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The Real Archbishop?

Fr. Paul Robinson

Published with permission from Psalm 129

Fr. Paul Robinson has written yet another incoherent defense of the Fellay regime’s policy of rapprochement with the Conciliar Church.

Chock full of logical fallacies and venom towards priests who have — no doubt after much prayer — departed the increasingly tyrannical SSPX, Fr. Robinson’s article is a reflection of the fact that the Society is incapable of marshaling a cogent defense of its novel policy towards Rome without resorting to name calling and empty platitudes.

Fr. Robinson’s main thesis is that the Resistance takes the Archbishop’s statements about relations with Rome “out of context.” The Archbishop — and Bp. Fellay for that matter — is a man of “integrity,” and always had the same approach towards Rome. Anyone who can’t see that is only out to stir up dissent and attack the good Archbishop’s moral authority.

It’s hard to know where to begin with Fr. Robinson’s shoddy essay. One wonders if he wrote it in order to keep up his street cred with the likes of Fr. Themann, the thirtysomething pro-‘regularization’ rector of the Australian seminary Fr. Robinson is stationed at.

Whatever the case, I suppose we can start by noting that Fr.’s entire argument hinges on the claim that he, and seemingly he alone (alongside a few other Society priests in possession of some secret knowledge), know the true “context” of Abp. Lefebvre’s statements about SSPX-Rome relations.

For instance, in his essay, Fr. Robinson accuses the Resistance of reading the Archbishop’s remarks “in isolation.”

Reality suggests that it is Fr. Robinson who reads Abp. Lefebvre in isolation. He takes the Archbishop’s words from the early 70s and 80s and makes them applicable for all time, ignoring the fact that not only during the Archbishop’s lifetime the Romans proved their malice, but that today the Church is run by possibly the most un-Christlike pope in history, not to mention legions of Freemasons.

While the Archbishop no doubt desired to “normalize” relations with Rome in the 70s and 80s, it appears he was given — by the Holy Spirit — the gift of wisdom in a bountiful amount following the consecrations. The result was that he was able to see more clearly that a practical deal with unconverted Rome was not a possible course of action. To do so would have been an instance of Liberal Catholicism, an act of ecumenism being applied to Tradition, as Bp. Fellay argued in 2003.

Anyone who has read the Archbishop’s famous One- and Two-years After the Consecrations interviews knows that the Archbishop did in fact oppose a deal with un-converted Rome in his last years.

Interestingly enough, Fr. Robinson ignores those interviews — likely because they debunk everything he says about the Archbishop’s stance towards Rome.

Despite Fr. Robinson’s claim to the contrary, the simple fact is that the Archbishop did undergo a maturation process in his views towards the Conciliar Church after 1988.

To take the words of the Archbishop after that process, as the Resistance does — and as the SSPX used to — and to live by them, in no way “tears” at the “integrity” of the Archbishop, as Fr. Robinson asserts. It is to admit that he changed his view over time towards the destroyers of the faith as he became more aware of their diabolical tricks.

Psalm 129 has already debunked the “out of context” argument put forth by Fr. Robinson in multiple posts. So we needn’t directly refute every point he raises.

Still, for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that Fr. Robinson is right. Let’s suppose he is correct about the Resistance. They are nothing more than a group of prideful rabble-rousers who don’t grasp the concepts of authority and obedience, and, like the Feeneyites, engage in “quote mining” to support their twisted views.

If true, this would mean that the four Resistance Bishops, the dozens of priests who have left the Society to join the Resistance, and the thousands of Resistance faithful are incapable of basic reading comprehension.

It would mean that the Dominicans in Avrille and the Capuchins of Morgon (who wrote a 200 pg. book on why the SSPX cannot make a deal with Modernist Rome) are simply unable to make basic inferences about the Archbishop’s remarks regarding a practical accord with the Conciliar Church.

Is this even a likely scenario? A possible one, even?

Seriously, what Fr. Robinson is basically saying is that all of these persons lack the intellect needed to read the Archbishop “in context.” Is the Capuchin’s 200 page book simply missing the “context” of the words of the Archbishop? What sort of warped mind comes away from reading that scholarly document and says “well, you know what, they just don’t understand the context the Archbishop was speaking in.”

Furthermore, did Bishop Faure and Bishop Aquinas truly never understand Abp. Lefebvre, despite knowing him for decades and despite the fact that he wanted to consecrate Bp. Faure in ’88?

Does Fr. Robinson think priests are flocking to the Resistance for the verdant pastures of hotel room masses and the thousands of miles required to provide instruction to Resistance Catholics? Surely that is why these priests leave the SSPX – to live a life of comfort, glory, and ease!

Lastly, are we to really think that the 7 Deans in France who came out so strongly last year merely driven by an “isolated” view of the Archbishop? Really? Fr. Robinson – a priest who never knew the Archbishop personally and is not yet 50 – confidently says “yes!” What a joke.

But what does “reading the Archbishop in context” even mean, anyway? What context are we talking about here? His words speak for themselves. They are principled stands, rooted in Scripture, against putting the faith in danger under those who do not follow Tradition and who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The actions and numerous public letters of the SSPX in the 90s and 2000s indicate they lived by the Resistance position for many years.

Fr. Robinson gives us no evidence as to the “real context” of the Archbishop’s words, even though his essay takes about 10 minutes to slog through. He provides a quote or two of the Archbishop, to be sure, but fails to make a convincing case in any way whatsoever of his main thesis. He throws around the word “prudence” whenever he can, seemingly to make the article appear well thought out and carefully reasoned, but ultimately his claims fall short.

What Fr. Robinson is really saying in his long-winded article is that those who aren’t in support of Bp. Fellay’s “regularization” efforts are essentially idiots incapable of reading at a fifth-grade level. Only he knows the true insights of Abp. Lefebvre regarding his approach to Rome. Anyone who comes to a different conclusion is either a) only interested in undermining authority or b) acting so to stir up dissent. His behavior is aking to kicking sand in the eyes of a defenseless child and then yelling at them for saying “Stop! Stop! It Stings!”

While reading Fr. Robinson’s article, I was reminded of the time I was journeying out of the Novus Ordo Church. One thing that I was constantly told wherever I looked for answers was that I am just a layman — an ordinary pew-sitting Catholic who needed to trust the priests, Bishops and Cardinals, and not to worry about the goings on behind the scenes in Rome. Putting the remarks of the Popes of the 19th century “into context” was not my job, I was instructed. I should leave that to the theological experts. To think I could “judge” them would be un-Catholic.

The SSPX is engaging in this same sort of behavior, and Fr. Robinson’s article indicates they have adopted the same sort of “shut up and be quiet” attitude towards the faithful as the priests who belong to the Conciliar Church.

More on this to come in the near future as there is much more to write…


On the same subject, see also the Sodalitium Pianum blog : Saying Everything and its Opposite