Bishop Thomas Aquinas responds to the allegation that bishop De Castro Mayer was a sedevacantist.
Here are some points that can help clarify this issue.
- Brother Juan Bautista, who was a seminarian in Campos in the days of Monsignor De Castro Mayer, tells me that he does not remember hearing that Bishop de Castro Mayer omitted the Pope’s name in the canon [of the Mass].
- None of the close collaborators of Monsignor De Castro Mayer were sedevacantist, at least not those I met from 1986 to 2000, having a very frequent contact with all the priests of Campos throughout this period.
- The only sedevacantist priest in Campos that I met was Monsignor Benigno, chaplain of the Redemptorists, who ended up opposing Monsignor De Castro Mayer and the priests of Campos.
- If Monsignor de Castro Mayer had been sedevacantist, he would have left disciples. Now, neither among the priests of Campos nor among the faithful of the diocese have I found sedevacantists. The only one was Monsignor Benigno who had not been trained in the seminary of Monsignor De Castro Mayer and who had a different way of thinking and acting than that of Monsignor De Castro Mayer. For example, he did not use the same liturgical books as Monsignor De Castro Mayer, and according to the information I have, he reproached Monsignor De Castro Mayer for saying the name of St. Joseph in the canon. [a change introduced by John XXIII. Note from NP]
- Monsignor Lefebvre told me that Monsignor de Castro Mayer was not sedevacantist because of the latter’s friendship with him (Archbishop Lefebvre). This means that Monsignor De Castro Mayer was not sedevacantist. He was humble enough to recognize the superiority of Monsignor Lefebvre, of whom he did not want to lose his friendship. Friendship is founded on a common good, otherwise it is a false friendship. What they had in common was above all the understanding of the current crisis and the means to counter it, for the survival of the Church. Sedevacantism was not part of these means, quite the contrary, we can add.
- Bishop de Castro Mayer wrote to John Paul II on April 13, 1982. In this letter he says: “Prostrate at the feet of your holiness, I implore the Apostolic Blessing.” This way of expressing oneself is not common among sedevacantists.
- He also wrote, together with Archbishop Lefebvre, open letters to John Paul II. This implies recognition of the authority of John Paul II.
- Bishop de Castro Mayer conferred the sacred orders at La Reja and participated in the consecrations of 1988. It would be curious that he did not say anything to Monsignor Lefebvre and to the ordinands regarding the omission of the Pope’s name in the canon of the Mass if he would have had that custom.
In conclusion. It is truly a pity to see the spiritual sons of Monsignor Lefebvre abandoning his wisdom to follow a path which Monsignor de Castro Mayer himself never really wanted to assume. On the contrary, Bishop de Castro Mayer was on the same page as Monsignor Lefebvre on this issue, also acknowledging the superiority of Monsignor Lefebvre on this question.