Some of you may recall my avowed intent to attend the SSPX Mass last Sunday at Wimbledon, it being the only one I could reach in time.
Well, my wife and myself rolled up at the due time but who should process onto the sanctuary but Bishop Richard Williamson himself. This threw us into a state of flux; was it legitimate to attend a Mass celebrated by this man? We both wrestled with the canonical implications and, finally, agreed to stay but not to receive Holy Communion, purely on the ground that our frames of mind would not be appropriate for reception.
However, the time arrived for the sermon and the Bishop launched into a rather fragmented, wooden and unstructured rant that was, at times, most unChristian to the point of detraction. He veered from subject to subject, seldom stopping to conclude a train of thought. I began to appreciate how sinister this approach is because some of the points he made were sound and irrefutable but he would then go on to add a twist that, to us at any rate, was unnacceptable in the extreme.
|Bishop Williamson - more Protestant than Catholic!|
Finally, in his last twisted sentences he attacked the Holy Father. It was cleverly done, first he would praise or semi praise him and then he would deliver the kick below the belt "I don't know whether he has sinned against the Church or not, he is a well intentioned man I am sure but the road to hell is paved with good intentions" was the gist of what he said.
That changed my mind totally as I then thought that there was no way that this man would included the Pope in his prayers during the consecration.
We left swiftly and silently, angry with him and ourselves because we had missed Sunday Mass.
As we left we were followed by a parishioner who pleaded with us to stay and stated that the Bishop's views were not liked and that the best thing to do was to pray for him and to go to Holy Communion.
We agreed to the former (with some difficulty) but not to the latter.
It left a nasty taste in our mouths that has still not gone away, especially so since, coming the previous day from the Guild of Catholic Bloggers' meeting where all had stated clearly the desire to remain 'loyal to the Magisterium', it was shattering to find a senior churchman who was so opposed to Pope Benedict XVI.
Three issues arose from this. Firstly, I was under the impression that Bishop Williamson was under orders not to celebrate Mass in public, something that Bishop Fellay might like to check up on.
Secondly, that is probably the last SSPX Mass I will attend. A pity but I cannot chance this happening again.
And, thirdly, because of my assumption that prayers for the Pope would have been omitted, I do not believe this Mass would have been valid.