Stephen Hand and the "Integrists"


I've been following the debate between The Remnant, Catholic Family
News, Tradition in Action, etc. (hereafter referred to as Matt & Co.),
and Stephen Hand. Mr. Hand has gone from being a supporter of the
Traditionalist position to a supporter of his own position. The big
problems for Mr. Hand are the video put out by the In the Spirit of
Chartres Committee from Arizona and an article published in The
Remnant and Catholic Family News entitled, "We Resist You to the
Face", in which the signers of said document declare that they will
"suspend obedience" to the Pope. Hand and his supporters are busy
condemning Matt & Co for these things. On Hand's web site is a page
titled "Catholicism, Various Errors, and Schismatic Views" which is

On that page is an article in a box titled "John Sharpe, Thomas
Woods, Atila Guimaraes try to cover their Tracks." In this article,
as well as in an article titled "Apologia Pro Stephen Hand Against
the Assault of the Schismatics (genintegrist4.html), there is a
line quoted from the "We Resist You to the Face" article, which Mr.
Hand and a Brian Gershon (writer of the Apologia article) would love
to have you believe is a prime indicator that Matt & Co. are indeed
"schismatic". This is what they quote:

"In our view a possible future declaration of a sede vacante ('the
period of time when the Apostolic See is empty, as a consequence of 
the heresy of the Pope' CFN 7/2000) would take place automatically
when the Church would become aware of the gravity of the present day
errors and who is responsible for them." --We Resist the Pope to His
Face, V.3

This is exactly as worded in both articles. In addition, Mr. Gershon
spent a fair amount of time criticizing the Remnant's journalism
technique! First, who is this Brian Gershon, and what are his journal-
istic credentials? And second, and more importantly, why is that Mr.
Hand, who is so on fire to condemn his former friends, doesn't put
"We Resist You to the Face" on his website and critique it point by
point, while citing the Official teaching of the Catholic Church to
refute the "errors" in it?

The obvious answer is that he knows that on the whole the
article is not what he makes it out to be and does not indicate what
he wants people to believe.

In the 'John Sharpe et al try to cover their tracks' article, it says
"Tragically, all they have left is adhominem hatred, misrepresentat-
ion and distorted framing of facts, and deflection." Now this of
course is primarily in reference to what these people are saying 
about their involvement with the video "What we have Lost".

Nevertheless, both Mr. Hand and Mr. Gershon are guilty of the very 
same thing. The quote they used was taken out of context; they don't
want their readers to know about the fact that the quote from "We
Resist You to the Face" is  the second point under a subheading called
"What this Action does not Imply", and, in fact Hand and Gershon do
not even quote the entire section. They only gave part of it! 

Here is the entire section: (emphasis mine)

3. What this action does NOT imply
This resistance statement does NOT imply:
*The desire to judge the Pope, but only to compare his teachings with
  prior Magisterium of the other Popes and of the Church.

The full text of "We Resist You to the Face" can be obtained from
The Remnant, Catholic Family News, or on the internet at the following
web address:

I find it interesting that Mr. Hand and Mr. Gershon are so ready to
accuse Matt & Co. of "misrepresentation and distorted framing of facts
and deflection", especially since they have done the exact same thing,
as well as citing the title of the document as "We Resist the Pope to
his Face" which is not the title at all.

Mr. Hand also likes to talk of how the "Integrists" pit Pope against
Pope, and Council against Council. And how they engage in private
judgment of the Pope's writings, combing through them for some phrase
they can use to claim the Pope is teaching something wrong. Yet Mr. 
Hand does the exact same thing with "We Resist You to the Face." 

