After three issues of these “Comments” have tried to show the new way of thinking by which Archbishop Lefebvre’s Society of St Pius X is being poisoned to death, let us present one encouraging sign that his Society is not yet completely dead: quotes from a sermon given on January 1 of this year in Chicago by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, one of the four bishops consecrated for the SSPX in 1988. People often ask why so little is heard of him, because he is known to be a timid but honest man with a strong faith, a clear mind and a great knowledge and love of the Archbishop. Maybe he has loved the Society “not wisely, but too well,” so that he has not seen, or has not wanted to see, how its leadership has for many years been slowly but surely betraying the Archbishop’s fight for the Faith. Has the Bishop been putting the Society’s unity in front of the Church’s Faith? But last month he said several things that could not be said better.
He quoted the Archbishop writing in his Spiritual Journey (Ch III, p.13): “It is, therefore, a strict duty for every priest wanting to remain Catholic to separate himself from the Conciliar Church for as long it does not rediscover the Tradition of the Church and of the Catholic Faith.” Then, for emphasis, Bishop Tissier said, “Let me repeat that,” and he read out the quote once more.
Next he referred to the evil forces occupying the Church. Then he warned against “false friends” who maintain wrongly that if the SSPX remains “separated from the visible Church,” it will turn into a sect. He declared on the contrary that “we are the visible Church” and that “we are in the Church.”
Finally he warned against “false friends” who claim that the SSPX is in an abnormal situation because we are not “recognized by the Church” and he declared that it is Rome’s situation, not ours, which is abnormal, that the Society does not need to “come back,” because it is these Romans who have to come back. “We do not need to be looking for what we can do in Rome, but rather for what testimony we can give to the whole Church by being a light on a candlestick and not under a bushel.”
Bishop Tissier’s line of thinking, as expressed in these quotes, is exactly that of the Archbishop. The modernist cuckoos now occupying the nightingales’ nest, i.e. the structures of the true Church, may present the appearance of nightingales, but their song, ie. doctrine, doctrine, doctrine, immediately gives them away. In reality they are nothing but cuckoos, with no right to be occupying that nest. The true nest does not make their doctrine true. Their false doctrine makes false their occupying of that nest. They may be visible in that nest, but, as their doctrine shows, they are not true nightingales. Wherever the remainder of the true nightingales are visibly gathered, in whatever makeshift nest, they are in the Church, they are the true visible Church, and their beautiful song testifies to anyone who has ears to hear that the cuckoos are nothing but cuckoos who have stolen the Catholic nest which they presently occupy.
Alas, the present leaders of the XSPX are tone deaf, will not distinguish the song of cuckoos from that of nightingales, and so judge of Catholicism by the appearances of the nest instead of by the reality of the song. What Bishop Tissier said here must have displeased them greatly. Without any doubt they will have brought pressure to bear, skilfully calculated, to make sure that he steps back in line, their line. And out of “obedience,” he risks doing just that. We must pray for him.