Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mexican SSPX Group Vandalizes FSSP Apostolate, Disturbs Mass



Don Paco said...

For some reason, traddies throughout the internet are skeptical about the truth of this report; I can confirm the truth and accuracy of the story, as I was there present, fully involved with helping Father, who was trying to subdue the mob. If you have any questions about the incident or would like more details, feel free to email me at the address on the sidebar.

Tony said...

Dear Dr. Romero,

I am convinced that the FSSP is in error in regards to its stance on Vatican II and the New Mass, but if it is true that the SSPX group did this, then it is abominable! Shame on those SSPX parishioners who not only have acted unCatholic, but have also created a scandal for other SSPX faithful around the world.

Unknown said...

any pictures of this? One cannot fully come to a judgement until hearing both sides. Don Paco referred to the SSPX'ers as the "mob" How many were there in this "mob"? Painting graffiti is a terrible act and a sin. But we still owe it to the SSPX to hear from them.

Don Paco said...

Sure, I understand. I cannot give the SSPX side as I am not one of them, but I asked a lady and she said that they were protesting against the "Ecumenical Congress" that was happening inside. (Of course, this is sign of a terrible miscommunication, possibly even a malicious one.) In any case, even though the person leading the crowd was an SSPX priest, I imagine the position of the people in the crowd is not necessarily identical to the official position of the SSPX, if it ever comes out. Even within the crowd itself one (or more) people were unhappy about the way it turned out and actually left the crowd to hear Mass in reparation for what was going on.

As far as numbers, my estimate would be that there were about 50 people in the mob. There were probably 100 to 150 inside the Church. But I'm not really good making estimates--these numbers might be on the conservative side. Better to ask Fr Romanoski or Edgar Fernandez (president of Una Voce Guadalajara, who was there present).

With regard to pictures, as I wrote on the Catholic Champion Blog, "Except for me and Father, who went out a couple of times to try to calm down the crowd, everyone else was inside of the church hearing Mass. So I doubt anyone took pictures of the protest itself (I don't own a cell phone and I know as a fact that Father did not take any pictures). Although we could all hear the crowd outside, apart from us two only a handful of faithful actually saw the crowd because we were inside and the crowd was outside. The crowd was out there from the beginning of Mass until the Sanctus."

The only picture available to my knowledge is the picture of the graffiti after the fact (after attempts to remove it with gasoline). This picture is available in the Catholic Champion Blog.

Don Paco said...

It should also be stressed that the graffiti was found in the morning of the day of the Mass, and the Mass and the protest did not happen until evening. Therefore, they were separate acts that happened at different times. In other words, the graffiti was not put there by the protesters, at least not while they were protesting. In fact, the graffiti was probably not something that the priest who was leading the protest approved. Still, a priest should be prudent not to give his faithful the occasion (or the anger) to do such things.

Don Paco said...

Pascendi wrote to me, saying:

"I saw your post claiming to have witnessed what happened between the SSPX and the FSSP, and was wondering if you could relate what you saw take place and confirm the details..."

Don Paco said...

My reply to pascendi, part 1:

"Well, you can get the general story at Catholic Champion Blog. The basics of what happened are all there. Other than that, I can add how I was involved. I apologize if I am giving too many details for your interest, but since the reality of this event having taken place has been questioned all over the internet, I would like to make it clear that it did happen and I was an eyewitnesses. Also, please be aware that although I am a parishioner at the FSSP chapel where this took place, I do not in any way represent the official views of the FSSP and that they are yet to make any public statements on the matter (very prudently, in my opinion)..."

Don Paco said...

