Moral Test of the Resistance
Posted: 4 April 2019
In the following Q&A I would like to address a few questions and objections I have received regarding my defence of the Carmelites, as well as a few observations and issues with the Resistance in general. Some of the questions are based on genuine and charitable email conversations I’ve had with real Catholics, while others are based on less charitable remarks, mostly (but not exclusively) from anonymous cowards.

On 2 February 2019 you published your intention to close your website. What prompted that decision?

For a few years now I have been unimpressed with the lack of leadership of some of the Resistance clergy and faithful. I believe this lack of leadership has been a real hindrance to the growth of the Resistance and has caused the Resistance to lose some of it’s initial missionary spirit and charity, to the point that they have become what St. Paul called a tinkling cymbal 1. In other words, I have reason to believe that Our Lord was speaking about the Resistance when he urged people to “observe and do whatever they shall say to you: but according to their works do ye not. For they say, and do not”2. I have no motivation to support and defend a tinkling cymbal.

Can you give us an example of where you believe the Resistance has failed in matching word and deed?

Just a few weeks ago, Bishop Williamson spoke in his Eleison Comments #6003 about “the blood of martyrs.. including of many young girls” and asked “where are the potential martyrs today?” But at the same time he refuses to speak to, let alone support, the potential martyrs in his own backyard, who have been crying out for years to find a much needed Traditional Catholic bishop to place themselves under.

In August 2018 Fr. Trincado gave a sermon about the good Samaritan4, calling upon Traditional Catholics not to look with contempt upon the rest of Catholics, but rather to act as guardians and protectors of each other. As an example, he admonished us to “think of those “modernist” cloistered nuns who, despite the New Mass and the bad sermons, live entirely crucified because of their ardent charity.” But at the same time, barring a few exceptions, the Resistance refuses to act as guardians and protectors of the cloistered nuns in Ireland, who are indeed being crucified, not only by the world but also, and especially I dare say, by those who should be the first ones to support them.

During exposition of the Blessed Sacrament the faithful all pray “O Lord grant us many holy religious vocations”, but many of them refuse to support the religious vocations Our Lord grants us. What’s even worse, many of these Traditional Catholics are quite willing to join in the persecution either by spreading calumnies, or by willingly listening to them.

How’s that for hypocrisy?

But you can’t deny that “sister” Irene has been renowned in Ireland for many years.

I can’t deny that the calumnies have spread far and wide, even to the other side of the world, but I can deny that I have found any evidence of truth in them. On the contrary. I have made the effort to try and find the source of the accusations, or at least the grounds to render them credible, but I have been unable to find either of the two. I also gave the accused a chance to defend herself, and based on the content and the tone of her replies I am satisfied that the rumours are not credible at all, worse, I believe they are are unfounded and unjust.

The main point here is that I refuse to believe those who are willing to calumniate others, and whose only defence of such calumny is “everybody knows”.

Didn’t you know then that “sister” Irene has reinvented herself so many times that nobody can keep up?

I don’t know many Catholics who in all honesty can say that they never had to reinvent themselves. I have reinvented myself several times, and even the good bishop has had to reinvent himself in his past life. As Padre Pio used to pray, “My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.”

Those who try to discredit others by dragging up their past remind me of the Pharisee up the front, praying within himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, that needed to reinvent themselves, as also is this nun there in the back5.

So much for not picking up the first stone. So much for being guardians and protectors of each other!

So you disagree with the priests in Ireland who don’t think much of her?

I only know of one Resistance priest who has taken a public stand against Mother Irene, and I disagree with him. But at the same time I also know four other Resistance priests who have visited her and who support Mother Irene and Sister Anne Marie, although some with more conviction than others.

Don’t you think a bishop needs to be prudent?

“Prudence is right reason applied to practice, or more fully it may be defined, the habit of intellectual discernment that enables one to hit upon the golden mean of moral virtue and the way to secure that mean” 6.

Bishop Williamson told me that he was guided by someone else’s opinion, and that this adviser whom he trusts based his advice on “nothing serious, just a fear of a future scandal”. As Fr. Chazal recently reminded us, fear is not prudence but imprudence. A prudent man investigates, searching for facts rather than opinions and fears of what may or may not happen in the future. The least a prudent man would do is to give the accused a chance to defend herself. Even our civil courts would do as much, so why not a Catholic bishop?

