The latest from London

It was very early this morning that I was able to speak with the Bishop.  We don't always have intersecting schedules to chat so I decided to stay up very late on this side of the pond to make the call.

It is confirmed that Bishop Fellay has ordered Bishop Williamson to shut down, end Eleison Comments, make "public apology" for the harm he has caused to the SSPX and the Church by publishing Eleison Comments, and commit to making "reparation" for the remainder of his days.  Failure to comply with these conditions (interestingly, there is no parsing of "required" and "desirable") in toto would result in his expulsion on or around one week from today's date: the 23rd of October, 2012.

I've said in a previous update about this issue that I've heard the wolf cry on this issue so many times that I have become numb.  Many people don't know that there has been, for years, a battle over Eleison Comments.  Various sacrifices have been made over the years in order to comply with whatever various wish was laid out at the time from Menzingen.  In the very beginning, when I was in charge of publishing and editing it in blog form, Bishop Fellay objected to it being public on the Internet.  He really meant that he didn't want it done at all, but when we complied with his wishes and made it into a private newsletter, he couldn't really object.  He then had to come up with more objections.  As I took up issue with Maximilian Krah (here and here) my personal views became a liability to the project and I stepped down as editor to have Nicholas Wansbutter, a trusted friend and colleague, take over.  Nicholas guided the project until last year, when we set up an infrastructure to allow the Bishop to essentially self-publish, and thereby remove any lay element.  It also freed up both Nicholas and I to speak more freely in support of the Bishop which we could not do when we were so visibly tied to his work.

Why make such a big deal about the blog/newsletter/bulletin?  Because it deviates from Bishop Fellay's personal need for absolute uniformity about who says what in the Society of St. Pius X.  Nothing in the statutes of the Society (which Bishop Fellay changes whenever it interferes with his will) prohibits a priest - much less a bishop - from communicating with his flock.  Indeed, given that Bishop Williamson has been prohibited from public ministry (for no good reason, I might add), other than the sermons he gives in London at the Masses he still celebrates, these weekly columns provide encouragement and nourishment for many.

I don't agree with everything the Bishop writes in Eleison Comments, but I do find it laughable that Bishop Fellay is so threatened by it that he has resorted, at long last, to expulsion over this singular matter.  It is a failure of leadership to ignore reasonable objections from senior advisors (I here am of course referring to the famous intervention from the 3 bishops over the summer) and Eleison Comments is simply an ongoing form of dissent against a "sellout" which has additionally manifested itself in expulsions and vocal disagreement from clergy other than Bishop Williamson.  Bishop Fellay touted "profound unity" at the Chapter, but speaking to SSPX priests and faithful who attend their chapels reveals anything but such unity.

If Bishop Fellay et al are so convinced they are right, why expel over such a matter?  Perhaps this will blow warmth into the cooling ashes of a deal with Rome.  A sign of good faith.  The traditional Jewish tradition of the scapegoat...I speculate but I neither wish (nor care) to divine.

Ultimately, the battle is not just over Eleison Comments - that's the visible exterior.  But it is really a battle of the liberal/anti-liberal factions within the SSPX.  And while this split has been present in the SSPX since Day 1, we knew that it would be exacerbated as time passed since the Archbishop died.  Bishop Fellay was not always a liberal.  But leadership roles reveal true character, and the chair of the Superior General has revealed Bishop Fellay for the accommodating liberal that he really is.  This is perhaps best seen when he refers to "a limited religious liberty" within Dignitatis Humanae.  For anyone who has read that document, such a phrasing is at best absurd, and reveals that Bishop Fellay is not now, and never has been, a serious theological voice in the SSPX (as an aside, for those interested in delving deeper into these heretical documents of a robber council, tune into Restoration Radio this weekend).

So, yes, I am confirming officially that as of right now, Bishop Williamson is set to be expelled.  It has not "officially" happened yet, but it will.  As His Excellency would quote from Hamlet, "If it be now, tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come" (V,ii: 222-224).

