IN HIS latest blog entry on Pascendi (St. Pius X’s great Encyclical against modernism), Bishop Richard Williamson (SSPX) once again promotes his theory that the modernists of our own days (Ratzinger and company) are not true heretics because “subjectivism unhooks their mind from reality.” See Pascendi II
It is another application of Bishop Williamson’s Mentevacantist Error which I described in an article of the same name.
In his most recent comments Bishop Williamson also uses his typical trick of suggesting (through a series of rhetorical questions) a false general principle — in this case, that modernist heretics are not responsible for their errors (and thus, we are meant to infer, they are unable to lose office):
“However the Conciliar fantasies have taken such a grip on many of today’s churchmen that the temptation arises to consider that none of them are churchmen at all, in particular the last few Popes. But ‘Pascendi’ can offer a way out of this temptation by its same teaching that subjectivism unhooks churchmen’s minds from reality. Are they fully aware of how mad they are, when virtually everyone shares in their madness? And if they are not fully aware, do they necessarily disqualify themselves as churchmen? ‘Pascendi’ suggests to me that sedevacantism is not binding.”
But Bishop Williamson then avoids the objection that would naturally follow from applying the false principle (that modernists are “let off the hook,” i.e. excused), by quickly adding that this issue is “of secondary” importance.”What is of primary importance,” he says, is saving our souls:
“By no means everyone agrees with letting the Conciliar churchmen off the hook in this way, but that is of secondary importance. Back to ‘Pascendi’ – what is of primary importance is to give glory to God and to save our souls by submitting our minds to that one objective Faith which God has revealed, and without which nobody can please God.”
Bishop Williamson has been using this particular trick for decades: False general principle, then switch to another topic before you’re smoked out.
His recently re-published seminary newsletters from the 1980s are full of it. I will offer a prize to any SSPX seminarian (anonymous, of course) who can find the most examples of it in that collection — a great exercise for the First Year Philosophy students.
Bishop Williamson’s rhetoric is dishonest and manipulative. Those who look to him as a “hard-liner” are being toyed with and led astray.
Some European brethren are now criticizing the symbolism on his episcopal coat-of-arms. Bishop Williamson should change it to a cat playing with a mouse.