Mr. Hand, in Part 4 of his "Traditionalists, Tradition, and Private
Judgment" article, after narrating how "Integrists" reject Vatican II
and refer to the Pope as a heretic, etc. makes this statement, which 
can be found on the Wanderer's website at:

scroll down to Part 4 and read the 15th paragraph, which states:

 "This does not mean that every decision of the Pope or Church is 
always wise, but it does mean that the Church is infallibly and super-
naturally protected against defecting from the faith until the very
end of the world (Matt.28:20)"

This is true, but notice that Mr. Hand in any of his writings since
breaking with Matt & Co., has not made the distinction between Papal
Teaching and the Pope's private opinion. Mr. Hand, it seems to me,
would have his readers believe that whatever the Pope says or does is
automatically part of the Magisterium. He even made a big deal out of
'defending' the Magisterium by putting a link to a Catholic Encyclo-
pedia article entitled "Tradition and Living Magisterium." I find it
extremely interesting that he does not link to the article entitled
"Pope". I believe that Mr. Hand would not like his readers to know 
the truth about the Pope. He would rather his readers believe that
anything the Pope says or does is Magisterial, and beyond criticism.
However, as I will demonstrate from the article itself and 2 other
sources, the Pope does indeed have great power and supreme authority
in the Church, but that power is in no way ABSOLUTE in everything,
nor is it arbitrary and despotic. This is now on my page 'Papal
Authority, Papalotry, and "Attacking" the Pope'.

Mr. Hand devotes an entire page of his site to define the word 
"integrist/integralist". It can be summed up as: A person who believes
that something is dogmatic, when in fact it is not. And nowhere on 
that page does the definition of the word include: A person who crit-
isizes a decision of the Pope. Yet Mr. Hand condemns The Latin Mass
Magazine as integrist because of an alleged 25 page "attack" on the 
Pope. The magazine (Spring 2000 issue) had several articles that 
detail the history of Pope John Paul II's reign. The good and the
bad. But Mr. Hand is one of those people who sees any criticism of the
Pope as being the act of an "integrist." Anyone who does not believe 
that the pontificate of Pope John Paul II has been all good, or at the
least, mostly positive, is an "integrist", yet Mr. Hand has problems 
with altar girls, and believes that improvements could be made in the 
Novus Ordo Mass. 

Strange attitude from a man who promotes an idea that anything the 
Pope says or does is Magisterial, and thus above criticism.

However, if Matt & Co., or others, bring up negative things about the
Pope in any fashion, they are called "integrists", and "schismatic".

News Flash! Stephen Hand is the real integrist!!! He will accept no
criticism of the Pope from anyone, yet does the same himself! Not 
only is he the real integrist, he is espousing an extremely hypocrit-
ical viewpoint.

Now I will say flat out that I have not seen the video "What we have 
Lost". So I can't comment on it.

But, I will comment on one thing. I understand that Gerry Matatics
appeared in the video. I do not know what he said on the video, nor
do I know how long his appearance on it was. I did note that Mr. Hand
wasted little time linking to a question on Karl Keating's apologetics
forum about Gerry Matatics and Keating's response to Matatics being 
in it. On Hand's website, at his controversy.html page, he entitles
the link to this question, "Gerry Matatics, "called" and "sent" by
whom". I think Mr.Hand poses a very good question. In fact, I think it
is one of the more intelligent things posted on his website in months.
I too would like to ask this question of Karl Keating, who has made
accusations of "schism", "Feenyism", and the like against Gerry 
Matatics for years, without solid proof, and he will not give Gerry
a chance to defend himself. Keating is not objective where Gerry is
concerned, and will use anything to "prove" the Gerry is a "schism-
atic", a "Feenyite" etc. I would love to know who "called" and "sent"
Karl Keating to evangelize Protestants, and for years to be so 
uncharitable against one man. I would like to know who called and sent
Scott Hahn to give talks all over the country, and who became a 
supporter of the "charismatic movement", which is  heretical?
Who called and sent Stephen Hand to condemn just about any-
one who is "Traditionalist" as being an "integrist".
Who called and sent the leaders of the "charismatic movement" to 
spread their heresy in the Church? 

Please Mr. Hand, Mr. Keating, Mr. Hahn, and all you "charismatic"
leaders, tell me, who "called" and "sent" you???