I fail to see right reason and intellectual discernment in one who refuses to talk to the accused, and who instead bases his own opinion on other people’s opinions, on rumours and on fears.

At least the bishop has not condemned her either?

Sure, but is that good enough? Shall we excuse Pontius Pilate because he did not condemn Our Lord, but merely allowed his soldiers to crucify Him? Was Saul excused when he stood by as the Jews stoned St. Stephen?

What then are we to think of a bishop who remains silent when the mob is throwing stones, and when his own soldiers are “crucifying these nuns” to use Fr. Trincado’s words?

Surely, you are exaggerating now?

That is easy to say from a safe distance, but I am not convinced that those who are being stoned and crucified would feel the same way about it as you. Remember that we are not talking here about a luxury or an optional extra. Every Catholic needs the Sacraments, and to be denied access to the Sacraments and the support of the clergy upon whom we depend for them is not a matter of luxury and comfort but of necessity and survival.

Have you ever met a bishop who in his right mind would approve a new community immediately, unless he were the founder of it?

Was bishop Williamson in his right mind when he approved of the Sisters of Our Lady CoRedemptrix in France?

Was bishop Williamson in his right mind when he refused to start a seminary for the Resistance?

If he was in his right mind when approving of the French community, why can he not in his right mind approve of the Irish community? And if he was not in his right mind when refusing to start a seminary, could it be that he is not in his right mind to refuse his support for an equally important work for the survival of the faith?

Even if he refuses to approve the Carmelite convent, have you ever met a bishop who turns his back on those who need his help, even refusing to talk to them, standing by idle when they are being persecuted for justice’ sake? I have met plenty of such bishops.. in the Novus Ordo!

You would do better to be silent and to simply watch and pray.

Those who turn to prayer as an excuse not to do what they can and should be doing themselves are insulting God by treating Him like a mere servant, expecting Him to cover for their own laziness and cowardice. Such an attitude is able to stifle and kill every form of Catholic Action and cannot be pleasing to God.

As bishop Williamson says, “pray, of course, that is essential, but as the old saying goes, also keep rowing to shore”7.

Are you not being a little harsh on the Resistance?

US Vice President Hubert Humphrey once said that “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

Likewise I consider the moral test of the Resistance how they treat those who live in their shadow, those who do not have a voice to defend themselves and those who have no Sacraments or a large chequebook to offer anyone, but who instead entirely depend on the support and the charity of others.

A priest is valued because of the Sacraments he can provide, he will always find someone willing to have him and support him, and he can easily defend himself from the pulpit if need be. Cloistered nuns have no apparent and immediate benefit to anyone and they have no voice to defend themselves. However, since their benefit to the Church is just as important as that of priests, and precisely because they do not have a voice to defend themselves, they depend all the more on the voice, the charity and the support of others, including and especially that of a Catholic bishop.

The Archbishop said that “without monasteries, without the examples of the contemplative religious consecrated to the continual praise of God, the Church will never recover from the present crisis. In order to traverse this present crisis, there must be more monasteries, more souls willing to devote their whole life to prayer and intercession.” Therefore, a Resistance that does not understand and appreciate the value of these contemplative religious is a Resistance that does not think and act in line with the Archbishop’s sensus Catholicus.

You seem to forget that persecution is a good, as Our Lord told us so in Matthew 5:10-12.

Yes, “blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake”, and I am sure that if these nuns persevere until the end they will reap many blessing for us here on earth, and rewards for themselves in heaven. No doubt about that.

But what about those who do the persecuting? Our Lord also said “For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh”8.

Those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake are called blessed, but those who do the persecuting will be condemned, as also those who stand by idle when they could and should have lend a helping hand to those being persecuted.

By pointing out the bishop’s faults, are you not turning people away from him, and from the Resistance?

Which of the two poses the real danger to the sheepfold, an imprudent and unwilling shepherd, or one of the sheep who is bleating to warn the other sheep?

In other words, which is worse, a bishop who turns people away from the Resistance, or a complete nobody like myself who tries to warn people about the bishop who turns people away from the Resistance?

