District Superior's Letter: Dec 2008
Having returned from Lourdes a few weeks ago, I would like to assure you that the intentions of the priests and faithful of the District of the United States were remembered in my prayers to Our Lady at the grotto. It was a wonderful pilgrimage—the most important gathering of “traditional” Catholics ever brought together...
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Having returned from Lourdes a few weeks ago, I would like to assure you that the intentions of the priests and faithful of the District of the United States were remembered in my prayers to Our Lady at the grotto.
It was a wonderful pilgrimage—the most important gathering of “traditional” Catholics ever brought together, with about 20,000 faithful in attendance at the Mass on the Feast of Christ the King! All districts of the Society of St. Pius X from the whole world over were represented by our priests and faithful. The priests of the United States District and the many American pilgrims who were present, were witnesses of the beauty of the ceremonies, and surely returned home with many graces and consolations.
As you were already informed in his recent Letter to Friends and Benefactors [no. 73], Bishop Bernard Fellay, in his sermon on Sunday, October 26th, relaunched the Rosary Crusade with the intention of obtaining the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication against the four bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988. Bishop Fellay invites us to pray one million rosaries before Christmas. Let us be generous to the Immaculate Heart.
Some may wonder—why such an invitation for the Crusade? Or more precisely—why such an intention? Why put such a demand as a pre-condition to our relations with Rome? Why such a request as a concrete demonstration of Rome’s good intention toward us?
Some may think that it is a sign of weakness for the Society of St. Pius X to request such a thing; isn’t it a recognition of the validity of these “excommunications,” and therefore a condemnation of our work of the last 20 years?!
I would like here, to insist on one of the reasons why we should request this withdrawal, mentioned by Bishop Fellay in his last Letter to Friends and Benefactors. He wrote:
the excommunication did not cut us off from the Church, but it has driven away a good number of her members from the Church’s past and from her Tradition."
It is clear to us that the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre and the four consecrated bishops did not sever them or us from the Church. It was out of necessity, given the crisis situation in the Church, that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre decided to do the consecrations as a means to safeguard Tradition, certain that he was faithful to the Church and that he was doing his duty by so proceeding.
The request that Rome withdraw the so-called excommunication is not therefore, simply a request for personal benefits, nor even for the good of the Society of St. Pius X. It is a request made chiefly for the good of the Church Herself.
In other words, behind the decree of excommunication, is a condemnation—so to speak—of an attitude. It is the attachment to the Church’s past and to the Tradition of the Church which has been “excommunicated.” Let me quote Bishop Fellay:
Through the excommunication, what has been censured and penalized is the very attitude which specified the combat of Archbishop Lefebvre, i.e., this relationship to the Church’s past and to her Tradition." [Letter no. 73]
By the lifting of the excommunication, our hope is that bishops, priests, and faithful may feel free to at last express their rightful attachment to Tradition, and to quote the different Councils of the Church, such as Nice or Trent or any others—without being condemned as “Lefebvreist.” Our desire is that what has been taught in the past may be preached today, that what was true yesterday be recognized as true today, tomorrow, and forever. It is simply a request for the rehabilitation of Tradition in the Catholic Church.
To conclude this letter, I would like to wish you a good and fruitful season of Advent, and following that a happy and holy Feast of the Nativity. Let us not forget that Advent is a time of penance in which we should double our efforts, sacrifices and prayers. Let us be careful not to celebrate Christmas in advance, or to make this time of preparation a time of celebration and frivolity as do the pagans. If we are generous in preparing in this spirit of penance, we will taste the peacefulness and true joy of Christmas.
May the Child Jesus bless you.
You have my prayers for a merry and holy Christmas.
Fr. Arnaud Rostand