Part 2:

-A few days before Wednesday, January 20, some lay people from outside the 'colonia' (the neighborhood) approached Fr Romanoski and Fr Fryar (FSSP priests) asking them if our chapel could participate in a series of ecumenical Masses that were taking place throughout the city for ecumenism week. Our priests said they would not participate since they do not do ecumenical Masses, but only the traditional Mass. The priests, however, told them that so long as only Catholics come they were welcome to come to Mass and that it could even be a votive mass for the unity of the Church (the Missa pro Ecclesiae unitate, out of the 1962 Missal). After the people left, the priests discussed the fact that this was an opportunity to preach against (false) ecumenism and give these ecumenists the opportunity to hear the Church's traditional teaching on these topics for the first time. I was there while all of this happened.

Don Paco said...

Part 3:

-Early in the week, Fr Romanoski sent emails to the priests and people of the SSPX in order to dispel apparent rumors among them that the FSSP was going to have an ecumenical Mass or an ecumenical congress. He explained that they were going to have a traditional Mass for the unity of the Church (according to the 1962 Missal), and not an ecumenical congress, and that the idea was to pray for the conversion of non-Catholics to the one, true Church, and to take advantage of the rare opportunity to preach to these people the truth. These emails (in Spanish) were forwarded to me.

-The morning of Wednesday, January 20, after the 8am Mass, the priests came out and found the graffiti, saying "ECUMENISMO NO JUDAS." I was not there that morning, but my wife was.

Don Paco said...

Part 4:

-To stress how accurate the story was in Catholic Champion Blog, I should note that the only inaccurate part is that the story puts exclamation points within the graffiti message, whereas in reality there was no punctuation. Everything else in the message is 100% accurate.

-She tells me that the priests then asked a couple of people who went to Mass that morning to help them wash off the graffiti, and that they washed it off with gasoline, although their efforts were only partly successful. As it can be seen in the picture posted on Catholic Champion Blog, there are still traces of the graffiti message and it is in fact still legible.

-There is no hard evidence that the graffiti was put there by SSPX chapel-goers. But it is not outlandish to suppose it was done by some of the less pious among them. (It would be less likely that the Sedevacantists did it, since they believe our Mass is not a Mass, and that we are a false Church anyway--so to their eyes we would just be another false ecumenical sect no different from the rest.)

Don Paco said...

Part 5:

-The whole event has been put into question because a police report was not filed for the graffiti. This is quite humorous. Only a non-Mexican could ever reason that way. If you knew Mexico, you would not be asking that question. It never crossed anyone's mind that calling the police would ever solve anything.

-The night of Wednesday, January 20, the church got packed (I would say c. 150 people, but I'm not good at making estimates). Fr. Fryar was going to say the Mass (and Fr. Romanoski was going to give the sermon). I was in charge of singing the Gregorian Chant propers and, in addition, Fr. Fryar told me that if people from the SSPX began to interrupt Mass, I was going to be in charge of controlling them. When the Mass began, it happened. A crowd of about 50 people (again, this is not a reliable number--better to ask Fr. Romanoski himself) who were following an SSPX priest (I believe his name was Fr. Puga) began to gather and to pray the rosary. The priest had a loudspeaker. The people were praying and singing very loudly--so much so that they made it difficult for us in the choir to sing without our music clashing with the music outside. As soon as I was done with singing the introit, I went outside for the first time, tried to go directly to the priest to talk to him, but a lay gentleman intercepted me and would not let me talk to the priest. So I explained to the gentleman that it is not an ecumenical Mass, that we were just as much opposed to ecumenism as they, and that they Mass was meant to pray for the conversion of non-Catholics and for Father to preach against false ecumenism. I also asked him please to make everyone be silent out of respect for the Mass, or if not, at least to keep it down so as not to disturb the Mass. He simply said he would talk to the priest whenever he's done with the rosary. So I went back in, continued singing the propers (Gradual, etc.). After the Gospel, I went back out and asked him again to be considerate and to have respect for the Mass, but to no avail. He still would not let me talk to the priest. As I went back in, the people started to sing "Viva Cristo Rey!" I then decided to shut the front doors of the Church so that the people inside the Church would at least be able to hear Fr. Romanoski's sermon, but one lady from inside urged me to open them up again so as not to be uninviting to latecomers, so I decided to open them up again.