I believe that it is time for Mr. Hand to at least be honest enough
to publish the entire text of "We Resist You to the Face" on his web-
site, and demonstrate from OFFICIAL church teaching, that it is in
error, and to seriously research and tell us exactly what the Church 
teaches in regard to authority of the Pope and the Church. But I doubt
he will do that, because then he would have to stop accusing people
of "integrism" and it would not look good to his new "conservative"

Another thing, I will admit that I saw one or  two things in "We
Resist You to the Face" that APPEARED to be a bit problematic. But
I will address those when I post the article and do a critique it on
my website. And I will be contacting Matt & Co. about there points.

I would also like to point out that Mr. Hand in "Traditionalists,
Tradition, and Private Judgment", accuses Catholic Family News of
using only the the worst photos of the Pope in certain situations.
First of all, what should CFN do? Act as though the Pope isn't doing
things his predecessors would have condemned him for? Should CFN, like
most "conservatives", stick their head in the sand, or keep on the
rose colored glasses? It can argued for days, even years, about how
the Pope should deal with the current crisis, but the facts are that
the Pope has done very little to correct the problems. Sure he has
done much good, and preached the Gospel throughout the world, but that
does not end the confusion, nor does it correct abuses. 

Mr. Hand is now a great supporter of Vatican II and loves to show
himself a great defender of the Pope. Ok then Mr. Hand, you claim 
that the Pope is following Vatican II. Well then, where is the Latin
in our churches? Only in churches that have the Indult Mass, and a few
of the Novus Ordo parishes is Latin ever heard anymore. But yet, the
council you now so love to defend, which stated: "Particalar law
(emphasis mine), is ignored by the very Pope who is so in favor of
carrying out the directives of this Council!

Wake up, Mr. Hand. Vatican II may be a valid Council, the Novus Ordo
a valid Mass, and Pope John Paul II a valid Pope, but where is the 
document issued by the Pope ordering that Latin is to be used in all
Latin rite parishes? HELLO!!!!!!!! THERE ISN'T ONE!!!!!

And that is just one point that can be made. 

I would like to point out that Mr. Hand is, essentially, lumping all
"traditionalists" together now, no matter what. Granted there are in
fact some real "extreme Traditionalists" out there, and these should 
be avoided, but to Mr. Hand, any one who criticizes any of the post-
Conciliar Popes is an "Integrist", or "extreme Traditionalist."

The best thing to do is avoid Hand's website altogether, until he
realizes that he is the one who is confused and in error.


I am adding to this article. About a month, or almost 2, ago, Mr. Hand
posted an article on his controversy.html page entitled "The Lefebv-
rist Worm in Una Voce's Apple." I found it very interesting that Mr. 
Hand, who just a few months ago, was accusing Michal Matt of the Rem-
nant of criticizing Michal Davies behind his back, is now trying to
trash Michael Davies himself. I find it interesting that in the first
paragraph of this artcle Mr. Hand criticizes Davies for still allowing
his books to be published and sold by the Angelus Press (the printing
arm of the SSPX), while at the same time, Hand himself has made no at-
tempt, at least publicly, to get the Remnant to stop publishing and 
selling 2 of his own books! Interesting that Davies is somehow now an
"integrist" for his former defense of the SSPX, and his "allowing'
them to sell his books, but yet Mr. Hand is not, even though the very
people he has many times condemned as "integrists" have not been told
to stop selling his books, at least not publicly.

Mr. Hand claims that Davies does still defend the SSPX. Maybe so. I 
can't say for sure, but I think Mr. Hand needs to get with reality.

Hand publishes an article by E. Michael Jones (of Fidelity and Culture
Wars fame) that is FIVE years old, as his proof that Davies is a def-
ender of the SSPX. And offers nothing newer, or if he does, I haven't
seen it yet.

Also, I noticed that Mr. Hand still maintains a link on his links 
page to a small part of one of Davies' writing that is on the 'Net.
(As of 11-1-00).

All the more reason to avoid Stephen Hand, and his website.


 Hand is at it again.

