Quo Primum
Fr Abdoo RIP slams the bishops of NZ. Father Abdoo: Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand (1987) It is now thirty one years since Father Stephen Abdoo died in a motor accident in New …More
Fr Abdoo RIP slams the bishops of NZ.

Father Abdoo: Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand (1987)

It is now thirty one years since Father Stephen Abdoo died in a motor accident in New Zealand. He was the first priest ordained for the Society of St Pius X, formed in 1970, to die. (26 July 1987)

His Open Letter still has application in our time, thirty years on; the Church is in a worse crisis now with the very Faith under attack from the Pontiff himself.

Please read what Father Abdoo wrote in 1987, and then forward this email to all on your list. The original appeared in the Australian journal Catholic for September 1987

An Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand.

The Catholic Bishops of New Zealand have written a Pastoral Letter attacking the work of the Society of St Pius X. We publish this month the reply prepared by Father Stephen Abdoo who was the Superior for the Society in New Zealand.

These same Bishops obviously prefer the faith-destroying RENEW process, they introduced it to New Zealand a little over a year ago. Already its disastrous effects are being felt, the exodus of faithful from the parishes is increasing.

Fr. Abdoo died as the result of a motor accident on his way to celebrate Holy Mass at Wellington on Sunday, July 26, 1987, the Feast of St. Anne. He was buried at Econe, Switzerland on August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

Your Eminence and Lordships,

Over the last few weeks you have published in parishes throughout the country a Pastoral Letter warning Catholics about the activities of the Society of St. Pius X. As Superior of this Religious Congregation here in New Zealand, I wish to submit to Your Eminence and Lordships some points for your consideration.

It was some months ago that I visited you, Bishop Gaines, to point out that an inaccurate version of our ‘position’ was emanating from your secretary’s office. I said that I had no objection as to your informing the Catholic people of our rejection of certain reforms of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI, but requested that it at least be accurate information. Unfortunately, I find myself once more in the necessity of replying to mistaken information, on this occasion however, to all the bishops of New Zealand.

Your Pastoral Letter centres around two premises. The first is that our ‘position’ depends upon ‘private interpretations of the Council’ and hence that we ‘depart from the fundamental Catholic principle that the Pope and bishops of the world acting collectively are the ones to whom is entrusted the responsibility and the charisms, for deciding what is ultimately Catholic and what is not.’ I can only say that it is not true that we depart from this principle; on the contrary, it is precisely because we follow this principle, and not our own private interpretation, that we are compelled to reject certain reforms of Vatican II.

In fact for 200 years, eleven Popes who foresaw this crisis (from Pius VI to Pius XII) have rejected the principles of Religious Liberty, Collegiality and Ecumenism as formulated during and after the Council, declaring them to be detrimental to the Catholic Faith, affirming on many occasions that they contribute to the formation of a naturalistic, humanitarian Religion. The encyclicals Mirari vos of Pope Gregory XVI; lam vos omnes, Quanta Cura, and the Syllabus of Errors Pope Pius IX; Libertas praestantissi, Humanum Genus, Immortale Dei of Pope Leo XIII; Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Lamentabili and the letter 'Our Apostolic Mandate' of Pope St. Pius X; Mortalium Animos, Divini Redemptoris of Pope Pius XI and Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII are but some of the documents of the Magisterium of the Church rejecting such principles. Clearly this is by no means a “private interpretation” by Archbishop Lefebvre or his “followers”.

Moreover, Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in his book, les principes de la Theologie Catholique Tequi 1985 p 426 ff.) admits to this deviation from the preceding Magisterium of the Church and summarises this with the following formula: “Vatican II is the anti-Syllabus.” (It must be noted that Pope Paul VI explicitly refused on more than one occasion to engage infallibility as regards the conciliar decrees, which, at a council of this kind, in unprecedented in the history of the Church. There was not therefore that special assistance of the Holy Ghost to preserve it from such deviation.)

The second premise of your letter is the following: “Without compromising the essentials of our Faith, we are obliged to find new ways of exposing it, teaching it and celebrating it that make it more accessible to people.” In this we are in total agreement with you. Certainly if this only were the case, there would be no reason to oppose the reforms. But clearly this is not the case, clearly we are compromising articles of our Catholic Faith, we are diluting it to make it more acceptable to Protestants. and the result is that, by thousands, Catholics are losing their Faith.