-Fr. Romanoski's sermon was very potent and anti-ecumenical, and he made a distinction between true ecumenism (conversion of non-Catholics to the one, true Church) and false ecumenism (the union of all Christians into one, non-denominational mass). The sermon consisted mainly in citations from preconciliar encyclicals, such as Mortalium Animos, Quas Primas, the Syllabus of Errors, etc. Some of these documents were also placed on the table on the back of the chapel for newcomers to takehome. (He translated the sermon into English and I have asked him permission to post it on Ite ad Thomam; so it may be that you'll be able to read that sermon soon enough...)

Don Paco said...

Part 6:

-After the sermon, Fr. Romanoski stepped out of the sanctuary, came out the front doors and tried to talk to the priest, but to no avail (the priest was still leading the rosary behind the loud speaker). So he told the crowd that it was not an ecumenical Mass but a Mass for the conversion of non-Catholics, that the sermon was a staunch reaffirmation of the traditional teaching of the Church on these topics, and that they should be quiet out of reverence for "the Mass of all times"--but they kept praying out loud and would not listen. Finally middle-aged a lady came to him and told him that they were almost done with the rosary and that they would leave soon. So we went inside and Fr. Romanoski closed the doors again. When the Sanctus was over with, the noise had stopped. From then on the crowd began dissipating and by the end of the Mass, most people were gone.

-While these events were taking place, a couple of interesting things happened. The SSPX people approached latecomers (most of whom were not traditional Catholics) and handed them fliers denouncing the FSSP as being in error. Also interesting is that, during the sermon, one lady from the SSPX felt bad and decided to close the doors herself so that the crowd would no longer disturb the Mass. I told her that we had decided to keep the doors open so that latecomers would not be discouraged from entering. She insisted that she did not want the crowd to disturb the Mass, and I replied that she cannot have it both ways: she either is part of the protest and disturbs Mass, or stops protesting. She went back to the crowd for a minute or two, but ended up leaving the crowd and went in to hear Mass. After Mass, I had a conversation with her where it became clear to me that she had been under the (false) impression that it was some sort of ecumenical congress, rather than a Mass for the conversion of non-Catholics.

-After Mass, Fr. Romanoski went out to talk to the priest but he had left. He talked instead to the lady from the crowd (who had told them that they would end the rosary soon) and they had a 5-10 minute discussion. The lady was very passionate and semi-irrational in her argumentation and Fr. Romanoski was cool as always. He gave up with the conversation and asked her to tell the priest that he wanted to talk to him. The lady told Fr. Romanoski to contact the priest himself.

I hope this helps fill the gaps in some of the reports being circulated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Don Paco, and God bless all of you down there devoted to the cause of the traditional Mass and orthodoxy.


Anonymous said...

Don Paco,

Is there an update to report? I emailed the SSPX for their side of the story but they have not responded. I just cannot beleive that they have not issued some statement on this story yet. By now, they should have issued an apology and a reprimand, distancing themselves from this event - or they should have denied it if they believe it to be false. However, they have done neither. I really do not understand their silence. I am very dismayed by their handling of this event, more than the event itself.

Don Paco said...

No more updates so far. I'll post something if anything new happens (contingent upon getting permission).

Don Paco said...

I think there's a cultural barrier to understanding of the event.

Those that are skeptical of this event ever even happening are right in one thing: in thinking that if anything like this ever happened in the US, the police would have been called, the event would have been on TV, there would have been a police report and a lawsuit, and people would have been very involved (on both sides) on getting it resolved. So it is natural that if you look at this event from American eyes, it seems odd.

But Mexico is different... oh, quite, quite different. For starters, compared to the US, people here in general tend to have much more conviction (especially political and religious conviction), a less-defined concept of tolerance, and a completely different concept of social propriety (we Latinos are much louder, foul-mouthed, and even violent, for instance), so doing something like this here is not nearly as scandalous or abnormal as it would be in the US. In fact, it was a rather calm Mexican protest and nobody got killed or shot at, so that is nothing news-worthy. No one bothered documenting it.

