Stephen Hand and the "Integrists"
8-29-00 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 at www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3251/controversy.html 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 DESIRE TO DECLARE THAT THE APOSTOLIC SEE IS VACANT. 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] WOULD TAKE PLACE AUTOMATICALLY WHEN THE CHURCH WOULD BECOME AWARE OF THE GRAVITY OF THE PRESENT-DAY ERRORS AND OF WHO IS RESPON- SIBLE FOR THEM. SHOULD SUCH A SITUATION NOT BECOME PUBLIC AND NOTOR- IOUS, THE DECLARATION OF THE AFOREMENTIONED JUDGMENT WOULD FALL TO FUTURE PONTIFFS. 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: www.catholictradition.org/cfn-resistance.htm 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: www.thewandererpress.com/u1.html 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" friends. 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 remaining in force, LATIN IS TO BE PRESERVED IN THE LATIN RITE." (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. 10-5-00 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. 11-1-00 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 www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3251/joan.html. 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 him. 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.