I welcome this news.  It will free up Bishop Williamson to continue to do what he does so well - preach the Gospel and wake Catholics out of complacency.  He will now do so outside of an organization deep in the depths of an identity crisis rooted in their double-minded ecclesiology.  You will be hearing and seeing a lot more of Bishop Williamson in the months and years ahead.  Stay tuned.

That's all for now.  I will have more in a few weeks when I am with the Bishop in London to do his first public interview since 2010.

Many have asked about donations to the Bishop.  We will keep you posted on sending checks.  If you prefer to donate by credit card, you may do so on the Bishop's home page.

Stephen Heiner

Stephen lives in Paris, France. He founded True Restoration in 2006.

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20 Responses

  1. R. Catesby says:

    Mr. Heiner, this is very disappointing news to read. You — and by extension Bishop Williamson — sound like 8-year-old children. Quote all the Shakespeare you want; reference all the Beethoven you care to. The fact remains that Bishop Williamson will be remembered as the one senior cleric who, when given the opportunity to engage with Rome and actually influence opinion, decided he wasn't up to the challenge and preferred to remain beyond the Pale. He reminds me of so many loud-mouthed crusader types who, when faced with the reality of a real fight, decided it really wasn't all that worth it.

    And that crazy unity that Bishop Fellay wants? Yeah, that's sort of the whole idea. Unity, not division. It has nothing to do with a "personal need" (how insidious an accusation). If that were the case, Bishop Williamson would have been sacked years ago.

    You claim that you do not agree with everything Bishop Fellay writes in Eleison Comments. Congratulations, you have that much in common with Bishop Fellay and the rest of the SSPX of the Sane Variety. I think it is only natural that when the leader of a religious community is attacked by a subordinate — a subordinate who publicly urges his superior's overthrow — that some final action should be taken. That is true leadership. Your type of leader pokes and prods and dances and teases and mocks and makes a fool of himself.

    Finally, you whimper, "If Bishop Fellay et al are so convinced they are right, why expel over such a matter?" I would ask in return (for your question is preposterous): If Bishop Williamson believes he is so right (correct), why refuse comments that speak in opposition to his claims? Can't take the heat?

  2. Mr Catesby

    I don't know what you are talking about. Have you ever posted here before? Who has "refused comments that speak in opposition to his claims?" The bishop? In what way?

    As to the rest of your comments – not really worth replying to. Suffice to say I've been personally acquainted with both of these bishops enough to make my own judgment. You may judge as you see fit, based on your own experiences.

  3. Whats Up! says:

    You really are lost Mr Heiner.

    I will pray for your soul.

    I frequently come to your blog to see if you have staightened out and come to Charity, but you are still full of false disobedient childish pride.

  4. ambrosio says:

    Mr Catesby – 8 year olds quoting Shakespeare and referencing Beethoven….?.

  5. James says:

    It may well be that for the most part the SSPX which appears in the last few years to have more and more cowered before the Jews does not merit the retention of Bp. Williamson. (Most of his fellow priests certainly appeared content to leave him hanging out to dry after his courageous Holocaust remarks.) If that be the case God's divine providence could easily be seen in the iron boot from Menzingen.

    I certainly am not claiming that Bp. Williamson is a saint. The Good Lord knows. Nevertheless, it may be of some interest to note that St. John of the Cross was held against his will until he finally escaped from his fellow Carmelites to continue his work of reforming the order. It took physical force to get St. Theresa of Avila back into her monastery where the more worldly nuns fought to keep her out. St. Alphonus Ligouri was given the boot from the very order he founded. Padre Pio received ridicule and horrible treatment from a good number of his fellow monks. The list goes on and on.

    And, of course, we read in Sacred Scripture, "that no prophet is accepted in his own country." It could well be argued that Bp. Williamson's "country" more than any other was where he dedicated so many years of his life: the SSPX.

  6. What's Up!

    I appreciate your prayers!

  7. James says:

    Mr. Heiner,

    Thank you very much for posting this article. It is much appreciated.

    I forgot to sign off on my above post as is generally my habit since I don't like to be anonymous.

