This last of four volumes in the Letters from the Rector series includes Bishop Williamson’s letters 183 through 236 – the remaining 54 in the overall collection of 235 – written between February 9, 1999, and August 9, 2003, during the last part of his tenure at the head of the Winona seminary. Among other things, the Bishop addresses key events of the period, such as 9-11, the second war in Iraq, the President Clinton affair, and John Paul II’s famous “apologies,” as well as some of his favorite themes, to include rural vs. suburban life and the family, while simultaneously and consistently dealing with the relationship between the SSPX (and Catholic traditionalism generally) and Rome. The volume includes its own index and a comprehensive index to the four-volume series, and it closes with His Excellency’s charming poem bidding farewell to the United States after two decades’ worth of work forming priests for the Society of St. Pius X.
The author is widely known, and both loved and hated (as the case may be) for his controversial and “radical” (i.e., going to the “root” of the issue) opinions on matters both secular and religious, from 9-11 to World War II to modern film to suburban living to feminine dress and more. The bulk and essence of his opinions are captured in the letters “to friends and benefactors” ‒ including those featured in this volume ‒ that he wrote during his two decades of service at the helm of the Ridgefield and Winona seminaries, and which were succeeded in 2007 by his still-running weekly commentary entitled “Eleison Comments,” currently curated by the St. Marcel Initiative (and available here) with the collaboration of the Bishop’s long-time friend, confidant, and now biographer, Dr. David Allen White.