, there is more sense in a few pages out of Alice's Wonderland than in volumes and volumes coming out of this Rome!
The truth is, as a few of the Roman liberals openly admitted from the beginning, that they only granted official status to St. Peter's in 1988 as a means of getting "Traditional" Catholics back into their Newchurch, to divide and rule the Catholic resistance. Poor St. Peter's! Could they not see that if they wanted to defend Catholicism, this Rome would never allow them to succeed? That if they succeeded they could not survive, and that if they survived they could not succeed?
No, St. Peter's did not see it. Instead of judging conciliar Rome as a whole by its consistently disastrous fruits, they wanted to judge it by this or that still Catholic part within the disastrous whole. But when a whole is no longer Catholic, then any parts still Catholic within that whole merely serve to deceive. St. Peter's is now paying the penalty for letting themselves be deceived. Maybe even now they can rouse sufficient Catholic resistance within the Newchurch to obtain a reprieve, but the death-warrant of Tradition amongst them has clearly been signed. It is only a matter of time.
The second case of how apparent confusion in the Newchurch merely disguises its relentless drive towards the destruction of the Catholic Faith is the last two years' dance of Roman documents on the dogmatic question of Justification, which is the question of how a human soul is moved from the state of sin into the state of grace or of justice before God.
To this question about 1600 years ago St. Augustine, the "Doctor of Grace", formulated, under pressure from heretics, the Catholic answer. About 470 years ago Luther set up an answer so different that it became one of the major differences dividing true Protestants from true Catholics ever since. About 30 years ago in the wake of Vatican II, "ecumenism" demanded that Catholics and Protestants get together. So discussions between them began, due to culminate at the end of this month (October 30, 31) in an official joint signing in Augsburg, Germany, of a "squarcular" document, wherein the Catholics will declare that the Catholic square is a squarcle, while the Protestants will declare that the protestant circle is a squarcle! So everybody will be agreed, and ecumenism will have scored another squarcular triumph! (Augsburg is where the Protestants came together on June 25, 1530 to sign a joint Protestant creed! October 31 is the day on which 482 years ago Luther posted his "95 Theses" against the Papacy!)
In pursuit of clarity, let us back up. Let us see, however briefly, Catholic doctrine and the Protestant error (and its gravity) before we go dancing with the ecumenists! Such a deep question of doctrine as justification requires precision of detail to be treated properly, but what follows may have to blur some details in order to pick out the grand outlines.
Firstly, let us recall Catholic doctrine on the mode, effect and fruits of grace justifying a soul, or making it just before God. As to its mode, the Catholic Church has always taught that while supernatural grace can only come from God to move a man's soul to justice, nevertheless man being a rational creature with free will, it is not fitting that he should be merely moved by God with no participation of his own, so in fact he will not be justified by God's grace unless he freely assents to its moving him, and co-operates with it doing so. As to grace's effect, the Catholic Church has always taught that if a man does thus assent to grace moving his soul to justice, then his soul will be essentially cleansed of sin, both original (if not yet cleansed) and all personal sin, leaving in the soul only "concupiscence" or that inclination to sin which is the weakness Adam bequeathed to all of us, but which is not sin in the proper sense because an inclination is not an act. So for Catholics grace truly cleanses the soul and the sinner is truly justified. Finally, as to grace's fruits, the Catholic Church has always taught that once the soul is constituted in this state of grace, it can perform works supernatural and meritorious before God which it could not do before, indeed it must perform such works, otherwise its faith is dead (James II, 14-26) and not working through charity (Gal. V, 6).