We need only to look around us to see the truth of this; since the Council, vocations to the priesthood and the religious life have dropped dramatically; Priests and nuns have abandoned their vocations by the tens of thousands; there are countless Faithful throughout the world no longer practising their Catholic Faith. In the Zealandia of July 12, New Zealand Mass attendance figures for 1986 were published. In Auckland there were 156,000 Catholics and only 33,000 attend Mass; in Hamilton diocese out of 75,000 Catholics there are only 15,000 practising; in Palmerston North diocese out of 70,446, there were only 19,000; in Wellington out of 83,000, 28,000 are practising; in Christchurch out of 68,000 there are 21,000 and out of 40,000 Catholics in Dunedin diocese, only 14,000 practise their Faith. Is this what is meant by the second Pentecost of Vatican II?
At the first Pentecost St. Peter and the Apostles converted souls to the True Faith by the thousands, currently they are being driven away by the thousands. Surely you must at times ask yourselves why this is occurring? Why the great RENEWAL has resulted in such a decline?

It is because we have compromised, firstly, by this false Religious Liberty. By it we have dethroned Our Lord. He is no longer considered as King of the Universe with right over all His creatures. The Doctrine of the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ is now a thing of the past, overthrown by the decree of Religious Liberty which is a false Religious Liberty; for it puts the Religion founded by God on the same level as religions founded by men. By giving error and truth equal rights, it gives men the right to violate God’s right to be adored by His creatures in the way He Himself wishes to be adored. This decree and its consequences have instituted a new pantheon of all religions in the same way as the pagan emperors of Rome made their pantheon of all religions. The Italian Concordat of 1984, signed by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli, is an example of this.

From the false notion of Religious Liberty flows the Post-conciliar conception of Ecumenism. It consists in laying aside what divides us from our separated brethren and, concentrating on what unites us so as to bring about unity—or as you put it, Bishop Brown, at Holy Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, March 21 to launch the Luis Palau Mission to Auckland “to come together in a unique way, so that differences can be put aside and the unifying message of Jesus Christ can be proclaimed.” It all sounds very good and charitable, but the history of the last two decades shows that in practice, this means a watering-down of the Faith as regards its specifically Catholic content so as to facilitate this unity.

This is more easily seen in the obvious deficiency in catechetical instruction for our children, I am by no means exaggerating in saying that you allow them to be taught a naturalistic, humanitarian version of Religion which teaches vague notions of love, sharing, joy, peace, social justice, human dignity, the rights of man, life in community etc., which is devoid of sufficient knowledge of the Commandments of God, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the life of grace in the soul—in fine, the supernatural and truly Catholic dimension of our Religion.

Our Liturgy has also suffered this dilution. The prayers have been stripped of their specifically Catholic meaning and replaced by ambiguous and Protestant terminology. No longer are we to offer to God the “Pure Victim, the Holy Victim, the Immaculate Victim“, but the “fruit of the vine and work of human hands”; no longer is the priest to be the man set apart to, offer the Holy Sacrifice, but the ‘president’ of the Assembly, who will do no more than “commemorate the memorial of the Lord.” (General Instruction to the New Mass no. 7, 1969 ed.) Was it not Cardinal Ottaviani who stated in a letter to Pope Paul VI on September 25, 1969, accompanying the “Critical Study of the New Mass by a group of Roman Theologians” that the “Novus Ordorepresents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic Theology of the Mass as it was formulated in session 22 of the Council of Trent”? And if on the other hand, we are not compromising our Faith, if it is purely a new formulation, a new expression of the same Faith, as you say, then why, why is there so striking a similarity between the New Mass of 1969 and Cranmer's 1549 Communion Service and the new Anglican Series III Communion service? Why is it that Max Thurian, a member of the Protestant monastic Community of Taize is reported in La Croix (May 30, 1969) as stating that “the Novus Ordo Missae now makes it possible for non-Catholics to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with the same prayers as Catholics”?
Why is it also that the famous joint Catholic-Lutheran Commission of West Germany (1985) affirmed that a common liturgy was now possible between the two …