I noticed 2 articles on Hand's site on 10-31-00. One is titled:
"Canon Law Study Concludes Integrists Who Publicly "Suspend 
Obedience" to Pope are in Schism". This article can be found at Another article, which
is on TCR  /tri.html page is titled: "FSSP Responds to Misrepresentat-
ions of Latin Mass Magazine. I'd like to point something out here. In
this 'FSSP Responds' article, Mr. Hand (or whoever) brings up the 
point that a headline can be written so the event being reported on is
perceived in a good or bad light. The line I am referring to is this,
and I quote, "It's a well-known fact in publishing circles that the
title you give to any article will set the frame of mind in which
people read it." And then he demonstrates how this is done. Excellent 
point. However, he seems to have forgotten it when he wrote the title
for the first article I mentioned. In that article, Mr. Hand goes on
to state that the "Canon Law study" is not in fact completed, and is
expected to be released next year. One moment this study is done, the
next he says it's expected to be released next year. Interesting.
 I don't know who is doing this study, but if I had to guess, I would
guess it was Pete Vere. Mr. Vere, who frankly I admire, recently got
a degree in Canon Law, and not long ago did a canonical study on the
SSPX situation. Given that his writings have as late appeared on TCR,
and a short letter of his recently published in The Remnant stating
his opinion obout the "suspension of obedience", I conclude that it is
him doing the study. I hope Mr. Vere, or whoever is doing the study,
abandons the project. There are more pressing problems than the so-
called "schism" of the "We Resist..." writers.
 But to get to my other points. In the FSSP responds article, Hand
does his usual bit of name-calling, etc. He claims that the North 
American District Headquarters was consulted about the alleged attacks
by the editor of The Latin Mass magazine against the FSSP.
 Well, then perhaps Mr. Hand can explain a few things. Like what pages
of the Fall 2000 issue the alleged attacks are made on. And how about
quoting the entire text of the articles for those of us who are not
current subscribers the The Latin Mass? Also, what proof do we have 
that he actually spoke to the Fraternity and Fr. Devillers? When and
how exactly did he speak with Fr. Devillers? By phone? By fax? By 
e-mail? Maybe Vulcan mind-meld? Mr. Hand is very good at accusing the
Latin Mass Magazine of using "supposition and innuendo as opposed to
facts" as well as "a significant amount of selective reporting and
quoting, as well as a great deal of underlying personal animosity" in
what Latin Mass Magazine reports about the FSSP and Fr. Devillers. Mr.
Hand should know all about 'selective quoting', considering that's 
what he did when writing about "We Resist You to the Face", as I dem-
onstrated earlier in this article. And he is also an expert on having
"a great deal of personal animosity." He condemns his former friends
as "extremists", "extreme Traditionalists" and "integrists" all the 
while saying he tried to talk to them about their seeming 'hardening
against Rome'. But notice Mr. Hand offers no proof that he tried to
talk to them. Where are the audio and/or video tapes of their conver-
sations? Where are the E-mails that have verified as true and original
by disinterested 3rd parties? Where is other written verification? Mr.
Hand says is said to work in a law office. This should be obvious to
 Now I want to make clear here that I do not have this issue of the
Latin Mass Magazine, so I can't look at it and say "Ah, Mr. Hand is 
right in what he is saying." Maybe everything he says and alleges in
his article is true, but how can I know that, without seeing the art-
icles myself? I would like to bring up one thing that Hand speaks of
in his article, because it is common knowledge. He brings up the 
point of the debate about the "French 16", the Fraternity priests who
appealed to Rome for permission to use the New Rite of Mass. In the 
article, there are 5 points he makes, marked by dots. If you read the
4th one, the one that begins "Rome has no "new" policy....". What I
want to know is this. If what he alleges in this point is true, then
why is that these "French 16" petitioned Rome in the first place? If
it was understood in the beginning of the FSSP that their priests 
would still retain the right to celebrate the Novus Ordo, then what
was the point of 16 French FSSP priests petitioning Rome to be sure
they could do so? And if they did want to celebrate the New Mass,
then why waste time joining the FSSP? 
 I want to state for the record that I'm glad that we have the FSSP.
They do a lot of good and help a lot of people, but in the midst of
all the debate, I think that what is being missed is that the FSSP is
allowed to exist at the whim of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. The Papal
document Ecclesia Dei was a Motu Proprio, which is means the Pope is
the one who initiated it, on his own. To the best of my knowledge, 
this type of document doesn't necessarily carry the weight of full 
Papal authority. It's not doctrinal, and could be revoked by him, or
a successor at anytime, for any reason. I could be wrong about that,
but until proven otherwise.....
 If the Pope was so in favor of the continuing of the FSSP and the 
Traditional Orders in general, why is it that they are not given the
status of personal prelature (I think that's the right term) like the
way too controversial Opus Dei is? Why leave the FSSP at the mercy of
bishops who don't want Traditional orders or Traditional anything in
their dioceses? The fact is that the FSSP could be closed down on a 
whim, with no notice. And if that isn't the truth then why was it not
given personal prelature status? Think about it.