Against this Catholic doctrine Martin Luther protested around 1520, and launched Protestantism. For personal reasons, it is said, of having difficulty in obeying God's Commandments, he gave up the effort to change himself and set about changing Church doctrine instead. Wresting to his own purpose St. Paul's teaching of "Justification by Faith" (Galatians, Romans), Luther taught that as to grace's mode, it justifies man by moving his breast to a warm feeling of trust in God, but in that process man's free will is so weak or non-existent as to be incapable of playing any part. Therefore grace alone justifies. Correspondingly, as to its effect, justifying grace for Luther does not clean all sin out of the essence of a justified man's soul, rather the filth of sin remains in his soul while the grace of Christ's merits is put like a lid over the top of the soul to cover the filth remaining beneath. Accordingly as to the fruits of grace, Luther teaches that a man "justified" in this way need not do any good works (from a still filthy soul, how could he?), all he need do is "believe", i.e. work up that warm feeling in his breast. Hence Luther's famous saying "Sin much, just believe still more" ("Pecca fortiter, sed crede fortius").
This Lutheran doctrine is (objectively) horrible. It is tailor-made to justify a man's wallowing in his sin, as it cuts off all real demands or true supernatural grace to get him out of it. It "liberates" him from the Ten Commandments, and founds all liberalism, Revolution, separation of Church and State, etc., etc.. It reduces religion to mere emotions and cosy feelings, cutting it off from real life, founding all subjectivism, "Sunday Catholicism", the turning of feelings into facts, etc., etc.. No wonder from the Council of Trent onwards, the Catholic Church vigorously and precisely condemned Luther's literally filthy version of justification (Session VI).
But finally came Vatican II (1962-1965) with its "ecumenism" opening up the Catholic Church to all other "religions" and to their errors, especially Protestantism. In 1997 the discussions between Catholic and Protestant squarclers finally led to a "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (JDDJ) which concludes (#40) that "a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between Lutherans and Catholics"!
The squarcling technique of the Declaration is to reduce both Catholic and Protestant doctrine on a given point to their highest common factor, and then give on that common factor a Catholic spin more or less acceptable to Lutherans, and, separately, a Lutheran spin more or less acceptable to Catholics. For ecumenical purposes, it is a clever technique, and the Lutheran World Federation swiftly approved of the Joint Declaration.
However, in June of last year the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity prepared by common agreement and published a "Catholic Response to the JDDJ" (CR) which, amidst any defects it may have, nevertheless exposes serious doctrinal problems in the JDDJ. Mode: man is not "merely passive" when moved by grace (CR #3). Effect: sin does not "still live" in the soul justified (CR #1). Fruits: good works are the fruit of grace but also, as is not clear from the JDDJ, "of man justified and interiorly transformed" (CR #3).
Somebody in Rome still has some Catholic doctrine in him! So what does Rome do? On June 11 of this year in Geneva, the Secretary General of the Lutheran World Federation and Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity presented an official joint "Annex" to the JDDJ which blandly over-rides the doctrinal objections of CR by re-affirming the squarcular ambiguities of JDDJ. And the "Annex" claims, like JDDJ, that this squarcular doctrine falls under none of the Catholic condemnations of Protestant error (notably at the Council of Trent), nor under old Protestant "condemnations" of Catholic doctrine.
Logically, media reports on the publication of this Annex with the JDDJ concluded that the Catholic Church and Protestant communities were repudiating their past. For instance, Catholics had to be giving up the dogmatic anti-Protestant definitions of the Council of Trent. Oh no, said Rome. On June 22 a press statement was issued from Cardinal Cassidy's Council which can only be called another piece of ecumenical doubletalk: the JDDJ does not fall under Trent's condemnations, but those condemnations are as serious as ever, as "salutary warnings". Yet how can a "salutary warning" be as serious as a dogmatic condemnation? Clearly, ecumenism rots Catholic minds. Freemasons within the Vatican are relentlessly destroying the Catholic Church.
For the repeat Assisi-style ecumenical meeting planned in Rome for the end of this month prior to the Augsburg signing, the Society of St. Pius X's Superior General is calling for Society Chapels to hold ceremonies of reparation at the same time (Details in the USA from the SSPX HQ in Kansas City). And, to encourage you, dear readers, for the new Seminary school-year the Lord God has sent us over a dozen promising young men.
Not all is lost. We count on, and are always grateful for, your continuing support.
Most sincerely yours in Our Lord,
+ Richard Williamson