Interview with Fr. Florian Abrahamowicz in Paris (English Version)

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.

 
John Daly, a professional translator of French and Latin, when he is not writing articles about Traditional Catholicism and homeschooling his 8 children with his wife near Bordeaux, France, also runs Tradibooks, a publishing company that specializes in out-of-print Catholic books. You may find his website at www.tradibooks.com.

The interviews also have been translated into Italian and Spanish, but I am only linking to these pages - I do not know how well the translations have been done nor do I know who runs these sites.

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.

Fr. A.: Bishop Williamson didn’t agree with my judgement of the Motu Proprio. Like Bishop Fellay, he declines to pass a definitive judgement on this measure. In my opinion, the Mass of the Motu Proprio is not the Holy Catholic Mass. Materially the gestures and words are the same, but formally, the rite is situated in the context of a modernist and apostate hierarchy, which makes it illicit to participate in this worship just as it is forbidden to participate in heretical and schismatic rites. Article 1 of the MP states clearly that the authority imposes that the rite publicly expresses the faith of the new mass. This applies independently of who is celebrating the rite. Precisely because it is a rite, a function whose gestures and words have the meaning established for them by the legislator. We are therefore in the presence of an old rite with a new faith, a bastard rite like that of the new mass. Bishop Williamson follows Bishop Fellay in refusing to make a judgement on the MP Mass. But in the order of facts, the reaction was the chanting of the Te Deum.

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
http://www.agerecontra.it/.

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.

When Archbishop Lefebvre declared, at the conclusion and the end of his life, and therefore after long maturing his attitude towards that Rome which he was seeking right up until the consecrations, “the official Church does not represent the Catholic Church. (...) It is a puerile illusion to want to become part of it in order to convert it from within,” it seems to me that the problem he proposes goes far beyond that of the simple “sedes vacans”.
The vacant see in the sense of the pope who by virtue of heresy ceases to be pope, was considered by the the theologians in the context of a Church which is normally Catholic. But today the problem – mysterious and apocalyptic – is different. Along with the “pope”, it is the orbis catholicus which no longer professes the Catholic faith, the body of bishops who are no longer Catholic, the faithful – even those who are in good faith – who are no longer Catholics. Ought we not therefore to understand that the problem today is therefore greater than that of the heretical pope? Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Archbishop Lefebvre dismissed the sedevacantist solution as “too simple”: the issue is much more complex. Then there is the fact that Josef Ratzinger, whether or not he is pope, is reigning in the Vatican – occupying it, usurping it, if you wish – but he is there, and the great mass of so-called Catholics find that acceptable.

How are we to get through to them that he is not Catholic? How are we to get them to understand that they themselves are no longer Catholics? This may be the reason why Archbishop Lefebvre – finding himself up against such a tough problem – chose in all simplicity to content himself with building : schools, families and Catholic priests, denouncing openly the apostasy in tiara and cope and leaving history to judge definitively the “popes” whom he doubted to be popes and who, today, seem really to give every sign of no longer being so. Has the Society, today, still got the credibility to affirm such truths?

Have not diplomacy and politics in the “disservice” of the combat of tradition made the salt lose its savour? God in his omnipotence can raise up other heralds of the faith. Perhaps some bishop who has been long since dreaming of converting from the oriental schism and heresy to Catholicism? Some precursor of the conversion of Russia? It is very important to admit the highly mysterious character of the present situation without seeking to rationalise the mystery of the general apostasy. Hence, beyond the See, it is the Church that is in a certain sense vacant while nonetheless remaining visible in her humanity and in her divinity wherever the faith is professed without compromise in fact with Modernist Rome.

Stephen Heiner

Stephen lives in Paris, France, where he attends Mass celebrated by the clergy of the IMBC. He founded True Restoration in 2006.

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9 Responses

  1. Rubricarius says:

    Another highly interesting interview.

  2. Dan says:

    Excellent interview, Mr. Heiner! Good job!

    By the way, am I mistaken or this interview has been deleted from a well known traditionalist forum? (I'm not sure if it is ok to name them).

  3. I posted a link to this interview on AQ (under the name Prodinoscopus) … and now the thread has mysteriously disappeared. The thread wasn't locked … it just vanished. Weird.

  4. Dan says:

    Ah, I see. I was talking about that forum. Evidently it has deleted on purpose since Fr. Abrahamowicz sides up now with a kind-of-sedevacatist position. Anyway, the interview is really interesting and full of challenging ideas. I do not hold the sede position, but I think that the debate is interesting.