    James B. Phillips
    Regular attendee at Our Lady Immaculate Chapel (SSPX) in Oak Park, IL

  8. dolorosa says:

    It was Bishop Fellay who gave us the impression that he was ready to make a deal with Modernist Rome. I think he should apologize to us for the anxiety and concerns not only the layman encountered but the other 3 Bishops and priests too who felt they should warn the faithful and rightly so!
    Why didn't Bishop Fellay defend Bishop Williamson as certainly he knows the bishop isn't anti-semitic?
    I have to agree with those who say the SSPX is going through its own Vatican II. I thank Bishop Williamson for speaking out and exposing the lies of the enemies of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Archbishop Lefebvre was not quiet in these matters. He spoke out against Communism, Islam, etc. He would never have given us the impression that he was going to make a deal with Rome and especially after Assisi 3.

  9. Anthony says:

    Fellay only wants unity under his piousious liberal jansenist banner. Last time I checked the SSPX wasn't the catholic church…What a bunch of nutcases.

  10. 2live4truth says:

    I say thank you too for posting article. better to suffer for doing good then for evil. I highly admire Bp Williamson both for his courage in the face of such adversity and for standing for the truth on various subjects that are not popular but nevertheless are the truth. Are prayers are with him and I'm glad to hear that he will be speaking out more, thank you, Sharon

  11. pclaudel says:

    The first commenter, the snide one, has an interesting screen name: that of one of the leaders of the much-romanticized Gunpowder Plot, whose object was the murder of their lawful king and as many other people as they could manage to kill. Catesby, Fawkes, and the other conspirators were, unsurprisingly, all condemned by the reigning pontiff, Clement VIII.

    Now an admirer of Catesby is assassinating the character of a good and holy man and sneering at any who speak up for him. Who says history doesn't repeat itself?

  12. Thomas Lewis says:

    Thank you Stephen for letting us know. I have been anticipating this chess move by Bp. Fellay, for Rome appears not to take him serious at the moment. Time will tell if there are any real priest left in the SSPX. The angels must be buzzing in Heaven, while Fellay dismantles the SSPX in a way Rome never dreamed. The Sham that the US SSPX priest have let all this happen, when they could stop all of this in the twinkling of an eye.

  13. Tancred says:

    Even having a double-minded ecclesiology is better than challenging those who have it, while not having one one's self.

  14. ambrosio says:

    An e-mail circulating among British Trads says that Mgr Williamson will have to vacate his lodgings at St George's House, Wimbledon by the end of next week (27th Oct?) if he doesn't comply with Bp Fellay's demands.

  15. Cyril

    Your phrasing wasn't the most elegant, so I hope I understand you correctly to basically say, "A double-minded ecclesiology is better than…"

    Oh please.

    In the ecclesiology I understand, disciplinary norms of the Catholic Church are not subject to scrutiny. They fall under the UOM which is infallible. This has *nothing* to do with a Pope. The Universal Ordinary Magisterium is much bigger than any one man.

    In my ecclesiology, the Code of Canon Law, the Catechism, the Liturgy, and Ecumenical Councils are not only not subject to debate, but not even capable of containing error.

    In my ecclesiology, the primary interpreter of the Magisterium is the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, not a cabal in Switzerland.

    My ecclesiology is clear: it's Catholic. And isn't something I made up. It is the normal Catholic response, founded in the rule of St. Vincent of Lerins, to any sort of confusion about the faith. When that confusion emanates from seats of authority in the Church, both St. Robert Bellarmine and Pope Paul IV have remedies and counsel on what a regular Catholic is to do.

    Any other ecclesiologies, including the double-minded one of the SSPX, is modern innovation. And we know where that belongs.

  16. Unknown says:

    One has to be obedient to one's superior with one and only one exception: if he requires one to act manifestly against faith and morals. This is one of the cornerstones of priestly life and an absolutely indispensable part of it.

    Since Bishop Williamson is not exactly being required to deny truths of the Faith, I fail to see why Bishop Fellay's request does not come under the obligation to obedience.

  17. benares says:

    Posted on Cathinfo

    Dear Stephen Heiner, It's good to know that you have been caretaking two of our good Bp Williamson's bank accounts in America for several years. I have expressed the need for GOOD MONEY MANAGEMENT by the Resistance on at least four occasions in different posts in this forum. Money issues may well bring down the Resistas in the future. On another forum I have read someone giving the SSPX-SO a year's lifespan.

