The Saint Peter Dossier, Part II: When the Bishop Says Jump! A Continuation of Our Exclusive interview with a former FSSP priest.
Continuation of RadTrad Thomist's interview with Fr. Joseph Poisson. Part II, When the Bishop says "Jump"!
Fr. Poisson: The solution of the Fraternity, if there is a problem with the bishop, is to change priests. I knew then, since I was being picked on, that I would never be a parish priest. At one point, I could not even go to the bishop’s Mass, the Holy Thursday [Chrism] Mass anymore. Now I wanted nothing to do with it. So I could only be an assistant priest and I was happy with that. That released me from it. Then I was sent to Scranton.
RadTrad Thomist. What was your experience of the [Novus Ordo] bishops that you met along the way?
P. What can I tell you on that?
R. What did they seem to want from you?
P. Oh! They just wanted the money! They want the collections. They want their fund raising They want their Fraternity priests to make their [financial] goals. It is just about their money. We give you the church, the privilege to be here, the collections are meant to be kept up, keep everybody happy.
R. So if you preach too hard they don’t like it.
P. Well not necessarily. It depends what you preach on. If the big money giver gets upset, he won’t give money. I do feel guilty. I should have preached against the bishop and Vatican II and all that. Again, this did not strike me until I left the Fraternity, “Hey, they don’t preach against Modernism, because they are part of Modernism. So we never had a class in Modernism in the seminary, a class in Pascendi!
R. So how did they understand the situation in the Church? What was wrong?
P. For example, Fr. House, he was one of the first to join the Fraternity, he was the one killed. I remember him saying, “You need to read Pascendi!” But there was no classes on it, like Fr. Pfeiffer has classes on it, and it is very hard to understand by yourself, but it is a very important one if you are going to understand the crisis in the Church. Modernism is the basis of the crisis.
R. You would think that Modernism is the whole reason for the Fraternity to exist.
P. It is to deal with the bishop and compromise. It is all part of the problem. But really, it is all based on one simple statement, “If Archbishop Lefebvre is not excommunicated, the Fraternity is built on a lie." After I got all of the evidence, I realized that it was not built on a rock, it was built on sand, it was built on a lie.
R. It was based on his “excommunication” it was established in the same document as the “excommunication.” When you go back and read Ecclesia Dei, the document, you see that it has this new understanding of Tradition. They speak of “living Tradition.”
Were you feeling doctrinally on the “outs” with the Fraternity?
P. I could feel a change with my superiors. There was more Liberalism. Things that are let go. Even with the priests, the quote ‘holy ones’ in the seminary, when they become a priest they become different. When you got a parish, when you got power, they make compromises.
I noticed these things, so I said that we need to stand up for the truth. These things were growing in my mind and no one was there to help me with it. There were a couple of others that thought the same way, but, ultimately, they all gave in. So I said, I just want a small post where I can teach truth? There were so many questions that were not answered until I got out of the “bubble” of the Fraternity. Because when you are in you are so concentrated on your priesthood and the faithful, that you do not see things until you are outside. I was not seeing the situation. I just needed for things to slow down, and to read and pray. But when I went home, my mom had the books there! The answers to my questions were right there. She had all of these books at home, but I was never home to read them. The others don’t really…they just want to go along with the flow. I could not talk to anybody. That is one of the worst thing that the Fraternity has, when you are out in the parishes you have to go to a Novus Ordo priest for confession.
That is one of the biggest things against the Fraternity, you are out there in nowhere. But God has His ways. God gaves me signs from other people. They would say, “You have to go!”
R. God speaks in strange ways!
P. The Passionist priests are in Scranton, St. Anne’s, they are terrible confessors. But these were my spiritual directors, and so I asked the question of my confessor —- under the seal —- I asked him if it was God’s will that I should go. The priest said, “Go in peace!” So I knew that it was God saying, Go! I did not know where I was going to go, but it was under the seal and God can speak through the priest. So even though the priest is a heretic, he can still give an answer with his mouth. Things were building up. Priests were picking on me because of my preaching. These were all signs that maybe its just not me but maybe it is what they are built on.
R. I think that is one thing for people to understand is that sometimes the appearances don’t reflect the actual substance. Is that the case with the Fraternity of St. Peter. Is it therefore deceptive?
P. Well, when I said to myself that I could no longer go to a Novus Ordo Mass any more, I could not go to the bishop’s Mass any more, you begin to extend that to, is it more than that. Is it Vatican II? Do I need to read about the SSPX? I found myself minimizing everything, like the collection. I would make the collection for the bishop, but I would just give him a little bit and not what he wanted. I just suffered the consequences. Finally, I decided to get out of it.
R. So you were led into it by this appearance of orthodoxy and traditional practice…..
P. I just kept asking myself “How can I get out of it and still be in the Church?” But I started reading the Angelus and later I said, when I started looking at the history of the Church, that there is such a thing as false obedience. That is what the Fraternity has built, to obey these superiors and bishops. But obedience goes so far as mortal sin, but this is not talked about. Faith is greater than obedience. All of these things were coming to me. If I left or was drawn out by Our Lady, I might not have a salary, but if truth was outside the Fraternity and the Novus Ordo church than I need it. I don’t care about security. I care about truth, that is my “drawback.” My view of the future is well-formed. Catholic prophecy helped me to understand about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, to understand where the crisis in the Church was going, Fatima, Our Lady of Good Success, I knew about these things more so than the other priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter.
R. No one could give you satisfaction.
P. Correct, “What ever satisfies the pope and the bishops that is what we do,” “We are ‘yes’ people.” “Yes, bishop, if you want us to jump 3 feet tomorrow, we will jump 3 feet tomorrow. If you want us to jump 2 1/2 feet the next day, we will jump 2 1/2 feet the next day. What ever makes you happy.”
Much more to come for the St. Peter's Dossier. Only about 1/3 of the interview has so far been posted.