  5. MAC says:

    We may congratulate Fr. A on seeing that this modernist Rome is not Catholic and does not represent the Catholic Church, however it is strange that he still holds the SSPX errors which are:
    1 A rejection of the of the ordinary magisterium (Vatican I; Session III – Dz1792)
    2 A rejection of the divinely revealed teaching expressed in Vatican I , Session IV, that the faith of Peter [the Pope] cannot fail.
    3 A distortion of canon law opposed to virtually all the canonists of the Church prior to Vatican II which tell us a heretical pope ipso facto loses his office by the operation of the law itself and without any declaration. (Canon 188.4)
    4 The SSPX holds a form of the Gallican heresy that falsely proposes a council can depose a true pope. Canon 1556 “The First See is Judged by no one.” This of course means in a juridical sense of judgment, not remaining blind to apostasy, heresy and crime which automatically takes effect.
    5 The SSPX denies the visible Church must manifest the Catholic faith. They claim that somehow these men who teach heresy can’t know truth. This is notion has been condemned by Vatican I, Session III, Chapter 2. It is also condemned by canon 16 of the 1917 code of canon law.
    6 The SSPX reject every doctor of the Church and every Church father who are unanimous in stating a heretic ipso facto is outside the Church and therefore cannot possess jurisdiction
    7 Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis is misinterpreted by the SSPX to validly elect a heretic to office against the divine law and contrary to pre vatican 2 canonists.

  6. Dan says:

    MAC, what a ridiculous comment, and what huge ignorance about SSPX. You are full of prejuduce and bias. Go and dance the novus ordo song with Mohoney and co. in your perfect full communion church.

  7. Miggy says:

    Wheatforparadise, re Angelqueen not locking but losing threads, when I suggested that Bp. Fellay stand for re-election for, presumably, distressing so many Fraternity members when he blamed Bp W. for what the vile media did, my AQ thread disappeared. In charity and with admiration, I think Servitium reasonably felt sympathy for the threat to Fellay’s presumed policy of just yakking with Rome about any jolly thing—doctrinally discussing doctrine beyond question—to allow the Pope’s V2 delusions to dissolve. I suspect Fellay suspects the Pope is turning back into a Catholic priest, but needs prayer AND TIME. My suggesting he resign was scarily reasonable in the circumstances but I do not blame Servitium (the British IgnisArdens also removed my same thread), for lending Fellay his distant support.
    Stephen Heiner, it is wonderful to see your interviews with ex-members of the Archbishop’s fabulous Fraternity.

  8. Stephen Hand says:

    A disturbing but important interview.

  9. Mac,

    I am amazed to read your words. Few are those who still retain any modicum of Catholic sense, and you seem to retain yours. That I find amazing.

    But, while I agree with your diagnosis of the SSPX, I believe that we have a very different situation here with Fr. F.A.

    I found these words very interesting: «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. When Archbishop Lefebvre declared, at the conclusion and the end of his life, and therefore after long maturing his attitude towards that Rome which he was seeking right up until the consecrations, “the official Church does not represent the Catholic Church. (…) It is a puerile illusion to want to become part of it in order to convert it from within,” it seems to me that the problem he proposes goes far beyond that of the simple “sedes vacans.” The vacant see in the sense of the pope who by virtue of heresy ceases to be pope, was considered by the the theologians in the context of a Church which is normally Catholic. But today the problem – mysterious and apocalyptic – is different. Along with the “pope”, it is the orbis catholicus which no longer professes the Catholic faith, the body of bishops who are no longer Catholic, the faithful – even those who are in good faith – who are no longer Catholics. Ought we not therefore to understand that the problem today is therefore greater than that of the heretical pope? Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Archbishop Lefebvre dismissed the sedevacantist solution as “too simple”: the issue is much more complex. Then there is the fact that Josef Ratzinger, whether or not he is pope, is reigning in the Vatican – occupying it, usurping it, if you wish – but he is there, and the great mass of so-called Catholics find that acceptable. How are we to get through to them that he is not Catholic? How are we to get them to understand that they themselves are no longer Catholics? This may be the reason why Archbishop Lefebvre – finding himself up against such a tough problem – chose in all simplicity to content himself with building : schools, families and Catholic priests, denouncing openly the apostasy in tiara and cope and leaving history to judge definitively the “popes” whom he doubted to be popes and who, today, seem really to give every sign of no longer being so. Has the Society, today, still got the credibility to affirm such truths? Have not diplomacy and politics in the “disservice” of the combat of tradition made the salt lose its savour? God in his omnipotence can raise up other heralds of the faith. Perhaps some bishop who has been long since dreaming of converting from the oriental schism and heresy to Catholicism? Some precursor of the conversion of Russia? It is very important to admit the highly mysterious character of the present situation without seeking to rationalise the mystery of the general apostasy. Hence, beyond the See, it is the Church that is in a certain sense vacant while nonetheless remaining visible in her humanity and in her divinity wherever the faith is professed without compromise in fact with Modernist Rome»