    I know what I'm talking about as I've been an observer of the goings on of the past few years in the Asia District of the SSPX. I hope OUR good bishop will keep his funds independent of others and will not be sucked in by sob-stories of any sort from other quarters.

    From what I have seen of Bp Williamson, he is an astonishingly frank, open-hearted yet distinguished personality. We have to see that he is not taken advantage of now in any way.

  18. ambrosio says:

    I have heard two versions concerning Bishop Williamson who is still living at the SSPX Priory in Wimbledon, England. One says that he seems to be a " broken man ", while the other says that he looks pretty much as he did before his expulsion.

    What news do you have on the good Bishop?

  19. ambrosio says:

    This is an excellent piece by Fr Meramo that was posted on Cathinfo.It seems that the SGG group were right in always maintaining that a split in the SSPX would be always more of the same i.e. "Recognize but Resist". The SSPX-SO, as in it's continuing use of the 1962 Missal also seems to be "picking and choosing" the "correct" mind of Archbishop Lefebvre!

    In the Eleison [Comment] number 277 on Sunday November 4, 2012, Bishop Williamson provides concepts about realities and situations which are convenient to distinguish without confusing them, since it is given the impression that they are mixed, which may confuse and paralyze the reaction (strong resistance). One thing is trying to regroup a parallel fraternity, which in my opinion, is completely unworkable in the current theological-historical juncture; and quite another one, very different, is the resistance or "pockets of resistance" as he [His Excellence] calls it, which does not depend on what was previously mentioned.

    But this resistance must be overt, active and not crouching nor passive, for each and every one of the priests, who, with or without a bishop —but much better if there is one—, want to stand firm in the faith, without compromise, without collaborating or participating in anyway, in the “light” capitulation, soft and anesthetic, which is resulting from the acts of both, the modernist apostate and antichrist Rome, as well as that of Bishop Fellay and his henchmen.

    A resistance which is already late, (although it is better late than never), but which tomorrow would be too late, and therefore ineffective and useless.

    The expulsion of Bishop Williamson is a fact which ought to serve as a trigger to open everybody’s eyes [allowing to see] the critical situation in which the Society of St. Pius X with is bishops, priests and faithful is now.

    I fully agree to talk about pockets of resistance, dispersed throughout the world, as pusillus grex (small faithful flock) keeping every priest around him —wherever he is—, the faithful who they can attend. And all those pockets of resistance [should] remain united by the Faith’s bond, that unites us and reconnects to Christ and to His Church, since it is precisely the Antichrist, as Saint John defines well: "qui solvit Iesum" (who dissolves Christ), what destroys and dilutes the Faith and divides the Church separating us from Christ.

    I think if we had all this in mind, we all would strongly know what to do, energetically, promptly, diligently and expeditiously; without doubt or hesitation, because faith is beyond question, so is the defense of the faith, and we could accomplish the mission to which Divine Providence has destined us. To doubt is to falter, understand this well, men of little faith! For that is what unfortunately it seems, that is what is happening, both in the priestly field of the Society and in the Episcopal one, as the fish rots from the head down.

    Then, it is clear and evident, that if Bishop Williamson is a true man of God as worthy successor of the Apostles, he must distinguish things and act accordingly, otherwise, he would make us to think that he is taking advantage of the confusion to mask a policy to dissolve the real and outright resistance. Things are to be called by their name and Bishop Williamson has no alternative but to define himself by his actions, because every tree is recognized by its own acts (fruits).

    Many priests have been disheartened by not being backed by Bishop Williamson, just when they were about to react and act; for having been given the encouragement at first, then came the slowdown, leaving them hanging, since all this only favored, dialectically and subtly, the work of destruction that modernist apostate and antichrist Rome has always pursued: to dilute any real resistance, and thus annihilate the Sacrosanct Infallible Church’s Tradition.

    Fr. Basilio Meramo

    Bogotá, November 7, 2012

  20. Alan Aversa says:

    Is this your most recent interview with Bp. Williamson?