If we were talking about trivial faults then I agree that it would be better to remain silent. But we are talking here about faults that do turn people away from the Resistance, that have already turned many possible vocations away from the Resistance, and that do affect people’s chances of survival in this crisis of the Church. I would think that attacking the disease is better than hiding the symptoms.

Some people have accused you of hating Bishop Williamson.

On several occasions I have defended the bishop against people who falsely accused him of many things, so to say that I hate the bishop is just pure nonsense and more malicious gossip. This particular accusation was launched by a disgruntled flat-earther, which apparently is a rather common species!

Ok, but you are emotional and subjective.

The Catholic term for emotions is passions.

St. Augustine teaches that the passions “are evil if our love is evil; good if our love is good.” 9

St. Thomas teaches that “all these emotions are right in those whose love is rightly placed.”10

Fr. William Poland teaches that “in a man a passion may be, as it should be, an aid or an instrument to the ready action of the will proper to man, the spiritual will”, and that when passions are roused by the will, “the position taken by the will is fortified, the continuance of the position or act of the will becomes easier, and the act itself is intensified, since the whole man, soul and body, is roused to the same effort.”11

Our Lord became angry at the sight of the money changers in the temple, He marvelled at the faith of the Centurion and He was sad in the garden of Gethsemani.

So, you are correct in saying that I am emotional in the same sense that we say Our Lord was emotional. I am angry at the sight of the Pharisees in the Resistance, I marvel when I see these sisters in Ireland keeping up their good spirits and persevering amidst their trials, and I am sad that these nuns have to suffer so much persecution from their fellow Catholics.

But you are wrong in saying that I am subjective, because my words are not based on “personal feelings, tastes and opinions”12, but rather on the facts and the teachings I have mentioned several times and on the will to do what I consider my duty as a Catholic.

But you have a personal interest in these Carmelites, so therefore you cannot be objective. You are simply blinded by personal concerns.

Your reasoning is upside down. It is precisely because I was objective enough not to be guided by rumours and opinions that I was able to take on a personal interest in Mother Irene. Through the use of what I believe to be right reason and intellectual discernment I came to the conclusion that Mother Irene is worthy of our support. I then commanded my will to defend her in public, irregardless of popular opinion and human respect, and to let my daughter join her. After that I roused my passions in becoming angry at the calumniators and sad at the sight of a Resistance that “says but does not”.

You are certainly obsessed with this issue.

When St. Paul urged the Philippians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, was he obsessed with salvation? When the popes of old issued encyclical after encyclical condemning heresy after heresy, were they obsessed with heresies? When bishop Williamson keeps urging us to pray fifteen mysteries a day, is he obsessed with the Rosary?

I would rather say, the opposite is to be feared more, for us to to become lukewarm and disinterested in our neighbour’s well being, like a Cain who answered “am I my brother’s keeper?”

And let’s not forget that there are other symptoms of the same underlying disease, some of which I have pointed out before, while others are not yet public knowledge and are better kept that way (at least for now).

So do you urge others now to distance themselves from the Resistance?

No, not at all, because their teachings are still mostly good, and their Sacraments valid. I see no danger or compromise in seeking the Sacraments from them or in listening to their sermons. But I do see a danger in looking at some of their actions, or lack thereof, and in following these bad examples. And I have already seen people within the Resistance who are copying the bad examples.

Can you give us an example of this?

While bishop Williamson bases his opinion on the opinion of someone he trusts, Matthew at CathInfo goes a step further (down) and bases his opinion on a few anonymous posts on his own forum, concluding that “+Williamson was right to not support this unstable “sister”.”13 And while at least bishop Williamson has never joined in the attacks against Mother Irene, at least not directly, Matthew is quite happy to go a step further (down) by publicly agreeing with, approving of and repeating the anonymous gossip on his forum.

After all that, do you still intend to close your website?

I would like to (the passions), but since Fr. MacDonald asked me to keep it open (reason), I will do my best to do as he asked me to (the will). But I do intend to speak up if or when I see something I believe is not right and needs to be said in public, and not to become yet another politically correct admirer of the Emperor’s clothes, whether the Emperor be an SSPX that endangers faith or a Resistance that endangers charity. Both faith and charity are virtues that are most necessary for salvation, “but the greatest of these is charity.” 14