“It is necessary for the survival of Catholic Tradition to consecrate bishops without Roman authority (…) in order to maintain above all the defense of the faith as it was launched by Archbishop Lefebvre. By citing his mentor to justify this new illegitimate consecration of a bishop, Bishop Richard Williamson reaffirms his desire to distinguish himself from papal tutelage in the exercise of the faith.
In a letter “Eleison Comment” published on December 31, he announced the episcopal ordination of the Italian priest Giacomo Ballini in secret in January 2021, “while the false Covid crisis was in full swing”, according to his words. This crisis would also be, according to him, “a potential creation of the Jews” – a position that falls within the heavy negationist and anti-Zionist liabilities of the bishop.
The legacy of Lefebvrism
Richard Williamson had himself been illegitimately consecrated bishop in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre. This had earned him, as well as the three other bishops consecrated at the same time, excommunication from the Church of Rome. The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, to which he belonged, was not in agreement with the contributions of the Second Vatican Council. These four ordinations continue to be presented by Bishop Williamson as being “the ‘operation survival’ of the Catholic Tradition” at the time.
In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI reached out to the SSPX by restoring the canonical status of the four bishops, on the condition in particular of “accepting the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of the Popes since John XXIII”. If discussions are still underway for the first three, Richard Williamson has always refused this rapprochement with Rome. His positions, negationist on the one hand, and too radical vis-à-vis the Catholic Church, on the other hand, led to his exclusion from the SSPX in 2012.
“Truth” versus “Authority”
He then founded the Union sacerdotale Marcel-Lefebvre, bringing together some sixty priests around what he considers to be “Catholic truth”. This “Truth” should be, according to the British bishop, hand in hand with papal “authority”. However, since the Second Vatican Council, the “neo-Church” would have “split Catholic authority and truth in two”.
This is why Richard Williamson placed his Church in opposition to this “authority”. In fact, he claims to be “the Truth of Tradition”, above the “Authority” of Rome “embodied by the neo-modernists”, according to the terms of his letter.
If its faithful are “undoubtedly not numerous (…), they have a rare importance for the future of the Church because of their rare understanding of the immutable Catholic faith. And to promote this faith, the British bishop illegitimately consecrated three bishops – without a pontifical mandate – which resulted in him being excommunicated again lataessentiae (in other words, simply because of the act performed).
A third bishop illegitimately consecrated
After having consecrated a first in March 2015, the Frenchman Jean-Michel Faure, then a second the following year, Giacomo Ballini thus became the third bishop of this congregation. In his letter, Richard Williamson praised the “courage” with which the latter had “kept up to watch over the mass and the faith of always” during the Covid crisis.
Indeed, the Italian priest had led a procession and a mass in Dublin – where he has resided for several years – on December 8, 2020, the day of the Immaculate Conception. The purpose of this procession? Exorcising the Irish government and its Prime Minister at the time, Micheál Martin, precisely in relation to public policies linked to Covid-19. The latter having decided to ban face-to-face masses, in connection with the various confinements decreed in the country.
The new bishop of the Union sacerdotale Marcel-Lefebvre should now continue to spread the message of his congregation. Richard Williamson has indeed announced that he should soon “ordain a new priest for Catholic Tradition”.
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