(Ironically, there WAS a man with a big video camera filming the event--I think he was with the diocesan TV station--but what he considered truly extraordinary and worthy of his camera was the rare, amazing, and awe-inspiring traditional Latin Mass going on inside. To my knowledge, he never filmed the silly little protest that was going outside. In fact, I doubt that most of the people inside even really knew what the protest was really about or had noticed the graffiti... even my wife, when she saw the graffiti, had to take some time to realize that the graffiti was new, and was not just another old graffiti mark from among the many graffiti marks that are all over the city.)

Further, the police (as almost every other area of government) is useless, so there's no reason to call them. It's that simple. If you call the police here, they might actually make things worse by taking someone innocent to jail or by threatening you to take you to jail if you don't give them money. It sounds unbelievable but it's our reality.

Moreover, the protest was not illegal and apart from disturbing the Mass they were not bothering anyone else in the neighborhood, because everyone here is used to the streets being loud and obnoxious (so there was no 'social disorder' or 'disturbance of the peace' that would justify the involvement of secular law enforcement).

The graffiti was in fact illegal (vandalism) but unfortunately graffiti is so incredibly common here that it would be laughable to report it. It would be like: yeah, graffiti, and?

In any case, Catholic churches are government owned here (the effects of Freemasonry on a poorly educated country), so there was no private property involved, and no financial harm done to the FSSP.

So if you look at things from the secular Mexican point of view, it was just a minor incident.

It is only to the few of us who are in the inside of the SSPX-FSSP controversy that this event is of interest at all.

As far as the FSSP, in my opinion they are being prudent in not taking it out to the public forum yet, hoping there it will be resolved privately between the two societies.

Anonymous said...

I finally received a brief response back from the SSPX Headquarters in the US. The response said that they are aware of the story and are attempting to verify the facts. They believe the facts are being misrepresented at this time. Those who witnessed this event really need to forward their accounts to the SSPX, especially Bishop Fellay.

Don Paco said...

If anyone is interested in me giving more details (although I pretty much gave all the details I could give), they can just contact me here (at the email address on the sidebar).

Anonymous said...

The SSPX posted a response on their website yesterday. They deny that they were protesting the event. They said they were just there to pray the Rosary for the event. There response is very superficial and leaves lost of holes:


Anonymous said...

Wow! This gets wackier by the minute. The SSPX US District website added an additional note to their news brief on this event earlier in the day, further justifying what occurred in Mexico. Now this evening they have pulled the entire statement. I am not sure what that is about. Perhaps Bishop Fellay has gotten wind of the situation. I know I have sent emails trying to contact him myself. I did get an email through to Switzerland today. I guess we will see how this plays out.

Anonymous said...

After having first posted on the front page of the North American District's website, the SSPX buried their response on their website but it could still be found if you had the direct URL. Since then, I have received another email response from the SSPX which was a copy and paste of the following:

"February 7, 2010

During the month of January, the association, "Christ the King Crusade," organized a prayer vigil to include the recitation of the Holy Rosary at various churches in Guadalajara, Mexico.

These gatherings were in response to an understanding that those churches were conducting ecumenical services in the spirit of the new ecumenism introduced in the Catholic Church starting with Vatican II. The Society of St. Pius X has always been opposed to this new ecumenism.

On Wednesday, January 20, 2010, a priest and faithful of the Society of St. Pius X participated in the prayer vigil at St. Peter the Apostle Chapel. Following the vigil there were rumored acts of violence committed by SSPX members and reports of vandalism against the church property. Violence and vandalism are far removed from the spirit of the SSPX and must be condemned.

An investigation is under way to determine the facts. At this point, it appears that there were no acts of violence."

I tried to pull up their original response and it seems it has been completely pulled from the web now.

This 2nd email is getting closer to the truth. They seem to be backing up from the info originally posted on the NA website.