Fr. Alphonsus Rodriguez in his work Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues tells us that “the Holy Ghost likens the Church to an army terrible in battle array, a squadron well drawn up in phalanx. When a squadron is well drawn up, and linked together, man with man, it leaves no opening for anyone to break through, since all support one another. But disunited and disordered, it is a very weak thing, easily broken up, readily put to rout.”
This then is the intention of this newsletter, to “link up” the clergy and faithful of the Catholic Resistance and to “draw them up in phalanx ready for battle”. But before we roll up our sleeves and get stuck in, let us first consider the difficulties that Fr. Rodriguez mentions in keeping such a society of men and women united, as well as the concrete measures he proposes to meet and overcome these obstacles.
The first difficulty he mentions arises “from the fact of the Society being so scattered and dispersed all over the world among believers and unbelievers, and its members being so remote and separate one from another.” So it is also with the Catholic Resistance, whose faithful are spread out few and far between, and which poses quite a challenge in keeping them all united in spirit and focused towards their common goal: to keep the Faith alive until God deigns to intervene and restore His Church through devotion to His Holy Mother and the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
As a direct solution to this problem, Fr. Rodriguez proposes “frequent communication by edifying letters, such as are usual in the Society. By such letters people keep up a good acquaintance with one another, and animate one another to a common method of action.” Along these lines, we would like to encourage all of you not to let this newsletter become a “one man show”, but to make it a work of many minds, hearts and pens, by submitting articles, writing letters, asking questions, suggesting good books, etc.. We all have been given at least one talent, so let us use it for the common good!
The second difficulty Fr. Rodriguez mentions is that “the men of the Society must be for the most part men of letters, and knowledge puffs up, and creates in a man a high opinion of himself, and small opinion of others, and engenders also hardness of heart.” Alas, here too Traditional Catholics face the same difficulties. As Our Lady of Good Success told us, “in this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent”. And so, in order to protect ourselves against being infected by the many errors of our times, we must all, each according to our own capabilities, study the Faith and arm ourselves with sufficient knowledge to expose and oppose the errors of our times. And it is this knowledge that unfortunately causes some men to become “puffed up”, “engendering also a hardness of heart”. One such pitiful example we shall mention a little further in this newsletter.
As a protective measure against this difficulty, Fr. Rodriguez suggest that “the first and most fundamental of all is, not to admit and incorporate into the Society men who have made no effort to get their vices and passions well under, since unmortified folk will not endure discipline, order or union.” And so we will strive with this newsletter to avoid the petty fights and emotional sensationalism which seem to have taken hold of far too many Catholics, but instead focus on sound doctrine and good Catholic morals. To help us with this, we highly recommend everyone to follow the advice that St. Ignatius of Loyola gave in the presupposition of his Spiritual Exercises, mentioned elsewhere in this first issue.
And a third difficulty is that these same people “are apt to follow various party attachments, as also a disposition to seek singularities and privileges and exemptions, and not live like the rest.” Here too the Catholic Resistance suffers greatly, with not a few people looking for all kinds of faults in others, in order to magnify them and thus to sow dissensions between various parties.
To arm ourselves against this temptation of following “various party attachments”, Fr. Rodriguez offers us the following advice: “Things that are equal to a third thing are equal to one another. And the more united subjects are with their Superior, the more they will be among themselves.” And so we must ask ourselves, in this crisis where authority is limping, who should we look up to as our superiors? To solve this question, I will turn to the common sense of Fr. (now bishop) Thomas Aquinas, mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter, when in 1988 he said: “We don’t follow Msgr. de Castro Meyer or Msgr. Lefebvre as ringleaders. We follow the Catholic Church. And at this moment, these two confessors are the only bishops who are against the auto demolition of the Church. It is not possible for us to disassociate ourselves from them. And so it is now as it was in the fourth century during the time of Arianism, when it was a sign of orthodoxy to be in communion with Athanasius.”
And this brings us to the solution to this third problem of people with various “party attachments”. We are united by our communion with our three (soon four!) bishops. Not because they are ringleaders, but because we regard it as a sign of orthodoxy to be in communion with these bishops, whom we believe are the ones who are resisting the auto demolition of the Church in general and of the SSPX in particular.
And so I am pleased to present to you this first issue of our newsletter, Ipsa Conteret. On this feast of Easter, we shall start with the Archbishop’s last Easter sermon, after which we will turn our attention to the highlight of this first newsletter, which we hope will bring plenty more life and hope to our Catholic Resistance: the upcoming episcopal consecration of bishop-elect Fr. Zendejas!
Also in this issue you will find an excellent example of true Catholic perspective and common sense by one of the faithful in the UK, a study on the price the SSPX is already paying in order to be accepted “as they have become” by unconverted Rome, the thoughts of the Archbishop with regards to resisting those who like to submit themselves to modernist authorities, some valuable insights by bishop Williamson and Fr. Faber, and an excerpt of Fr. Greenstock’s work on essential perfection.
On a practical note, we aim to publish all of our articles on our website (ipsaconteret.com), in order to facilitate referencing, downloading, and printing of individual articles.
A Blessed Easter to you all!