I would like to bring up another point on Stephen Hand. Hand likes to
accuse Matt & Co. of name-calling, and that sort of thing. but, at the
end of the FSSP article, he refers to Thomas Woods of Latin Mass Maga-
zine as an "extremist" and says he "defended the de facto Integrist
schism" because of his defense of the "We Resist you to the Face"
article. Mr. Hand is, as I showed earlier, guilty of the very same 
things he accuses his former friends of. 

I think it's time Mr. Hand started using his time more constructively
than condemning Matt & Co. In fact, he should do everyone a favor by
getting a real life, and putting out material that will help people to
lead a better and holier life, rather than condemning a few people who
have simply stated the truth, and who, excuse the language but, had 
the balls to say what had to be said.

Shawn  11-2-00

Today, 11-27, I was checking out Stephen Hand's site, and he has 
linked to a story in Catholic World Report about the "gay priest
problem". One of his suggestions for dealing with this pronblem is
that, and I quote, "What Rome can do, REQUIRE HEADS ON PLATTERS"
I find it interesting that he all of a sudden seems to see the need
for punishment of people for something, and that Rome should do the
punishing. But earlier this year, he held this strange (and probably
still does) idea that people who have been attacking the Catholic 
Faith for years, and leading millions astray, should not be openly
excommunicated, for fear of causing a great "schism" in the Church.
Well, if you've followed Hand's new career of condemning certain
people as "integrists", you'll probably notice that a great schism
has already begun. At least according to him and his new friends at
the Wanderer. 
 So, Mr. Hand, I ask you, why this sudden suggestion that Rome call 
for heads on platters? While I agree that such priests and bishops
should be laicized, and removed from their sacred offices, and put
in a program to help them, and that they should do serious penance
for their actions, why the sudden call for their heads? What about
people who have been attacking the Faith for years, like Hans Kung,
Richard McBrien, et al? These people have done thousands of times more
damage to the Faith than any number of gay priests. So why not call
for the heads of McBrien and his ilk? Oh gee, that's right, I forgot,
you're a "conservative" now. You believe everything the Pope says or
does is magisterial and hence infallible. Gee, Mr. Hand, the Pope has
done virtually nothing about gay priests during his pontificate as
well as very little about curbing heresy, but, gee, didn't you just 
recently spend months this summer condemning The Remnant, CFN, et al.
for "attacking" the Pope, and going into "schism" because of a docu-
ment that you didn't like, in which they pointed out these same 
things, among others? Well, Mr. Hand, you once again prove that
YOU are the real "integrist". I think, Mr. Hand, it's time for you to
sit back, relax, and ask yourself, "What am I really accomplishing
here?" I'll tell you, NOTHING, except proving yourself to be a 
hypocrite. Why don't you spend a little more time filling your site
with things that will help people lead good lives and become holy,
rather than talking about things that we have already been oversatu-
rated with? 

This will be the last time I update this section. Let's face it, it's
pretty much old news, but I will keep it on my site in another place
for future reference.