August 1 , 1991
Dear Friends And Benefactors,
No doubt another great blow was struck for the liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother Church with the episcopal consecration in Brazil on Sunday, July 28, of Msgr. Licinio Rangel.
From amongst the two dozen priests formerly constituting under Bishop de Castro Mayer the diocesan clergy of the diocese of Campos which lies some three hours by road north-east of Rio de Janeiro, Msgr. Rangel was the choice of Bishop de Castro Mayer himself before the bishop died last April, and he was also elected by his fellow priests. He can be seen on the front cover of the 1991 Angelus Calendar looking over the right shoulder of Bishop Fellay, the bishop farthest to the right in the picture. Now 55 years old, he was under Pope John-Paul II in 1981 made a domestic prelate with the title of Monsignor, a reward for years of quiet and faithful labour in a series of diocesan posts which he occupied under the guidance of Bishop de Castro Mayer while the latter was still the official Bishop of Campos.
Today of course the Campos priests who remained faithful to Tradition are no longer the official priests of the diocese (because by being obedient they became "disobedient" so that without being schismatic they fell into "schism" — do you not love our 20th century?), so the question can be raised, why did they need a bishop of their own in addition to the Society's four bishops who could on regular visits provide them with the sacraments of Holy Orders and Confirmation?
The answer is that the Campos priests are, because their dismissal by the modernist successor of Bishop de Castro Mayer was extremely unjust, continuing with their diocesan work. Now diocesan priests need a local bishop like a family needs a father. They need, to guide them, to hold them together and look after them, much more than just a provider of those sacraments which require the fullness of the priesthood to be administered. If no Traditional bishop succeeded Bishop de Castro Mayer, those priests he held together could not stay together, they would be broken up and his work would come to an end.
But his work was important not only to ten of thousands of souls in and around the city of Campos. It was, in the darkness following Vatican II, a beacon of light and hope for the whole Church, proving on the diocesan level — as Archbishop Lefebvre proved on a missionary level — that the true Faith was alive and as efficacious as ever. Hence for the souls of Campos and for the good of the whole Church, the Society's bishops decided to consecrate a Catholic bishop for Campos, as Archbishop Lefebvre had recommended before he died.
This does not mean that the Campos priests or Bishop Rangel (or the Society of St. Pius X) do not recognize the official Bishop of Campos. They recognize him in the same way that they recognize the Pope, in other words they acknowledge his authority but refuse to follow him in his grave errors. Bishop Rangel makes no pretence of having that official authority over the Traditional priests and faithful of Campos, but his moral authority will come from his being the guardian of their Faith and the guarantor of their sacraments.
Bishop Rangel is not a Society bishop, nor does he come under the Society, but he profoundly agrees with the Society's positions, just as Bishop de Castro Mayer profoundly agreed with Archbishop Lefebvre. All are aligned on the same objective truth. Twenty-five Society priests from Europe and Latin America attended Bishop Rangel's consecration, and the harmony between the Campos priests and the Society priests was complete, because objective. However, since Bishop de Castro Mayer was the only bishop to stand by Archbishop Lefebvre, the Campos priests are unique in the world, and so there is no prospect at present of the Society bishops undertaking any further consecrations.
Not that such consecrations still so need to be explained as they until recently did. Thus on Saturday morning, July 27, the day before the consecration of Msgr. Rangel, the spokesman of the Campos priests, Fr. Fernando Rifan, organized a Press conference to explain the consecration. Now just a few years previously, anyone attempting to prove such a consecration to be Catholic would have been covered in ridicule. Yet here, anyone of good will listening to the arguments had to be convinced. The "new" truth was in possession. An astonishing reversal, which will continue to reverse and to astonish.
In fairness, most of the dozen journalists from all of Brazil responded very fairly to the presentation of the truth. The consecration itself received front page articles and pictures in all four major newspapers of the Campos area, and entire page articles in newspapers of Rio de Janeiro.
Outside of Brazil, however, silence. Signs are that the puppet-masters of Rome are in the process of putting some more juicy cheese on the Indult mouse-trap in order to catch us a foolish Traditionalists, so it probably sent out instructions that no-one should know of courageous mice looking after the production of their own cheese!
As for the mice of Campos, you should have seen and heard their reaction to the consecration! The people had long been fervently praying to have a bishop, so they saw in the event of July 28 the answer to their prayers. As they waited for the ceremony to begin and the three bishops, one consecrator and two co-consecrators, came in view, many women openly cried and the men held back their tears — the Church lives!
For a detailed description of the ceremony, see the September Angelus. During the ceremony the people were quiet, attentive and pious. They frequently wanted to applaud, but obeyed the ceremony commentator, Fr. Possidente, asking them from the microphone to hold their applause in check. At the Offertory he explained how the new bishop "out of his gratitude and great generosity" presents his consecrator "with gifts of bread and two barrels of wine" — the people waited to see normal-sized barrels and on came two tiny tubs the size of soda siphons - general amusement of the people! I recalled how in 1988 Archbishop Lefebvre was cheated with the same two mini-barrels being presented to him by each of the four new bishops! However, the formalized beauty of this gesture brought a radiant smile to the face of the consecrator of 1991.
At the end of the four-hour ceremony - and the people were not tired but expected more - now four bishops stood in line to be photographed and the people's exultation could be checked no longer: led by the dynamic young parish priest of Sao Fidelis, Fr. Jonas, their joy exploded in one "Vivat" after another: Fr. Jonas: "Long live the bishops!" - explosion: "VIVAT!" Fr. Jonas: "Long live the new bishop!" - explosion: “VIVAT!" — "Long live Dom Tissier!" - explosion: "VIVAT!" "Long live Dom Lefebvre!" (He is dead) - "VIVAT!" "Long live Dom de Castro Mayer!" (He is dead) -"VIVAT!" - a good two dozen explosions running through all of Fr. Jonas' heroes, like a series of fire-crackers. At this point the Society's District Superior of France, beaming all over, stepped forward to get a better view of Fr. Jonas on the sanctuary-stage above — I can see the Society's French District being instructed to take a leaf out of the book of the effervescent Brazilians!
Dear friends, let us get missionising, let us rebuild another Catholic diocese, and to the consecration of its bishop I promise to invite Fr. Jonas! We may die, but if we keep our Catholic Faith we shall not die of grief! God bless you.
In His service, sincerely yours,