Objections


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Fr. Fernando Rifan Was Never a
Decision-Maker in the SSPX Cupola


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Dear Mr. Guimaraes,

For not the first time, your generally solid analysis of the treachery of Bishop Rifan is compromised by your animus against the SSPX and your resulting willingness to swallow the most implausible gossip about its activities and intentions. When the SSPX is at issue, your critical faculties seem to approximate those of the various quarter-educated "traditionalist" rumor-mongers that infest the Internet.

To make the most obvious point: Fernando Rifan is not now and never has been a member of the SSPX. The notion that he was somehow high in its "cupola" is therefore implausible on its face, and you offer not a scintilla of evidence for its reality.

In fact, the SSPX has preceded you by some years in recognizing and unambiguously denouncing the Campos sellout and Rifan's leading role in the process. But as with everything else that the SSPX says, you either never read it, or habitually give it less credence than the latest rumor (of the hundreds and thousands over the last quarter century or more) from God knows where that the SSPX is definitely going to sell out tomorrow or by the end of the week at the latest.

Tradition in Action is very ostentatious in its support of the traditional human virtues. One virtue of a real man is that he entertains what he thinks will lead him to the truth, not with what he wants to hear. You have my prayers that you will recognize this, and stop prostituting your considerable gifts when the topic is the SSPX.

     In Christo,

     J.A.M.

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The Editor responds:

Dear Mr. J.A.M.,

The information regarding the position Fr. Rifan played in the decisions of SSPX was not gossip as you wrongly assumed. A while before Rifan’s “rupture,” when I received a visit from one of the highest leaders of SSPX who came to enquire about my collection on Vatican II, he spontaneously informed me that the SSPX cupola was composed of six men: the four Bishops, Fr. Schmidberger and Fr. Rifan. If you knew how venerated this source is, you would be embarrassed to qualify his information as “implausible gossip.”

But let me leave aside this source, and analyze your point. You based your accusation on a syllogism: “Since Fr. Rifan was not a member of the SSPX, he could not be in its cupola.” Then you continue with your caustic accusations against me.

Even if the reasoning has an appearance of truth, it does not grasp the reality. Perhaps you are unaware that Fr. Rifan was an influential priest close to Bishop Castro Mayer who helped persuade him to go to Ecône with Archbishop Lefebvre to consecrate the four Bishops (1988).

Actually, if Bishop Mayer would have refused to assist at that ceremony, there would not have been two Bishops to minister the consecration, which is a requirement for the validity of any consecration of a bishop. So, the heads of SSPX had every possible interest in having Bishop Mayer there. An offer to give Bishop Mayer a place in future decisions would have been a tool to negociate his uncertain presence at Ecône.

Further, given the risk of receiving an excommunication from the Vatican, Bishop Mayer could well have feared going to Ecône for that ceremony. Again, the efficient influence of Fr. Rifan was an important element for SSPX to reach its goals.

These two factors alone would explain how SSPX would have offered Bishop Mayer a place at the decision-making table with Archbishop Lefebvre regarding topics of their common traditionalist fight. Nothing could be more plausible.

Nor is it difficult to figure that the two Prelates passed their power of decision to men of their confidence. This would quite logicaly place Fr. Rifan in the SSPX-SSJV (Society St. John Vianney) cupola, even without him being an official member of SSPX.

It seems to me perfectly plausible that Fr. Rifan enjoyed such a position before he made his agreement with the Vatican. This possibility was confirmed to be true by the higly placed source who told me exactly that. So, everything is very clear to me.

Therefore, I am working with the data I have at hand about Bishop Mayer, whom I knew personally for a long time, and the information of a highly placed ecclesiastic in the SSPX. On my side, there is no intrigue or gossip in the picture.

What I am doing with some of my articles is to warn the SSPX grassroots not to follow the path of a compromise, which I hope will never come. I don't see what is wrong with encouraging good traditionalists to be vigilant.

On the other hand, your letter is quite unsubstantiated and venomous. You present only the mentioned faulty reasoning, and then start on a wild gallop of assumptions about my behavior. I would say that your charge against me of having a biased mind returns against yourself like a boomerang.

Next time be a little more careful, please.

     Cordially,

     A.S. Guimarães

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