When recently in Paris I was inspired to take advantage of Fr. Abrahamowicz's presence in the same city, while using John Daly, a fellow colleague, as an interlocutor. Find below the complete text of the interview, translated from the original French by Mr. Daly.
The English version of this interview appeared in the August 2009 Four Marks. For more information, click here.
Stephen Heiner: Father, those of us in America are well-known for not following world news, so we may be unfamiliar with your expulsion from the SSPX. If you'll permit, may we start from the beginning? How did you come to the Traditional Mass, and then, to your vocation?
Fr. Abrahamowicz: I came to the traditional Mass in 1978 at Vienna in Austria. When I was present at the old Mass for the first time I was strongly impressed by the difference between it and the new mass – so much so that at first I didn’t think the old rite could be part of the Catholic religion! Later on, great was my joy as I discovered this treasure, this water, which had been concealed from us by the judaised Mass. I began to know the SSPX in 1976. Ten years later, after three years spent in the Society’s University Institute in Paris, I entered the Flavigny seminary and I was ordained in 1992 at Écône by Bishop Licinio Rangel.
S.H.: How long have you been a priest? How long a Superior? What other roles have you held in the Society?
Fr. A.: I have been a priest since 1992. I was in charge of the apostolate in Albania and of training young Albanians in our pre-seminary in Austria. I taught for three years in our seminary at Zaitzkofen. For the last eleven years I have been in charge of the apostolate in the northeast of Italy, but I have never been a superior.
S.H.: When did you start to have disagreements with Menzingen? Were there other priests who agreed with you? What did they advise?
Fr. A.: My first disagreements with Menzingen began in 2001 when the possibility of a deal with modernist Rome was first raised. At that time I was far from being alone. The prior of Rimini, Fr. Ugo Carandino and Fr. Davide Pagliarani were vehemently opposed to coming to terms with the Rome of the Council. Then there were other priests, seminary directors, professors and priors who opposed these things very explicitly and effectively. Our duty in conscience moved us to declare openly to our superiors that we could not follow in the event of the Society’s cohabiting with the modernist church, governed at the time by John Paul II.
S.H.: What were the disagreements over?
Fr. A. The disagreement was theological, but also entailed pastoral consequences. Modernist Rome does not represent the Catholic Church. There is no call to ask for its acceptance, recognition, understanding, hearing, etc. Our duty is to insist on full catholicity on the part of the person occupying the apostolic see. The idea of playing the role of infiltrators in Modernist Rome so as “later” to convert it “from within” would be a childish illusion. Either the Church is Catholic or it isn’t. The Catholic Church cannot exist inside another church. After all, the Church is not a party or a current of political thought that can be more or less present in other entities.
S.H.: Of your public statements regarding the Holocaust controversy, what caused the most problems? Why?
Fr. A.: My fellow-priests agreed with all that I said in my interview with the Tribuna de Trevise. But no one imagined the media effect it would produce. So it was the very fact of publicly attacking the Jews which made my confreres and superiors tremble and then shook their friendship. Touching the new Messiah, i.e. criticising Zionist policy, is the ultimate lèse-majesté. At present the Vatican is bowing down before the Zionist reign. So the Society, by entering into friendship with Ratzinger’s Vatican ought to sacrifice to the gods. Once the Vatican, by its spokesman Lombardi, had distanced itself from Fr Abrahamowicz, the Society went one better: it expelled its life-member, declaring that the statements made by the expelled priest gravely damaged the Society’s image in the service of the Church. But which church?
S.H.: What about Bishop Williamson? What do you think about what has happened to him?
Fr. A.: Bishop Williamson has not been expelled; he has been dismissed from his position and his observations about the technical aspects of gas chambers were scathingly criticised by his confreres in the priesthood and in the episcopate. He has been reduced to silence by his superior, Mgr Fellay. In order to avoid saying that it is forbidden to touch the new Messiah, the affair has been classified as a “historical question”, falling outside the competence of a bishop. Is that really why he is no longer allowed to exercise his ministry?
S.H.: Some say you are a disobedient troublemaker. How do you respond?
Fr. A.: I reply that everything I have done has been done with the agreement of my superiors. Disobedience – proper and holy disobedience – began when I stayed in my chapel after being expelled “for grave disciplinary reasons”. While not resisting physically I nonetheless stayed in my chapel and continued to say Mass for one month until I was dislodged by violence on the part of my superior. Yes, I disobeyed the order to lie publicly. That would have meant publicly disavowing the truths I had confessed the previous day. The trouble did not come from me but from the way in which the superior general reacted to the media campaign against Bishop Williamson and myself. Instead of protecting and defending his members he disowned them. What a victory for the Vatican which, while well aware of the Williamson interview pretended, and continues to pretend, that it knew nothing of Bishop Williamson’s revisionist opinions!
S.H.: Bp. Williamson tells me he completely disagrees with you regarding the Motu Proprio. Explain, please.
S.H.: What will you do now?
Fr. A.: I am now staying at the service of the faithful who do not wish to abandon the combat of tradition and who intend to do this by remaining faithful to Archbishop Lefebvre’s last arrangements: no discussions with Modernist Rome. It is a puerile illusion to believe that Rome can be converted “from within” by becoming a part of the system of the conciliar church. We simply have to continue sanctifying ourselves. That is what I want to do in the small space I have rented and which I have called “Domus Marcel Lefebvre” (Via Pietro Nenni,6, 31038 PAESE (TV) Italy). Holy Mass every Sunday, catechism, instruction, etc. Apart from that, to complement the gifts of the faithful, I am looking for openings in translation and interpreting work.
S.H.: What do you think will happen to the SSPX? To the priests? To the faithful?
Fr. A.: I don’t know the future, but the present is before our eyes. The SSPX sang a Te Deum for the MP; it expressed its gratitude for the false withdrawal of the excommunications which had never existed; it expressed trust in Ratzinger who, today is even more a “serpent” than in the days when Archbishop Lefebvre so called him. All this is bringing the Society to the absurd situation of the Society of St Peter, of Le Barroux, etc. Admittedly this treason has not taken juridical shape. The paper has not been signed. But, alas!, de facto the betrayal has occurred. The proof is that what I learnt in the seminary and taught in the seminary and in sermons for eleven years here in Italy has been stated by my superior (in the press release announcing my expulsion) to be contrary to the Society’s position. I want to remain faithful to the teachings I received at the seminary, which I am sure are Catholic doctrine.
S.H.: Bishop Tissier de Mallerais recently wrote in response to a query from a priest: “I freely admit that a priest or that the faithful may have doubts about the validity of a pope such as John-Paul II or Benedict XVI...” Are you also happy about such doubts? Do you share them? Are your personal convictions close to those who do not recognize Benedict XVI as a legitimate pope? What do you think of the position known as sedevacantism?
Fr. A.: I am very happy to reply to this question in the same terms I have used on our site
When others accuse me or try to demonise me as being a sedevacantist, I reply that I refuse to call myself a sedevacantist, not because I am a “papist” in the sense of those who, while admitting that Benedict XVI is not Catholic, still affirm that he is pope. I insist on offering the following reflection and leaving the reader to reach his own conclusions.